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#1 Vlasov

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Posted 27 July 2003 - 05:10 AM

Target Flanders is making some excellent progress. We have now completed our initial plane set, which concentrates on Summer 1915. We have a Fokker EIII, two Vickers FB5 gunbus (one Vickers armed and one Lewis armed), a BE2c (with optional pilot's Lewis gun firing at 20 degrees to port), an Albatros BII (with a mauser 98 armed rifleman in the observer's seat) and a Bleriot XI to be used by both sides as a trainer aircraft.

Each aircraft has a variety of possible loadouts which include 20 and 50 lb bombs, stick grenades, Mills Bombs (hand grenades), and a variety of machine guns. Futhermore, the open architecture of the Targetware engine allows individual pilots to create and submit their own individualized loadouts for inclusion on the server.

During the period modeled, aircraft loadout and armament depended heavily on the creativity and ability of individual pilots and crews, and on the materials at hand at any one moment. There was little standardization of armament. The placement of bombs on the aircraft, for example, was almost completely ad hoc. The Target Flanders design reflects this to the fullest possible extent. Just as in summer 1915, Target Flanders pilots are free to experiment and develop the loadouts and placements which work for them and their flying style.

Our little corner of the Western Front is coming along very nicely. We have started with a 20 km stretch which is manned by 72 infantry companies and 18 field artillery batteries on each side. We have a total of 6 divisions in 2 corps on each side of the front, each with an appropriately sized and placed supply dump. With that density of ground forces, don't drop below 2000 feet unless you're sure which side of the lines you're on, or unless you really want that posthumous VC or Orden. Just some friendly advice :)

The scenario system is still moving in the direction I outlined in my previous post on this board. Each scenario is won or lost by inflicting damage on the enemy on the ground and in the air, by controlling specific sectors of the sky for specified periods of time, and by successfully carrying out air recon missions.

Since the destruction of observation and bombing aircraft fetches a much higher score than that of scouts, and since successful recon and bombing missions are the most highly rewarded activities (especially bombing of the supply net for the British and successful observation for the Germans), dogfighting is only ONE of the things to do in the skies of Target Flanders, and often not the most important. It becomes important only if it furthers the above mentioned aims.

Finally, we have settled on the first aircraft which will be added after Target Flanders enters open beta: The Caudron G4.

We hope to be able to show a Target Flanders movie very soon. Till next time.

#2 WoH-Webmaster

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 08:05 PM

Hello VLasov,

thanks for your report and good to hear that you are back to business :) . All that that sounds very promising. I am crossing my fingers and can't hardly wait till your next report.
Gremlin_WoH
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#3 Vlasov

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Posted 07 August 2003 - 02:36 AM

actually, you don't have to wait. We are scheduled for open beta this Friday :)

Here's the info:

Now that the Targetware engine is in Open Beta (details at http://www.targetware.net/index.php) we are putting together a guide in preparation for the Target Flanders open beta, scheduled for Friday August 8th. Here is the first installment

NOTE: Before attempting a take off, please read the Pilot Notes for your aircraft. They are available under "briefings" AFTER you have selected a mission AND a unit.
Report any problems to costo@videotron.ca or on the Target X forum at http://www.targetware.net under "forums".

You are STRONGLY urged to begin with one of the two training missions (one available per side). Once you can take off and land in the Bleriot XI, you can start flying other macines.
Lives are unlimited for the training missions, but they are limited to TWO per scenario (3 hours) for all other missions.

BETA NOTES

Known Issues:

The plane graphics sink into the ground a bit (worse for parked planes). This does NOT affect taxiing. Still looking for the problem.
The FB5 has a Lewis gun graphic floating above it. This is only a graphic and is not functional. The problem is fixed but the server has not been updated.
Our sounds are begged, borrowed and stolen. If you can put a good soundpack together, please go ahead.
The server will go down every so often while I update files. Thanks for your patience.

