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Armée de l'Air 1940: CFS3 ETO Expansion

cfs3 eto expansion armée de lair curtis 75 curtis hawk

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#1 33LIMA

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 06:24:11 AM

'...le jour de gloire est arrivé!' - blocking the Blitzkrieg with the French air force...in a US fighter!

Shot01-11-14-00-51-18.jpg

 

Having enjoyed flying for the Luftwaffe in the 1940 German offensive in the west, courtesy of the CFS3 ETO Expansion, I thought I would swap sides and see if I could stop the enemy tide. None of this comes with stock CFS3, which focuses on the later-war period. But 'Attack in the West 1940' is one of the additional 'eras' that the freeware expansion bolts on, and firing it up, I saw that I had the choice of flying with the Belgians, French or RAF (which latter had an 'Air Component' to the Army's British Expeditionary Force on the continent when the balloon went up in May 1940).

 

I've always been a fan of the Hawker Hurricane and lapped up the initial scenes of the film 'the Battle of Britain' which have some great footage of Hurris, culminating with their 'lame ducks' being clobbered by a low-level strafing attack by Bf109s. When I say 'low-level', that doesn't do justice to the flying of the Spanish air force pilots operating the Hispano 'Buchons' in Bf109E colours - one of them almost clips a perimeter fence with his prop - totally mad, and no Star Wars CGI anywhere in sight, just great planes and great flying! But I digress...

 

Despite being a fan of the Hurricane, I decided to fly for the Armee de l'Air, as the French air force was officially called. As a kid I'd built the neat little FROG 1/72 Morane Saulnier 406 and the Revell Curtiss P-36/Hawk 75. Plus I was keen to fly a French fighter of some sort, to add a bit of immersion by giving me some sense of defending hearth and home against the invading enemy hordes.

 

So I created a French pilot, naming him Clostermann after the famous Free French/RAF fighter ace whose great book, 'The Big Show', is much the most vivid and powerful fighter pilot auobiography I've ever read. Likely because that's how the inbuilt 'Nationality Expansion' pack works, the ETO Expansion actually does describe the 1940 French side as 'Free French'. This didn't become a reality till later, after de Gaulle had rallied the defeated nation from England with his stirring call to arms 'La France a perdu une bataille, mais la France n'a pas perdu la guerre' - a battle is lost but not the war!

 

My assigned unit - which I don't think was actually named - was allocated the Curtiss Hawk (French designation H75C1). This was one of several US planes the French purchasing commission had obtained from America just before war broke out.

 

The swift German victories in the west tend to create the impression of overwhelming Luftwaffe superiority but it was a hard fought battle and the Curtiss Hawk was no pushover. In 'WW2 Fighter Conflict' Alfred Price says ''Although its general performance [like the Hurricane's] fell somewhat below those of the British and German fighters mentioned [Spitfire I and Bf109E] the American fighter, with its finely harmonised controls and large mechanical advantage between stick and ailerons, was superior to both of them in its high speed handling'.

 

There are some nice clips of a preserved P-36 in Armée de l'Air colours on the net, including this one on Youtube, where you can soak up the sight and sound of this gutsy little warplane in flight:

 

 

I was shortly to experience my own first flight in the Curtiss, albeit a virtual one. I kicked off the campaign, and was started early on the morning of 10th May, 1940, the day the German western Blitzkrieg kicked off. As usual with CFS3's dynamic campaign, I was offered a campaign map - which showed the front lines as yet aligned with the national borders - and a drop-down list of alternative missions. The first item was an interception, and I accepted this as more appropriate and possibly more fun that a close support sortie. We were based at Etain-Rouvres in NW France, up near the border with Belgium and Luxembourg, where the main weight of the German offensive would fall. In real life anyway: perhaps not so in this more open-ended and simulated campaign, where our target lay well to the south-east.

 

As usual, I was allocated a flight of eight - this would be effectively a squadron operation, with the player leading in the usual CFS3 style. Here we are, lined up and ready to go in the early morning light. Below that are the orders for the mission.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-38-01.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-37-48.jpg

 

As you can see, I got much the same weather as in my previous Blitzkrieg mission, flown in the German Bf110: cloudy and failrly steady precipitation. Undeterred, I turned on the 'radar'/Tactical Display/TAC, left its range at the maximum of 8 miles, and - bearing in mind this mission was air-to-air - cycled its displayed target type from 'all' to 'aircraft'.

