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Found 24 results

  1. I want to know wether for example if I destroy a factory in particular cities will that have any sort of influence on the course of the war? I've been playing it for some time and the experience is fantastic, I just would like to know if the war can be changed in any way to fit the narrative in my playthrough. The game has some campaign settings that allow you to tweak historical accuracy or not, so I wanted to know wether I can have any real input in the way the war progresses.
  2. Apr. 17, 2023 Update - Please find, available at the link below, my previously released mods. for RoF United Ed. - this time as a convenient, consolidated package that has been updated with the latest tweaks. Do read the included "Read Me" files, where available, for more info., particularly the "READ_ME_ROF_General_Info" file that is located in the root folder of the package when unzipped. This package is provided "as is," with no active support beyond the included explanatory files. The "Consolidated Mods. New" Package contains the latest AI mod. (ver. 1.4) for RoF United, as well as mods. previously offered separately, such as the "M-S Type H Campaigning Tweak," the "PWCG modulations" files, etc. Apr. 29, 2023 Update - Included below the link to the "Consolidated Mods. New" package is Ver. 3 of the PWCG "modulations" files (to be installed manually in the PWCG ver. 16.3.1; see directions included in the larger, consolidated package). Ver. 3 of the "modulations" files increases wind and turbulence settings, as well as provides greater chance of encountering more capable AI when flying PWCG campaigns, especially if used in conjunction with my newer AI mods. for RoF (such as ver. 1.36 or 1.4, included in the big consolidated package). Important Note: if using the Ver. 3 PWCG "modulations" files, instead of the Ver. 2 ones included in the big consolidated package for RoF -- make sure to change settings, if you choose to change any, from within the modulations, i.e., the RofCampaignSpecific, files themselves -- otherwise, tampering with relevant settings from within the PWCG advanced menu options will automatically delete extra entries for the AI that I've included in the Ver. 3 modulations. This note does not apply to the Ver. 2 modulations since those don't contain any extra AI settings. Feb. 6, 2024 Update - RoF AI mods. vers. 1.36 and 1.4 have been upgraded to vers. 1.37 and 1.41, respectively. The new versions have tweaked the AI's ability to follow commands more quickly and/or properly. Ver. 1.41 also contains further tweaks to safe alts. for the AI, to minimize unnecessary crashes and very low-level dogfighting. The entire consolidated package has been renamed from "Consolidated Mods New" to "Consolidated Mods New V.2" (i.e., Version 2). ROF_ConsolidatedModsNewV2_VonS.zip ForRoFpwcgModulationsVer3_VonS.zip Happy flying, Von S
  3. Attention Pilots! The Lunar New Year Sale has begun in the IL-2 Official Webstore and on Steam! Save between 30% to 85% on most items. The Lunar New Year Sale runs from 10:00am PST February 11th to 10:00am PST February 15th in the IL-2 Official Webstore and on STEAM. IL-2 GREAT BATTLES IN IL-2 OFFICIAL WEBSTORE IL-2 IL-2 GREAT BATTLES ON STEAM Tank Crew - 35% Off (Webstore & Steam) BOS – 85% Off BOM – 75% Off BOK – 75% Off BOBP – 66% Off FC1 – 66% Off Hurricane Mk.II - 35% Off Yak-9 – 40% Off Yak-9T – 40% Off Fw-190 D-9 – 66% Off P-38 J-15 – 66% Off U-2VS -75% Off Ju-52/3M – 75% Off Bf-109 G-6 – 75% Off Yak-1B – 75% Off Spitfire Mk. VB – 75 % Off LA-5FN – 75% Off HS-129 B-2 – 75% Off P-40E-1 – 85% Off Macchi MC.202 – 85% Off Fw-190 A-3 – 85% Off LA-5 Series 8 – 85% Off Ice Ring – 30% Off Blazing Steppe – 75% Off Fortress on the Volga – 75% Off Hell Hawks Over the Bulge – 30% Off (Webstore Only) Ten Days of Autumn – 75% Off (Webstore Only) Havoc Over the Kuban – 75% Off (Webstore Only) Achtung Spitfire! – 75% Off (Webstore Only) CLIFFS OF DOVER IN IL-2 OFFICIAL WEBSTORE CLIFFS OF DOVER ON STEAM Cliffs of Dover: Blitz - 75% Desert Wings: Tobruk - 35% RISE OF FLIGHT IN ROF OFFICIAL WEBSTORE RISE OF FLIGHT ON STEAM All ROF Content – 75% Off Enjoy! See you in the skies and on the battlefield! The Sturmovik Team
  4. A Tale of Two Triplanes

    Back-to-back missions in Sopwith's trend-setter! For most non-multiplayer combat flight simmers, can anything be more frustrating than losing the pilot you have been carefully guiding through the perils of a single player campaign? The answer, of course, is 'Yes' - losing two campaign pilots, one after the other. It happened to me in Wings over Flanders Fields, yesterday. First to get the chop was my current German fighter pilot, who was flying an Albatros D.III with Jasta 5 in May 1917. The mission started normally, but soon after this picture was taken, shortly after take-off... ...I noticed friendly flak bursts behind, in the direction of the airfield we had just left. Their target was a marauding flight of S.E.5s, and although I got one of them after a tough dogfight, when I turned back in search of the rest of my own flight, all I found was two more S.E.s. I did not survive the wounds which resulted, despite managing a forced landing. Turning for succor to my concurrent Roland C.II two-seater campaign, things went rather better...for a while. We soon ran into a flight of our opposite numbers, in the form of some Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutters, and although they started with a height advantage... ...we seemed to be getting the better of them. I forced down one with hits from my forward-firing gun, but then allowed myself to become distracted, watching while