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Falcon 4 v. 107
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson

Last week I installed the new 1.07 beta patch and I was impressed at the improvements I found. Since my June report on 1.07 was less than stellar, I thought it only fair to provide a brief update.

Test System:

  • PII 400 Celeron, 128 MB RAM
  • SB Live
  • Diamond Fusion Banshee 16 MB
  • Diamond Viper 770 TNT2 32 MB
  • Quantum Viking2 4.5
  • Toshiba 40x SCSI CD

This update covers three primary areas: frame rate, wingman AI, and graphics and new platforms. All these areas have changed since my June report, some quite significantly. Let's first consider frame rate improvements.

Falcon 4.0 sports the most complex dynamic campaign system yet released on the PC. As a result, it's damnably difficult to nail down a consistent frame rate indication. In spite of the challenges, however, I've found an excellent measure for in-house comparisons.

Frame Rate Tests

I loaded the dogfight module, choosing FURBALL and selecting no adversary. I kept all graphics and realism settings identical for all tests. I ran the test twice on each setting after rebooting in between. I then uninstalled F4, deleted the F4 directory, and reinstalled with the latest patch. I repeated all tests on the Banshee board, then rebooted a third time and uninstalled my Banshee board and installed my TNT2 board. I then selected identical graphics settings and repeated my tests and F4 uninstall and reinstallation.

While the dogfight module gives me the most consistent results, I also use a complex TE mission that I created to get fairly consistent results with a heavier CPU load. The short story is that this version of the patch gives me an average 50% increase in frame rate in the dogfight module and somewhere around a 20% increase in TE.

F4 Banshee


While these results are impressive, they are not a guarantee of frame rates in the final patch or of frame rates on your system. The "2d" designation represents frame rate with 2d cockpit. The other rates represent the no cockpit MFD only view.

Click to continue


Take off

Wingman AI

Wingman AI is vastly improved. My first flight was a BDA at twenty minutes into Rolling Fire campaign. It went smoothly until I took a SAM hit while exitting the target area and had to limp home. Here is a mission report from my flight.

The campaign setting was middle difficulty. All my settings were ACE, and AI was set on ROOKIE. The mission was flown at 800x600 resolution, Player Bubble was set on 3 and Vehicle Magnification on 2.

My flight consisted of a two ship and I jumped in when the flight was five miles out from my base and still climbing to cruise altitude of 20,000 feet. My wingman was perfectly positioned and I didn't have to go looking for him since the entry problems have been eliminated.

I used "Request Picture" to keep abreast of the situation, and I pulled my wingman in closer using "Close Up" command. He confirmed with me and I eyeballed him in correct position. I then shut down my radar and ordered my wingman to do the same, keeping a close eye on the passive warning system. My loadout consisted of two AIM 120s and four AIM9s plus the low altitude camera.

I had a spike from the rear at forty miles from target and was unsure of the origin. I ordered my wingman to clear my six. He reported all clear and then returned to position. As far as I know this function did not work consistently in 1.06.

As we came within twenty miles of the target waypoint I made a final check with AWACS and heard that I had MiG 23s at twenty five miles at my one o'clock. I quickly kicked my wingman to SPREAD formation and ordered his radar back on. I then turned my own radar on and locked up a bandit at twenty miles and nine thousand feet. I called DECLARE and the target was confirmed hostile.

I ordered my wingman to engage and he launched a moment later. I then locked the flight lead and launched also.

A moment later we were spiked from our three o'clock and my wingman called two hostiles and location and requested permission to engage. I granted permission, checked my radar and then broke high and also began to create some lateral separation to come at the bandits in a pincer movement.

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