by Bob "Groucho" Marks
Article Type: Interview
Article Date: March 25, 2002
Product Name: Jane's Attack Squadron
Category: WWII Air Combat Sim
Developer: Mad Doc Software
Publisher: Xicat Interactive, Inc.
Release Date: March 27, 2002
Rec. Spec: P3 600MHz, 256 MB RAM, 32MB GeForce videocard
Files & Links: Click Here
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Jane's Attack Squadron is based in WWII's Western European Theater and will feature fourteen flyable aircraft, including fighter-bombers, such as the American P-38 and the German Fw-190, and some medium and heavy bombers, including the American B-17 and the German Ju-88. Jane's Attack Squadron is expected to be released March 2002.
What follows is our Bob Mark's interview with Jane's Attack Squadron Producer, David Halpern, and Lead Designer, Tim Farrar.
Robert Marks (R.M.) The title Jane's Attack Squadron has been around for quite some time. Is this built upon the simulation started by Looking Glass Studios, then dropped by Electronic Arts early last summer? If so, are some of the original Looking Glass developers on developer Mad Doc Software's staff?
David Halpern (D.H.) Yes, JAS as we refer to it in the office, is the same project started from Looking Glass Studios. And yes, some of the original members of the team are still on it and I know firsthand they are very excited and happy to see this project through.
|B-17's drop their loads |
R.M. JAS being primarily a ground-attack aircraft simulation, terrain and ground objects obviously must play a greater role than mere window dressing. Do you model collision detection with all ground objects, including trees? What are the fourteen flyable aircraft in JAS?
D.H. JAS is a fully interactive flight experience. Great care has been put into making the game as immersive as possible. The planes in JAS are:
- Ju 88 A-4
- Bf 109 G-6 Gustav
- Fw 190 A-4 Wurger
- Fw 190 D-9 ‘Langnasen-Dora’
- Me 163 B-1A Komet
- Me 262 A-8 Schwalbe
- AVRO 683 Lancaster MK.1
- Supermarine Spitfire MK 9
- B-17G Flying Fortress
- B-24D Liberartor
- P-38j Lighting
- P-47D Thunderbolt
- P-51 Mustang
R.M. As the name suggests, JAS stresses the important tactical ground-attack role during WWII. Yet medium and heavy bombers such as B-17s and Ju 88s are also offered as flyable aircraft. Can air-to-air missions be flown escorting and/or intercepting these flights?
D.H. Yes of course. Those will be part of the primary missions in JAS.
|P-51D Loaded for bear! |
R.M. How would you characterize the campaign in JAS (dynamic, semi-dynamic, scripted)?
D.H. I would characterize JAS as semi-dynamic in the campaign mode. There are objectives that the player has to succeed at but at the same time there are so many variables and ways to accomplish the missions that it makes the gameplay new and fresh everytime.
R.M. Is cooperative multiplayer supported? Is team vs. team?
D.H. Yes. Cooperative and Team vs. Team will be supported.
R.M. On your website, much is made of realism as it pertains to damage modeling on the player's aircraft. This sounds very interesting. Could you go more into detail on this feature?
D.H. The developers of JAS have made an amazing flight model where damage inflicted on the plane will cause accurate flight physics.
R.M. Does this damage modeling also affect systems, such as fuel, coolant, etc? Do small damage problems degenerate into larger system failures?
Tim Farrar (T.F.) Yes it does. Lets say the plane is hit by enemy fire at a fuel line, this will cause the plane to quickly use up its fuel. The same is true with hitting a coolant line. This will cause the engine to overheat and eventually stop working. So yes, small problems can turn into bigger problems
|Mission Editor |
R.M. How would you characterize the flight modeling in JAS?
D.H. The flight models are very detailed all the way down to instrumentation of the planes, when you use the rudders you actually see the motions displayed in the cockpit.
R.M. How are the physics of flight and weapons modeled? Does JAS offer scalable realism as it pertains to flight modeling, weapon effectiveness, hit bubble size, etc?
T.F. One of the biggest points of JAS is its physics modeler. This will let the gamer customize flight physics and weapons to their liking. It is in itself a very detailed and deep program and we look forward to the online community who will start to tweak the planes to their liking. JAS does not use a hit bubble size. As explained to me, it uses a better model that encompasses different attributes of the plane.
|Development Tool |
R.M. How scalable is the difficulty?
D.H. The difficulty is not scalable but this is actually for the benefit of the game player. The game itself has a very moderate learning curve that starts with tutorial challenges as simple as landing the plane on the runway to more advanced techniques such as shooting down designated targets. The game also provides the player the option to have the game tilted on one side. Either advantage, disadvantage or equal. In mission builder mode the player can set up how many enemy aircraft to play against. This provides the player with a very rich gaming experience.
R.M. Is there a mission builder for single player missions in JAS? For multiplayer?
D.H. Yes. A mission editor will be included in the final product.
|Cockpit detail |
R.M. Obviously, one of the primary roles of dual-role aircraft in WWII was in direct support of troops on the ground. How are ground-to-air communications modeled in JAS?
D.H. It is pivotal in JAS to have good communication with the rest of squadron and you can command them to follow certain formations and the like.
R.M. Are individual infantry modeled?
D.H. Individual infantry will be depicted and many missions you will have to provide air support for them.
R.M. What kind of computer specifications are you recommending to run JAS?
D.H. The recommended specs are: Pentium 3 600mhz, 256 ram, and a 32mb Geforce videocard.
|P-51D Mustang with D-Day markings |
R.M. What is your targeted release date?
D.H. As for now the set release date in March 15th…but nothing is set in stone. [See "Release Date" at top of page —Editor.]
R.M. Is there something in the development of this title that you really want players to know about, but we haven't asked about?
D.H. We just want to let all the JAS fans that the wait will be well worth it.
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