It's been a while since we last talked to GraphSim's Jeff Morgan regarding their new F/A-18 Hornet based game. We recently chatted with Morgan about their new game, that just happens to be based in Iraq. According to Morgan, development on the game is going extremely well and they expect to release it in the coming months.
IMG: Last time we talked, GraphSim was busy working on a new F/A-18 Hornet game. Can you give us a progress update on the game?
Morgan: We are currently working on missions, network play and finishing the ground texture map. The ground texture is new for us and I think will be interesting for flight sim fans. We are using satellite images of Iraq as our ground texture.
IMG: Can you explain a bit more about how the ground texture looks and works? How will it be different than previous F/A-18 Hornet games?
Morgan: In previous versions we used made up texture pieces and repeated them so there were no actual geographic or cultural features visible. This time we are using images of the actual terrain and lofting it using elevation points. On top of that we have placed 3-D buildings, vehicles, etc.
IMG: At the moment the U.S. is engaged in a war with Iraq. Are you basing some of the missions in the game on actual missions conducted in the war?
Morgan: It was sort of interesting watching the news of late about the war. Last week I was placing an enemy base in the database and I needed to figure out where "H3" was located so I used the mission editor (included in the game release) and zoomed in on the part of Iraq where it was supposed to be. There it was bigger than life.
The missions were mostly planned prior to the beginning of the war, however, some changes and additions are being made.
Really, the role of the F/A-18 Strike Fighter in this war seems to be much as it's always been from what we can tell right now.
IMG: Do you have a final name for the game? Last time we talked it was code named Target Iraq.
Morgan: We are looking at a couple: "Target Iraq", "Operation Iraqi Freedom", and (my favorite) "Shock and Awe". But we still have a week or two to nail it down for sure.
IMG: I understand the game is being developed by a small development team. Have you found that to be a bit challenging? And is that the main cause for the delay in the release of the game?
Morgan: Not really, we have always worked with very small development staffs. This project is certainly no exception. However, we will add more artists to the next project because of the shift to realistic terrain. We see this as a main thrust for future projects.
IMG: When can we expect some screenshots of the game?
Morgan: Come on Tuncer, I've only been promising them "in two weeks" for about 3 months now. No, really, we got caught up on the preparation of the satellite texture. That has taken far more time than expected mostly due to our inexperience in this area. And we want that part finalized before any screen shots are taken. We expect that will be any day so screens should follow right behind. So, "in about 2 weeks". Actually less I'm sure.
IMG: Last time we talked you were planning on releasing a version for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X, as well as a Windows version Are those still planned at this point?
Morgan: Mac OS X and Windows. No plans for OS9 for this project.
IMG: And finally, the big one. What's your target release date?
Morgan: That depends on the day I'm asked. The best I can say is we are approximately 2 months out from release.