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Sometime in 1998 a PC software company Micropose (MP) released a very light continue of a great WWII flight simulator Pacific Air War (PAW) named European Air War (EAW). Thanks to great evolution of game designing possibilities of that time was the game absolutely great and had a lot of improvements next to the PAW. In the game itself was (respectively in the original install is) possibility of piloting 12 Ally aircraft (Hawker Hurricane, Supermarine Spitfire Mk.Ia, Mk.V and Mk.VII, Hawker Typhoon, Hawker Tempest, Lightning P-38H and J, Republic Thunderbolt P-47C and D, North American Mustang P-51B and D aircrafts) and 8 airplanes from Luftwaffe (Messerschmitt Bf 109 E, G and K, Bf 110 C and G, Focke Wulf Fw 190 A and D and Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe) and other 9 ones which were non-flyable (de Havilland Mosquito, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, Martin B-26 Marauder, Junkers Ju 87 Stuka, Junkers Ju 88 C and G, Heinkel He 111 and V-1 flying bomb).
The game had choices of a Single Mission or Campaign (1940: Battle of Britain, 1943: European Theatre - from 1943 till the end of the war and 1944: Eropean Theatre, starting soon before the Operation Overlord till the end of the war also). In each of the campaigns there was a choice from cca 10 units, mainly fighters. The game was also equipped with a multiplayer. Definitely the greatest WWII flight-sim of that time.
Something later MP released an utility called Picpac Package. It was a program that gave you chance to create your own skin for each aircraft, corresponding cokpit for flyable planes and also to make your own terrain. And here the story of EAW starts.... The guys from MP probably did not realised that through the Picpac the game is quite 'data-manueverable', it was somewhat a gate to game-structure. A couple of fans started to 'rip' in the data, experimenting with changing the numbers in the files, hex-editing, etc... A great help was given by one of the former programmers, Mr. Charles Gunst, and also other guys a bit familiar with stuff like this.
Slowly, through simple skins they were going more and more far, for example with changing the sounds, hex-editing the text in the game, then modifying 3DZ objects files (which are stored also in text files) and so on. Thanks to their research new programs were made like Enemy Coast Ahead which offers a chance to fly with the rest of the originally non-flyable planes. The 3DZ 'dissections' also started. In these files are hidden the elements of each of the plane - it is something like a skelet of the plane which is covered with a corresponding skin. New aircraft were made, new in-game screens, voices of the pilots, sound of the planes, campaigns, textures of the sky, clouds, new ground objects...
I think that now the game should be called WAW - World Air War. The entire game is changed so much, that in some cases you can hardly recognize if this is EAW or not. We have now a plenty of campaigns with all stuff that is needed for a pure immersion. The game has turned into a phenomenon and has a large internet community. It is useless to write here which things are available now for the game - the stuff is produced every single day...
The EAW pioneers, the boys who started to upgrade the EAW, counted maybe 20-30 people in the beginning. They usually founded their own EAW-web sites and thanks to them many others became informed about EAW. It was like some fever that infected more and more people during the time. Thanks to all these facts, we now have a powerful community all around the world. Its members are creative and seem to like learning about the unforgetable history too.
The community also tried a couple times to get an EAW-data key, which would let us to fully understand the structure of the entire program, so then it would turn to a programming language in fact. Unfortunately, the community was not sucessful niether times because the MP was during the time bought by a mamute game concern Hasbro, which now owns the rights of EAW and doesn't want to uncover the key.
Further I would like to create my own big campaign Czechoslovakians in WWII. I've even tried once - I made a Czechoslovak Squadron Pack (check CSP). The fighter squadrons were made easily without any problems but the stumbing-block is the No. 311. (Czechoslovak) Bomber Squadron R.A.F. Here it's a bit complicated 'cause the game is primarily designed as a fighter sim and also nobody still made myself-satisfacting 3DZ wireframe of Vickers Wellington which was flew by No. 311 in the war years 1940-1943. According to my current knowledge, it should be made as a stand-alone add-on. Well, I hope that I will find some time in the further time...
The last thing I would like to say is something about my personal EAW-history. I got the EAW from a friend of mine somewhere in between the years 1999-2000. I was playing for a while but because I allways had tendentions to rip in the games I started to create skins. In that time probably the only guy from the entire country who was interested in this game was Karl (I must say a big thanks to him, he helped me in my very beginnings) and in the world really less people than today. I remember all the new improvements like ECA, ECA Panel, new campaigns, etc. My first thing that I ever made was lower British ranks, becuase this was typical for Czechoslovak pilots, who had no reserves so the high-ranked officers were mostly scratched out from active flying.
After some time I made my own EAW site - a pure childish shit . But the biggest problem I had was my fuckin' bad computer with a bloody weak 3D card which was unable to produce some better graphic, so most of the graphical rendering features (like changing the terrain, showing the prop, etc) were one big secret for me. But my greatest problem was that I didn't have acess to the internet at home. I had it just limited in school. All these factors demotivated me so much that I quitted the EAW after some time (1,5 year) and started to make stuff for other games, such as Caesar 3, Fallout, EA Sports FIFA or NHL collections and others. But now I'm lucky enough to have some better PC, whihc is strong enough to run EAW, so I can finnaly manage all that I had in my mind for the years - first to create a huge EAW site (the old one really sucked!) and second - to create a small virtuall monument to the Czechoslovak pilots, which were in my point of view the greatest heros of this nation and country ever.