my observer had a crack as the Sopwith went down... This lack of attention to where I was going caused me to commit a cardinal sin in the WoFF Roland, which is to say, I let the nose come up too high, in a turn. I only noticed and recovered from the resulting loss of height in time to clip some trees with a lower wingtip. The crash in a field which followed robbed me of my second campaign pilot in the space of an hour! They say when you fall off a horse, the best thing to do is get straight back on, so that's what I did. Except this time, I was in the mood to fight for King and Country, rather than Kaiser and Fatherland. And replaced both pilots by parallel ones - one each in Rise of Flight and Wings over Flanders Fields. For a mount, I chose the Sopwith Triplane. I recall that my first serious knowledge of this machine came with one of the very first books I ever bought, the little Hippo Books Aircraft of World War 1, by well-known aviation writer JWR Taylor.This informed its readers that '...Triplanes were flown operationally only by Naval squadrons, who gained complete supremacy over the enemy in the spring and summer of 1917.' That's as may be, but the Triplane seems to have been a modest improvement over the delightful Pup and was soon overshadowed by the Camel. And it's not the most attractive of aircraft, to my eye - when RFC ace James McCudden wrote that he thought the reported Fokker Triplane was a rather quaint thing and expected that seeing one shot down would remind him of a Venetian blind collapsing, I suspect it was the earlier Sopwith Triplane he was picturing in his minds eye. Neverthess, the Germans were sufficiently impressed by the 'Tripehound' to embark on a serious bout of immitation, with many planemakers churning out triplanes, only Fokker's being particularly successful. For both RoF and WoFF careers, I named my pilot Richard Collishaw, potentially a sibling of famous Triplane exponent Raymond Collishaw. Would the name bring me luck? Let's find out, starting with Rise of Flight! ...to be continued!
  5. Making good use of one of the many features of Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator! One of the many good things that PWGC lets you do in Rise of Flight - apart from create and change RoF campaign settings in about as much detail as most would want - is write detailed combat reports. Some may regard this as tedious paperwork, but to me, it can be highly immersive. And while Wings over Flanders Fields will also let you describe your achievements for later review (as well as giving you the option of making acceptance of your victory claims dependent on your reports thereof), the equivalent PWCG facility lets you type onto a decent sized page, rather than into a single, short window; this encourages a fuller description. As I'm still spending much of my sim time working on scenarios for the upcoming Panzer Elite Britpack '44-x mod, and just dipping into actually playing other sims for a change of scenery, I thought I might relieve the break in mission reports here on CombatAce by reproducing some of my RoF/PWCG combat reports, illustrated by screenshots taken at the time. These are from my Richard Stachel campaign, flying the Albatros D.III with Jasta 2 in the heady days of Spring, 1917. First off, here's one I see dates from a patrol up to the lines on 27 April. We took off at 10:30 and as usual, I had used PWCG to ensure that I was leading the flight (hence the blue streamer that's attached to my left upper mainplane) and had three other flight-mates with me, usually the same fellows each time. To 'get in character', I try to replicate some of the language of the time in these reports, complete with references to 'Englishmen' (or 'Huns' when flying for the British) and incorrect identifications - for example, the Germans tended to describe British 'pusher' aircraft as Vickers types, regardless of the correct manufacturer. Anyway, here's the report, as I recorded it immediately after looking at the handy animated mission 'debriefing' in PWCG. "At about 10:40 I spotted five aircraft heading east over the lines at about 3000m, slightly above us. Although they were not being engaged by our flak, I observed that they were Vickers 2-seaters. One of the Englishmen broke off to the north-west and the others swung around to the south-west, flying in two pairs, one pair below and slightly behind the other. By this time, I had drawn away from the rest of my flight. All the Vickers flew back towards their side of the lines, diving slightly, which made them hard to catch. I finally got in range of the right-hand machine in the lower pair... ...and hit his engine after several bursts, causing white smoke to trail behind. The other enemies did not intervene and I stayed out of the arc of fire of the enemy observer, despite the aircraft weaving from side to side. Finally I appeared to have hit the enemy pilot and the Vickers fell away to the right and dived to the ground, about 3 Km on his side of the lines. I then spotted the second Englishman further west, still diving, and although I dived after him and hit him, my ammunition soon ran out and I had to turn east for friendly territory. As I crossed the lines I was rejoined by Oblt Bohme and Lt Tutschek. I claim one Vickers-type 2 seater shot down and another one damaged." The 'Vickers 2-seaters' are of course F.E.2bs, a type I haven't bought as a 'flyable' yet, but which still appears in-game as AI-flown. Not a bad morning's work, it was. And although only two reappeared initially, I brought all three of my comrades home with me, which is always a priority of mine. The next mission was to be rather more eventful. ...to be continued!
