|Tips on Dog Fighting||Tips on Bombing|
|TOD and Historical Mission Strategies||Campaign Mode "Cheats"|
|How Enemy Planes "Think"||How Scoring Works in SWOTL and TFH:BOB|
|Taking Care of your Pilots||Writing Custom Missions|
|Lost your "Code Wheel"?||Return to the Main SWOTL FAQ Page|
(Background photo by Richard Muth: Spitfire & Mustang at Duxford England)
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|SWOTL Home Page||Utilities||Aircraft||Missions||Modules||SWOTL FAQ|
"Sailor" Malan, one of the greatest fighter aces of the Battle of Britain, came up with the following "rules." Many other Aces have said similar things, in different ways, over the years that aerial combat has progressed, but since Malan's Rules were printed and distributed widely during WWII, we'll look at them:
Fire short bursts of 1 to 2 seconds and only when your sights are 'ON.'
SWOTL Tactics - From an Old Dog, by Keith Heitmann
"Being one of the "old Dogs" of the SWOTL Group, and a former proficient ace in SWOTL, the simplest most effective fighter tactic you can use in SWOTL is the good old pull-up-and-dive maneuver, which is employed when you are too close to a target you are pursuing or when you have an enemy or two on your tail. When the plane you are chasing is too close and he starts bobbing and weaving out of your windscreen, simply pull up into a vertical climb very quickly, and when your plane is just about to stall, drop your throttle setting back to abut 30% and push the nose over into a dive. Your target should be right there below and in front of you ready to be wasted. This maneuver works even better when you are being chased by enemy planes. I remember actually shooting down 4 enemy fighters in on long burst after employing this maneuver in one mission. They were nicely stacked in front of me like a deck of cards as I dove down on them.
"You need to keep your throttle setting low when diving from this maneuver so you can maintain control of the dive and not over dive the target and losing sight of them. As you come down behind them from above, you will be leveling out your dive as you descend and as you reach their altitude you want to be applying power and in near level flight so you can maintain pursuit."
What Keith is talking about is a very common trick. It's often called the "Yo-Yo", or "Zoom and Boom." It uses two advantages, Speed and Surprise. Both of these are keys to good Dog Fighting. Another key is summed up in the old adage "Altitude is life." Remember these things and use them to your advantage whenever possible.
However, there will be times when you just can't. It's pretty hard to surprise a bomber since it has many "eyes." And it's about impossible to use surprise, speed or altitude against a fighter attacking your airfield, where he has all the advantages. Still, the fighter pilot who has the advantage of height, speed and/or surprise can take out an unwary or otherwise occupied enemy before he even knows what hit him. But never forget that this all works both ways!
Tips on Shooting
You've got to try to make your shots count! When going up against another, the ideal situation is to climb up his tail and pour it on from point-blank range. But more often often you won't get this ideal position. If you get to know your guns and your own skills, you'll be able to hit them no matter if you are climbing, diving, turning, or even upside down! Keep these important factors in mind:
When leading a plane, remember that both the deflection angle (the angle the target is away form "dead ahead") and the size or your turn radius affect where the bullets will end up relative to your target. The higher the deflection angle, the more you'll need to lead (fine in front of) your enemy. Likewise, the tighter your turn, the more you'll need to lead him as well.
If you're a good pilot, you want to use
Mode (Advanced Flight Controls.) Not only will this give you a bit more
challenge, it also gives you a bit more control and can improve your
as well! To use them, you can press [Alt][X] during your mission. You
also set this mode as the "default" when SWOTL starts by changing the
file with the INSTALL program, or by editing the file (see the section
of the SWOTL FAQ about the SW.BAT
When flying a fighter-bomber, try lining up on the target flying level at about 200 feet or so. When the target disappears below bottom of the windshield drop your load. Alternatively, try dive bombing the target, just be careful that you don't dive from too high. This can cause you to build up too much speed to be able to pull out in time before slamming into the ground. Drop your flaps and chop your throttle all the way back before you dive to help keep you slow enough, however, watch out for those "flap damage" warning messages! (Accompanying photo, by Richard Muth: Norden Bombsight in B-17 "909" somewhere over Essex County)
For those in a B-17, you may find it best to bomb from 20,000 feet. Set the bomb sight to 35 degrees and line up on the target. Now keep the plane straight, level and at a constant speed. When the cross-hairs almost touch the intended target release your load. If the plane is flying slower than it should due to engine damage this won't work as well. If you are much higher or much lower it will also be off. You have to adjust the drop time according to speed and height.