 

In the external view,  I checked the movement of all flying controls, started up, and lowered my flaps, one notch. Behind me, my squadron was already started up and good to go. Opening her up, I accelerated down the runway, correcting swing with rudder and a touch of differential braking. My men wasted no time and were quickly roaring after me. The ETO Expansion aircraft generally model wingtip vortices and navigation lights at low airspeed and these were visible as I took off. Soon it was 'gear up' and off we went, leaving the rising sun behind us as we formed up and began the climb for height.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-39-15.jpg

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The Boche were going to pay for setting foot on the sacred soil of France! Or at least, that was the plan...

 

...to be continied!


  • Dave63 likes this
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#2 33LIMA

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 09:28:24 AM

'Ils ne passeront pas!"

('They shall not pass!' - famously, the rallying cry of General Pétain against the German WW1 Verdun offensive)

 

Shot01-11-14-00-41-17.jpg

 

The ETO Expansion's H75 is a fine plane. The tailwheel fairing under the tailplane is possibly a bit angular at the rear but she really looks well, resplendent in her multicolour Armée de l'Air camouflage scheme and markings; nice cockpit, too:

 

Shot01-11-14-00-42-04.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-42-51.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-43-58.jpg

 

By now assembled in formation, we completed our climb to height and settled on our assigned interception course to the south-east. The showers eased off somewhat as we sped on.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-45-35.jpg

 

Things seemed quiet en route, so I decided to 'warp', to save time on the long and likely uneventful transit flight over friendly territory. We automatically exited 'warp' just short of our objective area, a sign that enemies were not too far off. I looked around, and was surprised to see a formation of single-engined biplanes, which, without the 'radar', had been hard to pick out against the ground until they were quite close. They suddenly came into view on a reciprocal course, ahead and somewhat below us, and just as quickly slipped under us. What were they? Fiat CR42s was my first thought, not likely Italian but I seemed to recall that our Belgian allies flew some of these. Just as they slipped out of view below us, something clicked in my head and I recognised their familiar shape: radial engine, big upper wing, much smaller lower one...Henschel 123 ground attack aircraft - I was sure of it! I turned on the 'radar' so as to be able to padlock targets for myself and to allocate them to my comrades, tapped the 'A' key several times to give the order to attack and banked around hard into a 180 degree turn. Our formation promptly disintergated as my escadrille broke up, swung around and went for the Boches.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-46-23.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-46-30.jpg

 

...to be continued!


  • Dave63 likes this
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#3 33LIMA

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 10:17:06 AM

'il nous faut de l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace!'

('We need audacity, more audacity, always audacity!' - French Revolutionary leader Danton, in response to the Duke of Brunswick's Prussian invasion in 1792)

 

Shot01-11-14-00-47-03.jpg

 

As I swung around in an effort to dive down behind the formation of Henschels, I went slightly wide, but soon managed to padlock a target at lower level. Only problem was, he was moving very fast and even at that range, he did not look much like a biplane close support aircraft. I had to keep my throttle open and pull a lot of Gs to get onto him. Despite the G-induced blackness giving me tunnel vision as I pulled out after him, I quickly realised that the Boche was in fact a Messerchmitt 110...and he was not alone. Oh, merde!

 

Shot01-11-14-00-47-45.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-48-02.jpg

 

In for a centime, in for a franc, I thought. No going back now. I concentrated on the nearer 110 and went for him. His rear gunner didn't seem to be able to get onto me and although my shooting was initially a bit wild, I managed to get some good hits. There was a sudden gush of bright orange flame from somewhere between his fuselage and his starboard engine, and down he went

 

Shot01-11-14-00-48-23.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-48-34.jpg

 

Now, where was that second Messerschmitt? A look behind...there he was! I banked tighly and pulled hard back on the stick.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-48-51.jpg

 

The German disappeared somewhere behind and below me and instead, I latched onto another 110 whom I could see up ahead of me. After a few ineffective exchanges of fire between myself and his rear gunner, he made the mistake of reversing his course in front of me and I got in another good burst, with similar results.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-49-32.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-50-04.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-50-22.jpg

 

I watched him go for a bit. Though he seemed in no hurry to make the final plunge to earth, I was fairly sure he was finished. Conscious of the Golden Rule, never to fly straight and level for long in a combat zone, I turned and looked around to see how the air fight was going.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-52-46.jpg

 

During my attacks I was conscious of some radio chatter, with my comrades announcing both serious damage and some kills of their own. One of these I saw for myself. As I watched, one of my friends latched onto the tail of another Messerschmitt. I swung over, ready to help, but there was no need. He followed the 110 through its evasive manoeuvres and a short burst saw the enemy machine break up and tumble earthwards in pieces. So far, soo good!

