Red Baron II
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
|Red Baron II|
|Release date(s)||October 30, 1997|
|Genre(s)||World War I|
Red Baron II is a computer game for the PC, developed by Dynamix and published by Sierra Entertainment. It is the follow-up to the immensely successful flight simulation Red Baron, released in 1990. Red Baron II was released in 1997. The game featured four modes of play: Fly Now (A quick combat mode); Single Mission which included several missions and a mission generator to create new ones; Campaign mode, which featured one of the only truly dynamic campaigns in a modern flight simulator and which replicated combat on the Western Front of Europe from 1916 through 1918; and peer to peer online play.
Aircraft and realism
Many of the famous German, British, and French combat aircraft of World War I are available to fly including the Fokker E.III, the Fokker Dr.I Triplane, the Sopwith Camel, the RAF S.E.5a, and the SPAD XIII. The game features somewhat realistic physics as it was mainly intended as an entertainment game instead of a true flight simulator, although the unique flying characteristics of some of the aircraft were implemented such as the gyroscopic effect created by the Sopwith Camel's rotary engine and the Albatros D.III's lower wings shearing at high negative G loads. The player also has to deal with problems the real fighter pilots of World War I faced such as gun jams, flak, engine damage, and possibly bleeding to death if they were wounded and could not land at an aerodrome in time.
In 1997 Computer and Net Player Magazine named Red Baron II the most eagerly anticipated simulation of the past decade.
In 1998 a heavily patched version of Red Baron II named Red Baron 3D was released by Sierra to improve several issues. Red Baron 3D is the patched version of Red Baron II but was also sold as its own game. The patch improved the game's graphics and flight model. The graphics engine was improved to include 3D glide acceleration for the 3dfx Voodoo series graphics card. The flight models also received much needed attention. Red Baron 3D or its predecessor Red Baron II also incorporated sound doppler effects in the simulation and ground forces are present in the simulation.
A final patch, version 18.104.22.168, was released shortly after the 3D Superpatch and greatly improved the multiplayer capabilities of the game, increasing the number of players from a maximum of 10 to 76. The creation of several dozen online squadrons is a testament to the quality of online play in Red Baron 3D.
In 2004 Red Baron 3D was once again recognized as the premier World War I flight simulation after the release and a multitude of subsequent articles in computer gaming and aviation magazines the world over with the release of The Promised Land's "Full Canvas Jacket Superpatch" for Red Baron 3D. One magazine (Computer Gaming World) gave "Full Canvas Jacket" runner up for "2004 Flight Simulation of the Year" being narrowly beaten by Microsoft's "Flight Sim 2004". Red Baron 3D was once again enjoying a renewed public interest a full 5 years after its initial release. The "Full Canvas Jacket Superpatch" is not available in any other work except directly from The Promised Land's website: Full Canvas Jacket
Red Baron 3D has retained its popularity within the community for several reasons. First, it offered a complete campaign modeling aerial operations from 1916 through 1918 - essentially covering armed air combat from all sides. Second, it was easy to mod - using bitmap images for aircraft skins. Third, and most importantly, the game featured a dynamic campaign which randomly assigned missions to the player and offered a variety of mission types. These included Offensive Patrols, Aerodrome Attacks, Balloon Attacks, Combat Air Patrols, Barrage Patrols, Infantry Attacks, and Defense missions.
In 2009/2010 Red Baron 3D was acquired by Mad Otter Games and republished for distribution by GOG.com and Red Baron 3D Official Site. It has also been republished in 2010 by DotEmu in a pack called Red Baron History.
A large community of modders grew following the release of Red Baron 3D. A series of complete works was released between 1998 and 2008. The history of the Red Baron series and the Red Baron 3D Community itself can be found in the links below.