History: Wild Bill Stealey and Microprose created the first ultra-realistic flight simulator, the F-15 Eagle game from the early 1980's. Interactive Magic has created some really stunning helicopter simulations, including Apache and Mi-21 Hind. Both of these games did quite well, encouraging Interactive Magic to go further and feature one of the most exciting new air superiority fighter plane introductions in years.
Company line: iF-22 HAS HIT THE TOP 20 IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, AND... is shipping to most computer retail stores across the U.S. this week (Hooyaa as "Wild Bill" would say). iF-22 info can be found at... http://www.imagicgames.com/f22.dir/f22.html NEW TECHNOLOGY...Because iF-22 is one the first flight sims to implement Direct 3D, many players with 3D accelerator cards will need to update their drivers before the game will operate properly. To help gamers work their way through this process, we have organized an iF-22 FAQ (frequently asked questions) board at... http://www.imagicgames.com/f22.dir/f22faq2.html The board allows players to post questions so that other players and iMagic's tech support can answer their concerns. For more questions contact about iF-22 contact Lynne Beaman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-461-0722 ext 3048.
iF-22(TM) First Flight Sim to Use Direct 3D Interactive Magicís(TM) Game Shows Off State-Of-The-Art Technology
(Research Triangle Park, NC) Ė Interactive Magic has released iF-22 ~ The Realistic Simulation of the F-22 Raptor. iF-22 is the first computer flight simulation to hit the shelves using MicroSoftís Direct 3D technology. This technology enables the game to use 3D acceleration hardware and increase the realistic look and feel of the iF-22.
"Any time you can be the first company to use cutting edge technology, itís very exciting," said Interactive Chairman "Wild Bill" Stealey, a retired Air Force pilot. "By using Direct 3D, gamers with 3D accelerator cards can expect to see great looking graphics when they play iF-22."
The use of Direct 3D isnít the only cutting edge technology used in iF-22. The simulation also features Interactive Magicís highly anticipated DEMON-1(TM) graphics engine. The DEMON-1 engine utilize real world elevation data and actual satellite images to create incredibly realistic terrain. Unlike many games where artists draw artificial terrain, over 160-thousand square miles of actual terrain from Bosnia and the Ukraine can be found in the game. The DEMON-1 engine uses dynamic terrain paging to generate the images of Bosnia and the Ukraine as quickly as the player flies the game. This rapid transfer of information eliminates the requirement to install large terrain sets on their computer.
Computer game magazines have been excited about the release of iF-22. Computer Gaming World said iF-22 should be "as much a jump over previous jet sims as the real F-22 is over its predecessors." Computer and Net Player said, "if you were to hop into a real F-22 and take a snapshot, it would look identical to the cockpit view of this game."
Interactive Magic has organized an iF-22 FAQ (frequently asked questions) board at their website ( http://www.imagicgames.com/f22.dir/f22faq2.html) to assist gamers who have questions about iF-22. Direct 3D is such new technology, game players need to make sure they have the latest 3D accelerator card drivers before running iF-22. Drivers are small programs that make sure the video hardware in your computer communicates with Direct 3D, which in turn communicates with the iF-22 software. Check Interactive Magicís website for an up to date list on drivers for popular 3D accelerators.
Planes that you fly: Lockheed-Martin F-22A Raptor
Other planes: MiG-29, F-16, F-15E, and A-10
Campaign: Created on the fly by the dynamic mission creation mode. Dynamic mission creation, first introduced in EF2000, keeps track of your overall success in the missions and adjusts the subequent missions accordingly. In the current design a series of missions are presented that you can choose from. Locations to include Bosnia, Persian Gulf, and Ukrane (Soviet Union near Yugoslavia). The Grand Canyon was to be included in the final game but it was eliminated and only is found in an early beta version of the game. Winning in the campaign games will result in promotionsand awards while loosing will result in your becoming POW (Prisoner of War), MIA (Missing in Action) or KIA (Killed in Action). Your actions in the game have a direct effect on the outcome of the scenerios.
