|By Eric "Awol" Bishop|
Graphics and Sound
The graphics of F15 are also quite beautiful. They are not as crisp as DID's ADF but are still very well done. The F15 looks great, as do the other planes you will interact with. Objects are especially crips, and at 640X480 on my Voodoo2 board they look very nice There are plenty of 3DFx effects like transparent smoke, fog and solid lighting effects.
Frame rate on my P266 was screaming with the CL/Voodoo2 board. I did try some earlier versions of F15 on an Intense 3d Board and it ran very well with an occasional frame rate hit in and around the cities. I am sure that could have been corrected with some fine-tuning of the options but I did not try.
The explosion effects are by far the best I have ever seen. The hit of Mk82's looks like something off of Wings on the discover channel. The same goes for concussion effects and the sounds are also very good. I have had more fun just blowing things up in the training flights. Usually on a mission there is so much going on I rarely get to watch the bombs hit so the training missions are a great way to watch these different weapons do their stuff. Can you imagine what a mission playback feature would be like in this sim?
The Sounds in F15 are also top notch. The roar of the engines could have been a bit louder for me but they are still nicely done. Explosions sound great and the sidewinder growl sounds very realistic. Where Janes F15 stands out in the sound category is the radio chatter. This is done in a full duplex type of mode. For example: If you are on a mission and you call the AWACS for Bogie dope, while they are giving you the big picture your wingman might call out a SAM launch or Radar detection. All this will happen at the same time.
In fact, this is the first combat sim where I have actually had information overload. It can get very confusing trying to listen to JSTARS or your wingman when other flights are calling in hits and missile launches at the same time. This is a really fun experience. I have had to ask the AWACS twice for Bogie dope because in the confusion and action around me, I missed it the first time. This also heightens the feeling of "Being there". With all the combat chatter going on and AAA arcing up at you, wingmen calling out position for SAR on downed pilots plus your TEWS screeching SAM launches it can get pretty exciting! Atmosphere has almost been reinvented by Janes.
Control over your wingmen is excellent. You have a wingman menu that's broken down into your Wingman, Element, Division and entire Flight (up to eight aircraft). So if you want to tell your flight to change formation you can issue a single command to the Flight. If you have a pair of bogies out ahead you can tell wingmen 3 and 4 to engage by using the Element commands. If you have aircraft beyond 4 you can issue them commands by using the Division commands. Below is a list of comms commands available to you.
Intercept Sub Menu
Ground Attack Sub Menu
Wingman Specific Commands
Flight Specific Commands
As you can see you have a lot of control over your flight. You can tell portions of your flight to orbit an area. I have used this to have separate timed attacks on a target. Go in fast and low and knock out some SAM and AAA then call in the rest of your flight to hit the remaining targets a few seconds later.
In The Cockpit
The up front cockpit view is presented to you once you select Fly from the briefing screen. This is presented in two halves. The top have represents the HUD and the right and left MFDs as well as the UFC Data Console. The look down view will replicate the third MFD and your back up flight systems data.
The third view is from the back seat of the F15E or WSO seat. One nice feature of the F15 cockpit is ALL the buttons are mouse activated or clickable. You can select all your master modes and then change the MFD information all by the mouse. You can change your bomb ripple and release modes/counts and slew your IR sensors. Again if its in the real F15E then its in Janes F15!
The other nice feature is that you can program what MFDs you want for specific Master modes. If you want the TEWS displayed while in NAV mode then you can program the cockpit to have that MFD active during NAV mode.
Even more flexibility comes via the UFC Data Console used in this sim. Most use this area for just artwork or static information. Janes F15 allows you to activate various information that the real F15E utilizes. Below is a list of the information in the UFC Data Console:
Like the rest of the interface, the virtual cockpit mode shines. The VC is completely slewable via the keyboard or HOTAS if so programmed. (Note: View keys work differently if invoked from fixed cockpit or VC mode, a fact which is not clearly explained). Padlock views are all implemented with track current target and also track WSO target.
This last mode is very useful and will track the last target your WSO called out. So if you're concentrating on your target for a bomb run and your WSO calls out a SAM launch you can padlock the incoming missile for evasion maneuvering.
Just so NOTHING is missed, while in padlock mode you can call up your three currently active front cockpit MFD's so you have access to Radar etc You can also snap back to front view if you get disoriented in a dogfight and then snap back to padlock once finished. And this doesnt' exhaust the view system: there are a ton of other views available so you have complete control to watch the battles unfold. Some of the views are not available by key press unless you access the CONFIG menu and customize your key selection.
In the next section I will cover Instant missions and Single missions and well as the Campaigns. In the last feature I will explore the mission editor. Until then Tally Ho and Check six!
This material is copyrighted and may not be reprinted in any form without the express permission of the publisher.
Last Updated March 25th, 1998