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Found 46 results

  1. Hello gents', Thought I'd post some speculations and observations on the FM aspects of some things in FE2 and SF2 that I've recently been tinkering with. This might be an interesting post for those who like to follow these technical threads. I was recently installing more aircraft into my small SF2 install - something I wanted to get to last year but had no time - and I decided to install a couple of the late prop aircraft too, particularly the SeaFury and F4U-5 variant of the Corsair. Overall pleased with the handling of the types, I tweaked a few things such as desensitizing the rudder on them, and also giving them slightly heavier aileron feel - since those late model prop aircraft were fairly heavy, about 4500 kg on average. Further testing involved flying and inspection of the [FlightControl] and [Engine] sections...couldn't get much beyond about 500 kph near sea level or at alt. in the types...so I commented out the MaxSpeedSL entry for the FlightControl, and tweaked prop speeds to close to historical, within the 2000 to 3000 rpm range, also pushed up the value for the SLPowerDry entry for the Engine, usually by a noticeable amount, and then tested further. Some of the things I've noticed, in terms of SF2 specifically (but this post is relevant to FE2 too): a) WEP power is not modelled realistically, since you can keep running it without engine damage b) WEP power doesn't give much of a boost, if at all (although I've only tinkered with the SeaFury and Corsair so far) c) a better way of simulating, however simplistic it is, the potential of WEP power, is to manipulate the AltitudeTableData numbers instead (for example, I plugged in values ranging from about 1.05 to 1.35 around the 6000 m alt. band, which should be where the Corsairs benefitted the most from max. throttle) d) after manipulation of the AltitudeTableData, it's best to get rid of the WEP entries entirely, and set up "throttle gradients" instead under the engine sections, such as: ThrottleRate=0.65 IdleThrottle=0.12 CruiseThrottle=0.45 MilThrottle=0.70 MaxThrottle=1.00 The numbers above I've plugged in, for example, for the Corsair. The space between Military throttle and Max throttle would be where "WEP power" would theoretically in this case be engaged, somewhere around the 0.85 mark for the band I've selected above. For this to work somewhat realistically, the player should restrict themselves to about 85% throttle max. except in extreme situations, depending of course on where military and max throttle are set. Also important for this to work is to make sure that the max SL speed under the FlightControl section is left uncapped (commented out) - otherwise artificial barriers are set up that cannot be bypassed by more than about 20-30 kph. Speed caps work beautifully in SF2 for the jet engines, but, at least from my experience, don't work that well with the late prop planes since you can then never hit top max. recorded historical speeds, not even at alt. - and not at SL either. Also noticeable in the example above is that I've increased the throttle rate from the default of about 0.25. Historically, late prop aircraft would have had better acceleration than early jet planes (not better top speeds, but faster acceleration to their own max speed). By the 1960s/70s, jet engines should surpass the props even in acceleration. I then re-tested by dumping the modified Corsair into my FE2 install. In SF2 it can get into the 760s kph, as historical, using the engine and throttle values I've included in my graded throttle settings above, while in FE2 the same tweaks push the top speed into the 880s kph - a difference of about 120 kph for top speeds, across FE2/SF2. This is why it's not a good idea simply to transfer data inis from one of the sims to the other. I'm assuming that the discrepancy in top speeds means that TK went with calculations to give less air resistance in FE2 (maybe FE as well?) - to fit better with the more fragile and maneuverable WWI aircraft types. One thing that remains constant between FE2 and SF2 is that, at least from my observations, the WEP modelling is not very realistic - there was no high alt. band where I could push the top speed beyond, for example, a reasonable top speed that may have been possible at near sea level (such as 500 or 600 kph). Some preliminary conclusions, to be tested further: a) speed caps at sea level should be kept in place in FE2, as done in the data inis in my FM packs, since they fit better with the lower top speeds of the early aircraft anyway, and mach limits should also