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F-14 de Heatblur Simulations - update

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Bonjour à tous,

Ce poste est créé pour le suivi des nouvelles au sujet du futur module de DCS World le F-14 du Leatherneck Simulations.

 

https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?p=3074594#post3074594

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Le titre a été édité

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Yeaaaah le HUD lague ! Vivement qu'il sorte. On a des nouvelles sur le nouveau modèle du CVN-70 ?

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Un poste de mise à jour pour l'équipe heatblur 

https://forums.eagle.ru/showthread.php?p=3097519#post3097519

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Qu'est ce que j'ai hâte ! 

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Hey everyone,

Enjoy this first episodic highlight of the DCS: F-14 flight model. 

We've spent countless hours researching, digitizing and developing this FM - and we truly believe it will stand as one of the best and most accurate in DCS World.


_________________

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F-14 February Mini-Update

BzIExOK.jpg
A Recent multiplayer testing session
Dear All,

Since our last update just before Christmas; the team has been focusing on hitting several major milestones in the F-14 project. These are actually some of the last major milestones to be completed prior to early access release, and they primarily involve the completion of the new, rebuilt art assets, and their integration into the existing codebase and aircraft. 

While our main development branch is still occuring on the “chromecat” - we’re now very close to completing our work on several major visual areas of the aircraft and merging these together. While this feels like it has been a long journey; we'll be clocking in at just under a year to build the most detailed rendition of an F-14 Tomcat ever created (and perhaps, any digital aircraft ever!)

This has required the full attention of all of our artist resources and has come at great cost - but there is nothing quite like a Tomcat, and we need to make sure that we do the best job that we can.

This process is not yet complete and will still take some time, but we’re very excited to show off what we’ve been working on and are pushing ourselves to the brink to get it done. Once this is complete, we can finally begin to record in-depth gameplay videos from the F-14. You should expect with great certainty for these to start dropping sometime in March. There is a ton to cover!

Late last month we’ve also announced the inclusion of LANTIRN into our F-14, making the Tomcat a formidable Bombcat. You will be able to use a full gamut of guided bombs to strike targets. Somewhat contrary to it’s initial role in the fleet, the F-14 is actually a very potent ground attack airplane, and flying strike packages in a coop scenario is incredibly fun. The Tomcat has plenty of range, and can carry a large payload, while remaining combat effective. No doubt, it will be one of the most capable aircraft in DCS on launch. We’ve always been committed to ensuring that our products are packed with value - and the LANTIRN being a part of the DCS F-14 is a move in the right direction for that to be the case. 

We've also continued working very closely with our SMEs (F-14A, B and D pilots) to tweak the final elements of our flight modeling and control systems. Every time we iterate over a new build with our SMEs, we get closer to achieving satisfaction with both our SMEs and maintaining consistency with our data. We really can't understate how satisfied we are with what we've achieved with the F-14 flight model.

Multiplayer is a big focus for the F-14, and for the Tomcat and other future products, we've written custom networking code to ensure that the multiplayer experience is consistent and smooth. Flying and fighting in the F-14 together is incredibly fun and rewarding. 
Multiplayer is not only important for the aircraft itself, but also for all of our included content. The F-14 will eventually receive two free, full campaigns - one for the F-14A and one for the F-14B, of which one the -B campaign is currently deep in production. We'll be adapting both of these campaigns to work in Co-operative - something which no doubt will be a ton of fun. 

Concurrently, we’ve been organizing our future roadmap and plans. While our main focus during 2018 will be the full completion of the Viggen and polishing the F-14, we’ll be ramping up production on our future product roadmap as well. Jester AI, Navy assets, and other advanced, in-house technologies will be integral to ensuring that Heatblur products will be one of a kind moving forwards. 

Fret not over the lull in updates - in this particular moment - silence is golden. smile.gif

As always, thank you for the support!

Heatblur
__________________
Nicholas Dackard

Director | Lead Artist
Heatblur Simulations


https://www.facebook.com/heatblur/

Last edited by Cobra847; 02-10-2018 at 08:36 PM.

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 F-14 Development Update - Power!

lndz82b.jpg


The Tomcat has a new powerplant model! 

While we’ve already undertaken the development of an engine model with the Viggen, we decided last year to completely redesign this portion of our simulation framework, in order to create an much more in-depth and realistic simulation of a turbofan engine. This will also help us in recreating the P&W TF-30 engines for the F-14A, as well as other turbofan, turbojet, or turboshaft engines for our future product lineup.

