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Falcon 4.0 Comms
by Leonard "Viking1" Hjalmarson

As promised, this briefing updates you on the command options available to LEAD. Falcon 4.0 is stunning in many dimensions and WILL raise the bar for combat flight simulations this year.

While Janes F15 took the command structure beyond anything seen to date, Falcon 4.0 goes beyond Janes F15. The command structure is final, and there are layers of menus allowing you to communicate with your wingman, an element, a flight, the tower, AWACS, and a check in for FAC.

F4 1152x864
Above from an early beta..

Flight Commands

When you first hit the W key you will bring up the COMBAT MANAGEMENT menu. This menu from the FLIGHT list (F key) is identical (commands are grey because I had no flight to command on this mission):

Flight Commands

Hitting the W key a second time brings up the next page, MISSION MANAGEMENT:

WINGMAN Commands

The next page is formation management, which lists ten options including distance settings as well as the formation type you would like. The final page allows you to request your wingman to make smoke so that you can identify him if you are having trouble doing so.

Q brings up the AWACS contact menu, which has two pages as follows:

AWACS Commands

AWACS Commands

There are two commands on these lists above that may not be familiar to you. They are "RAYGUN" on the COMBAT MANAGEMENT menu and DECLARE on the AWACS menu.

RAYGUN broadcasts that you have locked up an unknown air-to-air target and want to know if it's a friendly. The expected response if you are the aircraft at that position is "Buddy Spike."

DECLARE is a radio call asking AWACS to ID a radar target as either friendly or enemy. The procedure is to lock up a target and then "declare" it to AWACS, who will now try to ID the target as hostile or friendly or unknown.

F4 Night Vision


F4 Smoke
Collision Damage. Click for 1024 x 768.

General Impressions in the Campaign

I want to report some new impressions of campaign atmosphere and action. Enemy AI appears quite sophisticated; in fact its at least as sophisticated as Su27 1.5 and possibly beyond. Hopefully we'll have more info soon on the exact modeling, panic reactions, target fixation etc.

Not long ago I wrote about my surprise in the appearance of individually modeled infantry! I was cruising along minding my own business.... well, yes, I was technically AWOL and out of formation doing some sight-seeing (!!)... when I heard the crack of a rifle and a corresponding "TINK" on my airframe. I paused the sim to scout around the ground targets, and lo and behold I found some infantry!

This shot is from a RECON request in the campaign.

Moving your cursor over a particular map location or target will bring up any RECON information you have acquired. The listing is quite detailed and you can pan the photo around and zoom in and out.

Checking the arming of a particular flight en route, or attempting to change loadout prior to the flight brings up the Arming screen. In this shot you see that AIM-120 is listed in red. Unfortunately, even at this early stage in this campaign my shipment hadn't arrived!

F4 Arming

I've heard quite a few new calls in the latest build and I believe COMMS are now complete. I've heard flights calling JESTER and WINCHESTER, and calling for BACKUP, in addition to a huge variety of other calls. Reports on engagement and enemy activity are given relative to the Bullseye unless you've selected "no bullseye" calls in SETUP. ATC is equally complete and will pleasantly surprise many of you!

As I mentioned I haven't flown each mission by the book, and I've taken advantage of incoming bandits over friendly territory to check out the enemy AI. Its quite impressive. Incoming aircraft with ground attack missions will completely ignore you until you give them your attention. They will then use tactics that are appropriate and sophisticated. I turned to lock up three inbound strike aircraft at about five miles. They promptly dove for the deck, making it very difficult to spot them and with the ground clutter it took my radar a bit to find them in ACM mode.

When I achieved lock and launched on the first bandit at four miles he did a wing over immediately while dumping flares and breaking hard. In the meantime the other two both broke left and right respectively. Wow....

F4 Hit!

Needless to say I missed! The other two bandits increased their speed and stayed low and continued toward their target. I waited to just over one mile to fire again on my target and scored a hit, but didn't take him down. He was obviously fighting for control and in a cheat outside view I could see his aircraft shaking and bucking and making smoke.

In the meantime another bandit managed to get on my tail. Just as I finished off the strike aircraft I took a hit from a gun shot. The white vertical streak is not a graphics glitch but rather the smoke trail from my victim. The pieces you see behind my aircraft and the black smoke are from the hit I took.

Incidentally, I'm also enjoying Instant Action mode. If you enter at a low difficulty setting your first dozen kills will be like shooting fish in the barrel. But then it starts to get a bit tougher, and MiGs show up with death on their minds.... If you stay alert you can achieve a high score, however, even on low difficulty.

Go to Part II: ATC

For more information go to: F4 Index


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