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michapma
08-30-2004, 10:39 AM
I finished and edited the translation, so I'm getting rid of the old version and have posted the new version below. Some things should make better sense now. Here's a link to the original article in French (http://checksix-fr.com/articles/detail.php?id=339) (frame link).

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I've spent hours translating the Check-Six preview, and just as I finish the third page and go to post what I have so far, what do I find but a link to the new English translation at Check-Six...

Anyway, here is my own translation of the first three pages of the French article.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

-------------------------------------------------------------

Page 1

It was probably from the end of 2002 when it was decided at Moscow that the evolution of IL-2 would carry over to the Pacific theater. Consequently, the work began right after the release of Forgotten Battles, and continues today. What we offer here is thus a first glimpse of the result of a full year of effort, knowing that the version we received for this quick look is a beta version and still quite incomplete in comparison to the final game (and that is no advertising bluff, I can guarantee by the head of Skypat -- no, it's true!). Check-Six has the luck to collaborate a bit in this adventure, so we were able to obtain a "top-notch" version for this little article, which, I hope, will give a more or less exhaustive preliminary idea.

Well, no use in going on and on, we're here to talk about a game, so let's get to it without too much fuss: we'll begin this article by speaking of the aspect that appears to me to be the most fundamental aspect of PF currently -- its new campaign generator.

PF is endowned with a new generation of DGen motors and Starshoy's NGen, conceived in order to adapt as well as possible to the new conditions of the theater. In this way, the NGen -- the multiplayer generator -- will permit in the "beyond the horizon" campaigns to decide for one's self the movements of task forces and in which sectors to search for enemy ships. The NGen practically becomes a game within the game, and furnishes PF with a fantastic durability of multiplayer life -- and naturally if it isn't yet the regretted "Carrier Battles" of 1942: Pacific Air War, it is in any case a step in the right direction.

Aside from that, the DGen is also undergoing a rejuvenation, with a motor that from now on takes into account the victory of one of the sides over the other in the campaign -- thus, we will have the choice between following history and making our own history, which in itself is not disproportionately eccentric in this theatre where one group of aircraft could sometimes decide between victory and disaster. The a-historical unfolding of campaigns will leave place to a new evolution of the conflict, whose outcome can even see, in the case of complete premature victories of the Imperial Navy, a Japanese victory. Those who don't have a taste for counterfactual history will of course be able to choose to stick with the historical evolution, so no worries.

From the point of view of the missions themselves, you can also expect a nice evolution of the concept, with missions that chain together logically (of the sort reconnaissance followed by strike) and losses taken into account for the following scenarios (particularly true for the case of carriers). I would be lying if I said that everything will be tip-top on the day of release -- to follow the project up close, that seems to me probably difficult given the mass of included innovations in the sole campaign generator. But I can already bet now on the viability of the concept -- and as soon as PF is fresh, finished, broken in and well completed, we will have a previously unpublished product of the genre (1942: PAW & Combat Flight Simulator 2 propose only linear campaigns in career mode).

The DGen and NGen will assuredly be at the heart of the new potential of PF, and should constitute the main point that makes something of this simulator much more evolved than a simple FB transposed into the Pacific.

Concerning the aerial operations themselves, there won't be anything much really new -- a priori -- in the procedures to be followed and the behavior of the machines. There will principally be two innovations: naval aviation operations, necessarily, and the arrival of the first flyable seaplane -- the Rufe, which is basically a Zero on floaters. So obviously, naval aviation ops are the big chunk, and particularly the naval landings. It's a fairly delightful moment, from the first seat adjustment into a higher position to grab a few degrees of visibility, to the small detail of opening the cockpit before or after the operation, something that the veterans of Combat Flight Simulator 2 and Rowan's Battle of Britain will appreciate (although at the current time of our version, only the external representation of the cockpit opening is modeled). To be honest, we hadn't been able to practice carrier landings seriously in a warbird simulator since CFS 2, and it must be more than 4 years since then. Obviously, a number of functions remain to be integrated, particularly concerning the approach itself, but in the current state of things, the excitement of catching one's first cable is tangible -- above all when you choose the Corsair as a first mount. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Page 2

Certainly the flight models are far from being perfected (and it appears that the current behavior of the machines has nothing really to do with that which they'll have in the next beta versions), but you can already scare yourself on final approach, and if previous experiences in simulation haven't already made you painfully aware, you quickly realizes that it's always better to be too long than too short when it comes to landing. All the more (and that is going to reassure a few in the forums) the carrier and its bridge are submitted to the caprices of their element, and consequently pitch and roll, occassionally rendering the touchdowns moderately violent or problematic if ever the ship is surprised by a bad wave or unlucky trough. Anyway, let's just say that landing isn't obvious all the time; I can't wait for the "true" flight models, and above all of course the monstrous torque that make landings become really interesting, which may permit us to see first-hand how the "ensign eliminator" merited its sad moniker. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif The only true flat note for my part in this fine picture (besides a rather basic administration of the wind) are our doubts about the final integration of functional deck elevators and of a possible LSO (which is something even less probable than the elevators, for principally technical reasons) in the simulator. We'll see when the time of the final release comes -- but it's true that it is this kind of additions that do a lot for immersion.


