TFX3: Lightning Strike

By Al Giovetti
Genre: combat flight simulator (F-22)
Release: March 1997
Developer: Digital Image Design (DID, England)
Publisher: Ocean
Requirements: Windows 95

History: Martin Kenwright and his crew at Digital Image Design have produced some of the Most Important Previous products: F-29 Retaliator, Tornado, TFX, Harrier, EuroFighter 2000, TactCom (worked on Falcon, Spitfire 40, Overlord, Dawn Patrol). This third TFX has changed significantly since its introduction in 1994. f22hrsm.gif - 11.1 K

Campaign: Version 2 WarGen: an improved AI controlled dynamic campaign generator, with full mission planning built-in. Dynamic mission generator keeps track of your, your squadron, and the war in generalís progress, and present you with a series of missions you pick from that have been designed to fit the situational information. The dynamic system allows you to make a mistake or action which changes the outcome of the rest of the war. For example, if you fire a missile and hit an ally, in the next mission this country may be an enemy. Each time you play the game, the dynamic mission generator could select a new mix of aggressors and friendlies. Squadron records and personal log enhance gameplay with a personal touch.

Mission plans: Set waypoints, course altitudes, designate targets, assign additional strikes for escort, strike and Wild Weasel, which is a radar suppression mission either by electronics or strike similar to the game Tornado. Mission planning can also be performed while taking a ride in an AWACS plane as the tactical commander, where you can vector aircraft to targets like in similar to the game Harrier, based upon Navy Hornets. Flying the AWACS will be similar to an AEGIS simulator or Harpoon game. Jumping into the cockpit was also used by the Harrier flight simulator game, and will be a feature in TFX3 as well.

Theaters: One: Red Sea, including Ethiopia, Sudan, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait

Planes you fly: Two: F-22A Lightning, E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft

Wing person commands: Refined multiple-wing person control, with data linking.

Display Interface: The aircraft's systems have been developed around meeting the pilot's need for information at the right time, and bear little resemblance to the cockpits of today. The dynamic virtual cockpit (DVC) has readable multi-function displays that help immensely when dogfighting. In some ways the DVC makes gun kills less likely since the gun sight is so small when using this option. (And gun kills are my favorite. - Ed.) Conventional views will also be available.

Artificial intelligence of enemies and wing persons: Improved AI in computer controlled planes. Desert based environments and provision for extensive maritime warfare. Individual wingmen personalities and skills.

Graphics: Time-of-day lighting, Light-sourcing and shading will extend from planes and objects to terrain. Smoothing will be implemented to reduce the blocky ground look normally seen. Support for the rather obscure 16 million color high resolution 3Dfx graphics chipset and not the popular, although not-yet-implemented Direct 3D is hard to understand. Landscapes will now be available with dramatically different lighting to reflect the changes throughout the day in time and whether. Aircraft are texture mapped, making recognition of low flying aircraft as difficult as it is in real life. f22cpsm.gif - 12.1 K

Avionics: will use according to DID "high resolution avionics based on concepts being trilled for the real aircraft." But the data needed is still confidential on the plane.

Statistics: In response to Originís teaming with Janes, DID will team with World Air Power journal to produce a statistical database within the game to rival that in Janesí Advanced Tactical Fighters.

Animations: Between missions for when you win or loose. Animations and speed should increase with Windows 95 and Direct3D.

Voice actors:

Music score:

Sound effects:

Multiplayer: LAN, modem (null and phone) with more then 8 players on the network.

Utilities: Interactive graphical help, and context-sensitive help, providing a fun and instantly accessible way to learn about the software.

What next?: It may very well be that Martin Kendrick is gearing up to get involved with real-time strategy games, but for now lets be happy he is interested in doing flight sims

Denny Atkin, Computer Gaming World, number 146, September, 1996, pg. 50-63. Steve Wartofsky, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 70, September, 1996, pg. 62.
Al Giovetti, Aegis: Guardian of the Fleet, Computer Player, volume 1, number 2, July, 1994, pg. 62-63.
Al Giovetti, Super VGA Harrier, Electronic Games, volume 2, number 5, February, 1994, pg. 100.
Al Giovetti, TFX, Tactical Fighter Experiment, Electronic Games, July, 1994, pg. 78.
Doug Call, Janeís Advanced Tactical Fighters, August, 1996, URL: