Tumult In The Clouds: Fighter Squadron WWI

By Tim Stone on May 10th, 2009 at 1:44 pm.

When Fighter Squadron: Screamin’ Demons Over Europe touched down in early 1999 it found all the comfiest armchairs in the mess bagsied, all the comeliest WAAFs spoken for, and all the Brylcreem in the local branch of Boots sold out. The previous year European Air War, Jane’s WW2 Fighters, and Combat Flight Simulator had arrived and snaffled everything. Obscurity beckoned until a band of inquisitive erks led by one ArgonV noticed the sim’s mod potential and set to work. The most impressive product of their labours to date – a massive WWI TC  – has just been released in a convenient standalone package. If there’s a better free combat flight-sim available, I’m unaware of it.

FS-WWI doesn’t have the ravishing looks or rigorous realism of Rise Of Flight or Over Flanders Fields, but in other significant areas it more than holds its own. The Gotha-sized installer (1GB) includes hundreds of thoughtfully wrought sorties covering everything from dogfights and bombing raids, to balloon busting and carrier ops. The ride selection is Hendon-huge, all the usual suspects rubbing wingtips with exotica like early war monoplanes, airships, and landships. Not every machine is sculpted or skinned as beautifully as the Bristol in the first pic, but a good many are.

Sadly, campaigning isn’t part of the deal (a shortcoming inherited from SDOE). Still, in addition to that mountain of missions, you do get an unusually well-appointed skirmish generator (select your adversaries’ skill, aggressiveness, morale and sanity level) and the chance to cavort in the clouds with friends. In the circumstances, it would be very rude to grumble.

And if Kieron can end his Sunday post with Bobby Darin, I see no harm in ending mine with W. B. Yeats:

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan’s poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

__________________

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25 Comments »

  1. pepper says:

    Looks fantastic! Although i couldnt quite make out that it indeed is standalone.

  2. Tim Stone says:

    Yes, it’s definitely standalone. The FS-WWI PlanePack 5 all-in-one EXE installer works without SDOE.

  3. Pags says:

    Incredible! This definitely ought to scratch that WWI fighter itch ’til I can get my hands on Rise of Flight.

  4. Lambo says:

    So I guess I have no excuse now not to try a combat flight sim do I?

  5. pepper says:

    You indeed dont Lambo!

    Im very impressed with what i have seen so far, takes me back to my Red Baron 3D days, i was quite a bit younger then and my imagination made it look like IL-2/FSX

  6. MrBejeebus says:

    ive got IL-2 on steam since it was in a sale, but i havent bothered to try it yet, it any good?

    ill try this though, since it comes with good recomendations, theyve convinced me to buy stalker clear sky, men of war, plants vs zombies, rogue trooper….

  7. pepper says:

    IL-2 1946 is a great simulator, although you do need to spend sometime with learning to fly.

  8. Dominic White says:

    Mrbejeebus: IL-2 is probably the single best WW2 flight sim made. It’s detailed and complex and sprawlingly huge (tons of dynamic campaigns and standalone missions), and covers a ridiculous number of planes, including crazy post-war prototypes for the ‘What if?’ scenarios where the war goes on further than expected.

    Just make sure you bind a control to ‘time skip’ in the optiosn menu, unbound by default. That button basically puts you into autopilot, blacks out the screen, and time-accelerates as fast as your processor will allow until you encounter an enemy or an otherwise manual-only objective.

    That one button will save you SO much boring flying around.

  9. Andrew Dunn says:

    IL-2 also has a lot of difficulty/realism setting options which let you make it as arcade or as hardcore as you like. Unlimited fuel/ammo, no stalls, no takeoffs/landings… Find a level you’re comfortable with and then gradually up the realism as you get more confident. Just always keep the map icons and in-game plane identification on.

  10. pepper says:

    Andrew? Ever tried flying without map ID? Much more interesting, also allows you to sneak up on someone and trim up for a perfect shot in full realism servers online.

  11. Fenchurch says:

    I bought IL2-Complete, and then immediately, 1946 was released! D’oh!

