Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by Greg » 11 Apr 2018, 19:21

DC1973 wrote:
11 Apr 2018, 18:16
I am considering having helmet visors that raise when the airplane is below 50 KIAS but I don't want to overdo it as the model is great as it is...
In case you're really considering it, please don't. Stay true to the model as originally designed by the modeler. Fixing anything that doesn't work or look good at all in FSX/P3D is fine, but it's still the NBAI model with Nick's name attached to it. If you want to add fancy animations, you should build your own model from scratch.

That sounded a bit more harsh than I intended, because we all appreciate you giving your time to convert these models for us, but I don't want there to be any misunderstandings. :wink:

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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by Firebird » 11 Apr 2018, 19:36

In a nutshell to make any changes you must have authority from the original author.
For instance, you would have to give your blessing for somebody to change anything on your P-61 in a conversion. We can't just assume you would be OK with it. We take the respect of peoples work very seriously.
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 11 Apr 2018, 19:59

I do have the awfority chaps, via Martin, who contacted me via PM and suggested I could take on the F-14 provided I gave it the full works ( all variations, all packages etc ). I'd already agreed to convert my P-61C / RF-61C to AI for MAIW, and this project sort of grew out of that as so many people over the years have asked for fixes etc to Nick's F-14.

I did PM Nick here prior to starting, but he's been out of the game for many years and I didn't get a reply. Martin assured me that Nick and other former MAIW developers gave full permission for updates etc to be made by new developers at MAIW as people start using P3D more commonly.

As a side note, I'm a Sunday Times best selling author by day, so I know how it feels to see one's work ripped off via piracy etc and lose many thousands of pounds in earnings each year to it. All aspects of Nick's work will remain the same, but the occasional enhancement doesn't hurt. I'm having to rebuild little bits of the F-14 here and there anyway as the MCX conversion process does not yet reproduce the visibility codes used by FS9 and so they get "stuck", things like RBF tags and wheel chocks etc. Beyond that though, it's all careful texturing additions to bring the appearance of the airplane up to the standard FSX and P3D are capable of.

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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by Greg » 11 Apr 2018, 21:50

We're well aware of your communication with Martin, since we're all on the same Staff. :smt001

We only want to draw the line on what you can and can't do with the original model, within the scope of the permission you were given. Everything you just described above is absolutely fine, since the model wouldn't look good in FSX/P3D without those fixes. However, adding a fancy effect to the visors that wasn't there in the original model is a modification.

We have no issues whatsoever with your current state of work, just with some ideas that were being discussed. By all means, keep up the good job. :smt023

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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by Firebird » 11 Apr 2018, 22:10

DC1973 wrote:
11 Apr 2018, 19:59
I'm having to rebuild little bits of the F-14 here and there anyway as the MCX conversion process does not yet reproduce the visibility codes used by FS9 and so they get "stuck", things like RBF tags and wheel chocks etc. Beyond that though, it's all careful texturing additions to bring the appearance of the airplane up to the standard FSX and P3D are capable of.

Yes we fully understand that. That is part of the conversion process in the same way that the change from tick18 anims are.

It can be frustrating when people leave the hobby with no handover instructions. One of the most common questions we get is whether the Tornado will be converted but Fernando left w/o any handover or instructions to anybody and nobody has been able to contact him since, so we have to assume that he does not wish any conversion. A shame.

P.S. Sorry about my typo earlier when I referred to your model as a P-81 :oops:
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 12 Apr 2018, 08:50

Ah no worries chaps. The only reason I mentioned the visors and had the idea is because Nick appeared to have modelled for it but not implemented it. If you look at his texture sheets, he's textured the crew's faces, and the visors were separately modelled also. It's why was able to make them glossy so easily. Maybe he changed his mind or ran out of time or something. I'll leave them as is.

On the subject of the excellent Tornado by Fernando - I lived at RAF Coningsby between 1990 - 1995. Many of my friends were F3 crews so I know the airplane very well. I don't want to try to take on too much too soon, but if a brand new AI F3 is in great demand and required to be able to update MAIW packages then I'd love to take it on when my current F-14 project is finished :)

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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by Firebird » 12 Apr 2018, 09:10

Well the world is your oyster but we would not want to impose upon you or overload you.
Once your F-14 is done see what you fancy doing. We have found that the best way to encourage modellers is to allow them the freedom to do what they fancy. If you get stuck for ideas there will always be plenty of thoughts from our members.

