So it has been an ENTIRE YEAR (from 1st October 2020) of working on my aeronaut/aeronauticals/dogfighter game that was loosely inspired by Ace Combat with 1930s aircraft and a lot more tightly inspired by Descent: The Great War space combat simulator but with gravity.
How it started (after a month or so anyhow) ...
PBR was a thing ... a thing which I did not know what ORM stood for and so ended up putting the rough and occlusion maps into the wrong channels because that is how they are set out in the materials editor.
My grasp of networking certainly improved, I had managed to create a co-op mode - based on seperate instances on the same box because I only have the one machine - and I soon realized that I wasn't supposed to just fill the whole of pack/unpack with all of the read/write data because much of that was on the server anyway. Trailing definately need to be on both or either Ai/players would trail and the others wouldn't depending on how they were handling their aircraft. Huge amounts of pack/unpack were commented out and the weird jittering my AI aircraft had been doing in debug mode stopped.
I created a crude lobby system were the level loaded without the mission starting except a briefing to give the player the details of the mission via a seperate file and to choose their aircraft and paint schemes. The player would then wait in this psuedo-lobby for other clients to connect or start a co-op multiplayer mission alone and newly connected players could drop in and out. Debriefing required a bit more voodoo as shifting large amounts of player-mission contextual descriptors - that's text - required some fancy thinking to avoid abusing huge numbers of server to client calls - something that I had been very keen on working smoothly and with the least possible amount of bandwidth.
Creating missions was a series of timed and triggered events based on what the player and Ai pilots were doing. This required lots of scripting due to the lack of physical triggers which a player could walk into on a more normal character based game of the types I had previously demoed or developed.
And so that is kinda of it. After a year of development I have a fully functioning dogfighting game that plays halfway between an arcade shooter and simulator with a mission complete with playable roster of aircraft, briefing, debriefing and drop in and drop out online co-op mode. So naturally it's time to relegate this to the backburner and go return to my previous game project (and really tidy up it's networking) as I want something that can at least be released for Early Access early(ish) next year and Freespace-style dogfighter will require the most work whilst topdown catgirl mayhem is around halfway complete but needs "fluff" adding for the player's ease of life for the first few levels.