Let's move on to the arrival of the whole aerial menagerie specific to the theater: this ranges from the F4F to the B-29, from the Oscar to the Betty by way of the Dinah -- almost every one is at the rendez-vous, and you will get your money's worth, even if certain relatively important machines such as the Nelly unfortunately won't join the show right away -- but hey, we've lived through one-and-a-half years without the Bf-110 on the Eastern Front, so I guess we'll survive. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

On the ground, we're helping along the appearance of a myriad of equipment specific to the theater -- tanks and Japanese vehicles, but also infantry though they are in a way a bit more limited and rather static for the moment -- but again, nothing definitive, only viable. Note, however, that the various dynamic objects also have several levels of competence available, AAA included (now why do I sense all of a sudden that a few of you are going to like that!). And then of course, the thing that could not have escaped you since you frequent the various development updates, is the presence of course of equipment teams for the cannons on the ground and sea (even if in this respect the detail of a Strike Fighters: Project One remains unconquered, the figures of PF frankly not being detailed beyond reason).

Aside from all that, you need not think that you are dealing with a veritably new product regarding its treatment: compared to FB/AEP, the damage models are managed in the same way, the aircraft catch fire the same way, tracers fire at the same rate, the aircraft will bounce as before, etc. You will not feel homesick, that's the least we can say! Keep in mind that PF is an evolution of the FB engine -- whereas Battle of Britain will be a new game. You can however expect a finer management of damages suffered by the various ships of the game, probably with some zones being more sensitive than others and a global scheme that will approach that which we already know for the aircraft -- but this characteristic is still not far enough along for me to be able to offer a valid opinion.

For in the Pacific, nothing happens without the ships of course. From this aspect, and even if Pacific Fighters fulfils its contract by offering at least a ship model of each type for each of the combatant nations, it remains far from the historical richness or the database of for example a 1942: PAW -- and there I speak in fairly definitive terms because we know what will be in the final version. It isn't a catastrophe, and Oleg's team is urgently working to furnish as many buildings as possible, but the creators of missions will have to resign themselves to it. Anyway, I think that it will be ill advised to hope to be able for instance to simulate the Japanese carrier strike force of Midway with the means we possess in PF -- without having a supercomputer at home, we'll have difficulty managing a good thirty some ships and twice the number of aircraft onscreen. Unfortunately, due to material limitations PF will remain in the arena of "micro-engagements," or more precisely (as debated on the forum) waves of specific attacks, without transcribing the phase of a battle in its entirety and integrity, unless NASA amicably loans a few computers for assisting in the calculation. And again, I am only speaking of nice and calm ships and aircraft -- wait a while till the fire lets loose, till the the pieces enter action -- when the 70 Bofor or Pom-Pom guns of a task force set themselves to singing all at the same time, you'll have as much to do with the shrapnel as with your own FPS... We know how much optimization is a concern for the IL-2 developers, and I don't think we can reproach them of such a state of affairs -- the sole solution is to buy 2 GB of RAM and the latest graphics card if you absolutely insist on recreating engagements of a hundred aircraft and ships -- it's cruel but that's the way it is!

Other "innovations" also make their appearance: now the AI is currently able to carry out kamikaze actions thanks to a particular configuration of their flight plan -- furthermore, one input field of the mission editor permits the addition of parachute teams, in order to simulate some Japanese practices. In particular, the input field "silence radio" makes it possible to oblige the AI crews to remain silent on quite precise parts of the route, and to break silence on command -- in multiplayer, in case someone is listening to the enemy frequency, that naturally works well!

As far as AI goes, since we're on the topic, don't expect any miracles (at least I imagine that you're expecting them): it's essentially the AI of FB/AEP with pieces of naval aviation in it -- a priori, it still isn't envisaged to give an AI specific to pure dogfighting machines and to machines of a more hit-and-run slant (and yet, we know how important this is in the Pacific and its multiple asymmetric combats in this matter), just as it is not very plausible this time around to issue to wingmen proper individual consciences. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Well what we have is not bad already, and it's true that before IL-2 and a fortiori FB, noone had made effective frontal passes in the simulation since WW2 fighters, it's evolution. But now, a *hair* more evolution wouldn't have done any harm -- even if, we suspect, we won't get a new AI engine before Battle of Britain (which is in itself rather logical).

