Saturday, 31 December 2016

X Plane 11 Tutorial 1 : Carenado King Air B200 Startup

The King Air B200 is a twin turboprop aircraft. In this tutorial we look at the version developed by Carenado, taking it from a cold and dark state, and starting both engines.

The Carenado B200 is available for both FSX and X-Plane. Here we look at the latter version.

DCS A-10C Tutorial 3 : Flight Plan Navigation

You have the A10C in the air. But how do you reach your intended destination?

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 23 : EWS

The F16's Electronic Warfare Suite identifies air-to-air and air-to-ground threats and enables effective countermeasures response.

The options available are comprehensive, while at the same time being easy to understand.

This tutorial explains how the individual components are interlinked, and covers the functions of each element.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

DCS A-10C Tutorial 2 : Taxi and takeoff

The jet is powered, systems are functional - it's now time to taxi and takeoff.

The most difficult part of the learning process might seem the simplest. The documentation states that taxi speed should be between 15 and 25 knots. But how do you know your taxi speed?

In the F16 the answer is to call up the INS page on the DED. The ground speed is displayed at the bottom right. And for the A10C the answer is similar. Ground speed can be found on the POSINFO page on the CDU.

Armed with that information taxi becomes simple. And with a little more research we understand lighting procedures. When to turn each light on and off.

And then the final step. Throttles to 90% RPM, release the brakes, full military power, and the A10C thunders down the runway, and into the air.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 22 : LANTIRN

In a high threat environment, sometimes the only viable option is to go low, and in this video we discover how the aircraft and its systems can not only help us to fly low in daylight, but also at night, and in bad weather.

The LANTIRN system, though a combination of two intake mounted pods, might seem complex, but in reality its ease of use is striking, compared to its power.

In this video you will learn how to start the system, configure, and boresight it, before using it in either manual or automatic mode.

DCS A-10C Tutorial 1 : Startup

We start at the beginning with the A-10C - with the aircraft in a cold and dark state in a hardened aircraft shelter at Kobuleti. The aircraft will be powered, engines started, and systems set up, ready for taxi and takeoff.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 22 preview : LANTIRN

Low level, at night, in bad weather.

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 21 : ILS Landing

The last tutorial covered VFR landing. But what do you do when the weather is bad, or it's night, and you can't see the visual cues that you depend on for a visual landing?

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 20 : VFR Landing

Landing the F16 is a fundamentally simple process. You lower the landing gear, open the speedbrake, and place the Flight Path Marker on the runway threshold. As long as you maintain a slow enough approach speed the aircraft will touch down on the desired spot.

In this tutorial I explain the HUD symbology that will aid in landings. You will become familiar with the Angle Of Attack bracket and its relevant positions. And you will understand just what you should do once your wheels do touch down.

The approach was made with a significant crosswind component. This does complicate the approach phase, but even with significant buffeting at runway threshold it should become clear that with the appropriate corrections a crosswind should be respected, but not feared.

Falcon 4 BMS Tutorial 19 : Ramp Start and Ground Ops

I produced a ramp start tutorial right at the start of this process. You might be wondering why I produced a second, especially given the number of ramp start videos available online.

The simple answer is that this video uses the current version of BMS. But the complete answer is that this tutorial covers much more ground and I would hope that it does so with more clarity.

There are many videos that tell you which button to press, switch to flip, and dial to turn, and in what order. But do you really know why you're doing that?

These videos are also a personal discovery process. I'm learning through them and passing that information on. I know understand the reason for the two hydraulic pump dials for example.

The jet is also set up in a more practical state. I discuss counter measures and sensors.

The purpose of the tutorial is not just to have you lift off the runway with a functioning jet, but in combination with previous tutorials, and tutorials to come, to place you in a position in which you can then transition to the combat skills already discussed.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

IL2 BOS Tutorial 2 : BF109F4 landing

I would have to admit that landing has never been my strong point. And because of that it's something that I want to spend more time on. A prop plane of this era can be quite a handful on approach. And the sequence of keeping it straight, manipulating speed, height and rate of descent, requires a great deal of practise, and understanding of the individual aircraft.

