Sunday, February 7, 2010

Polikarpov I-16 Coming Soon.

Well after 6 months of hardware troubles and real life problems. Production has resumed. Our next aircraft, currently undergoign flight testing is the Polikarpov I-16.

The Polikarpov I-16 was a Soviet fighter aircraft of revolutionary design; it was the world's first cantilever-winged monoplane fighter with retractable landing gear. The I-16 was introduced in the mid-1930s and formed the backbone of the Soviet Air Force at the beginning of World War II. The diminutive fighter prominently featured in the Second Sino-Japanese War[1], the Battle of Khalkhin Gol, and the Spanish Civil War where it was called the Rata (Rat) by the Nationalists or Mosca (Fly) by the Republicans. The Finnish nickname for I-16 was Siipiorava ("Flying Squirrel").

This example is finished in the paint scheme for temperate climates, immediately befroe the German Invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

Design work began in early 1933, with the first flight taking place on December 31 of that year. Although somewhat difficult to fly, the I-16's speed, high roll-rate, and rate of climb earned it production status. The aircraft was produced from 1934 through 1939, and was then reinstated to production in 1941, with some 8,650 being built.

THI will be offering other Soviet schemes, and weapons paclages once flight testing is done. We are also planning to release Spanish Republican, and Chinese (KMT) Nationalist paint schemes for this little fighter.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reason for the long silence

A great deal has changed in SL recently. Its not my place to comment on exactly how this has affected THI because quite frankly I am no longer involved in SL.

I am led to understand, of the Four Computers owned by Karl, three are nonfunctional and the survivor dates from 1993, so it barely runs SL. He is only online on Sundays when he can use better equipment located at a friends house. He should be able to use Blogger though, so I will ask him to post an update here next time we are in contact.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

How to make a Sculptie in Sculpt Studio. Part I: Overview

THI is working on a new plane a Polikarpov I-16. This plane was the first production military aircraft to get retractable landing gear. The designer was hedging his bets and designed a stable tripod when extended so the gear was stable when landing on Russia's unimproved airfields. However, rather than one strut and a wheel and a simple cut out, this one has three struts, three cut outs and a hinged flap. This necessitated making Two sculpties. One for the extended shape and one for the retracted shape, The extended shape was complicated as this model of a the plane shows.

The first step was the build the gear in standard prims to use as a scaffold. This has all the basic shapes necessary to create the look of the finished landing gear, The object in red are the same objects moved to represent the entire assembly as if retracted into the wing, as there will be a texture swap during the gear retraction animation so that the landing gear will be nearly flush to the wing as on the real plane.

Next one has to chose the number of slices, plates, coins, prims, or what ever you call the items used to create the sculptie. For such a complicated shape and at the suggestion of my co builder at THI, Duke Elliott, I bit the bullet and used a count of 128 slices of 8 points each.

There were four shapes used on the 129 slices, the tire profile, lathed by hand around the Axle. a simple circle, a simple sharp edges rectangle, and the "pole" slice. To make the pieces look separate, each segment was terminated by two shapes, followed by two "poles". the space between pole slices is invisible so if you have the count, you can make several "separate pieces into one object. But because of "Level of Detail" (LOD) considerations you want to make at least two or three co planar slices to give the object a sharp edge, and then two or three also coplanar "poles" so as to not lose the separation or detail when you zoom out and away from he object. Planes tend to be seen at great distances , even in SL.

The next step after arranging the slices in the way you want, is to render them out into a sculptie texture. The bounding box is arraigned so that it allows the wheels to touch the ground but still encompass the whole of the slices. Here one can see on the plane the angle nec3essary for it to touch the ground, flat to the runway on the plans here.

The rendered texture is applied to a sculpted object generated by Sculpt studio to be the same size and volume as the bounding box below. After I made the extended version I went back and moved the slices around to make the retracted version so that both occupy the same space within the bounding box so the piece wont's move or snap much when the script changes the sculpt texture during the animation. A little snapping is unavoidable, but make it as small and minor as you can.

Here are all of the Pieces arranged and mirrored to attach to the plane. both extended and retracted, bot left and right.

And finally here we see the landing gear attached to the plane, with the 'retracted version prims used to show where the "hole" in the wings and lower fuselage will have to be in the Alpha Channel. I will go into more building detail for a whole project later, but I thought I would show how this was done in a basic overview so that you wont' be that intimidated by sculpties and Sculpt Studio, should you choose to use this amazing tool.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

The second set of textures, based on the famous Tiger I currently residing at the Bovington Tank Museum in the U.K has been completed, and is on display at Aeronautica (this time on the ground level hangar next to Runway 1). All that remains now it to script and test them to insure that the tanks live up to THI's high standards, Please take a look of you find yourself in Aeronautica.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Coming Soon: PzKpfW VI Tiger I Tank

Just thought I would share with you a Picture of the new Tiger I tank, soon to be released by THI. I can announce now that it is texture complete , so now it is handed off for scripting and testing, Please don't ask on a release date as it has to be thouroughly tested so that it will be the quality you have come to expect from THI armaments.. It will be soon though and of course, VICE equipped, More later. but enjoy the pictures