Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Flyboys Squadron: Enjoy World War 1 Fighter
Combat flight simulations for personal computers have been around for more than 25 years and have evolved in a multitude of ways. Some flight sims became arcade games in order to appeal to large segments of gamers (i.e. Ace Combat for Playstation 1 and 2). Others remained hard core to their roots (i.e. Falcon series) requiring players to read a 500+ page manual in order to master both flying and combat. Somewhere along this multi pronged pathway, on-line gaming developed from simple head to head modem encounters to small scale on-line battles... J.W. "Wild Bill" Stealey, who founded MicroProse with Sid Meier in the early 1980s, had a vision of massive aerial battles taking place over the Internet. Nothing like that has been done to date and Mr. Stealey, a retired USAF pilot, decided to form a new video game company with that vision in mind. iEntertainment Network was born in 1995 and its focus became creating large on-line air wars. Over the past 11 years, Mr. Stealey's game development team unleashed numerous blockbuster titles under the TotalSims banner covering both World War I and II. One of the top titles in the series is WarBirds 2006, which after more than 10 years of continuous expansion is a great success story in materializing Mr. Stealey's vision of large-scale on-line aerial combat.
A few days ago I had the honor of joining Mr. Stealey a.k.a. Wild Bill for a test flight of his latest combat flight sim: Flyboys Squadron. This game was developed specifically for the MGM Motion Picture, FlyBoys and as such will be available with the film's DVD albeit in the demo form. Flyboys Squadron is a World War I flight sim that covers a range of aircraft that were dominant between 1914 and 1918 on both sides of the conflict. These fragile machines have been recreated with painstaking detail in the game. At the same time Wild Bill's programmers made sure that the flight model is as realistic to the old birds as possible. Flyboys Squadron was built on the solid graphics engine behind WarBirds 2006 and as such offers performance balanced visuals and superb network code, which result in smooth and fun battles. Aside from the multiplayer aspect, the game offers an in-depth single player campaign. The Single Player missions tend to be a very good training course for the true challenge: going mano a mano against human opponents across the globe. FlyBoys Squadron starts with basic gunnery, teaches the player how to solo and survive in combat, and then sends the player out to take on the Baron or to defend Paris from the enemy Zeppelin bombing attacks! FlyBoys Squadron players also get three Easter eggs located on the main screen of FlyBoys, which allow players to choose aircraft from 1915 to 2006, from Sopwith Camels to the modern Predator UAV, geographical terrains from Flanders to Randolph Air Force Base, Texas to make their own missions and single player games. If the player can survive the 12 exciting and multilevel (from novice to ace) difficulty missions, then he should go online against real players!
Flyboys Squadron is part of the TotalSims on-line subscription service which for a bargain price of $13.95 per month offers three Total Sims games. The first month is free and players should take advantage challenging human players to see how good they are. Another good move after joining the TotalSims on-line subscription service is to find an Online Squadron to be a part of when you are on-line. It is a good way to stay alive as I found flying with the =4th= Fighter Group on-line! TotalSims membership offers two more battle tested combat games including the previously mentioned WarBirds 2006, which is a World War II flight sim, and Armored Assault, which is a World War II tank sim. Another great feature of the TotalSims series is that it is continuously updated. By the time most new FlyBoys Squadron pilots get their games, the game will have at least 2 new airplanes, a new terrain, and other new features from the online update feature. FlyBoys Squadron gamers will get additional missions when they update over the next few months!