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.:: Interview of Tsuyoshi Kawahito (English) ::.
Tuesday 16 July 2002

Tsuyoshi Kawahito is one of the most famous sim designer. We owe him products such as Jane's Longbow II or, more recently, Microprose's EAW.
Now he has built up his own company, Third Wire production, and presents Project 1, a simulation centered around a forgotten period of the air military history, the Vietnam and Kippour era.
Fighters Anthology, Chuck Yeager's air combat and, of course, Israeli Air Force are the only games that ever talked about this dark time, which is now the point of this new simulation. His creator has accepted to answer our questions.

Check-Six: First, thanks for answering our questions M. Kawahito.

Tsuyoshi Kawahito: You’re welcome.

1) C6: Im curious about your long way since EAW. Can you tell us more about your way from MPS's 1998 last golden age to this current Third Wire time?

TK: I’m afraid there isn’t much to tell... I left MPS at the end of 1998 to join a small technology start-up company. After about 4 months there, I started my own company, Third Wire Productions, to work on my own games.

2) C6: Can you tell us about the process that has lead P1 to such a choice of period and theater?

TK: We wanted to do a simulation title that has “built-in” appeal to both casual and hard-core simmers, ie, a game that can appeal to everyone without having to set all the options to “easy”. We felt that a jet sim without complex modern avionics achieves that goal – you can just jump right in and mix it up with the MiGs without having to spend months reading the manual first.

3) C6: Can we have some additionnal informations about the campaign engine? Do you expect it to be closer to LB2 or EAW's one for instance?

TK: It’s a lot closer to EAW than LB2 since Project 1 is an aircraft sim and not a helicopter sim. LB2 maps were tactical in size (50km x 50km), and you moved from one map to another as you progressed through your campaign. Project 1 campaign will take place in a single large map (1000km x 1000km), very similar to EAW campaign. And while missions in LB2 were all focused on ground action – the helicopter modelled in that game was basically a dedicated close-support platform, the missions in Project 1 will have player assigned to strategic targets as well as ground targets.

4) C6: And what about the ground war during this campaign? What importance will the ground battlefield take in the curse of war?

TK: The ground war is handled at two levels: strategic and tactical. Between the player missions, army units are moved at strategic level based on their strength, supply level, moral conditions, and their overall objectives. Any combat at this level is resolved using an abstract system. Once in the mission, any army units in contact will actually engage in tactical battle – tanks will maneuver to capture their objectives and engage against defending tanks, artillery will lob indirect fire at enemy positions, etc. The player’s action can affect the result of ground war directly and indirectly. The player might be assigned to a close-support mission for any ground battle, in which case his action can have a direct impact on the outcome of the battle. And, at the end of each mission, the player’s mission result will be used as a modifier when resolving strategic combats, so the player can affect indirectly how the other friendly forces are doing.

5) C6: What will be the 3D engine performance? Do you expect it to equal the current benchmarks (with sims such as Il2?). Do you have further details about it and the computer we will need to run P1?

TK: Well, it depends on how you’re defining “performance”. Our engine is designed to run well on today’s mid-range machines, and most of the screenshots you see on our website are taken on a PIII-650 with GeForce 2 MX.

6) C6: Many people here are very worried about P1's level of realism. When you declare that "it will match 90% of pilot's needs", it does make some of us even more perplexed... Can you tell us more exactly what is the level you expect to reach? Will it be closer to an USAF/IAF-like than a hardcore flight sim?

TK: Project 1 is designed as a relaxed-realism survey sim, so we are not out to create a hyper-realistic simulation that only hard-core flight simmers can get into. But at the same time, we didn’t want to do a simplistic arcade game either, so what we hope to create is a game with good balance between realism and playability, a game that is fun and exciting to play for everyone.

7) C6: Have you any further detail about how the IR missiles will behave in the simulation? How do you expect to simulate the targeting and homing sequences?

TK: Targeting sequence for IR missile is the same as in real life – you aim it using your gunsight. You have to manoeuver to bring your target into the gunsight, and if there is enough heat signatures off the target for the IR seeker to see (ie, you have to be aimed at the rear-aspect of the target), then the missile will lock on. The only indication will be the volume of the growl.

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- ©2003 Bernard Valencelle 'Benhur' -