Rise of Flight: my interview with Loft

Posted by David on December 15, 2008 02:16 AM

Today I offer you my exclusive interview with the producer of Rise of Flight, Albert Zhiltsov (Loft).  You can find more information about Rise of Flight from its official website!

Congratulations on getting picked up by ND Games! If you're allowed to say, has there been any progress on finding a publisher for North America and Europe?

We already have proposals under the game publishing both in the North America, and in Europe, and also in other regions, in other words that is everywhere where potential customers are. We are in a stage of very active negotiations on specification of conditions for «Rise of Flight» publishing.

But there is one important BUT: we do not want, that the future publisher perceived Rise of Flight as just your ordinary flight sim. We consider, that «Rise of Flight» is not only the bright representative of flight sims game, but also the bright representative of new and interesting genre such as «documentary games» that are yet to be created. On one hand our documentary game possessing signs of documentary movie, bears in itself the important educational component expressed in applied knowledge of aircrafts and history of the First World War. On the other hand, our documentary game, possessing computer game signs, that gives you the chance to become a participant of events of that period of time and to understand more deeply how it feels to be a real pilot of the First World War.

We are trying to bring this message not only to our potential customers, but also to our potential publishers. It is a hard duty which demands time.

Early in the development process it was said that Rise of Flight would support up to 100 players on one server. Is this still true? It sounds very exciting but seems like it would be hard to implement.

Indeed, this is our target and we work day and night in order to achieve it. Unfortunately, I must admit that modern processors are not very powerful enough for us. That's why the most difficult part is aircraft physics and aerodynamics modeling. We can support many aircrafts connected to the network simultaneously taking into account that each and every model is processed on the client’s computer.

On the other hand if we are talking about AI planes in the game, our engine can only support not more than 32 units.   

And a related question from Gustang (SimHQ): Will servers be user-operated?

Yes, everyone can start up a server but every user should be registered with our system. Registration will take place automatically and it will help us to collect data worldwide on our master server. 

Question from FlyRetired (SimHQ): What are the details of the multiplayer games formats, and will we be able to fly scripted missions in a co-operative mode?

Sure thing, missions created by users can be played on a network game and we are talking about any mission with any scenario. Missions created by users should meet the following conditions (conditions apply to the common multiplayer system)

•Minimum of two teams (one of which can be AI)

•Missions should have at least one main target (the additional targets are optional) 

Are you able to reveal any details about the mission editor? How is it different compared to previous flight sims we've played?

Our mission editor has very extensive possibilities. But as a result, the interface of our mission’s editor is not that simple. Actually in the editor there is a separate objective language which demands some time for studying. But you will have a total freedom for creativity.

In the missions editor you will be able to:

    · to edit the settlements and to save them for your missions. For example, you have spent your time and corrected our model of Kombre. You can save a group of Kombre buildings in a separate file, you can use it in your missions or you can share it with someone. We do hope that a huge base of such objects will be created. You can modify not only cities, but also other groups of objects. But some objects cannot be modified: for example, existing airdromes, roads and the rivers, because it initially considers more difficult process. We do not exclude cooperation possibility in this question with concrete people and groups of modelers if they can guarantee to us certain quality and productivity of work. 

    · to create missions. As I wrote above, missions editing is a separate objective language. It includes a considerable quantity of such objects-commands, as: timers, triggers, and so forth. The System will allow object spawning on special conditions. That is, for example, at achievement of any point, or possible event or even time. It allows to create different missions on the «if, then» basis. We really hope that complexity of our system will seem to you justified and not too hard.

    · to work with system of different views (e.g. cameras). The separate system of cameras which can be operated as an object is built in the game. Cameras will have flight paths and will react to special triggers and timers. Thus various video inserts are possible in each mission if needed. You can operate with camera not only during the playback but also in a real time during the mission. We hope that this option will be appreciated by the mission developers and by users that take great interest in movie making.

The real WWI pilots were able to hide in clouds and use them tactically. Will we be able to do this in Rise of Flight? And a related question from Ming (SimHQ forum): will AI pilots be able to see through the clouds?

Unfortunately, at the moment AI sees through the objects, clouds, landscape etc. We do understand that this is completely wrong, and we will take all necessary actions in order to fix this problem in our next release.

There's been some discussion and some video about the modelling of the wind in the game. Will there be any other weather effects, such as rain or snow?

The wind is set in each mission. You can set wind directions and wind force on following layers: on the earth (but the wind will be automatically smoothed), 500 metres, 1000 metres, 2000 metres, 5000 metres. The direction and force at each layer can be various and, of course, values of a turbulent layer which is between wind layers. Please bear in mind that wind force can simply make you flight completely impossible as a result you will not be able to achieve your main targets.

Complex system of weather conditions is yet to be developed. In our first release you will have a few numbers of presets (options): "Clear", "Cloudy", «Strong overcast», "Rain" and «Non-flying weather conditions». In each of these presets (options) you can change height of clouds, time of days etc. By the release date one set of textures will be ready – that is only "summer", therefore you can only pick weather conditions from May till August. "Night-time" will also not be available. Not only because night operations were occasional during that time but also due to the fact that we were not completely satisfied with the realism of this element. It is also important not to forget, that sun position depends not only on day time, but also depends on a month period (e.g. sunset in August is different to May). You should remember these facts when setting your mission dates. 

Will users be free to create their own mods (aircraft, scenery, etc.), or would this conflict with the pay-to-play downloadable content?

Users can freely create their own mods. This is our main target. But taking into account experience of other developers, we will make our system a little bit different. First, we would like to avoid poor-quality content. Frequently modelers will begin their work, but unfortunately not able to finish it in due time and with due quality. Basically we invite everyone to cooperate with us but we will only provide responsible users with tools for their work so they can get paid for their time. Create a new high quality content, and we will help you to sell it among other end users. If you have made something really great - you will get money and glory, and other players will get pleasure using your context! 

Zeppelins! Will there be any?

Yes, we've got plenty of books about zeppelins on our tables. The physical model of an aerostatic body is ready too. But it's a future project and I cannot tell when we will start this work.

How soon do you think additional aircraft will be made available? I'm sure people are hoping for the Fokker Dr. 1 soon, for one! It's been said that sales of First Eagles WWI sim suffered drastically because they only offered three aircraft at the game release - I hope this isn't the fate of Rise of Flight.

In our point of view sales of First Eagles have suffered not due to the quantity of planes but due to the quality of the game itselfJ but once again this only our point of view. We are constantly developing new aircrafts for you and in the near future (after the game release) you will get S.E 5, Pfaltz D3A - D12, Gotha 5 and many more others. We have developed a complex model of aircrafts thus it will take us some time to bring you new models. Please just be patient and in exchange you will get real quality.

Question from RedVonHammer (SimHQ forum): what kind of distribution methods are being considered? Is there a possibility of distribution on Valve's "Steam" client?

Methods of game distribution will be traditional: we will have hard and digital copy. At the same time various combinations of these methods can be really interesting approach which we aspire in our project. Valve’s Steam client surely applies to our strategy conditions for Rise of Flight distribution. The Most important thing is that Rise of Flight subject of purchase is a client's key for our game with many different possibilities. Together with our key you will get two beautiful planes - Fokker D7 and SPAD XIII. You will also be able to purchase additional aircrafts on our Internet shop.  

Thanks for your time! Everyone eagerly anticipates Rise of Flight! Thanks for your continuing updates.

Many thanks to all of you for interest and support!