TPA - D.H.88 Comet - Freeware Released!

This is nice. I flew it quite a bit in 2004. Glad to see it will have autopilot as well, a sure purchase from me.

Well after a good couple of evenings messing about with the flight model again i’ve sorted out the lack of power issue… she now runs at 191kts at FL100 and 2350RPM, takes off in around 450yds and has a static max rpm of 2150 with her prop on fine… The maximum speed at ground level is a little concerning, although understandable i guess? topping out at 217kts off the top of my head, but the fuel efficiency is garbage. (And yes, you can take off from TNCS - i just checked, although the crosswinds there are unadvised at best currently)

Not really sure on what / how much progress will really be made this week, as i need to fiddle about with the shape of the cockpit first, else it will bug me having awkward gaps. And sorry, but i doubt the version i get out in september will have an opening cockpit… at this rate you’ll be lucky to have the sound for the starboard engine! :stuck_out_tongue:

As for the other comet… yeah, it was fairly common for manufacturers to re-use names - particularly for a historically significant aircraft (see lightning (at least 3 if you count the americans)/typhoon/corsair/tornado)). It makes the public hark back to ‘the good ol’ days’ and wins a bit of credit from the general public for the aircraft you’ve just spent millions of their money on for basically nothing in return. I guess DH thought their new state of the art jet-liner had the same thoroughbred DNA as their '34 endurance racer… at least they didn’t build her out of timber too, else it probably wouldn’t have lasted even 1 trip before disintegrating!
That being said… i would love it if one of the top names started work on a 106 comet.

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As others have mentioned there’s two comets. This is the 1930s one built as a racer

de Havilland also used the name ‘Moth’ a lot, most famously with the Tiger Moth but a fair few other Moths as well. Some similar to the Tiger but with a different engine and some quite a bit different like the Giant Moth.

Just switch your headphones or speakers over to mono and the job’s a good 'un :wink:

This week I’ve moved on to focus on the cockpit of the comet, I’ve managed to build out the framing from 1934, and made a start on the instrument panel… Now I just need to work out what size/design I want each instrument to be, and build a few switches for the different functions required… My current mock up leaves a fair amount of space about, so I might be able to add in a little more functionality/information for the pilot, or I could always raise the bottom of the panel up if it looks wrong…

Yesterday afternoon I took her up for a flight while sorting some other work out. Mildenhall to Marseilles, but with about an hour before touchdown decided to extend it to Rome, ending up flying directly over Courchervel, and eventually landed at Pisa as i had to head off and sort some dinner out! Everything went to plan, slightly high on the rpm and low on the speed, but I blame the maximum weight and poor trimming/cg balancing on that… I need to sort out the fuel systems really at some point, at the moment it empties the rear tank first and makes her a dog to trim out.

As of wednesday i am finally off work on the summer holidays! I’ve got a week off planned in august, but hopefully i will be able to have a little more time to focus on this project and push it along to be at the early release version by the start of september. I need to make sure i’m aiming for the bare minimum however, else it won’t be ready for anyone to fly in time. I will try to focus on the most obvious bits when it comes to building up the normal maps and textures, and leave the hidden stuff basically flat i suspect. Once it’s out people are free to modify and adapt the textures to their liking ofc… but i will remind you when i release that alot of things will change as i update the model/ UV mapping as time goes on…

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Finally a break from work! Sadly, it means I only really have 5ish weeks to finish the first version of the comet… This week’s main focus has been building up the cockpit and coding the instruments for various things. Something even more out of my normal comfort zone! I have so far completed both tachometers, both oil temp. gauges, the artificial horizon and directional gyro(not so sure there’s any gyro drift at the moment sadly). Produced a single fuel gauge to flip between the front and center fuel tank levels, a boost gauge for the port engine(it only ever had a single boost gauge, you’d assume that they were about the same and judge it off the port). I have also sorted out the twin mag switches for both engines to work correctly… Something that was fun to try and code correctly…, As of the last 30 minutes i have also fixed both engine starters (they need to be held for around 3.5 seconds to get them up to speed and start!) as well as the safety covers for each starter button.


More interestingly, I have been fiddling about with some of the coding (with a massive help from some of the guys in the msfs freelance society discord), and have worked out to have automatic two-pitch propellers like the original racing versions had attached! They turn to the coarse 35° pitch above 130kts, and return to the 25° pitch when the aircraft is stationary. The second bit technically isn’t correct, as it would need to be manually inflated with the old bicycle pump, but for ease of use I’m fairly happy with having to be stationary to reset the pitch control… I will eventually get round to adding the appropriate animations to the propeller blades and disk which was attached to the air bladder.

I have also found a few more references which are good enough for me to design some pretty close to perfect gauges… But I am telling myself to ignore that until the autumn!

Next week I’m off on holiday for a week, so there will sadly be no visible progress… Might try and add a bit more to the manual while I’m away. But I really need to try and get all the modelling finished before I go away if I have any chance of getting textures sorted before September

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Fairly close together, but i thought i might as well throw one last update out before i head off on a week’s break! This week has been fairly good in terms of progress, a little less so on modelling quality however! I have thrown together some more cockpit controls along with their appropriate animations this week, as well as fiddling with the engines a little bit more to tweak the fuel consumption and fuel type.
Things which i really can’t be bothered wasting a week of time or more figuring out at the moment and will leave till the autumn:

  • Adding differential control animations to the existing parking brake animation
  • Adding Intake temperature gauges
  • Probably adding visible autopilot controls (i will be leaving in the default Asobo autopilot however, you will just need hardware to view it / memory of buttons to use it)
  • Adding a second LOD to allow you to see a pilot from the exterior of the aircraft
  • A working clock (might get round to it, but don’t count on it! (pun not intended))

Things i still have to complete for the cockpit modelling:

  • Throttle controls
  • Co pilots controls and instruments
  • Cockpit Lighting

I have also had a little mess around in the last day or so with the audio for the aircraft… I rather like the default 152 sounds for now, however there is only a single engine! I have got the premium baron 58 sounds working, however realistically cannot include that as the base sound files, so the options for you people to decide on is, do you want a better, louder 152 engine, or a quiet pathetic, but twin engine Da62 sound set?

The plus side is that now you should be able to start her from cold and dark with only in-cockpit controls (ignoring the mixture and throttles that is)

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Well, after a week off in very hot weather on the south coast, I’ve managed to get back on top of things fairly rapidly! I have built up a basic version of the UV mapping for the exterior and interior models. I also worked out some basic smoothing of vertices across the model so she is looking much smoother everywhere now! This has also meant I have been able to start creating some of the textures, with the first set I’ve focused on being a basic set of the instruments. This gives you a nice feel for what the instruments will eventually be, but meant I could throw them out in an afternoon rather than a week!


I have also worked a little more on the instrument animations as a result, changing a few of the measured values… But the most infuriating thing I’ve bee struggling with is getting any gyro drift on the pilots directional gyroscope! Well I’ve managed to rig up the gyro onto a tachometer which will turn as you fire up the port engine, meaning you get the correct drift of around 11° every 15 minutes to the right. So you’d better get used to calibrating your gyro pretty often else you’ll be lost over the Timor sea!

In addition, i have spent this afternoon fixing up the Husun Compasses to allow you to set your heading for the autopilot (while taking these pictures i did just realise the co-pilot’s one is actually broken…) as well as correct your gyro drift more accurately. I have then spent this evening working through the implementation of a working tail wheel lock… and which much effing and blinding over many hours, it turns out i had left the maximum angle for the locked wheel to be 2 radians! no wonder it was castering as normal! Well it’s all fixed and working as intended now.

All this means i can finally do some proper test flights without the need for a UI as i have everything needed to follow the basic checklists implemented. I will be providing a (hopefully) fairly useful set of pilot notes as a pdf in the first release in September for you to have a look through the intended checklists. I have built it up from written accounts of current and past pilots, the test flight logs, alongside a heavy influence from the DH.89 Pilot notes and maintenance manuals which i have copies of. I will leave in all the information i have added to it thus far, but will strike through parts which don’t currently apply to this basic version of the comet just yet.

My next job is sorting out some decals for the exterior to make it less hassle the make the first 3 liveries, and then move slowly through producing the required textures… I suspect i will be leaving out a lot of the detailed normal mapping for now however sadly. Oh, and i need to fix all of the lighting up, everything is clipping and way too bright at short distances, and the cockpit light is just noping out at me right now!

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Well… This week has flown by!With the majority of the animations and modelling completed for the first release, i have been focussed on mapping out the UV textures for the various materials, designing some decals to make some cleaner liveries more easily, and over the last 24 hours i’ve been steadily learning how to bake AO maps in blender for a little more detail (re-baking the interior panel as i type this)!

Everything is a little grainy at the moment due to the AO maps being very low resolution, but i will fix this in due time… Made a few more changed with regards to animations, adding the ability to visibly see the pitch change for the propellers as well as changing to a more realistic modelling system for the blurred propellers, and some minor changes to some of the cockpit controls. I did have a play around with getting the pilot avatars to be holding the stick and throttle, although it wasn’t super successful, so will leave them sitting aimlessly for now!

In addition to this, i have gathered a few people together to help stress test her and find any areas which are particularly tricky to deal with! A few things have already been found and improved upon, but i’m sure there’s plenty more hidden away in the model - that being said, feedback (i guess as biased as it is!) is positive, and she’s turned out to be a fun challenge to fly - exactly as intended!