In this video I look at the BF109 F4. A brief traffic pattern and a turn onto final, ending with a flare and a slight bump when setting the wheels down, and we have a landing that while not perfect is a workable platform to take further.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 18 HMCS

The BMS implemenation of the HMCS is incomplete, but it still provides very useful air-to-air features, which when understood and mastered, give the virtual pilot an advantage over opponents.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Falcon 4 BMS HMCS tutorial preview

The HUD is a wonderful tool. As a pilot you're no longer tethered to your instrument panel. But when it comes to a close in fight you can't always point your jet just where you want it. And that can make cueing a weapn very difficult.

That's where the Helmet Mounted Cueing System, or HMCS, comes in. Because with it you can simply look where you want the missile to go.

 The HMCS tutorial will show you how to turn the system on, adjust it using the options available, and use it in a short range dogfight using ACM and the AIM-9 Sidewinder.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 17 Missile Override and Dogfight modes

This is a short video on two modes; Missile Override and Dogfight.

The modes share the same basic role - to provide a quick means of responding to a sudden threat.

Monday, 5 September 2016

IL2 BOS Tutorial 1 BF109F4 start-up warm-up run-up and take-off

We're back with piston engined aircraft.

I'm not sure quite what to make of IL2: BOS. As you can see from the video below the BF109 F4 does not have a clickable cockpit. Indeed none of the included aircraft has a clickable cockpit.

That means that it's not possible to do a proper start-up procedure. You simply have to press E on your keyboard. I don't mind that in the sense that it should be available as an option. You can then choose to roleplay the start or dive right into the flight itself, or at least taxi to the runway, unless you have the option to spawn on it.

The start-up procedure becomes even simpler as you transition to warm-up if you have an already warmed engined selected on the options screen.

I note that 777 have acknowledged that the community wants a more realistic simulation. I don't understand why so much effort would be put into flight models when at the same time start-up has been simplified to such an extent.

I have the feeling the developers have fallen between two stools with the title. It doesn't have the study sim complexity that DCS or BMS, for example, have, but at the same time it doesn't have the same arcade quality as titles such as War Thunder.

I'm not criticising that title, or titles like it. There is room in the market for titles that offer different experiences. But in my opinion IL2 is a title that isn't quite sure what it is. But from what I have seen it does appear that there is a growing realisation that the IL2 series should lean more towards the study sim side of the market in future.

I would like to think that this video explores some of those thoughts. I'm not criticising IL2. I think the things it gets right it does so in a breathtaking way. It has a very immersive and compelling character. You will want to learn how the aircraft fly, and compare your experience to the notes of pilots of the time. And with the promised changes the future for the series is promising indeed.

Falcon 4 BMS Missile override and dogfight mode tutorial preview

This is a brief preview of this weeks video. This will be a short tutorial on two modes - missile override and dogfight. These modes are quite straightforward as they simply perform the role of shortcuts to previously discussed modes, with one exception, which I'll discuss in the video.

If you've watched the videos on air-to-air combat you should recognise the screenshot above, and it should be clear what radar mode the aircraft is in, and what weapons are selected. But there might be enough new detail present on the HUD for you to be curious. I hope the video scheduled for this weekend will answer your questions.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

IL2 BOS Mission Editor Tutorial 1 Single Player Mission

The IL2: Battle of Stalingrad mission editor is a complex but powerful tool. At first glance it's unclear how the various relationships work. But with time and effort these inter-dependencies should become more clear.

This tutorial is an attempt to put on record the approach required to create a basic single player mission. It is by no means a comprehensive tutorial. But having watched it the viewer should be in a much better position to create custom missions.

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 16 using AIM-9 Sidewinder with FCR in ACM mode

The AIM-9 Sidewinder is an iconic missile. In this tutorial we pair it with the F16's ACM FCR mode, stepping through the various submodes and explaining their uses in a demonstration engagement with enemy aircraft in which its value quickly becomes evident.

World of Warships Appetite for Destruction #1

The first in an occassional series of World of Warships random battles.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 15 using FCR in TWS mode

In this video we're looking at Track While Scan mode. And in doing so we contrast it with RWS mode. It should become clear that the two modes suit different circumstances. When paired with the AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missile it can quickly clear the skies of enemy aircraft.

