The Cowan Simulation
Bug Fix! There was a bug in the last update. The menu option to change from luxury to medical didn’t work correctly, it would only work using the clipboard. This is now fixed and available for download.
222B/UT v2.50 – Updated 1/31/2021
First thing is the rain effects. The quality difference when cutting this down by 431 MB is hardly noticeable. 517 MB down to 86 MB! That is a HUGE cut and a SUPER big gain for those with minimum specs. Everyone’s VRAM will enjoy this.
Second thing is a full 2K textures version. You can download the 2K or 4K version from your account downloads section now. The full 2K version will free up 270 MB. 360 MB down to 90 MB. This will win you a whopping 701 MB when combined with the rain effects reduction that was implemented in both 2k and 4k versions.
While testing the 2K version I didn’t notice a huge difference @ 1080p except for the exterior details like fine lines and the rivets. The most noticeable thing is the material bumps from normal maps. For those of you with minimum specs this is a worthy gain as it frees up a ton of VRAM.
VRAM seems to be the main bottleneck for people with older PCs and this is the cure. This is a BIG win for everyone though.
- MEDICAL INTERIOR
The medical interior is finally here. You can switch between the medical and luxury interiors by using the clipboard or menu options. Each interior consists of separate object files and only the active ones are drawn. Hopefully all of the medevac pilots enjoy this update. For the time being there are no pilots, crew or medevac patient for the medical version. This will be added in a future update.
- TAIL STRIKE ANIMATIONS & SOUNDS
Sometimes sim pilots have a tail rotor strike and they don’t realize it. I’ve been messaged several times about uncontrollable situations and this was always the result. Now we have animations and sounds to simulate this. The physics behind the tail skid are somewhat lacking but they are there. The UT works a bit better since it’s tied to the landing gear physics and works better with the rigid skids. X-Plane 11 interprets the tail skid as “landing gear” so this is just the way it has to work. Be careful when landing. 🙂
The animations are tied to the tail rotor transmission failure dataref. For this reason the rotor brake is ineffective and so is the code for drag. So this means that when the damage occurs the tail rotor will slowly spin with the “wind”. At this point your flight is toast anyways, so this will stay this way as the spinning is very very slow, but was worth noting.
- RETRACTABLE LANDING LIGHTS
The landing lights on the 222B were remodeled and now they are retractable. The light bulbs are still living in the ACF file so they will not match up 100% with on/off animations. The housing animations are tied to the landing lights brightness ratio dataref so they move up and down smoothly instead of an instant change. The landing light bulbs are tied to this by default so the brightness ramps up/down from 0-1/1-0 in the same time frame. This isn’t something noticeable unless you’re using dataref editor and switching them on/off from the outside view. But just in case someone noticed I thought I would mention that it’s known behavior.
- RAIN ANIMATIONS TWEAK
When testing I noticed that the rain effects were not triggered with some light rain. The effects were intended to be triggered when the rain drops were actually visible outside but I must have been a bit too aggressive when setting this value. The trigger is the precipitation on aircraft ratio datref. This was changed from .02 to .01. So lets see how that works, it’s hard to find a sweet spot.
Got rid of the default engine fire effects and replaced them with custom fire effects for each engine.
- ROTOR BRAKE LIGHTS BUG
There was a bug with the rotor brake warning lights. They were staying on in certain situations. This fixed now.
Thanks for reading,
222B & UT v2.40 – Updated 1/14/2021
- AUTO TRIM IS WORKING
I’ve finally written the auto trim code and will try to explain what it is. The switch has always been there (on the collective box) but was inoperable.
First off, you cannot use the auto trim and the force trim at the same time. Auto trim will override the force trim. This is the way it has to be simulated since force trim is almost impossible to simulate without special hardware. At the same time, I love FlyAgi’s approach to force trim simulation, what is already used in the 222 models.
While in straight and level flight flip the auto trim switch on. This will limit your cyclic actuator movement and automatically adjust the trim for you. Cyclic actuator movement is restricted to 30% travel while the trim computer works at centering the actuators aiming to make it easier to maintain straight and level flight. The trim will adjust for collective input as well. Do not use auto trim while taking off and landing.