Page 3

The maps are still of a reasonable size, but of course don't cover the theater in its entirety. Thus the system hasn't evolved since IL-2, and remains confined to the representation of a sole and unique rectangular space of a few hundreds of kilometers of coast, give or take according to the represented zone. If it's perfectly sufficient in the case of atolls or even of an island of medium size like Leyte, it is nevertheless out of question to chart these maps in more general sets. Hence, the Guadalcanal map is limited to the island itself and its immediate surroundings -- don't hope to be able to figure in Rabaul for example. A route from Henderson Field or Port Moresby to Rabaul in a single flight remains in the domain of utopia; such trips demand maps four or five times more extended than they are now. Now on a number of maps we already attain the extreme limit used in the conception of the Leningrad sector in Forgotten Battles, from whence comes a certain fully understandable apprehension of the idea of pushing further, and this although none of these maps, Oahu and northern Japan aside, have an urbanization comparable to that of Leningrad or Helsinki. The sole advantage of the Pacific in the matter are the great extensions of water, easy to reproduce and less greedy than the quarters of Berlin. But be well assured that the choice is nicely motivated by technical demands: maps of the size of those in 1942: Pacific Air War in the framework of the motor of PF would bring the most powerful of current PCs to their knees...

However, one must also not expect miracles when it comes to the conception of maps. That of Oahu, despite all the efforts by Luthier, remain for example tributary to the objects of FB and PF, so that it is useless to expect photorealism in the representation of Pearl Harbor. Conversely, the use of quite specific features on many more modest maps -- Midway or Betio/Tarawa to take very well-known examples -- makes it possible to very accurately reproduce the aspect of the two banks of sand and of their installations. In the same way, whoever will have already have had access to aerial pics of Iwo Jima or Peleliu will recognize without difficulty the layout of the Japanese strips, faithful to their historical aspect. Let's say more generally that nobody will again have the shock that one could have felt upon seeing the Stalingrad map of the original IL-2.

For the moment, the zones that will more or less for sure be simulated are: Oahu, Midway, Guadalcanal, Singapore, Milne Bay, Iwo Jima, Chi-chi Jima, Okinawa, Tarawa, parts of southern Japan, Wake Island, the Marianas and Palau (there is other stuff to do -- to this, several multiplayer maps and naval maps for carrier combat must be added). Consider a serious possibility on Luzon and Leyte, although nothing is less sure than their final availability (that will depend on the available time). If contintental maps (Burma, southern China) will be available, they will have to await add-ons and later patches.

Finally, from a technical point of view, know that the few new effects of Pacific Fighters -- and among these principally the new wave effects of which you have already had a glimpse in a few of the screenshots of this article -- will necessitate the possession of an advanced and very optimized 3D graphics card from the point of view of the management of pixel shaders. If for the moment there remain some incompatibilities and limitations, Oleg promised to optimize as well as possible the engine on this point. On the other hand, there is no news concerning the adoption of new technologies such as the recent Geometry Instancing by ATI. The configuration, aside from that of graphics cards, frankly has not chaned since Forgotten Battles, and except in the case of the situation, "I like the huge engagements and I accept it," already touched on above, there is no serious reason to change your machine just for the eyes of PF, as pretty as they are (and that, I who am still the owner of a solitary mini-GHz, I can tell you, I appreciate!).

Pacific Fighters will (it's the official version at the present time) be at the same time a standalone product for those who do not possess Forgotten Battles, and a simple add-on for those who have it already. Don't ask me how that's going to work for later support with management of the Aces Expansion Pack on top of that, but I imagine that one directs oneself towards a logic of rationalization of all that; the development team could not continue to eternally release different patches for three configurations of FB with a true game, a true add-on and a product mounted on the two others...