    There is simply no excuse not to give 1946 a little try when it’s cheap on Steam. I’ve never played a flight sim before, but I had lots of fun just playing all the arcadey skirmish fantasy stuff. I absolutely must point out that 1946 gives you JET FIGHTERS and ROCKET PLANES, or rather, even more of them than were in the original games. This by itself is super exciting because they’re written in to alternative history campaigns which are rather fab to play, even if you’re rubbish like me and put all the realism things on minimum.

    But then I’m a massive fan of alternative-history-done-realistically, in the sense that I think that computer games should attempt to immerse you in the complexities of a world that doesn’t exist, but one that could or would have existed at some point.

  12. Plopsworth says:

    From the mod’s homepage:
    “The Albatros B.II is a great recon/scouting aircraft! She has a hand-dropped bomb load with a single revolver as armament”
    Awesome!

    Also WWI carrier/floatplane ops? Excellent! Now for a Porco Rosso game.

  13. HopperUK says:

    What a marvellous title. Tis a good poem. Well done sir.

  14. Shadowcat says:

    SDOE WW1 has been actively developed and improved for a crazy long time, now. It’s a small group, but their dedication is incredible.

    Intriguing that this is a stand-alone release! It certainly used to need SDOE installed. I guess someone gave them the go-ahead to do it this way, which is very cool.

    FS-WWI doesn’t have the ravishing looks or rigorous realism of Rise Of Flight or Over Flanders Fields

    Looks, sure. Realism? Don’t be too quick to make that judgement. For all its flaws, the OpenPlane flight modelling system that SDOE introduced provides for some of the most realistic flight dynamics around… provided the (extremely) hard task of modelling of all the aircraft components is done sufficiently well. I suspect that some of these WW1 birds are as accurate as you will find anywhere.

    Anyway, congrats to the development team on this new release! I look forward to taking it for a spin :)

  15. tigershuffle says:

    looks like im gonna have to get the joystick outta the box again.. :) .. I suppose moddeling these old things is a bit difficult what with all the struts and wire etc……and they really do need destructable parts, what with been made of canvas, wood n candyfloss .
    Lovely poem as pointed out earlier…….

  16. pepper says:

    shadowcat, you realize the polygon data is to low for any flight model to accurately get a planes flight characteristics.

  17. Wolfox says:

    Is this legal? Can this TC be distributed as a stand-alone release legally?

  18. Shadowcat says:

    pepper: Not wanting to state the obvious, but no flight simulation accurately reproduces a plane’s flight characteristics. They all approximate it as best they can, using whatever techniques the developers bestowed upon them.

    I’m simply saying that as approximations go, the OpenPlane model has always enabled some pretty damn fine ones.

  19. ArgonV says:

    Howdy!

    Wow very surprised to see this! It was unexpected to say the least. :) Thanks for all of the kudos and interest! FS-WWI has been ticking slowly but surely all these years, and we are not done yet!

  20. RAF209_Benge says:

    Great Job Argon!! I have played it and it was very nice…

  21. Snick says:

    Way unexpected. Having designed planes for a different SDOE add on (The Last Days of the Reich) which is basiclally SWOTL in 3D, I can safely tell you that polygon count has absolutely nothing to do with the accuracy of the FM.

    Argon – You did a bang up job, something to be proud of. And for those of you who dont know there is a forum (for SDOE WWI and WWII) at http://www.openplanesim.com

    Best of luck to you all!

  22. hip63 says:

    Ah good to see FS-WWI getting some press!

    Great Fun this Game! You really do feel like you fighting in a kite!

    BTW – you can also get IL-2 cheap at GOG.com and it’s totally DRM Free there and no client software required!

    …and remember, always fly high!

  23. Wildfowler says:

    I think the FM’s in this sim are some of the best I,ve seen.
    Also the wind has to be accounted for. Something other sims seem to forget.

  24. Lilo says:

    i was quite a bit younger then and my imagination made it look like IL-2/FSX

  25. ArgonV says:

    Hello all!

    Just a bit of an update. A new Patch has been released which adds a lot of new content and bug fixes. More details can be had here: http://www.moddb.com/mods/fighter-squadron-world-war-one/downloads/fs-wwi-plane-pack-5-patch-v10

    Also, there are many new aircraft in the works. These include the R.E.8, Ca.42, F.E.4, Morane Saulnier L and the 1912 Caudron N racer. Details here: http://www.moddb.com/mods/fighter-squadron-world-war-one/news/new-fs-wwi-projects