Clouds and Graphics
Cockpits and Padlock
On Saturday afternoon I dialed up the CINC COMBATSIM.COM™ to ask how things were coming with DI's Super Hornet and JANE'S F/A 18. Viking1 answered, and told me I really ought to stop by and have a look. So began my descent into a hellish nightmare of Hornet addiction. Almost six hours later I dragged myself home, crawled into bed, and shook in anticipation of these coming sims....
Viking1 has some pretty good hardware, but to complicate matters I dragged my box with me: an AMD Athlon running at 600 MHz, a tad more powerful than the meagre 460 MHz of Celeron sported by our intrepid editor (Ed. That's MR. intrepid editor to you!)
I descended into the Hornet's nest with my box in tow, and Viking1 had already fired up the F/A 18 beta on his lowly Pentium II box. I gasped when I saw the Hornet flying off into the sunset. I moaned when I saw the AT FLIR and the JDAM's hanging from the wings. And three hours later we exited the JANE'S beta and loaded up a newly arrived box from Titus in England: DI's Super Hornet.
Friends... timing can be everything in the combat simulation business. DI has shipped their Hornet at the right time for the Christmas buying spree. Frankly, being the only thing out there in the serious carrier ops market, it ought to fare rather well. In fact, I may buy it myself!
First, take into account that I am a frequent flyer of Falcon 4 and European Air War. I prefer my sims with substantial meat on the bone.
Next, be cognizant that graphics are pretty important to me. Furthermore, I value my wingmen, so COMMS are critical both for the practical value of wingman control and also for the immersion supplied by interaction and radio chatter.
Finally, timing is everything. With the release of the F4 1.08 patch I am in no hurry to get into another sim.
Click to continue
Let's look at a quick compare feature list for our two Hornet sims. First, DI:
DI's FA-18E Super Hornet
- No in flight refueling
- No external aircraft lighting
- weak terrain graphics
- Excellent carrier ops
- Detailed avionics
- Limited wingman comms
- Spartan interface
- booklet manual and tiny key card
- weird key controls
- weak interface
- no mission builder
- No co-op Multiplayer
Jane's F/A 18E
In Flight Refueling
Excellent terrain graphics
Limited carrier ops
Excellent spiral manual and key card
Predictable key interface
Full mission builder/planner
Expansive comms and control
Full featured multiplayer
This list doesn't quite describe all the joys and frustrations peculiar to each of these simulations, so let's go through the list section by section and sim by sim for a quick comparison.
Go to Part II