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CaptSopwith

My Observations on OFFice + HPW Mods + Ultimate Bundle

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Fellow OFF'ers.

 

It gives me great pleasure to give you some of my initial experiences flying the newly combined mods of OFFice, HPW's flight and empty weight mods, and OlPaint01's Damage modifications - as well as a whole slew of other mods that he included in his Ultimate Bundle.

 

So, simply stated first: So far, very good! OFFice appears to do a fine job of managing the various mods and the potential conflicts that they create. After dropping all of my desired mods into the appropriate JSGME folder, OFFice took care of the rest.

 

To fully test this set of mods, and to start some full DiD campaigns, I created two pilots. My namesake is flying for 24 RFC in February of 1916 and my German namesake is starting in Jasta 4 at its earliest start date. OFFice introduces some nice RPG style enhancements to OFF and integrates well with the OFF Manager. Start OFFice first, run through your pilot and his interactions with his other squad mates - all pulled from OFF's data to seamlessly integrate it with the in-game campaign, and then you can head to the airfield and start your mission.

 

OFFice previously served as a nice RPG handler - it now serves in more of a capacity that those of us who played Red Baron 3D will remember - Campaign Manager 1.1. OFFice loads all of the appropriate mods based on the year your pilot serves, the level of activity at his part of the front, and the relative quality of his squad mates.

 

From there, you fly as always.

 

As for the flight and damage modeling. I have to say, my DH2 feels nicer than any other version I've ever flown. The controls feel nice - the plane still exhibits its usual spin and stall quirks, but the lead weight feeling of the plane from its stock OFF configuration is now a thing of the past. This plane feels light - which, given that it's made out of canvas and wood, seems like it would be accurate. The plane also turns well, climbs with less of a struggle, and fights pretty well - based on the QC's I've staged with it and other period aircraft.

 

The damage model is interesting. I loaded the HPW Ultimate Damage model option (OFFice, btw, gives you a choice here during setup which is quite handy). It's too early to tell, but in my QC's with some Halberstadt DII's I noticed some odd behavior. The Halberstadt's only seemed to go down once you set them on fire - which I did to every one of them - 5 in total. Various hits here and there damaged control surfaces, but only fire finally took them out. Also, the hovering flamer bug from older OFF incarnations seems to be present - at least with my combination of mods as installed by OFFice. Each Halberstadt more or less flew in circles at near level altitude while on fire. The pilots never left their planes and the aircraft never crashed.

 

As a comparison, I'll have to try the alternate damage model next and see how it compares.

 

Over all, between HPW's massive work on the FM, along with the damage model, sound files, realism files, and the litany of other small tweaks - my DiD campaigns should be fantastic to experience!

 

I highly recommend this package to anyone looking to stretch some more life or add some more variety to OFF before the inevitable release of its successor. This is good stuff.

 

I'll offer more reports as time allows.

Edited by CaptSopwith

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Gee, I have put JSGME into the right folder and added all desired mods.

Had social duties today, but can't wait to try the new FM.

A lighter DH-2, you say? Sounds good to me - damn, I can hardly wait.

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Thanks for the report, CaptSopwith! I've just uploaded the new version 0.7.5 of OFFice with OFFbase and its new built in campaign mod manager. Might take a little while for admins to approve the upload, but when they do, get 0.7.5 here.

 

You're going to want to redownload as well, Capt, as this official release fixes a couple of other small bugs.

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I think I heard somewhere that Buddy's revision of my damage mod seems to do a better job of eliminating the eternal flamers, Capt. Sopwith. Thanks for the report!

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Thanks for the report, CaptSopwith! I've just uploaded the new version 0.7.5 of OFFice with OFFbase and its new built in campaign mod manager. Might take a little while for admins to approve the upload, but when they do, get 0.7.5 here.

 

You're going to want to redownload as well, Capt, as this official release fixes a couple of other small bugs.

 

Looks like I got lucky with my timing, Lothar. I checked the version number and I'm using 0.7.5. Must have downloaded it right after you posted it! :yikes:

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Okay, it's after midnight, I haven't gotten any work done, and I'm still fighting the urge to go up for another mission...

 

Further thoughts on this collection of mods for OFF.

 

Wow! Is all I really have to say. Having swapped out the damage model from the HPW to Buddy's version, the improvements were noticeable from the outset. At least with my configuration - everyone's machine handles things a little differently - the difficulty and immersion of OFF has skyrocketed.

 

I have created 10 new pilots - all with back stories, desires, and aspirations for their time at the front. Some seek to serve King and Country. Others are there because life in the cavalry grew tedious and dull in a war that no longer needed them. Still more joined because they sought glory - and found chaos and death instead.

 

With OFFice, I suddenly remember my squad mates names. I feel I know them a bit better - having interacted with them. I only wish we could create some sort of visual representation of them - even if it was on the level of Wings of Glory, it would still be fantastic. As it stands - the simple interactions, the ability to move time in the campaign (IE: I get to fly real dawn patrols now, which are my absolute favorite). The improvement in the variety of weather - I know that the war was typically a mud and rain filled quagmire - but it's nice to fly in some clear weather for a change! The additions of the new sound files - I've used Creaghorn's sound mods for a while but these introduce some new ones I've not heard before. The engines really sound alive now! Even the light powered rotaries have a full, metallic, heavy sound to them - it's fantastic. It all comes together so beautifully. OFF was already the most immersive WWI flight sim I had ever played. This is just dumping icing on an already delicious cake.

