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 Overview

Skunkworks is a research and development organization dedicated primarily to simulating aerospace technologies in LBP. It was founded by Nine-TailedFox4. It is currently led by zbsp_ and represented by Nine-TailedFox4.

History

Skunkworks was founded by Nine-TailedFox4 on November 18th, 2017 to represent the interests of an unofficial association of military creators within the LittleBigPlanet Union. It was announced at the November 2017 Union Summit meeting.[1]

Origins (2010-2012)

The origins of Skunkworks is difficult to trace, but it officially recognizes its origins as the unofficial partnership between zbsp_ and Nine-TailedFox4 (at the time IAB98) forged in the early days of LBP 2.

IAB98's Eurofighter Typhoon, as featured in Free Airplanes 2

IAB98 quickly rose to prominence in the LBP aviation community after his level, Free Airplanes 2, received critical acclaim and mass appeal.[2] IAB quickly emerged as the industry leader in aircraft technology, making the use of stickers for airframe detail mainstream, as well as developing technologies such as multi-target lock and digital throttle logic.

Zbsp_ created technologies regarding airframe design, pioneering the usage of glitches and decorations in aircraft design before their widespread adoption in LBP 3. Most of zbsp_'s projects were of a highly ambitious nature and as such has a high rate of dropping projects.

The group also included several other noteworthy figures. Videogamer_1 was a pioneer of the aviation community who developed methods of stable flight for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft before the advent of movers with the arrival of LBP 2. He was also the leader of the now-defunct United Capitalist Organization, an alliance of creators and clans.[3] Lebes14 was an early pioneer of sequencer-based flight logic who formed the basis of modern jet design in LBP 2 and frequently collaborated with zbsp_. Dialanche393 was a creator who rose to prominence while the rest of the group hid their technologies during the Cold War with several vehicle giveaways.[4]

The LBP Cold War (2012-2014)

During what is commonly regarded as the golden age of LBP aviation, with a large, bustling, tight-knit community, a player by the name of Snowiieee (aka BlueKnight1379) obtained IAB98's F-22 and reverse-engineered it for parts and logic to produce an F-22 which he claimed was a completely domestic product. At the same, Magaiver9000 obtained an early version of ZBSP's second generation F-35B, and essentially copied/ used parts from the aircraft. This led to a huge backlash from the group. However, Snowiieee had influence among several LBP aviation creators, including anthgunman, magaiver9000 and civilprotecter12. It is also important to note that Blueknight1379's name was actually influenced by another creator he had partnered with at the time: Hatedhawkins. Hawkins created another account called Whiteknight1371, and Blueknight essentially copied his name. Hatedhawkins/ Whiteknight1371 was accused of stealing several times, but it was later found that all stolen parts were given to him by Blueknight. In fact, Hatedhawkins may be one of the most uninvolved parties of the conflict. These events essentially split the aviation community in two, those who believed that IAB98 was the true innovator and industry leader and that Snowiieee was a thief and another group who believed that the opposite was true.

The IAB-aligned group complete final preparations for a nuclear attack on Snowiieee. IAB98 is strapped to the rocket as the warhead, while zbsp_ (left) lights the fuse to the rocket, cra-zee_1 (center right) mans the controls and mtnbiker1998 (right) observes. (2013 colorized)

Despite the creators' attempts at distancing themselves from the thieves, the group was subject to several successful robberies through the use of proxy players who were not part of the aviation community and thus were not seen as threats, such as medic410. This development led to a period of strict isolationism in which any new aircraft were hidden from public view and several measures were adopted to prevent the theft of intellectual property, including but not limited to lag bombs which could crash PS3s, glitched objects which could diverge games and extensive internal documentation of aircraft design to provide proof of creation. The Cold War was at its peak with the advent of 3rd generation fighters, with virtually every aircraft following a similar format. Some also call this time period the "F-16 Era" because everyone made similar looking F-16s. The cold war started to settle down in 2014. This is where IAB98/ Nine-TailedFox4's and Blueknight's logic started to diverge somewhat. While Blue created a number of different designs like a leerjet and some other F-16s (magaiver9000's leerjet also had some elements of Blueknight's new flight logic), IAB98 created the F-86A-5. The cold war could be seen as "won" by IAB98 once his F-86A-5 appeard in EpicLBPTime's video.

Epic_LBP2_Creations_-_Episode_5_-_EpicLBPTime

Epic LBP2 Creations - Episode 5 - EpicLBPTime

The F-86A-5 became perhaps the most well renown LBP2 fighter and won the cold war for IAB98.

