SimHQ: Do you have a stable of coders and artists already working for 777 Studios?
Jason: As our press release mentioned we are currently taking applications for coders and artists. Executive level management is up and running and the engine is in my pocket. I personally am not a coder. I am the Designer and Producer of the sim and I will help with textures. If you have the skills, passion and desire to work for a new venture that could pay off big down the line, now is the time to contact us. Like they say, getting in on the ground floor is always best. Visit our employment page on the 777 Studios web site to see what’s available.
SimHQ: Virtual development teams are quite popular now. Will your coders be under one roof or spread around the US, or spread around the globe?
Jason: We will be a virtual office at launch and depending on staff needs and overhead considerations we may move into an office. Or if the virtual set-up works we can stay virtual. I hope to find some Americans who are located close to me, but that may only be a dream. There are so many talented Europeans, Aussies and Canadians into flight simming that we may end up being a global team. I’m not opposed to working with folks in other nations. I only hope they speak decent English because that’s all my American-centric butt can speak! LOL.
SimHQ: So you licensed the Merlin Engine from Shockwave Productions? Why that engine?
Jason: The Merlin Engine — as it is now called — has been transformed into a very robust piece of code by Shockwave. This is not the original engine that powered the original BOB or even BOB II when first released. There were lots of factors in choosing it. It can handle a pretty big map, high poly aircraft, has great weather effects, great sounds, and TrackIR™ support is built in, and there is a campaign engine. The list goes on and on. Improvements are made to it on a daily or weekly basis that the public just does not know about. It’s a fantastic foundation to begin building our title on. We of course want to put our own spin on it and hopefully take it to even higher heights or maybe a new direction, but regardless it forms the basis for our first title and we’re extremely happy to have unfettered and complete access to such an engine.
SimHQ: Your Press Release mentioned cooperating with Shockwave on development. What exactly does that mean?
Jason: That means that we are two separate companies that have agreed to share ideas, knowledge and good code for the betterment of the engine and our respective projects. As you know, Shockwave is working on it’s Flying Tigers title using this engine. We will be working on our title, when an improvement is made we will share it. Eventually that means the whole community and genre benefits. Both companies are excited about the arrangement and since I already had a good relationship with their owner Scott Gentile and others at Shockwave, it was a natural fit. Scott has been great to me throughout this process and he is a valuable partner to have. I thank him for all his help and willingness to work with me.
SimHQ: What kind of flight sim will you be building? A study sim like Falcon 4.0 or more of a sim-lite in the Third Wire WOV / WOE mold?
Jason: Ah… the great continental divide of flight simulation. Or the Taste Great vs. Less Filling war as it were. Well, no matter which way we go I will alienate someone, but it’s really early so I don’t know the total answer quite yet. However, I also see this question being related to the issue of historical accuracy. I’m a stickler for historical accuracy even if I don’t have every knob and button working in the cockpit. This means I want the correct ordinance for the time period or the right model of plane for the particular theatre in a campaign. Otherwise I feel the level of immersion is eroded to the point were it is no fun. I plan on having something for everyone no matter what side of the fence they are on.
Let me back up a second and say this though; unlike some other studios, I may take a chance and model something that I don’t have 100% accurate blueprints on just so we can experience flying such a machine and to create an awesome wartime scenario. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the drive to build a complete study sim and I understand someone like Oleg’s high standards for his models, and I respect that. However, I personally have always felt that a reasonably close, but solidly built model of a long forgotten aircraft can give thousands of hours of enjoyment to the community. Why not build it and fly it? If I get it wrong the community will let me know and we will try to fix it.
SimHQ: Enough suspense. What is the name and subject of the flight sim?
Jason: Sorry, I am keeping those cards very close to my chest for the time being. I simply cannot reveal that at this time. I do plan on communicating with the community throughout the development cycle. I have a good history of doing that with the community and plan to continue the practice.
SimHQ: When do you plan to announce what the new flight sim is?
Jason: Probably when release is imminent and there are no obstacles to overcome of any kind. I plan on dropping hints along the way though.
SimHQ: So how long will it be before you announce your first product?
Jason: I’m not sure exactly based on my comments mentioned earlier, but probably several months, maybe a year. It all depends on the course of development.
SimHQ: You won’t tell us what you’re doing, but isn’t the Merlin engine only prop sim based?
Jason: Right now it is, but it can do early jets with no problem. mmmmm… early jets.