History: This is the latest flight sim effort of Martin Kenwright.,who started in 1990 with F-29 Retaliator and produced TFX in 1993. .
New: This game retains and improves upon the DID's excellent 3-D graphics, providing realistic background scenery as well as highly detailed objects and explosions. The landscape of the entire theater, four million square kilometers, has been texture-mapped. Even the free flight mission is interesting! The flight modeling integrates pilot personalities, aircraft flight characteristics specific to type, and appropriate tactics. It is supported by the SmartPilots Artificial Intelligence System, which manages all activity within 100 miles of your position and integrates local action into the ongoing campaign which is being run by the DID War Generator, WARGEN. This allows you to interface with the action just as a squadron pilot would or simply watch the war unfold.
Gameplay Overview: Basic Design Philosophy is to produce a High quality, 3-D, single theater, AI controlled campaign featuring as accurate as possible flight modeling, cockpit design rendering, weapons and avionics suite modeling available from public sources.
Missions and Campaigns: Player can choose from Quick Combat, Simulator, or Campaign missions menus. Quick Combat features 12 representative missions which vary from air-to air to interdiction. The Simulator menu offers; Free Flight, Basic Training, Weapons Training, Air to Air Combat, Ground Attack, and Advanced sub-menus with a variety of single missions in each. The Campaign menu allows the choice of xxx different missions at any point in time during the campaign.
Avionics: The modeling of aircraft systems, avionics,weapons and defensive systems management instrumentation, controls and capabilities is based on public information about technologies and capabilities which are for the most part classified. The design team has produced an aircraft and supporting gameplay which cannot be totally accurate but is certainly realistic and believable. Strong ties to the aircraft manufacturer and the tactical community are in evidence. The game is a hands on lesson in not-to-distant future air combat and provides insights as to the changes the new technology will engender.
Cockpit quality:3-D Virtual cockpit which allows the use of MFDs in the cockpit to monitor and control various systems. The game provides software support for the Thrustmaster Flight Control System, Weapon Control System, Throttle Quadrant System,and the CH Flightstick Pro.
The cockpit displays combined with the View keys provide an effective means of quickly building situation awareness. Some provision for additional throttles and sticks such as the CH F-16 series would enhance gameplay options for some players.
Views are selected with the "F" keys and include two welcome options, a wide angle cockpit view for dogfighting and a padlock view which automatically* padlocks you on a missle fired within visual range or allows you to alternate the padlock between your opponent and an incoming missile when selected. Padlock keeps your eyes on the badguy/missle just as you would the real world.
Other Views keys allow you to toggle through various views with each press of the key or when pressed with the shift key. Additional views are available with the numeric keys but keep in mind that the numeric keys are used (in conjunction with the Tab key) to send wingmen commands so you might consider using the extended keyboard or programming your throttle/stick for views, by far the best option.
Rear view mirrors: There are no rearview mirrors, but with the padlock view they are unnecessary.
Artificial intelligence: AI pilots are individually modeled and updated as the campaign progresses.
Map: Included in the box is an Operational Navigation Chart (ONC) of the theater which provides the "big picture" for planning and limited in flight reference if the JTIDS map is damaged.
Wing person commands:
Graphics: Resolution: SVGA is standard but player can select 320x200 or 640x400 if required to enhance system speed.
Animation: Hand Drawn/On Fly(algorithm)/Wire Graphics with light sourching/shading. The frame rate but is certainly realistic and believable. Strong ties to the aircraft manufacturer and the tactical community are in evidence. The game is a hands on lesson in not-to-distant future air combat and provides insights as to the changes the new technology will engender.
Computer Gaming World, 1996 Simulation of the Year award
Al Giovetti, TFX, Tactical Fighter Experiment, Electronic Games, July, 1994, pg. 78
Al Giovetti, Tornado, Simulations, volume 2, number 4, issue 10, 1993, pg. 1-2.