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Formerly Known as "WIP Wednesdays".  Now its probably best to think of this as "When we get chance Wednesday".

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Rock

I seem to go months between blog posts but it does give me time to generate things to talk about so maybe it’s not that bad?

Regular followers will likely have seen my recent social media posts about the Bovington Test Area map we’ve been developing. It seems to have generated a lot of interest and associated demands (more on that later) but since Islands aren’t exactly what I’m known for I thought I’d explain what happened and why.

20200511093608_1.jpgBovington came up one night when MikePheonix and I were talking about testing our respective vehicles.  I’d made a comment about how none of the islands really have the terrain resolution to push the limits of the vehicles and it would be nice to have some sort of dedicated test area. Mike immediately said Bovington.

I blame MikePheonix for the whole damn thing

Now at the time I was considering making another area for pretty much this exact purpose.  But something much larger and I was having problems getting DEM (Digital Elevation Map) data for the areas I wanted (Yes, I am being cagey about that so as not to commit to anything) But amazingly I managed to get 1m resolution maps of Bovington almost immediately. So just as an experiment I put it into L3DT and 24hours later I had the basic map in game and useable.  It wasn’t pretty.  But the data was clean and it was really interesting and fun to drive around so I decided to run with it.  This is where I start to blame MikePheonix for the whole damn thing.

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Mike even said publically that if i made the island he would populate it.  Sadly its not worked out quite that way.  Mike is making objects for it.  But the limiter is really the tools.  Terrain Builder is really not collaboration friendly.  There are some community made tools out there that make things easier eg Plopper (Really unfortuate name) but incredibly useful. But again add an extra layer of complexity to learn and adapt your workflow to. I'd love to know how the internal BIS team do it. I know they have a different toolset to the public ArmA tools but I am curious about how they manage and merge the work from several developers worth at the same time on the same maps.

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Quote

I’ve been tinkering with Islands since ArmA1 days.  And not really produced something I actually felt happy to release but it has been the catalyst to make objects and buildings in the past.

Anyway, enough preamble. Making Bovington may have been a  happy accident. But using terrain build is not a happy experience!! Making the map wasn’t something I had planned and had the first version of the island I got in-game had it not been as much fun to drive around on and muck about we wouldn’t be talking about it now.  The process of develeoping the island past that initial point really wasn’t easy or much fun…

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Terrain Builder crashes a lot.

The tv4p files seem to become corrupt with depressingly regularity. The programme refuses to save files without any error boxes or warning. It crashes without explanation and one minute its fine the next it won’t save. But doesnt say why. Or something random happens and you are left wondering what the hell did I do? And the undo button doesnt seem to work. 

But in the long run it will be worth it...maybe...if i dont die of frustration first.  I've had to rebuild from the WRP atleast twice now as the terrain builder files either wont open or save. Its frustrating as hell.  My advice, take lots of backups. 

20200507132536_1.jpgBovington Test Area is a small map. Its 4.096kmx 4.096km. its got a 1m terrain resolution which may seem like overkill but I think its worth it as the terrain is interesting and fun to drive on.  I recently watched Farsight spend nearly 3 hours driving various vehicles around it laughing his ass off most of the time.

From day one, the Bovington map was all about testing the vehicles.  Originally, I had no intention of releasing it to the public.  It was supposed to be for MikePheonix and I to test on. Then a few other people asked for a copy.  And as I started adding things, I watched their interest seeming to grow. And suggestions came in thich and fast. Now I usually don’t respond well when people start with “You need to add X, Y and Z” because 85% of the time its not something I want or think is realistic. Its my project after all.  And if it expands the scope to be something I wont ever use then I dont tend to add it.  But in this instance almost everyone that knew about the side project suggested something that made the idea better.  Or at least I could see the logic in adding it. But suggestions like this, meant I added the 25m and 600m ranges. Including the need for some custom objects too.  Then came the 1200m vehicle firing range in the north east. A late-night conversation with Farsight convinced me to make the map a bit more infantry friendly. Adding in some details and features that could be fun. Puddles and ponds appeared to be something that everyone expected to see and want. So I’ve added them. And it does add to the feel it.

Several people suggested expanding the map to support coastline and full size airbases. I'm sorry but these were immediately dropped. Expanding the map meant reducing the terrain resolution which is the most important part of the map. And entire reason for me continuing with it.  it needs to be rough and random to be able to test vehicles.  Smoothing it out defeats the purpose of the terrain.