Post-War Period (2014-2017)

With the advent of LBP 3, the aviation community rapidly declined. Sumo Digital's botched launch of the game and its slow, if not absent, reaction to game-breaking bugs such as constant multiplayer connection issues, lack of a backup feature and constant profile corruptions led to many of the aviation community dropping the game. This heavily affected both sides of the LBP Cold War and Snowiieee (now BlueKnight1379) himself stopped playing the game. With the absence of BlueKnight, IAB98 (now Nine-TailedFox4) continued his innovation streak with the successful P-51 Mustang of LBP 3, proving that he was the primary driver of LBP aviation innovation. Hatedhawkins and Anthgunman had also gone on to make some of the most detailed aircraft in LBP3.

While this brought an end to the conflict, the heavy losses on both sides left the aviation community in shambles. While Nine-TailedFox4 continued to innovate and develop new technologies at a rapid pace, the pace for the rest of the aviation community stagnated due to the lack of other creators building aircraft, and zbsp_'s initial absence from the game.

By 2017, the remnants of the aviation community who were still active and in contact, Nine-TailedFox4, zbsp_, B_IS_1 and USAFWRX (aka mtnbiker1998) gathered together and formed Skunkworks in 2017.

As of 2020, Skunkworks stands as a monument to LBP aviation. Skunkworks members are no longer active on LBP.

Skunkworks Period (2017- 2020)

The Skunkworks period saw a massive shift in doctrine. With the lowered threat environment, the group reversed their isolationist doctrine in favor of strong publicity and public relations, posting pictures of aircraft, writing blog posts and giving away aircraft. Nine-TailedFox4 realized that the now small numbers of the aviation community put the group at a disadvantage should any other conflicts arise. On November 17th, 2017, Nine-TailedFox4 officially announced the creation of Skunkworks, named after Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Projects division[5] and at the same time sought membership in the LittleBigPlanet Union.

Today, Skunkworks is officially disbanded. No further aircraft development is under way due to the announcement of PS5 and a potential new LBP-like game. The F-16C Block 42, the only 6th generation aircraft and perhaps the most advanced aircraft in LBP, is the final Skunkworks creation.

ZBSP_ and Nine-TailedFox4 have since joined ValTech.

Demographics

Population

According to the LBP Union Census, Skunkworks has four members.[6]

Language

Skunkworks consists of members whose primary language is English. The leader, zbsp_, also has limited conversational fluency in Japanese and can also speak some Spanish and Tagalog.

Government

Skunkworks is led by zbsp_, who acts as the mediator between members and makes the final decisions for the organization. However, all members hold equal influence due to the exclusive and tight-knit nature of the organization. Skunkworks only recruits people who are on the bleeding edge of aviation-related technology.

Foreign Relations and Military

Skunkworks was a member state of the LittleBigPlanet Union during the brief 2017 reformation, and thus was allied with all the other Union member states. Skunkworks primarily operated as both a research and development organization and weapons supplier to the LBPU. It rarely engages in any conflict except in the case of theft. While the members primarily create modern military aircraft, they sometimes produce objects which do not fall under this category. Thus, Skunkworks has no clear military structure.

While the organization has not formed any formal alliances with any other clans, its members established relations with videogamer_1's United Capitalist Organization for aid during the LBP Cold War.

Research and Development

Skunkworks dedicates months to single projects as to increase the quality of the final product. For this reason, Skunkworks aircraft are perhaps the highest quality available in LBP. Unlike private contractors, Skunkworks is not very secretive about technological advancements and invests heavily into advertisement and public relations.

Products

LBP3_F_16C_Block_42_Trailer

LBP3 F 16C Block 42 Trailer

The F-16C represents the absolute pinnacle of fighter aircraft in LBP3. It is the frontline Skunkworks fighter. All documentation for the aircraft, including the design blueprints and pilot operating handbook, as well as the PS3 download version of the aircraft, can be found here .

zbsp_ primarily operates in a research-and-development role in the organization, pushing the limits of airframe design. This, and the fact that he took a long hiatus after the release of LBP 3 means that the only aircraft he has in service are the AH/MH-6 Little Bird and AH-1Z Viper helicopters which were produced in LBP 2

Culture and Style

The design philosophy of Skunkworks centers around detailed airframes and simulation-level logic. The period leading up to the Skunkworks Era has been defined by incremental upgrades, with features such as sticker detail and hybrid wings slowly being integrated into aircraft. LBP aviation can be divided into several generations; however, some aircraft do not fall neatly within these categories due to the incremental nature of improvement.