A long time ago one of the "boys" of the old SWOTL GROUP did a bombing chart based on the physics observed in the game. It covers mostly heavy bomber technique. I believe you will find this in the file by Stephen Ames called bomb-tut.zip
(NOTE: If you are findinng that the bombs are exploding before they reach the ground, you have a CPU that runs too fast for SWOTL. See the entry in the SWOTL FAQ on Fast Computers to find out how to fix this problem.)
Hints for flying B-17 Missions (based on tips from Keith Heitmann)
Most of the historical, and other, B-17 missions that come with SWOTL will start in the air. However, in many of the custom B-17 missions you will actually have to take off from your home airfield. When taking off in a Fort technique is important or you can stall and crash.
Your best defense is a good offense. You have to work at defending your B-17 with your guns. Using other pilots of a rank of Major and up, with some decent scores, will help, but won't do the job alone. You must deal with the enemy fighters personally and can not rely on the auto-gunners too much either. [See the entry on Shooting in the section above] (Accompanying photo, by Dan Parsons: Richard manning a waist gun in the B-17 "909")
If you observe carefully, the enemy will have a tendency to attack from the direction that you are facing in your gun position about 90% of the time. So if you find yourself taking too much damage on one side, switch to a gun on the other side of the plane to make most of the attacks come from that direction. You don't always have to shoot down the enemy planes. You can also disrupt their gunnery and rocket runs, spoiling their aim, and make them break off and go around. Be aggressive, but conserve your ammo. There isn't much you can do to protect the other bombers so don't worry much about them. They are more or less cannon fodder that take the punishment early and allow you to get closer to the target.
As for the relative fragility of the B-17 in SWOTL, you have to remember that you are only facing anywhere between 1 to 15 enemy planes at one time instead of the hundreds that the real B-17s faced. Also, you normally cannot fly from England to Berlin in 10-20 minutes as in SWOTL, so there is an aspect of time compression involved here even in the normal mode. Given this reality, you have to remember that the damage you suffer in a B-17 by enemy fire is also compressed", with its effect multiplied to compensate for the time and the number of enemy planes you face. Therefore, damage seems to be worse than you would expect on each attack. Sometimes you are lucky and sometimes you aren't. The B-17 can fly on 2 engines when empty. You may have to rev the good engines individually up to as much as 85% and feather the two badly damaged ones.
One trick to avoid flak is to go down on the deck. Once you get under 200 feet flak no longer fires at you. This can help you avoid further damage on the way to or from the target, but it doesn't give you much time to recover if you stall. More than likely if you lose it at that altitude you will crash. Additionally, the `17 doesn't perform as well at low altitudes, so your chances of making it back home aren't good. However, this trick works well with fighters.
Additional information can be
found in the
Tutorial on Bombing, by Steven Ames, called BOMB-TUT.ZIP
Thus, the most useful way to boost your score is to shoot or bomb buildings after you complete the current mission. Often, for instance, we may equip our aircraft with drop tanks, even if the action is near our home base, to allow us to fly to a nearby enemy installation and wreak some havoc there before returning to our base. If you have a cannon-equipped aircraft, you can destroy buildings on the ground with just a few shots. I like to be rather careful with my shots during the mission, saving as many cannon rounds and rockets as I can, and then drop down to the deck for some real fun!
Master the skills of bombing and ground strafing and you'll be able to destroy as many as eight or ten buildings in a single mission. But, always try to land at your home airfield when you are done since you earn more points for that as well. This technique will cause your scores to skyrocket. Of course, higher scores mean higher rank, and a trophy case full of medals!
Some of the best targets are the oil depots. The tanks will blow very easily and they sometimes will set off another tank next to them when they go! Also, Flak batteries are fairly easy to take out, if you come in low and careful, but they aren't worth as many points. Finally, I like to hit the airfields. The towers can be taken out in two pieces for twice the score. And sometimes the hangars will blow and damage the one next to it as well if you hit it in the right place with a bomb or rocket.
(BTW, have you ever seen the "floating flak tower" phenomena? Sometimes the top of a tower will hang in mid air with a destroyed base under it. It's pretty strange!! You can download this Replay film if you want to see it better.)
If you're going to have to fly a long distance to get to an enemy ground target, you should always check your fuel before you leave. Sometimes during the mission, one or more of your fuel tanks may get a hole in it. It may seem to be full, but as soon as you fly for a while, it will quickly empty itself and leave you literally high and dry. Before starting on a long flight, cycle through your fuel tanks. Usually there will be one or two tanks you haven't used. Especially if you are using drop tanks. As you cycle through, check to see if any tanks you haven't used are registering less than full. Even a slight dip in the reading probably means that the tank has been shot. Since it will loose fuel if you use it or not, I try to run off the one that's leaking the most in order to get all I out of it before it runs dry.