While coding and testing I noticed the horizontal stabilizer trim tab was not caged (the dataref min/max values) and would rotate full 360s. This is fixed.
- NEW WINDOW RAIN EFFECTS
Rain effects are something that I’ve always enjoyed in simulators since it adds to the immersion. These effects are optional and they are disabled by default. Simply use the clipboard or the main menu to enable the feature. This was added to the persistence script so your settings will always be saved for your next flight.
The rain effects are 100% VR compatible and consist of objects, textures, normal maps and a script to drive them. The individual rain drops are not dynamic but the animations are. This means that the rain does not interact with the windows, other rain drops, or the wipers in terms of physics. Instead, the rain reacts to rotor rpm, collective input, speed and the wiper angles.
The feature is activated by the “precipitation on aircraft ratio” dataref. Transitions in angle were made but not varying rates of rain. For the time being, this means either on/off and no in-between with 4 angle transitions and static position random sprinkles. Anything further would be a massive amount of objects, animations, textures, maps and some more code. Currently the rain adds 548MB to the package! As you can see, it’s already massive. The impact on fps is way less than any other rain effect that I’ve seen, truly dynamic particles would be nice to see though.
The way it looks is what’s possible given the method used, I’m only one man, not a multi trillion dollar corporation with endless resources. I know how the rain should look and I’m aware of any faults, like the wipers only wiping on the down stroke. If wiping on both strokes then the windshield stays clear the entire time the wipers are on. This is because of the “trick” or method that I came up with. If wiping partially up and down then it just looks horrible. The rain is not visible at night and lit textures don’t look good either. Until other options are available then this is what we have to work with.
For optimization, the objects are killed or destroyed when not in use. That goes for each stage as well. When it’s not raining, or rain is disabled, all the objects are NOT drawn. The cost on my machine is about 8-10 FPS. You can toggle enable/disable rain on the clipboard to check your FPS hit while it’s already raining. Just turning rain on/off wont show you the exact hit since some of that is from the weather system itself.
As a bonus I added rain drops to the fuselage but they are not animated to save resources for the important part, the windows.
I enjoy the new feature and I hope you guys do too.
- FIXED BUS INTERCONNECT ISSUE
The UT bus interconnect lights on the caution panel were fixed. They were staying on unless you cycled the switches. This was due to an error when changing over to commands from datarefs.
- ACCESSORIES & REPLAY
Added exhaust covers. Rotor tie downs and other accessories would remain while in replay mode. This is now fixed.
- ADDED FUEL TRUCK SUPPORT
Within Plane Maker settings there were initially no ground services linked to the 222s. Now if you call for service then a fuel truck will come to the rescue.
- FIXED 20 DEGREE CAMERA OFFSET
Some people may have noticed the camera angle being offset by 20 degrees. I have no clue how this happened and thankfully I noticed on this round of updates. I noticed it when in an outside view, so if this bothered you then we’re back on track at zero degrees of offset.
- VR CONFIG
The wiper knob/switch was updated to 30 degrees flick of the wrist with your VR controller. Someone also mentioned the light knobs on the overhead panel not working in VR. They are set to 24 degrees and work fine, tested in both helicopters.
- ENDING NOTES
About further development and optimizations, again. Only a handful of customers mention FPS issues, but everyone’s voice matters to me. Anyone that has used simulators for some time knows that they’re a resource hog, especially with highly detailed models. What you see isn’t the only thing going on. Optimizations vs ongoing development is a push pull relationship. The more eggs you put in the basket the heavier it gets, and eventually it fills up. The basket is obviously your computer and if you’re running on minimal specs then that’s just what happens, you can’t carry any more eggs.
We cannot ask for all kinds of cool development updates and then ask for an increase in FPS, unfortunately that’s not how it works. As much as both you and I wish, it’s just not. As stated before, Laminar Research has done a fine job at turning their sim around when it comes to FPS. I don’t plan on stopping development on the 222s or putting anything on the chopping block just yet. When that time comes then “dumbed down” versions will probably be the solution. Starting that now would be a huge mess to keep up with and only slow development as a whole.
