Unfortunately, I can't fly - or do much else at the moment, due to a shoulder injury. So I'm spending the time "genning up" on air to air combat tactics and procedures. I've been meaning to learn some A/A stuff for a long time and now is the perfect opportunity. I've had to redesign my home cockpit area due to the injury - which is actually caused by my illness - in order to not put too much strain on it. I am expecting the final piece to be delivered today, and then I will attempt flying tomorrow. I will be putting my DCS World server online again, running missions mostly for the F-15C to start with. Anyone who wants to come along for some fun can contact me by the link on the left or through the DCS forum and I'll provide the relevant details. A microphone is vital, for player comms on the server, through Teamspeak 3.
I'm still struggling to get the necessary actions assigned to my G940 and MFDs without using multiple modes. I have tested voice control with dwvac in the Su-25T, but it didn't go too well, so I've given my new Win 10 installation quite a bit of voice recognition 'training' and will try again. I have assigned a success sound to all of the commands, so that I know that the program has heard the phrase, but despite hearing it after most commands, nothing seemed to be being done, so I think it must have been misunderstanding most of the time. Having to repeat a command 7 or 8 times is not acceptable.
If it continues this way, I will try other voice control progs, but so far I have found dwvac to be the best at recognition, so I don't hold much hope for better results with others. If that also goes pear-shaped, then I will have to only fly the clickable cockpit models and leave the FC3 aircraft for now. At least, in VR.
I have installed Windows 10 and so far all is going as well as can be expected. I have unfortunately had to sell my Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS, though, due to a) wanting some spare cash for the expensive Oculus Touch and b) tense moments in air combat would cause me to grip the HOTAS more tightly, and this would cause my hands to ache for several days (due to a genetic musco-skeletal disease). The Warthog HOTAS has a lot of pointy corners and the like. So a chap in Bulgaria is now very happy.
Having just completed re-configuring everything in DCS World for the Warthog in VR, I can now delete all of that and start again! From now on, I'll be using the Logitech G940 - which was my favourite HOTAS for a long time. I replaced my X52 with it and it made a huge difference. Even after buying the Warthog, the G940 remained my firm favourite, until I discovered that the very thing that was supposed to make the G940 better than other HOTAS - helicopter control, due to force feedback - was much better in the non force feedback Warthog. So I decided to stick with the Warthog for everything. Now I'm going back. Whilst there are some unpleasant issues with the G940 (mostly based around the central stick positioning), it is still very good - and for me, is far more comfortable in the hand than the Warthog. Unfortunately, it doesn't have anywhere near as many buttons and switches - which means I have to use the modes, which means I have to use the poor software ("Wingman" - very old. No excuse for not updating that, Logitech!), which means I need an excellent memory, to remember the 6 assignments per button.
This was the original reason that I decided to make all the extra controller panels to go on my desk. I remember what a relief it was, to only have two assignments per button on my HOTAS, after building my first control box. But with VR, control boxes are of limited use. True, in the virtual cockpit, I can operate most of the controls within the VR headset, but for Flaming Cliffs aircraft, it's by assignment only.
So you know what I'm going to be doing over the next week or two...
After some small issues and quite a few BSODs (remember them?) I will have to strip and thoroughly clean my PC. I'm looking at succumbing to Win 10 - ugh! I hate even mentioning it! However, it would be for the good of my Oculus Rift. I have found all the info on getting the things I don't want uninstalled or disabled, so hopefully, if I do end up going that way, I won't regret it too much.
So the site may remain without updates for a week or two, as that would mean reinstalling everything from scratch, to avoid issues. If I thought Win 10 was good, I'd be there already, like I was with Vista and the Windows 7 RC. I don't, but don't get me started on that!
the KIF update 2 files can be downloaded from the DCS website HERE
I have uploaded the files to Dropbox (link in the left column) and in future, all download links will be from there. This is good news, because it means I can upload a lot of files for visitors to download. There hasn't been so much new, apart from KIF, on the site of late - that is due to various things - having to reassign the DCS modules for use with VR is one thing. I've also recently joined a band (I play bass in it, though I'm actually a guitarist) and have a number of tunes and yes, lyrics, to learn!
