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WW II Prop Sims for 1999
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson
 

My last update on coming WWII Sims for 1999 was back in January. It's time for another look!

With the recent release of Fighter Squadron by Activision, the combat prop fan now has a choice of the following sims:

and online:

That is quite a collection of talent! But believe it or not, there are SEVEN more prop sims in development including two Vietnam era sims which also allow flight with classic early jets. Below is a chart for a quick comparison of coming simulations.

CHART

Seven Sims for '99

Desert Fighters   Desert Fighters
Dynamix Desert Fighters

If you've looked over that chart closely, you will see one title that you may not have seen anywhere else yet: Desert Fighters by Dynamix. I spoke with Doug Johnson, Designer of Desert Fighters, and can share with you some of the details.

Doug is a personal fan of Aces of the Pacific (AOTP), and estimates that he may have flown a thousand hours in that sim. While there was much he loved about AOTP, there were weak areas that stood out to him, such as the flight modeling.

Doug personally places fun before realism, yet his goals for the modeling in Desert Fighters will still place it beyond AOTP. "Fun" to Doug means such things as allowing users to paint their own aircraft, and a fully dynamic environment. It also means being able to impact the course of the war to the extent that a successful pilot can eventually rewrite history.

Desert Fighters
Dynamix Desert Fighters

As a fairly hardcore sim fan, I like the way Doug thinks! Gameplay shouldn't be sacrificed on the altar of accuracy, and Desert Fighters sounds like a good conception. The sim will depict the struggle for North Africa which took place between March 1941, and May, 1943, though the sim will stretch the end date of the campaign to December, 1943.

The heart of the campaign is the "Battle of Supplies" that took place in North Africa at that time. The ground war is modeled in detail, especially as it relates to supply convoys and ground support in the strategic environment of the North African desert. Hit those supply convoys hard, or destroy the ships in the harbor, and you will find the enemy running low on fuel or unable to keep their aircraft in the air for lack of spares.

Desert Fighters will feature 30 aircraft, with approximately 18 flyable models. Included in the simulation are some unusual aircraft, such as the Ju-87 Stuka, the Italian Macchi MC 202 and the French Dewoitine D 520, along with the Spitfire and the P-51 Mustang. Players will even be able to take the tail-gunner position in the Stuka.

The graphics engine is a modified Tribes engine and resolution will be determined by the ability of your 3d board. Some interesting experiments are being attempted in the computer controlled pilot system, and we may see some tactics that are new to the PC arena. And yes, you will be able to paint your own aircraft and add your own squadron IDs.

Damage modeling will be at the level of Red Baron 3d but improved. Multiplayer support will be virtually identical to that of Red Baron 3d, Doug expects up to sixty virtual pilots in the air in a single online game. Desert Fighters is being produced by Mike Jones, look for it in October '99.

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