Leatherneck Simulations Spring Update is now out and in it they talk about their latest work on four modules they have currently released and/or are in development. Everything in Leatherneck’s portfolio is actually under active development so there’s a lot to talk about including updates to the MiG-21bis, small updates to the recently released Christen Eagle II, and updates on their in development F4U-1D Corsair and F8J Crusader.
MiG-21bis big update
Leatherneck is taking a lot of lessons learned over the years and pouring that back into enhancements for their first DCS World module. The MiG-21bis has garnered a fair bit of praise over the years but it has also had its share of issues and Leatherneck is looking to address those.
Leatherneck’s stated goal on this update is to simultaneously improve the visuals as well as performance. The MiG-21’s unique texture arrangements have, in the past, caused performance issues. There is a lot that the team can do to maintain the high quality while using alternate techniques to achieve the same end look – and they are hoping to still improve the visuals.
In order to improve the general look of the cockpit, not only have shapes and textures improved, but in some instances we’ve made a decision to entirely reconstruct certain elements, such as the windscreen and ASP-21-PDF gunsight. Derived from CAD designs, the new gunsight represents a higher quality 3D mesh than the previous one, while at the same time does not impact performance as we were actually able to reduce number of polygons in use.Leatherneck Simulations Spring Update
We’ve seen similar examples to what Leatherneck Simulations is describing with Eagle Dynamics A-10C cockpit update where Eagle Dynamics is looking to make a more impressive cockpit while also being more efficient at the same time.
Of course, everything is helped by the release of DCS World 2.5 which is now over a year old and providing a somewhat more steady release platform with features such as PBR textures now being fully implemented and being taken better advantage of by current and future modules.
Leatherneck is showing off some examples of the MiG-21 update right here (and on their Spring Update).
F8 Crusader update
The surprise announcement just several weeks back was that Leatherneck Simulations was working on a F8 Crusader, a key US Navy fighter during the Vietnam War. The specific version of the Crusader is the focus of the update as Leatherneck seeks out museum models to work from and data sources to use to build the aircraft.
The new update gives us new information on the type of F8 that we’re going to see. It will be an F8J, a late model version of the fighter, with an upgraded Pratt & Whitney J-57-P-420 engine. Leatherneck also reports that the aircraft will have the following features:
- A new AN/APQ-124 radar set
- 4 x 20 mm Colt-Browning Mk 12 cannons in the lower forward fuselage area
- ‘Y pylons’ enabling the fuselage stations to carry four air-to-air missiles or Zuni pods
- Underwing pylons
- Bullpup missile control systems.
I personally love to have a variety of options and it appears that this version of the F8 Crusader will come with plenty.
Leatherneck is making progress on their F4U Corsair project as well. The aircraft version confirmed by them is the F4U-1D Corsair. A version of the fighter that typically saw service in 1944 and 1945. The 1D version was the first to have zero-length rocket rails as standard and Corsairs were heavily used in the Okinawa campaign.
Leatherneck reports that their Corsair project is moving along, however, there is work still to do and they aren’t ready to show us their cockpit efforts just yet.
CEII sound updates
Leatherneck’s recently released Christen Eagle II bi-plane aerobatic aircraft doesn’t have the complexity of other modules but it does appear to be getting and audio update.
To address this request, we’ve decided to employ a sound engineer who recorded high quality samples of an actual Christen Eagle II during aircraft startup and engine operation. After processing and adopting for DCS standards, this sounds will be implemented to satisfy your expectations.
Plenty to look forward to
For a while it felt to me that Leatherneck Simulations was quietly working away on their CEII project but now that the diminutive aerobatic bi-plane is out, the whole tenor and tone has changed and Leatherneck is really talking about all of their next projects.
I encourage you to check out the details on their Spring Update for more info.