With each update more eggs are added to the basket. If you happen to struggle with FPS then you are the reason things are optional. For example, the new rain effects; this might seem so cool and be something you really want but the rain effects DOUBLE the entire package size, now at 1GB. It’s a huge amount of objects, animation, textures, maps and code. That comes at a cost, so if you’re struggling with FPS already then this feature is not for you. Options would be to turn down your graphics settings or upgrade your computer.
Comparing the 222s to other modules or sims doesn’t mean anything at all and is not helpful. They are as completely unique as you and I. Development will continue and the egg count will grow but that doesn’t mean optimizations aren’t always being worked on, it just means FPS wont go backwards until these projects are complete and “dumbed down” versions are created out of completed products.
I’m not trying to be harsh to anyone at all, I’m just speaking reality. I’m just like you and until recently had a weaker machine myself. I upgraded to this: Motherboard (Z390-P), CPU (I7-9700), RAM (32GB G.Skill) and power supply (EVGA 700W) but still rocking the same old Asus GTX1060 6GB. The combo runs just fine for development and sims.
Thank you all for your support!
If you read all of this then I like you that much more. Haha 😉
222B v2.30 & 222UT v2.30 – Updated 12/18/2020
The old clipboard is now gone, but don’t be sad, the new clipboard is driven with a SASL script I’ve been writing since the last update. The new one is a normal X-Plane popup window and boasts a lot more functionality with room to grow. The manual and checklists are now accessible directly through the clipboard, so when you need them they’re fast and easy to find. Any links to websites within the manual will not work when viewing in the sim. These will only work when using the PDF files in the “MANUALS” folder located in the 222’s main directory.
When I see a significant problem I’m always searching for a way to fix it. The fix for VR head positioning, that was in the last update, got a much needed face lift. I’ll admit it’s a pain in the butt to use a keyboard to move yourself around. Now you have simple arrows for up, down, left, right, forward and backward so you can move your head/virtual body into the perfect spot. All right on the clipboard. Once you’re in that unique and perfect spot then clicking the “Save Position” button will write directly to the vrconfig xyz coordinates line  for the pilot’s seat. Reloading the aircraft is necessary since the vrconfig values are read and applied while loading. When loading any aircraft, or teleporting to a seat, in X-Plane always keep your head and body in the same position that you would fly in. Doing that while looking straight forward will load you into the same spot every time.
If you use your VR controller to open the clipboard from the 222 options menu then it will be attached to your VR controller, so you can put it anywhere you like with ease. When opening the popup window using the door pocket click spot then it will load right in front of your face. I don’t like this, but this is a limitation for the time begin. When the window is rather large, like the clipboard, then it can be hard to move if you don’t know what you’re doing. The window is re-sizable and there are handles, or click spots, on each edge. Grab/click the right edge quick then let go. Now the window will be “detached” from your face and can be moved anywhere by grabbing the top edge.
“Remove before flight” accessories were modeled and added, starting with blade tie downs, pitot protectors and inlet plugs. These items will be on the helicopter when loading without engines running. To remove these items simply open the clipboard and select remove tie downs. After shutting down you can park the blades straight and tie down with the clipboard too. This is animated slowly and coded in xlua. For optimization reasons, these items are under “object kill”, so when the custom dataref == 1 then the entire object disappears and is NOT drawn. If it were just a HIDE then the object would still have to be drawn but just not visible. More to come.
- ROTOR DRAG
A couple people have mentioned the behavior of the rotors while the parking brake and engines are off. They spin very slowly because of the “wind”. This isn’t very realistic, so rotor drag was added. When shutting down and NOT using the rotor brake, the rotors will wind down slowly and come to a complete stop in a more realistic time frame. Once they are stopped, the only way you can move them is by using the park rotors option on the clipboard or starting an engine.
