Feature: Rise of Flight in Evolution Page 4

Arriving in 2012

So, what can we expect this year?

Channel Map

The battle for the sea lanes was a constant if rarely depicted part of the war. Its chief combatants will present a very different and asymmetric sense of the air-war. England will also give a few coastal targets for the Gotha bombers and various RNAS squadrons (including those flying the Sopwith Triplane) should find nice homes near the northern part of the front.

Improved Water Modeling

Rise of Flight will be introducing a new water model with the Channel.

Rise of Flight - new water modeling with the English Channel map

New Planes

Two sea-planes will also be be available, and should be quite enjoyable to fly — with much more of a “land anywhere” mentality (including on the simulator’s smaller lakes).

The Felixstowe flying boat has the same engines as our HP 0/400 bomber, but smaller wings to try to maintain performance that is lost as a result of its large hull. It also differs in being geared to daylight combat — carrying more guns (5 to 7) and with an unlikely penchant for turning fights.

Rise of Flight - Felixstowe

The Hansa-Brandenburg W.12 represents a nimbler and much smaller target. In many ways it is a better gameplay choice than its attractive, late war monoplane descendants. Interestingly, it will be no faster than its much larger opponent. The strange inverted tail will give an excellent view for the rear gunner and it will have a stronger forward firing armament than any other two-seater.

Rise of Flight - Hansa-Brandenburg W.12

Two new two-seaters have been announced — the DH.4 (with its fuel tank between pilot and gunner) and the light Halberstadt CL.II (designed as a two-seat fighter).

All of these add-ons can currently be pre-ordered from the Rise of Flight store.

Additional improvements are apparently planned, including numerous tweaks and upgrades to existing features (including bomb ballistics). A gradual move to include more 3rd party content (mainly ground objects) is under-way, and 777 Studios has recently collaborated with SYN_Vander to market a 3rd party campaign — although the release of a full SDK seems unlikely anytime soon.

However, there currently are no announced plans for slower 1915-1916 era two-seaters — which means that these eras are still solely dominated by single-seat scouts. We also don’t know if the unpunishing easy-to-fix gun jams, Lewis guns (which are actually coded as Vickers) or the overly easy turret controls (as well as lack of separate controls for the pintle and ring) will ever be revisited.

Conclusion

Yes, it had a troubled, somewhat buggy start, with a very problematic DRM scheme and only two flyable aircraft. Yes, you have to buy the aircraft (although they do go on sale). Yes, it is absolutely brilliant for all that.

The inescapable fact is that it has truly earned its place in the flight sim “Russian Triumvirate” — alongside Maddox Games (WWII) and Eagle Dynamics (DCS’ modern titles).

It is truly a masterpiece of engineering, of historical re-creation and it is one of the few sims where the joy of just simply flying is reward enough for its use. The experience of flight is simply unparalleled and the environments are truly stunning. It is one of the great sims of its era and may well become the definitive WWI sim for the next half-century.

Good:

  • Regular updates provide users with constant additions to content and allow more immediate releases of new features.
  • Sales of add-ons provide immediate, incremental funding, which allows the team to modify its business approach based on each sale, and closely follow the interests of its user base.
  • Despite these many upgrades, the team has managed to avoid a major system requirements / resource climb (and even gain some performance vs. the fall of 2010).
  • Items like the improved career mode, controller input customization and refined flight model for the N.17 have significantly improved experiences in these areas.
  • Two-seaters provide a new and wonderous experience. In addition, the choice to model fast two-seaters, with very capable gunners, allows easy escapes in single-player and balanced multi-player.

Could Be Better:

  • Regular updates are smaller and more gradual. This minimizes hype and masks the true progress.
  • Forced automatic-updates prevent players from using legacy versions.
  • A lack of slower 1915-1916 two-seaters means that these eras are still only modeled with scouts.
  • Gunners positions are too easy, producing unhistorical exchange ratios.
  • Both bomb loads and bomb effectiveness may be slightly excessive at times.
  • The default loadouts for some scouts continue to include bomb loads (including the remastered S.E.5a).
  • The lack of improvements to padlock mode still make it difficult for players without TrackIR™ to see their upper-wing (critical for managing the attitude / climb rate and energy of the aircraft) while tracking a target.

Author’s System Specs

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 2500K Quad Core LGA1155 @ 3.3GHZ Sandy Bridge
  • Mobo: Gigabyte Z68P-DS3 ATX LGA1155 Z68
  • RAM: SKILL Ripjaws X F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL 8GB 2X4GB DDR3-1866 CL9-10-9-28
  • Video: Diamond Radeon HD 6950 800MHZ 2GB 4.0GHZ GDDR5
  • Power Supply: FSP Aurum Gold 600W
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 3TB 7200RPM SATA3 64MB Cache
  • Case: NZXT M59 ATX Mid Tower Case Black
  • OS: Windows 7 Home Premium Edition 64-bit

 


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