Prehistoric (2008-2011)

zbsp_'s Concorde, an example of a prehistoric aircraft

This category encapsulates all LBP 1 aircraft, as the lack of movers made making even a simple aircraft a daunting task. This period is defined by creators attempting to build a proper flying machine, with videogamer_1 being the sole creator to incorporate combat systems into an aircraft. Aircraft of this era include zbsp_'s Concorde, videogamer_1's F-16 Fighting Falcon and Nine-TailedFox4's original P-51 Mustang.

First-generation

IAB98's F-86, a Generation 1 aircraft

These aircraft were the first designs of LBP2. These aircraft were produced before IAB98 and zbsp_ exchanged technology. They were characterized by their large size and the first rudimentary mover flight logic. These aircraft were the first to feature player lock radars, retractable landing gear, ejection seats, and etched-in panels. Examples of this generation are IAB98's first F-86 Sabre and Eurofighter Typhoon, zbsp_'s AH-64D Apache Longbow and most aircraft produced by catdady7.

Second-generation

Two examples of Generation 2 aircraft, IAB98's first F-15 Eagle (top) and rcmaniac22's F-16 Fighting Falcon (bottom)

These aircraft came about as a direct result of the exchange of technology between zbsp_ and IAB98. The size of aircraft were drastically reduced thanks to zbsp_'s new scaling methods first envisioned by videogamer_1. This generation also started the trend towards highly-detailed airframes. This also saw the culmination of ground-breaking technologies which took advantage of the new capabilities of LBP 2. Zbsp_'s first F-35 Lightning II incorporated a prototype radar-guided missile system and the advent of air-to-ground weaponry with the AGM-154 JSOW. Lebes14 created the sequencer-based flight logic, which became the basis for most LBP 2 flight logic. Examples of this generation include zbsp_'s second F-35 Lightning II, IAB98's first F-15 Eagle and lebes14's Su-35 Flanker-E.

Third-generation

IAB98's F-16C Block 32, perhaps the most prolific and successful LBP2 fighter

The first Generation 3 aircraft was IAB98's F-16C Block 32. Generation 3 aircraft were characterized by use of sticker detail and incorporation of digital throttle logic into lebes14's sequencer flight logic, simulating the time it takes for a jet engine to spool up and respond to pilot commands. Generation 3 also marks the integration of glitches and decorations into aircraft. 3-D cameras allowed the use of first-person Heads-Up Displays. Missile countermeasures were also developed, marking a drastic increase in combat capability for Generation 3 aircraft. Generation 3 was also characterized by being the aircraft developed during the LBP Cold War. Examples include IAB98's third F-16 Fighting Falcon, zbsp_'s third F-35 Lightning II and OMT012's F-16 Fighting Falcon.

3.5 generation

These aircraft represented the absolute limit of LBP2's capabilities. Most of these designs were built right

F-86A-5

before LBP3 came out. A major shift in doctrine occured. Among 3.5 gen fighters, different formats of flight logic were seen mainly due to the fact that Blueknight had very limited contact with IAB98. The cold war started to cool down with 3.5 gen fighters. While Blueknight retained the same format from third gen and focused on adding more increments in the sequencer logic, IAB98 focused on modelling the 4 forces. There are a number of obscure 3.5 gen aircraft, but none stand out like IAB98's F-86A-5. Aside from its unique flight logic, the airplane was extremely detailed with very advanced lightining effects. This was also the first aircraft with an external menu system. The F-86 was also designed to be flown with a Thrustmaster T.flight HOTAS X, making the experience very authentic. In addition to this, the F-86 was the first aircraft with a 3D gyro gunsight that could lead the target and give the pilot a perfect gun solution. To this day, the F-86A-5 is widely regarded as the most advanced LBP2 aircraft.

Fourth-generation

Nine-TailedFox4's F-15 Eagle, a Generation 4 aircraft

These aircraft were the first aircraft built in LBP 3. The design philosophy up until this point had always prioritized simulation above all else, and these fighters pushed the philosophy to the limit, and arguably its breaking point. These aircraft are often characterized as being too laggy for combat. Generation 4 aircraft abandons sequencer flight logic and digital throttle technology for a completely analog flight logic system developed by IAB98 (by now Nine-TailedFox4), allowing aircraft to fly with a level of fidelity close to a simulator. These aircraft also heavily use decorations and 3D modelling. Generation 4 aircraft also briefly departs from zbsp_'s method of scaling based on Sackboy's height, abandoning a common scale for a wing more proportional to the airframe. Generation 4 also sees the integration of broadcast-chip-based radars. As this period was marked by the decline of the aviation community and zbsp_'s hiatus, there are only two 4th generation fighters: Nine-TailedFox4's P-51 Mustang and F-15 Eagle.

