If I remember right, Capt Sopwith has written histories of WoFF and it's predecessors several times. Perhaps he'll reprise one
For me, it's been so long, I dont remember when we started
That was awfully kind of you to remember, Shred. I saw this thread a few days ago and I kept meaning to come back to it. So now that the puppy is asleep (finally) and I have some coffee, I'll see what I can do.
WOFF's development team has a long history working on WWI flight sims that stretches back, as far as I know, to the 1990s and the Red Baron II / 3D days. Much of this community formed around modding Red Baron for the better part of a decade. I found the group in 1999 when my family finally got internet access - I was 17 at the time and by far the youngest member on the now ancient Delphi Message Boards for Red Baron.
Back then modding RB was a pretty individualized affair, with modders creating UOP (UnOfficial Patches) that changed the game. RB was fairly easy to mod from a visual perspective, once you figured out how to change the bitmap files that controlled everything in the game from aircraft skins to textures on ground objects. The problem with these one-off patches is that they were almost always incompatible with one another, so users would mix and match and break their game. After about five years or so, some of the modders decided to band together and form a group called SWWISA. Doing so would allow them to build bigger and better projects and ensure that their respective work all played well together. James "OvS" Romano described the coming together of the group this way:“Some quick background on SWWISA...but it should really come from Uhlan... way back in 1999/2000 there were a lot of arguments and dis-continutity on the Flight Sim Forum, which is where we all came from. It was the grand meeting place of all personalities in the RB community. It was even before Wings of Valor [a major Red Baron site in 2000]. There were a few sites out there that were very good, but [there was no other single place where everyone involved could go besides The Flight Sim Forum]. It was a good place to talk, and exchange ideas, but that soon became the opposite. There is no blame needed, or any one to point fingers at, just know that it was time to move on and design another outlet for like-minded individuals to gather and openly exchange ideas without confrontations.
Our founding members were Uhlan, CdT (Karel), and a few others. It was a small group that quickly grew into a larger one just based on the open-minded principle. Karel set the tone with his new line of models using Anim8r. It was a movement of sorts. It was a really great time in the life of this Sim.
It worked out well for everyone. I joined SWWISA later on, after the first release of Hell's Angels, as I felt I could contribute to the group by what I learned from modding. It was a lot of fun and the guys in SWWISA were all very helpful and always there for me. I know this 'club' or as we liked to call it, guild, is virtual, but it was the best place I knew of to talk to some great personalities. We had Historians, Artists, Modders, and Modelers, even Programmers.
I think that might be a good starting point that you can build on. I don't know all the insides because I was a 'trawler' until I made Hell's Angels. I just liked coming to the SWWISA forum and talking to the guys a lot more than the Flight Sim Forum. This SWWISA forum was a great idea, and I'm glad that it still upholds the initial ideals it was built on. That's why we accomplished so much. Prior to SWWISA, it was pretty much a free-for-all."
I personally remember CdT (Karel) fondly. He opened up the ability to produce top notch 3d models of WWI aircraft with a degree of detail and fidelity we hadn't seen before while keeping the frame rate high in game - which was a huge challenge at the time. Tragically, Karel died suddenly in 2002, but he really opened the door for what could be done with a proper WWI sim.
Flash forward three years (was it really only 3?) to 2005 and I get a message from James, who you'll see around the boards when he's not busy with his volunteer firefighting work, saying that some of the guys from SWWISA were moving on to a new project, and that Red Baron had taken them as far as they could go. The new sim would work around CFS3 -- a WWII sim of all things - and that they would release in phases. A few weeks later, I received a CD in the mail from James with Phase 2 on it.
You can see what their website looked like back then here: https://web.archive.org/web/20051219225359/http://off.oldbrowndog.net:80/gallery.htm
And from there, things got busy. I had finished college and moved on to graduate school so the releases got a bit blurry for me. Phase 3 became known as Between Heaven and Hell which I played for hundreds of hours. Then came the Hat in the Ring expansion pack and a few years later, WOFF. Each subsequent release seemed to surpass everyone's expectations and, much like the development of Red Baron 3D before it, the sim just seems to keep doing things that it should, by all reason, not be able to do. Real time lighting and shadows? AI that are unpredictable enough to make you think you're fighting a real person? High definition textures and flawless terrain and fully realized cockpits and amazing sound... it just goes on and on. The Dev team also maintained a rapid response rate with patches - if we found something off in WOFF and posted about it, there was always a patch out within a week of the issue - often sooner if a hotfix was needed. I have no doubt that once WoTR is ready for sale, they'll come back through WOFF and incorporate what they learned on the other project. That's the great part about how the team works - they always bake in new ideas as they go.
If that wasn't enough reading for you, you can find my review of WOFF:UE (which has some history on the dev team) here https://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/content.php?17179-Review-Wings-Over-Flanders-Fields-Ultimate-Edition
Some thought it was a bit flowery, but frankly, I thought the sim was damn near perfect (I was also so happy not be writing work related content that my enthusiasm came through in my writing.
And if you want to read up on what came before, you can find my now ancient history of Red Baron over on OvS's old Red Baron site here: http://www.hellsangels.firstflare.com/history.htm
I apologize in advance for my writing - I was 22 at the time and not the most eloquent writer. You can also see what his mod, "Hell's Angels" looked like - OvS is the man responsible for most of the fantastic Albatros skins in WOFF these days.
And I've saved the best for last. The Dev team on WOFF did an interview a few years back with FlightSim.com. You can find it here: https://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/show...-Flanders-Fields-Team&highlight=WOFF
Hope this helps! If you've got any other questions, ask away, we're always happy to talk shop about our favorite sim!