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Post news Report RSS Report 056: Beta

The beta as arrived with lots of new challenges and new aircraft.

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The beta is here!

In a way this event is very dear to me, is great to see it giving the final steps towards the release.
This project holds a special place in my heart, I'm not sure If I ever talked about the history behind this development, but if not I'll do it someday.

Also, new report! It has been a while, I feel I'm already not used to this, but I definitely should write more, there are always interesting things to tell that are not just showcasing what it was done.
But about this report, first I'll plan talk about that the beta has, then what didn't make it and lastly I'll talk about what will come next.

But before everything, I just noticed that there was an incubator patch that wasn't be posted the change list, it is still important to tell because these changes are also in the latest update.

  • ADDED: first quick action play is pre made
  • ADDED a 30% chance of playing in quick action mode with an aircraft that hasn't been unlocked yet
  • ADDED option to see and buy pass for aircraft that don’t have challenge
  • ADDED sob objects layers
  • ADDED the condition to not show “pull up” when fly bellow to low ceilings, (useful for tunnels)
  • FIXED the fire rate in the sub weapons
  • FIXED Lock sound keeps played when player pauses the game
  • FIXED displaying “map editor” when returning from a mission test
  • FIXED units’ sound being played when returning from a mission test
  • FIXED the crash when pressing esc during the splash logos
  • FIXED Crash on deleting a condition in mission editor
  • FIXED lose message being misaligned from the center of the screen
  • FIXED In-flight and action cutscenes were deactivated in past builds
  • FIXED missing skeleton file on Coldpigeon
  • FIXED SNB-02A misaligned with collision model
  • FIXED missing engine Animation for the F-22V
  • FIXED S-210B having SP weapons when is not intended
  • FIXED model skinning issues in X-16S
  • FIXED MiG-29IB being called UB in game
  • ADDED: F-16XL-1
  • ADDED: F-16YZX
  • ADDED ComplexM1
  • ADDED: AGM-124A
  • ADDED: N-156F (late) Challenge
  • ADDED: Have Blue 1001 Challenge

Now about the changes addition of the beta, first the something really important that may easily go unnoticed:

Pilots! Finally!
It is a simple a rough model, but I feel is enough for the purpose it is intended.
Not all aircraft have them but this will be added will the following updates.

More aircraft:
Although it may come as a surprise to some as these families are not the first that come to mind.

Still they are needed to make a more gradual evolution towards the J-31.

More bombers:

At this point I feel that the interdictors interceptors and penetration role is more than fulfilled for bombers. The next units to be added going to be the much needed cargo transporters and AWACS.
This goes to the idea someday the bombers may be playable, so this is gradually building the variety of available

But before that the B-52 model needs to be updated.

Glow trail:

I find the visual effect interesting but I feel it is hard to get used to certain situations.
But because this is mostly about personal taste there will be an option to make it like it was before
Although this can create some interesting stuff especially in a more Sci-fi environment.

the other change comes from a discussion on several threads.
This made me think it was time to cleanup some mechanics, in this case namely the challenge mode and other interconnecting systems.

This mode has evolved a lot since it was first debated, some things mutated into completely different shape that originally intended to be initially.
While this happened gradually some of the old mechanics remained linked to the user interface.

Most of them were the family points and levels for each game mode. These where initial meant to be used as requirements to unlock some aircraft. But soon after implementation the whole idea didn't looked to be practical as it seemed on paper.

Also considering the game tries to be as customizable as possible, even in as small things how the lock behavior works, it would be great if it was less restrictive as possible.

So the family points were turned in into an alternative way to unlock new aircraft.
Whoever, the past unused system remained visible and admittedly, made this system less noticeable.

Still, considering that the VT can be easily edited/"cheated" this means points system must be as a nice and fair alternative to completing just one challenge, this also means the player shouldn't have to grind that much to unlock the aircraft they want. Especially because I'm sure no one will willingly spend hours grinding to earn some points when they can simple open a note pad and change a simple value.