Fifth-generation

Nine-TailedFox4's F-35A Lightning II, a Generation 5 aircraft

Starting in 2017, 5th Generation aircraft do away with sticker detail and lighting as a way of reducing the thermometer, which was characteristically high for 4th Generation fighters. The analog flight logic is retained, but further refined with reformatted logic, negative static stability and Fly-by-wire systems. Generation 5 fighters are the first to incorporate proportionally-guided missiles and AESA broadcast-chip based radars with Doppler shift modelling. In addition to this, Gen 5 fighters have 360 degree targeting. The design philosophy behind Generation 5 is often hotly contested and aircraft of this type are sometimes seen as a step backwards due to their significant sacrifices in detail for the sake of efficiency. Nonetheless, Gen 5 fighters are considered the best, as they strike a balance between detail and logic. The only Generation 5 aircraft is Nine-TailedFox4's F-35A Lightning II. There were some other attempts at 5th generation aircraft, but the most creators still viewed such an aircraft as overkill, despite making many improvements in efficiency compared the 4th generation. 5th generation aircraft are still considered simulation level, which is too inefficient for multiplayer combat.

Final (sixth) -generation

Realizing the need to develop a more efficient aircraft than the F-35, Nine-TailedFox4 started development of the first Gen 6 fighter in January 2020. The F-16C Fighting Falcon is the only aircraft of this generation. Entering service in May 2020, the F-16 marked a significant advance over 5th generation fighters. 6th generation fighters are primarily designed to be very realistic, but at the same time low-lag. These are multiplayer capable aircraft with very low thermo as well. The need for improved multiplayer functionality also necessitated refinements and improvements in certain combat systems. For instance, 6th generation radars are purely player tracking, doing away with complex filtering mechanisms to track objects. 6th gen fighters also incorporate missile launch warning systems, and jammers for enhanced

Nine-TailedFox4's F-16C Block 42, a generation 6 fighter.

survivability.

Analog flight logic and neutral static stability fly-by-wire controls are refined to the point of being nearly 1:1 recreations of real flight control systems. Despite improved efficiency, 6th generation fighters have the most realistic flight physics. The airframes of 6th generation fighters are also extremely efficient, combining a pleasing aesthetic with a simplistic and clean design. This is the first generation of aircraft in years to do away with cockpit details and ejection seats, though the aircraft does retain a simple decoration HUD. This may be one of the single biggest factors in reducing the lag and thermo. The final advancement in 6th generation aircraft is the ability to conduct combat in dynamic thermo environments thanks to long range radar and emitter landing gear. The F-16's AIM-120B missiles are a huge advance over the missiles found on the 5th generation fighter; incorporating not only augmented proportional navigation, but adaptive guidance to optimize the trajectory of the missile at any range.These refinements in design have allowed the F-16 to see more combat and achieve more kills than any other generation of LBP fighters. Notably, in large dynamic thermo levels, the F-16 is unrivaled thanks to its specially adapted systems. Where as most aircraft experience crippling structural issues and avionics glitches in dynamic thermo levels, the F-16 has proven to be extraordinarily reliable in this environment.

Despite being a realistic fighter, this Gen 6 fighter has been noted to be perhaps one of the easiest aircraft in LBP to operate. Players have been able to fly and fight with this aircraft without any tutorials. In fact, it has been said to be easier to operate than a Catdady7 jet. New rigorous testing standards ensure that every system on the jet is 100% reliable and foolproof. Due to the success of the F-16, it is the final fighter designs before PS5, and the next LBP game comes out. The F-16's success has lead to it being called the Final-generation of fighter, as it is the last aircraft to be built under association with Skunkworks, and the last aircraft available on PS3 before the server shutdown.

Infrastructure

Skunkworks communicates using the LBP Union's Discord server. In addition, they also have a separate Discord server for internal discussion among members.

The group makes little effort to recruit members as it is intended to represent the elite of LBP aviation.

Trivia

Nine-TailedFox4 has used three different accounts in his time on LBP: IAB98, Pugachev_Cobra and Nine-TailedFox4.

References

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