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MiG Alley Interview
  by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Q: What will resource management look like? Will it include pilot resources also?

Rod: The player doesn't have to manage every aspect of his resources. The computer will set up a reasonable set of default missions each day. However if the player wants to develop his own strategy he will have to manage about 80 aircraft and a similar number of pilots. Each aircraft can do up to two combat missions per day.

We will have squadron management that expands greatly on that seen in Flying Corps. The pilots will have more character traits than before, like leadership ability, formation keeping and support. The player will have to mix the right pilots together to get an effective team.

Q: Will MiG Alley include a virtual cockpit? What about fixed views?

Rod: Fixed views will be locked positions of the virtual cockpit. A 6 o'clock view will be available but it won't be an owl head view.

We prefer to avoid the old fashioned bit-mapped cockpits because they tend to limit the number of screen resolutions that the player can use.

Q: The auto internal/external padlock switching in Flying Corps was innovative and is well liked by many players. How is the padlock modelled in MiG Alley?

Rod: The aircraft in MiG Alley only have guns and so they have to get close. At this stage then we are planning to use the same system as used in FCG. However this is one of those areas that could get changed at the end of a project when we can tune the dogfighting.

In MiG Alley the padlocked cockpit view will probably be the same as the fixed views. In Flying Corps the padlock view simulated the pilots sitting up and forward and so it was different from the fixed view.

MiG Alley Cockpit

Q: One cutting edge of sim design is dynamic campaigns. Flying Corps gave us a semi-dynamic system, will MiG Alley do the same?

Rod: We are aiming for a near-total dynamic system.

Q: Tell us about the campaigns.

Rod: We have covered the start of the conflict in 1950 with a sequence of small contained mini-campaigns. The face of the war changed constantly throughout this year and we felt that approaching each key turning point as a separate campaign was the way to go.

The mini-campaigns cover such moments as the North Korean's initial shock invasion of the South, the UN's desperate defence at the Pusan perimeter until the Inchon landing, the Chinese Intervention and UN retreat from North Korea, and the appearance of MiGs in MiG Alley.

Moving onto 1951, we have the 'Spring Offensive', the main Campaign that covers the period from January to July when the Reds are preparing for their big offensive. UN ground forces have managed to stabilise a front line and the war could now go either way. During this campaign, the player takes on the role of Supreme Air Commander who must manage the entire UN effort in support of the ground forces. This covers the whole country and every aspect of warfare.

By '52, the war turned into a bloody stalemate with both sides trying to gain advantageous positions before the end of the peace talks. During this period, the player is given the chance to fly special 'Gold' missions, an example being an attack on a Hydro-Electric dam.

Click to continue . . .


MiG Alley Cockpit

Q: How much control will the wing leader have over his team when in action, both for single player and multiplayer modes?

Rod: Before takeoff, the player can define how he wants the aircraft to support each other in the air, rendezvous areas etc...

This is the first game in which we will implement a menu of detailed radio chatter. This gives the player total control, allowing him to select how and when his team engages the enemy or breaks. The radio menu can also be used to summon aid from other aircraft in the area, and request information from various ground and base controllers.

Example: an aircraft is hit and the pilot is uncertain of the mount of damage to his aircraft. He may request that you look his aircraft over. Via the menu you can tell him which parts of his aircraft have visible damage.

Q: How much integration of the ground war will we see?

Rod: We have active battle areas. Troops march to positions using the safest avenue of approach, then attack or defend them. Armour and artillery are featured. Troops will react to the presence of UN aircraft. Communist troops may try to hide or scatter for protection. CAS will be very exciting. The battle area can become very confusing and the player will never be quite certain if he is attacking a UN or Communist held position. Luckily, Mosquito liason aircraft patrol the zone and can help you out.

Q: Describe the AI implementation for ground units.

Rod: We are putting a lot of effort in this area and so we would like to say more about it in about a month's time.

Q: How will intelligence rules and fog of war be modelled?

Rod: Limited Reconn was available during the conflict and Intelligence suffered as a result. The Reds would protect targets from continued attacks by making them appear to be more damaged than they were. The Player cannot trust his intelligence all of the time.

Q: Will the player have an impact on the enemy campaign by taking out supply convoys?

Rod: Definitely. This forms a large part of the game. A great deal of UN air effort was dedicated to stopping the flow of supplies to the front line by hitting bridges, trucks, trains, depots etc...

We have created logic for a supply network that emulates the tactics of the brilliant Chinese logistics planners. Supplies are constantly re-routed to avoid choke points, and hidden from the attention of UN pilots. The player will have to keep pace with the constantly evolving tactics of the Logistics planners.

During research, we were astounded to learn of some of the more bizarre methods used in the protection of supplies and these will definitely be featured in MiG Alley. Prepare to be amazed!

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