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MiG Alley Interview
  by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson

MiG Alley is based on the Korean War: 1950-53. It was the first conflict that saw major jet v jet dogfights. The conflict also saw some jet v prop encounters. Among the many aircraft included, the game concentrates on the following:

  • F86 Sabre
  • Mig15
  • F84 Thunderjet
  • F80 Shooting Star
  • B29 (big bomber)
  • F51 and F82

The player will be able to pilot all the above aircraft except the B29.

Q: Who is involved in the production of Mig Alley?


Game Design:	Rod Hyde
		Mark Shaw
Lead Programmer	Jim Taylor
Lead 3d programmer Paul Dunscombe
3d programmer	Robert Slater
UI		Dallas Morrison
Comms		Andrew McMaster
Flight model	Andrew McRae
ACM		Rod Hyde
		Andrew McRae
Lead Artist	Andrew McCann
Artists		Toks Solarin
		Richard Jones
Landscape Data Prep Amanda McCann
		Chris Jones
		Ian Hardy 
Network, hardware, support	Dave Whiteside

Jim actually codes the AI.

Q: When was the idea for this simulation born, and why this period of history?

Rod: The research started in 1995 and the team really got involved at the beginning of 1997 when Flying Corps was finished. 3d card support and the mission editor distracted us a little last year. This year we are focused on MiG Alley.

There are a number of good reasons to choose the Korean conflict:

The Somme is flat and so people think that our landscape engine is flat. It's not and our Korean sim will prove it! In Korea we have mountains in excess of 8000ft with bridges over ravines. Ideal stuff for exciting flying.

The front moved rapidly and so we can have an interesting dynamic campaign based on reality. The player will have an effect on the ground war. When on grunt work, the player will have napalm and rockets as well as guns and bombs.

The conflict had the first jet vs jet combat. There was some jet vs prop stuff as well. We will simulate conflicts where there are over a hundred aircraft from each side in the air at the same time.

F86 Photo

Even though the player will be flying jets most of the time, he will still have to concentrate on getting close to fight. There is no air to air radar and no missiles so we will still be able to avoid "shooting at dots".

Compared with Flying Corps we have some new stuff:

  • play campaigns over the Internet
  • radio chatter with the option of giving orders
  • gun camera film
  • accurate gun-sight simulation
  • configurable quick start missions

Click to continue . . .


MiG Alley Cockpit
Cockpit from MiG Alley

MiG Alley uses a new Rowan engine, and will be our first Windows only flight sim. The user interface is based on MFC.

The landscape engine has been rewritten to allow us to simulate a larger area: 1500km by 1000km. In FC we had two 150km by 150km areas. The flight model has been completely rewritten to allow a more accurate calculation of forces and moments. More details are included, e.g.: effect of damage; suspension on the ground; speeds around mach 1 are simulated; the campaign engine, including a complex supply network, is completely new; cockpit instrumentation and weaponry is modelled on virtual cockpits.

Q: What are the flyable aircraft in MiG Alley, and why were they chosen?

Rod: In MiG Alley you will be able to fly the following aircraft:

  • North American F86 Sabre versions A, E and F
  • Mikoyan Gurevich MIG 15 and MIG15bis
  • Republic F84 E Thunder Jet
  • Lockheed F80 C Shooting Star
  • North American F51 D Mustang
  • North American F82 G Twin Mustang

The F86 is the fighter. The majority of the most notable air battles in MiG Alley were between Sabres and MiG 15s. The F80 and F84 took the fighter bomber role which included some ground support. The P51 was involved in ground support and truck and train busting.

This is a representation set of the fighter aircraft flown during the conflict. If we attempt to simulate too many then we cannot do individual aircraft justice. However we do need a range of aircraft to give the player a feel for asset-management. In the campaign, the player can choose his strategy to win the war. He will have to manage his assets sensibly.

Q: What other aircraft will we see?

Rod: T-6: for Forward air controllers, complete with smoke rockets to show you where to place your ordnance. YAK-9, Il-10, Il-28, B29 , B26, C54, C47, Po2, Meteor, Corsair, YAK-15, Sikorsky HO2S-1.

Q: What can we expect to see in terms of AI opponents, both in the air and on the ground?

Rod: In the air, team work is the most important thing. The Americans were the masters of mutual support. This is why they managed to take such a toll of the numerically superior MiGs which were slow in adopting such tactics.

In MiG Alley, the Player must learn how to work closely with his fellow pilots. Teamwork ensures survival. There is a lot more to say in the AI and ACM area. Perhaps we can come back to the subject in a month or so.

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Last Updated February 6th, 1998

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