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Several British groups I know have said they would like to use it as their own home rotation map and made some very specific requests but I’ve said no to almost all of these. So many people want and continue to demand features outside of the things Mike and I want from the map I’ve decided to leave it fairly open so people can add their own compositions in the editor. I think its the best way to make sure it does get finished.

Thanks to many people in this community making Islands in ArmA 3 is relatively easy; there are some really detailed tutorials on how to do it.  But making good, credible, believable islands is gloriously hard to do convincingly.  I take my hat off to the likes of Ivan Buchta of BIS, Blud and others from the community that specialise in this.  It is amazingly hard to make something that feels credible and realistic. By the time you get to play on Bovington I'm hoping it with be believable. But I'm not sure it will be upto the standards of Livonia or some of the other BIS or premium community maps.  But I do hope it will be fun to use.

Rock (in isolation)

May 2020

 

Rock

Starting 2020

I had a bit of a bad few months before xmas. Lot of hospital time :angry:   But I'm getting back on track now. The promised updates are coming along and will escape soon. New stuff is making it ingame together with some new stuff too. #backtobusiness #rksl #arma3 Going to be a fun year ?

NEW - WAH-64E

Well, its less 'new' but and more a case of here's one I made earlier.  its an older model im just bringing upto a3 spec with new uv map and textures.  

Straight away let me just say its the British Version, the Westland AH-64 Apache. hence the WAH-64.  There's some extra lumps and bumps that other versions don't have.  It will be uprated to the new E-Guardian spec. With the new M-TADS etc. And at first at least I DO NOT plan on doing any other versions.  It may come later but for now I'm focused on British Kit.

WAH64-02-diff.JPG

WAH64-04-diff.JPG WAH64-03-diff.JPG

WAH64-01-diff.JPG

NEW - Chinook HC5 and 6

After helping a couple of people try and wrangle the BIS Chinook model into the air for their own mods I decided to give up frustrating myself and just go and make my own.  This is a new model made from genuine Boeing General Assembly drawings.  All the proper dimensions and British lumpy bits.

iminhell.JPG

The plan is to create the HC5 and 6 versions.  The 'normal' version of the modern British Chinook HC2/2A/4 appears as the HC6 and the 'Fat Tank' HC3 appears as the HC5.  All the previous incarnations of the British Chinook have since vanished having been upgraded to provide a standard avionics and cockpit layout across the fleet. I prefer to keep my life simple and don't plan on doing any retro Cold War versions so please don't ask.

rksla3_Wokka3100_3.jpgrksla3_Wokka3100_2.jpg

rksla3_Wokka3100_1.JPG

Anyway, as usual: "Its done when its done."  Please don't ask for release dates as a poke in the eye tends to offend and I don't enjoy hurting people that often.

Rock

Rock

There has been a lot of interest in the HAM Trucks. More than I actually thought there would be, with lots of questions, suggestions and offers to test etc.  So, I thought it would be good to do a bit of an update. People asking about the Wildcat and a few others, I’ll cover those in another post.  If you are lucky enough to be part of our Test Group or managed to get your hands on a leaked version (The leaker has been found and disposed of)  you may have seen some of this already.

HAM? Are you dyslexic?
No I am not dyslexic.  Some people have said the name change is about Copyright (its Trademarks if i'm being picky) but this isn't entirely true. It is a long story, from a long time ago.  But it came about during a research phone call with MAN trucks PR team. Partly to ask for info but to also confirm their policy on the use of MAN trademarks in non commercial ways.  I had previously emailed but after a week i decided to chase it up.  To cut a long story short I was asking for information on the HX and SX series trucks and the person I was talking to got very snotty with me. Very Rude, I was polite but persistent and the call eventually ended with her calling me 'an ignorant pig' and slamming the phone down.   So now we have HAM trucks brought to you by an 'Ignorant Pig'.

PS I did speak to the actual PR Manager afterwards and he apologised and sent me a tonne of info and some MAN Goodies but I like the name so much I've stuck with it. By that I mean HAM not Ignorant Pig ;)

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HAM Status – What’s going on?
It’s getting there.  Progress is slow and steady.  The problem with making a mod is that once the visual model is done everyone thinks that’s it.  Its ready to release.  Sadly, it’s not that simple and explaining that is something I seem to do a lot of recently.