The F-14B is powered by two F110-GE-400 turbofan engines with variable exhaust nozzles and afterburner augmentation.They are dual-rotor engines consisting of a three-stage fan driven by a two stage, low-pressure turbine and a mechanically independent, aerodynamically balanced, nine-stage high-pressure compressor driven by a single-stage, air-cooled, high-pressure turbine. Engine operation is automatically regulated and maintained electrically by the augmenter fan temperature control unit and by throttle inputs to the main engine control.


This new F110 model has been built entirely from scratch, incorporating many new features and improving the accuracy and fidelity of the engine simulation. The following components of the engine have been modeled based on actual F110 engine data gathered from various sources:
  • Air Inlet Control System (AICS)
    The primary job of the AICS is to provide quality airflow to the engine in sufficient quantities to prevent engine operation issues. This involves a reduction of the speed of air entering the engine’s fan/compressor face. During this process, incoming freestream airflow is slowed and compressed. As a result, ram temperatures and pressures entering the engine are increased. On the F-14 this is achieved primarily by a system of 3 moving ramps per side that are scheduled based on flight conditions. During supersonic flight, these ramps are scheduled to move in a way that creates multiple shockwaves to more efficiently compress incoming air than a conventional duct would. The efficiency of the inlet’s pressure recovery throughout the flight envelope has been captured from real F-14 flight test data for use in the Heatblur F-14. Considerations for ramp actuator malfunctions have been made, which can include thrust loss and reduced stability margin (i.e. higher potential for compressor stall) if the ramps are out of their scheduled positions (i.e. high speed with the ramps in their stowed position...don’t do this!).
  • Augmenter Fan Temperature Controller/Main Engine Control (AFTC/MEC)
    The AFTC/MEC on the F-14 is similar to a FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) in function. It schedules fuel to the engine and afterburner based on numerous inputs. It also provides limiting functions to prevent engine damage and reduce risk of compressor stalls. RPM, EGT, and acceleration/deceleration are all limited by the AFTC to ensure safe engine operation. Other AFTC functions include engine start control, asymmetric thrust limiting, automatic relight, and fault detection. Fault detection automatically switches the engine control to secondary mode in the event of core overspeed, fan speed signal loss and other abnormal conditions. The AFTC/MEC simulation on the Heatblur F-14 takes in probe temperatures and pressures from the AICS, Mach number, pilot throttle positions, fan and core rpms, and engine ignition status, and outputs demanded fuel valve positions. These valve positions correspond to fuel flows that will cause the engine’s core to accelerate or decelerate as demanded by the pilot. While the pilot can demand a certain core speed, the AFTC is also constantly monitoring other engine parameters, such as N2 RPM and EGT to ensure that engine design limits are not exceeded and engine damage does not occur. Essentially, the AFTC protects the engine from the pilot while trying its best to give the pilot what he/she demands. When AFTC failures occur, the AFTC/MEC model reverts to what is known as secondary mode, in which the MEC governs N2 speed based on throttle inputs, but protection features such as EGT limiting are no longer available. Be aware that engine stall margin is decreased slightly at low rpm in this mode.
  • Fuel Metering Unit (FMU)
    The FMU consists of the system of valves and pumps responsible for carrying out AFTC fuel schedule demands. The AFTC outputs fuel valve position commands which in turn spray high pressure fuel into the combustor and afterburner when in use. The Heatblur F-14 model consists of a system of valves that open/close according to AFTC demands, as well as a shutoff valve for engine fires and automated shutdown commands coming from the AFTC. Failures such as stuck valves and clogged fuel filters may be implemented in the future.
  • Gas Generator (N2)
    The gas generator is the heart of any turbomachinery. Its primary purpose is to provide hot, high pressure air to the combustor. This is done by reducing the speed and increasing the pressure/temperature of the incoming inlet air even further, which the F110 can do at a pressure ratio of in excess of 30:1. The gas generator on the F110 is driven by a single stage high pressure turbine. The gas generator simulation in the Heatblur F-14 is robust, with the speed and acceleration of the core determined by fuel flow from the FMU, the speed of air entering the engine, and the inertia of the core itself. The amount of fuel introduced into the flow by the FMU directly corresponds to changes in torque applied to the power turbine, which in-turn changes the compressor speed as it is connected to the same spool. Failures such as compressor stalls (core airflow disturbances) may affect core speed, as well as any failures of upstream components that affect the fuel flow, such as AFTC/MEC or FMU failures.
  • Fan (N1)
    The fan on the F110 is driven by a two stage turbine, with a bypass duct that is mixed back in to the core flow in the afterburner section. The bypass ratio of the F110 is about 0.85. Low-bypass ratio turbofans such as the the F110 have the benefit of improved fuel economy at cruise speeds, while still maintaining very good high speed performance. This makes them excellent engines in fighter aircraft applications. The Heatblur F-14 fan simulation is driven as a function of core speed, with a given steady state core speed corresponding to a steady state fan speed. Any failures affecting the core will also affect fan speeds.
  • Combustor/Exhaust Gas Temperature Model
    The combustor section of the F110 ensures that high pressure fuel flow is efficiently ignited, dramatically increasing the temperature and pressure of the gases before the flow is expanded through power turbine section. The Heatblur F-14 combustor/EGT simulation is dependent on the amount of fuel being introduced into the engine, which is determined by the AFTC/MEC and FMU models.
  • Afterburner
    The afterburner on the F110 provides extra thrust by introducing additional fuel into the flow after the power turbine section. Fuel flow to the afterburner is controlled by the AFTC and AB Fuel Control (AFC), with its own set of high pressure fuel pumps that cycle fuel back to the engine boost pumps when afterburner is not in use. This ensures that high pressure AB fuel is available at all times to prevent thrust lags and surges when AB is initiated. The Heatblur F-14 afterburner simulation is purely dependent on available AB fuel flow and throttle position, with the extra thrust as a function of AB fuel flow and nozzle position. Failures to the AFTC/MEC, AB fuel pump failures, or exhaust nozzle failures will affect AB operation and performance. AB operation is inhibited when in AFTC/MEC secondary mode.
  • Starting System
    The engine start system is a turbine powered either by a ground air/power cart or via a crossbleed start from the opposite engine. Ground power can achieve approximately 30% N2 before light-off. In our F-14 starter simulation, the ENG CRANK switches open pneumatic valves allowing the ground cart air to begin spool-up of the core. As the core spins up, the MEC primes the engine with fuel and provides ignition and fuel control up to 59% N2 RPM.
  • Variable Exhaust Nozzle
    The variable exhaust nozzle is responsible for controlling the expansion of exhaust flow downstream of the afterburner section. Engine exhaust gases at higher thrust settings are discharged through the nozzle throat at sonic velocity and are accelerated to supersonic velocity by the controlled expansion of the gases. Varying nozzle throat area controls fan stall margin, which optimizes performance. The Heatblur F-14’s nozzle simulation is dependent on Mach number, altitude, throttle position, weight on wheels, engine oil pressure, and AB operation status. Failures in the nozzle will affect engine thrust and stability.