 

Did I mention that I like the new loading screen sounds as well? I like that there's a clear difference between the Allied and German side now - feels better. Oh, and during the German briefings - am I right in guessing that the briefing voice over work is taken from the German version of Red Baron II's German Intelligence Briefings? Sounds just like them - I really like it!

 

So overall - would I recommend this set of addons to the community? I give it a resounding YES! This pack really breathes some new life into a sim that I feel like I'm still learning. They are small improvements - but the cumulative effect is massive. From the new sense of immersion in interacting with my squadmates through a simple, old-school, but effective text-based RPG element to the immersion of flying with new sounds and dealing with a whole new FM and DM to learn... it all comes together to make for an utterly gripping experience.

 

I thought I was addicted before... but nothing like this!

 

Fantastic work guys! I cannot commend you enough. I love it! :clapping:

 

PS: The mods are so good - esp with OFFice, that I have started my first round of 2-seater campaigns. First up was Fritz Morgens - who served as the observer of the Roland CII below.

 

I got Fritz settled into the new barracks and he introduced himself to his new squadron members and had a meeting with the Adjutant. The first mission was a lone patrol - a chance to take Fritz up over the lines and let him get a look at the Front. The weather, as you can see, was terrible. I realized that I have never actually flown any of the 2-seaters in OFF since buying the sim in 2009! Well, it was a long overdue treat. We got up in the air and from that point on I let the AI do the flying while I panned the skies for trouble. I do wish that my TrackIR system would work from the observer's seat - is there a trick to make it work?At any rate - we went up and down the lines and finally up to the coast - all on our side of the front. As we turned for home, I got a strange feeling in my gut. Coming through a thick wall of cloud cover were three Nieuports and they had us caught low and slow, heading for home.

 

The result was as terrifying as it was sickening to experience. The Nieuports - painted in French markings - smelled blood and came right for us. I've never seen fighters attack me while sitting in the back of a plane - and I don't want to see it again anytime soon! All three opened fire and, try as I might with my rear gun, I could do little to fend them off. The first burst from the three French planes was also exceedingly lucky - putting our engine on half of its cylinders right away. We were belching smoke as my pilot tired to get me steady for a clear shot. Then - I felt it - another barrage of bullets hit us and wounded the pilot. Our plane lurched, side slipped, and headed for the trees. The impact turned my stomach.

 

Fritz is dead - on his first mission, and a training sortie at that. But, never fear, a new man, Kristof Maybach - a family man from Prussia, has just arrived as a replacement.

 

Life in the squadron now goes on. Fritz's name is still on the board - listed as deceased. The rest of the squad barely remembers him - they had so little time to even learn his name. As Maybach learns his new surroundings - the fellow pilots that Fritz knew (ever so briefly) remain - the same personalities and traits, the same quirks, the same temperaments. These fellow pilots no longer vanish into the ether of history. Life goes on and the sense of institutional memory is now a part of OFF. What will become of these men, as well as my own, remains to be seen.

 

This is really great stuff! If you haven't had a chance to try this out - it's a snap to install, and once you start messing with it, you quickly see how addictive this form of OFFing suddenly becomes.

 

Oh - and if you really want the hardcore heroin version of this - fly DiD. I'm finally giving it a real go (now that I have TrackIR) and I have to say - it's terrifying. Without time compression and without warp and without a tactical aid screen - I really feel uneasy and vulnerable from the time I get to my cruising altitude until I cut the engine and land safely at home. There are simply no safegards and the feeling of emminant danger is tangible through the monitor. Hats off to Siggi for those rules. If you see this post Sig, thanks again!

 

Whew! I'm typed out. As you can see - I'm in love with this sim all over again. What a great sim and what a fantastic community!

 

Cheers all around! :drinks:

Edited by CaptSopwith

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Thanks for the detailed report, CaptSopwith! I'd love to include pictures of your squadmates, but there are some issues with the particular alpha version of the language OFFice is written in. Hopefully the problem's solvable in the future.

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Version 0.7.9 of OFFice has been uploaded and will hopefully be approved by admins soon. It incorporates OlPaint01's suggestion for a "mood ring" mod that dynamically recolors that user interface to reflect the conditions of your pilot and squad. It's not pictures, but you do get instant sensory feedback on how encounters affect your mood as the control bars around the buttons change color. Things just become much more natural--you feel it when your character gets angry--but I'm still not sure about the super-barmy war-is-a-tea-party pastels. A couple screenshots of the extremes are also on the download page. Let me know what you think. Try starting off with a fresh install or a pilot in a new squadron--the personalized color scheme fades in as you learn more about your new squad. The effect can be especially dramatic with poorly-rated squadons.

 

Also included in the download list is a repacked version of HPW's FM mod without the AI Empty Weight adjustments that cause problems with some planes taking off. OFFice will give you the choice which FM mod to use in the Mod Manager.

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Thanks for all of the hard work Lothar. I'll see if I can give it a download and try it out over the next few days. Something happened with my OFF install and I wound up going back to a vanilla setup after the issues with the AI crashing on take off. If this has been corrected, I'd be happy to jump in and try it again.

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