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    Hellcats Over the Pacific Retrospective
    CowboyTodd41
    By CowboyTodd41,
      Hellcats box art (from GiantBomb)   Have you ever had the bug to play an old sim? Say, European Air War or Jane's Longbow. What about Hellcats Over the Pacific, or A-10! Attack? Wait… you may be saying, I've never even heard of these sims! I understand if you haven't, as these sims were released only for MacOS, an operating system most hardcore sim pilots have never even considered. In the 1990's, however, there was a very large, and rather unique simulation community built around the Macintosh. While many PC sims such as A-10 Tank Killer and Armored Fist were only starting to scratch the surface of "True 3D", with voxel graphics rendering low resolution textures, Mac developers knew they would have to take some risks to achieve the greatness that was already on full display on the DOS/Windows shelves of CompUSA and ElekTek. Their solution? A typical Mac developer response. They would sacrifice the then high resolution, "photo-realistic" textures for flat shaded polygons to create fully realized 3D worlds and models, including real-time shadows and highly accurate physics. From Wikipedia: "Hellcats was a major release for the Mac platform, one of the first 3D games to be able to drive a 640 x 480 x 8-bit display at reasonable frame rates in an era when the PC clone's VGA at 320 x 240 x 4-bit was the standard." Having only had my parent's Mac to play on, and being crazy about flying (thanks to them no less!) I dove into this world full bore. My first experience in this new world of flight was Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0, a fantastic sim I taught myself how to play at the young age of five, mostly by trial and error. Soaring above the Chicago skyline in my Cessna 182RG was truly amazing for my young self, but something was lacking. That something was obviously guns. By 1991, I was six years old. With the combination of ever increasing hours of time spent in FS4 and the excitement of reading about the air to air victories from the just ended Gulf War, I was ready. During a trip to the store I saw the game I wanted, and I begged my parents to get it for me. Amazingly enough, they actually relented. Soon, I knew, I would be soaring over tropical locales and splashing Zeroes! Hellcats Over The Pacific was released in 1991 by Graphsim Entertainment, who would go on to release the excellent Hornet series a few years later, which will be the subject of a future write-up. Developed by Parsoft Interactive and coded by Eric Parker, it would become maybe the most popular sim ever released on the Macintosh. Sporting bright graphics, excellent physics and flight models, and rudimentary carrier ops it was, much like its namesake the F6F Hellcat, truly a beast to be reckoned with that outclassed and outdated all opponents. Bagging a Zero at the merge. You can see the rudimentary "radar" here (Photo courtesy of mobygames.com) Taking place on a large map of the Solomon Islands, it focused on the Battle of Guadalcanal and related engagements in "The Slot". The missions themselves were rather basic, with accordingly basic mission names. "Bomb Base" for instance had you bombing a Japanese held airfield, which would eventually become Henderson. "Scramble!" is pretty self-explanatory, take off, shoot down the G4M Betty while mixing it up with a pair of escorting Zeroes. Rarely were there more than just a few aircraft in any given scenario. Typically no more than four or five, including your aircraft, most likely to keep memory usage down.  Only two missions ever had you flying with allied aircraft, the first an escort mission with a B-17 called, you guessed it, "Flying Fortress". And the final mission of the game, "The Duel", paired you up with ultimate Hellcat ace Cpt. David McCampbell (34 victories, including 9 in one sortie, and the Medal of Honor).  Number two behind McCampbell (Photo courtesy of mobygames.com)   A particularly grueling trial came in the form of the mission "Flat Top" where you needed to bomb and sink an opposing Japanese carrier. One bomb usually wouldn't do it, and it was hard to get both on target with the massive AAA fire from the surrounding task force. Sometimes this meant multiple sorties in a single mission, returning to trap on the carrier over and over till you finished. Since many flight sims don't include an in-mission re-arming mechanic, this made this fairly unique, especially considering the fact that in many missions you would be returning to the carrier, and not a nice long stretch of concrete. Trapping once is tough enough, but doing it multiple times per mission seriously heightened the challenge! Another tricky mission was "Divine Wind" where you needed to defend your carrier against kamikaze attacks. As the enemy aircraft spawned at a regular interval there was usually no time to return to base and rearm, necessitating careful ammunition and fuel management. With the carrier sinking, the mission is effectively over. (Photo courtesy of mobygames.com) But like all things, it was not without its problems. Chief among them was the seriously lacking draw distance, a common issue amongst many games in the nineties. It is not typically an issue in say, an RTS or corridor FPS shooter, but in flight sims, the farther you can push the draw distance, the better off you are, and the more immersive it becomes. Unfortunately, the distance in Hellcats was short even for the time, making strafing runs on enemy airfields with parked aircraft and long distance intercept missions harder than they probably needed to be. The work around was a sort of radar, in the center of the instrument panel. This radar gave a 360 view around the aircraft out to a few miles, with other aircraft represented as white dots. The enemy AI was also quite lacking. Most engagements typically quickly devolved into a tight turning fight that the Hellcat could easily win by use of the aircraft's flaps to gain a significant turning advantage over the opposing Zero. This was a feature the Hellcat did not have, but that ironically, many Japanese fighters did. The hit detection was spotty at close ranges, causing many bullets to simply pass through the opposing aircraft and simply drain away your ammo. At longer ranges accuracy was better, but many times the enemy would simply smoke then ditch, requiring close in strafing runs near the ocean's surface to get credit for the kill. I can still remember my first kill in any combat sim ever, a snapshot with a deflection angle of nearly 90 degrees. I turned sharply to the right to chase and was rewarded with a swiftly descending, and heavily smoking Zero. It's an image forever burned into my mind, and I was hooked. For better or for worse, I had begun a lifetime obsessed with the skill curve of the Combat Sim. It was a fun jaunt into the past writing this article. I even remembered most of the key bindings! If you're ever looking into the retro-sim scene yourself, don't count out the Macintosh platform. There are several other great sims from this era for the mac, a few of which will be the subjects of future articles. If anyone would like to know how to get into the world of emulating Mac or DOS games for a similar trip down memory lane, PM me. I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Thanks for reading, good luck, and good hunting.  