be kept fairly low (I have them set at 120% of the "top speed" of the WW1 aircraft....this allows for realistic dive speeds that I haven't been able to push beyond about the 460 kph mark even on the late war types such as the SE5a) b) flying late WW2 and early Cold War prop aircraft in FE2 is not recommended, but FE2 may be good for "Golden Age" stuff, as Geezer speculated upon in another thread (can't remember the link for that now), in other words for aircraft that don't have a top speed higher than about 350 or 400 kph c) the difference between top speeds at alt and at sea level are modelled just fine for the jet engines in SF2, since caps on SL speeds, and Alt speeds, work fine for those (have seen this in some Flogger tweaks that I did for my mini-SF2 install); in other words, SF2 respects the wet/dry mach values and alt table entries beautifully for jet-age stuff d) I think that the MaxThrottle value in SF2, for the prop aircraft, could use some more tinkering/testing...I've set it at 1.00, but will try other values of 1.20, 1.50 etc., to see if this creates more realistic differences between regular power and WEP, or some kind of "accordion" effect e) as it stands, I'm enjoying the SeaFuries and Corsairs but only with SL speed uncapped and giving historical top speeds not at alt. but near sea level (this is a compromise of sorts since, at alt, they still make about 600 kph and sometimes a bit more - so I'm not terribly irritated by not attaining 740 kph at 7000 m alt or so, for example, in the SeaFury, as recorded for that plane) f) a couple of pics included below of the AI in SF2 now losing control of their F4U-5 Corsair during a scrap, and doing several back flips (too much throttle applied perhaps?); he then bails out of the otherwise undamaged plane; so, overall, I'm liking the realism of some of the haphazard maneuvers they now make, and also the increased speed at which these late prop fights now happen, even on the deck g) anything that I find of further use in the SF2 data inis, and if relevant to FE2, I will tinker with more to bring even more realism into FE2 (the lockout speed trick implemented for control surfaces in the alternative Morane-Saulnier type N data ini posted under the FM thread for FE2 is an example of things discovered while combing through the SF2 files) Happy flying, Von S
  2. Hello gents', A quick heads up for those running FE2 in WineSkin on a Mac - keep in mind that FE2 is a 32-bit program. MacOS 10.15 and later will not be supporting 32-bit programs anymore (only 64-bit). This of course is a problem considering that WineSkin (and other Wine programs for Macs) are currently 32-bit. While WineSkin may eventually go 64-bit (this is a slim possibility), there is no guarantee that 32-bit programs like FE/FE2 will be able to run in it even if it is 64-bit, considering that MacOS 10.15 and later are stripping out most if not all of the 32-bit code from their OS. This leaves Mac fliers of FE2 in a precarious position. Options are eventually to go over to Windows and drop fiddling with WineSkin, or to keep running your older Intel Macs (like my 2012 quad-core Mini), or grab another Mac and sort of future-proof yourself, with something like a Mac Pro or the newer Mac Mini (2018), providing you don't upgrade past MacOS 10.14 (last one to support 32-bit). SF2 by the way is 64-bit, and so is WOFFue - so those are good to go into the future of 64-bit OSes, on the Windows side. No guarantees that you will be able to fly WOFF/SF2 in future Mac OSes however because WineSkin may remain 32-bit only (no telling what's going to happen with Wine on a Mac at this point). Have been reading some forums that the Wine folks may move over to Linux entirely if the Mac world drops 32-bit...not good news for legacy simming/gaming. Anyway, I'll probably future-proof myself in some way with an extra Mac or two since I like running FE2 in WineSkin and there's no dropping FE2 once you get the modding bug. Happy flying, Von S UPDATE: The CodeWeaver folks working on CrossOver (a fork of Wine) may be developing a way for 32-bit code/libraries to be loaded into a 64-bit version of Wine - something that may eventually be ported to the general branch of Wine too - but again this is work in progress and no telling what will happen until the dust settles down over the next couple of years, in terms of 32-bit gaming on a Mac, in Wine. Linux has a 64-bit version of Wine that can load 32-bit code for older games, and it seems to have had this for several years already - but this is not relevant to gaming on a Mac. Will update this post further if any (good) news emerges.
