Wednesday, March 07, 2007

CRASH AND BURN: Mein kampf mit Lock On


DD was vexed by a series of nettlesome crashes in the fields near Dzankoy.

Lock On: Modern Air Combat, the greatest air combat flight wargame -- ever, continues to chew into free time. Playing with minimal satisfaction requires the gamer to write his own scripts for battle, a process that leaves more than enough room to hang oneself.

Learning the ejection seat is a necessity in Lock On.

Ninety-five percent of the time this saves the trouble of having to resurrect yourself from the dead in the game's logbook. Scrabbling about on the desktop, you learn it's an easy but tiresome hack of a game datafile, a file that is thankfully not checksummed by Lock On each time it logs you as dead.

If you're a freshly dead Lock On user, open 'pilots.xml' in Notepad, search for your name, and set your status from "0" back to "1." Save.

In Lock On, the player can also watch NATO ground forces slug it out with Russia in the Crimea, a secondary feature of what is primarily a flight simulator.

DD created a microcosm of the Eastern Front for the Nineties, pushing a panzer abteilung of Leopards against a mixed Russian force of T-80s and assault guns, south of Rostov and Don on the cheap, while flying overhead as forward observer.

Lock On is still a beast, a resource hog even as a combat simulator which isn't a precise use of it. As higher numbers of maneuvering battle groups are added, the processing shudders and slows. It's OK if you want to watch the game play itself, something it does well, but not so great if you're in it for the lightning action.

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