|Total Air War : Part II
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Last week the GOLD master of Total Air War arrived in my hands and we did a first look at the new sim. This time I want to update you on the new feel and send a dozen or so new screen shots your way.
You've already heard of the new volumetric clouds, the latest gee-whiz graphics trick making its rounds through various betas. Its a nice effect, even if it does put the cramp on frame rate in some situations. Oddly, the most noticable place in Total Air War is the AWACS interface real time third person view...
The volumetric clouds added to Total Air War do enhance the environment. When you descend or ascend through clouds now, it is not a sudden transition. You will have waves of translucent fog pass your cockpit, and these waves vary in density. This will continue for a minute or so depending on your rate of climb. Then you break out on top.
Aside from that, however, I haven't noticed any great change in frame rate running under V2 on my PII 300. I have, however, noticed a few other tweaks. First, in the landscape. There are areas that seem more detailed than previous. Second, I've noticed more traffic around the air base.
In fact, on my last mission.. a scramble... I was cleared to land, but just after I dropped my gear I noticed another F22 on the runway. He taxied off just as I touched down.
I've also noticed more large groupings of enemy aircraft. The strategy of the enemy early on in some campaigns, like Operation Highland, is to attempt to overwhelm your defences. Actually, this strategy is more like a series of large waves. Incoming enemies will bombard you, then the attacks drop off, and then build again.
As I promised, I've taken time to observe some of the Master version AI. Overall, it works well. However, there are a few inevitable glitches.
First, with Escort. In one mission I flew today I was in a SEAD attack in a major offensive. In fact, I was in one of two groups of four F22's targeting a strategic location deep inside enemy territory. We had two groups of F22s flying escort.
Initially Escort response looked very good. However, on a second wave of enemy resistance my escort seemed to want to orbit fifty miles ahead of me while the enemy approached from my left flank. As a result I was forced to move out of EMCON ONE and engage. Worse.. there appears no way to call in the troops!
This gets serious, because once you have revealed your presence by going to active radar, things can heat up quickly. Shortly after I ordered my flight to engage an airbase about 75 miles distance became very active. We had a flight of 4 Su 27s and 4 MiG 27s inbound about five minutes later. My escort actually did better this time, but I took a hit in the process and started losing fuel.
Actually, there may be ONE way to get the troops on the bit. You could jump out of your F22 back to the AWACS chair and manually order the Intercept. But of course, you shouldna havta do it.
In a later mission I decided to test the AWACS kill theory to see what would transpire. I engaged my own AWACS, one of two aloft over friendly territory. When he went down I lost the ability to command from the AWACS chair.
It made sense that I would be booted out of AWACS, but I was surprised that I couldn't get back on board. After all, I still had another E3 aloft in the southern area...?
I was also surprised that the AWACS kill didn't affect my War Room map view. I could still see all enemy aircraft aloft in the northern sphere of battle, including all those over enemy territory about 250 miles out. So it appears that the War Room map is a strategic view that is divorced from realism requirements. I'll ask Don Whiteford at DiD to clarify this for us.
"Infogrames will offer a $15 rebate to existing ADF owners. To receive the rebate, they’ll need to mail to Infogrames the back cover of their ADF manual, the UPC code from the back of the TAW box, the original purchase receipt, and the TAW upgrade coupon. The upgrade offer has an expiration date of Jan. 31, 1999."
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