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...a complete outsider! :clapping:

 

So last night I had a guest over to my place. He's a fellow graduate student and gamer - although he spends most of his time playing RPG's like Fallout and Oblivion. We chatted about gaming and after he played through a few levels of Call of Duty 2 on my PC, I decided to show him the latest WWI flight sim offerings...

 

Now, let me preface this story... I'm not saying this to stir up any controversy - but I did take his reaction as a huge nod of appreciation towards OFF and wanted to pass along the compliments the game received last night. After playing through a few missions on some other simulations, I finally got to OFF. I told him the things OFF has to work around - that it's essentially a mod for CFS3, runs on a nearly decade old graphics engine, has a front end program that manages the actual campaign, etc.

 

So, as a quick intro to OFF, I fired up a quick combat with some Albatros DIII's and some French Nieuport 17s. Once he saw a dogfight, his jaw hit the floor.

 

The first words out of his mouth were, "this is spectacular!" I paused the dogfight a few seconds after the first pass and panned around the exterior of my Albatros DIII. My friend, who hasn't touched a flight sim since he was a kid, picked up on OFF's details right away. "Look at that! Yeah, there's not as much "eye candy" but the atmosphere is incredible! The terrain looks fantastic, it looks so rich and populated. Look! There's train yards, airfields... are those troop encampments? They are! Son of a...! This is gorgeous! What were you talking about "it's an old graphics engine so don't expect much?"! This is beautiful! This is so much better!"

 

I unpaused the sim and played through the dogfight. I got my Albatros behind a French Nieuport 17 and opened fire. My friend, who is of French decent, cringed as I set the plane on fire and blew off its lower. I heard him audibly gasp as the plane spun, a trail of thick black smoke billowing from the cockpit as it impacted the ground. Then I turned, and chased after another. And as I opened fire, I glanced up and saw another Nieuport heading for me straight on - I tried to bank away and we collided.

 

My friend actually jumped out of his seat! My Albatros was on fire, the engine screaming as it headed for the ground and impacted.

 

Earlier in the evening, he had tried his hand at a few flights on another sim and crashed several times. He said, "wow, I hit the ground a few times but that was so much more violent... I felt ill watching you hit the ground..."

 

When we were done, I walked him through the intricacies of the campaign, the historical details, how flights are generated, how the dynamic campaign engine works, and then came the bombshell - that this wasn't a studio production, but a third party add on created by a group of devoted programmers, graphics designers, and historians who are determined to get it right. My friend left me with this closing comment...

 

"Honestly, I don't know why you play anything else. That game, Over Flanders Fields is it? Yeah, that thing is incredible. The graphics are so evocative - they grab you - and the gameplay I mean... my God! That little dogfight was more exciting and terrifying than anything I've seen in a flight sim."

 

And then, much like my many posts here, he devolved into lists... "The terrain, that sky, the sounds... the "feel" of that thing... it's amazing. I really don't know why you bother playing anything else... you could spend years on that sim and not see half of everything they put in there..." He asked some questions like, "so all of those skins listed, are they rendered in the campaign? Are the aces there? Are the squadrons accurate?" He went on and on and everytime I told him yes, his jaw dropped open just a little bit more.

 

He was so impressed with the ten minute demo I gave him of OFF that I had to pass this along. Again, this is meant purely as a compliment for the work you guys have done and how - to a complete outsider - the proof is very much in the pudding. A hardcore RPG player took one look at your sim and saw in a flash everything it has going for it.

 

Job well done guys! We might have another convert! :drinks:

Edited by CaptSopwith

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OFF has indeed its charms. And will entice anyone who his interested in WWI warfare, regardless if he likes to play computer games or not.

That's the best compliment we can give to the devs. Because, they achieved 100% what they were looking for.

I've already told this so many times, but here, we are breathing WWI.

Now, P4, please. We're all waiting for the next step.:drinks:

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Great report, Captain!

That's nice to read about someone else's reactions being so much like my own, when I first saw OFF.

And if he should need support, I guess you'll help him getting started.

If you shouldn't have the time - send him here.

:drinks:

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Like any sim, OFF has its problems and limitations, but only RB3D managed to achieve the same level of immersion as OFF. And this is P3 we're talking about. In P4, immersion seems to reach completely new heights!

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Hi there,

 

Hmm, if only I could get my 13 yo son off the xbox and into OFF, we could have an online battle.

 

Cheers,

 

Britisheh

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I once posted an OFF video on my Facebook page..but never mentioned what it was...the reactions from people were interesting...from "Is that FSX"...to "Is that off the history Channel"..hahaha

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It's an interesting way to get someone interested in the game.