 

Shot01-11-14-00-54-29.jpg

 

...to be continued!


  • jeanba and Dave63 like this
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#4 33LIMA

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 11:28:51 AM

'Notre patrie est en peril de mort. Luttons tous pour la sauver!'

('Our motherland is in danger of dying. Let us all fight to save her!' - General Charles de Gaulle in his famous 1940 appeal 'Á tous les Francais')

 

There was at least one other Messerschmitt in the air, and I was soon after him, firing as I came. But not for long! My rounds had evidently damaged his starboard engine which was trailing a thin whitish whisp of what looked like escaping Glycol coolant or fuel. But I ran out of ammunition, just as I thought I had him.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-55-03.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-55-42.jpg

 

He went down in a descending turn, as I watched in frustration, squeezing my triggers in the vain hope that my weapons would magically spring back into life. No such luck...away he went!

 

Shot01-11-14-00-56-19.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-56-27.jpg

 

Well, if I can't finish him off, maybe somebody else can, I thought. The airwaves seemed to have settled down and apart from this German, the combat seemed to have fizzled out. So I issued the order to attack my target. The first response was 'No can do!' (the voices are all the original US English, incidentally) but the next two acknowledged their compliance. This was good, but also a bit of a worry. Were there only four of us left? Not so good, if so.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-57-04.jpg

 

...to be continued!


  • jeanba and Dave63 like this
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#5 33LIMA

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 12:36:36 PM

'Fini'  - the final act!

 

As my flight-mates latched onto the last Messerschmitt, he swerved towards me. I slipped in behind him, thinking to distract his gunner from the pursuing French planes.

 

Shot01-11-14-00-57-58.jpg

Shot01-11-14-00-58-44.jpg

 

This worked a bit too well, because the cochon actually hit me! So I pulled up and kept a watchful eye on proceedings, and let them get on with it.

 

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This went on for some time. Thankfully, the two attacking Curtisses didn't seem to get in each other's way. One stayed on the Messerschmitt's tail, while the other hung back. Several times, the leading Frenchman looked to be in a good position, but there seemed to be no shooting. Was he out of ammunition?

 

Shot01-11-14-01-08-27.jpg Shot01-11-14-01-10-10.jpg

 

I gave this a while longer, then decided enough was enough. At one point the 110 slipped below us, heading back east. Taking the opportunity, I pulled up and headed west, ordering a recall as I did so.

 

Shot01-11-14-01-07-43.jpg

Shot01-11-14-01-11-59.jpg

 

As my comrades rejoined, I swung around to the north-west and home at full power, keeping a watchful eye behind in case the German decided to come after us. But he too seemed to have decided that it was time to call it quits.

 

Shot01-11-14-01-13-25.jpg

 

The flight home was uneventful. As we neared our airfield, my three surviving squadron mates broke off and I made my own approach.

 

Shot01-11-14-01-15-08.jpg

 

As I turned onto finals, I realised my flaps would not extend. Combat damage from that rear gunner! Then I realised my undercarriage would not go down, either. Bon Dieu de mille bons Dieux! I executed a hasty go-around.

 

Shot01-11-14-01-18-49.jpg

 

I opted to make the now-inevitable belly-landing at an adjacent airfield with a grass landing area, thinking perhaps this would give me a better chance of avoiding a crack-up. Unlike IL-2, in my experience CFS3 is VERY unforgiving in the event of a wheels-up landing on ground or water.

 

Shot01-11-14-01-19-47.jpg

 

In my anxiety not to fall foul of this, I somewhat overdid holding her off just before touching down. The lack of shadows didn't help me, in judging my height - I think CFS3 'turns them off' in cloudy conditions, although the cloud cover was intermittent today so I may have turned them off by accident somewhere.

 

My worst fears were duly realised.

 

Shot01-11-14-01-20-12.jpg

 

The debriefing was typical CFS3. Listing my mission goals - which unhelpfully, I don't think CFS3 spells out at the briefing! - I was told that I had succeeded in reaching my mission goal. The goals I had failed were listed as 'visit all waypoints, survive, and return to final destination' (the middle bit of the latter presumably being the issue there) and 'destroy Hs123 formation'. Thanks, CFS3 campaign system, for not telling me at the briefing that I had to do that. On the positive side, I was credited with two Bf110s brought down. I knew that the mission had cost my squadron four aircraft. But unless I've missed something, there is no way of finding out whether your shot-down squadron mates survived or not, or what success they had  - I knew they had shot down at least one, probably at least two, but unless I've missed it or forgotten, CFS3 is very much focussed on you the player and doesn't seem to care much about your mates, or to encourage you to do so, either. If I recall right there is a (very long) list of pilot names in a squadron roster but I don't think this helps much, unless there's some facility I've forgotten which lets you review it after each campaign mission to see losses and kills. If it is there, it's not very well presented.