I too was based at Coningsby but in the era when we had lots of planes and lots of bases, 77-80, back then we had the somewhat loud and inspiring FGR2's. Awesome days.
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 13 Apr 2018, 14:50

OK, some headway made. Although I'm re-building the main fuselage of the F-14 due to stuck visibility components, I have managed to isolate the wheel chocks and also applied an XML code that removes them before the airplane taxis, in line with other animations. If I can manage to isolate out the boarding ladder, Remove Before Flight tags and missile caps, no re-building will be necessary as I can apply the visibility code to all those parts. Keeping my fingers crossed! :)

Pictured is a test model that has taxied out for departure at Miramar, sans wheel chocks.
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by Firebird » 13 Apr 2018, 16:25

Looks very nice.
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 13 Apr 2018, 17:09

Firebird wrote:
13 Apr 2018, 16:25
Looks very nice.
Thanks Steve, I spoke a bit too soon though. Isolating the wheel chocks also took some of the undercarriage with it. Nick used the same material for the majority of the airplane so it's very hard to isolate any one part. I may end up having to re-build most of the airplane in the long run to get it working the way it should...

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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 13 Apr 2018, 17:29

Hold the press!! How on earth did I manage this? I've been tinkering with the textures but not the armed models of the F-14 and suddenly they have transparent canopies :)

Will investigate. It doesn't alter the fact that the model won't work in P3D but it sure makes life easier for FSX users!
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by Firebird » 13 Apr 2018, 17:49

I am intrigued by the apparently invisible boy that seems to have jumped off the intake.
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 13 Apr 2018, 17:58

Firebird wrote:
13 Apr 2018, 17:49
I am intrigued by the apparently invisible boy that seems to have jumped off the intake.
LOL! That's the shadow of "Bob", a free-walking character from ORBX that I use to wander about in FS checking things out up close when developing.

Mate, I solved the problem of the F-14 black canopies in FSX. Somewhere along the line, MAIW must have packaged up the F-14s and missed a texture! Simply copy any transparent glass texture into each F-14 folder and rename it;

refl_texture


That's it! You may have to alter the alpha depending on which texture you end up using. Mine is attached and works a treat. You're welcome.
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 13 Apr 2018, 18:14

A standard, unmodified F-14 AI with transparent canopy and nice slightly reflective textures taxies past dozens more. My F-14 work for FSX is done, just P3D to go. Put a cheque in the post, put a jar at the bar... :D
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 14 Apr 2018, 15:37

It, er, turns out that most folks weren't having a problem with the transparencies in FSX for the F-14 :oops:

However, if one only downloads one of the two packages, then the canopies are black in FSX. The Sunset package for NAS Oceana works fine apparently although I recall trying it once and had the same issue.

Some pictures taken at Miramar, just because :) As you can tell I'm enjoying the work! I'm holding off for a moment on further work though as it's possible that Model Converter X may soon be able to read visibility codes too. Keeping my fingers crossed as that will save huge amounts of effort in converting the models...
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 16 Apr 2018, 05:53

A very quick update regarding progress with the F-14. I've been very fortunate and am hugely grateful to Mike and to Hartwig; Mike has provided me with the source files for the F-14, both the dry models for F-14A, B and D, and the legendary but never seen "wet" model for carrier landings, which will be immensely helpful to me in converting the airplane to P3D. Mike's going to take a look at the FDE to see what can be done in the meantime to update it. Of course, both types will be available upon release. :)

Hartwig has produced some stunning texture repaints for many MAIW airplanes, including the F-14, and has agreed to update all of the Miramar textures for the F-14 as part of the project. This will mean that the Tomcat will be absolutely at the top of the game when it appears in P3D as AI :)

I'm now busy converting the aircraft's animations to FSX standard but did a super-quick compile to see how things looked in P3D. Much to do in the area of reflective textures but it was great to see this wonderful bit of AI in P3D for the first time. Can't wait to see it flying around!
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by gsnde » 16 Apr 2018, 10:50

Wonderful progress, Dean. Stay tuned for the afterburner.... I have not forgotten.

From mobile hence short

Cheers,
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by hawk_sh » 16 Apr 2018, 18:25

DC1973 wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 05:53
Mike has provided me with the source files for the F-14, both the dry models for F-14A, B and D, and the legendary but never seen "wet" model for carrier landings, which will be immensely helpful to me in converting the airplane to P3D. Mike's going to take a look at the FDE to see what can be done in the meantime to update it. Of course, both types will be available upon release. :)
Will these legendary "wet" models of Nick's F-14s also be made available for FS9 users?

DC1973 wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 05:53
Hartwig has produced some stunning texture repaints for many MAIW airplanes, including the F-14, and has agreed to update all of the Miramar textures for the F-14 as part of the project.
These updated Miramar textures will also be available for FS9 users.
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by Firebird » 16 Apr 2018, 18:36

The wet models are the same as the dry models. The difference is the fde.
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Re: Nick Black's F-14 AI conversion project.

Post by DC1973 » 16 Apr 2018, 18:39

hawk_sh wrote:
16 Apr 2018, 18:25
Will these legendary "wet" models of Nick's F-14s also be made available for FS9 users?
These updated Miramar textures will also be available for FS9 users.
As Steve says, the difference is in the FDE and also an animated tail hook and launch bar. I don't have the ability to compile for FS9 although I believe the SDK is available for download. Others here may have it so, yes, it should become available for FS9 users. The same goes for the textures, which will remain in the same standard format just with Hartwig's improvements.

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