Warbirds 2008

Is it a bird? Why, yes. Yes it is.
My head’s been deep in a WW2 space recently, for reasons too complicated to explain, so the news that this year’s version of Warbirds – Warbirds 2008, for the non-calendar reading audience members – has been released. It isn’t actually just planes – you can also trundle off in tanks and ships and robots, except without the robot. The new update adds two new maps – Ardennes, of the Battle of the Bulge fame, and Atoll, made famous (er) by Fighter Ops Simulation on AOL back in the 90s. Apparently. There’s ten new and spruced up aircraft too, including the ever-popular Lancaster Bomber. And other ones, but we’re only going to mention the Lancaster, because we’re provincial like that. There’s a free month’s trial currently available at the site, but it’s a “You have to give credit card one”, so be sure to remember to cancel if it doesn’t take your fancy. Unlike me, who never does in a classic Those Who Fail To Learn From History Are Doomed To Repeat It manner.

11 Comments

  1. Cigol says:

    Put down the bottle!

    I remember playing this back in the day 56k modems were all the rage and the game came free with some awful ISP. Wasn’t bad actually.

  2. Pod says:

    Cigol: Was this the game that came free with a wireplay account? Or did I make that up?

  3. Dinger says:

    Wow. This has gotta be the oldest server-and-client MMO in continuous operation. Heck, Warbirds was around before Duke Nukem 3D. I just checked the boards for the skinny on the new patch: some new vehicles;; the flight models have apparently reverted to 1999.

  4. Novotny says:

    It’s not Il-2 though, is it? When you’ve got used to the flight models in that, well, everything else is just an arcade game.

    Exceptional Beg:: Please remake Tie Fighter, Lucas Arts peeps. We might even forgive George a bit.

  5. Dinger says:

    Hmm… and just recently on one of the WB boards, people were wondering who the mole was for the BBC radio show “On the Blog” which apparently features a grown man trying to recreate the Dambusters Raid online. Now we know.

    Novotny: nothing seems to agitate people quite like WW2 FS Flight Models.
    First off, y’all are dealing with historical data produced under greatly varying circumstances of accuracy: in some cases, you’ve got aircraft being measured in ideal conditions: fresh off the line, worked on by factory mechanics, and so on. In others, they’re looking at captured equipment. Then each aircraft varies. And if you get two sets of test data, they won’t match. Now you’re looking to apply this to a videogame, which necessarily simplifies things (Q: How much CPU power does a good fluid dynamics simulation require? A: How much have you got?). Finally, you’re building for the overall effect, and that includes how the world is simulated. Any good online flight simulation will use the aircraft’s current motion and extrapolate it to ease over the up to 200 ms. (and beyond!) lag you might encounter and give the aircraft the impression of being in the same fight (this obvious technique is the basis of the patent that WB’s owner uses, or used, to shake down any number of online games). The predictive technique has its own drawbacks, namely that someone with an appropriate ping and creative reversal of control surfaces can appear to perform on other clients maneuvers (e.g., roll reversals) several times what the FM says it can. So many games dampen the controls beyond what they’re supposed to do.

    For that matter, mapping an analogue stick to an aircraft with trim tabs is itself its own interpretation.

    So, IL2 has a good flight model. So does Targetware, or Aces High. Warbirds isn’t bad, but it’s still a generation before (no prop pitch and a bunch of stuff tacked on). Once you get used to one of these FMs, all the others “Feel” like videogames. And the fanboys descend and bicker endlessly about something they think has a factual answer. The Russian and RAF fans will complain that US planes in WB have an edge. The Americans bitch that IL2’s Soviet aircraft are overmodeled. And the Luftwhiners, well, they complain in every flight sim since SWOTL, and I don’t think they were happy with that one either. In truth, it’s a matter of interpretation, artistry and game design more than hard facts.

    History doesn’t give answers, only arguments.

  6. Myros says:

    Made me think of Airwar on GEnie when an MMO actualy cost per minute … lol, shit I feel old now :)

  7. M. Banana says:

    Whoa…I played this like ten years ago.

  8. Scandalon says:

    Completely unrelated, actually, but the random “revist an old story” box currently points (for me) to this strafe-left. Coincidence?!?

  9. CannedLizard says:

    Now look what you’ve made me do. You’ve made me dig out my old SWotL disk. Or, as my father labeled it, “Geheime Waffen des Luftwaffe”. I’ve not toched this thing in over a decade.

    “…They were FAST…they were DEADLY…they were OUTNUMBERED! They were the…SECRET WEAPONS OF THE LUFTWAFFE”

    Thank you, comic book style cover.