And lastly, due to the nature of VT, this means grinding can't be used as way to increase the game's length

Still I hope this new arrangement makes everything more intuitive and a more pleasant experience to everyone, and in these three options available use the way you like the most.

Now that we talked about what this beta update adds, let's talk about what didn't made it

New death and game effects,
This is something that was very unfortunate to not be included. But at the same time it is something very easy to include in the next update.

Currently that are several big units, fully armed and everything, but their death animation, by this I mean the explosion, is far from impressive or even interesting. This new feature was only tested in some units and not fully applied to any model, but now it is possible to make the model start to explode and burn as it gets more damage.

Weather effects defined by mission.
Although not very requested I'm sure everyone is interested to be added as soon as possible, the only issue why this wasn't applied in any mission/challenge is because it was implemented vary late for release and then I've found some issues. I fear that it could have greater problems so it wasn't applied to any new challenge released

3d mesh used as explosions.
This is another important visual feature, there are some explosions that need to be more artistic and detailed, this means the traditional way of doing effects are not enough. With this is now possible to make effects out of 3d animated models.

[this is an effect that was used for testing, for this purpose it must be as noticeable as possible]

I think you all already haven and idea in what effects this will be useful.
Actually I add to upload again the build because I've noticed in time there was a 3d explosion active.
For anyone interested in this you can find how to activate it in the "SimpleExpl_water.ini" onf the effect folder.
Later this will be implemented to reactor as well, I've plan to after this is enabled update some of the missile exhausts and other effects.

And the last thing that wasn't completed, very sadly for me was the revamped campaign.
I've been talking about the revamped campaigns for a while. Some steps can actually be seen in this update but most of it had to be pulled off. But just to be clear, when I mean revamped, I mean something almost new.

The development of this beta was going well, however I made two "mistakes", first to address what has been said before in the forums I wanted to make new maps, and more unique to those that are available now. However in this process required time to study new ways and gave less time for the actual missions.

As usual, some code issues to join the party, nothing serious, but they always a time waster.
But the real mistake I see here is that I've saved the biggest and most elaborate missions for last.

As the paned release date draw near I has forced to leave something out to the beta, but still believing that it could be released I continued to work on it, however the fatal blow came when I realized I wouldn't be able to finish the first map on time.
I don't want to say much about it, but this map and the first missions is extremely important for the campaign.

Immediately after I've considered every solution that came to mind, I was going to add something to make the campaign skip the first mission. But then, almost at the last moment I felt this was not the best way to deliver the campaign so I removed most of it and fall back the previous version instead.

Then what next?
Well at this point, the process should be to close each individual section of the game.

What happened with the campaign was a good lesson, fortunately was on beta not on release, but to prevent similar issue, the first area to be 100% should be the campaign. As soon the content that was initially planned beta is complete, the campaign will be released to the public, but after that that rest will be added only in the final EA Update.

The rest of the challenges will be done next; making the campaign first will also help in providing new maps and content to play around in the challenges.

But in the immediate future, what to expect the next updates?
First, there are some challenges and units specs that need to be fixed.
Then add the weapons they were left behind and then add the pilot model to all aircraft.

I feel that these last days I've been a bit slow due to the stretch that it was to release the beta, but I hope be able to release the next update on Sunday/Monday like usual.

Stay tuned, more reports will follow.


I've actually not thought of weather before. It would probably be pretty cool to see lightning in a night mission. I'm also curious to see how these 3D effects turn out later on.

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that blur/frame smoothing effect that the beta added only looks good at 60fps. When the framerate slows down (usually it's slow at the beginning of the mission and smooths out after a few minutes) it's kind of distracting

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BTW times, I have a partailly completed C-5 model lying around somewhere if you want it.

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TS, I wonder when you'll start churn in more weapons than new planes. At the moment it's as if 30-40% of the roster uses the same weapon loadout (not counting the "semi-done" family like the F-4s).

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"But in the immediate future, what to expect the next updates?
Then add the weapons they were left behind and then add the pilot model to all aircraft."

