TSH v4 Gameplay Improvements

This section of the TSH Manual details all of the improvements TSH v4 makes to Jane's F/A-18 gameplay. Use the links below to navigate to the topic of your choice.


TrackIR Enhanced Functionality

TrackIR in enhanced mode in Jane's F/A-18 is 2DOF only, meaning the view can only be rotated in pitch (up/down) and yaw (left/right) axes. This means you can look around the cockpit from a fixed virtual head position, but you cannot move the virtual head or zoom the view. To enable TrackIR capability, use the TSH Manager and check the Enable TrackIR box on the Other Settings tab.

Enabling Enhanced Mode TrackIR in the TSH Manager

trackir

TrackIR and TrackIR 2

Users that own original TrackIR or TrackIR 2 units should use v3.13 Naturalpoint software, available for download here. Once the software is installed, a Naturalpoint registry entry must be modified to achieve full range of motion.

  • Close the Naturalpoint software if it is running.
  • Open the Start menu and select "Run..."
  • Type "regedit" and press Enter.
  • Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\NaturalPoint\NaturalPoint\V3.13 GX.
  • Scroll the right portion of the window down to "Viewlimiting".
  • Double-click on "Viewlimiting".
  • TrackIR users: change the value from 0 to 1 and press OK.
  • TrackIR 2 users: change the value from 1 to 3 and press OK.
  • Close the registry editor.

Before starting Jane's F/A-18, start the Naturalpoint software and put it in enhanced mode (the default mouse/enhanced toggle is F8). The blue light on the TrackIR unit should be on.

TrackIR 3, TrackIR 3 PRO, and TrackIR 4 PRO

Users that own a TrackIR 3, a TrackIR 3 PRO, or a TrackIR 4 PRO should use the latest Naturalpoint software, available here. Please update your games list to ensure it includes Jane's F/A-18. Before starting Jane's F/A-18, start the Naturalpoint software. The blue light on the TrackIR unit should come on when the sim is started.


North Cape Terrain Detail

Unfortunately the Jane's F-/A18 terrain detail resolution is fixed at 32x32 textures. Although it is very difficult or impossible to overcome this 32x32 limit, the best effort has been made to make the most of the existing limit.

Improved North Cape terrain detail is included by default with TSH v4 and requires no user options.


Trees In The North Cape Theater

One of the elements missing from most flight simulations created in the late 1990s is forestation. TSH has added trees to the North Cape terrain, albeit in limited numbers. While these trees only consist of rudimentary 3D models, their addition to the North Cape theater adds a sense of immersion and realism.

North Cape Trees (shown with ToS' F-14 mod)

trees

North Cape trees are included by default with TSH v4 and require no user options.  However, there are three things to be aware of. The first is that clumps of trees will show on the F/A-18E's ground radar. This simulates the ground clutter that can be caused by forestation.

Secondly, due to limitations in the Jane's F/A-18 3D model conversion process, the trees can sometimes exhibit an odd sheen in certain lighting conditions.

Finally, a ground object density limit exists in Jane's F/A-18. This means that if enough objects and/or plugins are added to a mission, ground objects in that mission will start dropping out. In order to balance the propensity for object dropout with the desire for trees, an area in the bottom on the North Cape map has been wiped of all objects. This roughly maintains the pre-tree object density limit. The area from which objects were removed can be seen in the image below. It was selected because very few, if any, missions use this area. If there is a mission in which a goal exists in this area, it will be impossible to destroy the goal and thus impossible to complete the mission.

Area of North Cape Deleted Objects

trees


Iraq Theater

TSHv4 provides a subset of the Iraq theater from Jane's F-15 in Jane's F/A-18. The Iraq theater provided was initially introduced in TSHv2, but no longer requires ownership or installation of Jane's F-15. The Iraq Theater is included by default with TSH v4 and requires no user options to install.

However, before starting Jane's F/A-18 one must activate the desired theater. To do this, run the Worldswapper.exe utility, found in your main \FA-18 folder. Single missions and campaigns available in-game are controlled by the selected theater (i.e. one will see North Cape missions/campaigns when starting the game with the NCape theater activated, and one will see Iraq missions/campaigns when starting the game with the Iraq theater activated).


Friendlies On The SA Page

TSHv4 changes the way the SA MDI page D/L (datalink) functionality works. In the stock Jane's F/A-18, there were two options for the datalink status: ON and OFF. When the datalink was ON, the "D/L" indication on the MDI was boxed and enemy/neutral contacts detected by AWACS were shown on the SA display. When the datalink was OFF, the "D/L" indication was not boxed and no contacts were shown on the SA display.

In TSHv4, there are four datalink options: DL0, DL1, DL2, and DL3. The relevant MDI pushbutton will cycle through these four options. DL0 is equivalent to the original datalink OFF ("D/L" not boxed). DL1 is equivalent to the original datalink ON ("D/L"  boxed). DL2 displays only friendly contacts on the SA page, while DL3 shows all contacts (friendly/neutral/hostile). This allows a much easier determination of where friendlies are located in the operating area.