We’re still working on completing our engine simulation. In particular some of the remaining items to be completed pre and post early access include the:
 
  • Engine Oil System
  • Bleed Air Draw Effects
  • Generator Load Effects
  • AICS Anti-Ice and Icing Effects
  • AFTC/MEC Secondary Mode Effects
  • Reduced Arrestment Thrust System (RATS)
  • Asymmetric Thrust Limiting
  • Afterburner Ignition System
  • Throttle Control Modes (Approach Power Compensator already complete)
  • Windmill and Cross-start failures and effects
  • Battle Damage Effects
  • FOD Effects


This new engine modeling will serve as a robust and deep base for all of our future jet aircraft simulation. An accurate recreation of the aircraft’s powerplant and all of the follow on effects is important, as it allows us to more accurately depict common F-14 flight characteristics, failure states and especially dangerous situations arising from engine related issues. These effects will become even more apparent as we simulate the TF-30 engines as found in the F-14A. Be gentle with those throttles!

Below are a couple of exports from our engine diagnostic interface. The descriptions above each column describe the conditions in which the snapshot of data was taken in. 



uU0pSMS.jpg 
Click to enlarge


Thanks for reading!
Heatblur Simulations F-14 Team
__________________
Nicholas Dackard

Director | Lead Artist
Heatblur Simulations


https://www.facebook.com/heatblur/

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** DCS: F-14 Development Update - September!! **

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Cockpit_Banner.jpg


F-14 Development Update!
Stick with it.

Dear All,

4 years, 5000+ commits and tens of thousands of manhours later we’re finally there, on to the final leg of the final stretch of what will hopefully be a new foundation for all things Heatblur. 