    Il2 DD Update Dev Blog 188 (Il2 4K Texture)
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,
    Hello everybody,   Today we have a small surprise for you. But we aren't its authors: it was made by an enthusiast from the Netherlands, Neeraj =BlackHellHound1= Bindraban. Neeraj turned out to be the biggest enthusiast among the Soviet WWII aircraft skin artists since he was the first to finish the entire path of re-texturing an aircraft in 4K. Not only he remade the skins in 4K, he also made many corrections to the base textures of the IL-2 mod. 1943. He started his work as early as June 2017 and finished it only now, since it was a lot of work to redraw all this in 4K to achieve the new level of detail:   - All panel lines, hatches, rivets, etc. in 4K detail  - Dirt and wear layer - Texture alpha channel that governs matte effect, reflections and glint - Bump texture that visualizes small surface details - Bump texture alpha channel that governs the damage visualization - Damage texture that shows bullet holes, raptures and other visible surface damage - 15 existing and new paint schemes   Here are some screenshots showing the new look from the IL-2 mod. 1943 cockpit:       ... new damage look:     ... and new skins that you'll get together with a ton of other improvements and additions in the update 3.001:                     Neeraj became a trailblazer in converting the entire set of aircraft textures and skins to 4K resolution and encountered difficulties all the pioneers face. He managed to overcome all these difficulties and hopefully other enthusiasts will follow, helping to take the visual clarity of various aircraft to the new level.   You can discuss the news in this thread

    IL2 Lunar New Year Sale Feb. 15th - 19th!
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,


    Dear Pilots,

    Our Lunar New Year Sale has started on our website and on Steam!  The sale runs from Feb. 15th until Feb. 19th.
    - 50% OFF Fw-190 A-3 and La-5 (series 8)
    - 40% OFF Ju-52, Yak-1B, P-40E and Mc.202
    - 50% OFF BOM and BOS
    - 50% OFF 10 Days of Autumn Campaign
    - 33% OFF Blazing Steppe Campaign
    - 25% OFF Cliffs of Dover BLITZ

    ...and  66% OFF all ROF content in the ROF Store.