Once the model is done you need to animate it. Even then you’ve still got the other LoDs to do.  Each LoD is supposed to be 50% of the faces of the one before it.  This takes time to do properly.  In the earlier lods you don’t want to go too far as you lose too much detail as that will cause obvious transitions and ‘popping’.  Next is the Geometry (Collision detection LoD) and PhysX Geo, View Geo, Fire Geo and Hitpoints… and once all that is done.  Testing, scripting, tweaks, reworks based on feedback… and…and…and…you release it.  Then everyone finds the bugs you missed.  AND if you are lucky, they actually come to you and tell you about it… if you are lucky. :P
So be nice, be patient and see what happens.

HAM Truck FamilyWhat different kinds of HAM are we getting?

There are four different kinds of chassis types planned and each should come with different flavours:

1) 4x4 HX60

  • Troop – 14x cargo slots
  • Cargo – General Cargo
  • ‘Prime mover’ – Platform to form the basis of several optional payloads planned for future applications and uses.

Arguably the common workhorse, doing many different roles through the British Fleet.  There will be a Troop-carrying version that will have Driver + 2 in the cab and 14x Cargo Seats in the rear.  The Cargo version will have an open back with panel sides.  How this is going to work is still something I’m trying to work out. Time will tell.

2) 6x6 HX58

  • Cargo – General cargo not a troop carrier
  • Unit Support Tanker – Refueler

The HX58 is big brother of the HX60, it uses the same suspension system but its taller, has larger and more wheels, carries more weight than its little brother.  This means that its ideal for special purpose roles such as the Unit Support Tanker.

3) 8x8 HX77

  • EPLS
  • (Reserved #1 for something special)
  • (Reserved #2 for something special)

The largest of the HX chassis system the HX77 is the heavy load carrier of the fleet.  In the real world there are several cargo versions but since that should be well catered in game with the HX58 I’ve chosen to focus on the EPLS version. This is the Enhanced Palletised Load System, the replacement for the aging but very successful DROPS system. EPLS also allows for standard ISO Containers to be loaded without special equipment which DROPS did not.  Obviously giving operators far more flexibility on operations.

EPLS3.gif

Obviously, you can see the HX77 model isn't complete at the time i'm writing this.  The chassis needs adding, but the reason for this is simple.  Optimisation, I'm trying to get as many versions as possible, with the most detail out of the fewest possible textures.  As such i'm taking my time to get the chassis right so you don't see too many odd texture matches or seams.

Returning to in-game capability, I had hoped that Vehicle-In-Vehicle would be a perfect solution to this, and to some extent it is. Unfortunately it seems you can’t animate the ViV points after Init.  Which means although I spent a week making a lovely, fully animated system for it before I tested that. I probably should have proven the concept first (Hindsight is a wonderful thing)  It is incredibly disappointing to find that you simply cannot animate it.  @Bohemia, any chance you can fix that?

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I've tried several other non-scripted methods, physX and geo cages, roadways with mixed success.  Until I can come up with another solution, I’m just going to leave the VIV option in there. 

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Off the back of the EPLS project there will also be several objects that allows you to setup FARPs and FOBs. Fuel Racks, Repair Workshops, Medical bays etc.  As well as various shelters and systems that can be carried either on the DROPS pallets or directly on the backs of the Trucks themselves.  Most of these will serve a practical purpose, others may just be props.  I'm Not sure yet.

BELOW : Dismountable Fuel Rack - You can see these at various places in FOBs around Afghanistan and Iraq.  They serve as a semi-permanent but still moveable fuel station (Bit of an oxymoron i know) complete with pumps and hoses needed.  Tankers are a limited resource.  This is a cheaper way to deploy a fuel reserve into the field and not tie up a tanker.  It makes sense to produce a flexible multipurpose truck and drop these 'modules' off where needed than it is to buy a tanker for every base that needs one.

DROPS_Fuel_Rack.jpg

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FUTURE PLANS

I think its obvious that this is a big pack and a lot of time and effort has gone into it.  So I hope you understand that not everything may be available immediately. Time constraints are a real issue here as is my ability to get everything scripted perfectly.  If my free time and testing goes well everything should come out in the first release.  If not then there will be a future updates. 