There have been quite a few other things taking up my time, but I am always looking for new stuff to put on the website - sometimes it just doesn't turn out well - such as the videos I've been making of my VR flights. They seem great when you fly them, but when you watch the video you realise that people are probably going to get pretty bored after a couple of minutes watching it. So it isn't for lack of effort. Sit tight - as soon as the assignments for the Su-25 and -T are done, I'll be flying both Revanche campaigns and reporting on the missions. I'm also getting to grips with the new F-5E and hope to do some decent action videos for that.
The second update to the KIF utility has been uploaded to the DCS website, but approval seems to be taking a while this time. I'll post the download link as soon as it is available. This update includes a Caucasus radio frequency table for all modules, pictorial start-up guide for the MiG-15bis and procedures for the Mirage 2000C. It also includes pictorial and text start-up checklists for the three Gazelle variants and various ordnance, threat and SAM data for the Su-25T, as well as a few updates for previously released lists.
I have released the first update to the KIF utility for DCS World 1.5 and 2.0:
Details and file download available at the DCS website, link above. This update includes the A-10C pictorial start-up guide and an updated pictorial and text start-up guide for the Hawk T1A.
I will not be continuing with the other checklists (Avilution and SimVoiceChecklists) as this utility makes them obsolete. It is ideal for virtual pilots using monitors and especially using virtual reality headsets. There will be many more updates yet - I'm aiming for one a week. Once the main modules have been covered with start-up and weapon and radar procedures, I will also release a kneeboard-based guide for using the ABRIS in the Ka-50.
I also made a video explaining how the KIF utility works:
The first release of the new Kneeboard Information Files utility for DCS World has been uploaded - it can be downloaded HERE
I made a quick demo video - and I will do more as the utility is expanded. You can watch it on my YouTube channel HERE
I've finished testing and I will now be concentrating on getting the new 'mod' done - putting the guides and checklists onto the kneeboard for all modules (except the two Luftwaffe WWII aircraft, which I don't own and have no interest in). The mod will be called "KIF" - for Kneeboard Information Files.
Having a bad week with health issues, so things are moving slowly here.
I've been thinking a lot about the various guides and checklists I have been making and have yet to make, and have decided to combine them into one mod, which will go into the kneeboard of each module. I'm going to take a closer look at how it would best be achieved and do some testing over the coming week. If it goes well, I'll switch to this kind of mod, rather than all the individual pictorial guides and text checklists. I plan to do both for each module, and the user can either delete what they don't want, or refer to one or other, whilst in the aircraft. This will make things a lot easier for virtual pilots, by taking away the need for additional programs, apps or screens. I think this would be the best way forward.
I'll let you know if I'm going ahead with this, at the latest next weekend.
"Winz" has finished updating the 'Revanche' campaign. You can download the new version from the link in his post: HERE
The YouTube video trailer for the original Flaming Cliffs 2 Revanche campaign can be viewed HERE
I'll be restarting the campaign in VR, as the missions I have flown have been changed to fly the Su-25A rather than the T, to go with the general idea of a campaign in the earlier model.
By the way - I have been doing a lot of work on the website - most of which is behind the scenes optimising, which you won't notice, but makes life easier for me - but I have much planned - a lot of videos will be embedded here, to save visitors having to go to YouTube to watch them. I will also make good on the stuff I have promised over the last month or so - don't worry, I have not forgotten them, it's just a matter of fitting eveything into the time I have available!
For example, the Revanche videos (which will be re-recorded, as I am starting the campaign again, and will be trying to stick to the flight plans this time) will get their own page and be embedded, plus the controller profiles that I said would be uploaded, will be uploaded, also the other videos from Prepar3D will get their own page, too. I am working hard on getting the SimVoiceChecklists done (that Paul Endersby has a lot to answer for! - Only joking, Paul - do appreciate your work! ) and I will make efforts to find out how to host files for public download on the site. I tried Dropbox and wasn't happy with it and some people have problems downloading from Google Drive, so...