The July 1915 Campaign

In his History of the First World War, Liddell Hart called 1915 "the deadlock". With their ground forces alternately frozen, mired or baked, and with their ground offensives failing to "break the front" and restore a war of maneuvre, both sides increasingly took to the air.
There is here a certain irony, in that the respective air services, had significantly contributed to the creation of the deadlock by supplying commanders with unprecendented intelligence about, and warning of enemy movements and dispositions. Now, both sides looked for ways of using the newfound airpower to step over a front they could not get through.
The summer of 1915 saw the first timid, larger scale air operations designed to destabilize the enemy both tactically and strategically. Both sides rapidly determined that the threat was real and in an incredibly short time had fielded effective scout aircraft, the first air superiority machines.
This series of scenarios attempts to recreate the broad outlines of a typical day on the northern sector of the Western Front in July 1915. The place names are fictitious but suggestive of the area. The units mentioned are real and were in the region in July 1915.
As players, you will need to decide how best to employ the resources available to your side in order to damage the enemy and prevent him from damaging your own forces and supply organizations.
And remember, the fight here is one of position. The objective is to be the one to observe while the other is blind, to be the one to hit while the other is down.

"In nearly all cases where machines have been downed, it was during a fight which had been very short, and the successful burst of fire had occurred within the space of a minute after the beginning of actual hostilities"
-William "Billy" Bishop



Target Flanders: An open beta for the modding community

Target Flanders is first and foremost a team effort. We are all modders who began the project rather late in the Targetware process. We don?t have the resources of Targetware, and we don?t have the resources of the Target Rabaul Team. We do have a few very dedicated individuals with outstanding skill in their own areas who have done some quite incredible work. But our coverage is deep rather than wide. We have done some things very well, and some things not at all.

If upon seeing Target Flanders your first reaction is to say: ?such and such is clearly missing?. Let your second reaction be to create it and send it in. Odds are you will see it up on the server in a very short time. There will be no better way to learn how to create your own mod than to participate in the further shaping of a mod which is already well under way.

When you first fire up Target Flanders, you will notice many things missing. No, we don?t really have cockpit instruments yet. No, we don?t have tons of skins for each aircraft. Yes, our ground objects are really markers for ground objects. Yes, we only have control surface animations for a few planes. Well, you get the idea.

But everything you will see is functional, and has been designed with one single purpose in mind: to provide the most atmospheric, realistic, and yes, informative and educational WWI air combat simulation experience. We have tried to create something unique and which many say cannot be done: A gripping, intensely thrilling, accurate, no-compromise simulation. This concern for the accuracy of the simulation extends well beyond the traditional obsession with flight model, damage model, and gunnery. It extends to the air combat environment, the draconian influence of the ground war over action in the air, etc. Bottom line, Target Flanders is highly playable in its present state, if your goal is simulation of early WWI air combat.

Our philosophy is simple. If a given action was unthinkable for a WWI pilot, you better not try it in Target Flanders. If a given course of action was incredibly risky for a WWI pilot, without being unthinkable, keep it for those occasions when you have no choice in the matter, and hope for the best.

The air combat environment

We begin in July 1915, with a 20 km stretch of the northern sector of the western front. Don?t look for it on a map, it isn?t there. The airfields, the layout, everything is inspired by the Arras area, but everything is believable rather than true. That is a crucial concept for the TF design. We are going for verisimilitude rather than the straight jacket of absolute accuracy.

On each side of the front, 2 infantry corps are arrayed. These are made up of 3 divisions of 24 companies each. On the British side, 18 field artillery batteries are distributed among the divisions. The German artillery will be in place soon. It is a momentarily quiet sector of front with an average divisional frontage of just over 3 kilometres. Each side has a supply network composed of divisional and corps level supply dumps. These are important objectives and should be well protected.

The ground units and supply organizations are represented by traditional wargaming counters, each bearing a symbol which indicates its type: a cross in a box for infantry, a circle in a box for artillery, and a half-moon symbol for supply organizations. The level of each unit is indicated by a symbol at the top of the marker: a single I for a company or battery, X for a brigade (only artillery is a brigade level at the moment), XX for a division and XXX for a corps. Artillery also has the type of gun indicated in the lower right corner of the unit marker (for example ?18pdr? for British 18 pounder field guns).

The unit markers are all ?mud brown?. The colour of the symbols on their face indicates ownership: Olive drab for British and field grey for German (what else!). The size of each marker is proportional to what it should be on a miniatures gaming table top. The entire area of the marker can be attacked and damaged. The odds you will actually completely destroy one, however, are quite remote. It takes more than a couple of 20 pound bombs to really hurt, or even significantly disrupt a well dug in front line infantry company. But any havoc you create will in the end help your side win the scenario.

