F22: ADF - The Vision and the Reality
by Leonard (Viking1) Hjalmarson
Some men see the things that are, and ask why?
I dream things that never were and ask, "Why not?"
At a Glance:|
Its a time for dreams. New hardware is enabling designers to reach out into new dimensions to bring us new reality in the simulation experience. Graphics, frame rates, and features that we could only dream of a few years ago are finding their way onto desktops around the world. Its a great time to be a simulation fan!
But that doesn't mean we have found perfection yet. The reality and the ideal are running to greet each other, but have not yet met. F22: ADF is the most realistic simulation of the F22 Raptor to date, but lacking a dynamic campaign it also lacks something of the heart of a simulation like iF22. iF22, for all its problems and in spite of an uneven graphics engine, has some things ADF lacks.
But having said that, there is SO much here, and so much more yet to come. ADF could be one of the most awaited simulations in sim history, up there with Longbow 2 and Falcon 4, the stuff dreams are made of. Lets wake up the sleeper for a couple of hours and bring the unconscious into the light. As we do so I will rate ADF in five areas: graphics, gameplay, sound, intelligence, and fun.
- System Setup and Frame Rates
- Glide and D3d Graphics
- Quick Combat
- Single/Training Missions
- Tours of Duty: Being There
- Taking Flight: Avionics
- Targetting and HUD Modes
- AI: Wingmen, CPPs and Comms
- AI: Weapons, Damage Modelling and Flight
- Sound and Views
- AWACS and ACMI Components
- Multiplayer, General Comments and Summary
F-22 ADF requires at least the following system configuration:
Install, Setup and Frame Rates
The box is packed with Allies and Adversaries, a custom made journal by World Air Power. Its a knockout, 160 page color journal loaded with information on aircraft and weapons systems you will meet in ADF. The journal kicks off with fifteen pages dedicated to the F22 then moves on to the Su-35, EF2000, MiG 21 and others. See the reference above for a review.
The manual for ADF totals 176 pages in the same format and size (same publisher) as Allies and Adversaries. The manual is better organized than the EF2000 manual but does contain a fair amount of repetition. No matter, it covers what you need to know with only a few small omissions.
For one, page 71 will lead you to believe that you can cue an AMRAAM by off board (IFDL) information and then launch while in EMCON 1. This is not correct. AMRAAM is disabled in EMCON 1 and you must switch to EMCON 3 minimum for a launch. However, you can launch the AIM9x in EMCON 1 and 2 using IRST cueing. Unfortunately, one flaw in this design at the moment is that if you experience radar damage your IRST targetting will also cease to work.
The other omissions relate to last minute changes as found in the readme file (a good place to look when you load up the sim!). Some of these changes include the ability to rearm and refuel just by landing and stopping on the runway in both single missions and tours (not yet in AWACS missions however). Changes to the avionics control include the ability to clear the shoot list (U key), declutter targets from the HUD, and targetting box info and kill boxes.
Install gives you options from 40 to 150 meg, and if you choose the large and TYPICAL installation you don't need the CD. This is great, since it means that you can run on a LAN without everyone having their own copy. However, the TOURS are not available in multiplayer, a feature that will hopefully change with TAW and the dynamic campaign and theatre commander components.
I have two systems for testing. System I is an AMD 233 with 64 meg of SDRam, 1 meg cache, CL Awe 64, and STB Velocity 128 3d. System II is a PII 266 running at 337.5 MHz on an ASUS P2L97 with Canopus Pure 3d and Matrox Millenium, and the Ubisoft Game Theatre 64, with surround sound generated by a Yamaha 200 watt system. This system also has 64 meg of SDRam and an Ultra DMA Quantum hard drive. I am running Glide 2.43 and the latest 3dfx D3d drivers.
System I will not run under Glide since Glide is a 3dfx specific API. Running under software only is not too shabby, however, since the Riva 128 chipset is quite fast in WIN95. With detail set to mid and at 800x600 resolution this system is running at about 15 fps. At 640x400 with max detail frame rate is about 20 fps. For some reason scrolling the virtual cockpit or outside views is much smoother than the frame rate would have one believe....Load times are quite fast; anything over 32 meg of RAM really helps on that score.
