Hello Dear Friends!
We are proud to present you version 1.023. With this version we are finishing out development for 2011. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and wish you all the best in 2012. The version will soon be available for your PC and we would like to take a minute and talk about some of the innovations that we created for you in version 1.023.
Starting with this version, we added some new features to the AI, which will make it more human in its behavior. Our first foray into AI changes has to do with their "eyes." As you know, our UAVs have excellent radar and know all surrounding events in the surrounding digital world. We cannot say the same thing about us. And because of the fact that AI plays the same role of a pilot like you do, we tried to create some limitations. It was a risky step and tough challenge, but we have made excellent progress. The first changes in this module touched two key elements: clouds and night darkness. The AI now cannot see you through clouds and in darkness. You can use these advantages in a fight and authors of such missions should consider this feature in the design of missions. A few words more about night flights, the AI cannot see you until you give away your own position. Firing of your guns or using navigation lights or shooting a flare will show your position to the enemy quickly. The AI will monitor the sky closely; trying to find your position based your actions. And of course, air defense fighters are counting on the help ground crews, who now have at searchlights at their disposal.
Searchlights will now appear in the game modes "Career" and "Quick Mission" and will be available as an object in the mission editor. Searchlights are implemented as a full logical set and have their own AI. As we wrote earlier, they form a system with anti-aircraft artillery and even with aircraft in the air. The searchlight AI can now "hear" sound and it will focus on it in the search for air targets. The same group of searchlights can interact as a team and if you are in the beam of one of them, others will see you as you light up and then train their lights upon you to make you even brighter. Anti-aircraft artillery is waiting for this moment and as soon as the beam grabs you, they will open fire on you. Falling into a searchlight just makes you visible to enemy aircraft as well. Be careful, but try to explore the features of the searchlights to find ways to leave the cone of light as soon as possible.
Here is one suggested tactic: Searchlights have good freedom of movement, but they cannot go through a point located directly vertically above it. So if you fly directly over a searchlight, the searchlight team will have to temporarily lose you and turn the searchlight in the other direction and start to search for you again, so making a horizontal maneuver at the point contact is lost will confuse them a bit and you will become invisible to the enemy for some time. Now make your escape!
Updated Flare Pistols
Some time ago we gave you the ability to fire a signal flare in ROF. This has been an entertaining feature and a way of communicating for pilots. But from the moment of its realization we had a feeling of incompleteness. Some skeptics doubted we could make such a feature for a simulator properly and if we did it, it would not be as good as in a Shooter game. However, the more complex and ambitious the task is, the more we want to solve it. Now you can see the result. By clicking «Ctrl» + «1» in the cockpit you will see the complete weapon held by your pilot’s hand. On the screen you will see the number and color (type) of selected flare rounds. You can switch the type of combination by pressing «Ctrl» + «1-4». All ROF pilots receive this new and improved flare gun free of charge. (Keys combination true only for Default profile)
Now that we have improved the flare pistol, we also wanted to add a new feature. We wanted to give the pilot a personal weapon that he can use as a last resort. This is fun new feature and it is the last argument in the battle. We chose the M1911 as the first gun of several possible models that may be included in future updates, assuming this feature proves popular. The M1911 holds 7 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition and you have 4 magazines in the cockpit with you. It is fatal in contact with the pilot and can seriously damage the engine or break the tank with fuel. Choose a weapon with the combination «Ctrl» + «5». You can buy this gun in our store as part of the "Personal Pilot Package" for ROF users.
Personal Pilot Package
Even if we released all the possible planes of this period and recreated even the smallest events in ROF Career, this era could never have been complete without some of the attributes of an aviator from this early era of flight from the last century. This means a scarf, mustache and a streamer on a wing of the flight leader! Simulating of twisting of a pilot’s mustache from the impinging vortices created by the propeller would be too great a burden for your PC, but the scarf and the banner we could do!
Scarf: Wearing one will not give you any bonuses to your pilot’s health and it will not help with gunnery accuracy, but we’re sure it will increase your charisma! And without charisma what kind of fighter pilot are you? Strong charisma boosts confidence and confidence wins battles! We tried very hard to make this feature as good as possible, but as you know it's still a compromise of compromises and we are asking you to be understanding to its limitations. The scarf (and banner), is a physical object that responds to most events such as wind and air flow from the propeller.
Streamer: The iconic WWI symbol of the flight leader and it’s made from the same technology as the scarf. We have the knowledge and information about how they were attached to airplanes historically, but in our case, we had difficult technical issues that caused ugly problems, so we have only one option to mount them effectively. Therefore, the streamer is attached to the upper wing unless the plane is a monoplane. They are attached on the right side for Entente planes and on the left for Central Powers planes. The effect is very convincing and they look great in flight.
Both the Scarves and Streamers are available in four additional colors – Red, Blue, Yellow and Green. The White scarf is our gift to all virtual pilots for every plane without exception.
The additional Scarf and Streamer colors along with the ability to use the Colt M1911 pistol are part of the "Personal Pilot Package" which is available in the ROF store for $7.99. Scarves and banners will be automatically added to AI aircraft in various game modes, no matter whether you buy this package or not.
St. Mihiel Campaign
In a first for ROF, we are now offering a custom Campaign in the store. This campaign was designed and built in cooperation between talented community member SYN_Vander and the ROF Team. We hope this will open up a new era of mission content creation and distribution for ROF. Our Mission Editor is a very powerful tool and seeing a dedicated member of our community master its use to create a commercial grade product impresses us greatly. It is now available for sale in the ROF Store for just $9.99. Here is a brief description of the campaign.
The Battle of St. Mihiel campaign is based on actual events which took place in September, 1918. The battle was the first major independent offensive of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I. The goal was to reduce the salient that was created in the Allied lines by German efforts to capture Verdun in 1914. It was considered a major success for the American army as the Germans were caught in the process of retreating. St. Mihiel was also one of the greatest air battles of the war.
To be able to get a complete picture of the battle, the player will fly a total of thirty-three missions as four different pilots from both the German and American perspective. Each pilot has a different home base during a specific period of the battle. Three special free-fly bonus missions with randomized events will let you re-visit the battleground after you have finished the main campaign. The scenery in the St. Mihiel area is highly detailed and features most of the important towns and villages that played a role in the battle. Airfields and many villages will be populated with aircraft, vehicles and AAA; not just along the flight path, but in the whole St. Mihiel area. All airfields and unit placement are historically accurate. New, authentic skins have been developed for the German squadrons. Special media content will fill you in on the historical background of the various phases of the battle and pilot diary entries will narrate the progression of the campaign.
Also, in this version we have added a lot of other new elements, such as a new type of mission for the Career Mode known as a "Transfer Mission” where your squadron moves to a new airfield. We have also updated the flight model of the Nieuport 11. It is now a much improved flyer in the tradition of our previous FM updates. And thanks to your feedback, we have updated the "oil on the goggles" effect which we think looks a lot better now. There are also a number of other bug fixes included as well. The entire change list will be available on the forum as is our tradition.
We would like to wish all our dear friends a successful 2012! In keeping with our tradition of giving a Happy Holiday award to all the ROF community you will find a special and unique award on your game interface. We hope you like it! Go check it out. Again, thank you for your loyal friendship and support this past year and we hope you continue to have beautiful victories in the virtual sky. We will return to you soon after a little New Year’s break. We hope you will enjoy version 1.023!