 

Nevertheless, and despite air-to-air not in my experience being CFS3's strong point, this was a challenging and enjoyable mission and the terrain, planes and effects were very good. Although I'm rather spoiled by the fact you can fly, patrol-lead and fight in First Eagles with no visual aids, I soon got used to using the CFS3 'radar' as a reasonable way of being able to get reasonably realistic reports from an imaginary ground control and organise my wingmen's activities in a reasonably realistic way which would have been much more difficult without a very capable set of radio commands. As for my plane, the Curtiss Hawk was a nice mount and I only stalled and spun out once, recovering without too much fuss. Flying the H75 in the ETO Expansion gave me some insight into why it was that such a high percentage of the Armée de l'Air's kill claims against the Luftwaffe were made in these aircraft. Definitely recommended!


  • jeanba, Dave63 and B52STRATO like this
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#6 B52STRATO

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 01:40:57 PM

This was one hell of a fight ! Thank you for this review.


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#7 33LIMA

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 01:17:18 PM

My pleasure!


For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#8 Pat Pattle

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 11:19:36 AM

Great review and screenshots. It's good to see that the CFS3 ETO expansion is still being flown and appreciated!



#9 Grizzly50

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 02:45:09 PM

I have to agree with Pat Pattle.  We aimed to please.



#10 thedogfighter

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 11:19:40 AM

Just in case for your next one - it is possible to lower the gear manually - when your hidraulics are out of comission. Still with no flaps at all.

Very entertaining. Grettings! :biggrin:



#11 33LIMA

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 02:14:56 PM

Just in case for your next one - it is possible to lower the gear manually - when your hidraulics are out of comission. Still with no flaps at all.

Very entertaining. Grettings! :biggrin:

 

Ahh, thanks, had forgotten about dropping the gear manually, will try to remember that, next time!

 

The CFS3 planes, stock and user-made, sure look a whole lot better since that report was written, thanks to Ankor's DX9 mod, with dynamic self-shadowing...and at long last, with the latest versions, the ability to lose the external view wide-angle lens look!

 

Shot08-16-16-21-08-40.jpg


Shot08-12-16-15-53-06.jpg


For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#12 thedogfighter

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 03:01:59 AM

Ahh, thanks, had forgotten about dropping the gear manually, will try to remember that, next time!

 

The CFS3 planes, stock and user-made, sure look a whole lot better since that report was written, thanks to Ankor's DX9 mod, with dynamic self-shadowing...and at long last, with the latest versions, the ability to lose the external view wide-angle lens look!

 

attachicon.gifShot08-16-16-21-08-40.jpg

Well unfortunatelly i couldn´t make it work. My native screen resolution is  well bellow the shaders file configuration . I opened the ini file but couldn´t find out a way to change it accordingly. The file´s  name is d3d8 i think. What a shame...



#13 jeanba

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 04:45:03 AM

Nice one, thank's !



#14 33LIMA

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Posted 17 August 2016 - 03:21:43 PM

Well unfortunatelly i couldn´t make it work. My native screen resolution is  well bellow the shaders file configuration . I opened the ini file but couldn´t find out a way to change it accordingly. The file´s  name is d3d8 i think. What a shame...

 

I have used different versions of Ankor's mod since the originals, first in OFF and CFS3 (stock and ETO Exp) and now also in WOFF. All in Vista 64. My monitor is 1600x900 native which is nothing special and I don't think there is anything in the mod which is dependent on the screen res which you have set in-game, or via CFS3config (or in the options 'Workshop' for WoFF, which no longer uses CFS3config).

 

What happens when you actually drop all the DX9 mod files into your root CFS3 folder (d3d8.dll, d3d8.ini, and the two folders 'shaders30' and 'Effects' with their contents)? doesn't work, as in, what happens - no visible effect? If the latter, thing to check is probably that the two d3d8 files are both in your root CFS3 folder (by default, Program files (x86)/Microsoft Games/Combat Flight Simulator 3, leave out the (x86) if not Vista or later) and that those two folders are also in that same root folder.