 

Aside from the odd offer to my other half (she'd love to learn to fly) to take up a Pup and have a toddle round, the only other time I've tried to show OFF to anyone is a fellow board/card gamer who's been know to dabble in games like Rome Total War and suchlike. He had a fly in an SE5a trying to take out the odd Pfalz scout, but I suspect that he wasn't too impressed. A combination of his interests lying elsewhere and my (then) crappy rig. I haven't bother since with anyone else, mainly because I'm the only flight simmer I know - I'm genuinely not aware of anyone else in the Greater Manchester area, let alone Bury, where I live.

 

So, it remains a solitary joy, particularly since the MP side bit the dust a while ago. I'd love to show it to fellow gamers, but even in the UK's 2nd city, it looks like we're a vanishingly rare breed.

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There are no longer any other contenders for the RB2 crown. :salute:

 

 

Hi there,

 

Hmm, if only I could get my 13 yo son off the xbox and into OFF, we could have an online battle.

 

Cheers,

 

Britisheh

 

Taken together, these two comments create a terrible realization. Red Baron 2 has held that crown longer than your son has been alive.

 

I'm just saying... I shuddered lol! yikes.gif

 

 

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There are no longer any other contenders for the RB2 crown. :salute:

 

There never were...

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OFF is awesome because it's WW1, and you can participate in it with airplanes. That might sound dumb and obvious, but...

 

I remember a quote, I think it was in the Falcon: Allied Force manual: "There's a war on. Someone put you in charge of an F-16." I think that applies here, although with less avionics and more wood.

 

Other sims feel like avionics and flight model studies, with token targets and missions as an afterthought. OFF and Falcon derivatives are the only sims I've played in the past decade which feel like they put the player into a situation much bigger than themselves.

 

I just barely survived an OFF mission a couple of hours ago where my only chance of survival with no ammo and a damaged engine was to circle above a friendly base while hoping the flak and mg file would take down my pursuers. While dodging trees, I was flying past friendly soldiers who were physically aiming their rifles at the enemy aircraft, and I could hear the reports of their rifles above the sound of wind (HITR) and my sputtering engine. In the distance, I could see friendly (white) flak shooting at something else. I could see smoke rising from the tree line below the flak. It must have been a ground attack mission of some sort by an enemy flight. The war is happening regardless if I'm there or not, and I love it.

 

By contrast, I've been flying missions in another sim, where in the entire world at any given point there may exist two, maybe four enemy aircraft, four mg emplacements, and 3-4 balloons. I can land and taxi around the enemy trenches with no fear. The graphics and flight model are great but... there's no real war atmosphere of any sort. I always come back here for that. And most missions wind up being worthy of epic "and there I was..." stories.

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OFF is awesome because it's WW1, and you can participate in it with airplanes. That might sound dumb and obvious, but...

 

I remember a quote, I think it was in the Falcon: Allied Force manual: "There's a war on. Someone put you in charge of an F-16." I think that applies here, although with less avionics and more wood.

 

Other sims feel like avionics and flight model studies, with token targets and missions as an afterthought. OFF and Falcon derivatives are the only sims I've played in the past decade which feel like they put the player into a situation much bigger than themselves.

 

I just barely survived an OFF mission a couple of hours ago where my only chance of survival with no ammo and a damaged engine was to circle above a friendly base while hoping the flak and mg file would take down my pursuers. While dodging trees, I was flying past friendly soldiers who were physically aiming their rifles at the enemy aircraft, and I could hear the reports of their rifles above the sound of wind (HITR) and my sputtering engine. In the distance, I could see friendly (white) flak shooting at something else. I could see smoke rising from the tree line below the flak. It must have been a ground attack mission of some sort by an enemy flight. The war is happening regardless if I'm there or not, and I love it.

 

By contrast, I've been flying missions in another sim, where in the entire world at any given point there may exist two, maybe four enemy aircraft, four mg emplacements, and 3-4 balloons. I can land and taxi around the enemy trenches with no fear. The graphics and flight model are great but... there's no real war atmosphere of any sort. I always come back here for that. And most missions wind up being worthy of epic "and there I was..." stories.

 

I think you read my mind Vidken! I wrote this on a post a while back... a year ago actually. It comes from a passage I found in my old Falcon 4.0 manual about flight simulation design. Here's what I had to say:

And it comes from a jet sim - the mother of all jet sims actually - Falcon 4.0

 

I was reading through my Falcon 4.0 manual this morning and came across this passage. It was written by Gilman "Chopstick" Louie, the creator of the Falcon series and also a key member of the late, great studio, Microprose. His thoughts on flight sims were fascinating to read. This entire passage is tucked away in an appendix in the massive Falcon 4.0 manual. And while he's describing a jet simulator - something almost totally alien to what we usually fly - his ideas I think explain why OFF is a great sim.