- ROTOR ANIMATIONS
The tail rotor speed was adjusted after a 17 hour talk with Josh Simon’s issue on it. HAHAH I only kid Josh, it’s always a pleasure. He was exactly right, it just wasn’t fast enough. This is tied to FPS, but like everything, if you have a struggling PC with low FPS then everything looks funny. Josh doesn’t have a struggling PC though, he was on a flight and decided to speed it up. When changing the sim speed he noticed the tail rotor looked much better. With this change the disc object was removed. I know I said it looked great in the past, but the more I looked at it, the more ugly it got. So thank Josh Simon for this update.
The trick to making rotor blur translucent is setting the object to glass. Anything under 100% opacity and NOT set to glass will hide certain things behind the object and cause unwanted artifacts. Glass objects cannot cast a shadow. There are 3 blade objects on the 222s, one for low RPM (solid one) and two for high RPM (blurred ones), one for outside views and two for inside views. When outside you’re only able to see the glass one so particles (dust, vapor, water…) and, very importantly, shadows can be seen behind the blurred blades. When inside the cockpit the glass one or the non glass one is picked using the clipboard. This creates the shadows but causes an issue with the clouds or particles above.
Using a non glass object outside looks horrible while using one inside is less noticeable. But it’s still there and it certainly bugs me, so I’ve swapped the menu and clipboard options around. Now you have the option to SHOW rotor shadows instead of HIDE rotor shadows. I was considering removing the non glass set of blades all together but I will leave it for people who want it. It still works great with a clear blue sky, but when certain clouds or textures are above you then the blades look odd, almost as if lighting up. I hate seeing this horrible effect in videos and the shadows are almost annoying anyways. The object is under a kill dataref so the new default setting with shadows hidden has no performance hit. I will leave it for now and if the issue explained bugs you too then just leave shadows off.
- FRONT WINDOW SEAL
This was noticed for quite some time and my apologies for leaving it that way so long. A minor issue really, but the front window seal modeling was “leaking” through causing odd looking artifacts or textures. This was an issue on the right side of the center column and above the pilots seat, the black rubber seal. For those rainy flights I sure hope it wasn’t leaking too bad.
- ADJUSTED FMOD
Some adjustments were made to the FMOD sounds. The rotor brake code got a fresh overhaul, so now the sound works for both on/off. Removed the rattle noise on wheels down. Each wheel makes a thump when either one contacts the ground. I had a rattle sound mixed in there with the thump and it was noted by Josh Simon as well. It almost sounded like audio clipping, and I agree, so this is now gone but the thumps remain.
Several other minor adjustments.
- PAINT KITS & CUSTOMIZING
Recommended by Joe Hudson: The Paint kit now includes the Photoshop and GIMP files for the rotors. Custom rotors are cool and this will help a bit having access to the original files. I didn’t paint anything or add any custom choices yet, just the raw files with the layers for professional painters to use.
When it comes to customizations, modeling, painting, coding…, I ask that the author showing off their work, in images or videos, disclose some information.
Information: Authors name, links if any and of course what parts were modified.
No offense to anyone, but if it looks bad then people assume that it’s my work. Just the same, if it looks good then people assume it’s my work. I just don’t want my product misrepresented and confusing people in the process. Anything outside of the paint kit was not intended to be modified. I’m easy to work with and I also realize this is your product and you can do whatever you want with it. I just want your name on the modified works of art. Be proud. The animations for the rotors took some time to get right and they’re unique to this product. If painters slap some color on them then always let your audience know that it’s your work, not the default product I’m selling. Thank you.
- ENDING NOTES
Lot’s of changes were made to the back end in this update. Some things helped out with FPS. Some objects and animations were removed. The “INNER_GLS” was removed, and to tell you the truth, I’m not sure why I had it there. My memory tells be I was making “thick”glass but either way we are better off without the extra drawing and animation. The old clipboard and animations are all gone. That removes two texture .PNGs and two normal map .PNGs as well. With these changes, and some behind the scenes optimizations, I gained ~8 FPS on my machine. That’s a decent gain and was well worth the time. This reference is from one machine so results will vary. Either way we’re heading in the right direction.
