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Clear Day's Flight.

Graphics (continued)

If I had to compare the improvements graphically I would probably say they are on par with the improvements made to European Air War. In fact, the game has something of an updated EAW feeling to it graphically. While EAW has never been the beauty queen of flight simulations it always was serviceable and the gameplay more than made up for it’s graphic shortcomings. Likewise FCJ won’t take the graphic crown from LOMAC but the improvements mean that now you won’t be negatively distracted by the graphics.

What appeals to me the most is how well the game looks with the Glide wrapper. I have tried to use glide wrappers with RB3D in the past with less than stellar success. RB3D in non-3D mode looks, well dated. Very few people still have V2’s or later V4s or 5s in their boxes so a good glide wrapper is very important.

Winter Flight.

Glidos works well but the game isn’t perfect with it. I did notice some graphical errors with the game, especially if the game ran for longer than 20 or 30 minutes. I found that terrain tiles wouldn’t load properly and graphics for aircraft would either come up wrong or simply would not be present. This tended to be present more in campaign mode rather than with single player missions. It didn’t happen every time but when it did it was quite noticeable. On the other hand it renders most things well enough, you get the ‘opaque cockpit’ that wasn’t available in software mode, it runs with FCJ well and you don’t get any real crashes with the game. Not everyone is posting some of the graphics boo boos that I have, they may be driver related but don’t expect total perfection here.

If you think that this is a reason to not buy the update, well, don’t. If you own a Voodoo based video card these problems are probably moot. Even those with newer cards in general report that the game runs well and looks good. The biggest problem with glide wrappers and video cards tend to be difficulties with game slowdowns, especially for those with older machines. Unless you have a higher end Pentium III with a 64 meg video card you may see some serious slowdowns with the game. I had rock solid gameplay with fps’s in the range of 70-110fps in general but my machine is a relatively fast PIV 2.8GHz with an 800MHz FSB and 1 Gig of RAM. I am willing to bet that many RB3D players are working with Pentium III boxes still.

Probably the biggest problem with the game these days is the relatively short drawing distance of the horizon and some objects. Even with all the graphic updates given by Kess the game still has an ‘in the goldfish bowl’ feel that probably can’t be corrected. Lets face it, the code for RB3D is over seven years old now and there is only so much you can do. Luckily, this is less of a problem for a WW1 flight sim than a more modern jet or even WW2 sim. Aircraft in WWI were lucky to hit 140 mph in level flight so the time it takes to traverse terrain is much slower than it would be in a game like EAW. You will notice the distance limitations in the game, especially if you have played games like IL2 or CFS3 but unlike the distance limitation won’t create gameplay problems.

Various graphics.

Ok, so overall the graphic impressions I got with the game is mixed but generally I have a positive view of the graphics. Compared to the original game the graphics are a massive improvement. The game looks so much better than it did before. Immersion has improved dramatically as a result. Still, it is not a modern game graphically. If I had to place a year to which the game was updated I might boost it to a game released in late 99 or early 2000. Does that bring the game to ‘the 21st century’ graphically? Maybe, but barely. That’s not a bad thing, especially when there is little else out there. Plus, the real strength of FCJ is the base game it works with, Red Baron 3D.

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