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F-22 Raptor

Conclusions - by Bob Sebaste

" Easily the most pivotal sim in my "career" was Novalogic's F-22 Raptor.

F-22 Raptor was Novalogic's first foray into the multi-player arena. But it was my second.

If you will indulge me for a moment... My first 'multi-player' experience was with F15 Strike Eagle 3. A buddy brought his whole computer system to my house (maybe 1992) and we set-up via null modem. We were able to connect, and tried 'front seat/back seat' mode first; me as the pilot and he as the WSO. It didn't work. The two positions lost sync so we were not in the same place. When he clicked his radar on, mine turned off.

Then we tried cooperative aircraft mode.

He flew CAPwhile I went in to deliver ordnance. I popped up where he didn't expect me to be, and he let loose a sidewinder on me, shooting me down! I hollared at him, "Why didn't you IFFme before shooting?!" He said, "it happened so fast, I didn't have time!" I was so pissed...

But after I while I realized that it was so cool that I WAS shot down by my wingman... That I COULD be shot down by another human pilot. It was UNPREDICTABLE! It wasn't just another AI aircraft flying the same CAP pattern and reacting in the same manner each time it was engaged. It was a completely new dimension in the combat flight sim expereince that I had just tasted. I dreamed of a multi-player flight sim that actually worked well, and for more than two players.

In May, 1998, a friend who knew I was a combat flight sim buff gave me a copy of F-22 Raptor for my birthday. I don't remember what I was flying at the time, but I put Raptor aside for fully 4 months before looking at it again.

For whatever reason, I picked up Raptor again in September of 1998, still in the shrink wrap. I noticed the label on the outside of the box extolling the multi-player virtues of the sim. I loaded it up and booted it up. This was pre-3D acceleration and pre-cable modem... For 2D, the graphics were pretty awesome. I got the hang of it and decided to try the Internet multiplayer option. I think I was up at the blazing speed of 28.8K the first time I connected to a Novalogic multiplayer game. And the rest is history.

I was amazed. I remember coming out of my computer den with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning trying to express the sheer coolness of it all to my wife. She was suitably unimpressed, but she might have taken greater interest if she knew that impact it was going to have. Life as we knew it literally changed that day.

I quickly discovered that survival in the multiplayer arena was greatly enhanced by membership in an organized squadron. I looked at a couple of dozen, applied to 2 or 3, and was accepted into one called Hammerheads Squadron. I soon realized that membership in the squadron added much more depth and satisfaction to the flight sim experience. We had scheduled competitions against other organized squadrons.

Over time, as I climbed the ranks, I became Commanding Officer and held the office for a year. During that time, we incorporated Novalogic's later releases; F-16 Multi Role Fighter, MiG-29 Fulcrum - (Novalogic - 1998) (my all-time favorite) in their "Integrated BattleSpace (IBS)" environment, and F-22 Lightning 3.

We adopted VoIP 'radio' coms when they were developed, and anxiously awaited the availability of cable or DSL in our respective locations.

I finally resigned as Commanding Officer because the tasks and responsibilities of running the squadron were simply taking over my life. I was spending an unhealthy amount of time with it, and not enough with my wife and children doing family things. (You've been in the game long enough... I'm sure you know what I mean or you've heard the story before.)

In any case... Novalogic's F-22 Raptor.

I respectfully submit that it deserves a spot on one of your museum shelves. It may not be particularly noteworthy in any way, except that among the dozens of sims I have owned, it alone had the greatest impact literally on my life.

Best Regards, "

Bob Sebaste
2004

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