I’ve tried to replicate a problem that David Erard is having and I just cannot do it. When he is in GPS mode then his heading selector on the HSI is frozen. He said if he switches to NAV mode then back to GPS that fixes it. For the life of me I cannot replicate this issue and I’ve tried for hours. If anyone else has this issue then let me know and give me a list of plugins you’re using. Something is interfering on David’s machine and I want to find a fix for him or anyone else with the same issue.
Christmas and the New Year are right around the corner and I would like to close out the year with a SALE! To each and every one of you, thank you for your support. Please spread the word to your interested friends and family. It would be awesome if I could get some more reviews on the website and shares for Facebook users. Out of all my customers I only have 3 reviews, they’re on the B model and one isn’t the best review in the world HAHAHA. The review sections are on each product page, under the tab “reviews”. Also, don’t forget to share my Facebook Page Cowan Simulation. I would love to have more followers there too. Every little bit helps and support like that is what keeps me working on these projects.
Thanks to who read this all and Happy Holidays!
222B v2.20 & 222UT v2.20 – Updated 12/05/2020
- PREFERENCE SETTINGS SAVED FOR NEXT FLIGHT
Added consistency to your experience by implementing a persistence script. This change brings back SASL v3.12.1, the framework required for the chosen method. The persistence file generated by the plugin is basically a config file that saves your settings and configurations from your last flight. So now when you fly another aircraft, or close the sim and then come back later, all of your personal preferences will be set to your last flight. Here is a list of the items that will be saved:
- Radio configuration
- Tablet hide/show
- Tablet orientation
- Tablet size
- Doors on/off
- GTN750 hide/show
- Passengers hide/show
- Rotor Shadows on/off
- Black or Grey Panel
- Base Payload
- Each fuel tanks quantity
- Timer settings
- All light settings
- Caution panel brt/dim switch
- Artificial horizon setting
- Auxiliary fuel system settings
- decision height setting
- MAIN MENU OPTIONS W/ FULLY AUTOMATED START
Added a menu to the top main sim menu. The menu has everything that the clipboard in the door pocket has plus one extra item, a fully automated start-up. This is all coded in SASL and will eventually eliminate the show/hide clipboard in the door pocket. The idea is that the clipboard will be converted over to a pop-up window as options grow.
The fully automated start-up takes control of everything including the camera. It takes about 3 minutes for the entire start-up procedure and then you’re ready to fly. You can stop/pause the start-up at any time. It works in VR too but it’s your job to follow along with your view since VR overrides camera values. This was tested with 1st gen Oculus Rift. Not tested with IR headsets. This is an easy way to quickly learn the start-up procedure since some of us learn faster visually.
- VR CONFIG CHANGES ON THE FLY
Wrote a plugin that writes to the vrconfig file that sets the pilots starting head position. A lot of people were starting in wildly different positions depending on setup, height and other variables.
Now you can use the upper menu or clipboard, get yourself into the preferred position, then simply hit the “Set Pilot VR to Current Pos.” option. This will write directly to the vrconfig file and save that setting until you change it or reset it after an update. Using this method requires aircraft reload. The easiest way is to jump into another aircraft and then back into the 222. But if you used the arrow keys with the period and comma keys to move yourself then you’re already in the desired spot.
- FMOD DOPPLER EFFECT
Added the missing doppler effect to the sounds in outside view. This is the effect that simulates the change in pitch when the helicopter is moving toward/away from you. This will make the video gurus and replay lovers happy.
- ALL DOORS OFF SOUND
Fixed doors on/off option sounds that were not changing with all doors off.
- HYDRAULIC SYSTEMS
Added onto the last update simulating hydraulic temp and pressure rate rising. Now the temp needles fall slowly to the ambient air temperature as they cool off. The pressure needles fall quite a bit faster but simulating a realistic rate. Temp needles when pumps are off will be at ambient temps and needles when battery off will read -5 Celsius (the lowest the gauges go).
