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LockOn: Flaming Cliffs 2
LockOn: Flaming Cliffs
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Eagle Dynamics The Fighter Collection


Creation technology
Aircraft models
Landscape representation
Graphical effects
General equations
Flight characteristics setting


The landscape used in LockOn is very similar to that of the real terrain. It is achieved by using space and ground mapping photography and as well as maps and geographic information systems.

Creation technology

The development technology for the 3D landscape is based on wide usage of space and ground mapping photography as well as maps and geographic information systems.

Initially, we worked with space stereo-photography and/or paper maps. 1:200000 scale (2 kilometers in 1 centimeter) is enough for such maps. For satellite photographs, the sufficient accuracy is 10 m (10 meters in 1 pixel). Here is what a satellite photograph with 10 m resolution looks like.
Using stereo-photography and special programs, an elevation map for the terrain is calculated. Using stereo-photography with 10 m resolution, we achieve the 30 m accuracy of the elevations, which fully meets the requirements for flight simulations. Satellite photographs are also used for ground texture preparation. After processing the photographs and paper maps, we get a digital map similar to this picture. The geographic information system (GIS) is applied for processing and storage of such maps.
Only the information necessary for use in the simulator (roads, bridges, rivers, settlements, etc) is taken from the GIS format. Here is what a map looks like in LockOn mission editor.
Using this information and a height elevation map, a 3D landscape with a network of roads, rivers, and population centers is generated. The whole terrain is then textured. Satellite images and airborne photographs, combined with a program for automatic texture generation, is used for this purpose. Different objects such as houses, trees, power lines, ports, and military installations are positioned on the terrain manually and automatically. After that, all the locations are downloaded into the internal format of the simulator. Here is what a completed terrain in the LockOn mission editor looks like.


Graphics realism and quality is one of the key success factors a flight simulator. The visual quality of cockpits, the realistic rendering of aircraft, landscape and graphical effects (such as explosions, fire, smoke, etc) are carefully taken into account.

Aircraft models

When developing 3D aircraft models, there are two opposite objectives to be reached: the maximum similarity to the original aircraft whilst using the minimum number of polygons, parts and texture size. To reach the first objective, there are detailed drawings of aircrafts to use. When there is a lack of detailed drawings, the drawings are produced from sketches and even photos. In this case, the design of the mechanical moving parts of the aircraft is especially difficult, and has to be done by using extrapolations by the designers and 3D artists. This is how the polygonal model of an F/A-18C looks during the 3D design process.
This screenshot shows the final F/A-18C as rendered with the game's graphics engine. The complexity of the moving parts is clearly visible. In total, this 3D model has 15,800 polygons and 440 sub shapes.
Special efforts are put into the creation of aircraft textures. An aircraft skin has four textures of 1024x1024 size and one 512x512. The total volume of textures is 17 MB. Not only camouflage painting and insignias are put on the textures, but also technical details such as seams, rivets, etc. It can all be seen here in this screenshot.

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