  6. More incidents and accidents in my current Rise of Flight career Stachel’s next two missions follow what’s becoming a familiar pattern – first, a patrol west to the front, turning south to fly down the trenchlines. Then another interception in the airspace a short distance to the south-east. Both times, I used PWCG’s pilot selection screen to ensure I was leading a flight of four aircraft, with pilots I had led before. I appreciate the ability to do this in First Eagles 2 and prefer it to the random, changing flight allocations of Wings over Flanders Fields. It means I’m flying with people I can begin to identify with...and care about. I’ve chosen to bring along two inexperienced pilots and to balance that, I’m taking Hermann Fromherz in his distinctive Blaue Maus. Despite being badly injured in the crash on Friday the 13th – saved only by a pilot injury limit set inadvertently in Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator – I’ve been off duty only a couple of days, till April 15th! Evidently, Richard Stachel has the constitution of a particularly indestructible ox. By this time, the real-life Battle of Arras was in full swing, though the only sign of this in Rise of Flight is some scattered shellfire and a mantle of smoke and dust low over No-Man’s Land. The line patrol was uneventful…for a while. The first bit of excitement came when I spotted another group of aircraft to our north, as we approached the lines. I watched this lot carefully for a while, before deciding that were friendly, probably another patrol of Albatrosses like our own. The next excitement came when I saw my three flight-mates nosing up and slightly right. This was serious, the real thing. They’d spotted something, obviously! I do wish WW1 sims could come up with some way – other than on-screen aids – of letting you know a flight-mate had made a sighting. I don’t expect them to dive in front, waggle their wings and point, as per real life, but even a flash of red to simulate a warning flare, anything but just breaking formation without audible or visible warning! As I have said before, I prefer the First Eagles 2 way, where your flight won’t break formation unless attacked or ordered to. Looking up and ahead in the direction my boys were climbing, I saw three aircraft above us, on a nearly reciprocal course. As they flew overhead, I identified them as tan-coloured SPADs, a type I haven’t met before in this campaign. I gave the attack order and turned in under them, expecting them to drop onto us. But no! They just flew straight on. Perhaps they hadn’t seen us under their noses, or were put off their stride by our reaction. Anyway, around we came and went for them. One turned right, pursued by at least one Albatros; the other two banked left, moving fast, and I cut in after this pair. I slipped in behind and below the nearest SPAD but could get no closer. Speedy little devils, these SPADs. And this fellow had enough sense to hold onto his height. So, I had to go up to his level, which of course extended the range. This is where the firepower of two machine-guns can come in handy. I let the revs build up again after my climb - Rise of Flight is I think the only WW1 sim which links your rate of fire to your revolutions per minite - and cut loose. I hoped either to hit, damage and slow him, or to cause him to make a turn which I could cut across. He opted to make the turn, so I opted to cut inside it. A few more bursts did the trick. The Englishman rolled over and fell earthwards in a steep dive, trailing light grey smoke. I didn't dally to watch him crash, but something about the fixed, inexorable way he was going down told me that this was the end for him. Behind and below me, the party was still in full swing. And our flak had joined in, just to make it that bit more interesting for all concerned. I was wary of joining in a general melée for fear of a collision, so, as is my wont, I orbited above, waiting for an opportunity. This duly presented itself in the most common form: an enemy broke away from the fight. So I rolled over... ...and came down after him at full power... The speed built up in my dive enabled me to catch him up quickly. He was probably damaged, for he was flying straight and level. But this was no time for restraint or any misplaced sense of chivalry. I closed right in and blasted him, throttling back to stay in position. He just kept going so I just kept blasting him. He wasn’t taking any evasive action at all, but he wasn’t going down, either. He just sat there in front and soaked up my bullets. This was taking much too long. A look behind confirmed my tail was clear so I resumed shooting, shaking my head at my expenditure of ammunition on this one target, but unable to think of anything cleverer to do. At long last, the SPAD's prop spun to a stop. That'll do, I decided, more from a desire to preseve what rounds I had left, than from any finer feelings for my foe. I last saw him gliding west, slowly losing height...very slowly. It occurred to me that he might well reach his own side of the lines, but for now, I was more concerned to see how my flight was getting on. 'Quite well, thank you very much', was the answer to that. If anyone was annoyed at me (probably) finishing off the SPAD that someone else had damaged in the earlier scrap, they didn't show it. They were too busy chasing the last SPAD back over the lines. As I watched, one of them had a crack at him from astern, then pulled up leaving the SPAD trailing black smoke as well as white - but still flying, wings level, and apaprently maintaining height. I was pretty confident that Englishman wasnt going to make it home either, but I still gave him a long burst for good measure, before breaking off too. By now, we were well into No-Man's Land so rather than risk straying onto the enemy's side of the lines, I turned back east and ordered a recall. The others were soon wheeling around after me. And they were all there! I love bringing back all my people at the end of the mission. If we have managed to knock down some of the other side, so much the better. The RoF mission end screen credited me with two victories, so that is what I claimed in PWCG. However, the map debriefing gave me all three SPADs shot down! They must have been from either 19 or 23 Squadrons, which were the only RFC units in France to operate this type. Meanwhile, the news was bad for the French Army... ...but rather good for Richard Stachel, who is now the second highest scorer in Jasta Boelcke; although in private, even Satchel isn't convinced that his real score should be quite so high. Anyhow, to cap it all, Stachel now has another 'gong' to add to his collection. No, not the Blue Max, not yet, but the Order of the House of Hohenzollern. But as Richard is about to be reminded, you have to watch these aggressive English fliers; just when you think you have their measure, you learn that life isn't always so simple... ...to be continued!
  7. Unlucky 13 for Stachel?

    Has Stachel's luck deserted him, on his fifth mission? I'm not superstitious, but when I saw in PWCG that the date for my next mission had advanced to April 13th, I hesitated briefly. Should I ask for a spot of leave? But no, I decided to press on. I might have thought again, if I had realised that this day in 1917 was Friday the Thirteenth! Happily ignorant of this, I drew a patrol up to the lines to the north-west of our base at Pronville, and swapped out the appointed flight leader so that this would be my show. I accepted Karlstadt and Veidt, who had flown with me before, and selected replacement pilot Fischbein to make up the foursome. These would be the men I'd try to bring through the war with me. The northern end of our patrol down the lines was marked by a village who's name I've forgotten. It was a good landmark, though, lying astride our reserve trenches, close to the shelled area. It was probably abandoned, if its occupants had any sense! Swinging around to the south as we passed over the village, I noticed a formation of aircraft, higher up and on a reciprocal course which took them over our heads. Enemies would likely be diving on us by now, but I watched them closely, until I could see that they were Albatrosses, like our own. I watched them too closely in fact, for I nearly missed two other aircraft that were coming up on our right, at the same level. From their stubby noses, I realised they were almost certainly enemies, Sopwiths perhaps. I turned around after them, while they did the same, apaprently intending to come in behind my flight, which - as bad luck or carelessness would have it - I had allowed to straggle a little, at that very time. Our flak opened up, the bursts falling so far below the two enemy aircraft that I took a little while to confirm there weren't additional enemies down there. I gave the 'Attack!' order, but it was probably redundant. My flight broke up as the two RFC Nieuports - for that is what they turned out to be - tore into them. Then it happened! As I came around to join the fight, two Albatrosses came together, then seemed to stagger appart. A collision! The victims fell away below, both seemingly in one piece but out of control. The best I could hope for was that one or both managed to force land and save their lives. But clearly, they were out of the fight and it was now two against two. I wasted no time in latching onto one of the Nieuports, before they could gang up on my surviving comrade. As usual, the more agile enemy machine could turn in under me, but by staying above him, I was able to bide my time until the opportunity presented itself to make diving attacks onto his tail. In one of these attacks, I think I managed to hit the pilot - I now have Gavagai's reduced damage mod enabled, which lessens the frequency of wings being shot off - for he seemed to be slumped forward in his cockpit. However, the Nieuport continued to turn, so I throttled back and stayed behind him, firing again. He fell into a sideslip... ...and sensing victory, I kept after him, firing again. Suddenly his rudder came off and his nose rose up. If I hadn't been so sure I'd got him, I would have worried that he was still under control and trying to force me out in front. But no, his nose dropped and now I could clearly see that the Englishman was slumped forward, lifeless, in his cockpit. He spiralled down, and as I watched, I saw that his propeller had spun to a stop. My comrade all the while had been engaged with the other Nieuport and I climbed in the direction of the fight, ready to join in if needed. The opportunity to do so came when the two machines turned in diffrernt directions. In a flash, I dropped onto the Nieuport's tail and let him have it. His left aileron came off under my fire and I was lucky it didn't hit me. I didn't notice at the time, but in the picture below, you can see that there seems to be a fight going on up ahead, perhaps involving that other flight of Albatrosses. My target stopped turning, levelled off and flew to the south west, as if to escape. Checking that my flight-mate wasn't about to drop in us - one collision was more than enough! - I raced up behind him, cursing the friendly flak which had chosen this very moment to find the range. I slotted in close behind the enemy aircraft and basically shot him full of holes. It took more rounds than I expected but he suddenly nosed down and spiralled earthwards, crashing in open country just behind our lines. The score had been evened, in the face of some pretty foul luck! My wingman was behind me as I made a climbing turn to the south, back onto our patrol route. I contemplated going home - reduced to two aircraft with a fair bit of ammo expended, I believed I could defend the decision to the CO - but I felt duty bound to complete the patrol. I would, however, be more cautious about accepting combat...if I had a choice. And more combat seemed to be a distinct possibility. Looking up, I saw a flight of four aircraft, a good deal higher up, also flying south. Out flak wasn't engaging them, but from their square-cut appearance, they didn't look like German machines. Evidently, we weren't quite done here. ...to be continued!
  8. Stachel learns to follow, as well as to lead! My next PWCG/RoF mission for Jasta Boelcke is something different - balloon defense. In Germany's First Air Force, Peter Kilduff - better known for his Red Baron biographies - devotes a chapter to the work of the crews of German observation balloons. Being tethered close to the front, attack from the air wasn't the only deadly danger they faced, as related by Leutnant der Reserve Peter Rieper: "We were constantly bombarded, this time by 15cm incendiary shells which made a frightful crash when the explosions hit anywhere near the balloon. That was really not nice. One did not want to do the French a favour and haul down the balloon. There was nothing else to do but to have the balloon constantly raised and lowered between 700 and 1,500 metres to make it more difficult for the enemy battery commander to regulate the explosions. "While I got off with twenty holes in the balloon in this manner, it did little good for my neighbour. He was shot down in flames. Both observers jumped out with parachutes and, while one came down smoothly, the other, hit in the carotid artery by a shell fragment, was a corpse when he hit the ground." The other difference, this mission, was that for a change, I accepted a slot behind another leader - the staffelfuhrer, Lambrecht Bing (a fictitious pilot I think - the Aerodrome reports that Jasta Boekcke's real CO was Franz Walz, during this period). No matter - I know that like me, my RoF alter ego Richard Stachel dislikes formation-flying, but he needs to learn a bit of discipline. So he'll be one of the four pilots flying behind the boss today, 10 April, 1917. I forgot to take a picture of the mission briefing but before we leave Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator to fly the sortie in RoF, here's the PWCG intelligence map, which I have not illustrated before. As seen below, you can click on any marked airfield and see displayed what squadrons are based there - in this case, that 25, 29 and 60 Squadrons are based at Savy-Berlette. The last squadron I recognise - it's a famous fighter outfit, whose many famous pilots included Canadian Billy Bishop. The red arrows obviously denote the current British offensives - the Battle of Arras, April 1917, above whch was fought 'Bloody April'. I did remember to take a pic of the mission map in RoF, though, and here it is. We have to fly up to the north west to the balloon position, which you can see is not far behind our lines, opposite the town of Arras itself. Here I am, lined up at Pronville in the middle of five OAW-built Albatros D.IIIs. The boss is far left, and engines are already being run up for take-off. I have forgotten to swap my mauve and green camouflaged bird for the one with brown and green, which doesn't have the pixellated wings, but never mind! Now, a confession: first try, I cracked up on take-off, tipping over and bending a wingtip, then nosing over and damaging my prop. The windsock was fluttering briskly and seemed to indicate a strong crosswind from my left. But instead, as soon as I began to roll, I swung dramatically left into the wind, not away from it. The replay isn't much better, and I have to cross my controls, with a lot of opposite aileron, to keep the wings level. As to the direction I take off...well, let's just say I make it off the ground, this time. I have a bit of catching up to do but I am soon slotting into my number three position in our echelon right formation. I don't know why, but the formation flying doesn't seem nearly as much a chore or as difficult as the last time I did this in RoF. Despite that, I'm not going to make a habit of flying behind somebody else, but today, I'm quite glad I'm giving it a shot. Soon, we are climbing steadily to the north-west. So far, so good! ...to be continued!
