EF2000: Version 3 News - Page 1/1

Created on 2005-02-02

Title: EF2000: Version 3 News
By: Len 'Viking1' Hjalmarson
Date: 1998-11-23 3894
Flashback: Orig. Multipage Version
Hard Copy: Printer Friendly

In the spring of 1998, with Total Air War well into beta, Mark "Boxer" Doran and I wrote a letter to DiD in the hope that Total Air War could become the basis of a virtual battlefield that would include an update of EF2000, one of the best LAN sims ever released. On the weekend we learned that EF2000 v. III will be DiDs next major sim product.

In the spring of '98 we were feeling nostalgic. We liked Total Air War and its new campaign system, but we missed the Eurofighter and the fjords of Norway. Why not marry these two worlds together, updated to the best of modern graphics, and with the latest information on the avionics suite in the newly released Eurofighter?

EF2000 v.2

We believed that Total Air War's AWACS module could be improved and expanded, with more control given to the player. I've forgotten some of the outlines of this now, but the idea was to create an eight player (or more) simulation, where two players could act at Theatre Commander, with others flying the missions.

In short the feature list would read like this:

  • A dissimilar aircraft to fly : Su 27?
  • Coop multiplayer with ef2's for eight players
  • Greatly enhanced tactical control through AWACS interface
  • Addition of the dual H2H Theatre Command modes
  • Enhanced detail in briefs, debriefs and Intel
  • The addition of a Norwegian campaign
  • state of the art graphics and environment modeling
  • Complete control of wing, element and flight

In this electronic battlefield, each Theatre Commander, one for the Russians and one for NATO, would possess the God's eye view of the AWACS commander. In the initial release, it might be that only the NATO pilots would have the option to actually fly the missions, pending an SU27 release later on. But in the meantime, it would be Theatre Command vs. Theatre Command, with human pilots flying the actual Eurofighter missions in a real time conflict.

The Theatre Commander would possess an expanded viewing ability as compared to Total Air War, with the AWACS display on one monitor, and the real time view on another. In single player mode as Theatre Commander the player would also possess this ability.

Click for full size MAP

Currently, Total Air War gives us a real time view on the left side of the display, and the AWACS view on the right. Picture this dual display ability translated into a large screen TV for AWACS data projection for the Theatre Commander, and a 17 to 21 inch monitor for a real time view of the action or the first person view of the human pilot flying the mission in the multiplayer setting.

AWACS View. Click for full size MAP

The AWACS command ability would also be expanded for this simulation, with the ability to call up new flights and the ability to choose the type of intercept. Here is a more detailed look at the enhanced interface.

The following selectable filters would clarify the information presented on the AWACS interface MAP screen:

  • Ability to toggle on/off route trace for a single selected flight
  • Ability to display flights by type, separately or in combination: - Strike - WW - Escort - Auxiliary (to include AWACS/JSTARS/Texaco etc.)
  • Ability to highlight F-22's that can be co-opted by the player.
  • Ability to show only flights that are awaiting AWACS intervention. Examples might include: - low fuel requesting tanker vector, - under attack requesting assitance, - checking in for tasking
  • Ability to show only flights engaged and dogfighting
  • Ability to highlight a single flight and show this flight and any associated flights in the same strike package only.
  • Ability to display max weapon range bubble around a flight (book value Rmax will do as a compromise here).

EF2 Cover

Possible Specific Implementation

Currently the information presented in the AWACS view is very limited, and control ability is also limited. The idea is to expand the Threatre Commander portion of the game and thus making the strategic game much deeper by giving more information to the player, as well as expanding control ability.

AWACS Controls
Current TAW control buttons.

Box 1 = filter routes (selecte d ac only. Click on AC adds route to screen) Box 2 = filter mission type (add red and yellow boxes and triangles).. more below Box 3 = filter F22s (make em yellow for quk visual ident) Box 4 = filter urgent only (selected flight, awacs and low fuel)

Our version of EF2000 v.III would use colored boxes or diamonds to filter type of allied flight. Filter Mission Type:

  • * red diamond: this flight is intercepting
  • * yellow diamond: this flight has taken damage
  • * green diamond or flashing symbol: this flight is low fuel
  • * green circle: AWACS or JSTARS flight
  • * bright green symbol: strike flight
  • * normal green: other allied flight

Colored boxes to filter non allied flights:

  • * red circle: this flight is designated for intercept by an allied flight
  • * flashing red: HIGH THREAT not designated needs attention

Our version of EF2000 v. III would ensure that threat radius circles are distinguishable by type when multiple types are selected at once (e.g. make EWR radius and SAM envelopes show with *obviously* different "fill" patterns).

