Recently we had a chance to send in some quick questions to the guys behind the development of Air Combat Simulation: Lock On, Eagle Dynamics, about a variety of topics. This is what they had to say....
3DAvenue: With a market that is dominated by World War 1/2 era combat flight sims as of late, it is hard to remember the last modern era combat flight sim that impressed. What new features does LockOn bring to this 'neglected' genre?
Traditionally, jet sims have fallen into two categories. First, "study" simulations that dealt with a single aircraft but included significant detail. Second, "survey" simulations that included several aircraft but the amount of individual detail devoted to each aircraft was minimal. Lock On will combine these two types by including eight aircraft, each modeled with accurate flight dynamics, avionics, cockpits, and 3D models. Depending on how the player wants to play Lock On, they can choose to play it as a very realistic portrayal or modern air combat, or they can play it as a casual game experience. With a wide range of game-play options, players can choose for themselves. Finally, Lock On provides an incredibly immersive environment. The most detailed graphics ever done for a flight simulation, radio communications, and authentic sound effects make the player feel as if they're in the real jets.
3DAvenue: It was said choosing the name "Lock-On" was your best option for a name appealing to a broad audience, while hardcore gamers may regard it as an arcade orientated name. How has the actual gameplay been made for the individual gamer? will a novice be playing the same game as a hardcore enthusiast?
Absolutely. For the hardcore player, detailed avionics, flight dynamics, and weapon systems are available for each aircraft. Not just one aircraft as other titles. For the casual gamer though, they can enable such help features as easy radar, easy flight, labels, radio assistant, crash recovery, unlimited fuel, unlimited weapons, enemy missile effectiveness slider, aircraft switching, and external views.
3DAvenue: What sort of user-end modification features will be available?
Like the Flanker series, users will likely be able to create their own skins. Additionally, 3rd party is already working on a Dynamic campaign system. However, we cannot promise when or if such a system will eventually be available.
3DAvenue: What can gamers expect regarding the balance between ground, air and sea targets in missions? Is there a larger focus towards a specific style of mission, e.g. Dogfights?
Given the diversity of flyable aircraft, there is an equal mission balance between air and ground targets. As you might imagine, F-15C, Su-27, and MiG-29 missions will have an air focus. However, A-10 and Su-25 missions will be ground focused. Because Lock On is focused on land-based aircraft, naval combat is not being concentrated on.
3DAvenue: What sort of campaign mode can we expect? what elements make up the campaign mode? (i.e. RPG style skill improvement, rank increments, credits for better planes etc).
There are four campaigns, one each for the F-15C, A-10A, Su-27, and Su-25. These campaigns are composed of hand-crafted missions that include random elements. Additionally, the world-state is saved between each mission. As such, the factory you destroyed in one mission will still be destroyed in later missions. As a result of single and campaign missions, pilot log books will be updated. Log books will include many flight statistics, promotions, and medals.
3DAvenue: What sort of acceleration features do we see for the sound and graphics in the engine? will it be a friendly game for a modestly equiped PC?
Like gameplay scalability, the graphics will be very scaleable as well. If players want to play with all the details at maximum settings, they will of course need a high-end system. However, the game will be perfectly playable on 800 MHz system with at least 266 MB or RAM and a DirectX 8 compatible 3D graphics card if graphic settings are scaled back.
3DAvenue: Does the team have any plans to further support the game when released with addition addons? downloadable updates?
The team's first priority is to finish Lock On. Once that task is complete, we will evaluate future plans for Lock On.
We would like to thank the team for taking some time to answer our questions, and a special thanks goes out to Owen and the team at UbiSoft Australia for helping us out.