  3. Hello gents', Any thoughts on starting up a DiD (dead is dead) series of single missions in FE2/FE? Should help to bring new life into our special sim. Rules don't have to be as strict as for the DiD campaigns running for WOFFue over on the SimHQ website, but a list of some sensible rules should help to get everyone started - and will be a good break from modding and skinning too. I'm including some preliminary rules below and will try to start up a series of (DiD) single missions soon, either on the eastern or western front (have spent two years already in the Palestine front and currently looking for a change). This may work in campaign mode too (such as for Ojcar's campaigns), but I've tried to develop the rules specifically around single, evolving missions, for variety and historical realism. If you choose to start up a DiD series of single missions, don't forget to post brief notes on your exploits and some good screenshots here on this thread - for immersion - posts can be brief or long, as per taste. RULES FOR DID STYLE SINGLE MISSIONS IN FE2 (probably works in FE/FEgold too) 1. make sure to begin with a new pilot if your current one is killed in action 2. missions must be flown from your base to the target and back again (no in-the-air or close-to-target beginnings); you may however skip/delete certain waypoints while en route if they are less important to getting to your target area 3. missions may be begun in scouts or two-seaters, whatever you prefer (no need to begin with a two-seater career) 4. if you are shot down and alive but "captured" behind enemy lines (such as sometimes happens after bailing out at low altitude), fast-forward six months for your next mission for the western front, and one full year for the eastern, Italian, and middle eastern fronts (we will assume you eventually escaped back to your side of the lines); these same rules apply if you manage to crash-land and survive on the wrong side of the lines (with wing missing, fuel leak, etc.) but have not bailed out 5. crashing into your wingmen or enemies will count as legitimate termination of your current pilot and will require that a new pilot be made 6. one out of every ten missions must be flown from start to finish in bad weather (inclement or snow, your preference depending on season, but avoid snow if flying in the middle eastern theater; I recommend the latest inclement/snow tweaks found in ver. 9.5 of my FM pack, for immersion) 7. use the following settings for "enemy air activity" in the FE2/FE menu, per theater and per period, for max. historical realism and to minimize extreme kill ratios: light - for the whole period in the middle eastern theater // for the whole period in the eastern theater // for the Italian theater to July of 1917 // for the western theater to October of 1916 // for the Italian theater from August to November of 1918 // for the western theater from August to November of 1918 moderate - for the Italian theater from August of 1917 to July of 1918 // for the western theater from November of 1916 to February of 1918 heavy - for the western theater from March to July of 1918 8. lighter "enemy air activity" than suggested per period and theater may be used, but not higher than suggested (no need to install my further congestion controls that are available in the Flight folder of ver. 9.5 of my FM updates pack unless you enjoy hard-core simming in WW1 with wide expanses of sky, with no aircraft for hours on end; I will work on those further to fine-tune them for a later FM update pack) 9. flight models should be flown at maximum realism (I strongly recommend my FMs for historical realism and consistency for a DiD series of missions but you can fly other ones too, as long as they are flown on "hard" settings) 10. no time compression 11. no autopilot (although the level flight command is acceptable for long flights) 12. make sure to have Cap'n. Vengeur's medals pack/ranking system installed since that pack gives awards more slowly and realistically 13. you may begin a DiD style single mission at any point in the war (for example, you may begin flying for the French in July of 1916, or as an American flyer in August of 1918, etc.) 14. if you are flying DiD style single missions, proceed chronologically from the date of your first single mission (for example, if your first single mission was in July of 1915, your next one should again be in July of 1915 or later, not earlier in the year) 15. fly a minimum of 2 and maximum of 5 missions per month in 1914 and 1915 (across all theaters), a minimum of 3 and maximum of 6 missions per month in 1916 (across all theaters), and a minimum of 4 and maximum of 8 missions per month in 1917 and 1918 (across all theaters) - this will produce realistic, historical attrition rates and also increasing risk of being shot down, captured, etc. (will also depend at what initial point in the war you begin your pilot's missions; for example, beginning in January of 1917 will put you in a situation where you will be flying a min. of 4 missions per month right away); if your mission is stamped with a date that is only a few days from the end of a month, start your next mission in the following month, overriding the rules set for min./max. flights per month - this will be the only exception to rule no. 15, for the sake of chronology 16. transfers from one theater to another are allowed if historically realistic and if made possible by Cap'n. Vengeur's medals pack (for example, flying for the French in 1916 but transferring in June of 1917 to fly for the French giving support to Italy, in the Italian theater, perhaps flying a Nieuport, etc.) 17. if transferring from one theater to another, skip one month of flying for realism 18. if you crash-land but survive on your side of the lines (for example, wing missing, engine shot up, fuel leak, etc.), skip one month of flying for realism (hospital) 