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MigBuster

Falcon 4.0 today

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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.

Benchmark Simulations official add on to Falcon 4.0 is called BMS 4.33 (currently upgrade 4) and to use you need to buy the original 1998 Microprose Falcon 4.0 from places such as GOG.com and then install that first. Then you install BMS 4.33 after downloading via the torrent from the BMS web site.

Now if you are lucky you perhaps played the original or one of the other versions, or even the other official release Falcon 4.0 Allied Force from 2005 (that I will confirm BMS most certainly DOES NOT work with). However if you have not, you will be starting a learning and somewhat challenging journey, which is about what these types of things are all about after all.

Things like the Avionics go very in depth and 4.33 brought with it a Maverick Handoff procedure with the targeting Pod that will make grown men cry – although I am not entirely sure a certain defence contractor couldn’t have made it easier if they had tried!

You might also have noticed the Avionics Configurator option on the splash screen that already caters for about 40 different versions of the F-16. That’s right if you are not familiar with F-16s then erm well even a Block 50 for example has different versions with different avionics and capabilities depending on the year (upgrades) and the country it was sold to and this is impressively catered for.

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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.

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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.

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New afterburner flame most welcome 

 

Installing mods is not as easy as Strike Fighters, there are bits you copy and paste but the models still need LodEditor to install them. Having just installed pretty much all of the JanHas mods I can tell you that despite it looking complex initially you are just pressing buttons and changing a few numbers at the end of the day so after the first few it becomes pretty easy – just time consuming having to do it manually.

Why are these mods not in the baseline install making my life easier? - Well the reason is I have read that BMS have certain standards they keep to so it still runs on lower spec hardware.

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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.

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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!

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Having a Xbox 360 controller instead of a full-blown HOTAS is the only thing keeping me away from playing this... and yet, it being on Steam for 9,99€ is one hell of a siren call. I may dare go for it despite that limitation.

I have heard nothing but good stuff about the game. In fact, it has something that makes me think it may well be better than DCS, which is the whole dynamic campaign deal it has going on. I read somewhere that DCS was about learning to fly aircraft, whereas BMS was about learning to fly fighter aircraft, precisely because DCS feels stale to some people, whereas the dynamic campaign for BMS makes it feel more alive. Those who have played both games here can surely offer a more informed opinion on that than me.

And I must say, I am really impressed at how games as old as SF2 and specially Falcon 4.0 still hold themselves up as quality products going a bit beyond being pure entertainment.

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