  9. Richard Stachel's quest for glory continues, apace! It's been a long time since I kept up with the mission reports all the way through a campaign. But I think I'll make an exception and follow my PWCG/RoF career flying as Richard Stachel for Jasta Boelcke; in between such other reports that take my fancy. Will Richard beat his more famous brother Bruno to the Blue Max? If you want to find out, read on - and watch out for further installments! Here's the PWCG briefing for my third mission, the date having advanced to 7th April. I have been tasked with leading a patrol up to the lines near Foncquevillers. Although we don't know it, we are a couple of days away from the start of the big British push that will become known as the Battle of Arras. You can see the town of that name just west of the lines, somewhat north of our patrol route. I don't know if PWCG/RoF will reflect the battle in any way, for example in terms of levels of ground or air activity. I have but an early Core 2 Quad PC and a 1Gb GTS 250 which nevertheless enables me to have graphics settings quite high, but so as not to push it, I keep ground object density (in PWCG) set to low. Nor have I activated the 'moving front' option. Wings over Flanders Fields has several variants of the lines to suit different phases of the war, but like First Eagles, I think the trenchlines are visually static in Rise of Flight, with the 'moving front' changing the territory occupied by each side, not the in-game visual or map representation of the front. I decided to go with the five aircraft allocated, and didn't need to swap pilots to get to lead, as I am the senior officer detailed for the patrol. One of the neat features of the First Eagles campaigns is that replacements can be slow to arrive and in picking pilots for each mission, you need to strike the right balance between having a strong enough force in the air and conserving staffel strength.At any rate, German staffels were smaller than RFC/RAF squadrons and in PWCG/RoF, it's probably realistic enough that we are putting one patrol into the air, at any point in time. Here we are, lined up and ready to start engines. Once my motor's running, my pilot will automatically wave his hand above his head and the others will then start up, too. You can see to my right is no less than Verner Voss in his colourfully-marked machine. This should probably be an earlier model built by the parent firm rather than OAW, with the straight rudder. You can see that the white swastika/hakenkreuz marking has been 'Bowdlerised', for obvious reasons. The reason the lighting is dull is because we're under the moving shadow of a cloud. This time, I make a greater effort not to drift to the left on takeoff and succeed, possibly as there's less of a crosswind. I'm also beginning to learn that I can allow my machine to fly itself off the ground, if I avoid flying like 'heavy-handed Hans'. 2 I begin a left hand circuit to let the others catch up, with the little of village of Pronville, from our base which takes its name, a short distance away. I have settled for an echelon right formation, in part because this gives me more space to turn hard to the left, if need should arise. In that sense, I am following the pattern noted by WW2 USAAF P-47 ace Robert S. Johnston, who observed that enemy fighters he suprised from behind usually broke left, perhaps because that was more natural to right-handed pilots 1. One of the nice things about this campaign is that flight time to the front is quite short, enabling everything to be flown comfortably in real time, with no resort to time acceleration. It also helps that by default, our patrol altitudes are quite low - in the order of 2,000 metres. We have hardly reached the front when I observe a line of aircraft heading our way, somewhat higher up. I turn anxiously towards them, climbing hard. If they are enemy scouts, this is going to be a rather dangerous start to the mission. I try to padlock the nearest and fail, realising why as they pass over and I get a good look at them from below. They are five Albatrosses, like our own. I use the RoF view system to lock onto one and get a screenshot. I don't recognise the yellow markings; Jasta 10 was known for this colour on its Albatrosses and Pfalzes so perhaps it's them. As you will have gathered, I neglected to check in PWCG which other units were operating in our area! We don't have to wait too long for the real enemy to show up, however, and this time, I padlock him just fine. He's coming right at us and it's only as we close that another one, hidden by my upper wing, comes into view - there are two of them. I get off a few rounds head on and then come hard around after my chosen target. The two Englishmen are in Sopwith Pups. Our formation breaks up to attack them and I stay above the scrap. Three of my comrades go for one of the Sopwiths, the last one for the other, the one I'm watching now. After some twisting and turning, the Sopwith goes one way, the Albatross the other, so now it's my turn. I drop onto the enemy's tail and begin shooting. He can turn inside me easily enough, but I stay above and behind him, until I can make another pass, with a wary eye behind - not so much for anothe enemy, but for flight-mates attacking recklessly, as is their wont. Instead of the slow-firing 'pop-pop-pop gun' described by Pup pilot Arthur Gould Lee 3, I have two faster-firing MGs and their fire soon takes effect. The Sopwith's prop spins to a halt, then his right-hand wing strtcture collapses and tears away. I look around for the other enemy and see him well below, still fighting against three Albatrosses. Suddenly, it's two Albatrosses; one of my flight makes an unusual movement then falls away, trailing white smoke. I can only hope that my comrade will get down in one piece and, if he force-lands between the trenches, make it back to