19. any type of single mission may be flown, depending on the types available for the aircraft you are flying at the time, but one out of every ten missions minimum must include one of the following types of missions (these are usually the most rigorous): offensive patrol // balloon busting // (armed or unarmed) reconnaissance // army co-op; reconnaissance missions may sometimes be gruelingly long if they are the "long reconnaissance" type 20. settings in your huddata.ini file, in the Flight folder, should also be set realistically, as follows (notice the map and label settings giving limited info., and also notice that the target cone and other identification boxes for aircraft have been disabled; the waypoint boxes can be left on, and padlock view may be used): [HUDLabels] EnableLabels=TRUE LabelFriendlyAir=TRUE LabelFriendlyGround=FALSE LabelEnemyAir=TRUE LabelEnemyGround=FALSE [MapLabels] EnableLabels=TRUE LabelFriendlyAir=FALSE LabelFriendlyGround=TRUE LabelEnemyAir=FALSE LabelEnemyGround=FALSE [Map] MapDisplayLabels=FALSE [Display001] DisplayType=DIRECTOR ObjectType=TARGET_ENEMY //ConeSize=5 //BoxSize=5 //BoxType=TRIANGLE //BoxColor=0.0,1.0,1.0,0.75 //ConeModelName=redcone [Display002] DisplayType=DIRECTOR ObjectType=TARGET_FRIENDLY //ConeSize=5 //BoxSize=5 //BoxType=TRIANGLE //BoxColor=0.0,0.0,1.0,0.75 //ConeModelName=bluecone [Display003] DisplayType=DIRECTOR ObjectType=NEXT_WAYPOINT ConeSize=5 BoxSize=5 (pick size you want, I prefer smaller boxes) BoxType=SQUARE (use whatever shape you want, TRIANGLE or CIRCLE work too) BoxColor=1.0,1.0,0.0,0.75 (use whatever color you want for this) //ConeModelName=whitecone Happy flying DiD style, Von S
  4. Guess what
  5. Into battle in one of WW1's least successful fighters! Perhaps only the much-maligned Royal Aircraft Factory could have imagined that they could make a fighter out of the BE2, a low-powered and badly-armed reconnaisance machine renowned for its inherent stability...and as 'Fokker Fodder', vulnerable to the little Eindekkers, let alone later German fighters. In fact the Factory seems to have had no such illusions. The BE12 was designed originally for single seat longer-range reconnaisnce and light bombing. BE2s often left the observer behind when carrying bombs - and the pilot operated the camera on a recce - so a single-seater BE with a more powerful engine and more fuel doubtless seemed like the proverbial good idea at the time (mid-1915). The resultant BE12 had a more powerful engine but wasn't even intended to be armed, at first. By the time it was ready for service, though, the situation at the front had changed and - a forward-firing Vickers gun having been fitted in place of early efforts at synchronised and unsynchronised Lewis guns - the BE12 was pressed into service as a fighter, serving in the Royal Flying Corps with No.s 19 and 21 Squadrons on the Western Front from the summer of 1916. Within a few months their unsuitability as a fighter seems to have become obvious and they were back at their designed job as a (rather vulnerable) light bomber. Later, they moved onto rather less hazardous duties on Home Defence. So, why would I want to chance my virtual life in such a machine? Well, what better reason than the fact that a BE12 is one of a series of new planes released for First Eagles and FE2, by prolific modder Stephen1918 http://combatace.com/files/file/15121-raf-be12/? Not only that, but the later BE12a version is also available: http://combatace.com/files/file/15124-raf-be12a/ ; note the different wings with shorter span below, as also fitted to the BE2e: And having checked out the BE12 in First Eagles, I was minded to savour the same experience in Wings Over Flanders Fields, which has featured the BE12 from release. So that I could fly the BE12 in an FE2 campaign, after installing the aircraft, I hand-edited Ojcar's Armchair Aces Flanders month-by-month campaigns for the summer and autumn of 1916, substituting Stephen's BE12 for the previous mount of 19 Squadron, up to the time it moved onto SPAD VIIs. This is a simple Wordpad job, changing a single entry in two files for each campaign (FlandersFrontxx.ini and FlandersFrontxx_data.ini, starting at xx=12 and ending at xx=16). That done, I created a new pilot and off we went! My chosen campaign based us as Cappy, starting on 1 September 1916. Our first mission was to escort some 2 Squadron BE2s to Marcoing, just over the Lines near the big town of Cambrai. Our assigned altitude was a mere 1700 feet. I chose two pilots from the bottom of the squadron roster to accompany me. Before launching the mission itself, I had a good look at the map, which is a zoomed-out but exact replica of what you can see in the 3d world. But I forgot to apply my usual practice of moving the last waypoint further back from our objective area. This is a good idea because it gives you a longer run-in and thus more time to suss out the situation, ahead. The other thing I forgot to do had more serious consequences, later. Some modder-made FE planes have a very restricted horizontal field of vision for the virtual pilot from the cockpit, often giving you no view much aft of directlty sideways. Invariably, I hand-edit the relevant data file to increase this wherever I find it, so I can look over my shoulder and past my tailplane. A restricted rearward arc isn't too bad in most 2-seaters, where your observer, sitting right behind you, blocks your view in that direction. But in a fighter, it's potentially catastrophic. The padlock is also blocked, beyond this same arc. Unfortunately for me, the BE12 has one of these restricted arcs of rearward vision. But such things were far from my mind as I left Cappy behind, pleased with the superior pulling power of my 150hp motor - superior, that is, to the bog-standard BE2 - and levelled off with the throttle back while my two flight-mates caught up. So far, so good... ...to be continued!
