Developer’s insight

DID’s Air Dominance Fighter and Total Air War.
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Krishty
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Developer’s insight

Post by Krishty »

I’m catching up on a few Discord servers, some with ex DID staff. Found some useful quotes; gonna save them here because they’re too valuable to be lost in Discord’s message stream.

Roger Godfrey explaining Wargen to the Tiny Combat developer:
https://discord.com/channels/715120294918094858/715128081785946152/720722725609668691 wrote:"is there anything you can speak on with the war engine?"
Sure. Though its is a while ago so my memory is a little hazy.

DID sims had a concept of 'active' and 'inactive' units. Active units had actual world space positions and simulation and existed in a 30 mile bubble around the player (not actually a bubble, essentially a 2D square around the player from a plan view). Inactive units were outside of the bubble and were moved around the world like pushing units around on a game board with no simulation. When they entered the player bubble they would suddenly exist properly and be brought under AI control.

Planes were never spawned in to make the players life hard. Every plane in the game starts off at an airbase and has a mission. Bomb, CAP, Wild Weasil and Escort (there may have been some others). The war engine (I think it was called Wargen) would create a mission for them with waypoints, target ingress points, egress points. This would be done for both sides of the conflict. Planes would then come across each other and interact. So the war happened around the player, regardless of player decisions.

In EF2000 the player could choose a selection of missions that the Wargen made. The missions that the player did not select would still be flown (assuming planes were available).

Combat in the player bubble would be resolved using simulation (missiles, bombes, gun rounds and the like). Combat outside of the player bubble was resolved with dice rolls with weighting towards the more advanced units (so a Mig-19 was unlikely to shoot down a F-22).
The inactive combat was kinda shonky though. I wrote that bit I always intended to go back and fix it. The dice rolls were weighted too far towards planes being destroyed so the campaign ran out of planes too quickly. We were so close to the deadline that the problem was fixed with massive resupply of planes into the campaign. Which was a massive hack, but it worked. 🙂
"How were ground units and ground targets handled? Were they abstracted into groups (e.g. Falcon does battalions), or was there something else?"

I don't think EF2000 had active ground units (though I think some were on the ground you could shoot/bomb).
F-22 ADF did introduce them. But that did not have a campaign system so did not need to account for how units were laid out.
It later got an expansion with a campaign called Total Air War, but I was not involved with that apart from the installation system.
Then there was some terrain stuff, but nothing that’s not already documented.

Anecdote from someone else:
Funny story: I worked for nearly 15 years at the real Eurofighter Simulator. In the manual there were pictures taken from DID EF2000.
Both were cockpit views and one of these was the air2air refueling.
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Krishty
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Re: Developer’s insight

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Roger on graphics engines and modelling workflow:
https://discord.com/channels/715120294918094858/715128081785946152/720589246184030298 wrote:Dave mentioned my time at Digital Image Design. I worked on two flight sims there, EF2000 (mainly avionics and a bit of the war engine) and F-22 ADF (I wrote part of the avionics, designed some bits of it, was the Tech Producer, and was the build engineer).

The 3D engines were all fixed point maths. Flight models and bits of the game code used floating point. Vehicles were designed on graph paper then 'coded' using textfiles of vertex lists and polygons.

This is in the era where the transition from software renders to hardware GPU rendering (Glide and DirectX). Happy days. 🙂
mikew
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Re: Developer’s insight

Post by mikew »

Interesting! That's the way I assumed 'wargen' worked, but nice to see some added detail.
...and that's some impressive internet trawling to find this stuff. :)
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Krishty
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Re: Developer’s insight

Post by Krishty »

Roger on the game engine:
https://discord.com/channels/715120294918094858/715128081785946152/755173517070303284 wrote:Internally it was called either the DID Engine or SRP Engine (the initials of the original author). From memory I think it was originally written in 68k for the ST and Amiga, then translated into X86.

All incredibly tight hand optimised assembler code. I learned more in 2 weeks with that code than I learned in most of my CS Degree.

Later versions were used in EF2000, F-22, and some internal DiD prototypes that never made it to market ('Chopper' and 'Rain').

It was later replaced by Hovis which was used in Wargasm and a later Eurofighter game.
On the cancelled titles Chopper and Rain:
My memory is a little hazy and I was not on these projects directly:

Chopper was from 1994, it was a prototype for a VTOL style helicopter style aircraft game.

It had a full textured landscape (which no commercial game had done yet), rain forests leading upto coastline. Looked really good for 1994. I think it apeared one as a preview in a games magazine.

Something like Psygnosis' G-Police, but I think the DID vehicle looked better. It was intended to go into production and I think DiD may have pitched it to Nindendo as a N64 exclusive title.

I think Nintendo said no because they had some helecopter games already on the way from some other devs (not sure any of those made it to market).
Rain was something that some of the EF2000 team were playing with after shipping the game.
It was an Independence Day style game. Reached the tech demo stage (with some staggering huge space ships), but did not have much game to it as I remember. The team were then reallocated to what became F-22 ADF and Wargasm.
Also the engine was used for a game called Inferno, which had some lovely ship design and great music/
Not only was the Rain team reallocated to ADF – the alien invasion demo was a direct leftover from this experiment 🛸
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Re: Developer’s insight

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Roger on Wargasm:
https://discord.com/channels/715120294918094858/715128081785946152/938554804576350258 wrote:Ah... Wargasm. The game with a name so terrible it almost killed the company.

Walmart refused to stock it because the name was so shocking. Never understood why Infogrames agreed to the name...

Was quite good fun to play though. Especially multiplayer.

Internally it was called "Tank". DID wanted to branch out from flight games and have a tank game (they had done a couple of space games, Epic and Inferno at that point). It struggled in terms of its direction for a while before becoming a more FPS and light sim game.

It almost invented battlefield before Codename Eagle and Battlefield 1942.

My involvement was limited. I did the installer and did a lot of Public Relations work for it (as I was between projects).

It had some pretty cool new tech and used the then new "Hovis" engine. Many of the programming team on it now work for D3T.
The multiplayer part was actually called Multiple Wargasm internally
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Re: Developer’s insight

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Steve on TAW’s source code:
https://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/555361/re-hello-from-rage#Post555361 wrote: don't know if TAW source will ever be release (about 800,000 lines you know!), the other problem is the data set (about 80mg and 20,000 files) and all the associated tools. It would be a difficult task to change anything meaningful (I think I'd have a job going back, and I wrote a lot of it!). In those days we didn't use 3rd party tools like MAX, so just changing one shape would not be trivial.
https://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/555371/re-hello-from-rage#Post555371 wrote:Just getting the code to build and run would be difficult....
https://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/555433/re-hello-from-rage wrote:Anyway, on to the TAW code base. The code won't be released.
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