- WINDSHIELD WIPERS
Reworked the wipers animations and datarefs. The wipers were initially all custom coded while using custom datarefs. This was a mistake since the sim already provides a couple nice commands and a dataref with values that increase and decrease to the angles of your choice. Not a huge change but the datarefs and values that drive my animations changed and this will let you use the default windshield wipers “up/down”, the on/off commands, to map to your hardware or keyboard. The FMOD sounds were also change to be dynamically driven by the movement of the blades. Hope you guys try them out. Rain effects are always on the list but this will take some time and still waiting to see if librain will be available for Vulkan.
- COMMANDS vs. DATAREFS (In Terms of Manipulators)
A little note on commands and hardware. If you own both the 222UT & 222B then make sure you set up a unique joystick/keyboard/hardware profile for each. If you use a generic profile you’ve made for “helicopters” then wires will get crossed. For each aircraft you own you should have a unique joystick/keyboard/hardware profile. If you switch between the UT & B and have a generic helicopter profile then find things don’t work, or work funny on either one, then this is why. Commands are fun because you can map them to hardware. But make sure to keep profiles separated.
Coded the custom search light on/off command (on collective box) to work with ONE command instead of TWO commands: “sim/lights/spot_lights_toggle”
Coded the custom force trim on/off command (on collective box) to work with ONE command instead of TWO commands: “222B/force_trim/main_on_off”
Collision lights changed to default: “sim/lights/beacon_lights_toggle”
Position lights changed to default: “sim/lights/nav_lights_toggle”
Landing lights changed to default: “sim/lights/landing_lights_toggle”
222B v2.10 & 222UT v2.10 – Updated 11/18/2020
- VERSION NUMBERS
To handle some confusion the 222B & 222UT version numbers are going to be synced while moving forward. The 222B quickly caught up with the 222UT and they are currently being worked on simultaneously. The versions for this release are v2.10 for both helicopters.
Designed and integrated an FMOD sound pack for the 222’s, replacing the former SASL code that was used for sounds. FMOD is a high quality commercial 3D sound engine used to create realistic sounds and is the preferred sound engine for X-Plane 11. Sounds used to be around 2,000 lines of SASL code along with several folders full of audio files. Now sounds for the 222’s consist of one folder with 3 files at about a tenth of the former size. FMOD is more efficient and boasts a highly immersive 3D audio experience. This is a huge upgrade.
- ROTOR ANIMATIONS
Coded the rotors to sync with FPS. (smoother animation) This was choppy looking depending on unique systems fps, rotor rpm, replay or recording. Now they are smooth and tied directly to the frames per second that each user experiences.
- ROTOR FLEX
Added more flex to the main blades and got rid of the disc object. The disc is no longer needed since the animations are now consistent and smooth and it just looks weird with the new flex values. The anti torque disc stays and looks great with the new animations code.
- RPM INC/DEC SWITCH
Updated code for the RPM increase/decrease switch located on the collective. Now you can “beep” the engines and rotor RPM up to 100-104% for take off and landing then “beep” down to 96% for normal operation. 104% is max while 100% is for standard takeoff and landing. Holding RPM decrease (down) for 1.5 seconds, while on the ground, will turn off the governor and set the throttles to idle.
- FUEL SYSTEM LOGIC
The fuel tanks are all connected, so now fuel draws from them equally. The fuel tank interconnect valve is normally closed to prevent loss of fuel, from both tanks, in the event of leakage from either cell. If the switch on the overhead panel is pressed then the valve opens, fuel will still draw equally but will equalize the fuel in each tank. So if you fuel up one tank more than the other, then hit the interconnect valve, fuel will drain from the higher tank to the lower tank until they are both equal.
The AUX fuel system still works the same. Stetting to auto will drain the aux tank into the main tanks when fuel is low or setting to override will empty the aux tank into the main tanks on demand. The Aux fuel valve switch on the panel must be pushed to activate this system.
- HYDRAULIC SYSTEM
Updated the hydraulic system switches and gauges code. Now the needles move slowly up from outside air temp and pressure slowly builds up from off state. The buttons and gauges now read and work as separate units as they should.
