Len "Viking 1" Hjalmarson remembers EF 2000
" In Volume 4, No. 3 of INTERCEPT, the black and white dedicated combat flight simulation magazine that was published for a time by SIMCAP out of Kingston, NY, there is a full preview of EF2000 by Eric "Reckless" Pearson.
Here is how Eric begins his article.
Digital Image Design's EF2000 is a huge leap in flight simulation technology.
This advancement comes with a high price - it requires a Pentium for smooth graphics in high resolution. Software packages that have such high requirements on the hardware risk losing a significant portion of the game market. On the other hand, many flight simulation fans bought math coprocessors to play Falcon 3.0, so it is possible.
As DiD was planning this product, they had to weight the realism factor for every feature against the speed or hardware penalty. In the end, they chose no compromises.
EF2000 has an avionics suite that rivals MicroProse's Strike Eagle III and Digital Integration's Tornado.
Sigh. Those were the days.
It was previews like this one that provoked me to set up my first personal web site. I wrote up a few previews and reviews of my own, then contacted DiD myself.
Soon the "1st Canadian Tactical Eurofighter Squadron" was born.
Yessir, I joined the beta test team working on EF2000, and then in November of 1995 DiD released EF2000 to the world, an innovative simulation that went on to win a number of awards.
I still remember the beta team for EF2000. We complained about the usual things, and many of our suggestions were heeded.
We all enjoyed the experience immensely, especially as the TACTCOM and Super versions were released the following year. Back in those days CJ Martin hadn't been snapped up by JANE'S yet, and Clark Janes helped a few of us write an extensive online manual for EF2000.
The minimum system requiremets for EF2000 were listed on the box as a 486 DX66 with 8 MB of RAM and 12 MB of hard disk space. But the reviewers were consistent in recommending a Pentium 90 for smooth game play.
And we beta testers were badgering DiD for an upgrade that would support the latest hot hardware: the first 3dfx Voodoo boards.
Somewhere around the summer of 1997 version 2.0 was released in the US and contained the DOS version of EF2000 V2.0 (known in Europe as EF2000 Evolution) as well as an enhanced Windows '95 version of EF2000 V2.0 (previously called SUPER).
Version 2 included the Graphics+ upgrade for 3DFX and Rendition cards, a comprehensive 350-page manual, and a cut version of the original strategy guide published by Sim Tech.
It was THE KING OF THE SKIES in its day. It continues to be, in most simmers minds, one of the best products ever made.
At that time I penned these words for a review in a Danish flight sim magazine:
"EF2 v.2 is the best all-around modern military jet sim out there, and will probably age very well. Sure, SU27 has a fabulous flight model, and B2B has some awesome avionics, but who else puts it together with a dynamic campaign, a decent wingman command structure for good tactical play, and incredible graphics? And the avionics in EF2000 can stand on their own, requiring dedication to learning the systems."
My oh my, did we have fun with this one! The campaign mode was incredible, though coop multiplayer campaigns weren't supported.
Squadrons sprang up all over the internet for coop single missions, and there are STILL people playing this game. If you know someone with an older Pentium machine, find them a copy of version 2 and an old 3dfx board and lock them away somewhere.
MiGMan thanks Len "Viking 1" Hjalmarson for these recollections.