Flight Characteristics: To be based upon F-22 flight model with adjustments for special features, such as power, thrust vectoring, air brake characteristics, and weapons bay doors. The Magic Labs team visited Lockheed's Concept Demonstrator two times and used a company that does military simulators to do the flight model. You will be able to fly a variety of modes from arcade to realistic.
There are multiple flight modes including arace and realistic. The arcade is simple and straightforward while the realistic incorporates thrust vectoring, high angle-of-attack, altitude effects, engine effects, stores effects, control and augmentaion systems, weight, balance, moments, and drag.
Missions: include escort, top cover, and intercept. You can choose the number of wingmen, 4 to 6, and during the mission request reserve aircraft support. You can play unlimited missions with a dynamic mission generator, rather than a scripted one. There are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. The dynamic mission generator allows you to play a multitude of missions created by a computer algorythm which randomizes factors such as number and quality of agressors, terrain, mission type, etc.
A computer programmed random mission generator usually produces less high quality missions than the carefully scripted human designed missions. You get more missions, but after a time, the dynamic generated missions become too alike to be entertaining. A mission editor that allows you and others to create hand crafted and scripted missions is the best of both worlds, but Interactive Magic did not provide a mission editor with the package.
Each terrain area involves over 80,000 square miles for a total of a quarter of a million miles when you consider each of three terrains used in the entire game for a total of about 250,000 square miles. The terrain is sattelite image created without any repeat terrain effects. The DEMON-1 engine supports the terrain at the normal working altitudes of the F-22 and works with Direct3D and 3D accelorators. " When you fly over Bosnia at 20,000 feet it looks like Bosnia."
Cockpit realism: The Interactive Magic team went to the Raptor roll out at Lockheed Martin in Atlanta Georgia and they confirmed the actual cockpit readouts.
Features: Lightning has a data link capability that allows the plane to share infomation with other planes and AWACS. This information liking allows the Lighting to launch air-to-air missiles using the radar signal shared with AWACS aircraft. The F-22 is the only air superiority fighter with stealth capabilities, meaning that the radar signal, with the weaponís bay closed is very small and may not be detected as an aircraft.
The steath features allow the F-22 to strike other aircracft before being seen, and since most air combat is resolved by what you did before making contact to maximize your advantage, this is a significant plus and a feature that Imagination Magic is expected to exploit. Other stealth planes, like the F-117 and the B-1 (or B-2) Bombers are stealthy but they are not fighters.
Graphics: A new feature, called microtexturing makes the ground look more realistic as you approach rather than it becoming more blurry and blocky as you get closer.. Graphics resolutions will range from 256-color 640x480 to 16-bit color at 1024x768 with Direct 3D on a 3D card or later this year with the new MMX Pentium processors and Direct 3D. Interactive Magic has used satellite data to enhance three dimensional digital elevation models from the actual terrain.The simulated model appears just like the actual terrain. Interactive Magic is understandably proud of the amount of digital information that is included in their terrain maps.
Animation: The Digital Elevation Model Optimization Number One technology, called DEMON-1, creates or renders the terrain for the game in real time as you fly over the ground. The terrain creation is so quick that there is no need to store more than the data on the location since it is constructed in real time from the data.
When you get close enough to the ground you can actually see the troops fighting, advancing and moving on the enemy. If you make a ground strike against an enemy position which is successful, you will see your troops advance to take the position. If you screw up, the enemy will overtake the troops you were sent to protect or support. This is a new feature for a flight simulator, but a dubious one with the air superiority role of the Raptor.
Explosions incorporate two dimensional bitmaps for flame, chaff, flares, which combine with three dimensional debris to make a very nice picture. Missle smoke trails and battlefield smoke is also produced with the combined 2D and 3D effects.
Difficulty Matrix: Several levels of different difficulty settings make the product accessible to novice and expert.
Multiplayer: Null (direct serial connection) and phone modem play for two players and LAN play for up to eight players is supported in heat-to-head and cooperative play. At this time there is no internet play.
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IF-22 Interview with Lynne Beaman
Andrew Sanchez, Boot, volume 2, number 8, April, 1997, pg. 68
Denny Atkin, Computer Gaming World, issue 154, May, 1997, pg. 46.
Glenn Broderick, Computer and Net Player, volume 3, number 12, May, 1997, pg. 36.
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