  6. File Name: HD Menu Screens for First Eagles 2 File Submitter: MigBuster File Submitted: 09 March 2014 File Category: First Eagles Hanger, Menu Screens HD 16:9 menu screens for First Eagles 2 (1920 x 1080) created for myself This is a set of Images only - no ini files or changes Click here to download this file
  7. Version v1.0

    86 downloads

    HD 16:9 menu screens for First Eagles 2 (1920 x 1080) created for myself This is a set of Images only - no ini files or changes
  8. Flying the German Air Service's premier fighter in First Eagles 2 The Siemens-Schukert Werke's DIII and DIV are described with some justification in Gray & Thetford's 'German Aircraft of the First World War' as 'Without doubt...the best German fighters to reach operational status'. The first SSW D-type (biplane scout/fighter) was basically a copy of the French Nieuport 11 with a German engine and a conical spinner. But the DIII was a wholly-new machine, a barrel-shaped fighter built around the powerful Siemens-Halske ShIII rotary engine. Early operational deployment in Spring 1918 ended with the aircraft being returned for modifications to correct serious engine problems but - joined by the DIV version with a reduced-chord upper wing - the type was back on ops during the summer. The Siemens-Schukert was highly manoeuvrable and had an outstanding rate of climb with excellent high-altitude performance. They served with Jastas 14, 15 and 22, the Marine Jagdgeschwader and, in the home defence role, with Kests 4a, 4b, 5, 6 & 8. Their work in the latter capacity inspired a member of the Independent Force, formed to mount 'strategic' bombing missions into Germany, to pen the following appreciation: 'It's not the Pfalz or the Fokker Scout It's the Siemens Schuckert that we worry about They do fly high, with the beaucoup speed We can thank our stars that it's the pilots they need!' The plane and the mission First Eagles is one of the very few sims ever to have featured this outstanding warplane, courtesy of the A Team Skunkworks. Public assess to their functional download pages is by email application only and once granted, care must be taken to observe the site's download and usage rules, but it's very worthwhile as the A Team's collection includes some excellent and essential WW1 types like the Sopwith Pup and Triplane. http://cplengineeringllc.com/SFP1/ In fact, as the A Team acknowledge, their SSW DIII is based on that featured in Illusion Software/Silver Wish Games's Wings of War. You may remember that when released, this neat little WW1 air war game's great-looking planes and excellent landscapes and envirommentals had many simmers attempting mods to make it more sim-like. Sadly, these didn't get far beyond unlocking all the flyables and killing off the deadly rocket armaments, but it was still great fun and a highly professional and well-produced package, well worth a blast if you can track down a copy: Back in FE2, I wanted to play a campaign mission so opted for Ojcar's 'must have' Armchair Aces month-by-month campaign set. In the FE campaign creation screen, I cycled through those for Flanders in the last months of the air war till I found a staffel flying the SSW DIII - Jasta 14 (which really did fly the type) in October 1918, flying from Masny aerodrome, north of Cambrai and west of the larger town of Valenciennes. When I kicked off a mission, I found that the weather was awful - a few patches of blue sky visible but mostly cloud, rain and general murk. Not for me. I don't much mind bad weather in Over Flanders Fields, but only because - apart from the clouds themselves - it doesn't really hinder your visibility. In FE and in RoF, more realistically, bad weather really does clobber your visibility. It also makes for dull screenshots, because your plane is dull and unlit (unlike OFF, where the planes in bad weather look bright, like they've been spot-lit for a movie). Another problem with bad weather in FE2 is that you're stuck with it for the campaign, as it inexplicably lost the original FE's ability to vary weather, in-campaign. Anyway being stuck with murk is not my cup of tea, really. So I edited the campaign's data file in Wordpad, replacing the starting (and in FE2, unchanging) weather - 'INCLEMENT' - with 'BROKEN'. That did the trick. Things looked better, and there was no murk to blind me. The weather sorted, my first mission was a defensive patrol, behind our side of the Lines, down south to Bonvais, the far side of the town of Cambrai. Two aircraft were allocated to the mission but as I usually do, I opted to pick three to accompany me, selecting Vizefeldwebels Neumann, Heim and Josten from the bottom of the staffel roster screen. Here we are on the grass at Masny. The SSW is one of the relatively few FE planes not to feature individual aircraft markings, and although there is at least one different skin available, I elected to stick with the stock one, with a snake-marked brown fuselage and 'lozenge' pre-printed fabric wings. As usual with FE planes, there's plenty of animation - wheels, pilot, control surfaces, the rotary engine and even the cocking handles on the MGs. And provided you don't have shadows turned off in the plane's .ini file, you get dynamic self-shadowing (in the cockpit as well as outside if you have the sim's graphics/shadows option set to 'high' or better). As usual, FE kicked off the mission with my engine just having started and my prop picking up speed, which is arguably more realistic than the ground-crewless self-starting featured in other sims. In the external view, I paused to let the others take off and then opened the throttle. There was little swing and once my wheels were off the ground, I decided to go for broke and perform an immediate test of my machine's renowned climbing abilities. I yanked back on the stick and up she went, cocking a snook at the row of Fokkers parked outside the canvas hangars to my left. Off to a good start, at any rate! ...to be continued!
