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Public Domain, Released On DFS E00 Disc


Game Type          : Strategy; Two-player 3D Dogfight

Author             : Adam Sandman

Standalone Release(s)   : 1991: AERONAUTICAL DOGFIGHT II, Ultrasoft, PD

Compilation Release(s)   : None

Stated compatibility    : Electron

Actual compatibility    : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128

Supplier            : www.8bs.com

Disc compatibility     : CDFS E00, DFS E00



It is the year 1996. The USSR having been dissolved five years previously by a series of revolutions, resulted in the creation of new democratic states. But with the collapse of the USSR, the arms' manufacturers for the NATO alliance lost their production market.


Therefore, in a bid to avert massive unemployment, a contest was set up to all budding pilots, with a prize of $10,000,000 to the winner - of which there could only be one.


The contest: 'A Trial By Combat'. This is the fifth year of the contest, and you have reached the final round, which is all that stands between you and the prize money...


Flying Manual

A list of all the keys used by each player to control their planes is given on screen. Firstly, the 'Flight' displays are described below:-


Flight Displays

Each planes' display consists of three parts: (i) The Visual Window, (ii) The Instrument Panel and (iii) The Message Area.


The Visual Window

The Visual Window is the main playing window, in which the 'outside world' is viewed. The ground and enemy planes are seen in this large window. Also, at the top of the window, five numbers make up the H.U.D. (Heads Up Display). Of the five numbers, the last one is the most critical. The five numbers are as follows:


The first two are the co-ordinates of the plane as viewed from above. N.B. The base of player #1 is at 0, 0 and the base of player #2 is at 1000, 1000. These bases are where the respective player can land to refuel and re-arm.


The number is the % amount of fuel left (at 0 the plane crashes).


The fourth is the direction (or heading) of the plane. This changes depending upon whether the plane is banking or not (and in which direction). The values are in the range 0-1000 and correspond to the following:

                 N  =    0+                 NE  =  125+

                 E  =  250+                 SE  =  375+

                 S  =  500+                 SW  =  625+

                 W  =  750+                 NW  =  875+


N.B. In order that the enemy plane appears in the middle of your sights, the direction value should be set to the base value of that direction, eg if travelling North, set to as near to 0 as possible.


The fifth number (and most important) is the amount of damage sustained due to enemy action. The maximum damage that can be sustained varies between different planes.


The Instrument Panel

This makes up what is known as the H.D.D. (Heads Down Display) - despite being situated on the side of the Visual Window.


This panel contains all the other important values: speed, thrust, altitude (x0000 ft) and the pod number of the current selected weapon.


Also above this, there is the tracking radar, which shows the relative position of the enemy taking account of the direction you are heading.


The Message Area

This is the thin rectangular box situated beneath the Visual Window. Warning messages appear in this window. One that must be noted, is the message telling the player that the runway is beneath. This warning means that the player is flying too high to land, despite being at the correct location to land. The solution is to descend.


The other message that must be noted is the weapon change notice - this appears and disappears rapidly after changing weapon, and so must be watched carefully.


Weapons Control

When an enemy is in your sights ("ENEMY IN SIGHTS" in Message Area), your guns will hit the target (if guns selected), but once the enemy leaves the target, the guns will miss, despite still being able to fire.


The missiles when selected will only fire when locked onto the enemy (NB. They can miss - unlike the guns). Once an enemy is in your sights with your missiles selected ("MISSILE LOCKED" in Message Area), the missile remains locked on, even if the enemy moves out of your sights.


Finally, the two E.C.M. devices (Chaff flares and the Radar jamming systems) activate automatically (if selected) if an enemy missile is launched - the fire key has no use with these systems.


GOOD LUCK ! ! ! ! !



Instructions' Source   : AERONAUTICAL DOGFIGHT II (Ultrasoft) Original Text File


Review (EUG)

This is one of the fullest and most recent public domain releases on the BBC/Electron market. It is a two-player game only which requires both players to crowd around the keyboard in order to get to their respective keys. (That said, it is completely unprotected, so adept programmers could easily add a joystick routine or use one of the interrupt driven utilities published in ELECTRON USER.)


The objective of this aircraft simulation is to blast your friend out of the sky. There's a bit more depth to it though - in fact, quite incredible depth for a PD game - and you are allowed to decide in which airplane to combat and what missiles to equip it with. You can scroll through colourful Mode 1 pictures of each of the six planes and their statistics but, while good, this makes choosing the plane is a bit fiddly as you need to remember the statistics until you get back to the screen allowing purchase.


It's also just as fiddly to equip the plane; you frequently overload it and, instead of allowing you to make an alternative choice for the final weapon, you are forced to choose all the missiles all over again! It only really causes a problem for a few moments though as you soon decide on the best plane and can select it and ammunition in just a few seconds.


Then off into the skies...


AERONAUTICAL DOGFIGHT II is a 3D simulation written by a master of PD BBC software Adam Sandman. His first venture on the Electron, this is not an arcade jaunt but a 3D simulation along the lines of the Hewson simulators. The whole screen is constantly changing and there are two line horizons, one for each player, within windows, suitably distinguished from one another. As each player rolls their plane from left to right, the horizon tilts quite realistically.


Player one has the top half of a Mode 4 screen, player two takes the bottom. Each have instrument panels and bearing references of each plane in relation to the other. Immediate account of the actions is taken and players are reminded of the keys before the duel commences. But listing the code reveals at once the thousands of calculations that go on between each screen cycle and explains why the program is so painfully slow. Even if both players immediately turn to face one another, it takes over two minutes to get a good sight! Additionally, enabling the Master RAM Board does speed up the action noticeably, but has the unfortunate side-effect of crashing some instrument readings.


You can do a lot of things with it but for gameplay, it cannot stand on a standard Electron and seems to have been converted just from the BBC Micro version [Also slow! - Ed] with more suitable keys substituted. Yet the loading screen, plane statistics and graphics cannot be faulted. In particular, watch out for an amazing introductory sequence with inventive Mode 2 colour switching deceiving the eye into seeing six flying stars weave into a circle!


With the elimination of the instrument panel crash bug on the MRB, this would be a nice simulation - despite the limited numbers of people who would have the equipment to make it a viable purchase.

Dave Edwards, EUG #48