Whirlwind of Vietnam: UH-1 FAQ

By Scott Parrino 09 Nov 2006 0

A Question and Answer Session with Nikita Gerasimov, lead designer of Whirlwind of Vietnam

Why did you pick up this certain period of history for your game?

This period is extremely interesting because it was the time when methods of warfare started going through major changes. New control systems were being introduced, new military branches were appearing, entire doctrines were emerging and developing. And speaking about the development of a helicopter simulator, this conflict gets a special meaning, because the helicopter is a symbol of the Vietnam campaign.

What is the target audience of the game? Is it a hardcore sim like Enemy Engaged, an arcade like Comanche 4 or will it hit the tastes of the broad public like IL-2 Sturmovik?

At all stages of Whirlwind of Vietnam development, we tried to incorporate as many capabilities as possible that every player will appreciate. Environment settings, level of realism while piloting, target indication and orientation settings will enable everyone to determine their own priorities.

For experienced pilots we have created a realistic helicopter model, which is identical to a real aircraft both in the exterior and in air behavior. One will have to fight using this disobedient aircraft. But to be successful in this one must not only master the controls, one should also make good use of the flight map, thoroughly listen to radio chatter and scan the landscape, searching for the destination point.

An inexperienced person can hand over these functions to autopilot and fully concentrate on the action and the storyline, not getting distracted by the necessity to control the aircraft. If this is to tough for a player, one can switch on god mode and unlimited ammo and try to play "scorched Vietnam". They only thing one gas to keep an eye in this case is to avoid collision with the ground. There are different types of gamepaly and different settings - we hope that different categories of players will appreciate that.

Whirlwind of Vietnam: UH-1 promises to lay special emphasis on development of action and movie-style atmosphere. How do you plan to tell the story of Lieutenant Douglas Quade, and what is the role of scenario scripts? Any scenario twists?

The plot in Whirlwind of Vietnam: UH-1 is of primary importance. But our main focus is not the life of Lieutenant Douglas Quade, but rather the extended operation in Vietnam's Ia Drang Valley as seen by the eyes of our hero. Reconstruction of real historical events as they looked for their participant will make the game indeed dramatic.

The story is worth being shown from all angles that is why we concentrated on maximal authenticity. The operation in the Ia Drang Valley was the first large-scale offensive operation against the regular army of the Northern Vietnam. Units of the U.S. Armed Forces which used helicopters as means of transportation were actively involved in it.

Ia Drang nearly saw the repetition of the tragedy that befell the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. army during the Civil War, when cavalrymen were sealed off and suffered a crushing defeat. The same happened here - due to poor reconnaissance, a landing party of the 7th Regiment had to face an outnumbering enemy and was nearly crumpled. Only soldiers' courage and commanders' composure saved them.

Players will see and feel all of that. Though there will also be some surprises during the game.

Please tell us about the structure of the game campaign. What kinds of missions will we be assigned?

The campaign is fully devoted to the operation in the Ia Drang Valley, whose outcome was determined by helicopters. Pilots will have to fly several combat sorties using a heavily armed modification of the famous UH-1B and provide fire support for ground forces. However the game is not limited to merciless destruction of enemies. The game features missions that require not only quick reaction, but tactical skills for providing correct infantry support and choosing higher priority targets. Of course, all scenes are connected by a historical plot.

Fair Strike was criticized by many for the small size of its maps that provided no room for maneuvers. How big are locations in Whirlwind of Vietnam?

I do not think the two projects should be compared. Whirlwind of Vietnam: UH-1 and Fair Strike are on absolutely different levels. It we consider maps, for instance, in Whirlwind of Vietnam the operation area exceeds the standard size of a Fair Strike map more than a hundred times. Our game features 6,500 square kilometers of detailed landscape, and even the most exacting pilots will have enough room for maneuvering.

Is the player a lone warrior or will he fight in company of computer allies? Can he give orders to his mates, and how is this realized?

Of course, the player permanently interacts with other aircraft and helicopter groups. As to other crewmembers, we have developed a mechanism of alternating between the positions of pilot, co-pilot and gunners, which will allow the player to realize tactical concepts without having to issue orders, for instance, to open drenching fire at the enemy or to perform a dramatic bank in order to increase the firing angle.

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