The release of Pacific Fighters (a priori world-wide) is forseen for the fall of 2004 -- and the gold for the beginning of October to be precise, although I wouldn't bet my life on it. Note at any rate that it's not very probably that a demo will appear -- if that's the case, be sure that you will be informed, but it's true that since IL-2, this hasn't been the practice at Maddox Games... If your heart tells you that a bit of pressure could be useful -- even if a demo is always extra work and time lost for the development of the game itself, which Oleg doesn't like much, and I understand when I see what remains to be finished before the release. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Page 4

More generally speaking then, as you will have noticed, I have a decent idea of Pacific Fighters as it stands at the moment, although a myriad of things (pilots in life boats or their Mae Wests in the sea, fully functional cockpits, completed flight models, etc.) have not yet been integrated. (And I have to admit that because of the delays, I'm concerned that a few of them may be relegated and not reappear until after the first release of the program.) But the important thing is to know that the essentials are safe and sound. As such, with its aeronautical, naval and terrestrial park enriched and the corresponding flight models coded, we will have something that goes well beyond a simple "I'm flying above the Pacific" add-on, and would be so even if only by the strength of the function offered by its new campaigns. I would say then that, aside from certain points already cited (limited diversity of the ships, absence of a revolutionary AI or limitations of the maps, for example), I have every reason to be optimistic when it comes to the evolution -- in the good sense -- of Pacific Fighters in the weeks to come. And if I may express myself by way of realism without coming off here at the end as a yes-man, that is also (for me) the advantage of having followed the games by Maddox Games now for more than 3 years: when it comes to the most general and fundamental critiques, it's always more pleasant to have only just a few, precise points to discuss rather than the entire edifice to knock down -- those who recall seeing me test Combat Flight Simulator 3 will understand me...

The author thanks the various contributors of screen shots (who know who they are), as well as Ubi Soft for its very friendly contact and high quality of confidence.


http://www.baseclass.modulweb.dk/69giap/fileadmin/Image_Archive/badges/69giap_badge_chap.jpg (http://giap.webhop.info)

The ongoing IL-2 User's Guide (http://people.ee.ethz.ch/~chapman/il2guide/) | Forgotten Skies (http://www.forgottenskies.com/)
But we are all that way: when we know a thing we have only scorn for other people who don't happen to know it. - Mark Twain, Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc

[This message was edited by michapma on Tue August 31 2004 at 05:00 AM.]

michapma
08-30-2004, 10:39 AM
I finished and edited the translation, so I'm getting rid of the old version and have posted the new version below. Some things should make better sense now. Here's a link to the original article in French (http://checksix-fr.com/articles/detail.php?id=339) (frame link).

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I've spent hours translating the Check-Six preview, and just as I finish the third page and go to post what I have so far, what do I find but a link to the new English translation at Check-Six...

Anyway, here is my own translation of the first three pages of the French article.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

-------------------------------------------------------------

Page 1

It was probably from the end of 2002 when it was decided at Moscow that the evolution of IL-2 would carry over to the Pacific theater. Consequently, the work began right after the release of Forgotten Battles, and continues today. What we offer here is thus a first glimpse of the result of a full year of effort, knowing that the version we received for this quick look is a beta version and still quite incomplete in comparison to the final game (and that is no advertising bluff, I can guarantee by the head of Skypat -- no, it's true!). Check-Six has the luck to collaborate a bit in this adventure, so we were able to obtain a "top-notch" version for this little article, which, I hope, will give a more or less exhaustive preliminary idea.

Well, no use in going on and on, we're here to talk about a game, so let's get to it without too much fuss: we'll begin this article by speaking of the aspect that appears to me to be the most fundamental aspect of PF currently -- its new campaign generator.

PF is endowned with a new generation of DGen motors and Starshoy's NGen, conceived in order to adapt as well as possible to the new conditions of the theater. In this way, the NGen -- the multiplayer generator -- will permit in the "beyond the horizon" campaigns to decide for one's self the movements of task forces and in which sectors to search for enemy ships. The NGen practically becomes a game within the game, and furnishes PF with a fantastic durability of multiplayer life -- and naturally if it isn't yet the regretted "Carrier Battles" of 1942: Pacific Air War, it is in any case a step in the right direction.

Aside from that, the DGen is also undergoing a rejuvenation, with a motor that from now on takes into account the victory of one of the sides over the other in the campaign -- thus, we will have the choice between following history and making our own history, which in itself is not disproportionately eccentric in this theatre where one group of aircraft could sometimes decide between victory and disaster. The a-historical unfolding of campaigns will leave place to a new evolution of the conflict, whose outcome can even see, in the case of complete premature victories of the Imperial Navy, a Japanese victory. Those who don't have a taste for counterfactual history will of course be able to choose to stick with the historical evolution, so no worries.

From the point of view of the missions themselves, you can also expect a nice evolution of the concept, with missions that chain together logically (of the sort reconnaissance followed by strike) and losses taken into account for the following scenarios (particularly true for the case of carriers). I would be lying if I said that everything will be tip-top on the day of release -- to follow the project up close, that seems to me probably difficult given the mass of included innovations in the sole campaign generator. But I can already bet now on the viability of the concept -- and as soon as PF is fresh, finished, broken in and well completed, we will have a previously unpublished product of the genre (1942: PAW & Combat Flight Simulator 2 propose only linear campaigns in career mode).