In ArmA we have 3 types of Supply Truck: Ammo, Fuel and Repair.  The Cargo variants will have the option to load Ammo resupply pallets onto them.  The Unit Support Tanker and the EPLS with the Demountable Fuel Rack takes care of the Fuel option.  This leaves Repair.  Now I've spent a lot time talking with players asking what they want and how they want things to work.  Most feel the "Magic repair truck" feels a bit like cheating...but its useful. Other want something more practical.  I am going to try and cater for both.  The magic option will be part of the first release.  The more 'practical' option will likely come a little later.

sx45.jpg4) 8x8 SX45 – Future addition

  • SX45 Wrecker/Recovery

This probably won’t be immediately available.  While is does look very similar its actually a different cab and suspension setup.  And the rear structure and crane represent a lot more work.

It may take me a little longer to get this in game and working how I want.  It will fulfil the role of the repair truck with a few extras if I can get it working… since the EPLS/ViV issue bit me in the arse I don’t want to commit to all the details just yet but I'm hoping to make it a bit special.

So that is it for today. I hope you liked it and it answers some questions.

Have fun

Rock

May 2019

Rock
NOTE: Straight away let me say they project is a LONG WAY OFF.
The sole reason I'm posting these screenshot is that the BETA was leaked a few weeks back. I've been told today that the model is being offered to at least two UK themed clans/mod teams.  So by posting these pics I'm hoping that the next person that gets offered the model might recognise it as mine.
The model is being offered in MLOD and FBX formats by a German lad, ~20 ish.  Real name is Michael Farkas.  aka "Faust", "Greeba" and "Luftmaan"

One thing to note is the stolen model does not currently have the inflight refueling probe and has absolutely no UV unwrapping done in the cockpits. And a few other bits are also purposely missing. I'd appreciate anyone letting me know if they get offered it and by whom.  
Thanks
Rock




Rock
I discovered a new forum - at least previously unknown to me - where someone was loudly broadcasting his mistaken belief that I have lied about the LPD.  So for my loyal and possibly disloyal followers is the old ALPHA ingame.
Its fair to say my focus has been a bit all over the show recently. And that's for various reasons you aren't really interested in.  But needless to say the LPD has never really been out of WIP.  Its just been slow going.  Trying to find ways around the game engine limits and issues.
Right now the main issue is roadways.  For those not of the modding persuasion these are the defined areas that you may walk or drive upon in a model.  Now the issue here is that once you place a roadway on top of another the game engine doesn't like it.  At least for some things.
So lets imagine this.  Each deck has a roadway:
_______________ Flight Deck _____________
_______________ Deck 1 ________________
_______________ Well deck ____________                                  \___LCU MK10____/ or \__LCVP__/
Either a Vehicle-In-Vehicle enabled LCU or LCVP carrying a vehicle enters the well deck.  Try to unload and the game engine can't work out which deck to put it on and spawns it (typically) off to the right of the ship above the water.  You are now down one vehicle.  This is a bit of a problem,  Its one that can't be solved when using VIV without a game engine change.
The fix is to rely on PhysX.  Now this comes with problems too.  Depending on the speed of your PC results may vary.  Dodgy physx calcs can result in the LCU and vehicle its carrying being fired across the map... cue hilarious A3 video montage of flying tanks and subs. etc.
Aside from the usual issue of geometry limits, dodgy configs, scripting and a myriad of other things this problem is the reason i haven't released the LPD or had much motivation to work on it as a priority.
Anyway, here's some WIP pics.



I was asked about how practical it is.  The answer is that you can get a full size HAM HX60 or HX58 down the flight deck ramp.  You can fit 4x LCU mk10s in the welldeck and it carries 4x LCVPs on the davits...Practical enough?

 









Rock
 Bonus points for early identification. #rksl #sideproject #wip #Arma3
Da12thmonkey won out yet again and correctly identified it.  its a Sa'ar IV Corvette hull.  Its a custom job for Wld427 and the @ProjectRacs mod.  They will customise it to their needs and eventually I'll release a slightly different version for OPFOR.  The RKSL made RN need something to shoot at.
 





 
Rock
DS30B - Bit more progress - Some Labels applied. More detailing to go. #wip #rksl #Arma3
DS30B - Even more progress - I've been asked why I'm posting unfinished shots. The best way I can think of to demonstrate progress is showing shots at various stages of development. ? Proper update article coming soon #wip #rksl #Arma3

Rock
Late night job #5311: DS30B - 30mm Cannon for the RN Ships. The later version of the DS30M with the Bushmaster will follow at some point. And there will be a version with the Enhanced config, the one with the martlets #wip #rksl #Arma3


 

 
 
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