- ELECTRICAL SYSTEM
Updated the duel DC ammeters and parts of electrical system. The ammeters were mistakenly connected to the batteries. Now they are connected to the two generators as they were supposed to be. When either generator is turned on then its respective gauge needle will read its output.
- DOORS DATAREFS
Switched doors to the door ratio dataref “sim/flightmodel2/misc/door_open_ratio” , ,  &  – left front, right front, left rear & right rear, respectively.
- SEARCH LIGHT UPDATES
Fixed search light issue of moving past max angle within the code. Previously, a long right/left movement past the max right/left angle would result in a delay when trying to move the light back to the right/left. Now there is no delay since the dataref values stop at the max angle value.
- RANDOM ANIMATION UPDATES/FIXES
- Added slow needle animation to rad alt test function.
- Fixed ENG 1 and 2 anti-ice caution panel lights that were not illuminating when on.
- Fixed parking brake caution panel light that was not illuminating when set.
- Fixed the over torque audio and panel light warnings.
- XCHECKLIST UPDATES
Fixed several xchecklist syntax errors and the pronunciation of “generator”.
- MISSING ADF FUNCTIONALITY
It was realized that the ADF on the center console doesn’t have a device to mate with. The type of HSI on the panel does not have a pointer for NDB navigation. Some of the 222s have an ADF indicator where the flight director mode selector is located. But we want to keep autopilot for sure. If a configuration comes to mind then this might be added. If it takes upgrading to a Collins HSI then that might be a possibility as well. For now, GPS, NAV 1 and NAV 2 have to be used.
ABOUT OPTIMIZATIONS AND THE FUTURE
Laminar Research has been working hard at optimizing the sim for some time. This is great news. The 222s are unique and have tons of animations, code, highly detailed modeling and systems depth. Comparing the 222s to to other aircraft isn’t helpful since they are completely different animals. The 222s could be stripped down to a simple model with basic functionality and 2k textures but this is not the goal for these helicopters. It has been tested, but gaining 5 frames per second just does not justify the cost of quality. But, this is 100% being worked on and a very long process.
Things that were tested: minimized poly count, converted .png to .dds, 2k textures, optimized code, optimized .obj hierarchy order, no 2 sided objects, object kill where possible, prefill and some others I’m probably forgetting. Some of these things were committed to and some things made no huge difference, like .png vs .dds.
The real fps hit for users with weak machines is animations and manipulators. Manipulators live within the *_cockpit.obj and animations within this object are very expensive performance wise. The biggest gains with fps were achieved by simply removing the cockpit object from the equation.
But what does this mean? We have to have all the manipulators and their respective animations within this file or we have nothing. Everything you can click on, or manipulate inside the cockpit, needs to be there. Lots of those hidden manipulators need to be animated so they can follow what moves, like door handles or levers.
So what changes can be made? The panel configuration options that are accessible on the clipboard located in the door pocket are under the microscope now. We all want options, but they come at a cost. Currently, most configuration options are using the show hide method, so even when they are hidden they are still being drawn. This is not the case for the passengers, they are using object kill, so when they are hidden they are not being drawn. This is something that can be changed with a plugin. I would probably write the plugin using SASL. But, if this turns out to save us 3 fps then the massive amount of time involved just isn’t justified. More testing is being done.
X-Plane keeps getting better and better. Laminar Research is working hard and optimizations have come a long way in the last year. With the newest beta, 11.51b2, I had an amazing 20 fps increase. The 222s were designed for 11.50 using Vulkan. Flight sims are rough on computers but we are headed in the right direction. If above 30 fps you’re doing good, if above 45 fps you’re golden.
The 222s are being developed on an aging system and they run around 50-60 fps. The system? FX6300 OC to 4.5GHZ, 16GB RAM, GTX1060 6GB running on SSDs. That is an aging system but it keeps up fine. Way better than an airliner or other complex aircraft I have tried.