World of Warships Tier 1 rapid fire Soviet Orlan cruiser

This may be a rather simplified version of naval warfare, but even so it is a lot of fun, and it's a game you can load up for a quick dose of destruction, with the simplest controls but a surprising amount of depth and longevity.

I'm a big fan of the Orlan at tier 1. The only other tier 1 ship that rivals it for me is the Erie when it somehow achieves a quite stunning artillery rating. I still have no idea how certain players have achieved that boost, quite possibly a long and involved grind.

These battles are co-op, a team of human players against the AI.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 14 using FCR in RWS mode with AIM-120 AMRAAM

The air-to-air radar modes require quite a bit of explanation.

If you grew up with air combat simulations in the Eighties and Nineties radar was a very simple concept to understand. You largely had a 360 degree view of the world around you. But that isn't the case with modern air combat simulations.

And neither are radar guided missiles simple "fire and forget" instruments. You have to understand their limitations as well as their strengths when utilising them in order to maximise their chances of taking down their designated targets.

This video tutorial introduces the Fire Control Radar and its Range While Search mode, and combines these concepts with the AIM-120 AMRAAM radar guided missile.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Steel Fury Operation Fridericus 1 Panzer Regiment 201 defending at Chepel

I'm still a mere cog in the wheel. I'm not leading even a platoon of tanks. That does lead to certain issues. I'm trying to work in combination with other tanks, but it's a bit of a head scratching exercise at times.

The one lesson I have learned above all others is that I can't go rushing off ahead. That tends to lead to bad things. The best approach is to wait, observe and then move. A single misstep and the tank can quickly become a burning hulk. And that is all part of the charm of the title.

Combat Mission Battle for Normandy Pierrefitte en Cinglais scenario

I'm expecting this to be the last CMBN video I do. I haven't been enjoying the experience for some time. I think the problem is that I can't ignore the flaws in the game engine anymore. I touch on that in this video. I don't believe this game engine has the legs to continue, it is in desperate need of at least some basic updates, and even with the paid upgrades things that should be obvious aren't being fixed. There are some that can be fixed, like drawing the LOS line from the waypoint selected, and then there are some things that will have to wait for CMx3, like intuitive LOS. I can't help but think that CMx2 is an aspiration without the tools to properly realise it.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 13 JDAM vs bridges at Dalsan

This was a difficult tutorial for me to complete. For whatever reason after releasing from station 3 the autopilot was failing completely to keep the right wing raised when switching to steerpoint 6 for the second release. It still does it for me now to a certain extent, but after many attempts I had something workable. That might have something to do with being tighter on RMAX 2 at release.

I would say that in practical terms, JDAM would be the weapon of choice in inclement conditions. If there's cloud cover over the target JDAM would be the choice over a laser guided bomb. But in fair conditions laser guided is a good choice, especially if JDAM supplies are short.

Steel Fury Operation Fridericus 1 Panzer Regiment 201 attacking towards Kopanka

I had to take a step back for this one. I just couldn't beat the next scenario in the queue, and apparently that means you get pushed back to the previous one. I still have little idea how I'm going to progress when I'm pitched into that same scenario again, but for now, here we are retracing our steps.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

When is a sim not a sim?

This question comes up every now and then, whatever the title, and whatever the type of sim.

Now, clearly, some titles are more sim than others, regardless of what the developers might state. And in general the community can agree on that. But the really interesting debate centres around whether even a title that the community agrees is a simulator, is actually a simulator.

And that is clearly a pointless discussion. At the end of the day whether a simulation is a simulation is a personal definition.

But wht I find interesting, and I'm not at all sure why, is the group of people that define a simulation not by the design, or the implemenation, but by the context.

If the same software, couple with the same hardware, is used in a home environment, it's a game. But in another environment it then becomes a simulation.

Let's for a moment take the example of a racing simulator. Assume for a moment a professional racing driver has the same simulation software and hardware at home as he does in his working environment. Does the sim then become a game?

But then if the context isn't the location, it has to be a frame of mind.

However that raises the question, what if someone is using a simulation at home, as a learning experience, rather than as simple entertainment? They might not ever fly a fast jet, but they're interested in learning about the process. Would that not then qualify as a simulation?