Now as for control ability, a great deal can be done. The current command set given to the AWACS chair is extremely slim. The click/drag/drop MAP interface could be enhanced to include the following:

  • + Actions
  • + Hold - in current possition - in designated position (drag to a point in space) - at next waypoint
  • + Return to flight plan as fragged
  • + RTB now

The vector command area would be greatly expanded over the present single mode option, allowing not only more options but increasing tactical control: Vector

  • + to refueler
  • + recovery at designated airbase
  • + escort designated flight (like drag to subject)
  • + strike designated target (like drag to subject)
  • + targets of opportunity in area (rubber band sweep area)
  • + intercept
  • + cutoff
  • + stern conversion

In the same way, Rules of Engagement could be issued to flights, either when a new flight is called up or in the air:

  • + weapons green tight
  • + weapons yellow hold
  • + weapons red free
  • + be aggressive: engage as a priority
  • + be cautious: avoid engagement if possible

Vector control would include flight path control:

  • + change intended route of flight (drag existing waypoints?)
  • + change speed (slow [300kts], max conserve [~0.93M], buster, burner]
  • + change alt (TFR/low/med/high)

In keeping with the ability to manage multiple flights in real time, we need a more detailed reporting function. We should be able to query any flight for fuel state, damage, weapons status, TOT etc.

And in order to estimate vector times, etc, we will need a ruler or compass function. We ought to be able to measure distance on the map between two arbitrary points. A button then drag interface would be easy enough for this, similar to the one used by Janes in the Longbow II mission planner.

As for the ability to call up new flights, this is a must to a true Theatre Commander. We should be able to click on an airfield to bring up a list of the flights that are ready plus the number and type of alert birds. Using this you can scramble interceptors or scrub/advance strike missions(?).

Ground Detail
F4 Factory in view.

Naturally, the graphics environment of this simulation should be state of the art, rivalling Falcon 4.0 and Janes WW2 Fighters. Resolution should be available as high as hardware will run, and high resolutions should extend to the interface. Multiple cloud layers, alpha blending, reflections and special effects should all be state of the art.

We should also have environment modeling that surpasses Team Apache. Give us wind, turbulence and weather. We want to feel that we really are flying in a Norwegian conflict!

An important component of the new EF2000 would be the WARGEN engine promised for Total Air War but cut back due to time constraints. Let's finally have DiD's version of the total battlefield, a real time dynamic system integrating the air and ground wars.

Resource management, persistent environment, and true dynamics should all be present here. Taking out a key GCI station will affect detection. Taking out the enemy AWACS would be even more important. And taking out a power dam would affect production of war materials.


Intel briefings and debriefings should be advanced far beyond Total Air War, and these should be generated dynamically on any target we request. This means that RECON flights will also have be managed, and if a RECON flight or BDA flight is taken out, the fog of war will take effect and we will have only very limited intel on a given target.

In fact, early on in the development of Total Air War a more detailed INTEL system was in the works. The shot above gives you a taste of what we want to see in EF2000 v.III.

Finally, DiD needs to finally make the jump to a truely full featured flight control ability. No more of this commanding a wingman to engage a single bandit and having an entire flight engaging and firing weapons! Janes F15 gave us greatly expanded abilities, enabling a flight leader to command a single wingman, an Element, or a Flight. Microprose Falcon 4 gives us similar abilities. EF2000 v.3 must be state of the art here too.

Now, while it's true that EF2000 v.III is DiDs next project, all that you have read here is only a partial wish list of a couple of sim nuts. This is all "sound and fury, signifying nothing." But..... if you like this proposal, send mail to DiD and tell em what you want to see in EF2000 v.III.

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