So, stay with me folks! If you have a machine that struggles with fps then don’t worry, between my work, and Laminar Research’s work, things will only get better. A $3000. PC always helps but we should not need to go there, I know I don’t. The sim is only getting faster with time.
Thank you for reading to the end,
222B v1.0 & 222UT v2.0 – Updated 10/16/2020
- Updated the 2K livery textures
- Changed the upper “222UT” decal to “222B” on the 222B liveries with the decal.
222B v1.0 – Released 10/16/2020
- Initial release of the 222B
222UT v2.0 – Released 10/16/2020
- Added auxiliary fuel system.
- Added radar altimeter.
- Updated rotors, rotor textures, fixed fast spinning anti torque rotor at low RPM.
- Added various exterior modeling like authentic fuel caps, antennas etc…
- Adjusted size and shape of center console.
- Added/updated textures, lighting and PBR.
- Added xlua coding for systems and animations.
- Added more SASL coding for sounds.
- Brightened up annunciator lights when switched to BRT.
- Updated aununciator behavior.
- Fixed anti torque pedal linkage animation.
- Added option to hide the rotor blade shadows inside the cockpit.
- Added fire and chip test switch/button.
- Synced rotor animations with sounds.
- Added option for black panel configurable with the clipboard in the door pocket.
- Fixed xchecklist hanging up on idle stop.
- Made the clipboard larger
- Updated and added to the manual.
222UT v1.0.3-Released 8/10/2020
- 15 liveries (paint jobs) were added with this update.
If you do not like the black panel then go to the “livery” folder and delete the “222UT_PNL” file inside the “objects” folder of the livery you’re using.
- Updates with systems and object additions coming later this year.
- Look out for the 222B (the wheeled version) near the end of this year.
- Thank you all for your business and have fun flying.
222UT v1.0.2-Released 5/2/2020
- Added a pilot, copilot and passengers. Toggle on/off with clipboard in door pocket.
- Adjusted PBR and textures for overhead panel for better contrast of controls and panels.
- Increased fuel flow for more power.
- Adjusted instruments, over torque buzzer/light and throttles.
Should be around 135 max speed now.
- Separated exhaust particles per engine.
- Changed the dimensions of several main rotor system parts and made progress with it as a whole. Still a W.I.P. 🙂
- Remodeled the vertical stabilizer (tail fin)
- Reworked the main rotor sounds to remove odd repetitive noise half way through. (Interior sound)
- You may notice something that you requested or notified me of is missing from this list. Every single thing everyone has mentioned is on the to do list. So don’t think that I forgot about you. 🙂
222UT v1.0.1-Released 4/15/2020
- Integrated the RXP GTN 750 and programed checklists into it. Activated using the clipboard in the door pocket.
- Removed the code to set rotor position and rotor brake when the engines are off and with outside view active.
- Added the option to completely hide the iPad/tablet using the clipboard in the door.
- Adjusted some sounds and got rid of the “wah-wah” sound issue that affected the interior rotor sounds.
- 2K livery was added to the liveries folder for severely under-powered systems.
- Fixed fuel gauge weights and indicated level reads correctly now.
- Updated the manual
Release Date: 4/10/2020
This helicopter is a work in progress. Over time, known issues will be updated and fixed as well as many additions.
The initial version is a brand new luxury style that is very clean. A medical and true utility version is in the works and will be available at a later date.
Please take a quick look at the known issues and WIP items:
- Random animations not completed or missing.
- Some sounds may be missing for certain things. Sounds are SASL (scriptable aviation simulation library) and currently about 1,700 lines of code.
- Idle stop coding does not work when using an actual hardware device for controlling the throttles. In VR it works partially as intended. When using a mouse it works exactly as intended.
- Auto trim coding needs to be completed.
- Currently no hoist system available. Cable cut and hoist power pilot/crew on collective inoperable. Cable release on cyclic inoperable.
- OBS select switch set to pilot and inoperable.
- Foot switch function set to radio and inoperable.
- Auto pilot may have issues, waiting on feedback.
- No pilots or passengers in the model yet