For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#15 33LIMA

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Posted 22 August 2016 - 04:39:36 PM

The 110's look a lot better with Ankor's mod, as well...

 

Shot08-22-16-23-34-43.jpg


For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#16 thedogfighter

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 02:38:48 AM

The 110's look a lot better with Ankor's mod, as well...

 

attachicon.gifShot08-22-16-23-34-43.jpg

Thanks for your interest. Well i´m using an even lower screen resolution than you - this is just a hobby for me im not a hard core  player - and im intending to change screen only after an ahrware upgrade - But what happens is really odd. Some images talk better:

shot1
shot2
shot5
shot4
shot3
shot6

 


Edited by thedogfighter, 24 August 2016 - 02:39:48 AM.


#17 33LIMA

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 01:18:48 PM

Can't see those images - just a big red + white 'No entry' sign for each, with the label 'No Permission'.

 

As an experiment, I went to my stock CFS3 install and used the cfs3config program - not the in-game video options tab, tho it may not make any difference - to reset my screen resolution to 1024x768. Not very suitable for a widescreen monitor but it works.

 

And the DX9 mod also works - here's the stock CFS3 Bf 109G-6 with dynamic shadows, the more natural viewpoint, and ground object shadows, screen resolution 1024x768.

 

Shot08-24-16-20-05-20.jpg

 

It may be nothing to do with whatever problem you have encountered, and as an 'old hand' with CFS3 you probably know this already, but it's definitely a good idea to run CFS3confix.exe and use the File/Custom Settings/Window/Overrides and Window/Texture Info tabs to apply all the settings illustrated in Olham's easy-to-follow guide, here:

 

http://combatace.com...ictorial-guide/

 

What was the problem in the pics? You can upload files into your posts here using the 'More Reply Options' tab that appears at the bottom, when you are posting a reply- this lets you upload into your reply screenshots you have saved to your hard drive.


For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#18 thedogfighter

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 02:46:43 PM

Can't see those images - just a big red + white 'No entry' sign for each, with the label 'No Permission'.

 

As an experiment, I went to my stock CFS3 install and used the cfs3config program - not the in-game video options tab, tho it may not make any difference - to reset my screen resolution to 1024x768. Not very suitable for a widescreen monitor but it works.

 

And the DX9 mod also works - here's the stock CFS3 Bf 109G-6 with dynamic shadows, the more natural viewpoint, and ground object shadows, screen resolution 1024x768.

 

attachicon.gifShot08-24-16-20-05-20.jpg

 

It may be nothing to do with whatever problem you have encountered, and as an 'old hand' with CFS3 you probably know this already, but it's definitely a good idea to run CFS3confix.exe and use the File/Custom Settings/Window/Overrides and Window/Texture Info tabs to apply all the settings illustrated in Olham's easy-to-follow guide, here:

 

http://combatace.com...ictorial-guide/

 

What was the problem in the pics? You can upload files into your posts here using the 'More Reply Options' tab that appears at the bottom, when you are posting a reply- this lets you upload into your reply screenshots you have saved to your hard drive.

Well the pics were setted to private. Sorry... hope you can watch them now. I also followed the above link tutorial previouslly but it didn´t worked either. And also the FPS ressembles now Louis Bleriot crossing the English Channel towards Dover! Fortunately i tried this in mt CFS3 Vanilla wich i keep to try out every addon before apllying it in ETO and MAW...



#19 33LIMA

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Posted 24 August 2016 - 03:29:34 PM

Wow. Not seen that before. Looks like the Firepower Me 410.

 

One thing you might want to try is (re-)installing DirectX9. Can't do any harm, Rise of Flight insists on it, every time you update, won't interfere if you have a later version.

 

https://www.microsof...s.aspx?id=34429


For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of his country!" when the guns begin to shoot!

'Tommy', Rudyard Kipling, 1892

#20 thedogfighter

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Posted 25 August 2016 - 03:24:14 AM

Hi friend . I tryed it also and it didn´t worked. It might be something related with my video card / processor  combo wich is quite outdated. I´m intending to update my system in short notice and after that reinstall al my games. WoFF  is also sommething i would  love  to play but it would be heavy on my system for sure. Seems a wounderful game and as  i already have CFS3 ...i think in fact that´s WOFF  major drawback. You need two games to play one of them - RoF is in serious advantage in this regard. CFS3 is quite old and might be difficult to find - ti´s not even supported my Microsoft anymore - for the new generation of  simmers. That´s when the  obvious option  of a  "downloadble" version comes to the table. :angel:

I´ll get back to you if something new occurs. grettings!







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