By Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Last year Eidos International released JSF, a simulation of the Joint Strike Fighter aimed at the middle level combat gamer, featuring a ground breaking 3d engine. Eidos is near to releasing the first expansion pack for JSF, and we should have more info for you soon.
In the meantime, Confirmed Kill has hit beta. I know.. you haven't been holding your breath! This sim has been on the drawing board ever since the ICI/Domark split. ICI launched Warbirds and Domark (now Eidos) kept the CK name and began working on an entirely new sim.
When we spoke to Eidos last fall it appeared that the largest delay for CK was due to the construction of flight models. At that time Eidos aimed at modeling in CK that would surpass anything yet seen, based on a system being developed by an aerospace engineer who is currently working on a variety of military based full scale simulations.
More than 450 parameters, including gunnery and damage models, are being individually entered for each aircraft. From weights and dimensions, to measurements of thrust lines, and even prop dimensions... all this information goes into making a state of the combat prop simulation. Lately the ante haa been upped by a handful of sim producers from Activision to SPGS and Eidos faces a real challenge!
Nevertheless, Producer Mike Gilmartin (a.k.a. Gilly) has more than three hundred testers working hard on a closed beta, and his sights remain high. Part of the attraction of CK is that it has been planned since the beginning with a historical approach, so that a great deal of research and preparation has gone into it. The historical twist extends across the board, from flight characteristics to avionics and weapon systems; its possible that CK will surpass Warbirds in many dimensions.
What does this attention to detail mean for the player? When your Focke-Wulf goes to the armory you'll have a chance to decide wether you'll use incendiary rounds, ball rounds, armor piercing or high explosive. You'll base your selection on on your knowledge of your intended targets and what you desire to accomplish. With historical accuracy in mind, there will even be a load-out that specifies no tracers, since this was the preference of some pilots in the Battle of Britain. With your bullet stream lacking tracers your target has no idea he's being shot at until he starts taking hits!
When you first see Confirmed Kill you will be immediately impressed by the clouds. At the moment there is only one cloud level which starts around ten thousand feet, but its sufficient to impact your tactics in a dogfight. In fact the use of clouds has on occasion meant the difference between life and death for the pilots engaged in action in both world wars.
This ability to use clouds to hide or to approach unseen will add both realism and challenge and will help to balance out the abilities of two combatants, and it will impact tactical mission planning. Thankfully, padlock views will factor obscured vision and will not be able to magically see through the clouds.
The environment as a whole is impressive, with the CK world being built upon the graphics engine that powers SIMIS Team Apache. While not everyone will agree, the SIMIS engine is considered by some to be the best simulation graphics engine to date.
You may prefer the feel of Longbow 2 or the look of F22: ADF, but for raw effects and immersion (right down to the weather), the Team Apache environment is impressive indeed! Like Team Apache, frame rate in the Confirmed Kill beta is smooth, fast and steady on a PII 233 with Voodoo1, around 30-50 fps. On a PII 300 with voodoo 2 it will run at 100fps.
In fact Mike Gilmartin says that Eidos has continued to work with the SIMIS engine and has actually improved it! Expect to see great effects, and resolution will likely be available at 1024x768 or even higher. Both Direct3D and Glide will be supported.
Physics and damage modeling have been high priorities. Bullet "splash" effects on the water or impact effects on land and objects are currently unparalleled in the sim world. You can walk bullets up to a target - a common practice among WWII aviators - or you can use your guns as you would spray water from a garden hose, again a common practice among fighter pilots.
Ballistics modeling necessitates accurate physics and and trajectories. I did some experimenting by climbing to ten thousand feet and loosed my guns at the water below while diving at a 45 degree angle. I fired a burst then for the impact. A few seconds later I saw a series of small splashes in the water below. I calculated that my distance to the water was around 3 miles at the time of firing and about 2 miles at time of impact. The timing and impact position was accurate with real world physics.
CK will have more than twenty airframes available on release, with nine more added later. Altogether twenty-seven ac will be modeled, eventually including five Soviet ac such as the La-7. Here is the current list:
Japanese: A6M5 Zero, D3a Val, B5n Kate. German: Bf-109E, Bf-109G, FW-190A, JU87B Stuka, JU87G Stuka, Ju-88A-4, BF-110C, BF-110G, Hs-129B. Russian: Sturmovik, La-7, Yak-3, La-5Fn, IL-2m3. Now THAT is a list of aircraft!!
Allied ac to be added later include the P51H, P47N Thunderbolt, Spitfire MK.XVI, and TBM Avenger.
Each of these aircraft is modeled uniquely for damage right down to the armor. It will be much easier to shoot down the Spitfire MK V than the F6F Wildcat. In fact, every projectile in Confirmed Kill has its own rating along three dimensions: penetration, heat, and volatility. Meanwhile the defender object has his own ratings: for flammability, volatitly, and hardness. When the immovable aircraft meets the moving projective, the round says to the object (say the fuel tank): "My hardness is five, whats yours?"
The first check is volatility. In the case of a fuel tank the rating could be 99%. A modifier applies to the projectile if it is an incendiary round. The next rating checked is the fire rating. Every building and object is similarly rated, and once a building catches fire (for example) damage is rated on a per minute basis.
Go to Part II
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Last Updated August 28th, 1998