As many hours as we’ve put in, you’ve probably spent quite a few yourself mired in frustration about not climbing into your own GRU-7 just yet. 
We understand this and sincerely hope that the quality of the finished Tomcat will weigh heavily in our favour and put us in your good graces. 

That said; we have plenty to talk about for now! 

Lets jump right in:



Heatblur Simulations is proud to announce the addition of the AI A-6E & KA-6 to DCS World as Free AI units!

Furthering our commitment to providing full and rich experiences to the community, and in line with our module development priorities, we’ve decided to introduce the A-6E and KA-6 as free AI units into DCS World shortly following the release of the F-14 Tomcat!

The Intruder is an aircraft that has been under active development at Heatblur Simulations for some time, and subject to a license agreement, we hope to eventually introduce it into DCS world as a full, playable module - and we are developing it with this intent in mind. 

In the meantime, the AI Intruders will serve a critical role in the F-14 campaigns and provide an additional level of authenticity to the game and simulation battlespace environment. The A-6’s are built to our extremely exacting standards, with laser scanning forming the basis of our core workflow and ensuring complete accuracy in shape and dimensions. 
In-game, the KA-6 will provide the player with texaco services while the A-6E will serve as a venerable strike partner with an unmatched payload - good friends to have in the cockpit of an F-14.

The A-6’s will also play a crucial part in one of the two free included campaigns with the F-14; as the particular cruise being depicted is the famous all Grumman cruise. 
Dirty, greasy Tomcats and Intruders playing with each other on deck? Sign us up.


A-6E_1_Thumb.jpg A-6E_2_Thumb.jpg
To summarize, current planned free content for the F-14 includes:
  •  
  • Forrestal class carriers (compatible with all carrier aircraft)
  • A-6E
  • KA-6
  • 1x F-14B Caucasus Campaign
  • 1x Persian Gulf F-14A Campaign



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
******************************************************************




The F-14

Ongoing work on the aircraft itself has been distributed across a broad range of development areas. 

Primarily, and non-exhaustively, these include:


Flight Model
We’re now getting close to completing the final pre-release tweaks of the flight model. The aircraft (still) flies closely to our available performance data and parameters; but we’ve been continuing our heavy back and forth with SMEs, again, repeating ad nauseum: to truly capture the spirit and behaviour of the Tomcat. Some highlights of areas that have been touched upon lately include:
  • Roll behaviour/performance & wing position: We’ve been correcting various inconsistencies between our simulation and the real jet in roll handling, inertia and lateral responsiveness, especially with the wings swept aft. 
     
  • Elevon drag in ground effect: We’ve been looking at and tweaking behaviour and the influence of the elevons on the aircraft in ground roll or ground effect situations. 
    This has been important in order to more accurately simulate the immense drag and utility that the elevons presented during landing or other ground operations. 
    Differential stabilizer inputs will now turn the aircraft in the direction of stick movement, and the elevons are now more effective at acting like massive airbrakes during your ground rollout.

     
  • Turn performance: We’ve been spending considerable time fine-nudging and tuning turn performance and related parameters. 
    This is delicate work and has required a steady balance between changing too much and causing cascading effects. Like most of the FM in this stage of development, these changes are truly minute and will continue until launch day (and beyond!).
 
wut_thumb.jpg
wut?


Engine
Our engine model is now reaching advanced maturity and we’re reaching the stage where we’re adding features not deemed integral to the operation or simulation in the Early Access stage. However, because a deep and robust engine simulation is even more important for the F-14A; we want to make sure to have a head start on this area of development.


Some of the changes and items added to the engine modeling lately include:
  • Connected various missing interconnectivity between integral aircraft systems, e.g. correct data flows between CADC and AICS/AFTC.
  • Added several new failures; including supersonic inlet buzz and pop stalls due to lost CADC Mach signals.
  • Engine compartment failures due to sustained extreme temperatures, either from engine malfunctions causing extreme EGT or battle damage. We’ve done our best estimate guesswork on how quickly the structural compartments would fail based on the temperatures we’re simulating inside the engine compartment.
  • Multitudes of tweaks and corrections; changes to thrust penalties from AICS errors, turbine overtemp time/severity before turbine begins to degrade and much more. As our engine simulation becomes more deep, we will begin to spend more time fine tuning inconsistencies across the entire simulation gamut.
  • Overhauled compressor stall chance and variability - and began to account for more variables impacting the correct operation of the engine: e.g. spin direction in a flat spin.
Once we consider the F110 to be fully complete; we will turn all of our attention on the P&W TF-30. 
LANTIRN_Thumb.jpg
Our new and improved LANTIRN visual shader

Other areas of the simulation that are being worked on become more broad. In no particular order or priority:
  • Jester AI: This is a massive topic and we’ve been focusing a lot of our attention on this area. In particular, we’ve been working on:
     
  • Re-recording all older, or non-fitting voice lines (especially those that were recorded prior to us having a solid understanding of how the system would look). This has resulted in re-recording a few thousand lines in the past month and a half.
     