I return to the original point. It's a personal definition. The only question worth asking is what is the user getting out of the experience? Pure entertainment, or an entertaining, challenging, learning experience?

And learning new things is always a good thing.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 12 AGM-154A JSOW vs 2 mechanised columns

The JSOW is a very useful weapon. The capability to launch and leave a weapon capable of causing extensive damage to an entire battalion sized column, for example, while remaining outside defensive fire range should not be underestimated.

And to have that ability, even in bad weather, without even having a visual sighting of the target, makes not only hitting the target so much easier, it also increases your chances of returning from the mission without issue.

In this tutorial we learn how to define attack parameters, setup the weapon, and perform the release within the required parameters.

Steel Fury Operation Fridericus 1 Panzer Regiment 201 attacking towards Ternovaya

More from Operation Fridericus:

Steel Fury Operation Fridericus 1 Panzer Regiment 201 attack on Peremoga

The advance continues:

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 11 AGM65G Maverick vs Unju-Ni bridge

I must admit, I'm not at all convinced how useful Visual mode is with the Maverick. You really do benefit from the TGP when targeting the missiles. But if you do come across more prominent targets, and if possibly for whatever reason a TGP is not available, then it's certainly useable, and as such it's worth understanding how the mode works.

Steel Fury Operation Fridericus 1 Panzer Regiment 201 attack on Fedorovka

Operation Fridericus continues with a drive towards Fedorovka.

Combat Mission Battle for Normandy Surrender invites Death 12th SS at Authie

This is an interesting scenario for me. The power of Hollywood has educated the world to believe Normandy was simply an American operation, and it's the Canadians that suffer the most from that. Which is particularly unfortunate given that they probably had the toughest time, and the toughest fights in Normandy, at least outside Omaha Beach. And their confrontations with the 12th SS Panzer Division is the stuff of legend.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 10 AGM65D Maverick vs ZSU 23-4 Shilka

This has without doubt been the most difficult and time consuming of the Falcon 4.0 BMS 4.33 tutorials that I have done so far.

The most difficult part of it was working out how to clear the handoff errors. It simply is not possible to clear them if following the tutorial, because switchihg to dogfight mode to clear the locks doesn't work. You have to manually clear them, which isn't all that difficult, and it doesn't take that much time.

I'm not even sure any other BMS tutorial on boresighting mentions that. The only video on it using 4.33 that I've seen has the AV fault list notification lit right through the tutorial.

It's not a huge thing, but if you want to do this right you need to know how to clear the fault list.

And so here it is, at least 50% longer than I expected, but hopefully a complete overview of boresighting and using the AGM65D Maverick missile.

Combat Mission Battle for Normandy Bois de Baugin turns

This is a shorter video than usual. Part of that might well be due to the fact I'm switching to real time mode.

Now, I address the reasons for that at the start of the video, but for a little added clarity, I'll repeat those reasons here.

I don't enjoy turn based CMx2. CMx1 was of course a different animal. There was no real time mode available. But CMx1 did turn based so much better. Of course it helped that it wasn't a 1:1 representation, but it had features such as the A.I. pathfinding solution being visible, which helped when the A.I. chose a particularly silly route.

The benefit of real time is that even when the A.I. does choose such a route, you can interrupt it, whereas in turn based you have to watch a full minute of silliness to play out.

The only downside to real time is that there is no rewind capability. If real time had been coded with that feature right at the start then there would have been no need for a specific alternative - turn based could have been added simply by allowing pre-defined breaks. It would have been even better than the current turn based feature because it would have been possible for the player to have decided how long turns should be.

Also, I'm adding more mods, which should at least improve the sound.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Combat Mission Battle for Normandy Bois de Baugin setup

It's time for another Combat Mission Battle for Normandy scenario, and this time we're looking at the Bois de Baugin scenario.

This scenario might well end badly as there's a lot of open ground to cover, which makes life difficult for infantry, while making it easy for anti tank guns.

Falcon 4 BMS 4.33 Tutorial 9 AGM88 HARM using HAS mode

I have already done a video on AGM88 HARM using POS mode. That will typically be used for non mobile threats. The second mode, HARM As Sensor, or HAS, is used for mobile threats.

