Wings of Honor
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Red Baron II/3D - Tutorials




Setting up a Red Baron Squadron

By John "Jupes" Hansen



Introduction

I've been asked this question quite a bit lately (a great sign for the game I might add!) so I thought a tutorial would be in order!

In this tutorial I outline the basic steps to setting up your own Red Baron squadron. Follow this simple recipe, and you can hardly go wrong ;-)

By way of experience, so you don't think I'm just making this stuff up to drive you nuts, I've been the CO of the Lone Wulffe squadron since December of 1998, and I am also a web designer with my own business on the side (Hansen Web Design).


Preliminary Steps

The first step to establish your own Red Baron squadron is pretty obvious. You need pilots! I highly recommend that if you are considering this important step within the game of Red Baron, you have at least 3 to 4 friends that are willing to form the squad with you.

I recommend that you meet with your future squadmates and discuss the following:

  • What will your squad name be? (check the squadron links here at Wings of Honor to be sure you don't choose a name that has already been spoken for)
  • How will you incorporate your squad name into your call sign? (for example, let's say you decided to call yourselves the "Spud Devils". You might use "SD" in front of your call sign then. If your call sign was Hot Lead, your squad name would then be "SD_Hot Lead")
  • Will your squad be Allied or German?
  • What will your logo look like?
  • How will your squad be similar or different from the others?
  • What will the rules of ethics be for your squad?
  • What type of pilot will you be looking for in your squadmates?
  • What will your squadron goals be? (i.e. simply to have fun, a historical squad utilizing medals, ranks, etc.,)

Obtaining a Squadron Identification Number

Once you've answered the questions above, it's time to contact Flybert and see if there's a squadron ID available for your squad. Flybert maintains the complete list of all known squad paint sets and associated ID numbers, so you will need to touch base with him and get an ID of your own. Flybert can be contacted at
, and his repository for the squadron paints is at his site called "Flybert's Chateau."

Setting up Your Paints

Now that you have a squadron ID, you can set up your own custom paints for your squadron. Information on painting aircraft can be found at Flybert's Chateau.

When you have completed painting your aircraft, send in your paints, along with the associated configuration files, to Flybert so that he can post them for download.


Squadron Web Site

OK, now you have a defined squadron, you know what you are looking for in your pilots, and you have your paints. It's time to set up your squad web site! I recommend you consider having the following sections for your site:

  • Home Page: Your home page should have a description of your squad, and if desired, your squad history (i.e. how it was formed). Remember when you discussed what will make your squad different from the others? This is the place to spell it out! Your home page should contain the links to the other sections of your site, and should also contain a news section (or a link to a news page) and a "What's New?" section so visitors can see what has changed at your site since their last visit.
  • Ethics Page: This is the page where you outline the behavior that will be expected from your pilots that you discussed with your core group. This is your "code of honor".
  • Forum: You will want to have a forum for your visitors and possibly a passworded forum for tactics discussions amongst your pilots. You may also want to consider a chat page.
  • Hangar: Show off those paints you created with screenshots of your aircraft!
  • Downloads: You will want to make your paints and other squadron-specific or Red Baron related items available for download to your pilots and visitors.
  • Links: Important links for your squad and visitors should be listed here. (Hint: a link to Wings of Honor would be cool, and I'd be happy to send you a logo designed to blend in with your background *grin*).
  • News: This is the place to relate to your pilots the events that you set up for your squad or will have your squad get involved with such as Wars or challenges. (you can also use your home page for this, but if it becomes too large, set up a separate news page).
  • Pilots: A list of your pilots, their awards and/or rank if applicable, and possibly their ICQ and/or email addresses.
  • Recruiting: A page set up listing your recruiting requirements along with an application form or point of contact email address.
  • Guest Book: A place for your visitors to sign in and tell you how nice your site looks!

You can certainly have more pages, and the pages listed above are not listed in any particular order. As a rule of thumb for HTML design, set up each page so that it can be viewed within 30 seconds or less on a 28.8k modem connection. Photographs should be saved as JPG files, and drawings/artwork should be saved as GIF files. If a graphic is larger than approximately 20k, you should consider making a smaller version of it and linking to the full size file (this is called a "thumbnail" of an image).

