The initial offering of only “cooperative” style missions was far from embraced by the Rise of Flight community, as one spent far more time waiting for a session to start or end than in the air. To solve this, many hosts opted for very short “instant action” sorts of missions that were in effect the type of “arcade play” Neoqb was trying to discourage. I referred to it as the “where is everyone” mode of play.
Rather than simply putting in a respawn function, Neoqb went the extra mile in improving the game play, starting with the menu itself:
Yes, gentle reader, that is a list of servers long enough to require scrolling past the first screen, which is a milestone in multiplayer for this simulation!
Neoqb now made it useful for the player to decide where to play by giving information on each server before he joins by having every data point produce an information window about the server.
One can now see the ping numerically and a list of players:
As well as difficulty settings:
And map rotation:
Note the symbols next to the map name. From the top we can see that the CoCoS server is running Capture the Flag, the NEWBIE server Team Death Match, and the [ToW] server cooperative missions.
All that is needed is a player list (in lobby and in game) and a chat bar and it is right on par with Hyperfighter.
Still no stand alone dedicated server that doesn’t require a paid account with Neoqb, though if one wishes to set one up they’ve been very amiable to giving a second authentication key for those purposes without charge. I just don’t think it helps multiplayer proliferation to have to go the extra step and email the makers of the sim in order to have permission to host dedicated servers on one machine and fly it on another.
New Multiplayer Maps
Rise of Flight is an all or nothing proposition on the map — you get the whole thing regardless of how tight the area one is flying in, which lead to super long load times. To lighten the load on computers and ease data flow, two sixty square kilometer maps were made (each in a summer and winter tile set, so it’s technically four) for multiplayer. They’re very well done, and the size ensures that one has time and space to climb to altitude and do some stalking.
The “Big Map” of France is still available to all modes of play, however.
Unchanged from release, one joins before mission start and if shot down or joining late, waits for it to end and the next to begin in order to participate (other than as a spectator). Missions are becoming longer and more involved, a very good thing, as with respawn abilities available in two other modes of play the “instant action” design is moot.
I personally hate the name given for play where one can (re)join a mission once it is started or if shot down as “dogfight” servers; it implies “instant action” or “arcade” types of play were aerodromes are too close together and it is nothing but one solid furball with little strategy or tactics involved. Persistent or “respawnable” is much better, as while some respawnable servers are in fact “instant action,” so are many cooperative missions.
Every trigger and artificial intelligence (AI) unit available in single and cooperative mission play is open to respawnable servers. It is precisely what we asked for — every feature of the sim included in all modes of play.
Neoqb broke persistent servers into two types of play, Team Death Match and Capture the Flag. Both are terribly named, as they don’t reflect the sophistication of play involved in either.
In both varieties, joining, selecting a side, aerodrome, and plane is identical:
This map is a chunk of the larger one, with the Huns on our side of the mud. Note that aerodromes are limited by type and number of aero planes as set by the mission designer; if a group of people have gobbled up all the SPADs, you’ll have to settle for a Camel or chose a different place to start.
If one is shot down, hitting escape and selecting “Finish Mission” will bring one back to the starting screen shown above.
Team Death Match
This mode of play sets a point value for a “round” of play, with each side gaining points for shooting down enemy planes and having points taken away for damaging or shooting down friendlies. The side that wins the most rounds “wins” the match.
It is the closest thing to “arcade” type play available, but I found that there was surprisingly little “rush to the action” low level flight going on. Rather, the fights were stacked by altitude with the stress on “team” in the servers I populated, including some pilots stalking about the periphery looking for the wounded seeking escape, or the center of the main battle moving from the predictable center of the map.
Here is an example where the round value is set at 500 and things are going decidedly in one direction, mostly because of the fellow shown here shooting me down the instant I was within firing distance.
It is the best way to get one’s feet wet in flying against other humans.
With modification in the mission builder, this can be expanded in context and historical accuracy to where one might have the goal of establishing air superiority (as an example); destroy X number of the enemy and one has effectively shut them down in the area around the front.
Capture the Flag
I probably rolled my eyes the hardest of anyone when I first read the name of this mode of play, as I had visions of towing a flag behind me back to my aerodrome with others in hot pursuit. Nothing could be farther from the truth!
A better name would have been “Control of an Area.” In the stock form, the map is divided up into nine sectors, each with an aerodrome, anti-air defenses, and a huge flag. One flies his aeroplane within 2,000 meters of the flag and it will raise up the appropriate banner until it reaches the top and control is assumed. If it is already captured, the flag will lower and the player’s side will replace it at the bottom to ascend to the top. Control of the flag also means control of the aerodrome and the planes by type and number there. Wrest control of all the sectors for your side and “win” the map.
Play becomes very sophisticated — fly all together and your side can dominate and take over individual sectors quickly, but that leaves others you own unguarded; spread yourself thin and your side will be taken down piecemeal. Since one must be within 2,000 meters of the flag, those capturing it have to surrender altitude advantage against those guarding it, so one will need an escort.
The most impressive part of CTF is how it can be modified. It doesn’t have to be the flag object to determine control — it can be any object for mission builders, and can also be associated with triggers for non-player objects such as aeroplanes, artillery, and tanks. There are already server missions built where attacking and destroying objects render aerodromes useless for the other side, as an example.