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Thread: Attack Squadron

  1. #1

    Attack Squadron

    SimHQ have just opened a new Jane's Attack Squadron forum.

    Gone Gold has the estimated release date at March 27th!!! Only ten days away!!!!

    I hope some of you are as excited as I am... hard to believe that after all this time, Looking Glass' final game is actually going to be released.

  2. #2
    Registered: Nov 2000
    Location: BodÝ, Norway
    Oh, jiggle my Biggles!!

  3. #3
    This is confirmed, folks!

    JAS will be on (U.S.) store shelves in just a few days -- the 27th (or shortly thereafter if your local store is slow on the acquisition...)

    I've seen one estimate of April 5th for Europe.

  4. #4
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong

    Its a little bit sad that there appears to be so little interest in this game on these forums.

  5. #5
    Registered: Jul 2000
    Location: Brittyland!
    Looks like its a pretty good game, but I've got my hands full with IL2 already, so I'll wait a while

  6. #6
    New Member
    Registered: Mar 1999
    Location: Lewiston, Maine, US
    I've had the game since Friday, and although I haven't put in enough time with it to explore all the nuances, I think it's the most fun I've had with a sim in a long, long time. It reminds me of the hours and hours I used to put in in Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, all those years ago when I had just bought my first pc. I'm far from the hardcore sim type that I see on simhq, but I have played a good number of sims of all types.

    Initial impressions:
    I think the graphics are very pretty. There are some nifty touches that surprised me, too - this morning I was playing around, seeing how high I could get my Lancaster during a flight over the channel, when I happened to look out to a wing and saw contrails coming from the engines. Another thing I noticed while flying a ground attack mission was that each plane in my squadron had different custom nose art. I don't know what the state of the art in flight sim graphics is lately, but JAS made me happy.

    The 'feeling' of flying reminds me a quite a lot of FU3, which is a good thing to me. I noticed lots of bitching on the simhq forum about flight models, but I figure I'll be qualified to pass judgement on that after I fly a real-life B17.

    Music in the game is big-band, performed by a live orchestra. It's pretty catchy, and the in-flight tune is dynamic, changing according to the situation.

    So, the game is pretty good, pretty fun, but... not perfect.
    There is a 16 page cd booklet explaining the ui and multiplayer setup, and a keyboard reference card that is both incomplete, and just plain wrong in some places. The glory days of Jane's Manuals, packed with info, are gone. The actual game manual for JAS is a 78 page pdf file that gets installed to the game directory. It's not bad... but it's not great, either. For comparison, I pulled out my old SWotL manual - 224 pages, full of info on the European air war, interview with a history professor, tons of quotes from relevant sources, detailed game directions, and so on, and so forth. Best manual ever. But I digress...

    The actual number of missions in JAS seems pretty small. I haven't checked the campaign missions yet, but there just aren't many 'sing;e' missions or training missions. On the plus side, the mission editor is included, and once there is some documentation for it, it shouldn't be hard to make more. From some browsing through the directory structure, it looks like most everything mission and campaign-related is easily editable text.

    In-flight, the game has been very stable for me - no random lockups or crashes. But the game does crash upon trying to alt-tab out of it.
    The keyboard reference card lists some commands that are not implemented, and the same with one of the training missions - *but* with some investigation I've found that most can be added. The keybindings are stored in .bnd files, just like Thief, and there are some 'bind' commands (dunno what else to call them) that can be added in. I haven't investigated everything that looks like a bind command in the .exe file, but there are some that are already pretty useful. There's also what looks to be a stupid typo bug in the program executable regarding the list of sim resolutions - there's a '1200x1024' in the list, which should be '1280x1024'. I hex edited the executable to change it to 1280x1024, and the res worked fine in-game. Stupid, but easily patched.

    Lines to add to user.bnd:
    bind f+ctrl frame_rate
    bind f+alt hud_font_toggle
    bind r+ctrl reload_ordnance
    bind x+alt "time_scale 2"
    bind z+alt "time_scale"

    The frame rate command looks to be Thief-style - it doesn't show actual fps, just millisecond frame rendering times I think.
    The hud font toggle switches between rendering text in software and hardware mode - in hardware mode (the game default), text is antialiased along with the rest of the display on my video card, in software mode it isn't. I think this might also fix the V5 text problem mentioned in the simhq forum, but I actually *just* upgraded from my V5 to a Radeon 8500 last week, so I'll let someone else test it.
    The reload ordnance command is mentioned in the torpedo training mission, but until you add the bind yourself, nothing happens - also mentioned in the simhq forum.
    I'm not sure if the time scale commands are right as listed - hitting alt-x will set the scale to x2, but hitting it again will just keep it at x2, instead of going to x4. alt-z resets the scale to x1.


    p.s. - Shadowcat, feel free to share the bugfixing info in the simhq forum, I have no desire to register there myself.

    p.p.s. - If any of the Mad Doc devs read this - Thanks for finishing the game!

