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Discussion of Developer Diary #07


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  • Executive Producer Skystreak Productions
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DD 07

Dear Pilots!

Welcome to DD 07 where we celebrate Combat Pilot’s First Anniversary! Our official start date as a team is April 1, 2023 where we adopted our first budget and began work in earnest. In those 12 months we have taken a rag-tag team of developers, some with great experience in this genre and some with little to no experience with this type of PC game and tried to turn ourselves into a professional enterprise. It’s been a fun adventure. Now one year in we can see some real progress in our work and our baby is starting to become something real.

As many of you know, we’ll be at the FS Expo in June showing what we’ve got going on. It won’t be all that much, but for a team of mostly part-time people it’s a great accomplishment. It will only get better from here. The team has done a great job getting us this far and the future is bright.

Combat Pilot: Experimental Prototype is a go!

We have now christened this early creation - Combat Pilot: Experimental Prototype. This special title helps describe the current state of our work and if we ever happen to sell access to a rough early version, we want it to be distinguished from more fully-functional and content-rich future iterations. When that should happen, we will have a new title and new box-art. We plan to make Combat Pilot a long series of titles, not just one. Remember, this is just the beginning of our journey and we won’t get there in one big jump. Nor will we tease you for years and years while we develop it, we will continue to be as upfront and transparent as we can without giving trade secrets away. 

We’ve updated the digital box art to match this small update. Feel free to use on the web and in social media. We’ve also recently updated our media kit with this updated image.

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Our goal was to have a playable prototype by this summer, and by ‘playable’ we just mean the basics! We wanted to be able to fly around with a detailed flight-model and have a couple aircraft carriers floating or sailing nearby. We also wanted to have a period accurate Midway Atoll built with a realistic looking ocean, sky, and clouds. Oh, and have proper controller support and a very basic GUI. The overall goal for our prototype is looking very doable at 12 months in and we are excited.

Unreal Engine 5.3 and Beyond

One item we are ready to speak more about is that we are indeed using Unreal Engine 5+ as our core game engine. In the beginning we did not want to really talk about this because we had some initial concerns about using Unreal as the foundation, but we are now confident it can do the job, or be made to do the job. We think the advantages of using Unreal are obvious and Epic continues to pour money and resources into it making it better all the time.

A couple years ago, Epic Games advertised what could only be described as a flight-sim demonstration project using a special build of Unreal. Jason and Carlos investigated this and they were encouraged that this could be a positive development for the genre. They also learned that the available demo was not quite a perfect match for our needs, but the bones of what could make a valid warbird simulation was in there.

Turns out, Epic aimed this flight demo not at the PC gaming sector per se, but the commercial sector and was trying to recruit aerospace and defense companies to get on board with Unreal. We have friends who work in these industries and it turns out several of them are already using Unreal to power their in-house simulations, albeit not a warbird sim like ours. Seems easy right? Not exactly, we have different requirements for graphics, geospatial, damage, multiplayer and other gameplay features that can make it a challenge. However, by using UE5+ as our base we have saved loads of time by not having to build a completely custom engine from scratch. How else are we going to catch up to the competition in our remaining lifetimes? They have a 10, 15 or even 20 head start! Jason is already over the hill and don't ask how old Frits is. 🧓 Maybe we’re crazy to even try? And Unreal is great, but we still have a mountain of work ahead of us.

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Crowdfunding?

We’ve been asked by many if we plan to do any crowdfunding for Combat Pilot. The answer is yes, we are planning an array of options such as Patreon and selling quality Merch like t-shirts, posters, and calendars through our planned storefront. The aim is to offset some of our non-salary expenses such as travel to museums, research materials, aircraft access, special tools, software licenses and updating hardware. We are under no illusion that our crowdfunding will pay for everything Star Citizen-style, we could only wish, but it will be a great way for those that want to support us early on to do so. Our investors come from the CFS community and are very generous, but their pockets are not bottomless. If these initiatives are successful, more can be done sooner and more of our budget can be used to attract the talent necessary to build your favorite plane or feature. Even one more experienced full-time programmer can make a world of difference! Of course, this would all be optional and you'll get no hard sell from us. More on these efforts soon...