 

"Ask programmers and designers who work on combat flight simulations what features are critical, and most will define a great sim by how accurate the flight model and avionics are. Create a set of pre-scripted missions along with a few videos and voila... you have a simulation.

 

"Unfortunately, to create a great simulation, a flight model, avionics, enemy AI, and good graphics are only the start. The purpose of the Falcon series is not just to simulate the aircraft but the entire fight pilot experience. Our goal has been not just to replicate the flight dynamics, avionics and visuals of flight, but to include the elements that make up the combat environment."

 

"Falcon 4.0 is comprised of two completely separate simulations: the campaign and the air combat simulation (ACS). While most games focus only on the ACS, Falcon 4.0 spotlights the campaign..."

 

He later elaborates on the compromise between total realism and the idea of immersion.

 

"For experienced combat pilots, flying the real F16 is 99% boredom and 1% adrenaline. If Falcon 4.0 had the same ratio, nobody would buy the game. Falcon 4.0 like most games, increases activity levels to keep your interest engaged. The action you see in one Falcon 4.0 mission is equivalent to two to five real combat missions. The number of missions you fly in a day has also been exaggerated. On the other hand, Falcon 4.0 does not feature a super plane with unrealistic performance and weapons. Once in an engagement, the simulation realistically depicts what real F16 pilots can do."

 

I could be completely wrong, as I can't read Winder's mind or anyone else on the teem, but these ideas strike me as close to what the OFF designers were aiming for; accurately simulating a combat environment as well as the aircraft that flew over it. While you may run into more flights than you would in reality, it is the simulation of an active and ongoing air war over the Western Front that is of paramount importance. Without that, you're left with pretty graphics and an accurate flight model, and little else. Every great flight sim I've ever played has featured a dynamic campaign system. All of the classics I've been dusting off this week feature that. And it's worth noting that even other current WWI flight sims are working to create such a system.

 

Just thought I'd share. It seemed like some interesting reading. Cheers! :drinks:

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The number of flights varies tremendously over the time periods and areas. Also if you turn all aids off and don't warp or use labels etc you will probably miss flights passing - as it was you will pass many by without noticing each other ;) so it will seem more realistic number wise.

 

Thanks for posting the personal review Capt.

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Welcome to the OFF Forum, Vidken, you must be a new face here, but you're flying OFF since some time?

Then you need to be added to our OFF Forum Pilots Maps now.

If you send me a PM with your town and country, I'll place your name in there.

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.

 

It warms me ol' heart to read this sort of thing from folks who've expereinced OFF for the first time. Takes me right back to when I had the very same thrill. Thanks for sharing your friend's comments Soppy. Thanks to you as well Vidken for sharing your story too, and welcome to the OFF forums. New lads buy the drinks!

 

:drinks:

 

Cheers!

 

Lou

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"Other sims feel like avionics and flight model studies, with token targets and missions as an afterthought. OFF and Falcon derivatives are the only sims I've played in the past decade which feel like they put the player into a situation much bigger than themselves.

 

I just barely survived an OFF mission a couple of hours ago where my only chance of survival with no ammo and a damaged engine was to circle above a friendly base while hoping the flak and mg file would take down my pursuers. While dodging trees, I was flying past friendly soldiers who were physically aiming their rifles at the enemy aircraft, and I could hear the reports of their rifles above the sound of wind (HITR) and my sputtering engine. In the distance, I could see friendly (white) flak shooting at something else. I could see smoke rising from the tree line below the flak. It must have been a ground attack mission of some sort by an enemy flight. The war is happening regardless if I'm there or not, and I love it.

 

By contrast, I've been flying missions in another sim, where in the entire world at any given point there may exist two, maybe four enemy aircraft, four mg emplacements, and 3-4 balloons. I can land and taxi around the enemy trenches with no fear. The graphics and flight model are great but... there's no real war atmosphere of any sort. I always come back here for that. And most missions wind up being worthy of epic "and there I was..." stories."

 

It's funny you should put it that way, being versed in other flight sims, but that's actually what I've I've been trying to put my finger on for a long time.

 

It's not the missions. They're there - we all know that. It's just flying. Flying in that immensely hostile universe. There is no script. There's a mission that you're meant to complete, but, truth be told, if you get back in one piece, you're doing well.

 

That's what was missing from IL2 and even from RB3D. It's world to explore, and no-one's nagging you with waypoints unless you're daft enough to buy into the whole waypoint thing. I don't.

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