Steel Fury Kharkov 1942 Operation Fridericus

I have a confession to make. I missed out on Steel Fury when it was released. As I remember it there were a few tank titles released at the same time, and they all seemed to blend into one homogenous blob for me, with all their perceived faults and failings blending together. But it is so much better than I imagined.

I go back to Panzer Elite, which was the best PC tank game, at least of World War Two vintage, out there. It had some huge failings of its own, but when it worked as it could it did provide some fantastic moments. I will never forget rolling along the route of train tracks exiting a village in North Africa and squinting through binoculars into the distance, trying to establish what on earth the blocks were that I could see. Of course those blocks turned out to be advancing Shermans, and a tank battle quickly ensued.

Steel Fury will give you those same moments. That's not to say it's perfect, because it's far from it. It's not quite the tank sim that I have had in mind for the last ten years. But the very fact that the developers have made it so awkward, so interface heavy, that shows that when they developed the title they wanted to create a vehicle for that sort of internal storytelling.

And when battle is joined, the sense of being blind inside the tank, the dependence on not just other tanks, but crucially the infantry, which is quite well developed, to close with and defeat the enemy, that tension, the uncertainty, all of those things contribute to simulate the basics of what it must have been like to have been inside one of those steel boxes with orders to go forward, seize objectives and win the battle.

In this opening campaign I'm taking part in Operation Fridericus, under the famed General von Paulus.

Combat Mission Battle for Normandy Bloody Dawn

Now this was a tough scenario. And not for all the right reasons.

Without spoilers I would just say that this scenario highlights the good and bad about Combat Mission. It gives you the wonderful, breathtaking almost, moments of excitement and tension, but lets itself down with oddities.

That said, it is still the best tactical wargame series ever, and will continue to be so, at least until Battlefront produce their CMx3 engine.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

[Falcon 4] Tutorial 8 - AGM 88 Harm POS EOM

The great thing about the AGM88 is it's so simple to set up - at least in POS EOM mode.

Then the six tentacled monster that is the SA-2 becomes a simple thing to overcome. As the AI in BMS doesn't have a survival tendency there is no real suppression of air defences here. This is all about their destruction. And the Harm missile does that well.

Broadcasting a radar search emission for all the world to hear the Fan Song missile guidance radar provides a clear beam for the Harm.

[Falcon 4] Tutorial 7 - laser guided bombs at Pupo-Ri

There can be nothing quite so iconic when it comes to air to ground operations than the sight of a laser guided bomb impacting its target on a small, square, black and white screen.

Which makes it all the more fascinating, and strangely poignant, to have reached the point of learning about their delivery in Falcon 4 BMS.

[Combat Mission] Carbide Carbide - turns

Turns from the Carbide Carbide scenario:

Sunday, 3 January 2016

[Falcon 4] Tutorial 6 - direct popup attack at Kotar

We're back for one more visit to Kotar, this time to practise a pop-up approach. This is a direct pop-up, straight in at low level to keep things simple, and ends with a CCIP attack on the target.

[Combat Mission] Carbide Carbide - setup

We start a new Combat Mission scenario, following the spearhead of Combat Command A, 2nd Armoured Division, as it attempts to break out of the bocage towards Coutances.

This looks to be quite a tricky scenario. The two formations begin seperated by sufficient distance to make co-operation unlikely. And there's not as much infantry available as I'd like. I would prefer to have one more platoon of armoured infantry, but it seems that an engineer platoon will provide a reserve.

I'm expecting Mark IV's to appear, which should be a good and equal test for our M4's, but the real threat comes from anti-tank guns, and the infantry has almost a primary task of uncovering them. It's important that I not only site the 60mm on map mortars early, but with proper command and control.

[Falcon 4] Tutorial 4 - DTOS delivery mode at Kotar

We're back at Kotar in Falcon 4 BMS, this time to practise the DTOS delivery mode.

This is not as useful a mode as the visual CCIP, or the non-visual CCRP mode, but I'm sure it will turn out to have its uses.

[Combat Mission] 3/116th 29th ID seize La Valence - turns 2

Well, it was going alright, until ... The final turns from this scenario.