Winter is coming

December is drawing closer and as all of you might know, in December there is always a big sale going on at THI, AMOK and Adventure Air. That usually gives me a breather once a year.

But this time i would like to take the opportunity and time to tackle something bigger.
A bomber.
Yup a fully featured bomber from THI.

But as always it is hard to make a final call, so i made a selection of viable options you can choose from on the poll below, plus, you can add your own requests and perhaps get enough people to support the idea.

Keep in mind tho, that i take the poll as a suggestion, and one tool of many to gauge interest in a certain model. That out of the way, be sure to acknowledge that the results of this poll, will not be definite.

I will let the poll run until perhaps end of November and then announce what we decided for.

Edit: Perhaps i was not clear enough on this. But THI is our vintage line of aircraft. So no helicopters, jets or the like. But anything WWII or before is go.

 

Why your combat region sucks

Since the C-130 is out and in full swing i had some time on my hands to think about things, whipe clean my inventory and notecard folder and i stumbled over something i thought might be worth dusting off.

I’ve been carrying this along with myself for a long time and i thought to take a stab at that topic again. Be aware tho that this is highly controversial to begin with and might insult the one or other person.

With that out of the way let’s get crackin’!
There used to be many combat regions on SL but that is of the past, there have been made many mistakes, mine myself included that brought them down or still make them a less than desirable place to combat in SL.

1. Combat =//= Roleplay

Let’s start simple. A whole lot of combat regions call themselves out as roleplay sims (RP). Probably by people who never ever played an actual RPG like DnD, Traveller or Shadowrun.
Let’s be clear on this: Roleplay might contain combat sequences to freshen things up, but combat itself can rarely contain any roleplay elements at all. Not on an unsupervised platform like Second Life anyway.
Besides most people who call out their combat region as roleplay, would not understand this meme:

So why don’t you just call the baby by it’s name? Combat is Combat.
People that come to ‘Combat RP’ sims do not want to waste time playing a role. They want to blow shit up!

2. Where is the enemy again?

Having no OPFOR (opposing force) or having to have the concept of an OPFOR in the first place makes for sad combat regions. Yes of course you can sit with your single faction at your region and pretent to be awesome and gang up on any visitor who dares to put on the team of the opposing force. But let’s be honest. It is not really fun is it?
The problem breaks down into two main problems:

A. The biggest group controls the region

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There are lots of examples in that category. Basically the biggest group in the region also controls the land and thus has no real interest in having another team on a level playing field. They think that they have every right to do so. You regularly hear complaints that any other team does not get treated fairly or has to fight under conditions that are almost laughable to anyone with half a braincell left. Which leads me to:

B. The setting supports only one faction for real
There are some examples in this category and they mostly go in conjuration with A. but i have seen examples where this got just deployed rather not well thought out to begin with.
Here are some examples of settings i have seen and why they are BAD for combat in SL.

– Vietnam War.
So a big well trained armed force with the newst equipment of that time fights against a guerilla force that overwhelmed them by sheer numbers and concealment?
This is not going to fly in SL. There is no concealment and when did you ever saw that a faction that does not boast any fancy toys outnumbers the one with the fancy toys?

– Korea War
Same thing as above. Just with an emphasis on number superiority. The dogfights might have been sort of balanced. But a region does not live off of dogfights alone anymore these days.

– Basically any conflict in the middle east after 911
A supermodern task force using the most modern weapons, to drive out supposingly terrorist cells out of caves and hidings, with weapons that are probably smarter than their weilder?
Ask yourself a honest question. Would you play on the side of the oposing force under these conditions? No? I thought so.

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3. What rules man?

Totally unadministered sims are poision to any community. It remains a fleeting wish of the community, to have just a place where everyone tests their mettle and skills against a likeminded opponent in a sportsmanlike fashion. Until they collide with reality, which shows them that all too many people just play to win, by any means necessary. And if that includes hacking the combat system or use griefer tools to archive their goals, so be it.