YouTube Channel Activated!

In even cooler news, we have activated our YT channel and posted a couple fun videos featuring our IJN Akagi aircraft carrier! We realize it is strange that our first couple videos feature a ship and not airplanes, but we’re not quite ready to show flying scenes yet. So, for now, showing our flat-tops up close is what’s possible. Have a look! As the kids say like to say - make sure to SMASH THAT SUBSCRIBE BUTTON!

 


Akagi and Enterprise LOD 0 Mesh Complete

Both of our aircraft carriers are entering the texturing stage. We’ve finally dropped some guns onto Akagi and they look awesome!

Akagi_01.thumb.png.3e97dd40657a0d132762adc01e7cc47e.png Akagi_02.thumb.png.1432806a67a3b5dbbf278f3a338aa837.png Akagi_03.thumb.png.bce29fc12f33a5bf1c5f3971fdf7a7b5.png Akagi_04.thumb.png.d0e05af8f4a916dd55f05fa5eae0dc52.png
Akagi_05.thumb.png.dfb836328506d92670a2b3954483f259.png Akagi_06.thumb.png.863b7947bc6f5d08608bddb9fca22ae6.png Akagi_07.thumb.png.c26ae251c5b0ebf6dbc7a96be013e32f.png Akagi_08.thumb.png.703548170efb725ff02675b46bcea725.png


Zeke Airframe

John continues to build the Zeke inside and out so our planes can compete with other sims out there on detail. Looks very nice!

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F4F-4 Airframe

Chris continues to add more detail to our little pussycat and it looks great! We are building such detail to give us as many options as possible for both flying versions and static displays. You never know when such detail will come in handy. Better to have it now then need it later and not have it.

 Wildcat_Deails_01.thumb.png.dc53b207a7f81957bb36b4dc3c270b9b.png Wildcat_Deails_02.thumb.png.9318c1038115f90a6adaadfaeddd8412.png Wildcat_Deails_03.thumb.png.0adaecbeaba8a8ac958af40cffd148f2.png Wildcat_Deails_04.thumb.png.31b7f66d1c7ce8a173669426fdf23a34.png


7 in. / 44 Cal. Artillery

Another Midway defender built by Tamas is almost complete! This time a real bruiser in the form of the 7-inch shore battery. This gun will ruin your invasion force in a hurry. Check out the size comparison chart below. These guns were used on American WWI-era battleships and then later used for island defense.

7in_Gun_01.thumb.png.479dc570ddf8cabad736e1a4c04618ff.png 7in_Gun_02.thumb.png.c54c8e48d606817b1ea3b7fb252134a8.png 7in_Gun_03.thumb.png.aed04f7317ec2822e1db80b44b4d1e17.png 7in_Gun_04.thumb.png.5530b8718a436b4af968a7dd8ad18148.png


Japanese 25mm Type 96 AA Gun

Stefan continues to crank out gorgeous AA guns for our ships. This gun was Akagi’s main air defense weapon. She had 28 guns in 14x dual mounts.

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Japanese 12cm Type 3 Gun

Akagi had 12 of these guns on 6x dual mounts.

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Water-Cooled .50 Cal.

 USS Enterprise was also defended by several of these water-cooled .50 cal. heavy machine guns in case a Kate or Val got close in.

50_Cal_Gun_01.thumb.png.c0fcb8b9bb54dbcdb0372e7954a01a99.png 50_Cal_Gun_02.thumb.png.52ab2947db8d2865abf0c652de787bce.png 50_Cal_Gun_03.thumb.png.753304a037e687ef3c197c473489dbcd.png 50_Cal_Gun_04.thumb.png.b803d4a2fd8178437eacce651eb2a7e1.png


Midway Buildings

Carl continues to build and paint buildings found on Midway during the battle where a few still stand today. Researching these buildings is not an easy affair. Some had makeshift camouflage added before the battle which we still need to add. Midway had a weird mix of permanent military and civilian structures and temporary military encampments. Some facilities were also underground. Today, Midway is almost completely closed to American civilian access and is a small and very remote US Navy installation and wildlife preserve where thousands of Gooney birds and other species live. We hope to have some version of the Midway Atoll in our demo at FS Expo.

