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Offline Frankie

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About Tornado
« on: May 07, 2016, 04:59:53 PM »
Tornado is a combat flight simulator computer game by Digital Integration modeling the Panavia Tornado and released in 1993 for DOS and Amiga.

A target-rich environment with lots of mountains

While the game simulates both the fighter (ADV) and strike (IDS) versions of the Tornado, it is in the latter that it excels. Its Mission Planner is meticulous and the campaigns are dynamic. The weapons are many and varied (including the runway denial JP233) and sneaking in under the radar is crucial. As it is geared to low-level penetration, the terrain is very rich. Tornado was also one of the first simulations to offer head-to-head online dogfights. Together with its Desert Storm expansion, it is considered a classic of early flight sim gaming.

A Tornado IDS in a low-level daylight attack

Tornado is best summed up in these users' words:

“More than any other sim before or since, it conveyed the sense of a full world going about its business while you flew around in it. Trains going to and fro, truck convoys, other strikes in progress by the enemy, etc. I also loved the limited scale of the maps. One could plan and fly a very satisfying campaign mission within the space of half an hour. No need for warping and all that. Also, the flight model was no beer & pretzels affair but neither did you need to become a real pilot to be able to play! It's the perfect blend of realism and playability. Strangely perhaps, one of my favorite things to do was to nurse a damaged Tornado back to base safely!”
3dp (, 2016)

A Laser Guided Bomb, seconds away from impact

“Oh, Tornado is only one of the most realistic combat flight sims available, with an unmatched mission planner and more 'nice-touches' than you could count. OK, the mission planner allows you to direct up to 8 Tornados (6 strike, 2 air defence), with 15 waypoints, up to three targets each for the IDS (strike) 'planes, at each waypoint you can set the height, selecting terrain following (down to 200') or altitude hold modes, speed or time of arrival. You want to plan a multi-aircraft strike on an airbase, initially taking out the SAMs, then hitting from four directions simultaniously? You can in Tornado. One of the nicest things is that even the preset missions are not fixed, if you want to totally change the mission plan, you can, as long as the designated targets get hit it doesn't matter what plan you use.”
Andrew Mobbs (Google Groups, 1995)

Tornado's famous and most exquisite mission planner

Today this game lives on in the Tornado Tribute website and through the emergence of its assembly language source-code.

About Tornado discussion: Here

In Frankie Kam's own words.

In the days of yore there was one flight simulator than most stood out among the crowd. Digital Integration's Tornado. It wasn't a turn and burn flight sim in the vein of Falcon 3.0, but it had the read stuff in it to make it one of the best low-level action flight sims for a long time. It had an amazing mission planner, multiple modes of autopilot, accurate flight mechanics, two cockpits, murderous enemy AAA and SAM batteries, dynamic campaign, laser-guided-bomb runs, a 332 paged manual and a dazzling array of keyboard commands. Its weakest point was its flat-shaded polygon graphics, which was already outdated at the game's release in 1993, was also one of the game's strengths - it provided fast low level action even on a lowly 286 or 386. It was and remains a classic. A product of the ingenious programmers and designers, that was Digital Integration, UK. For a long time, before DCS came out, it was the only flight sim that allowed you to craft a synchronized multi-plane coordinated airplane strike against an enemy target. The AI planes would faithfully reach the target at the appointed time and one of the best feelings was seeing your bombs hit the target in at the exact same time as the bombs of your wingman, hitting an adjacent target, coming in from a different direction and height. In 2017, you have awesome games like X-Trident's Tornado for X-Plane. Just Flight's Tornado is another worthy mention. So many others for FSX, P3D and even Falcon BMS. All graphically jaw-dropping with realistic and immersive cockpit instrumentation and external environments. Still, you would be hard-pressed to find any mordern Tornado flight sim that has the complete package of AI enemy that shoot back, damage modeling, target destruction, dynamic campaign, mission planner, detailed environment, thick paper manual, avionics and weapons management. Tornado had it all in 1993-1994. That's why I consider it one of the greatest Underdogs of all time.

I created a fansite in 2004, the year I received my boxed set of Tornado, complete with maps, keyboard reference and thick manual. Over the years, as I saw the need to keep alive the memory of this game, .. no, simulator. In 2016, I decided to use the website as a test-bed for my JavaScript skills (or lack of), and I steadily added to it as much Tornado-centric stuff from the Internet as I could find. The site now contains over 400 Tornado-related links, the product of my scouring the Netbfor the obscures mention of Tornado.  You want magazine reviews of the game? You got it. You want mods? You got it. You want to know how to,play it on the IPad/iPhone? Done that. Along the way, I have met many other Tornado enthusiasts, many of whom share the same deep love for the game. Many others no longer play the game but have fond memories of it.

Me? I still play the game because it gives me a complete celebral  workout. I consider a flight mission to be akin to a series of actions, all done to the exact time and accurate sequence. In fact in the series of over 100 decisions and actions, any one of them done wrong could prove your undoing. So a successful mission is a mission done to perfection plus a dose of luck. 30 to 60 minutes of strategic mission planning, 20 minutes of flight boredom, followed by 10 seconds of sheer terror as you unleash your munitions on the enemy in the midst of AAA, SAMs and fighter planes breathing down your neck. Master alarms are flashing indicating loss of key controls. What do you do next? How do you keep your cool? It's the perfect cerebral package for me. If you want a means of having fun whilst stemming the tide of Alzheimer's and forgetfulness due to old age, this is one.

My humble, dingy fansite is at I also created a more modern-looking overview site at Each has a link to the other so you need not choose. Please do drop by and have a peek at my Tornado mania. I am just happy to keep a classic game alive, and if it brings you joy or many happy memories, then I would have done my duty.

Signing off,
Frankie "TornadoMan" Kam.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2023, 08:00:17 AM by Frankie »
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