Currently the most prominent example of that is the Jeogeot Gulf, but there have been other places that did tried that concept before, but they are all gone or no one visits them anymore.
While the concept of the Jeogeot Gulf is great. I mean a place where anything can be used, and basically no one can get banned (evidently), must sound like paradise to combat players.
Well yes and no. The core problem is security. And i do not necessarily mean security from griefers. While that also is a problem, occasionally a huge one too, it is not really spot on.
Let me try to explain this. Everyone playing in a combat region brings in their freetime to have a good time. And most people i’ve met like to do that, with at least some security net below them. Clear factions, defined combat system, defined staging points (spawns) and of course banned weapon systems that are considered overpowered (OP).
All this does not exist in the Gulf and while i am grateful that we do have that place to begin with. A little more organisation at least would help. Because Linden Labs is certainly not appointing anyone to be the janitor of the Gulf and they are right now terribly understaffed to begin with.

4. Your groups stink.

While i made peace with Joe and Astral Tek at large i often got asked for advise and then ignored. It does not matter, it’s their place and if they wanted it that way…heck, they own the place, right?
Well sorta. This topic is about the groups in combat sims. While it is already really bad if the owner of the place is having the main group as well, it gets even worser if you just invite groups all over the place.
As i rented out two sims for Joe, north of Olds, I watched with great interest what would become of those.
I also got asked for advise on how to gain better traffic numbers and all that and got ignored on many topics. Including: Make your own team groups, keep ownership on those group, do not hand out ownership on those groups and keep them with an iron hand. Instead they invited some notorious brit into the mix, with his own group, who soon and quickly disturbed the peace with drama. I will not even mention how badly the german group fared. I was just face-pawing myself constantly.

As i made Olds i also created groups, one for each team, with me as owner and the officers of the group as managers. I did made the mistake to give ownership of one of the groups to other people (Hello Jewels), Something i will never do again.
Having control over the groups in a combat region gives you vital influence in balancing and foremost control of social dynamics to a degree. You can appoint or relief leaders without loosing an entire group from your sims.

5. Why Olds failed.

I bet you’ve been waiting for that bit.
I deliver it to you straight: Social dynamics on the Internet and me being not hard enough.
What happened is, that the groups i established so nice and smuck started to develop actual real hatred for each other, that went well beyond your typical desired sportsmanship competition. This went even so far that it settled into the ranks of the administrators and i can tell you right away that it is no fun to have your backyard on fire, while the family is fighting over who’s fault it was, while doing nothing.


My fault in that situation was that i could not decide whom of the foul apples to kick. They all have been friends and nothing is more terrible than seeing friends fight each other.
When then my house was on fire, and i was close to a nervous breakdown. Matters solved themselves. i could not keep all the sims going and had to lay off most of them. I closed the sims thinking on how to resolve the problems i created. I came up with the green hell concept but working alone and keeping the sims going was simply not going to work. So i laid them all off eventually.
That concludes my brief visit to SL combat sims. Besides the obvious mocking and humor, i really hope that one smart person will come along and make a combat place that is actually working. I tried it, stumbled and got up again. I would not consider myself failed, because i learned from the errors of others and myself. You can do the same!

Textures, Textures, Textures and oh wait…

 

The C-130 progresses steadily. Right now i just wait for Cody to finally drop me the MAFFS so i can include it. In the meanwhile i’ve finalized the paints that will come out of the box as well as the Texture Panel and the Customizable Textures Pack (External). Testing goes smooth, just with the autopilot acting up a little, as expected.

So here are the finalists:

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US Air Force  Air Mobility Command

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US Marine Corps VMGR 356 ‘Rangers’

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Armée De l’Air (France you Cretins)

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Royal Canadian Air Force

Royal Air Force Air Support Command

US Coast Guard (Station Elizabeth City)

As with the latest releases the C-130 also comes with a texture panel. This time it is rather huge and i right now check if i CAN make the internal textures appliable as well, without utterly destroying the memory on the painter script.

But as you can see. This is already rather packed. So i would need to make a second panel. labeled Internal.