I also will do more pictorial guides, as I said I would. The main issue I have with a lot of the things I was doing previously is that they don't translate very well to Virtual Reality flying, and making some guides can be a bit of a pain, when having to keep removing the headset to check the monitor screen is showing the same as what I see in VR - mostly because I need my glasses to be able to see the monitor, but I have lenses fitted inside the Oculus Rift for this. Wearing spec's when lifting up the headset is a bit precarious - and my spec's cost a lot of money, so I need to be careful with them! So as you see - it is a bit of an awkward situation, but nevertheless, I am determined to deliver, and deliver I shall!
The process for loading flights for use with FlyInside and Air Hauler 2 with Prepar3D has become much easier as the flight file is now easier to find. I have updated the guide with the new procedure.
Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the start-up checklist for the MiG-21bis, and left out the item to switch the battery on. I'm sure most will have spotted that and done the right action, but I have now added it to the audio checklist and re-uploaded it to the DCS World website at the original link. Apologies for this.
So, after testing the checklist, and checking the one that is on the aircraft kneeboard - which I hadn't known about - I decided to go for a quick flight in the "Bison". Boy, was that fun! I do really dislike the ground steering with the trolley-style nosewheel, but I got the hang of it - unlike in the L-39, which I find a real bind. Anyway, after accidentally blowing off the drag chute on take off (yes....) I managed to do a very quick circuit - in this jet, everything is quick - and came round with zero clue on the proper landing procedure and managed to put it down, allbeit a bit hard, leading to a bit of bouncing as I sang along... "tie me kangaroo down, sport". But to my amazement, I managed to stop well in time. There was a lot of runway left, and I think that was because I kept the final approach speed hovering around the stall marker on the ASI, knowing that my chute was gone. I only just missed the roof of the apartment block that sits at this end of the runway (not a wise place to live....) and kept the thing going to the numbers. Probably why the touchdown was so harsh. Still, no damage and all's well that ends well.
I saved the track and hope to get a recording of the flight to upload, for a laugh. By the way, all my flights now, in DCS and FSX or P3D and Elite:Dangerous are in VR. There's just no going back.
I have now completed the DCS: MiG-21bis start-up voice checklist. It can be downloaded from the DCs website user files section:
I have uploaded a new set of voice checklists to the DCS World website user files section. These are for the A-10C and cover start-up procedures as well as a number of other operations. I'll make a section here on the website for these checklists in the near future, so that I can provide more information and guides on the best way to use the program. Please be aware that these lists are all-inclusive. You run the program from where you unpack the archive - a Windows installation is not required. I am using my voices to state the checklist items, as all of the commercially available TTS voices I have tried were not up to doing the job satisfactorily.
If you have a checklist that you wish to be put into a voice checklist and don't have the confidence to do it yourself (it is very easy, though) - you can send it to me, either by email (see "Contact Me" link on the left) or by PM on the DCS forum. Send the list in plain text and I will convert it and add the audio phrases if required. There is no charge, this is something I do to help the community. This is especially useful for those using VR headsets.
I've flown the first couple of missions in the Flaming Cliffs 3 'Revanche' campaign in the Rift, and have made a couple of short summary videos. They are currently on my YouTube channel (link on the left). The first few missions are non-combat - just flying and training.
I've uploaded a second video of testing with FlyInside, using the Oculus Rift VR headset and Prepar3D v3, this time flying the Flight1 BN-2 Islander, which is excellent in VR. It is available to view on my YouTube channel, HERE.
I have also started the Revanche campaign for the second time, but I won't be posting AARs as I have already covered that from an earlier version (link on the bottom of the right column). The aim is purely to fly some combat missions that I am already familiar with, but in a VR environment and see how well I cope. If I am unable to identify, or at least spot ground targets, then I will abandon it. It is looking promising, so far, though - and it really is quite an experience in VR.
Although I won't be writing AARs, I will try to get some video footage of the interesting bits and splice them together for a summary. For some reason, recording doesn't work every time in VR, even though it is still just recording the normal monitor output, allbeit at a strange resolution. The good thing is that I am getting on much better with my new video editor (Movavi Video Suite) than I did with the last one (Arcsoft Showbiz 5).
I have uploaded the first of my test videos from Prepar3D v3 and FlyInside in the Oculus Rift: https://youtu.be/zF93yV-Eqkk