If you're intercepting fighter-bombers, you need to figure out which ones are the escorts and which ones are the bombers. Remember that your mission is usually to stop the bombers, not to down the escorts. When you engage them, the bombers will not get into a turning fight with you. They'll simply try to evade and return to their course. Additionally, they may be flying lower than the escort. If you find yourself in a turning duel with a fighter in such a mission, you'd better peel off and go after the others before they reach the target!
Remember that damaged bombers will drop out of formation. Be sure to resist the temptation to finish it off right away. It will probably turn for home and be easy to catch up to later. In any event, it is unlikely to complete its mission. So go after the healthy aircraft first, then you can pick off the stragglers later. (When you do so, remember that they may well loose a lot of altitude as well.)
One strange event that sometimes occurs during Luftwaffe tours of duty is that your home airfield will actually appear with an American flag on it! If you try to land there, the anti-aircraft gunners will even shoot at you! It's a small bug, and was corrected in version 2. If you find this happening though, you had better find a friendly Luftwaffe base to land at. You won't get your home field landing credit, but you won't get shot down either.
Playing in the Moderate level is fairly easy. You start close to your target area and the opposition is not all that difficult. Also, you don't have to fly as many missions as you would in the more difficult levels of play. On the other hand, you can gain more points, and advance quicker, in the more difficult levels of play because there are more planes to soot down, and because pilots at higher levels of opposition are worth more points.
All other scoring considerations are
the same as
for the historical missions. (See the SWOTL/TFH:BOB Scoring
This short and sweet tip was posted by Brian J McCann in the SWOTL Web Site Guest Book:
When playing a campaign, send level and dive bombers to every available Luftwaffe airfield, then load up a P-38 and bomb and strafe the closest Luftwaffe airfield to its foundation. The other units will do as well as you do, and the war will be over in no time. Don't forget to strafe targets of opportunity on the way home.This is from Dan Crone (you can also try him at dcrone %40 banda.ntu.edu.au if the other address does not work.) He claims this has a 100% success rate!
Start a new campaign as the Americans, doesn't matter if you choose it to favor you or not.Another technique came to me from "Kto Nate". It seems to need virtually no actual combat work on your part!
Okay :) This is what you do. Go to the American campain-final victory.
may also find it useful to use the Campaign Score Sheets, from Frank
to help keep track of your progess. They are available on the
utilies page in both MSWord and
Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
|#||Evasive Maneuvers:||#||Attack Maneuvers:|
|1||Turn Inside||1||Head on|
|2||Split S (German 190 or 109)||2||Stern|
|4||Scissors||May Attack from Above, Level or Below|
|7||Throttle up, pull away|
Here are some other factors that affect the decision of which Evasive Maneuver to use, and the order in which each one is chosen:
Having a few pilots in your roster is very important since the trick to succeeding in the harder missions is to assign wingmen who are of an advanced skill level. But how do you get so many experienced pilots? Here are a few tips:
Building a Roster and Adding Wingmen
Every pilot needs experience, and the only way to get it is in the air. However, you can't do this too quickly or you won't survive long enough to have much of anything. Start out on a few simple missions that will build up the score. Remember that Training missions don't add to your score, so they are for Training only. Rather, you can use the Missions Builder to make a few "simple" missions that can give you some easy points. I've done this with my B-17s since I'm not very good at bomber missions. Once you have a few of these under your belt you can go out on a few of the "regular" SWOTL missions.
Now, suppose you want to get a new "squadron" formed up and don't have time to build up several pilots from scratch? You can always "clone" a few! Sure, take one of your best scoring pilots and make copies of him with a different name (see the section below on using the DOS COPY command.) So HARRY.USA can also become TOM.USA and DICK.USA in a matter of seconds. Just be careful to use the same type of pilot. For this reason, I like to name my B-17 "crews" with a plane name, like SWEETSUE.USA, or BOCKSCAR.USA for example. (I also like to "alphabetize" the names of wingmen and bombers so that they stay together in the Roster, which always lists the names in that kind of order.) With a little care, you can also copy pilots from one side to the another. A Top Ace Me262 pilot can be copied as a Mustang pilot by changing the extension from *.GER to *.USA instead.
Reviving "Lost" Pilots
There are several ways to put pilots who have been "lost" back into service. A number of utilities will do it for you, some of them can even be run from within SWOTL. The ones I use the most are the SWOTL Manager, and its companion program, TDC (Tour of Duty Center), for my TOD pilots who are "lost." There are also 2 things you can do yourself, without any extra utilities.
NOTE: ALWAYS back-up your pilot file before doing this (as listed above), until you get the hang of it!
As you enter all of the information you've gathered thus far, pay close attention to details like locations on the map. If you want different units to stay close together you may need to "zoom", or magnify, the map to make precise locations. Using land marks helps a lot!