The DGen and NGen will assuredly be at the heart of the new potential of PF, and should constitute the main point that makes something of this simulator much more evolved than a simple FB transposed into the Pacific.

Concerning the aerial operations themselves, there won't be anything much really new -- a priori -- in the procedures to be followed and the behavior of the machines. There will principally be two innovations: naval aviation operations, necessarily, and the arrival of the first flyable seaplane -- the Rufe, which is basically a Zero on floaters. So obviously, naval aviation ops are the big chunk, and particularly the naval landings. It's a fairly delightful moment, from the first seat adjustment into a higher position to grab a few degrees of visibility, to the small detail of opening the cockpit before or after the operation, something that the veterans of Combat Flight Simulator 2 and Rowan's Battle of Britain will appreciate (although at the current time of our version, only the external representation of the cockpit opening is modeled). To be honest, we hadn't been able to practice carrier landings seriously in a warbird simulator since CFS 2, and it must be more than 4 years since then. Obviously, a number of functions remain to be integrated, particularly concerning the approach itself, but in the current state of things, the excitement of catching one's first cable is tangible -- above all when you choose the Corsair as a first mount. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Page 2

Certainly the flight models are far from being perfected (and it appears that the current behavior of the machines has nothing really to do with that which they'll have in the next beta versions), but you can already scare yourself on final approach, and if previous experiences in simulation haven't already made you painfully aware, you quickly realizes that it's always better to be too long than too short when it comes to landing. All the more (and that is going to reassure a few in the forums) the carrier and its bridge are submitted to the caprices of their element, and consequently pitch and roll, occassionally rendering the touchdowns moderately violent or problematic if ever the ship is surprised by a bad wave or unlucky trough. Anyway, let's just say that landing isn't obvious all the time; I can't wait for the "true" flight models, and above all of course the monstrous torque that make landings become really interesting, which may permit us to see first-hand how the "ensign eliminator" merited its sad moniker. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif The only true flat note for my part in this fine picture (besides a rather basic administration of the wind) are our doubts about the final integration of functional deck elevators and of a possible LSO (which is something even less probable than the elevators, for principally technical reasons) in the simulator. We'll see when the time of the final release comes -- but it's true that it is this kind of additions that do a lot for immersion.


Let's move on to the arrival of the whole aerial menagerie specific to the theater: this ranges from the F4F to the B-29, from the Oscar to the Betty by way of the Dinah -- almost every one is at the rendez-vous, and you will get your money's worth, even if certain relatively important machines such as the Nelly unfortunately won't join the show right away -- but hey, we've lived through one-and-a-half years without the Bf-110 on the Eastern Front, so I guess we'll survive. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

On the ground, we're helping along the appearance of a myriad of equipment specific to the theater -- tanks and Japanese vehicles, but also infantry though they are in a way a bit more limited and rather static for the moment -- but again, nothing definitive, only viable. Note, however, that the various dynamic objects also have several levels of competence available, AAA included (now why do I sense all of a sudden that a few of you are going to like that!). And then of course, the thing that could not have escaped you since you frequent the various development updates, is the presence of course of equipment teams for the cannons on the ground and sea (even if in this respect the detail of a Strike Fighters: Project One remains unconquered, the figures of PF frankly not being detailed beyond reason).

Aside from all that, you need not think that you are dealing with a veritably new product regarding its treatment: compared to FB/AEP, the damage models are managed in the same way, the aircraft catch fire the same way, tracers fire at the same rate, the aircraft will bounce as before, etc. You will not feel homesick, that's the least we can say! Keep in mind that PF is an evolution of the FB engine -- whereas Battle of Britain will be a new game. You can however expect a finer management of damages suffered by the various ships of the game, probably with some zones being more sensitive than others and a global scheme that will approach that which we already know for the aircraft -- but this characteristic is still not far enough along for me to be able to offer a valid opinion.