  7. #7
    Originally posted by ShadowJack
    I don't know what the state of the art in flight sim graphics is lately, but JAS made me happy.
    JAS is certainly not the prettiest sim out there, but I think it's getting an unfair amount of flak over this... unfortunately it has to compare with the recent IL-2 (which is stunningly beautiful) and the aircraft models of CFS2 (and the screenshots from the in-development CFS3). Some people seem to think that every new sim has to measure up to the best of the best in every area... Myself, I think the screenshots I've seen look quite good. Not stunning, but definitely okay.

    The 'feeling' of flying reminds me a quite a lot of FU3, which is a good thing to me. I noticed lots of bitching on the simhq forum about flight models, but I figure I'll be qualified to pass judgement on that after I fly a real-life B17.
    There are plenty of actual pilots who frequent the flight sim forums and know when something is really wrong. Of course there are also many many people who feel qualified to complain when they aren't. It does appear that some of the complaining is valid, however... I've seen reports of large bombers rolling like fighters, and planes continuing to fly straight and level with half their tail shot off.

    The frustrating thing is that everything I've read about the flight and damage modelling says that it should automatically take any such damage into account (as the missing bit of tail will no longer contribute to the flight model), which makes the latter case sound like a bug in the code or data, rather than a flaw in the design.

    p.p.s. - If any of the Mad Doc devs read this - Thanks for finishing the game! :)
    My delight has tempered a bit with the sheer number of problems and ommissions that JAS seems to have :/ (I wanted night-time missions with search-lights roaming the skies, dammit... why oh why did they cut a feature that no other sim offered??) I'll still buy it as soon as it appears locally, and I'm still incredibly grateful to both Mad Doc and Xicat for resurrecting the sim, but the fact is that JAS isn't finished.

    I don't know why it was released in this state -- it can't possibly be healthy for sales -- but I'm desperately hoping that Xicat isn't going to abandon it, and Mad Doc will be able to fix the problems. If JAS is fixed, it should be a very fine sim indeed. As it is... well, it truly pains me to say so, but having read as many comments on the released product as I have, I would highly recommend that people buy it from somewhere they can return it. I hope that people will love it, and there's clearly lots to like, but without some patch work it will never live up to its (considerable) promise.

    So if any of the Mad Doc devs read this - Thanks for ressurrecting the game! Please please please finish it!!
    so that I can tell all my friends to buy it (which I really really want to be able to do!)
    Last edited by Shadowcat; 31st Mar 2002 at 22:26.

  8. #8
    Yeah!!! The text does work(v5) by adding that line to the user.bnd file. Thanks!
    Good stuff, ShadowJack!! :)

  9. #9
    New Member
    Registered: Mar 1999
    Location: Lewiston, Maine, US
    It's nice to be of help.

    So anyway, I've been following the simhq forums a bit, and there seem to be more people happy with the game than not, which is good. It definitely could have used some more time for polishing, but even as is, I think it was worth my $40. And of course, the potential for modification is huge.

    It would have been great for the game to have been released with all the features the design team intended for it, or course - and from looking through the game data, there were some really nifty things that ended up cut - but I suppose it's not a perfect world. The devs obviously care about their creation quite a lot, to have been fighting to finish it even after the setbacks they went through, so I just hope that the contract with Xicat includes some patches beyond what was mentioned on simhq (better gamespy integration is all I can remember at the moment).

    I spent a good bit of yesterday looking through the executable for the editor (which I'm assuming is just a different build of the game executable with more stuff left in) and pulling out the commands which can be bound or entered at the command prompt. I'm not finished with that yet, but there are traces of nifty stuff in there beyond what was finished. There's stuff for recordings, for instance - whether FU3 style, or the 'gun camera' recordings mentioned on the reference card, I don't know. There's a module for searchlights, and I remember seeing searchlight stuff in the models.crf file. There's mention of rain, snow, lightning. It will be interesting to see just how much of the unfinished stuff can be enabled in the game as shipped. Actually, what would be really interesting is a post-release article by the developers, gamasutra post-mortem style.

    On the topic of the binds I put in my other post, I've checked the frame rate command again, and I'm not so sure it displays Thief-style timing now. I guess I could check the frame rate with fraps and see how it compares to the in-game display. Regarding the time compression commands, time_scale is used just for setting an absolute scale. Other time commands:
    advances time N hours time_advance
    scales time up by -time_scale_increment (-100 default) time_scale_down
    scales time up by time_scale_increment (100 default) time_scale_up
    scales time, restores if no arg time_scale
    pauses time, toggles if no arg time_pause

    I should have the complete list within a few days - there's way more than what are mentioned in the editor doc, but I'm guessing that a lot of them only work in certain contexts (in-game, in-editor, whatever) if at all. Will be good for posting at Thunder Over Europe, even if I don't have the time to investigate everything myself.
    "Are you sorry, Jack?" asked his soul.
    "No," said Jack. "It had to be done."
    "But are you sorry it had to be done?"
    "No," said Jack.

  10. #10

    Registered: Dec 1999
    Location: Berlin
    Hey SJ, please RELEASE NOW any warez cracks u have for the game


  11. #11
    Registered: May 1999
    Location: Daffy Duck
    k thx

    If you could RELEASE those to me too...


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