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MigBuster

Falcon 4.0 BMS U4 released

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2016-04-19_232401.thumb.jpg.bc7fc87ed924bb699921ca629ff29ee0.jpg

 

 

 

 

On behalf of the entire BMS development team, I am happy to announce that the latest iteration of the Billion Soft Falcon 4.0 total conversion modification - Benchmark Sims 4.33 U4 - is available for you to enjoy as of RIGHT NOW!

Like U3, the changes and bugfixes in Update 4 are a direct consequence of feedback we got from some bigger MP sessions. There are no data or feature changes included in this patch.


First things first: the "Falcon" trademark has a new copyright holder, Billion Soft (Hong Kong) Limited. We're very grateful to them that they support and enable us to keep releasing future BMS updates!

BMS 4.33 U4 requires a legit installation of a Falcon 4.0 (all older and newer versions are accepted alike, i.e. Microprose, Hasbro, GOG, Steam, Retroism). The check is performed both at setup time and every time you start BMS. If no valid installation is found, BMS will exit with a corresponding error message.

For those of you who are still in need of a legit Falcon 4.0 base installation, please be aware that Retroism is offering a special price for Falcon 4.0 for the upcoming black Friday weekend ($/€2.79)!


U4 is an incremental update on top of U1 + U2 + U3, so you need to have the BMS 4.33 U1 Full Installer package and the corresponding 4.33 U2 Incremental Installer and 4.33 U3 Incremental Installer available on your PC. You can both update your existing U1 + U2 + U3 installation as well as perform a fresh U1 + U2 + U3 + U4 installation from scratch, as you like. See the installation instructions below for details.

 

from: https://www.bmsforum.org/forum/showthread.php?32320-Falcon-BMS-4-33-U4-Incremental-Installer

 

Changelog:

Generic Information:

- The build number string in the Falcon UI reads "4.33.4 Build 16083" after the update

- No data or docu or config files have been changed, this update is a pure "code-only" patch

- The shortcuts in the start menu and on your desktop will NOT be renamed to U4, feel free to rename them manually


CODE:

- Updated splash screen and monolog output for the new Falcon copyright holder: Billion Soft (Hong Kong) Limited

- Significant performance improvements for importing ACMI .flt to .vhs:
* Reduced time needed for import by at least a factor of 10 to 20
* Added monolog output, flt file size at START, duration summary and vhs size at DONE

- In the UI chat windows, the participant tree title will now include the number of players in the chat, e.g. "(4)Lobby" instead of "Lobby"

- Increased the disconnect timeouts for the transport layer to 60 seconds for increased stability in "short temporary network loss/disconnect" situations

- Fixed mouse wheel not always working in UI

- Multiple (potential) CTD/hang fixes:
* memory depletion (OOM) CTD originating in a data range overrun
* client CTD when exiting BMS
* CTD related to input device sorting
* CTD in DrawableTrail::DrawChunkBillBoards
* CTD when exiting a campaign on a client due to invalid object access in UpdateIntel
* CTD when checking in with AWACS
* CTD in AirTaskingManagerClass::FindNearestActiveTanker
* infinite loop in AirframeClass::CalcMach
* CTD in VU message handling

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    • By MigBuster

       
      Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away……….it would appear that games developers started projects based on what they could achieve rather than what time and money constrained them to achieving!
      …..So brings our hero in this story a certain Mr Kevin Klemmick who on his first ever job found himself being given quite a challenge:
       Initially I was hired as an intern and asked to design and develop a dynamic campaign. For better or worse there wasn’t a lot of direction on what that would entail – the directive was mostly to make something that would be a persistent world and generate dynamic missions instead of the pre-scripted model which was the norm.
       
      In case you are wondering the Dynamic Campaign of Falcon 4.0 is still a gem of the modern flight sim world, so some brief quotes on what it involved to create such a thing are in order:
       
      I was given a pretty blank check in designing the Dynamic Campaign, so I approached it as I would a strategy game. The idea being that this game would be running in the background whether or not the player flew any missions. In fact, it could be played as a strategy game from the tool I wrote to monitor it. The AI was broken into three tiers, a strategic level, operational level and tactical level. Yet another level of AI would operate in the Simulation itself to drive the vehicles or aircraft.
      The missions were generated as a by-product of this AI, and in fact used real world planning techniques. For example, once a priority list of targets was determined, a package would be put together to time suppression of air defence, air superiority, refuelling, AWACS, etc. All these missions would be timed out and planned much like a real-world commander would, but were generated as a response to decisions made by the campaign’s AI.
      While my primary goal was to make something fun to play, we were very fortunate to get a lot of advice from military sources about how things work in the real world and I tried to match that as closely as possible while keeping the game play elements that I felt were important. However, all of this had to work within a very tiny slice of the CPU, which was a huge limitation given all the AI/planning work that was going on. That was probably the biggest challenge of this system.
       
      So, got that right.
       
