Okay, it's after midnight, I haven't gotten any work done, and I'm still fighting the urge to go up for another mission...
Further thoughts on this collection of mods for OFF.
Wow! Is all I really have to say. Having swapped out the damage model from the HPW to Buddy's version, the improvements were noticeable from the outset. At least with my configuration - everyone's machine handles things a little differently - the difficulty and immersion of OFF has skyrocketed.
I have created 10 new pilots - all with back stories, desires, and aspirations for their time at the front. Some seek to serve King and Country. Others are there because life in the cavalry grew tedious and dull in a war that no longer needed them. Still more joined because they sought glory - and found chaos and death instead.
With OFFice, I suddenly remember my squad mates names. I feel I know them a bit better - having interacted with them. I only wish we could create some sort of visual representation of them - even if it was on the level of Wings of Glory, it would still be fantastic. As it stands - the simple interactions, the ability to move time in the campaign (IE: I get to fly real dawn patrols now, which are my absolute favorite). The improvement in the variety of weather - I know that the war was typically a mud and rain filled quagmire - but it's nice to fly in some clear weather for a change! The additions of the new sound files - I've used Creaghorn's sound mods for a while but these introduce some new ones I've not heard before. The engines really sound alive now! Even the light powered rotaries have a full, metallic, heavy sound to them - it's fantastic. It all comes together so beautifully. OFF was already the most immersive WWI flight sim I had ever played. This is just dumping icing on an already delicious cake.
Did I mention that I like the new loading screen sounds as well? I like that there's a clear difference between the Allied and German side now - feels better. Oh, and during the German briefings - am I right in guessing that the briefing voice over work is taken from the German version of Red Baron II's German Intelligence Briefings? Sounds just like them - I really like it!
So overall - would I recommend this set of addons to the community? I give it a resounding YES! This pack really breathes some new life into a sim that I feel like I'm still learning. They are small improvements - but the cumulative effect is massive. From the new sense of immersion in interacting with my squadmates through a simple, old-school, but effective text-based RPG element to the immersion of flying with new sounds and dealing with a whole new FM and DM to learn... it all comes together to make for an utterly gripping experience.
I thought I was addicted before... but nothing like this!
Fantastic work guys! I cannot commend you enough. I love it!
PS: The mods are so good - esp with OFFice, that I have started my first round of 2-seater campaigns. First up was Fritz Morgens - who served as the observer of the Roland CII below.
I got Fritz settled into the new barracks and he introduced himself to his new squadron members and had a meeting with the Adjutant. The first mission was a lone patrol - a chance to take Fritz up over the lines and let him get a look at the Front. The weather, as you can see, was terrible. I realized that I have never actually flown any of the 2-seaters in OFF since buying the sim in 2009! Well, it was a long overdue treat. We got up in the air and from that point on I let the AI do the flying while I panned the skies for trouble. I do wish that my TrackIR system would work from the observer's seat - is there a trick to make it work?At any rate - we went up and down the lines and finally up to the coast - all on our side of the front. As we turned for home, I got a strange feeling in my gut. Coming through a thick wall of cloud cover were three Nieuports and they had us caught low and slow, heading for home.
The result was as terrifying as it was sickening to experience. The Nieuports - painted in French markings - smelled blood and came right for us. I've never seen fighters attack me while sitting in the back of a plane - and I don't want to see it again anytime soon! All three opened fire and, try as I might with my rear gun, I could do little to fend them off. The first burst from the three French planes was also exceedingly lucky - putting our engine on half of its cylinders right away. We were belching smoke as my pilot tired to get me steady for a clear shot. Then - I felt it - another barrage of bullets hit us and wounded the pilot. Our plane lurched, side slipped, and headed for the trees. The impact turned my stomach.
Fritz is dead - on his first mission, and a training sortie at that. But, never fear, a new man, Kristof Maybach - a family man from Prussia, has just arrived as a replacement.
Life in the squadron now goes on. Fritz's name is still on the board - listed as deceased. The rest of the squad barely remembers him - they had so little time to even learn his name. As Maybach learns his new surroundings - the fellow pilots that Fritz knew (ever so briefly) remain - the same personalities and traits, the same quirks, the same temperaments. These fellow pilots no longer vanish into the ether of history. Life goes on and the sense of institutional memory is now a part of OFF. What will become of these men, as well as my own, remains to be seen.
This is really great stuff! If you haven't had a chance to try this out - it's a snap to install, and once you start messing with it, you quickly see how addictive this form of OFFing suddenly becomes.
Oh - and if you really want the hardcore heroin version of this - fly DiD. I'm finally giving it a real go (now that I have TrackIR) and I have to say - it's terrifying. Without time compression and without warp and without a tactical aid screen - I really feel uneasy and vulnerable from the time I get to my cruising altitude until I cut the engine and land safely at home. There are simply no safegards and the feeling of emminant danger is tangible through the monitor. Hats off to Siggi for those rules. If you see this post Sig, thanks again!
Whew! I'm typed out. As you can see - I'm in love with this sim all over again. What a great sim and what a fantastic community!
Cheers all around! :drinks: