knegel.jpg.

EAW Aircraft Edit notes by Ralf 'Knegel' Kraeft
English Edition, July 2002
Translated by Andy with help by Catseyes

Aircraft Edit (AE) by Jeroen van Soest is a tool that allows you to change the flight characteristics and damage models of all planes included in European Air War (EAW), as well as the flight files generated by ECAP. These characteristics are stored in the *.flt files and the planes.dat that can be found in flt.cdf.

The program also allows you to develop completely new flight models for newly created planes. Note by CatsEyes: You can do this either by modifying the existing flight file for a slot, or by copying and then renaming another flight file to the appropriate slot, and modifying that. (But see below.)

Before beginning the editing process you should take notice of some facts:

• The characteristics of every single aircaft slot is influenced by the eaw.exe. That means that if you move a flt file to another slot you will have to verify its characteristics by testing it in the game.
• Nearly every single value that can be set in the flt files has an influence on another value in the same file. Note by CatsEyes: E.g. changes to one aspect of the aircraft's flight performance will affect others - in extreme cases, making the aircraft unflyable.
• Some values have maxima and minima, and when the max / min value is achieved no further change in that direction will be possible.
• The values in the flt files will not necessarily be the same as, or even directly proportionate to, their real-world values. To take one example: In AE some planes may require double the engine power of another to work properly, but this won't directly reflect their relative power outputs in reality. Note by CatsEyes: See also Charles Gunst's calculations on maximum velocity figures in his EAW Editing notes, where he gives a rough and ready formula of MPH x 1.467 for maximum velocity.
• Every single change you make to a file will have to be tested and verified in actual game-play
• some descriptions of the values in EAW Aircraft Edit are incorrect or somewhat misleading
• never forget to make backups of your files ;o)
• Damage and Flight model do not influence one another

Damage Model (DM)

Gun data Folder

PLANES.DAT

The values are described well in Aircraft Edit, so no further explanation is needed. Unfortunately there is only one planes.dat for all slots/planes. So the DMs of single planes can not easily be transfered to other players or slots.
Just one little but important note: The 'caliber' setting influences the damage done by a single hit (hitpoint) in game. Aircraft Edit only allows to set 4 values (7/13/20/30 mm) but you can use a Hex-Editor to customize this setting.

*.FLT

X 1st pair in group
Y 1st pair in group
Z

X 2nd pair in group
Y 2nd pair in group

These values code for the gun tracer positions, so they influence only the game graphics.
The little sketch in the upper left corner of the 'Damage data' folder shows how the values have to be used. The correct position has to be found by trial and error (as with other values too).

Muzzle Velocity
This description is slightly misleading: it should really be called average muzzle velocity, because energy loss is all the same for all gun calibers in EAW. So small caliber guns (with a high muzzle velocity) would have a greater range than big caliber guns. This of course would be completely wrong.
Note: The Muzzle Velocity setting has no influence on the damage done by a single hit.

Rate of Fire

This value speaks for itself. It means the bullets that are shot in every single second.

Dispersion

This value has two different meanings:
For AI pilots it means a real dispersion. The less the value the smaller is the diameter of the dispersion cone of the gun in question, and the more inaccurate is the fire of the AI pilots.
For the human player this setting stands for something like a bullet size: the smaller the value the more difficult it is to hit a target.

X Shels 1st pair
X Shels 2nd pair

I’m not quite sure how these values work. They are supposed to code for the time offset when two guns in one ‘Gun Group’ are fired together.

Gun ID

This setting is especially important for AI pilots. Guns with same ID are fired together.

Tracer Duration/Range

As the name says, this value stands for the range of the guns.
Note by Andy: It also influences at what range the AI pilots start firing at their target. Setting this value too high may result in completely unrealistic AI pilot behaviour. I used values at 100 and below for the small guns. AI firing behaviour for cannons (20 & 30 mm) is also influenced by eaw.exe. These are used on short ranges only so the Tracer Range can be set to more realistic values for cannons.

Damage Data Folder

The descriptions given here are quite helpful, and are self-explanatory. But beware: 20 hitpoints in one slot may not be equal to 20 hitpoints in another. Don't forget to test your changes.

Flight Model (FM)

Flight Stability Data Folder

Drag Stability

unknown
air drag
unknown
engine power
drag of the landing gear when extended

Sideforce Stability

rudder influence
unknown
unknown
unknown
unknown
unknown
unknown
converges to 1 the faster the plane is

Lift stability

lift in dependance of velocity and drag
Wingspan area
no influence ?
4.
5.
6.

Roll stability

roll stability (not sure what this is)
wingspan / area
rollstability (not sure what this is)
roll rate
unknown
1st engine
2nd engine
3rd engine
4th engine

Pitch stability

not sure of any of these values

Yaw stability

panning
rudder effectiveness
panning
sliding during rolling
panning and effectiveness of rolling

Flight Control Data Folder

lower right corner

mass of empty aircraft (inertia in flight direction)
mass of fuel (the higher the value the more steady the vertical climb)
inertia in transverse direction (the lower the value the more inert)
inertia in yaw axis
inertia when using rudders
has something to do with weight of the nose
inertia when spinning, influence on spin velocity
something else about the spin behaviour

Engine Data Folder

as described
as described
as described
influence on power below 6000 m
influence on power above 6000 m
as described
as described

How to do a new flight model:

Take an existing flt file that matches the intended flight model best.
Note by CatsEyes: The file will need to be (or be placed in) the same folder as your copy of EAW Aircraft Edit.

First step is to get the velocity of the new plane right. There are a lot of values that have an influence. These are (section / No. of value out of the above listed):

Drag stability / 1
Drag stability / 4
Lift stability / 1
Flight control data / 1
Flight control data / Maximun Velocity
Engine data / Best altitude
Engine data / 4
Engine data / 5

Maybe there are some more that have some influence also but these are the most important.
Tweak these settings until you are satisfied with your work.

Second step: Now we take care of the turning radius. One value is most important:

Flight Control Data / 1 (‘mass of empty aircraft’)

Note: Increasing the mass of the aircraft will also have a (negative) influence on the climb rate. More engine power can counteract that, but of course will also make the plane faster in level flight. It’s better to get the turn rate too good and use the stall settings to counteract the effects of the new turn rate if neccessary.
Note from CatsEyes: even minor adjustments to these values may lead to the plane becoming unflyable. Note well the suggestion below to make the plane temporarily 'unstallable' until you've got things right.

How to measure the turn radius in the game:
Set the Flight Control Data / rotational inertia related value to 1 to make the plane non-stalling. You can also increase Drag stability / 4 (engine power) if the first step is not sufficient. Now the plane should not stall anymore.
Now you can measure the turn radius / turn time at a certain altitude in the game. It should be constant at all velocities. Adjust the Flight Control Data / 1 (‘mass of empty aircraft’) value until all works as desired. Don’t forget to set back the Flight Control Data / rotational inertia related and Drag stability / 4 values. Now go back to the first step and adjust the plane's velocity again.

The third step is to tweak the general in-flight behaviour of the aircraft. The following values can be changed:

Lift stability / all values
Roll stability / all values
Pitch stability / all values
Yaw stability / all values
Sideforce stability / all values
Flight control data / values 2 - 8

This is the most difficult part of the work. Many of these values are dependent on the velocity of the plane and vice versa so don’t forget to check the velocity settings in step one from time to time.

Fourth step: Climb rate and velocity again.
The most important value to change in order to alter the climb rate is:

Engine Data / 4 (influence on power below 6000 m)

Play around with this value and don’t forget to check your velocity setting afterwards.

But how to measure the (initial) climb rate?
Fly straight and as slow as possible (mostly below 200 km/h) at sea level. Now give full throttle and begin a constant (!) climb (at about 200 to 230 km/h). Now wait one minute (your velocity should be constant) and read your altitude afterwards. That’s your (initial) climb rate.

Now do this at various altitudes, and - you know it already by now - don’t forget to check the velocity settings.

Note by CatsEyes: Given the complexities of some of these relations, it's prudent to decide in advance what values you think you really need to change, and which are less important. Rather than trying to produce an entirely new flight model, you may want to work incrementally on existing models from EAW or ECAP. Note also that most of the FMs in ECAP involve relatively limited changes from one or other original EAW FM.

OK, now that you're done, you may want to test your new flight model online and compare it to others just to make sure the relations are right.

That’s it. And yet the weekend is gone... ;o)

Original German text: Ralf 'Knegel' Kraeft (Kraeft-Elektro@t-online.de)
Original English translation and some additions: Andy
Further editing and further additions: David 'CatsEyes' Burchell (burchell@hermes.net.au)
2001-2002
Thanks to Jeroen van Soest for creating EAW Aircraft Edit.