Okay, so now let me introduce you to the Rise of Flight team.
First off, here is ROF Producer Albert, aka “Loft”. During my trip Albert and I had many discussions about how we can improve ROF and our engine for the better. We discussed everything from our new Demo that will be available later this spring, to new modes of gameplay, to our upcoming “Field Mods” program. Luckily we share a common vision, but we both acknowledge the stress the community puts on us to perform and the constant battle to keep everyone informed. As Albert likes to say, “Our only enemy is time.” Albert is extremely knowledgeable about everything relating to the simulation market and the technologies each team is using. He is a Russian Army veteran and a leader in every sense of the word. It was his initial dream to create such a product and thus has been the driving force behind it in both good times and bad. He is a fighter and a good friend to his team and I respect that immensely. He’s managed to build what few others have accomplished in the past decade. I told him he should be very proud of their accomplishment. A funny thing happened during my visit, we got pulled over by the local cops while driving to lunch and Albert calmly told the policeman to “stuff it” and they let him go. Total badass move, I couldn’t believe it. And don’t let the tattoo on his face fool you, he is a very likeable fun guy as you can tell from the photo!
Next we have our Project Manager Daniel, aka “Han”. To use a military term Daniel is the NCO of the operation. He is the glue that holds everyone together and is the task manager that gets the job done! And what a fine job he does. He can break down any complicatedROF task into an actionable plan that the guys can accomplish. He is in charge of the Beta team and is a master of all of ROF’s systems and how they interact with each other. There is not an idea that the community has come up with that Daniel has not considered or mapped out how to create. His only enemy is time. With your support, you can buy Daniel more time. Daniel is a realist and whenever I come up with a hair brained “new” idea, Daniel can tell me how long it would be to make it because he has already studied the issue. Usually he tells me “no this is not possible Jason,” but one of these days I swear I will get him to say YES to something!
Ever wonder who comes up with things like moving cloud shadows and other new graphical effects for ROF? Well it’s our Lead Programmer Sergey. Sergey is responsible for how beautiful ROF looks and performs these days. Shortly before I arrived Sergey had implemented misty morning fog for ROF that evaporates as the sun rises and I got to see it for the first time on my visit. Impressive stuff! We discussed a wide range of issues including the possible adaptation of SLI and Crossfire, more comprehensive support for triple monitor setups, a new more realistic night sky, further object and aircraft drawing and all kinds of other technical stuff. Many things are possible, but it’s always a balance of performance, eye candy and time. He explained to me some of the coding challenges he faces and what is and is not a good idea for performance. Every major decision we have made to ROF affects Sergey’s work, but he always comes through for the ROF community. His love for simming is obvious in his work and his ability as a coder is unquestionable.
Here is our engineering genius who programs our flight and damage models. You know him as “Petrovich”. I know him as Andrey. He really knows his stuff and he showed me just a part of the code that makes up one component of theROF flight and damage engine. It was 3500 lines of code! To say our flight and damage models are simplistic is absurd. This is why we cannot release planes at a more rapid clip. To do so would cause a reduction in the quality of our flight models and we don’t think anyone wants that. He showed me some of the dev tools, charts and resources he uses to test his creations and I watched him trouble shoot a bug with the DFW. He is an amazing engineer who does not get as much credit as he deserves.
Matter of fact, he has created a new flight and damage model that is 10x more accurate than the current model. The only problem is current computers cannot run it effectively in game yet and multiplayer would be crushed due to its complexity and accuracy. The demo I saw was eye-popping cool. To say we are hampered by today’s hardware and internet bandwidth is an understatement. Maybe someday it will be possible to be deployed. We discussed many issues that some in the community like to harp on and we came to some good conclusions about what is or is not possible.
And here is Michael who programs the Mission Editor. Michael is a soft spoken guy who has created one of the most comprehensive Mission Editors ever for a flight sim. It’s same Dev Tool we use and it can be harnessed to make your own Payware or Freeware Campaign if you wish. Yes, we know it is not as user friendly as some would like and we discussed this issue, but right now we are implementing even more features that can enhance the power of the ME for power-users such as Vander and Pat Wilson. In the future, we hope to enhance the QMB editor to include more features, but such a task will take a serious time commitment. Michael was able to fix an error with the Siren effect while I was there. It took him about five minutes once he was aware of it, but can’t be released until Version 19.
This handsome dude is Ilya and he’s our main programmer who is working on the new Career mode. His screen is full of code all the time. It looks like the Matrix. I can’t make heads or tails out of it, but he does all the hard work that we take for granted in ROF. The new Career mode has been quite the challenge and Ilya has been a huge part of its progress and eventual success. I discussed the new Career mode with Ilya and Albert and we explored the idea of removing the online requirement for the Career mode which currently is not possible and is unwise at present. This is because by having the Master Server connected to the Career mode we can correct errors in the Career logic without releasing a patch. Because it is so complex, we expect some issues with the new Career mode and we want the ability to fix them quickly behind the scenes. Only after the Career mode is dialed in and working properly we can entertain removing it from the Master Server requirement. This has never been just about DRM like some critics like to claim, but about flexibility. Such a move would take considerable time and effort, but hopefully we can do this in the future. Also, some cool ideas about a COOP Career mode that we have been kicking around is better managed with a centralized Master Server so the jury is still out on what will happen to this requirement. All is possible, but only with the continued support from the community.