by Aaron "Spectre" Watson
Article Type: Preview
Article Date: July 25, 2002
Product Name: Strike Fighters: Project 1
Category: Jet Simulation
Developer: Third Wire Productions, Inc.
Publisher: Strategy First
Release Date: 2002
Files and Links: Click Here
[Editor's Note: July 24, 2002 - This article was intended as a quick update / preview; but it may, in fact, be something of a review seeing as Strategy First decided to start shipping the game. We may not have read the final chapter in this developing story, as even Tsuyoshi "TK" Kawahito was caught off guard by Strategy First's decision to release what was still considered a beta product.]
It has been just over two months since the last preview on the progress of Strike Fighters: Project 1 (SF:P1) so I was asked to take another look at it. Tough duty, but I mustered up the wherewithal to give it a good looking over.
I don't want to spend too much time going over Douglas Helmer's first in-depth preview in this update, so please review it via the link above or in the Resources section below, if you feel inclined. I will mainly report the ground taken since then.
Tsuyoshi "TK" Kawahito has stated that this is a survey simulation, with the F-4 Phantom II (in four model variations), the F-104 Starfighter, the A-4 Skyhawk, and the F-100 Super Sabre being user flyable. A multiple of other jets from the 60's and early seventies are in presence, as adversary and assistants alike.
The last few beta builds have been directory-based zip files. With the latest build, there is a fine installer, that has been very efficient, and never gave any problems. The documentation dates back to May in the form of a readme.txt file. I am sure that a more verbose version is being crafted, as I have gotten snippets here and again from Third Wire's QA folks.
The configuration program seems to be very well tuned in to finding the correct settings. I tried it out on a few systems, from a laptop to a 1.8 Ghz IBM tower, and it sussed the configuration out correctly on all. One I tried to fool by having DX7 on a 2000 system, and it didn't even blink. This area seems ready to roll.
This is an area that has seen a good amount of attention since our last visit, and things are looking mighty sharp. The Jets are still outstanding, if not even more so. There are now much more complex terrains and ground items, which were missing in the last installment. Let me treat you to a few of the MANY grabs I've made, and you will see what I mean.
|Phantom Feeding Frenzy! |
|Profuse Contrail activity. |
|Quad gun on guard |
All shots in this article were taken through a GeForce2, 64MB MX. While certainly not a screamer, especially when going through a 900Mhz CPU, the frames were acceptable. This is depicted in one of the shots, as the beta's have much information displayed in the upper area of the window.
Buildings are now present in the city areas, with the odd AAA gun lying in wait. The weather effects are present now, with every thing from the usual clear dry day to overcast, and variations in between. The clouds look good, but don't currently contain precipitation. Sliding through a broken layer does look very much like the real thing. Time of day can vary and can be setup in the mission generator from dawn to dusk and even full twilight.
|Late day Sabre heads home |
The latest build was a lot heftier than prior releases due to the addition of Meatwater’s sounds, and they are very good! Every movement of flaps and gear has its own specific sound for each airframe. Ground and Royal Crown air control voices sound excellent while the engine, afterburner and cannon sounds are much better than the previous build's placeholder audio snippets. Of particular note, the sounds are not compiled into a huge single file like others have done but reside in a single directory as seperate *.Wav files—handy for future expansion.
And, while on the subject of expansion, the Third Wire folks have kept this in mind and even released specifications for different aspects of the sim. Third party add-ons are being worked on prior to release of the product. Amazing! One such place can be found at the Strike Fighter Skunkworks. This link takes you to a list of their current projects. The rest of the site includes info on 3-D modeling, texturing/2-D art, flight modeling, missions and campaigns, and additional real-world info about the aircraft. The real-world aircraft will surely be useful for those who wish to try their hand at modeling an aircraft or two.
|Lots of innovation going on here |
These are the current high points in progress at this stage of the game. The AI, campaign and FM is still being fine tuned. Good progress has been made and Helmer's “diamond in the rough” comment in the first preview has been borne out by the addition of these new facets and clarity. With the stellar development team, excellent QA supervisor, and some very learned beta testers, this is shaping up to be a real jewel.
|Coming at you soon! |
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