DL0 DL1
DL0 DL1
DL2 DL3
DL2 DL3

The updated SA page is included by default with TSH v4 and requires no user options.


High Resolution F/A-18E Cockpit

The original F/A-18 cockpit was designed for compatibility with graphics cards that could not support textures larger than 256x256. This resulted in muddy cockpit labels. The TSH High Resolution F/A-18E cockpit provides much crisper cockpit labeling.

Original F/A-18E Cockpit Hi-Res F/A-18E Cockpit
F/A-18 stock F/A-18 High Res

Switchable F-14 & A-10 Cockpits

By default the VR_CPIT_DETAIL command (default keystroke ALT+/) cycles through LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH detail levels for the F/A-18E cockpit. If you wish to use F-14D and A-10A cockpits, select MULTI in the  Cockpit used-> drop down box of the TSH Manager. Select F18 to return to the three detail levels of the F/A-18E cockpit. The VR_CPIT_DETAIL command cycles cockpits in either case.

Selecting switchable cockpits in the TSH Manager

switchable


Bigger HUD Fonts

When the Activate Big Font in HUD box in the TSH Manager is checked, bigger HUD fonts will be used at all screen resolutions. These can increase HUD legibility at higher resolutions. Below are comparison screen shots of stock fonts and big fonts at a resolution of 1024x768. Note that there is a known issue with big HUD fonts where the AIM-120 AMRAAM TTG and TTA cues are sometimes displayed in both big and small fonts simultaneously. There is currently no fix for this issue.

Since the fonts are still fixed-height (TSH has only changed some of the HUD to use a bigger font, not made the font scale with resolution), it can still be hard to read the HUD at high resolutions (i.e. 1680x1050, 1920x1200, etc.). Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to improve the situation.

Original HUD Fonts Big HUD fonts
hud_small hud_large

Selecting big HUD fonts in the TSH Manager

hudfont


NAVFLIR Capability With The ATFLIR

On the real Superhornet there is no need for a NAVFLIR; its capabilities are included in the ATFLIR. TSH v4 mimics this capability by combining the NAVFLIR and ATFLIR into a single store. This is displayed in the Custom Arming screen as NAVFLIR/ATFLIR. When carrying this store, in-game NAVFLIR MDI symbology (accessed by MENU MDI PB7) and HUD symbology (accessed by pressing the NAVFLIR_MODE keystroke [default N] or clicking on the BLK/WHT/OFF switch under the UFC), as well as ATFLIR imagery / targeting, are available.

With TSH v4, the NAVFLIR is no longer available as a selectable store in the Custom Arming screen. Default and user-created loadouts that include a NAVFLIR will still function without problems. The combined NAVFLIR/ATFLIR is included by default with TSH v4 and requires no user options.

Loading the new NAVFLIR/ATFLIR

flir


TSH v4 Realistic Sounds

TSH v4 incorporates a number of modified sounds in order to improve realism and to enhance the audio quality of Jane's F/A-18. Sound modifications are as follows:

New internal and external engine sounds based on recordings of real F/A-18 engines (note that this makes other fighter aircraft that use the same engine sound files all sound like F/A-18s).

  • Modified missile launch sound (the whoosh is more pronounced and modified to sound "outside" the cockpit).
  • Modified bomb release sound (more tactile thump).
  • G-strained breathing replaces heartbeat at high G loads.
  • Modified explosion sound (note that this makes ejecting sound strange).
  • Modified gear up and gear down noise (thumps are audible as per accounts of real F/A-18 pilot).
  • Modified carrier wake noise (reduction in annoying high-frequency content).

Cockpit Key Mapping

In the stock version of Jane's F/A-18, many cockpit controls could only be activated with the mouse; TSH v4 adds mappable keystrokes to every clickable area of the cockpit. These new mappable commands can be used to build a home cockpit, to improve HOTAS programming, or simply to add an oft-used keystroke that previously required reaching for the mouse. In addition, some key commands that were originally broken are fixed.

All key mappings added by TSH, with the exception of CMDS_MODE, can be found in the "Filter Graphics" area of the custom keyboard mapper (Click on OPTIONS > CONTROLS > Custom Keyboard > Filter Graphics). Note that some commands (e.g. fire extinguisher commands), previously listed elsewhere, have been moved to the "Filter Graphics" section via TSH v4.

A complete list of new commands is below.