Now you must test your mission to see how it performs, and undoubtedly, go back and make some changes. It's a good idea to jot down some notes as you fly it (hit [Alt][P] to pause first) so that when you return to the Mission Builder you can make the proper changes to anything that's not quite right. There will be a lot of this fine tuning in any truly good mission.
Making your Custom Mission More Difficult
I'm afraid you are stuck with a 16 plane limit. The problem is that the program will not know how to handle more than sixteen aircraft at any one time. To make it handle more the entire program code of SWOTL would probably have be rewritten.
The only way I have found to give you at least the "feel" of more planes is to construct missions where each plane is a "group" or, in other words, each group only has one plane. You then set the "waves" function to the appropriate number. If you load BODEN.MIS or AIRRAID.MIS that I created into the Mission Builder you will see what I mean. You start with 8 planes against you. However, each enemy plane is a group all by itself. As you engage this enemy group and shoot down the first enemy and start after the second, the first plane's replacement aircraft is already on its way into the battle.
Normally, the new planes are not created until all the planes of the group are shotdown. However, since you only have one plane in a "group" as soon as he gets shotdown his replacement is created. So instead of having to shootdown 3 or 4 enemy planes and have 3 or 4 new ones finally created and sent into battle you only have to shoot one down and his replacement is on its way. This has the effect of keeping the pressure on the player. He will rarely face less than 6 or 7 aircraft at any one time in the battle and the combat should be nearly continuous until the "waves" run out.
Writing SWOTL Briefing Files
Briefing files can add fun, and clarity, to custom SWOTL missions. Mission Briefings are simply ASCII text files. These can be created with any word processor or text editor capable of saving a file as "plain text" (no formatting codes.) You might want to look over some of the TXT files from the missions that come with SWOTL, or those written by some of the legendary Mission creators (like Keith, Sturmer or Tom Dugan, to see what they look like in your text editor.
There are a few rules you must follow when writing Briefings:
Be descriptive, and/or creative in your briefing. If this is a historically based mission, tell about the real one you based it on. In other missions, set the "scene" with a short story. You can give some idea about what to expect, but don't give it all away; be careful how many hints and tips you put in the briefing! And, lastly, give yourself some credit! If you share this with friends, or other SWOTL fans, add a line at the end about who conceived and wrote the mission and briefing.
Additional information can be
found in the custmiss.txt
file available on-line.
There are a few ways to do this. Let me list the three major methods here. Two require a bit of file editing, so you will want to make a back-up copy of the file in question first!! The first replaces some files, so I'd still make back-ups, just in case.
The easiest, and by far the best way is to "upgrade" to the Air Combat Classics version of SWOTL. This version no longer uses the code wheel at all! You can try using the ACCSWOTL file to do this. If you have TFH:BOB and/or BH1942 as well, you might try the BOB-BH_U.ZIP file instead of the fixes below.
These next two methods require some
The easiest is to simply change all the "codes" that you would have to
type in to "empty strings" so that you don't have to type in anything!
You do this by using the DOS program called DEBUG, like so:
Go to the DOS Prompt and type the following
COPY \SWOTL\FE\NAMES.PAC *.PA
(This makes a backup of the file in case things go wrong...)
F CS:100 0357 00
This "blanks out" the entire contents of the NAMES.PAC file. Now, when you run the game, at the "code" prompt press ENTER and things will run just fine!
Another technique is to edit the
To do this you need access to a program that allows "Hex Editing" and
Searching" on your files. Under DOS you can use HEX-EDIT.ZIP
located here, or UltraEdit for Windows. Of course, you would
make a back-up of \SWOTL\FRONTEND.OVL !! Next, use your editor to
for the following string (NOTE: 0 = Zero, NOT "oh") :
3D 1A 00 75 21 0E E8
and change it to:
3D 1A 00 EB 11 0E E8
OR, you can search the NOTCAMP.OVL file for :
42 DE 74
and change it to:
42 DE EB
Either way, this will eliminate the ID code prompt entirely! If you don't want to try these yourself, you can look for some ready made fixes using an internet search. (Sorry, the link I had is no longer valid, and I don't won't post them here to avoid trouble with LucasArts.)
For TFH:BOB you can try either of these
COPY BOB.EXE BOB.ORI
(Just in case...)
REN BOB.EXE BOB.BIN
(DEBUG won't do .EXEs)
E 7758 90 90
REN BOB.BIN BOB.EXE
(Make the file Executable again.)
OR, you can search the BOB.EXE file for :
36 24 75 08 b8 01
and change it to:
36 24 90 90 b8 01
You now will no longer need to "Tune