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.:: PF review, english version ::.
Monday 30 August 2004

The maps size are acceptable, but of course do not cover that totallity of the immense PTO. The map system remain untouched, providing square maps, wide some hundreds of kilometers-. Its fully enough for Atoll maps or even medium islands like leyte, but there is no way you can hope to come from Rabaul to strike Guadalcanal. The Guadalcanal map include the island, plus the direct vicinity only for example. A flight from Henderson field or Port Moresby to Rabaul is a complete utopy, such flights requiring maps that would be 4 or 5 times bigger than the usual ones. And, in many of them, we already reach the size that were used to create the Leningrad front in FB/AEP. The only advantage of the PTO is that featuring the immensity of the ocean is easier and more FPS friendly than doing the same on the ground. Even if the ground over there is far less populated than areas like Berlin suburbs. But be sure that those limitations are due to technical limits. Maps such as in 1942: PAW used with PF engine, would kill every high end PC available those days. However, do not expect miracles into map conceptions as well. Ohau, for example, even with Luthier hard work, remain really dependant of FB/AEP objects. Do not expect photo realism for Pearl harbour or Honolulu. On the other hands, using specific textures, made Midway or Tarawa really close to what they were ! Anyway, we can assure you that nobody will be shocked again, as they were when they saw the first Staligrad original Il2 map. At the moment the maps are: Oahu, Midway, Guadalcanal, Singapour, Milne Bay, Iwo-Jima, Chi-chi Jima, Okinawa, Tarawa, south Japan, Wake Island, Mariannes, Palau (and here you can add several maps for carrier air battles). Plus a serious option on Luzon et Leyte (even if their availability in release version is still doubtfull, this depending on time remaining). If we should have continental maps (Birmany, China) they would have to wait eventual extensions or patches.

About the new effects, like the waves you have seen already many times, they will require a high end graphic card using the last pixel shaders technology. Even if at the moment they are still some incompatibility, Oleg promised to fix and optimize this, and we can trust him about it. However, no news about the compatibility with new technologies like the "Geometry Instancing" of the last ATI's products- The graphics aren't really changed compared to FB/AEP, and unless you want to play the epic aerial peplums we talked about earlier, the hardware you use with FB/AEP will perfectly suit with PF.

Pacific Fighters (the official version at the moment) will be a "standalone" for those not having FB/AEP already, and a simple "add-on" for the others. Do not ask me what will happend with the further support of the lone AEP, but I guess Oleg's team will rationalize all of that quickly to support all versions with single updates-. The Pacific Fighter release is scheduled for fall 2004, and the Gold version for early October, even if I wouldnt bet on it. Please note that it is unprobable that we get any demo of PF (be sure you will be informed if this should occur) since this isn't a MG habit since Il2. If you want to whine for a demo please feel free to do it, but remember that it means more work for the dev, who have already have lot to do, when I see what is to be done before the official release.
More generally speaking, you can see that I haven't a bad feeling about PF, even if a lot of things (Pilots floating with Mae west or dingy, fully working cockpits, final flight models) aren't integrated yet (and I must admit I'm a bit affraid some of them will have to be cancelled or delayed in order to respect delays). But the important thing is to know that the main things, the "core" of this extension is safe. Considering the new planes ships and objects with their new abilties, we can be satisfied, we will surely get something being much more than a simple add-on "I fool around the pacific". The new functions of NGen and DGen are a big part of it.I would say that exept the few negative points mentionned (old AI, few variety of ships, original maps sizes) I'm still fully optimistic about the evolution of PF in the next weeks. And the fact that I know the Il2 series from the very beginning comfort me in that opinion. When you are about to judge the more important things of a flight sim, it is always comfortables to have to worry about some details, and not to have the "whole building" (dont know if you can get that after translation) to destroy. The one who saw me testing CF3 will surely get the point-

The author (ALAIN JAMES) thanks all screenshots providers (they will recognize themself) and Ubisoft for their help and kind collaboration.
Alain-James


Ps: This document has been translated quickly and approximatively by me, and I would like to apologize to all english readers for all the mistake I have surely done. Alain-James is a really good writer in french, and it has been really nasty translating him. And of course my english is not good enough for that. I hope you can still get all the points AJ did underline, and that you can understand his preview better than with the onlione translators- a Salute, Merlin (FZG_Immel), and to apologize, some brand new screens-


  Merlin
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