This is a story of Tactical Enagement flight in Operation Desert Storm (ODS) 128 segment Theater. There are many people who do not yet understand the potential of 128 theaters or dont even know what they are about, hopefully this article clears things out a bit.
The default Falcon 4.0 simulation theater Korea is the size of 64 x 64 segments, which is 10 by 10 degrees when looking the latitude / longitude Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data. Every segment contains 256 textures (tiles), the korean landscape is very much water if you come to think of it. If you look other theaters like Balkans and Vietnam (not to mention our example ODS here) the whole war region cannot be included in the 64 x 64 segment size that falcon defaults.
Here is a good example of the theater sizes. First of the default 64 segment korean image, dont worry about the map being a bit underwater and such, thats just TerrainView giving me hard time :)
The image right next to korea is the 128 x 128 segment ODS.
Default Falcon 4 Korean 64 segment mapview.
PMC Operation Desert Storm 128 segment mapview.
Now that still does not give you much idea whats going on, let me show you practical example of the size differences of these two theaters in reality. In this next image you'll see the default sized korean terrain imported into the ODS 128 terrain (yes we terrain geeks can do that!).
Wild map with Korea imported into 128 ODS terrain (just for reference). Upper left corner, the tiny korea, muhaha!
As you can see we can fix four korean maps into one 128 theater.
Default Falcon 4 korean terrain files (located in falcondir\terrdata\korea\terrain) comes to total size of 73mb, where the current compilation of ODS 128 is 649mb, Vietnam 128 is 431mb and for example Afghanistan 128 is 740mb. The 128 theater will come with moderately larger files indeed, also the Tactical Engagement/Instant Action/Campaign map files are larger, original resolution is 2048x2048 where 128 maps need to be 4096x4096. The ODS camp map image file size is 16mb. Here comes the limit for 256 segment theaters, I once tested the 256 te/camp map making for 8196x8196 resolution TGA image, the size was 65mb which is... umm lets say, rather largish :)
Also the TE/Campaign files are larger in amount of objectives listed. Default korean campaign as 2659 objectives listed, where ODS 128 has currently (not even completed yet) 5511 objectives. Afghanistan has 7791, Vietnam has 3771 and Europe has massive 16500+ objectives! So all these large theaters have alot of objectives even on the early stages of development. We can only guess how many more we get until all targets and important locations/troop placements are added.
fact sheets for theater sizes
64 map: 64x64 segments == total of 4096 segments, 1,048,576 textures.
128 map: 128x128 segments == total of 16,384 segments, 4,194,304 textures.
Thats lot of segments for 128'er, at least in tilers perspective ;)
Location: RABIGH Airbase in southern Saudi Arabia. Mission: Strike Baghdad Muthenna Airbase in Baghdad, Iraq.
F-16C loaded with two MK-84 bombs, two AIM-120B's, two AIM-9M's and full tanks of fuel, which comes to 13600lbs. The flight plan is set up that second waypoint is near the Iraqi border in distance of about 550miles, there are KC-135 tanker waiting for us to feed us some fuel. From the tanker we fly directly to Baghdad and bomb the Baghdad Muthenna airbase.
Loadout for our mission. Loadout, 2 MK-64's + A2A
Flightplan for our mission
Takeoff was 0910hrs. Nothing special here, standard takeoff routines in the sandy airbase.
Taxiing to the runway at 0908hrs
Takeoff at 0910hrs
0916hrs cruising at 20,000ft. The first waypoint is near the Iraqi border at the KC-135 tanker. the distance? nicely some 526miles :)
1016hrs, excatly one hour later we have first sight of the KC-135 tanker, right now we are flying at 9400lbs of fuel onboard. Opening the comms channel and calling out to the tanker crew.
First sight of the KC-135 Tanker, closing in.
Tanker on sight
Preparing to take fuel
1026hrs Thanks for the fuel, wish me luck. Now its the last leg for our target, Baghdad Muthenna. Excitement is starting to build as we fly in the Iraqi airspace...
Thanks for the fuel, heading to Baghdad.
Tanks are full
Next waypoint, Baghdad
1051hrs baghdad ahead, fuel status 5300lbs. Time to get busy.
Baghdad in sight, starting my attack run.
This is it, rolling!
1054hrs, Diving for attack, releasing bombs, say hello to Saddam for me!
Diving for attack, Bombs gone!
Bombs gone, say hello to Saddam!
Direct hit, oh yeah! burn baby BURN!
Yeah! burn baby burn!
Time to drop thanks and boogie my way the hell out of dodge... heading back to the tanker, fuel status 5000lbs. When I arrived to the KC-135 time was 1116hrs and we had 3800lbs fuel left onboard.
Dropping extra tanks and bugging out. Nice to see friendly tanker again.
Approaching KC-135 tanker
Thanks for the fuel and support guys, its our time to go home. See you later.
Preparing to refuel, second time. Thanks for the fuel and support, cu.
Thanks for the fuel
1120hrs back to level flight in 20,000ft above Saudi Arabia. Our distance to home plate is now 550miles... still along way to go before this mission is over.
Home base, finally! Its so nice to be home again after dangerous strike mission :)
1217hrs when turning to final approach. Almost there...
Back to home base. Final approach.
1219hrs we are taxiing to the parking lot, then we just pop the canopy open.
1221hrs parked this bird. this mission is now officially over. fuel status is 2500lbs left.
Parked the viper
that was some loong mission I tell you!
Summary of that flight. The takeoff was 0910hrs, air refuel one hour later at 1026hrs. Bombed the target at 1054hrs getting a direct hit if I might add (heh). Returned to the tanker 1116hrs and refuelled full 6800lbs load. then boring flight to home plate where we arrived at about 1215hrs. Touchdown at 1219hrs, excatly three hours and nine minutes later (3h, 9mins)... now that is what I call a flight :)