  9. Recreating the dawn of the fighter aircraft in First Eagles 2 "Hundreds, nay thousands of machines have been ordered which have been referred to by our pilots as "Fokker Fodder" ... I would suggest that quite a number of our gallant officers in the Royal Flying Corps have been rather murdered than killed" Noel Pemberton-Billing MP, campaigning in 1916 against the dominance of the Royal Aircraft Factory in the design of RFC aircraft "...McCudden gave him another burst, and the Fokker broke off the attack. For the rest of the flight, the Fokker merely accompanied them, more like an escort than anything else. 'We live and we learn' was McCudden's comment on the deflation of the Fokker Menace story" Alexander McKee in 'The Friendless Sky' The deployment of small numbers of a rather inferior monoplane armed with a fixed machine gun synchronised to fire forward through the airscrew was just one of a series of swings in the fortunes of the main combatants in the WW1 air war. Shortly beforehand, French pilots like Garros and Pégoud had sent shock-waves through German ranks with similar weapons, unsynchronised but with deflector wedges to protect their props. And within months, the Fokkers themselves had been eclipsed by superior enemies in the form of the Nieuport 11 and DH2, which in turn were outclassed by the Albatros. But it's the Fokker 'Eindekker' which gave its name to a whole chapter in air warfare, even if this owes as much to its exploitation in a British politician's campaign to secure a bigger role for private enterprise in British military aircraft design, as it does to the plane's own qualities. For despite its gun, the Fokker was a rather mediocre aeroplane, low-powered, with wing-warping rather than ailerons. And while its principal RFC prey the BE2c certainly suffered from a badly-placed observer with a limited field of fire, there are accounts which confirm the BE was not just the 'Fokker fodder' of legend and could defend itself ably enough if well-handled and not caught by surprise. Anyway, enough potted history! Having recently flown Stephen1918's superb new BE2c in the hostile skies of Spring 1917, I wanted to step back nearly two years and see the BE (and/or its fellow RFC machines) from a different perspective - through the gunsight of a predatory Fokker pilot, hunting his two-seater quarry in the period which truly pioneered the concept of the fighter aircraft. I decided to kick off a campaign in Ojcar's 'Armchair Aces' month-by-month campaign, starting in August 1915. At this time, Immleman and Boelcke were on the threshold of making names for themselves flying their new Eindekkers. Keen to do likewise, I created a new pilot and opted to fly with Kampfeinsitzer Kommando (KEK) Douai, based at nearby La Brayelle and flying against the RFC. Thanks to the modders, no other modern WW1 sim comes close to First Eagles in its flyable planeset, just as Red Baron 3d set that standard, before it. FE benefits from an excellent series of Eindekkers by modders Laton and BortdaFarm. Versions available are the EI, EII, EIII (which look much the same but have progressively more powerful engines) and even the twin-gunned but overweight EIV. And there are some look-alike Pfalz equivalents. For this campaign, our mount was the Fokker EI, with only an 80hp engine and a single 'Spandau' 7.92mm LMG 08/15. Ojcar's 'Armchair Aces' campaign integrates modder aircraft like these (and many more) into the FE campaign system and was therefore a natural choice to try my hand with an Eindekker in campaign mode. At this time, it was common for a flying unit on any side to operate more than one type of aircraft. Fokker monoplanes were initially allocated in ones and twos to ordinary two-seater units. While I believe you can do this sort of thing in single missions in FE, in campaign mode you have one plane type per squadron. As a staffel's Fokkers seem generally to have operated independently of the unit's two-seaters, it's easy enough to handle this by using the squadron roster, pre-mission, to ensure you fly either on your own or with one or maybe two companions. No need for missions with eight or twelve Fokkers lined up on the flight line, impressive though that may look! Operations in (slightly) greater strength become more realistic later, by which time Fokkers were often concentrated into Kampfeinsitzer Kommandos. I believe KEK Douai was associated with two-seater unit Flieger Abteilung 62 and actually formed in late 1915. Our first mission was in effect a 'scramble', to intercept an incoming enemy flight headed for Aniche airfield nearby. Although air defence/air raid warning systems were rudimentary at this time, it is clear from many accounts that Eindekkers were 'scrambled' in this fashion and did not always just fly patrols. To accompany me, I'd selected one other pilot, a senior NCO by the name of Rall, and here we are on the grass at La Brayelle. Assuming you haven't opted for an air start, FE starts you off in this fashion, with your prop just starting to turn, which gets around the issue of invisible ground crew in other sims (although I quite liked the invisible mechanic's cry of 'Good hunting, sir!' or 'Hals und beinbruch!' as you started up in CFS2 WW1 expansion 'Combat Aces'). As we took off, I noticed flak bursts quite low in the sky, ahead of us. Snatching a glance at the in-flight map, it seemed clear that this must be the flight we were intended to intercept. Peering into the sky near the tip of the trail of busts, I could make out a pair of specks. These looked to be heading towards a friendly airfield which I could see as I gained height, a few miles distant. Today, I would not have to look far; trouble was coming to me! ...to be continued!