      What was the difference between this dynamic thingy and a pre-scripted model?
      An example of pre-scripted from the Strike Fighters series would be someone creating missions with the Mission Editor or before the Mission Editor existed, Yankee Air Pirate creating missions for players.  There are some advantages to this such as recreating historical missions or providing a story or backdrop for the player beforehand. The main disadvantage is that once you have played the mission a few times it’s basically the same thing each time.
      Of course, Falcon 4.0 does also have a Mission Editor (Tactical Editor) and you can create missions or training scenarios. DCS also has a Mission Editor that includes some quite advanced features for mission designers.

      Nostalgia and story based missions from yesteryear (Novalogic)
       
       
      Campaign Mode
      Although it can appear to be just a set of single missions Strike Fighters does have a basic dynamic campaign. DCS campaigns on the other hand are currently a set of scripted missions, but that doesn’t mean you cannot have some very good campaigns in this sense!
      A Falcon campaign starts with a ticking clock on day one, and the whole thing runs on a massive scale putting the player either in a 2D map mode or joining the campaign by flying in the 3D world as part of it.
      Even in the 2D map mode the player can see most of the things happening (there is still a fog of war) and also gets news updates on major events. Of course, the missions you do fly will be different and often unpredictable, and that is the extra challenge!

      Here you can plan and influence things.........bet you didn't plan for that big purple blob.........looks like the space ship from Independence day is here!
       
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      And yes BMS 4.33 comes with a full set of manuals created by other heroes telling you all you need in the Docs folder in your install (e.g. C:\BMS-433-U1\Docs\Falcon BMS Manuals)

       
       
      The default campaign is Korea in which you can club Kim Jong Un's Cold War museum collection with a multitude of modern weapons like AIM-9X and HMCS. For an extra challenge select Korea Strong and prepare to eat AMRAAMSKI from the Flanker Hoards.
       

      By 2014 the North Korean air force went through a massive modernization program which included (or perhaps involved entirely of) employment of beautiful young women (Yonhap News / Aviationist)
       
      Of course, as mentioned in part 1 there are many other campaigns and theatres to try from the modding community for BMS 4.33.

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      New additions & changes to BMS 4.33
       
      Default loadouts
      Thank the maker! Any past players may have noted that when 4 x Su-30s appeared on the horizon, your escorts armed to the teeth with 2 x AIM-9Ps and a CBU-52 would be nothing more than useful missile decoys! This may have prompted some like myself to spend ages before missions tweaking loadouts of other flights! But it seems someone has finally improved things here for the better!
       
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      MANPADs
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      Reduced weapon supply
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      The little things
      Adding detail onto the campaign map to be saved to your data cartridge for use in flight is now made better just by the fact that it persists after each mission instead of having to redo it every time!

      Be a king of Situational Awareness with Bullseye positions, FLOT, Radar coverage, flight path SAM rings and data link tracks!
       
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      Note on the last paragraph, which provides a happy medium between the full talk down and the emergency landing…………the full talk down is still fantastic in pea soup weather where there is no ILS at the air base.
       
       
       
      So, there you have it, still an addictive pleasure that will lead you into a false sense of security before kicking your A!
       
      Well, it’s just really hard to do. Looking back on it, I think the only reason we took on what we did is because we were too inexperienced to know better. Knowing what I do now, even given my experience on Falcon, the cost to develop such an engine would be substantial. Since flight sims don’t bring in that kind of revenue companies look at it from a cost to benefit standpoint and Dynamic Campaigns score pretty low in that regard. There is also the argument that scripted missions are more interesting which has some merit. I think if I were to do it over I would do a mix of scripted/generated missions, so that the player still feels like they’re involved in the world, but there is also some variety thrown in to keep things interesting.
      Kevin Klemmick 2012

       
      Disclaimer - this article may contain Star Wars quotes.
       
       
    • By MigBuster

       
       
       
      Now for a quick look at an F-16 flight combat simulator you may have heard of, in particular the only version of Falcon 4.0 currently in development.
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      I will have a Block 30 with GE-132 and go faster stripes please 
       
       
      Although Falcon BMS does still trounce all in its path in certain aspects I am going to briefly start on one of the less impressive parts of Falcon, that being the visual environment.  Despite its 1998 origins, limitations have been progressively overcome to improve this area also. BMS 4.33 Came with many new ground and air objects as well as a new terrain set with trees by Polak.


       
       
      Like Strike Fighters there are some very talented  individuals who have spent years providing professional level mods for free. I will give mention to Falcon Legend JanHas (http://www.janhas.net/) who has been around for…ever it seems. Real credit to the guy and rest be assured every rivet is polished to perfection to provide models as good as or better than anything else. His mods also come with comprehensive install documentation – and yes you do need it.

       


      New afterburner flame most welcome 
       
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      After a Herculean effort to get the mods installed!
       
      Also as with Strike Fighters, Modders have created different theatre’s for Falcon 4 over the years including the middle east, Balkans and Germany (Ostsee by TomKatz) that even makes an attempt to populate the terrain with well placed 3D buildings.

       
       
       
      So there you have it, graphical improvements have been slow because it requires good samaritans with free talent with free time, but it’s always nice to see there has been progress in that area. I have not mentioned the internal view because that is already more than good enough, especially considering most of a campaign is where I’m at anyway!

       
       
       
       
       
       
    • By MigBuster
      Basic weapons guide in PDF for BMS 4.32
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