    Grab em' All!

    Jason

    Il2 DD Update Dev Blog 187 (P-39 pit and A-20 Skin)
    76.IAP-Blackbird
    By 76.IAP-Blackbird,
    Hello everybody,   Update 3.001 testing is progressing well: almost all the planned functionality is in and ready. We know that you'd like to hear an exact release date, but since this update is shaping up to be the biggest of all, it's hard to pinpoint an exact release date. Nevertheless, as we said before, we're doing our best to release this update before the end of Winter. Major tasks that still remain include P-39 cockpit texturing and completion of 25 Career mission types that will be included in the initial release (after it the work on the new mode will continue to increase the total number of the mission types to 40). Once again, this update is going to be the leader in terms of changes and additions - the change list includes more than 80 items already.         Speaking of the further development, we'll start to disclose various details about it pretty soon. For now, we can say that the work on 3D models of P-47, Spitfire Mk.IXe and Bf 109 G-14 has already started while we're collecting reference documents on Tempest Mk.V. In the same time, we have started adapting the existing WWI aircraft FM for IL-2 Sturmovik: Great Battles engine for Flying Circus project. The work on Tank Crew is also progressing: new track assembly animation tech and increased height map detail are accompanied by the new detailed buildings destruction tech which will be used on 'Clash at Prokhorovka' map; the first two new 3D tank models are in the works as well. We'll tell you about them later, but they are heavies.   To spice up today's diary, here are the official A-20B skins. Important note is that external textures of A-20B are made in 4K resolution:                   You can discuss the news in this thread

    DCS Weekend News 9th February 2018
    MigBuster
    By MigBuster,
         DCS World 2.5 Open Beta Update Last week we launched the Open Beta version of DCS World 2.5, and your initial reports have been very helpful for us to reach a high-quality release version. The team is working very hard to bring the DCS World 2.5 release version to you as soon as possible. We have been reading all your feedback and striving to address all valid issues. Less than a week after the 2.5 OB release, we released a hot fix which you can read about on the forum in special thread. Earlier than initially planned, we also released the Open Beta of DCS World of 2.5 to Steam, which you can read about in the Steam news. DCS World 2.5 has been a significant advancement for DCS World and we are heartened by all the kind words of appreciation, thank you! If you missed it earlier, here you can find the DCS World 2.5 Open Beta launch trailer video. DCS World Helicopter Sale One of the biggest benefits of DCS World 2.5 is that it's a much better environment to fly helicopters. The higher-resolution terrain elevation mesh, higher resolution terrain and object textures, much improved trees, huge forests, and trees that now have collision / block line of sight for weapons, all create a much more engaging and beautiful environment to fly in. Starting today and lasting until 19 February at 0900 GMT, we are offering 30% off on all helicopters for DCS World! Find these great deals on our E-Shop. DCS: F/A-18C Hornet Update Progress on the Hornet is moving along quickly with much of the work focused on the air-to-air radar modes, defensive systems, INS waypoint navigation, and flight dynamics / Flight Control Computer. Our next Hornet academic video will instruct on Hornet TACAN and ADF navigation. Pre-purchase now and save $20: DCS E-Shop. New Rapier SAM Model In addition to adding new units to DCS World, we are also busy updating some of the older units. Much of the priority is based on updating units that are operated by Iran... an important aspect of the new Persian Gulf map that is in late-development. Here are a few work-in-progress of this unit that will also be playable via Combined Arms.
    Sincerely,
    The Eagle Dynamics Team

