Hello old friend.

General simulations discussion.

Hello old friend.

Postby Neil » Tue May 11, 2010 11:08 am

I've had a hankering for Jet sims again recently seeing as I'm fully operational on the HOTAS front again. I threw out my LOMAC disk last year... meaning that a new addon would have to require it this year of course. Still I never really got into LOMAC the campaigns were crazy imbalanced making it nearly impossible to survive, 10 attempts at a mission is too many so without a demo FC2 is too much money to waste.

To F4:AF then. I never really got into this, I played F4 with various mods over the years and knew all the buttons so I loaded up F4:AF again. First impression: yikes! You can really see the graphics engine is getting long in the tooth, still I press on. I re-learn to select weapons, slew radar up, down side to side, ask for a picture from AWACS and lock a radar target... wait how the friggin heck to I unlock the target now???? Gaaahhh what mode is this I'm in?? NNHGGHHHaargh!!! Where the F@^K is my radar gone and why won't my AMRAAM come back???

( F4:AF disk goes for a fly across the room )

Hmmm. I'm remembering something else I used to enjoy, dogfights in Starfighters, Phantoms and low level bombing in my Thud. Hmm, new versions eh? $28 kiwi pesos later and one big giant mod I have Strike Fighters 2: Vietnam installed and modded. After a 1/2 hour learning curve of wasting missiles and gettting drawn into turn fights vs Mig17/19s I am starting to really enjoy this.

Here are some screenies of my interdiction mission from this morning:

img00004.JPG


img00001.JPG
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby ilikepie » Tue May 11, 2010 11:35 am

that looks sweet. was it a direct to drive?

any thoughts/comments would be welcomed _b
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby Neil » Tue May 11, 2010 2:21 pm

I'll post a mini review a bit later, once I've had more time to give all the mission types and aircraft a good thrash.
In the mean time more screenies:

img00010.JPG

This is me egressing post airfield strike, I'm in a bit of a hurry due to masses of flak around the target area. :plane:

img00003.JPG

A couple of Voodoos in my local area during a factory strike mission, I was meaning to take more screenies but the flak was too intense
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby Neil » Tue May 11, 2010 2:25 pm

Oh forgot to say I bought it direct off the thirdwire website via paypal credit card payment but if you haven't played the Strike Fighters series before I'd wait for my review, the SF series has it's own set of erm eccentricities.
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My mini review

Postby Neil » Wed May 12, 2010 1:02 pm

OK so I've got through quite a few different a/c and mission now.

This sim is more IL-2 than LOMAC or Falcon. Dogfights are the order of the day most often gun fights as the missiles miss, a lot.
You need to manuver carefully behind your enemy to get the early sidewinders to work and even then they might not. It's a good thing though you'll be turnin n burnin, boomin n zoomin no worrying about A-pole, F-pole, dragging or engaging multiple targets BVR. Most of the time you'll be burners on trying to drag off your enemy or diving in on him if he's not looking.

The flyables are all american a/c from the best time of jet combat IMO, you get the raw power of the phantom or the agility of the A-4 the flight models aren't a patch on IL-2 or LOMAC but they convey a decent feeling of rightness for the aircraft they portray. The Phantom for instance is great if you can keep the speed up, it doesn't turn fast but you can BnZ with the best in it. It's hard to stall or spin but if you really abuse the A/C the FM will still bite you, again nothing like as good as IL-2 or LOMAC but decent.
A couple of handling characteristics really stand out:
1.You can get "behind the curve" in the big wing a/c like the phantom, meaning you get too slow to keep turning effectively, you'll lose the turn fight and you have no more energy to speed away until you come out of the turn or dive away. You gotta stay out of that zone in the big a/c.
2.You can roll or you can pitch up/down, doing both at once near the limit will start to stall out your controls and basically you turn slower. Engage brain then turn.

The default graphics are ok, the new pits look good as do the a/c models but the terrain is a bit boring. I installed the "Strike Fighters 2: Vietnam Air and Ground Expansion Pack" which includes new flyable a/c new terrain and updated missions etc. Overall the new mod takes the sim to a new level, it actually looks good. An example:
img00003.JPG


However the same mod also comes with some graphical glitches and strangeness, the trees clip through the fog effect sometimes:
img00006.JPG

Not really a huge issue for me but some may find it an immersion killer I guess.