 

But that is not all. As i said earlier. While the C-130 is in testing. i would work on the BF-110 G-2. Well this baby here:

.. might make some of the B-17 pilots cry havoc once it hits the market. It is by all means mostly for ground attack. But as it turns out, reports suggest that later in the war they threw anything at the allies. So they also deployed G-2s as daytime bomber interceptors.

And this here:

..gave them an edge in doing so.

Does not look impressive on the model right? Well let me give you a different picture:

Yep thats the BordRaketenwerfer (BR) 21cm. And they load it with a Werfergranate 21cm.
The W.Gr 21cm is the same rocket artillery as in the Nebelwerfer 42. Yes rocket artillery. On a friggin airplane.
They used these with timed fuses against the box formations of the allied bombers and with impact fuses against ground forces. The weapon was not very accurate and had a ballistic trajectory one would expect from artillery. Aiming and using the timed fuse in conjunction with your own airspeed and its ballistic arc made it difficult to score precise hits. But with a warhead that big it was fully sufficient to let the explosive effect and the shrapnel do their job.

So that is what you can look out for soon-ish. I hope i can finish the C-130 by sunday. But since i do not got the MAFFS yet, no promises on that one.

C-130 Progress Report Part II

I’m very close to hand this baby to the testers and it’s got some interesting new features I like to talk about in this blog.

First off some eye candy for you guys.

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The JATO take off works like a charm

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Paradrop works perfect as well. But has to be seen in action to really appreciate. The parachute is fully animated.

That brings me to the first topic. One of the functionalities i will add in this release is the ability to add or replace prims on the Hercules via a Dev/Modkit. That in turn allows the 3rd party market to sell mod kits for the airplane, that are easy to apply to the aircraft. This includes, but is not limited to cargo payloads and para cargo payloads.

Cargo Payloads can be customized through the Dev/Modkit and it will be in every box of the airplane sold. That being said. Yes it will be mod.

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The other feature that will come is not entirely new to SL but has a new component
This airplane will have an autopilot, with two simple settings, altitutde and heading.
Nothing really spectacular you say rightfully at this point, but the next thing is a tad better.
Waypoint navigation. You can load up to 5 waypoints into the HUD and then enable the system to follow the waypoints. it will fly off all the waypoints one after another autonomously. And while on the go you can buff up the list even more, if you feel so inclined.

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I do have some semi bad news too tho. I will not put VICE nor MCE into the plain cargo version of the plane. Modders can add it on their own if they desire so but i don’t think that this is a good idea, considering how virtually packed this thing already is.
But VICE and MCE will of course be in the other versions: the AC-130 and the MC-130

Speaking about the MC-130, The skyhook is only on the Combat Talon II, but the Combat Talon II has no armament. Do you rather want the Combat Talon II or the Dragon Spear?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

C-130 Progress Report Part 1

 

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So here she is in the current US Air Force livery. No worries there will be more to come.

So first i added seating and the cargo pallets. The seat benches are the same as in the Chinook, because those are standartized seats of the era the Hercules and the Chinook got build. You can still find this type of seat everywhere in US Aircraft of that time and later.
The cargo pallets are of the HCU-6/E aka 463L type and can hold 4 standard pallets for air drop and 8 standard pallets for normal cargo carrying. they have their own rolls and are mean’t to cushion the impact when dropped. I decided to only go for the air drop size because when you look at this picture:

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You will see that i also modeled out the webbing they come with.
The Hercules can carry 5 of those by standard but i heard that sometimes they also put an additional pallet on the ramp. But since this is supposed to be a modular cargo system, i can’t really pull that off.

Then i sat down and got the JATO (actually RATO but whatever) system modeled out. That was rather easy as the texturing was not really challenging. They are just gray bare metal things that get stuck to the sides of the main landing gear blisters.

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While i wait on cody to finish the MAFFS, i already started scripting her up. I want this airplane to be enjoyable and accessable to as many people as possible so i decided that I will go with the AvA engine that also powered the KC-10. with some modernisation of course but still. No crashes, no stalls no spins. I honestly also think that the THI engine isn’t just quite ready for the big birds yet.

Oh and the MAFFS? That is some serious stuff. Have a look:

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MAFFS stands for: Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System.

