2005 E3Expo – Friday, Day 3
Well, it’s finally over, which means your hard-working SimHQ team can finally get some sleep. E3 2005 was a great experience for all of us here on the global SimHQ staff, particularly because it was the first time that WKLINK, 20mm, Chunx and guod had a chance to actually meet face-to-face, work and socialize with one another. Spending the better part of a week together talking about our hobby, dining and experiencing the spectacle of E3 was a fantastic opportunity, and I hope that even more of the staff can get together and attend other events together in the future.
Long before E3 kicked off, your SimHQ reporting team “strategerized” their gameplan for covering this huge event and designated Friday as their “clean-up” day — the day we’d set aside to find out information on products we’d been unable to see or missed during the first two days of the show. As it turned out, Friday turned out to be a surprisingly productive day with several pop-up finds and chance meetings with interesting people, culminating in a very satisfying and rewarding end to this year’s show.
Well, it’s the final day for me in LA. I had to get on the plane at 5:30 PM and fly out so I had to bid goodbye to the guys a little bit early, I got to see a couple of really cool things just before we left. The last surprise had to be among the strongest — something akin to saving the best for last. Let’s just say you combat shooter folks are going to have your socks knocked off next year.
I didn’t see any unannounced flight simulations today but I did get a chance to sit down and finally get some stick time with Battle of Britain II. I was happy to say that Chunx’ assessments of the flight models appear to be pretty accurate.
The flight models are tighter and more controllable over the original series. Speed effects and the AOA affects on the airframe as far as buffeting and prior warning as the plane leaves the flight envelope appear to be very much improved. I really like the way the planes buffet when you try to do some really ham fisted maneuvers with them. It really gives you a clear warning that what you are trying to do will result in some bad results if you keep it up (stalling and / or spinning).
The effects of speed on the aircraft are also more pronounced. Controls on these aircraft definitely become firmer as your speed increases. The first BoB did that as well but this seems a little bit more pronounced than I remember with the first version. This is excellent and highly accurate btw, early war aircraft had almost all control surfaces covered with fabric which would compress during high speeds. Don’t confuse this with compression, what would happen is the fabric would literally warp surface wise and create a small parachute like effect that made the movement of the aileron or the elevator much more difficult. Add to this no hydraulic controls of these control surfaces and you can see why speed may not always meant life with these aircraft.
I’m not going to repeat myself covering the graphics improvements. Most of you probably read the praise I had for the graphics yesterday (between checking out the babe photos) and know that the game is improved substantially in the looks department. Scott has a lot to be proud of with this game. Look for this game to go gold very soon as well. I was told a date but I won’t say anything in case it slips a few days or a week. Scott has a few minor tweaks he wants to do with the game before it goes gold but I imagine he will be exhausted when he gets home (he looked tired). E3 will do that to you.
In a semi related story, I have something of a scoop for you WW2 Online lovers. I guess I am the winner of the ‘Who will be the one to publish Beyond Blitzkrieg’ guess / poll that is on our board. I have been told by GMX media that we can announce that the title currently known as WW2 Online will be published by them. There is some discussion as to whether the game will actually be called Beyond Blitzkrieg, there is some question as to whether that will be the final name but for know you heard it here first. There will hopefully be more information forthcoming when I find out more myself.
The other thing I got to see was the Aerosoft display. They had quite a number of titles on display that would appeal to the flight simulation community. The gentleman that normally handled the flight simulation component of the game, Christian Keil wasn’t there today but I plan on getting more info from him on some of the upcoming titles that are going to be coming out from this German company. I got some software from them as well so expect some evaluations of some of their FS2004 add ons in the near future.
Overall there isn’t a whole lot else to discuss in the flight simulation section. I hate to say it but in general the flight simulation displays at E3 were either tiny or non-existent. We learned right away that we needed to get out and really look to find flight sim developers at E3. The days of the big flight simulation booths are long gone and I don’t look for them back anytime soon.