UFC Scratchpad Functions

Command UFC Scratchpad Key
UFC_0 0
UFC_1 1
UFC_2 2
UFC_3 3
UFC_4 4
UFC_5 5
UFC_6 6
UFC_7 7
UFC_8 8
UFC_9 9
UFC_ENT ENT
UFC_CLR CLR

Other UFC Functions

Command UFC Mode MDI Mode
Main CNI AP TCN RALT Blank MDI EW FLIR HUD SMS
UFC_F00 EW BALT EW EW EW EW EW EW EW
UFC_F01 FLIR FPAH FLIR FLIR FLIR FLIR FLIR FLIR FLIR
UFC_F02 AP RALT n/a n/a SMS SMS SMS SMS SMS
UFC_F03 TCN ROLL n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
UFC_F04 MDI HDG MDI MDI HUD HUD HUD HUD HUD
UFC_F05 RALT CPL RALT n/a RALT RALT RALT RALT RALT
UFC_F06 n/a n/a ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
UFC_F07 n/a n/a ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
UFC_F08 n/a CNI CNI CNI CNI CNI CNI CNI CNI

Other Cockpit Functions

Command Cockpit Control
BINGOd Decrease bingo setting in 500-pound increments
BINGOi Increase bingo setting in 500-pound increments
HDGd Heading Select Switch down
HDGi Heading Select Switch up
CRSd Course Select Switch down
CRSi Course Select Switch up
SEL_CENTER Select center station for jettison
SEL_LI Select left inboard station for jettison
SEL_RI Select right inboard station for jettison
SEL_LH Select left midboard station for jettison
SEL_RH Select right midboard station for jettison
SEL_LO Select left outboard station for jettison
SEL_RO Select left outboard station for jettison
ROTATE_KNOB Turn Jettison Selection knob
JETTISON Jettison Initiate pushbutton
RADAR_ALT Altitude Switch – toggle RDR/BARO
HUD_REJECT Symbol Reject Switch – cycle NORM/REJ1/REJ2
FIRE_EXTINGUISH Discharge fire extinguisher
FIRE_EXT_LENG L engine shutdown, arm fire extinguisher
FIRE_EXT_RENG R engine shutdown, arm fire extinguisher
FIRE_EXT_AMAD APU shutdown, arm fire extinguisher
RECENTER_TIR Recenter TrackIR
CONT_BRT Toggle control of FLIR contrast/brightness
SW_VIEW Toggle wideview cockpit
SW_CALB Toggle alternate joystick sensitivity on/off
INC_AX Axis-switcher: +1 to axis ID
DBL_AX Axis-switcher: +2 to axis ID
TDC_AX Axis-switcher: return axis control to TDC (ID 0)

(Note that the three fire extinguisher arming mappings and the CMDS_MODE mapping were previously available, but they did not work correctly. With TSH v4 they work correctly.)

UFC in CNI Mode, Main Page UFC in CNI Mode, AP Page
map1 map2
UFC in CNI Mode, TCN Page UFC in CNI Mode, RALT Page
map4 map3
UFC in MDI Mode, blank Page UFC in MDI Mode, EW Page
map9 map7
UFC in MDI Mode, FLIR Page UFC in MDI Mode, HUD Page
map8 map5

UFC in MDI Mode, SMS Page

map6

Other Cockpit Mappings Mapping New Functions
map10 newfunctions

Most of the above functions are explained in the images. The remaining commands are explained below.

RECENTER_TIR: Although a recenter key can be assigned in the TrackIR software, in older software this prevents chorded keystrokes from being used with that key. For example, if F12 is assigned in the Naturalpoint software as the recenter key, the TrackIR will also recenter when SHIFT+F12, CTRL+F12, ALT+F12, etc. are pressed. In Jane's F/A-18 this prevents the assignment of 3 otherwise usable keystrokes. By not assigning a recenter key in the Naturalpoint software and instead mapping RECENTER_TIR in-game, available keystrokes are retained for other assignments. An added benefit of assigning this command in-game and disabling it in the Naturalpoint software is that whatever key you have chosen will function normally in Windows once Jane's F/A-18 is exited.

CONT_BRT: This is a toggle that determines whether the analogue axis controlling the FLIR (see the "Functionality Improvements" section of the TSH v4 Manual) changes the contrast or the brightness.

SW_VIEW: This command is used to toggle the Wideview cockpit on or off.

SW_CALB: This command is used to toggle between the joystick sensitivity curve set in-game and the second curve set in the TSH Manager. Use of this toggle is explained in the next section.

INC_AX, DBL_AX, TDC_AX: These commands control the TSH v4 axis switcher and are explained in the "Functionality Improvements" section of the TSH v4 Manual.


Alternate Joystick Sensitivity

Joystick sensitivity can be controlled in-game in Jane's F/A-18. TSH add-ons provide the capability to create alternate joystick sensitivity settings and toggle between the two sensitivities in flight. To use an alternate stick sensitivity (for example, less sensitive settings for refueling or landing), check the Activate Alternate Joystick Sensitivity box on the Controller(s) Settings tab of the TSH Manager. Then, select the Pitch, Roll, or Yaw radio button and the radio button of the band you want to adjust, and use the slider on the right to set the desired value. In the TSH Manager, the settings displayed on the left are not adjustable and represent what is set-in game, while the settings on the right are adjustable and represent the alternate sensitivity.

In-game Joystick Sensitivity Settings

thumb_in-game_sensitivity

TSH Alternate Joystick Sensitivity Settings

thumb_manager_sensitivity

Alternate sensitivity is toggled on and off in-game using the new SW_CALB command. Alternate sensitivity settings are stored in the registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Jane's Combat Simulations\F18\Config\SetCalib2.