our side of the lines. The others waste no more time in exacting retribution, and soon the Sopwith is shot down, too. As usual after a fight, I begin a spiral climb to clear my tail and assess the situation. I throttle back as I see my flight-mates begin to spiral up after me. They seem a bit slow to rejoin formation so I give the recall order, firing a green flare which bursts astern, lighting up my machine. Almost certainly that was superfluous, but they can't fail to get the message now! However, instead of rejoining, my flight-mates seem even more hesitant. Now what? I know instinctively what the answer must be and look behind, where it must surely lie. And there they are - two pusher-type fighters, known by the Germans as Vickers but in this case, DH2s, are falling like a pair of hawks onto my comrades below. Naturally, I bank around after them. You can see what I mean, about how much farther away planes can look from the cockpit view. They are three against two but the sooner I get over there and into action against those impertinent Englishmen, the happier I will be! ...to be continued! 1. Recounted by Martin Caidin in Me 109, Purnell, 1969 2. Heavy-handed Hans flies Halberstadts In handy Halberstadters, for a flight our Hans does start His CO says 'Oh dash it! For I fear that he will crash it!' See how heavy-handed Hans ham-handles handy Halberstadts! Royal Flying Corps song, c.1917 3. No Parachute and Open Cockpit
  10. Rise of Flight revisited

    Back to the front with 1C/777's World War 1 air combat sim! 'Is Rise of Flight dead?' is a question that's been asked online, of late. There have been no new planes or updates for some time, while the developers have been concentrating on other products. By my definition - for whatever that's worth - a game's dead, not when the developers lose interest, but when people cease to play and enjoy it. I had ceased, mostly, despite buying a good many individual planes, like the Pfalz D.XII... ...the Fokker Dr.I... ...and the Nieuport 28... Heck, I even got the Gotha and some two-seaters, including the rather unlovely RE8... Not that you need to pay anything, of course, since RoF is free, with the Albatros D.V and SPAD XIII flyable and the others appearing as AI-flown unless & until purchased. And the D.V is one of my favourite WW1 birds, sleek, often colourful, and in RoF guise, free to boot - what's not to like about that? However, RoF never really took off for me (dire pun intended). I have zero interest in multi-player, for one thing. And RoF single player could be a bit...well, anaemic, once you got used to the generally very attractive graphics. The campaigns seemed to me to be a tad unengaging, and the AI a bit of a mixed bag, from sniper-like gunner/observers to fighter jockeys with a rather repetitive box of tricks (if attacked, turn a bit, then go low and turn a lot more, on the deck). Even after Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator came along to offer an alternative single player campaign system, I still never caught the RoF bug. Mainly, the combat zone seemed dead. There could be enemy flights going about their business - you could cycle through them using the very capable view system - but unless you had the 'AWACS map' active, they might as well have been flying under a cloak of invisibility. In First Eagles and to a large extent Wings over Flanders Fields, many enemy flights would have been rendered visible through being engaged by friendly flak, at least over the lines or your own territory. Not very often, in RoF. Many's the time, bored with the empty skies, I would cycle views to an enemy flight, then once I had established its location with reference to the scenery, be dumfounded as to why it was invisible from the player's aircraft. But the other day, CombatAce forum member Jeanba posted a favourable comment about the improvements the mods had made to RoF, so I thought, well, I'll give it another go, what have I got to lose. And you know what - RoF's still got some 'little foibles', but I'm glad I did. This double mission report will, I hope, explain why! ...to be continued!
  11. Taking on the RAF in the Fokker DVII's Bavarian competitor This campaign report is designed to do two things. Primarily, it's intended to showcase the Rise of Flight Pfalz DXII, flown in career mode using (almost) the latest version of Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator (PWCG). I found out after flying this mission that PWCG's now up to Version 15.6, but the changes since my version (15.3) seem mostly cosmetic. The second reason for this report is to celebrate the miraculous recovery of my trusty 8800GT graphics card, which had started displaying artifacts but was restored to health - I hope for some time - by literally 'baking' it in an oven to re-solder possible decayed connections. I'm not making this up - Google it and see for yourself! To digress a little, the recent PWCG improvement of greatest interest to me is the increased flak. In First Eagles/FE2, fairly often, you get warning of the presence of other flights when you see flak bursts tracking them. So I find it is quite often possible to spot other planes at a respectable range, without resorting to visual aids like 'radar screens', target boxes/pointers or labels. Combined with decent rendering of more distant planes, this has two big benefits. First, I often see aircraft I might otherwise have missed. Second, I see them far enough away to make a plan to deal with them, following Mick Mannock's advice that all aircraft should be assumed to be enemies until proven otherwise. In OFF, the flak is also a good indicator of other aircraft, althoigh the planes themselves are not visible as far away as they generally should be. In RoF, a big issue for me, flying 'aids off', has been how often enemies in the vicinity remained invisible unless our flight