IMG's Tim Morgan has interviewed developer and project manager Michah "Yak" Bly about the upcoming World War II combat flight simulator, Target Rabaul: Pacific Air War 1941-1945.
IMG: Tell us a little about the setting and time period for Target Rabaul.Follow the link below for the rest of our in-depth interview and a gallery of screen shots.
MB: Our first campaign, New Guinea/Solomons '43, brings the player to late 1942. The Army and Naval Air Forces of Japan are fighting tooth and nail to hold onto territory captured in the early days of the war, while US and Commonwealth forces push up from the south and east. For most of the campaign, the air battles are fairly even: both sides are stretched very thin across a huge area. The terrain itself is very diverse, with volcanic islands, coral atolls, and the Pacific Ocean on one hand, and the vast jungles and rugged mountains of New Guinea on the other. Either side could win, it's the players that will determine victory or defeat.
IMG: One of the biggest claims the development team has made about Target Rabaul is its focus on historic accuracy. What steps are you taking to meet that goal?
MB: One of the reasons we started this project in the first place was that we wanted to finally see a Pacific Theatre flight sim done right. We wanted the right planes, the right flight models, the right paint schemes, and the right environment. It is very easy to get things wrong. We try to ensure accuracy by involving researchers, historians, and plane buffs in every step of the development process. Before we build a plane, we research everything about it: when it flew, where it flew, who flew it, which models were available, how critical was its role, how was it painted, etc. The research team decides on the markings and camouflage schemes in advance, and the 2D and 3D artists bring that research to life. Throughout the process, the artists get feedback and checks, so errors can be picked up early on and fixed. When we declare an airplane model to be finished, it's because we believe it to be as accurate as we can get with our information. But, and I think this is what makes us different, we will without hesitation go back and change it if someone discovers a problem with it. I believe that if you are building a WWII flight sim, you have to have that level of commitment to History if you want to do it justice. I used 'planes' when talking about the modeling process, but we apply the same level of intensity to the modeling of ground vehicles, buildings, artillery emplacements, ships, the terrain, and everything else that makes up the Target Rabaul environment.