System II running under software only at max detail is around 30 fps, and under Glide begins at 50 but drops when action is heavy, down to about 25-35. I can't hold this system down with a trunk full of old engine blocks, so if you have a P233 or better you are should have plenty of horsepower to run at max detail. If you have more than 32 meg of RAM you will also appreciate faster load times, a bonus these days. And by the way, sometime when you load the sim click on DEMO and watch just how smart Smartview has become...=)
The first choice in OPTIONS is resolution. You can select any resolution to go with any detail level. Choosing 640x400 and then MEDIUM DETAIL, for example, will automatically deselect CONTRAILS and TRANSPARENT CLOUDS. But you can turn any individual options on or off according to your preference and the frame rate you are gunning for.
This will be especially useful for lower end systems or non 3dfx systems. At LOW DETAIL in medium resolution a P166 with 3dfx is 15-20 fps, but this will vary from system to system slightly, and throwing the Canopus Pure3d into the mix will increase the rate slighly overall and greatly in some circumstances. Remember to install without music on low end systems for a frame rate boost.
|By the time TAW is released many gamers will have upgraded to Voodoo II. Based on test results now coming in with early silicon Voodoo 2 is 2x - 3x faster than the original 3dfx chipset, and this is with early beta drivers! This means that a P166 system running ADF on Voodoo II in late January at full detail could be running at 40 fps. A PII system at 333MHz with Voodoo II would likely run ADF at 90+ fps. However, this isn't taking into account the new 100MHz bus mainboards or the AMD K6-3d that will be seen early in the new year. And since dual Voodoo 2 boards can be run in a parallel "scanline interleave" mode some fans could be running TAW at 150 fps. Exact scaling isn't likely, however, and since DiD and other developers are well aware of the available horsepower we may see new graphical enhancements leap into being by the time TAW arrives, increasing object detail and cities and airbases may look dramatically better for those with the horsepower to spare. And how will AGP impact all this? We'll post new information as we learn more.|
I had a problem centering my F22 Pro and so I finally made the jump to TMs ProPanel utility. I've avoided it because I have found DX5 to be picky about joysticks and didn't want to spend an hour debugging my HOTAS system and software. However, installation was quick and easy and solved my drift problem immediately. Go to Thrustmaster to download the utility if you experience the same problem.
Some pilots are also experiencing problems with the idle minimum. I'm not sure if there is a solution for this or not but will post it if I hear anything. Drop me a note if you find a way to get your idle setting below 60%. Furthermore, I cannot get ADF to recognize my gamma settings for 3dfx. If anyone finds a way to do this, let me know. At the moment its very difficult to see my MFDS in virtual cockpit mode.
The other choice you will need to make in the OPTIONS screen is difficulty level. If you are an accomplished pilot in Su27 or Hornet or EF2000 or some other intermediate to hard core simulation choose the MEDIUM level to start off. This will give you a chance to familiarize yourself with avionics and AI while improving the PK of your weapons and reducing detectability.
At low and medium difficulty levels you also have some additional help in terms of targetting. Targets that are required to be destroyed in order to complete the mission are shown with the letter "T" adjacent to them in the HUD display, but only on the Easy and Medium difficulty levels. Mission objectives can also be viewed from the in-game map by pushing the "DEL" key on the numeric keypad.
In addition, targets that are required to be destroyed are shown with the letter "T" in the target information on a MFD. The target information is shown when you position the mouse cursor over an aircraft symbol in the Situation, Defense or Attack displays. The flight call sign is also shown, as given objectives. And this brings up the first problem resident in the body of ADF.
HARD is VERY hard in some missions, for a variety of reasons which will be discussed later in this review. But its sometimes very bothersome to have to hit a particular target in order to have the mission rated as a success, a bit like looking for the needle in the proverbial haystack.
Whats the problem, you ask? In a real war a particular objective can be critically important. True, but then the objective is usually very CRITICAL. But at times in ADF one must hit the particular SAM or particular two tanks among twenty in order to be successful. You may kill 6 Su-35s, but miss the one defined as the mission goal. The fix is simple: rate the mission either by tactical signficant goals OR by a percentage of completion. With the dynamic engine arriving in TAW this will no longer be an issue, of course.
The On-Line Help is exhaustive, and some parts are even interactive. Call up avionics and call up MFDs and you can click on the MFD you want information on to bring up specifics. You can access help from your desktop for a good read without ever opening the program.
Go to F22: ADF Review Part II
More screen shots please! Screens Page One
Download my TM configuration for F22:ADF
Last Updated December 3rd, 1997