Buldings_01.thumb.png.0453e99c86f95ae5f310fcee11b9410d.png Buldings_02.thumb.png.39199539fa11e3cce7f10318ae87c4b0.png Buldings_03.thumb.png.a5a85e54948b5701171a20730fb89cc4.png Buldings_04.thumb.png.444aa5f69b5dbc4b47fd8199d9314fec.png
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Talented Skin-Artist Wanted

As our first two external aircraft models come close to being finished, we are looking for a couple talented skin artists who would like to do some paint schemes that we can show at FS Expo. Our modelers are going to stay focused on their targets for the prototype and move to making the cockpits immediately, so we figured we’d ask the community for assistance. We think it might be a fun opportunity for a talented someone who really likes to paint planes.

This would be a volunteer assignment to start and you should have a professional mindset, experience making quality skins with and access to and knowledge of the latest version of Substance Painter and Photoshop. A portfolio or examples of your previous work painting aircraft for flight-sims is preferred. Also, an intense interest in the Pacific Theater will help. You’ll also need to sign a strict NDA. Our models will be using all the latest materials and PBR techniques etc. You can contact us through our forum, Discord or social media if you’re interested (look for Jason). Community created skins are a special part of this genre and it we will continue the tradition here.

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Finally, for the next several weeks we are going to focus intently on our work and prepare for the FS Expo. We have a lot of work to do. We will likely not have any major Developer Diaries until closer to the show. Of course, we will keep you informed through our forum, Discord and social media properties about our progress. You never know when we may drop something interesting! :salute: DDs will always be part of our marketing so please do not worry.

Thank you for reading our lengthy First Anniversary Developer Diary. We hope you found it interesting and please wish us luck in our second year!


“Neither side in this conflict can build warships as fast as aviation can destroy them from the skies.”

                    -  Major Alexander P. DeSeversky

 

The Combat Pilot Team

Full Developer Diary is HERE!

Jason

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Outstanding visual fidelity. I now have a high-spec PC... I hope it will be able to handle something of this level, otherwise it'll be raiding the kids' piggybanks once more 😲.

Although that's not going to happen - no acknowledged kids 😌.

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The Bell Inn, Bath. Live music venue and real ale pub (thebellinnbath.co.uk)

I am in the homepage picture... or I would be if they hadn't cropped off the bottom part of it. 🍻

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Congrats on your first anniversary! I really hope all this isn't some kind of elaborate April fools joke. 😉

Progressing nicely it seems and a lot faster than I thought, just like Rodwonder also pointed out.
Kinda wish I was better at making skins, but unfortunately... 😄

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Hell yeah! Its starting to look real now.. Hard not to get excited!! Wondering about all the cool things this game will be able to do with Unreal that other sim's can't with their in-house engines. 

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image.png.950ab8e44f4b029d49e00675dee3245c.png

Working signatures? What a novel concept!

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Looks great! Thanks for the update, keep up the good work.

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AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D 8-Core Processor | Asus TUFF nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 OC | Asus ROG Crosshair VII Dark Hero | 64GB Crucial Ballistix DDR4-3600 RAM | Windows 10 Pro x64 | Virpil MT-50 CM2 Throttle | Virpil Alpha on WarBRD base |  Virpil Ace 1 Rudder Pedals | Saitek Pro Flight Throttle Quadrant (x2) |Acer x34 P 3440 x 1440 | Valve Index VR | DCS on NVME

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I didn't know that Epic was courting professional flight simming (US military?) and made their sim better suited for flight simming. This would be very good news indeed.

I wonder if this makes modding easier to support as well.

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I'm not one to get excited about boats but man does the Akagi look awesome, congratulations to all involved, that is some amazing work on show there and bodes well going forward.:classic_cool:

Sadly I think my old machine will lack the energy to play this but I am excited to see how it all turns out, good luck to all of you and congratulations on getting to this anniversary.:beercheers:

Take care and be safe.

Wishing you all the very best, Pete.:classic_biggrin:

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