For in the Pacific, nothing happens without the ships of course. From this aspect, and even if Pacific Fighters fulfils its contract by offering at least a ship model of each type for each of the combatant nations, it remains far from the historical richness or the database of for example a 1942: PAW -- and there I speak in fairly definitive terms because we know what will be in the final version. It isn't a catastrophe, and Oleg's team is urgently working to furnish as many buildings as possible, but the creators of missions will have to resign themselves to it. Anyway, I think that it will be ill advised to hope to be able for instance to simulate the Japanese carrier strike force of Midway with the means we possess in PF -- without having a supercomputer at home, we'll have difficulty managing a good thirty some ships and twice the number of aircraft onscreen. Unfortunately, due to material limitations PF will remain in the arena of "micro-engagements," or more precisely (as debated on the forum) waves of specific attacks, without transcribing the phase of a battle in its entirety and integrity, unless NASA amicably loans a few computers for assisting in the calculation. And again, I am only speaking of nice and calm ships and aircraft -- wait a while till the fire lets loose, till the the pieces enter action -- when the 70 Bofor or Pom-Pom guns of a task force set themselves to singing all at the same time, you'll have as much to do with the shrapnel as with your own FPS... We know how much optimization is a concern for the IL-2 developers, and I don't think we can reproach them of such a state of affairs -- the sole solution is to buy 2 GB of RAM and the latest graphics card if you absolutely insist on recreating engagements of a hundred aircraft and ships -- it's cruel but that's the way it is!

Other "innovations" also make their appearance: now the AI is currently able to carry out kamikaze actions thanks to a particular configuration of their flight plan -- furthermore, one input field of the mission editor permits the addition of parachute teams, in order to simulate some Japanese practices. In particular, the input field "silence radio" makes it possible to oblige the AI crews to remain silent on quite precise parts of the route, and to break silence on command -- in multiplayer, in case someone is listening to the enemy frequency, that naturally works well!

As far as AI goes, since we're on the topic, don't expect any miracles (at least I imagine that you're expecting them): it's essentially the AI of FB/AEP with pieces of naval aviation in it -- a priori, it still isn't envisaged to give an AI specific to pure dogfighting machines and to machines of a more hit-and-run slant (and yet, we know how important this is in the Pacific and its multiple asymmetric combats in this matter), just as it is not very plausible this time around to issue to wingmen proper individual consciences. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Well what we have is not bad already, and it's true that before IL-2 and a fortiori FB, noone had made effective frontal passes in the simulation since WW2 fighters, it's evolution. But now, a *hair* more evolution wouldn't have done any harm -- even if, we suspect, we won't get a new AI engine before Battle of Britain (which is in itself rather logical).

Page 3

The maps are still of a reasonable size, but of course don't cover the theater in its entirety. Thus the system hasn't evolved since IL-2, and remains confined to the representation of a sole and unique rectangular space of a few hundreds of kilometers of coast, give or take according to the represented zone. If it's perfectly sufficient in the case of atolls or even of an island of medium size like Leyte, it is nevertheless out of question to chart these maps in more general sets. Hence, the Guadalcanal map is limited to the island itself and its immediate surroundings -- don't hope to be able to figure in Rabaul for example. A route from Henderson Field or Port Moresby to Rabaul in a single flight remains in the domain of utopia; such trips demand maps four or five times more extended than they are now. Now on a number of maps we already attain the extreme limit used in the conception of the Leningrad sector in Forgotten Battles, from whence comes a certain fully understandable apprehension of the idea of pushing further, and this although none of these maps, Oahu and northern Japan aside, have an urbanization comparable to that of Leningrad or Helsinki. The sole advantage of the Pacific in the matter are the great extensions of water, easy to reproduce and less greedy than the quarters of Berlin. But be well assured that the choice is nicely motivated by technical demands: maps of the size of those in 1942: Pacific Air War in the framework of the motor of PF would bring the most powerful of current PCs to their knees...

However, one must also not expect miracles when it comes to the conception of maps. That of Oahu, despite all the efforts by Luthier, remain for example tributary to the objects of FB and PF, so that it is useless to expect photorealism in the representation of Pearl Harbor. Conversely, the use of quite specific features on many more modest maps -- Midway or Betio/Tarawa to take very well-known examples -- makes it possible to very accurately reproduce the aspect of the two banks of sand and of their installations. In the same way, whoever will have already have had access to aerial pics of Iwo Jima or Peleliu will recognize without difficulty the layout of the Japanese strips, faithful to their historical aspect. Let's say more generally that nobody will again have the shock that one could have felt upon seeing the Stalingrad map of the original IL-2.

For the moment, the zones that will more or less for sure be simulated are: Oahu, Midway, Guadalcanal, Singapore, Milne Bay, Iwo Jima, Chi-chi Jima, Okinawa, Tarawa, parts of southern Japan, Wake Island, the Marianas and Palau (there is other stuff to do -- to this, several multiplayer maps and naval maps for carrier combat must be added). Consider a serious possibility on Luzon and Leyte, although nothing is less sure than their final availability (that will depend on the available time). If contintental maps (Burma, southern China) will be available, they will have to await add-ons and later patches.

