What's New!

There's a lot new, more than I can really talk about, but it's been so long since my last blog post that I need to make up for lost time. Sorry if this turns out to be a long rambling post, but there might be some stuff you are interested in scattered throughout.

It turns out that we had to change the  name of our expansion pack. It's kind of a long story, but we had to pick something else, so lets accelerate forward into a bright future. I don't know if the marketing folks want to make a splash with the new name or not, so I better not outright state it just yet.

One of the reasons why I have been so bad about updating my blog is that we have been fighting to get all of our new mission voice over scripts finalized so that we could hit our date to go to LA for the recording session. The good news is that we hit our date and Mike and David will be heading for LA this week. The bad news is that all of our time was spent working toward this goal. Actually writing the rough scripts isn't that hard, but writing polished scripts that read well by professional actors takes time. The most time consuming part for our design team was implementing the associated missions so that as we iterated on the mission, we could update the script with the new lines that always come from that. Having hit our date, it implies that nearly all of the missions and race courses are functional which is about 80% of the work on the missions. Now we "just" need to finish them and fix whatever bugs we find. I am very confident we can accomplish that without cutting any missions and I think the missions will be as good as if not better than the missions we shipped in FSX.

So here are some meat and potatoes for you regarding some of these missions. Alot of the missions are helicopter scenarios, many of which ustilize our new slingload or hydraulic hoist systems (or both). I can tell you it's a blast lifting loads with a cable, so the good news is that we have an awesome and realistic new system for you to play with. The bad news is that it's realistically difficult to pick-up, fly, and place objects. So those of you that are helicopter fans or have newly discovered the fun and challenge of flying helicopters will have some new challenges to explore. I interviewed a helicopter pilot that flew Blackhawks in combat and I picked his brain on flying with slingloads. Based on his information as well as other research I think our dynamcis are pretty good. It's very cool seeing the object hooked on the cable swing back and forth, react to airflow/airspeed and G's. If you go too fast, the load will start to oscillate and bad things happen after that. In real life the crew chief will "punch the load" before the crew is endangered. For us the cable will break as the cable load is exceeded. I've created a tutorial for using the slingload cable and hoist that will help you lean how to succeed with them, but I am assuming that you are already proficient at hovering and have completed the helicopter tutorials we shipped in FSX. I think you guys will really like what we've done here!

Another super cool thing you should find in the expansion pack isn't quite finished yet, but we expect to complete before we ship. I'm a little afraid to talk about these new features just yet because I can't say for certain if all of it will all be completed in time. here's a hint for you though, it involves landing on large moving aquatic objects..., and maybe even something to land on it with (isn't that a novel idea :). Another challenging activity to provide a tutorial on don't you think. I've spent hours practicing and picking the brain of my neighbor in an effort to get it right. I'll tell you more when either; 1) I feel 100% confident it will be finished and ship. Or 2) Someone else spills the full can of beans first. Another set of features you guys are going to go crazy over (I can see all the addons coming already).

 I think you can see that even with my lightly veiled descriptions of things we have been working on, this expansion product is about much more than multi-player racing! This is one reason why I am very confident you will want to pick it up when it's released.

Speaking of racing, I've taken a few trips recently to do more research on Reno Air Racing. As I write this I'm in Oklahoma City on a brief visit with the owner and pilot of the P-51 Miss America. Considering how long this post has grown, I think i'll have to leave that to a separate blog post (not tonight though).

Thanks for reading and being patient with my lack of attention lately!