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Page 4

An AeroGeek Enters the Hall of Kings
by Bob "Groucho" Marks

Microsoft was there, wowing the crowd with CFS2 and FS2K. I had a chance to met Rob Brown, Game Designer for CFS2. I tried to get in and get some stick time, but the stations were stacked three deep with children, mostly. “People drop their kids off here while they hit the show,” said Rob, “I guess since we have the toys, we’re the babysitters.”

To say that Rob is enthusiastic about CFS2 is like calling a Ferrari “sprightly”. He is into this thing, folks. He lights up as he spills some operational secrets of CFS2 carrier ops. “The sea state is a very important thing to pay attention to. When you are taking off with a heavy load, you need to wait until the bow comes up, or you’ll stuff your plane right into the water.” Big grin.

He was very proud of the work that has gone into this sim. “We sent a guy to the National Archives to research the Pacific Theatre. He came back with boxes of great stuff: frag orders, weapons loadouts, target recon pictures. The works. We tried to assimilate as much of this as possible into the sim.”

We talked about the various battlegrounds of the Pacific theatre that will be represented, and I was surprised (and pleased) to find out that even Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands is represented. This is a cool thing to me, as I spent six years there in the seventies. Rob explained how the FS2K graphics model has been tweaked in an attempt to improve shorelines, better elevation resolution, and other details centric to the Pacific Theatre of WWII.

While voicing some frustration over the inherent limitations over the terrain (“Man, I would love to stick a gun emplacement or supply dump in a little jungle clearing or under the tree line, but that’s a bitch to do”) he beamed with pride over the work they have done. CFS2 does look damned pretty.

The new USB Sidewinder Force Feedback joystick was there also. This has possibilities for the hardcore simmer as it could be used in conjunction with a throttle and pedal set jacked into the gameport. The FF action was supposedly much superior to the previous model, but I really couldn’t tell you. Elbowing twelve-year-old kids just to try out a stick just ain’t my style, though pepper spray did cross my mind. Rob said that a USB FF throttle and rudder set were in very early development, though for the life of us we couldn’t figure out exactly what kind of force a throttle would feed back.


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