In some cases, changes to loadouts can get a head start with existing weapons to begin diversifying the aircraft variants from one another.

In others, it should become possible when previously-mentioned changes are made, like with the F-14 loadouts. The older Sidewinders can be applied to older naval aircraft. Granted, that's the F-4J and S for now, if I'm not mistaken.

Other weapons like the newer AGM-84s can be applied to the latest variants of F-15 and F-16 (at least one variant of each is going to see use of it), and perhaps some variants of Strike Raptor.

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I'm specifically talking about completely new weapons, not variants/foreign variants of the existing weapons (like we have with AMRAAMs some versions ago), like Meteor, Storm Shadow (both for Typhoon family), various other standoff/cruise missiles, external gunpod/ECM pods and various Soviet/Chinese AA/AG missiles.

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timeSymmetry Author

I´ve been completing a dozen of new weapons, but I need to add them to the game.
These weapons are being done for the new units. I still need to make some more, especially for the EF-2000, the variants of this family are all about different weapon loadouts.

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I'm glad to hear this. Things like AIM-9X, AGM-154 JSOW, and the various JDAM variants are also needed.

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I'm really glad you changed the Challenges system in this way, it makes it enticing to play to earn everything now.

To be honest, as far as the timeline of beta goes, I'd like to see a lot more bug fixes to everything that's still bugged from Alpha before a bunch of new stuff is added. There's still a good chunk of them standing. Not to mention that it's *still* really difficult to install the game on a new computer due to any number of errors and any number of additional stuff you have to install.

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timeSymmetry Author

It is great to know that. Yes at this moment what is really important is clean up the issues the game, but about the installation, that is the unfortunate limitation the engine carries.

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I've been having lag after downloading the beta. I've been thinking its the new glow trail effect you put in, which is interesting, but it would be nice for us with lower-end computers to be able to disable it alone (instead of all glow effects). I'm glad with some of the changes though overall.

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timeSymmetry Author

yes, I also believe the effect should be optional

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Times, since we have weather now, would we also be able to get create regions of "turbulence" where player aircraft "sway" while flying through. Not so much a camera effect, but the aircraft actually being nudged around. Something with a severity and frequency value for the nudges.

Also, is there an action in the mission editor that lets you teleport/change the orientation of units?

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timeSymmetry Author

the weather, still needs more work before moving to more advanced elements. But about the turbulence, that could be combined with some sort of new mechanics that creates unusual effects inside a limited area.

as for the other question, there is the action "unit position", you can use it in any unit. but when applying to the player combine it with a quick fade in/out

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Weather effect means it'll make use of "adverse" yaw/pitch/roll/accel/brake flight stats as seen in the .ini eh?

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Hey, can we see the addition of nuclear weapons, not as a regular weapon, but for the sake of special missions? I feel a neat mission would be to penetrate a radar grid, drop the weapon, and blast out before detonation.

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See LSWM in the Objects/Weapons folder. It's basically a nuke with different flavor.

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TS, I want to ask few questions :
1. I played the F-22A challenge I "unlocked" via F11 key. After that, at some point I went and verify game cache on Steam only for it to found 2 files in the dialog boxes. After I opened up VT, I found that the F-22 family by default is visible, but only the B,U,S5, and V model visible, so I had to use F11 to make the rest of it visible, including the A model I played and completed with the clear rank indicated. Is this one of the current existing bugs or did this bug happen because I used the F11 move and using the "Verify Game Cache" on Steam ?
2. Is it possible to make/include animated background sky effect such as shooting stars, or the "harmless" meteor shower from the final mission of AC04 ?
3. Will we expect to see at least some of the revamped campaign missions sometime during the beta ?
4. Speaking of campaign, the current build still have each of the campaigns featured only 9 sets of playable aircraft. Will it be expanded in the future ? Also, will each campaign have its own campaign-specific paint schemes for the players ?

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Ah , download link?

literately can't find it

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