Finally, from a technical point of view, know that the few new effects of Pacific Fighters -- and among these principally the new wave effects of which you have already had a glimpse in a few of the screenshots of this article -- will necessitate the possession of an advanced and very optimized 3D graphics card from the point of view of the management of pixel shaders. If for the moment there remain some incompatibilities and limitations, Oleg promised to optimize as well as possible the engine on this point. On the other hand, there is no news concerning the adoption of new technologies such as the recent Geometry Instancing by ATI. The configuration, aside from that of graphics cards, frankly has not chaned since Forgotten Battles, and except in the case of the situation, "I like the huge engagements and I accept it," already touched on above, there is no serious reason to change your machine just for the eyes of PF, as pretty as they are (and that, I who am still the owner of a solitary mini-GHz, I can tell you, I appreciate!).

Pacific Fighters will (it's the official version at the present time) be at the same time a standalone product for those who do not possess Forgotten Battles, and a simple add-on for those who have it already. Don't ask me how that's going to work for later support with management of the Aces Expansion Pack on top of that, but I imagine that one directs oneself towards a logic of rationalization of all that; the development team could not continue to eternally release different patches for three configurations of FB with a true game, a true add-on and a product mounted on the two others...

The release of Pacific Fighters (a priori world-wide) is forseen for the fall of 2004 -- and the gold for the beginning of October to be precise, although I wouldn't bet my life on it. Note at any rate that it's not very probably that a demo will appear -- if that's the case, be sure that you will be informed, but it's true that since IL-2, this hasn't been the practice at Maddox Games... If your heart tells you that a bit of pressure could be useful -- even if a demo is always extra work and time lost for the development of the game itself, which Oleg doesn't like much, and I understand when I see what remains to be finished before the release. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Page 4

More generally speaking then, as you will have noticed, I have a decent idea of Pacific Fighters as it stands at the moment, although a myriad of things (pilots in life boats or their Mae Wests in the sea, fully functional cockpits, completed flight models, etc.) have not yet been integrated. (And I have to admit that because of the delays, I'm concerned that a few of them may be relegated and not reappear until after the first release of the program.) But the important thing is to know that the essentials are safe and sound. As such, with its aeronautical, naval and terrestrial park enriched and the corresponding flight models coded, we will have something that goes well beyond a simple "I'm flying above the Pacific" add-on, and would be so even if only by the strength of the function offered by its new campaigns. I would say then that, aside from certain points already cited (limited diversity of the ships, absence of a revolutionary AI or limitations of the maps, for example), I have every reason to be optimistic when it comes to the evolution -- in the good sense -- of Pacific Fighters in the weeks to come. And if I may express myself by way of realism without coming off here at the end as a yes-man, that is also (for me) the advantage of having followed the games by Maddox Games now for more than 3 years: when it comes to the most general and fundamental critiques, it's always more pleasant to have only just a few, precise points to discuss rather than the entire edifice to knock down -- those who recall seeing me test Combat Flight Simulator 3 will understand me...

The author thanks the various contributors of screen shots (who know who they are), as well as Ubi Soft for its very friendly contact and high quality of confidence.


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[This message was edited by michapma on Tue August 31 2004 at 05:00 AM.]

WOLFMondo
08-30-2004, 11:07 AM
Thanks!

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Biloxi72
08-30-2004, 11:17 AM
S!
Thanks Mich for your time and effort in translating this informative piece of work.
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T_O_A_D
08-30-2004, 11:47 AM
TY http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/11.gif

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Tooz_69GIAP
08-30-2004, 12:03 PM
Bloomin' heck Chap!! Do you ever do any work???? http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

You're worse than me!! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/35.gif

whit ye looking at, ya big jessie?!?!

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michapma
08-30-2004, 12:15 PM
Tell me about it. The thing is, this morning I had myself convinced it would be different. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

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Merlin (FZG_Immel)
08-30-2004, 12:45 PM
damn, Thx a lot man. Next time, just contact me, i would have waited for your much better work. if you want we can still ad it to database.

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michapma
08-30-2004, 12:58 PM
Hi Merlin,

See my response in the other thread. I don't know what moved me to translate this long article except just pure enthusiasm for PF. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif I'd be happy if you want to mix the two translations. We'd have to fix the three areas where I didn't understand what was said. You can contact me by email or PM:
chapman@eeh.ee.ethz.ch

See you tomorrow,
Mike

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Eastergaard
08-30-2004, 05:41 PM
Thank you for the translation http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/11.gif

MK2aw
08-30-2004, 08:46 PM
Thank you, great read....