Whats really cool in the mod (not sure about the stock game as I only played it stock a few days) is the campaign random encounters with enemy and friendly flights that are unrelated to your mission. It's hardly Falcon 4 in that department but I have twice now come across enemy aircraft landing after a mission, easy kills but it does add to the feeling that it's not all about you and there is actually a war on. Often though in the single missions (as opposed to campaign) the map does feel very empty (Like IL-2 empty). There is no multi in the new versions, not something that worries me but take note.

img00010.JPG



Basically if you would be happy flying a "dynamic" IL-2 campaign with Vietnam era a/c, dogfighting much like IL-2 and aren't worried about a deep a meaningful campaign or super fidelity flight models then spend the $28 and pick up one of these new versions of the thirdwire sims. SF2:Vietnam runs perfectly stable on my win7x64 machine so it should be stable on anything.
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby ilikepie » Wed May 12, 2010 1:57 pm

thanks for the write up. is the mod pack you talk about also purchased from thirdwire?
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby nzwilliam » Wed May 12, 2010 3:17 pm

Cheers for the review! _b You've got my curiosity up, if it were fully online multi player and had a few flyable soviet AC I'd be reaching for for my wallet. I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for future developments.
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby R33GZ » Wed May 12, 2010 3:46 pm

I reckon! looks pretty cool... doesnt by anychance have any skyraider missions does it?
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby Neil » Wed May 12, 2010 4:02 pm

The main place to get mods is http://www.combatace.com the one I'm using is a free download to registered users over there (also free). The skyraider is flyable in the mod I have but I haven't checked it out yet (may not have a pit... but they can be added by mods). I'll check it out later tonight.
Soviet a/c can be flyable if you download the mods for it. There is a big mod called "Nato Fighters 4 plus" (NF4+) for SF2 Europe, I know that one has soviet flayables by default. I nearly bought Europe instead of Vietnam but I prefer the older a/c (in saying that NF4+ would add lots of older a/c anyway)
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby Neil » Wed May 12, 2010 7:57 pm

Skyraider pit is in the mod, it's pretty good although it feels a bit like flying a snail after the jets. :lol:
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby Agent X20 » Thu May 13, 2010 9:22 pm

Nice writeup Neil - I agree that these Thirdwire sims get some things really right and yet leave a few bits on the floor. You can't help but think they're sooo close...

I've had a lot of fun with First Eagles - it's light accessible and no fuss. Although Vista/Windoes 7 support - ie crash on mission exit was a bl**dy pain in the proverbial. Still I had a lot of fun with it. And with Rise of Flight now consigned to "doesn't work right on Win 7 with a dual core" scrapheap pending either a game or OS patch or the unlikely purchase of a quad core cpu... well I've taken the plunge on an upgrade of First Eagles and am downloading First Eagles 2.

I'm rather looking forward to some good simple dogfighting without all the struggles of RoF... even if RoF is the more authentic, real flight model beastie. But what's fun counts for more in my books. I'll report back on FE2 shortly.
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby R33GZ » Thu May 13, 2010 10:41 pm

Definitley thinking of buying this one I think... Third Wire actually look they make some semi-decent flight sims, even more decent when you look at the price. Anyone know what First Eagles 2 is like by anychance?

Thanks heaps for posting Neil, a bit of vietnam jet action might be just my cup of tea i reckon :crazypilot:

Skyraiders got the first gun A2A gun kills in vietnam too... they might be slow, but 4x 20mm always hurt when they hit home ;)
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby Neil » Fri May 14, 2010 10:18 am

I sort of see SF2 Vietnam as a kind of pick up and blast around for 20 minutes game. Although I've had some awesome moments in this latest one that never would have happened in the old strike fighters. My wingmen actually help me out if they aren't engaged themselves for instance.

I had an awesome fight the other day where a bunch of various migs turned up, I was running for it out to sea a mig 21 on my 6 and a gaggle more following him but my wingmen engaged 2 of them and kind of broke up the group, I turned locked up the nearest one in boresight mode and made a sparrow stick, very satisfying.

I also got bounced by some mig 17s when out thudding, I did a runner after bombing but one of them just wouldn't give it up. Even though the F-105 can't turn worth a damn my wingman and I between us managed to manuver him into a bad position and I got the kill with guns.
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby Agent X20 » Fri May 14, 2010 10:20 am

R33GZ wrote:Definitley thinking of buying this one I think... Third Wire actually look they make some semi-decent flight sims, even more decent when you look at the price. Anyone know what First Eagles 2 is like by anychance?


I had a very quick rip at it last night... it is to all intents and purposes the same game as FE1. Unremarkable menu art - basic sounds etc. But the frame rates are much much better and it has a reasonable set of planes to fly. The terrain is flat and plain but there are mods you can get to improve things. The aircraft models look pretty good and lose parts and smoke nicely when damaged. The flight mode is a little linear frankly - and is lacking the fluidity of say RoF but then it's all the more accessible for it.

It's very early days really re my own impressions - but that it runs without hassle on Vista/Win7, looks better than before, has good frame rates and will allow me to get my WW1 dogfighting fix with minimal fuss/hassle/stutters - makes this one a winner.
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Re: Hello old friend.

Postby Agent X20 » Fri May 14, 2010 10:24 am

Neil wrote:I sort of see SF2 Vietnam as a kind of pick up and blast around for 20 minutes game.


I think this is key to their appeal. You can be up and flying in moments and get your dogfighting fix without having to make the major time commitments of the likes of LOMAC, F4, Black Shark, Rise of Flight etc.
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