I have also changed some of the default camera positions now to give you a little more vision in the cockpit using the quick cameras. Makes checking your compass and instruments a little easier, as well as a lovely high and forward camera for those of you wanting a little more vision during landing approaches. I have also pretty much sorted the first version of the manual which will be available in the 0.6.0 launch version (yes, it’s in such a state which it really deserves to be seen as an alpha of a freeware rather than any finished - or near finished product!). Another addition to creature comforts… well safety within the aircraft is a full set of lighting, with new navigation, landing and cockpit lighting installed to make the journey that much easier for you all! This includes some delightfully safe radium dials for when you want to save your torch battery during the night flying portions of your trip down to Australia. I have also worked in the gear warning lamp which will illuminate when both engines are under 10% throttle and the gear isn’t fully down - a lovely reminder that you probably still have a good 4 minutes before it’s safe to land.

Oh, and she’s now got a working tail wheel lock and slightly lowered CG by 6", makes taking off much easier during the first 100 yds of the run, and helps make it a /little/ harder to nose-over on landing or taxiing as you brake. With the addition of the UV mapping and textures, it means i have been able to produce a quick rendition of 4 of the many liveries the comets have worn over the years, bringing you at the very least the “green” comet (G-ACSR), Grosvenor House, Black Magic and Reine Astrid for the release, as well as an in-house fictional livery for TPAeronautics.

As with most of the textures, i can guarantee that these are not accurate to the real liveries, and any text is only very roughly representative… as the year wears on and i start to finalise the models and UV maps i will start putting a little more more into accurate text and liveries.

Maybe one more shot?

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This is looking good, well done!

Well it’s been over a week since the last update… truthfully, i forgot what day of the week it was! Not great with me going back to work on thursday, haha! In the last week, the comet has come on leaps and bounds, with plenty more texturing and AO mapping completed over the last week, in addition to some modifications to the controls and additional bits and pieces here and there! I have also had a few helpful testers check some bits and pieces out and she’s almost there!


The textures are nowhere near where they will be on the finished product, and the mapping is very clunky and basic, but it will do for now and allows the option to add plenty of detail in the short term if people want to… I have thrown together a few basic liveries of the first few comets to give you a bit of choice, with a simplistic set of textures in the cockpit which make her a relatively comfortable place to fly in…

Over the last few days i have also added in the flame trap controls, as well as a rudder trim to give you a little bit more help in those tricky situations (no visual icing is present for now however… although apparently the worst of the icing was always forming under the wing and so invisible to the pilot regardless!). She can be started up from cold and dark without too much trouble, and traditional navigation is nice and simple thanks to the husun compass to your right knee, and (somewhat untrustworthy - as it should be!) directional gyro on the front panel.

On the flying side of her, the feedback has been pretty positive so far, with a few camera issues which have been mostly resolved being the majority of issues… A few peculiarities of the comet have also come out along side however, with the extremely limited view, difficult to manage CG and very slow gear being tricky to get used to! All of this has lead to some very dicey landings, often with a nose-over as you brake too hard. This is something i could make a little easier, but then again, as said by a few of my helpful testers, that’s the nature of the beast, as she isn’t meant to be as easy to fly as a 152 after all!

Anyway, i have a whopping 2 days left before i’m back at work, and with the project in the state that it currently is, i’ll be fairly happy to release it as an early freeware for you all to enjoy on the 8th September! Please feel free to give her a go and give whatever thoughts/feedback you have, as i plan to continue to focus on improving the freeware to a polished state before pushing focus on a more detailed and complex version for a later payware release.

Edit: I have just thrown together a very basic autopilot controls system for the rear panel! On/Off, Heading hold, and vertical speed hold/set. Works well, just difficult to spot if it’s on or off at the moment… Will likely just keep it like that as basic unlit buttons though… i feel it’s fairly inoffensive as is and with some generic black/grey texturing it should blend in well to the rest of the cockpit!

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Possibility of releasing payware onto Xbox? This looks astounding and I would probably fly nothing else - if that becomes an option

Not really sure how i’m going to do the whole payware thing…Will research into it this autumn/winter and start the process of contacting various sites/ Asobo to see where/ how i can sell it! But i would love for it to be available on the in-game marketplace as well as other vendors eventually.

Would second that, would love to have the aircraft on Xbox. It’s already looking fantastic.

Well, this is it! I have sorted out the worst of the bugs, and she’s flying and looking fairly reasonable, so i am looking to upload the first v0.6.0 freeware version of the comet this thursday for you all to have the joy of crashing on the 88th anniversary of her maiden flight!


