By Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Team Apache's environment is unbeatable, with wind and weather effects, and smoke drifting in accordance with wind patterns. The goals in Confirmed Kill are similary high, and we will see both wind and turbulence modeled. Wind is random at the beginning of a scenario unless the scenario has a historical determining factor (like the wind at Midway prevailing westerly). The wind will affect the movement of smoke, haze and clouds, and we may even see spot rain modeled beneath storm clouds.
Will we see training missions? Yes. There are eleven training missions that cover everything from torpedo bombing to air combat. The downloadable version of Confirmed Kill won't include narrated training, but the boxed version will.
Player Interface and Mission Planner
No more milling around an area wondering what to do, scenarios will be designed around clear-cut objectives. The mission planner is being designed to allow the player to design and save their own created scenarios, and the planner will allow a high degree of tactical planning and organization. Dedicated squadron areas will enhance the comaraderie.
Arranging flights should be a simple matter, even for newcomers. A Player Lobby has been developed which will allow players to meet and sort allies and opponents by Name, Squadron, Rank, and Connection quality. Players will be able to choose from dozens of historically accurate and play balanced scenarios.
Maybe even better, given that most sims are released these days with undiscovered bugs, CK will include an auto-update feature similar to the patch system that was released for F22:ADF. There will also be a bug record system which will be used to output problems even while in-flight so that Eidos can make fixes if you have an abnormal program termination. You will simply input what you were doing into a pop up form and it will be sent to the Eidos server.
Following the current trends, CK will come with the standard virtual cockpit. Correctly implemented, this is a great addition to Situational Awareness. A padlock mode that realistically mirrors human limitations of movement and visibility (as in clouds) will also be present. There will be some special touches to the padlock view, like adding peripheral vision. If a bandit appears where you would see him, your view will slew onto the bandit momentarily so that you know he is there.
As for difficulty, flight models, damage, models, gunnery models, red outs/blackouts, sun blind spots, mid-air collisions, ammunition loads, and fuel consumption are just a few of the parameters that can be adjusted for each scenario. (The scoring system makes adjustments for the difficulty settings, so killing everything in sight with all the settings on their easiest level won't make anyone King...)
Much of CKs design is dedicated to attack aircraft, so surface units will have realistic behaviors, including self-defense and avoidance tactics! Not only does this add an entirely new dimension for a sim, it also contributes to realism. When you are dealing with moving and offensive ground targets, you are in an environment that keeps you moving!
The ground war will be integral with the air war in the sense that if you as a pilot take out a tank, it will make it easier for your own tanks and troops to advance. There are over 250 fighting objects modeled on the ground (including jeeps), with the appropriate AI for each.
In the multiplayer environment players will be required to agree on terms of engagement before the fight begins. Not only will such changes mean that skill will count for more, it will mean less counting from the bank account too! With CK available on the Total Entertainment Network for a flat monthly fee of $19.95 for unlimited air time, it promises to be a great additon to the simulation world.
Confirmed Kill will be released in a variety of scenarios for online competition. The first scenario will be the Battle of Midway, starting in the air from the point where the Japanese bandits are seen. Immediate objectives will be to defend your base and its resources while taking out the competition and their resources, including the usual ammo depots, factories, command centers, runways etc. Eidos also plan to offer new aircraft and new battles as often as possible.
Eidos has announced two other campaigns: the Battle of Kursk and Battle of Britain. Add to this the initial Battle of Midway and CK covers three different time periods: 1940-41, 1942, and 1943-44. Each of these will contain four theatres of operation: Pacific, European, Russian and N. African. Eidos is even considering setting up separate servers for each theatre.
All scenarios will include between 6 and 7 missions and support up to 16 players. The integration of computer controlled pilots works like this: in the Battle of midway the Japanese have a 4/1 advantage against americans. Putting seventy aircraft in the sky in this sim would not be possible, so with a maximum of sixteen human players (8 per side) the Japanese are given eight human players and 24 aircraft under AI control. AI pilots will use a toned down flight model, but essential characteristics are present and AI pilots will vary in their skill level.
Control over wingmen will be modeled at four levels: Group leader, section leader, flight leader and wing leader. The group leader can issue orders to anyone below him. The interface involves a pop up map view, so that the Group Leader would only have to click on TASK then click on an incoming flight and then click on a section leader to issue an engage command.
Intelligence is also modeled via the pop up map. Imagine that a Wing leader is flying a patrol northwest of Midway and spots incoming Japanese warships. The warships will also then appear on the group leaders map, just as if the Wing leader had made a radio report. The Group Leader could then decide which course of action to take. When the allied flight loses visual contact with the ships they will remain as a marker on location on the map until someone else reports a new location. Ground radar will also be modeled in the sim.
Confirmed Kill will enter open beta in October on TEN. Watch for screen shots later this week. Personally, I can't wait!
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Last Updated August 28th, 1998