more-or-less blundered into them. If I didn't miss them altogether, I'd come upon them suddenly, with no opportunity to do any of that interesting patrol-leading stuff: stalking them, getting my flight into a good position, then timing and leading my attack. PWCG not only enables you to select a rank high enough to lead patrols regularly, turning the player from drone to tactical decision-maker; recent versions have increased levels of flak, so that it can now provide the patrol-leading player with the target indicator that flak so often was, in real life. At least, that was what I was hoping I'd find out, flying this mission! The plane As for the Pfalz itself, though a competent design, the DXII inevitably suffered from being compared to the contemporary Fokker DVII. The sturdy, agile and easily-flown Fokker was the plane the German fighter pilots wanted, to replace their outnumbered and increasingly-inferior Albatros DVs or Pfalz DIIIs. Anything less was regarded with suspicion. In 'Wings of War', Baviarian Rudolph Stark - by then in charge of Jasta 35 - told it like this: '1 September 1918. We are to have more new machines. Everyone is pleased...but their joy is soon damped down, for the machines...are not Fokkers, but Pfalz DXIIs. What is a Pfalz DXII? No one has ever heard of such a machine, no one knows anything about it. We decline to take these machines...we are told...there are no more Fokkers to be had. All right; we'll have the Pfalzs...the sight of them does not inspire confidence...with a multitude of bracing wires...the whole thing looks like a harp. We are spoilt for such machines. No one wanted to fly those Pfalzs except under compulsion. Later their pilots got on very well with them. They flew quite decently and could always keep pace with the Fokkers; in fact they dived even faster. But they were heavy for turns and fighting purposes, in which respect they were not to be compared with the Fokkers. The Fokker was a bloodstock animal that answered to the slightest movement of the hand...the Pfalz was a clumsy cart-horse that went heavy in the reins and obeyed nothing but the most brutal force.' My own references on the type are the old but valuable Profile Publication and - highly recommended - the more recent Osprey 'Pfalz Aces of WW1' which features other types like the DIII of 'Blue Max' movie fame. If I recall right, Pat Wilson's Western Front Patch for Red Baron 3d added a Pfalz DXII but if you want to fly one in a modern WW1 sim the choices are First Eagles or Rise of Flight. The FE Pfalz is from the A Team Skunkworks and it's a fine rendition, a great bird that looks the part (seen here with the fix that corrects the slightly offset wheel hubs and a great skin, by Quack I believe) Having read Rudolph Stark's book many years back, I was keen to add this plane to my Rise of Flight hangar and take her for a spin…literally, as it happened. While the Pfalz seemed a tractable enough mount, I found she was a bit more prone than , say, the albatros, to spin out of a tight turn...and to keep on spinning, all the way down, until stopped by something solid. I have to admit that spin recovery is a bit of a bugbear for me in RoF, generally. The classic advice for a WW1 pilot on spin recovery was to centralise all controls and pray. This doesn't work so well in RoF. For the DXII, even the classic modern technique - power off, opposite rudder, nose down - seemed not to work, quickly or at all, for the DXII. Happily, RoF pilot's notes are available on the sim's website and these include spin recovery. As described in the notes for the DXII, this is counter-intuitive - rudder (and aileron) INTO the direction of the spin. Practicing this in 'free flight' mode is recommended, before entrusting your virtual life to a campaign. Though PWCG by default renders your pilot less liable to be killed, best not to take chances, eh? Anyway here's that handbook: http://www.777studios.net/ROF_Guides/P12_Hanbook.pdf The man, the unit and the mission First challenge is actually getting to fly a DXII. Unlike FE/FE2, RoF models mixed squadron establishments and in Beta Career, starting as a lowly NCO pilot, I was liable to get allocated a Pfalz for a mission or two, then get moved onto a Fokker. In real life this would have been most welcome, of course...but not for this mission! Using PWCG, I decided to transfer my Jasta 11 Fokker triplane pilot, Richard Satchel, to Jasta 32b. Pfalz being a Bavarian firm, its products tended to go to Baviarian units such this. I opted to fly with it in August 1918, at which point Jasta 32b was based at Roucourt/Bohain airfield, between Cambrai to the south and Lille to the north. We seemed to be entirely equipped with the Pfalz so it was a simple matter to use PWCG to generate a mission. I was allocated a patrol up to the Lines, then north for a stretch. I was the leader and was allocated my preferred three flight-mates - Leutnants Wolf, Borngen and Balmer. So I accepted the mission and picked it up in RoF, in the usual PWCG fashion. There seem to be few skins available for the DXII so I just went with the default one and here were are, lined up and ready to go, with my machine bearing the blue leader's streamers. I don't bother with 'complex engine management' so it was a simple matter to check the controls and start up, at which point my virtual pilot gave a hand signal for the flight to do likewise. Once all props were turning I opened up the throttle and after an initial swing, my Pfalz bumped and rocked over the grass airfield and was soon airborne and climbing away. Our base was quite close to the front and for safety's sake, I climbed away from it initially, to gain some height. All seemed peaceful so I swung around and set course on the first leg of our patrol, which would take us west and into the thick of whatever might be waiting for us there. ...to be continued!