I’ve talked with Lares Carter earlier today about a possible addition to the HD fire system:
Fire Retardant. Basically code that lets fire progress slower when hit by something like a MAFFS, which sprays fire retardant.
He said he would think about it.

With that i gonna go back to my sandbox and continue work!

The first post is always hard

So after a lot of mulling and a lot of thought i decided to give this whole blog thing a try.
I gonna write about aircraft, aircraft, more aircraft, combat, second life and occasionally titties, because i like titties*. Did i mentioned aircraft?

Oh, and i also gonna post WIP pictures and stuff from my workbench and perhaps, when I’m in a really good mood, gonna write down a tutorial, a rant and perhaps even something journalistic stuff.
My grammar might not always be on target but then again, i grew up in Germany so i do have a valid excuse.

So the A-10 is now out for a couple days, both inworld and on SL Marketplace and i have to say: This is probably the best selling product since my A-6 Intruder. But it was despite the hype nothing really special to me.
There is a reason why i abandoned modern aircraft. I ran dry. I ran dry on ideas, inspiration and drive to try and take my jets to another level. Luckily enough the A-10 is a subsonic design, so i could shoehorn the new THI engine onto it, which at first was developed for the LEA P-80 Shooting Star to begin with (if you do not yet have a copy, check it out, it is a great little vintage airplane. The US’s first operational jet fighter).Back to jets: I basically did everything and anything SL permits me to do with jets and their weaponry. I just hit a development wall and that was largely due to the architecture of SL.
I will try and get more modern stuff on the road. The next will be the C-130 series. Consisting of the C-130 with options for troops, cargo, firefighting and tanker duty (covering most C-130 variants in a support role). The AC-130 in the Spooky II configuration, which means: 1 105 Howitzer, 1 40mm Bofors and 1 30mm gatling cannon.
And last will come the MC-130 Combat Spear equipped with: 1 Bushmaster 30mm cannon, a 10er rack of Griffin AGM missiles, in-air refueling capability as well as the ability to parachute small groups of commandos and pick them up with the skyhook system.

Thats for that!

I also would like to come back to THI warbirds. I am fully aware that the freebies currently need an update and that i still owe you all the other BF110 models. I will try and do them on the side, once the C-130 goes into testing.
I have to admit that the warbirds do not go as well as i thought. Even after re-introducing VICE into them, the sales are mediocre at best. As you all can see, i did put in a whole lot more work into those than in previous builds and frankly, for the effort, the payout is not as good as i would have thought and thus the warbirds have to go on a backburner. However, i do keep the schedule on those.
As a quick reminder: BF110G-2 Büchsenöffner, BF110G-4 Night Fighter are coming as soon as possible. After that i do have a commitment for a Dewoitine D.520 – as the name suggests a french fighter. As a matter of fact probably the best the french had at the beginning of the war. From the performance specs it should be able to put up a good fight against a BF-109E or Spitfire MK.I.
After that i still do got the Mosquito coming up. That one will come in the following variants: Bomber B MK.IV Series 2, Fighter F MK.II, Fighter Bomber FB MK. XVIII TseTse and as an extra the TR MK.33 Sea Mosquito.
Karl Friedrichs is working on a Corsair which will come in the variants F4U-1 (cage canopy) and F4U-1A (bubble canopy) as well as F4U-5+ (Korean War era).
Karl Reisman is working on a Hurricane and the versions are not yet fully decided.

So as you can see we still do got a full plate and are working hard to provide some awesome aircraft for combat and leisure flight.

If you have any special suggestions or wishes post them into the comments below. The ones with the most likes will get the most consideration.
And something in a related matter. If you do find bugs or irregularities in our products, do not hesistate to send Whitewolf Mumfuzz A NOTECARD inworld. He compiles those for me to look over them. It now came several times to my attention that people complained about bugs in our products but never actually reported them (properly). If i do not know about bugs, i cannot fix them and if you do not report them and at the same time complain about the bug, i find that rather unfair towards me and others who might also suffer from the bug.

So thats it for this time. I hope you read me soon again!

*titties that are attached to actual women.