Vengeanze
08-31-2004, 05:25 AM
I found a spelling error. Who should I contact? :wink2 http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/blink.gif :

Thanks mate

/Ven
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- Oleg Maddox

michapma
08-31-2004, 06:03 AM
Question, is this essentially the first relatively detailed beta review of PF?

I've just replaced the text of the first post with a completed and edited version, so that it should make more sense now. (Ven, you were just too late. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-tongue.gif Hopefully the error is already corrected. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-wink.gif)

Martin, feel free to use the new version in the first post of the thread at Check-Six if you want. I'll send it to you by email too.

C!

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Bearcat99
08-31-2004, 06:15 AM
YOU'RE KILLIN MEEEE!!!! http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/53.gif

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Feathered_IV
08-31-2004, 06:29 AM
I wonder - They mention nothing of the plane set?

I'm still wishing for an A5M Claude.

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DuxCorvan
09-01-2004, 02:53 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by michapma:
It was probably from the end of 2002 when it was decided at Moscow that the evolution of IL-2 would carry over to the Pacific theater. Consequently, the work began right after the release of Forgotten Battles, and continues today. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

No way. I remember exactly when Luthier started recruiting artists -2003-, and he had not decided yet what the new scenario was to be, Pacific only being the most obvious choice. In fact, it started as a kind of private venture with UBI/1C approval, before it was decided a Pacific game could work in market, and UBI fully adopted the project. BTW, it was clear from the beginning it was to be a commercial, stand-alone able game based on FB engine, and modelers were to be paid.

But months passed from FB release before Luthier said a word, and that about a decision taken in Moscow -as it had happened in the Kremlin- well... I think Ilya lives there. http://ubbxforums.ubi.com/images/smiley/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

michapma
09-01-2004, 05:28 AM
I think this is the aspect of the article that excites me the most. The tone of the article makes it sound as if we are getting closer to truly dynamic campaigns. I don't quite understand why only the mulitiplayer generator (NGen) the movements of taskforces and sectors to search in. But the ability of one mission to have a real effect on the following mission or missions certainly sounds like moving in the right direction. I consider that the effect of aircraft availability, along with the success of blocking/destrying or protecting shipping to replenish aircraft and aircraft parts, had a tremendous impact on the successes of campaigns. Obviously it ties in with the ground campaign, which is affected by bombing.

I'm especially thrilled at the prospect of recon for carrier fleets. The problem is that I'm having trouble conceptualizing how this can be implemented, since the patrols were still made by recon aircraft and the strikes by bombers with fighter escort. So would one pilot have to fly both recon and strike missions? I should think it's pretty difficult to mix naval tactics with the strikes themselves.

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>PF is endowned with a new generation of DGen motors and Starshoy's NGen, conceived in order to adapt as well as possible to the new conditions of the theater. In this way, the NGen -- the multiplayer generator -- will permit in the "beyond the horizon" campaigns to decide for one's self the movements of task forces and in which sectors to search for enemy ships. The NGen practically becomes a game within the game, and furnishes PF with a fantastic durability of multiplayer life -- and naturally if it isn't yet the regretted "Carrier Battles" of 1942: Pacific Air War, it is in any case a step in the right direction.

Aside from that, the DGen is also undergoing a rejuvenation, with a motor that from now on takes into account the victory of one of the sides over the other in the campaign -- thus, we will have the choice between following history and making our own history, which in itself is not disproportionately eccentric in this theatre where one group of aircraft could sometimes decide between victory and disaster. The a-historical unfolding of campaigns will leave place to a new evolution of the conflict, whose outcome can even see, in the case of complete premature victories of the Imperial Navy, a Japanese victory. Those who don't have a taste for counterfactual history will of course be able to choose to stick with the historical evolution, so no worries.

From the point of view of the missions themselves, you can also expect a nice evolution of the concept, with missions that chain together logically (of the sort reconnaissance followed by strike) and losses taken into account for the following scenarios (particularly true for the case of carriers). I would be lying if I said that everything will be tip-top on the day of release -- to follow the project up close, that seems to me probably difficult given the mass of included innovations in the sole campaign generator. But I can already bet now on the viability of the concept -- and as soon as PF is fresh, finished, broken in and well completed, we will have a previously unpublished product of the genre (1942: PAW & Combat Flight Simulator 2 propose only linear campaigns in career mode).

The DGen and NGen will assuredly be at the heart of the new potential of PF, and should constitute the main point that makes something of this simulator much more evolved than a simple FB transposed into the Pacific.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

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