  12. First try-out with the latest version of Pat Wilson's Campaign Generator Fans of classic WW1 sim Red Baron 3d like myself will likely know Pat Wilson from his outstanding 'Western Front Patch' which added shed-loads of good stuff to RB3d - I still have a WFP install on my current PC! More recently, Pat has turned his attentions to Rise of Flight. The latter shipped with simple 'mission set' linear campaigns, later joined by a career mode (which is still nominally in beta!). To this, Pat added a new campaign interface and mission generator, which adds lots of features and for many, transforms the RoF Single Player campaign experience into something reminiscent of RB3d, whose campaign set the bar for these things so many years ago. PWCG has its own forum at RoF, where you can find out more, get the download links, and discuss the mod with others, including the developer: http://riseofflight.com/Forum/viewforum.php?f=394 The PWCG web page is here and includes help and documentation, as well as the downloads themselves; http://www.pwcampaigngenerator.com/WebSite/PWCG.html PWCG simply unzips into your RoF game folder and when you run it, lets you create a campaign pilot, chose his rank and nationality (if you choose 'US' this allows you to transfer from French or British services to the US Air Service after the latter takes to the field) and campaign start date, month by month. You then generate a campaign. After that, you generate one mission at a time. You can review the mission briefing with a map which describes route, waypoints and enemy & friendly air units known to be operating in the area. If you don't like the look of this you can scrub it and try again. This is similar to the option in OFF but doesn't just give you a different target/route. Don't feel like busting balloons today? Scrub that and try again, till you get a mission type that you prefer. You can also vary waypoints, review the squadron roster and select which pilots will accompany you (except the leader, if that's not you). You can then close PWCG and start RoF. Your generated mission will be there, waiting for you to fly, under the 'Missions' menu option. After flying the mission, you can go back into PWCG. You're prompted to give the number of any claims you want to make and can then view a RB3d-style animated mission debrief on the map. This describes results more like the Red Baron original and in a less cryptic way that OFF's equivalent: naming your wingman in entries for losses or kills for example. If you want, you can type free text into a mission report, for future reference or to impress the 'brass hats'. PWCG also lets you adjust many campaign parameters, not just simple ones like air and ground unit density. You can also apply for a transfer to a different squadron and take leave (=advance your campaign's current date). There is an interface mod available at the PWCG web page, that will put PWCG onto the RoF menu, improving integration. I'm not sure if it works ok with the latest versions of both PWCG and RoF. I started using PWCG on the recommendation of Barkhorn over at SimHQ while doing a comparative series of campaign mission reports for OFF, FE2 and RoF. I had been reluctant to do so as I (wrongly!) thought that working back and forth would be more hassle than I cared for, but I'm glad I changed my mind. Main factor here was that PWCG lets you choose a rank high enough to ensure that in most missions, you are the flight leader. This removes the chore of formation-keeping, takes away dependency on potentially-erratic flight-leader AI, and best of all, gives me the important and satisfying extra challenge of leading the patrol: navigating, watching out for activity and enemies and deciding what to do when we have a 'contact'. That's how I like to play all my sims so this is the biggest 'plus' for me. This is not a review of PWCG. I've barely scratched the surface of its capabilities; suffice to say it looks like an amazing piece of kit and I can well understand the general enthusiasm for it in the RoF community. Rather, I'm going to describe a campaign mission in the latest release. The change I was most looking forward to seeing (which came the previous release, IIRC) was more flak. One of the things I didn't like at all, beforehand, was the paltry AA fire. Naturally, I have long ago installed the mod which kills RoF's horrible 'environmental flak'. In a war where the sight of AA fire was perhaps the main indication of potential targets in your area - something well replicated in FE2 and OFF, but not in RoF - the presence of stray flak rounds just to add immersion was, in my view, a classic 'What WERE they thinking?' feature. But with 'environmental flak' laid to rest, I'd found that there was precious little 'real' AA fire. Much too often, planes that looked like obvious (if not priority) flak targets - and which I could see only using the excellent RoF view system - were not fired upon at all and so were not 'legitimately' detectable. This may have been compounded by enemy flights spawning rather close. Bad enough, but much worse if their arrival is not announced by the presence of nearby AA bursts. Getting no warning might be a fun extra challenge to some; but to me it's unrealistic if it happens nearly every time and it severely reduces the opportunity to do the patrol leader thing, where you spot an enemy flight in time to consider your options and make up a quick plan to deal with them. Preferably, with results like this: So having downloaded and installed PWCG 15.2, I was keen to see the difference and to get to the grips with the enemy, at least sometimes on my own terms, rather than just blundering into them. I was not disappointed! ...to be continued!
  13. Of late, I've been posting comparative reports of campaign missions, flying the same plane in turn, in each of the 'big three' current sims - Over Flanders Fields, Rise of Flight and First Eagles - in another forum. The aim is to highlight the single-player campaign experience offered by each sim, albeit as I see it. I've already covered the Nieu.28 but with the release of Quack's superb set of Nieuport 28 skins for First Eagles, I thought I'd 'import' that concept to CombatAce, starting with that famous French-US fighter. Commencing with Over Flanders Fields, I already had a campaign started, flying with the "Kickin' Mules" of the 95th Aero from Toul, in May 1918. So I just kicked off another mission. At the moment I'm flying OFF with only four mods. One is Andy's sound mod, another Lothar's map (which improves the awful, CFS3-style briefing and inflight maps, tho they still bear a limited resemblance to what you see in the 3d world). I also use my own FlakMod (which produces tighter groups of flak bursts without greater lethality, on the 'hard' setting especially, making it somewhat easier to track the position and heading of enemies who are being trailed by AA fire). And finally I'm also using my own ArcMod, which gives gunners back the ability to depress their guns to any degree, cut by stock OFF to prevent firing through tailplanes (a cure worse than the ailment in my experience, as it seriously 'nerfs' a gunner's arc of fire). Both my mods are available here at CA, with many others. Anyway here we are, ready to go. I'd chosen the 'high-resolution textures' option (which means minor damage doesn't show) and the ability to select my own skin (which means you can't instead select a reduced fuel load, to increase your power-weight ratio). The rest of my flight had the default 95th Aero skin. Our squadron roster contains several real-life aces, but it has about two dozen pilots overall, which is rather a lot. There's no ability to choose your flight-mates and you are often allocated a rather large flight. In this case I was allocated a reasonable five (including myself) for a mission escorting three French Sopwith Strutters to bomb an enemy target. The original target area was rather far away and in the briefing map, I used the 'optional mission' facility to swap this for a closer objective. You can't change the type of mission or move the waypoints, just try for a different objective with its own set of fixed waypoints. The OFF Nieu.28 comes with the Hat in the Ring expansion pack. It's a little angular in places and in the external view has the CFS3-style 'wide angle lens' look but it's a nice bird with very nicely-done textures. ...to be continued!

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