Training and Front Line Combat

As a new pilot for the Royal Flying Corps or for the German Air Service, you are required to report to the appropriate Training Area, situtated well behind the front. Log on first to the Training Area server, where Target Flanders veteran beta testers will help you with everything from your joystick setup to the proper techique for strafing a ground target. Once you have shown that you can consistently and safely take-off and land in the Target Flanders aircraft, you will be allowed to proceed to the Front Line. There you will fly combat missions. But be careful! You have only two virtual lives per run of a scenario! These runs can last up to 3 hours. Fly to live. It is better to abort a mission which seems doomed than to lose a valuable aircraft and pilot for your side.

Scenarios and Missions

No one in Target Flanders takes off without a mission, and without selecting a unit within that mission. All flying and fighting takes place in scenarios. The sequence of scenarios is meant to represent a typical day on the northern sector of the Western Front in July 1915. Each scenario lasts 3 hours. They are labeled 6 AM, 9 AM, Noon, and so on. All the scenarios have the same selection of missions for now, but this will change over time. The weather, however, changes slightly between scenarios. At the moment, there is one airfield per side (to be increased ASAP) and three missions available at the German airfield and four at the British airfield. At both the German and British fields, one can select a basic combat air patrol mission. The German airfield has an observation mission while the British field has a close air support mission. Both fields have a training mission. The British field also has a ?deep strike? bombing mission on the enemy supply net, which is only active if 4 or more flyers have selected it.

The distribution of missions is meant to portray the doctrinal differences between German and British airstaffs in the summer of 1915. While the British were concerned with agressively using air power tactically and operationally, the Germans reserved their air attack potential for more strategic targets, using large bombers and Airships. These types of very deep penetration flights are outside the scope of TF for the moment. The German missions therefore represent the German tendency to use tactical and operational airpower in a defensive and observation role.

There are a maximum of 4 Fokker EIII?s and 6 Vickers FB5 Gunbus aircraft available on our sector of front. The other aircraft are not limited in number. However, the number of lives for each individual pilot is limited to two per scenario for the early part of the open beta. This will be reduced to one at a later date.

A word on flying the fighters. While the EIII has a pilot controlled, synchronized forward firing machine gun (with muzzle flash even!) the Vickers Gunbus has no such equipement. Its offensive armament consists of a gunner controlled, nacelle mounted, flexible Lewis gun. Gunner positions are not yet mannable in the Targetware engine. It is therefore advisable for FB5 pilots to map their gunner toggle key to a joystick button. Set you gunner to ?safe? until you have achieved a good firing position, then set your gunner to ?clear to fire?. Set it back to ?safe? when the opportunity has passed, so that the gunner doesn?t waste all that precious and very limited ammunition. This is an entirely new, and quite thrilling way to fight!

Scenarios are won by inflicting damage on the enemy while preventing the enemy from damaging your side?s assets. The disruption and destruction of ground assets and observation and bombing aircraft is highly rewarded. The highest rewards come from successfully attacking elements of the enemy supply network. The destruction of fighter aircraft is not as highly rewarded in terms of scenario points, but may be necessary in order to achieve other, more rewarding objectives. In any case, the loss of large numbers of bombing and observation aircraft will spell disaster for any one side.

Note that flying outside the populated 20 km sector of front will result in a ?disengage? and bring you back to your airfield without further ado or ceremony. If you are in trouble, dive for your lines. The ground fire is withering down low and should keep pursuers at bay.

You can practice offline with unlimited lives in all missions by selecting the 9 AM Offline scenario. When you are online, keep in mind that lives are limited and act accordingly!! If you expend all your lives before the end of a scenario, report to the Training Area for more training, or to help new players get set up.

I am sure that any new flyer will have tons of questions. We will be there whenever possible to answer them. You can reach me at costo@videotron.ca, or post your questions on the Target X message board which you will find at http://www.targetware.net/ under ?forums?.

We are trying very hard to be live with the open beta by Friday August 8th.

If anyone is interested in hosting our datapack for download, or hosting the server, please contact me at the above email or on the Target X board.





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