  10. Life and virtual death on and above the ocean waves in Ojcar's 'Unsung Heroes' seaplane campaign Rise of Flight is not the only WW1 flightsim to feature seaplanes. Thanks to modder Stephen1918, First Eagles/FE2 also got its feet wet, with a series of floatplanes suitable for the Channel coast and a 'terrain' package, complete with some shipping. Fellow-modder Ojcar then provided us with a campaign to complete the scene. The aircraft are available here... http://combatace.com/files/category/360-first-eagles-add-on-aircraft/ ...the terrain is here... http://combatace.com/files/file/14129-north-sea-terrain/ ...and the campaign is here: http://combatace.com/files/file/14164-unsung-heroes/ The campaign needs a separate install of FE, which for FE2 is just a matter of copying the game executable, renaming and running it. This creates the 'mods' folder where you install the new items. The drill for FE(1) is slightly different but equally simple. You can combine the seaplanes in a normal install, but this campaign really needs a separate one, to avoid oddities like vehicles or landplanes moving on the sea surface. This limits the campaign to aero-naval action but it's nicely done and makes a fun and interesting challenge, nevertheless. The campaign is set in 1917 and the briefing sets the scene nicely, with some short but interesting historical background to help you get 'in character'. The Germans, having occupied a stretch of coastline running from the eastern end of the English Channel to the southern end of the North Sea, are contesting the British and allied blockade and running some naval operations of their own. Both sides have the support - for this campaign - of seaplane tenders and their aircraft. Which is where the player comes in, of course. I elected to fly for the German side, in a late-model Albatros W4. This was a fighter, basically a scaled-up Albatros DII with two large floats. For our first mssion, dated 1 November 1917, two of us were detailed to fly a defensive partol around our tender, the SMS Answald. I could have increased our strength by selecting more pilots from the squadron roster, but I thought we'd stick to a twosome. That was my first mistake. Anyway here we are, ready for the 'off'. If you don't have an air start selected, FE, logically enough, starts you on the ground. Also logically enough, if there's no ground - as in, the middle of the North Sea - you're started on the water. Like so. The ship in the background isn't our tender - which vessels were the progenitors of proper aircraft carriers - it's our surface escort. WW1 warship identification's not my speciality and it may be a representative type rather than a model of a real vessel but it looks suitably Victorian. I suspect FE doesn't model sea states which is just as well as I had enough trouble with all that water, in the 'dead calm' we got. Getting off the ground - sorry, water - was the first challenge. Basically I opened her up and when it felt right, pulled back on the stick to increase the angle of attack and get a bit more lift in an effort to unstick. This worked...eventually. But my W4, once airborne, soon confirmed my suspicion that she was going to be rather less tractable than the scouts I was used to flying. She felt somewhere in between one of those, and a two-seater. Slow in the climb, ready to buffet in an impending stall if I increased the AoA too much, but reasonably willing to turn without behaving badly. As you can see, you don't get a wake effect (unless I've not installed something somewhere, must check...) but the sea surface and our little flotilla made a nice backdrop for Stephen1918's beautiful plane, as myself and my wingman - the AI manage water takeoffs just fine - climbed slowly away. In a nice touch, our ships fly the correct Imperial German ensigns at stem and stern (the former being the pointy end, I believe). Behind us in the pic below, you can see both our escort and our seaplane tender. As I orbited, slowly gaining height and getting a feel for my machine, the gunners on both our ships decided to give me a little surprise by commencing some brisk shooting. Fire and smoke bellowed from every barrel and tracer fire sped up and past us, directed at a target or targets which I had not yet seen. Obviously, our patrol was going to be no mere sight-seeing trip... ...to be continued!