An important factor that is often overlooked when building web sites are your META tags. Your meta tags are what the search engine spiders look for when indexing web sites. The meta tags for your site should contain the page title, site description (you should try to use approximately 20 to 30 words to describe your site), and the key words for your site. When using key words, list at least 10 to 15 words, separated by commas, and don't worry about repeating words with different capitalization. Just use lower case.

For more information on building web sites, check out the following links:

For free forums, chat rooms and other webmaster tools, you might want to check out "BraveNet". You can also check out the following links:


If you need a host for your site, check out the following free hosting packages (I've listed just a few - for some of these, you will need your own registered domain name, which can be obtained via Register.com):


Let Others Know About Your Site

Once you have your web site set up, you need to let folks know about it!

  • Submit your site to the major search engines. I recommend doing this by hand because the results are better and more accurate. A good starting point for this is to go to Search Engine Watch, where you will find lists of and links to the major search engines, along with submittal tips. You really only need to submit to the top 10 or 20 search engines, as most other search engines take advantage of the same database. In other words, those ads claiming to help you out by automatically submitting your site to 300 or 3,000 search engines don't really do much for you. After all, think about it… how many search engines do YOU use?
  • Submit your site to
    so that he can add it to the most complete list of squadron links here at Wings of Honor.
  • Trade links with other squads. You might want to set up a small version of your squad logo for this. It makes for a more noticeable, nicer looking link.
  • Submit your site to the Red Baron webring. For more information on the webring, click HERE.

Start Recruiting!

Now you have everything set up. You have your paints, a site, and a core group of pilots, so now it's time to build your squad. If you check the major Red Baron forums, there is usually a recruiting section. Here at Wings of Honor, we have a recruiting section within our Red Baron forum. When you recruit, you should keep your message short and to the point: Your squad name, what makes your squad different from the others (or what you pride yourselves in most) and a point of contact and/or link to your site.

I do NOT recommend advertising in the servers. This clutters up chat and is more likely to drive people away from your squad than to it. The best way to advertise for your squad in servers is to fly together and with honor. You will be surprised how quickly people start asking how to join!


Squadron Organization

Once you start obtaining members, you're going to want to refine the organization to your squadron (if you didn't clearly work it out at the very beginning), whether you have ranks or not. Following is a list of the positions you should consider having in your squadron at a minimum:

Commanding Officer (CO): This is the person that keeps the squad running and acts as the main point of contact. You should append a "CO" to the end of your call sign.

Executive Officer (XO): When a squad starts getting large, a good "XO" is indispensable. The XO is the person who gets things organized for the events that the squad gets involved in and acts as second in command for the CO (i.e. the person to go to when you can't find that lazy CO *grin*). The Executive Officer generally appends a "XO" behind his/her call sign.

Training Officer (TO): This person will organize training sessions for new pilots. He/she will also work with the CO and XO to establish regular training sessions for the squad to continually improve skills and to practice for upcoming events. The Training Officer should append a "TO" behind his/her call sign.

Recruiting Officer (RO): This person should be the one that concentrates on posting recruiting messages in the forums and be available to answer questions from prospective pilots. You can also use the RO as the primary point of contact to process new recruits. The Recruiting Officer appends "RO" behind his/her call sign.

After setting up the above positions, you may want to consider other positions depending on the organization and goals of your squadron. Some squads use a Warrant Officer (WO) to handle the virtual paperwork, etc. If you use your imagination, there's quite a bit you can do to keep your squad organized and running smoothly.


Squadron Communications

Proper communication is the key to a successful squad. You will want to consider having your own forum and chat room as mentioned earlier, but you will also want an easily accessible real-time chat option such as ICQ, AIM, and/or Kali.

A program that has really worked well for Lone Wulffe is EGroups, which allows you to set up a central base of operations for your squad, and more importantly, allows you to set up a dedicated email list for your members. We have found our EGroups list to be the heart of our squad communications, and I'm sure you will find it handy as well. EGroups is free, and more information can be found HERE.


If you are an experienced CO reading this and have some pointers to add, by all means
them in to me and I'll add your notes to this tutorial.

Good luck, and I'll see you in the skies!



S! Jupes