Jens: I’ve seen some spectacular preview movies with what looks to be a very living and populated world on the ground, towns, trains, troop movements etc. Could you expand upon what we can expect in Phase 3 in terms of being able to observe and perhaps interact with the ground war?
Mark: Real battles have been introduced now so more events will occur at the right time and this will affect the craft in the air, and where they are, along with ground battles. We have also added a damage model to vehicles so now you can blow them up.
Jens: Wahoo! Tell us about the dynamic campaign, how does it work and what effect does the player’s performance have in the grand scheme?
Mark: The OFF Manager now generates real flights, by real historical squads, from their real historical base and just about all will be in their squadron colors where possible — a stunning sight.
There are no longer any CFS3 “random spawns”. All craft have a job to do. Also squads have general battle orders and status so this affects how they fly and what they do.
Currently 226 aircraft can be in the air at one time (and this is not a fixed limit, just currently the max we think you can handle). On the lowest setting you will find the skies very rich and dangerous. Like the other phases, doing the mission, and above all staying alive are your highest priorities.
Now we have a mission replay tool that can analyze what you did in game, who shot who, where etc. Also we can now tell if you landed behind enemy lines… will you escape?
In future versions we hope to expand what we do with this mass of information, we have some exciting ideas about that, but we’ll keep that for another time.
Seeing flights go past going about their business, in full “livery” adds to the immersion massively now we have so many superb textures in the sim. Some flights will try to ignore you to get their mission done, others will break and attack — and sometimes you have to decide to risk against huge odds or live for another day. Also now you can be captured, we know where you are so pressure is high for the allied pilots, when flying over the lines, and heading back home into a head wind with chasing Jastas!
Jens: -gulp!- Sounds like I’ll have my work cut out for me! How did you research and render the terrains, ensuring the highest possible accuracy of placement of towns, farms, roads, geographical accuracy in general?
Mark: Mostly from historical maps, each terrain area is unique.
”Winding Man”, well known for his superb landscape terrain mods for other sims over the years, has carefully studied typical landscape pics — mostly courtesy Ted — so as to render accurate terrain tiles for Flanders / Marne / Verdun and Alsace.
CFS3 normally has only one global land-based tile set (textures) i.e., the theatre is covered with the same tile set from stem-to-stern.
In OFF we now have 6:
1) Southern England
6) Rest of the theatre