  • Adding code support for making JESTER appear more lifelike. Mistakes, uh’s and ah’s, conjoining multiple separate statements into one where possible. I think we’re all familiar with ArmA-ness in speech and it’s difficult to avoid this entirely, but we’ve been trying to alleviate this as much as possible.
     
  • Complete redesign of the User Interface from a visual standpoint. While we’ve been pleased with the usability of the JESTER Rose UI; it was in dire need of a visual overhaul. We focused on a few key areas during this process, namely: Quick readability at a glance, strong identifiable category colours and iconography, pleasing and responsive interaction animation (opening, closing, item selection) and enhancement of text space. We’re currently implementing this new redesign fully and it may not be entirely complete at launch, but we consider it a high priority.
     
  • Teaching Jester a lot of tasks pertaining to navigation, radios, radar and fleshing out his capability as much as we can prior to release. Make no mistake; Jester will be at its most rudimentary form on launch, but our ultimate goal is to provide ourselves with a solid foundation to build upon.
JESTER_Rose_Thumb.jpg
JESTER UI mockup. Categories are purposefully generic in this mockup. In-Game appearance may differ.
Click to enlarge


Art! ART!

The big elephant in the room. This has been the cause of a lot of hurt and pain (financially, life-wise, PR, etc.) 
It really is the cause for the biggest chunk of our delay and the additional cost overhead has been massive. 
Quality has to always take precedence, no matter how frustrating for everyone involved (and that includes you guys sad.gif )

Again, in no particular order, priorities for the art team have been:
  • Full completion of exterior textures. This has been an immense task. We’ve hand laid thousands of screws and rivets (yes, manually, each one. ) according to laser and photogrammetric scans. There have been no shortcuts, and no cut corners. This is probably the first and only time we go into this much detail on such an “inconsequential” thing whether screws are in such extremely precise locations.
  • Completion of the Pilot’s cockpit textures and functionality. This area is now for the most part complete and will wrap up in the coming days. We can’t wait to fully unveil the novel and unique features that will elevate our artwork to the next level. That’s coming on the 7th!
  • Completion of the RIOs cockpit textures and functionality. This area is scheduled for completion in the coming weeks of September and will be one of the final major items left for us to conclude.
 
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Cockpit_02.jpg
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Cockpit_04.jpg

Other major items that we’ve been improving, changing or implementing include, in shorthand:
  • Full completion of the ALR-67 RWR
  • LAU-138 CMs
  • Main fuselage CMs
  • Connecting various subsystems missing their various dependencies.
  • Improvements to the kneeboard.
  • Addition of many avionics failures in various different systems and subsystems.
  • Overhaul of weapons stations numbering and connections to fit new exterior model.
  • Several additions to datalink, carrier-aircraft, aircraft-aircraft and behaviour between navigation and datalink type systems.
  • Improvement of LANTIRN Pod: Improved visual shaders, more accurate fonts, masking lines and other symbology.
  • Continued work on the Forrestal class and associated assets; including deck cranes and other vehicles. We’ve begun with the very basics; by trying to perfect the look of our carrier deck. See screenshot below!
  • ...and much much more.

carrierdeck_Thumb.jpg

That just about sums up most of what we’ve been working on over the past 1,5 month(s). Obviously we’ve somewhat slipped from the 90 day estimate we made 4 months ago; but not dramatically so, and while we easily expect to be ground down mentally over the next period of time, it’s just about time for us to get our ducks (turkeys) in a row and close what will essentially be a long chapter in each of our lives. 

We hope it will have been worth it.

See you all on October 7th. We won’t let you down.

Sincerely,
The Heatblur F-14 Team


phx_thumb.jpg

 
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cockpit_03.jpg



 
__________________
Nicholas Dackard

Founder & Lead Artist
Heatblur Simulations


https://www.facebook.com/heatblur/

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40330273_2666525570240063_24665435656903

 

Annonce du Early Access le 7 Octobre prochain ? :o 

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https://store.heatblur.com/

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