    DCS Weekend News 2 February 2018
    MigBuster
    By MigBuster,
         DCS World 2.5 Open Beta Released! Download DCS World 2.5 Open Beta from DCS site The Open Beta version of Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS World) 2.5 is a free-to-play digital battlefield game and simulation environment. The "release" version will be available shortly after Open Beta testing is complete. The Open Beta is an optional version of DCS World that we use to first test new content and technologies before moving them to our release version. DCS World 2.5 Launch Trailer Our dream is to offer the most authentic and realistic simulation of military aircraft, tanks, ground vehicles and ships possible. This free download includes a vast mission area of the Caucasus region and Black Sea that encompasses much of Georgia. It also includes a flyable Russian Sukhoi Su-25T ground attack aircraft and the famous WWII North American TF-51D fighter. An additional more than two dozen aircraft are available for purchase. The download comes with one of the most powerful mission planners ever designed, full network play and more than 156 AI weapons systems, 105 ground vehicles and trains, 50 air defense systems, 19 ships and 84 AI aircraft permitting you to plan and play highly sophisticated missions. DCS World is massively extensible through additional DCS modules as well as user-made add-ons and mods which you can purchase and download from our site. DCS is a true "sandbox" simulation that is also designed to cover multiple time periods of interest such as WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War and others. Current regions to battle include the Caucasus, Nevada Test and Training Range, and Normandy 1944. New maps in development include the Persian gulf, Syria and others. DCS World is fundamentally a deep, authentic and realistic simulation designed also to offer a more relaxed gameplay to suit the user and his particular level of experience and training. The ambition is to hand hold users from novice pilot all the way to the most advanced and sophisticated operator of such complex weapons systems as the A-10C Warthog or the F/A-18C Hornet. The only next step is the real thing! Key features of DCS World 2.5: The most realistic Free-to-Play digital battlefield ever. One-of-a-kind, internally developed graphics engine that looks amazing from 0 to 80,000 feet. Includes a beautiful, free, and highly detailed map of the Caucasus region that includes south western Russia and Georgia. Includes 20 fully-equipped operational airbases, millions of buildings and trees, and thousands of kilometers of usable roads and railway. Includes 156 free and fully operational weapons systems, 105 ground vehicles, 19 ships and 84 AI-controlled aircraft. Fly the TF-51 Mustang and Su-25T attack jet for free! Play all DCS World modules from one DCS World version. State-of-the-art graphics with amazing lighting, shadows, and performance. New breathtaking effects for explosions, clouds, fog, fire, and smoke. Hundreds of land, air and seaborne AI vehicles. The world is your sandbox. Create your own missions and campaigns for unlimited gameplay! Mission generator included allowing rapid mission creation. Enjoy multiplayer with friends, and even fly together in the same aircraft for multi-crew missions! Purchase and fly the most iconic airplanes and helicopters from WWII up to the modern day. Mouse interactive 6 degrees of freedom cockpits for most aircraft and the most accurate flight models, cockpit systems, sensors, targeting systems and sounds available. Purchase and fly the most authentic simulations of the A-10C Warthog, UH-1H Huey, F-86F Sabre, Spitfire, and many others now. Exciting new aircraft coming to DCS World like the F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18C Hornet, F-4E Phantom II, Mi-24P Hind, P-47D Thunderbolt, and many more! Purchase additional high-quality maps such as Normandy 1944 and the Nevada Test and Training Range. Play hundreds of missions and campaigns with new campaigns continually created. Both hardcore realistic and casual gameplay modes and options available. Virtual reality support. Minimum system requirements: OS 64-bit Windows 7/8/10; DirectX11; CPU: Intel Core i3 at 2.8 GHz or AMD FX; RAM: 8 GB; Free hard disk space: 60 GB; Discrete video card DirectX11: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 / AMD R9 270X with 2GB VRAM or better; requires internet activation. Recommended system requirements: OS 64-bit Windows 7/8/10; DirectX11; CPU: Core i5+ at 3+ GHz or AMD FX / Ryzen; RAM: 16 GB; Free hard disk space: 120 GB on Solid State Drive (SSD); Discrete video card DirectX11: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 / AMD Radeon RX VEGA 56 with 8GB VRAM or better; Joystick; requires internet activation. Sincerely,
    The Eagle Dynamics Team

Portal by DevFuse · Based on IP.Board Portal by IPS


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