This past week has mostly been fiddling with a few animations, behaviours and textures to make her more comfortable to fly in. I’m pretty happy with the flight model as a whole, and while the autopilot has tried to murder me 3 times, and decided to throw me into a vertical dive one time over France after i left it for 10 minutes, it’s mostly working as intended! While i have avoided making any real changes to the model itself over the last week, i have added some rudder trim controls to help with engine-outs, as well as updating the directional gyroscope to make turning to your course heading a little easier to get accurate!

This has also given me a little more time to actually get to fly her, having taken her on a few test flights between Hatfield and Mildenhall via the speed course between Luton and Royston Railway stations (managed 217kts at ground level the other day!), as well as a slightly longer trip between Mildenhall and Marseille with a quick visit to Paris on the way.

While i appear to have managed to nail the landing technique of her in-game, she is quite a different beast to many of the other aircraft in game, requiring a awkward approach into the airfield and some very dainty, yet blind touchdowns! Many a nose-over has been had by all those involved in flying her thus far. But hopefully with the help of the checklists and manual you will learn the ropes quickly and learn to love her quirks.

A quick reminder for anyone getting too excited over her first release… This is essentially an alpha of her, and while there is a lot of fun to be had, this is nowhere near close to being the finished product! The cockpit is very rough-and-ready in modelling, all the textures are as basic as i can get away with for now, and a number of areas of the exterior model need additional details modeled and existing areas refined before i begin on any of the normal mapping of fine details!

That being said, i will gladly take any criticisms/ details on what is good/bad/ugly about her so far, and i will endeavor to continue to push and improve her up to the best standard i can achieve. On which point… knowing how some threads can go, i shall invite you to the TPAeronautics discord which is freshly cleaned and ready (hopefully) for the public! While i don’t have an earlier version of the comet for you all to try just yet, i have uploaded the v0.6.0 version of the Manual of Instructions for you to delve into to learn how to fly this beast!

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I really hope you all enjoy what i have produced so far, and i look forward to meeting you all in the skies,
Shepbur

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Congrats! Glad to see it come to life officially.

I’ve enjoyed following your dev updates and seeing your hard work come to fruition. Roll on Thursday!

Well, the day is here! And while it’s nowhere near what i was originally aiming for, it’s been a brilliant learning experience in all fields!

The TPAeronautics D.H.88 Comet has been initially released as a 0.6.0 version on flightsim.to at the link below: https://flightsim.to/file/40076/d-h-88-comet


Please feel free to download, read through the manual and give her a run around! This all being said, i have done my best to keep her handling as realistic as i can really get without direction discussions with pilots or first hand experience. She isn’t the easiest to fly or take-off in, let alone land! Please make sure you check your fuel quantities and CG balance is well within the limits before attempting a take-off, or even taxiing, else you will have a very sad time of it…

I would love to hear any feedback you have, in addition for you to feel free to join the TPAeronautics discord for further support if you have issues with the file, or flying the aircraft. I can’t wait to hear what you all think of her!

I will continue to keep everyone up to date here every so often with the continued development of this project as i further improve and refine the model over the coming months and year…

Shepbur

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Congratulations! It’s a beautiful model!

Haven’t actually been able to fly as I’m having some issues with the engines cutting out during takeoff on the SU10 beta; posting the details on your Discord!

Right, well, as i said in my last post, (deleted, but just because it was irrelevant now!)

Firstly, sorry for releasing the 0.6.0 with a glaring issue of the engine blowing up within 30 seconds of starting! This was caused if you had engine stress damage enabled. Between the last version which was tested by my lovely volunteers and release i decided to attempt to streamline the engine.cfg slightly, and despite Asobo saying that a detonation onset of -1 disables it, it turns out it just enables detonation at ANY engine speed… so you were doomed from the get-go!

I have now corrected this and you should be able to fly here around happily in version 0.6.1, and i have learnt my lesson to once again ignore literally everything the SDK help website says and just test everything myself!

v0.6.1 is now availible for download on flightsim.to, and includes a couple of fixes for the manual too to help you get into the air a little more easily! (the engine starter buttons weren’t actually labelled anywhere in it, so if you didn’t have help icons pop-up, and aren’t used to covered starter switches you were pretty stuck with finding the ignition!)

Hope to now see you in the skies in POWERED comets… not just the types to crash to the earth and melt into oblivion!

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Even in beta form I’m enjoying this! Great work so far.



Waiting for that landing gear to finally finish retracting was a bit of a chore! Cruising around at 10k feet, give or take 1k as I can’t trim this out to save my life. Haven’t had any issues with the engine power or anything. Just remember to adjust the pitch to get optimum RPM and you’ll be good.

I did have a bit of a nose-over moment on my first take off but dialled in more trim for the second attempt and it took off pretty well. Haven’t tried landing yet though, with the low cockpit view it might be a bit of a challenge. I’ll post the crash investigation report later.

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