  11. First outing with Stephen1918's latest addition to First Eagles/FE2 Of the three current WW1 airwar sims, one of the areas where First Eagles is ahead (and likely to remain so!) is its planeset. Including variants, I have about two hundred installed! This is not just padding - one of the features which distinguished WW1 in the air was the considerable variety of aircraft which fought it. As FE shipped with a small set of planes which just about covered its intended 1918 era, this particular advantage is entirely owed to Third Wire for making its sims so 'open architecture'...and even more, to the many modders who took full advantage. Amongst the most prolific of late, in the FE field, has been Stephen1918, who has added many a fine machine to the WW1 skies. Recently, a good few of these have been from the eastern or Italian theatres, which both now have planesets about as good as the western front in other sims. But with his latest release Stephen's back on duty on the classic, Western Front - it's the Royal Aircraft Factory BE2c. This machine needs little introduction. It was a mainstay of Royal Flying Corps combat operations from the very first days of the war until about mid-1917, when it was finally replaced, at the front anyway, mainly by the same manufacturer's RE8. First Eagles has had the BE2 for some time, of course, available from the A Team skunkworks. But with skid-type landing gear and an uncowled sump/lower nose, these really portrayed the machine as it would have flown in the first year or so of the war, 1914-15. The new model provides FE with a long-needed version that's representative of the BE as it appeared from sometime during 1915 to 1917. In this form, though benefitting from a lower-drag V-type undercarriage and a cowling around the angular engine sump, it's still armed with a Lewis gun on a mount operated by the observer from his seat ahead of the pilot. Along with a comparatively low-powered engine, this arrangement was of course the BE2's main weakness, long after the Germans had switched the observer and his gun to the rear seat, with the introduction of the 'C' type machines. It's often reported that the BE2d version moved the pilot to the front cockpit too, but I think this is an incorrect reading of the introduction of basic duplicated controls for the 2d's front cockpit observer. Basically, the BE2 was a good machine that was retained in service long after it should have been replaced by a better type. Those who flew it sang its praises thus, in imitation of the 23rd Psalm: The BE2c is my bus; therefore shall I want. He maketh me to come down in green pastures. He leadeth me where I wish not to go. He maketh me to be sick; he leadeth me astray on all cross-country flights. Yea, tho I fly o'er No-Man's Land, where mine enemies would compass me about I do fear much evil, for Thou art with me. Thy joystick and Thy prop discomfort me; Thou preparest a crash for me in the presence of mine enemies; Thine RAF annointeth my hair with oil; Thy tank leaketh badly. Surely to goodness Thou shalt not follow me all the days of my life Else I shall dwell in the house of Colney Hatch forever. Having found that two-seater careers in FE can be dangerous and short, and knowing the BE's reputation, I was somewhat dreading my first campaign mission in the 'Quirk', as it was known. Ever the optimist, I created a brand-spanking-new pilot. I named him Harvey-Kelly, in memory of the pioneer RFC aviator who landed first amongst the RFC's first arrivals in France in August 1914 and served with distinction until, flying a SPAD, he was killed during 'Bloody April' by von Richthofen's Jasta 11. As the new BE is not yet included in an existing campaign, rather than just flying some single missions, I hand-edited Ojcar's Flanders 'Armchair Aces' campaigns to feature the new plane. Foolishly, I elected to start my campaign in May 1917. By that time, the Eindekkers were long gone and I was thus unlikely to become 'Fokker fodder' - as critics dubbed RFC machines during the 1915 'Fokker scourge'. Furthermore, 'Bloody April' was over and the RFC was beginnng to receive better aircraft, not least the excellent SE5 from the same Royal Aircraft Factory as the machine I would be flying. But this was still a very dangerous time to be flying a BE...as I was soon to find out! ...to be continued!
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