At Skies' Edge: The First Update
The first considerable update to a game that reappeared from obscurity The reception of At Skies' Edge was unexpected, even by its current solo developer, Marckel Sky. As mentioned in our previous article , this flight arcade game appeared from years of unknown obscurity with a sudden launch on May 1st, 2023. And now, what felt like a potentially transient release for the sake of releasing the project just to get it out there, has received a considerable update. However, the developer continues to make it clear that their real world obligations and minimal experience with 3D modelling is a factor going forward. ASE version 0.002 was released on June 12th, 2023 with a seemingly short list of new additions. They may not seem like much to the average player, but these are very important updates that make up the core of any flight arcade game. The first mission, now known as "Operation Argus", is focused on air-to-air combat. There are no notable changes to this mission. It is also important to note that there are no significant changes to the flight model, which I had nothing but praise for last month. The speed and maneuvering system which separates the flight model into three speed regimes, while being augmented by an optional super maneuverability technically has two new speeds. Taxi and takeoff. The newest mission of ASE has a basic, minimally textured airfield to demonstrate this new ability. Speed is limited in the apron of the air base, stopping players from attempting taxiway takeoffs. Upon reaching the runway, the limiter is released and players can rocket into the air, hitting a toggle to raise their landing gear. The runway zone that unlocks the taxi speed limiter definitely needs some work, but it is functional. Players can also land mid-mission if they wish. The second mission, "Operation Desert Fury", is the new mission that introduces the bulk of the notable additions to At Skies' Edge. This mission focuses on air-to-ground combat, with multiple ground based unit types introduced to the game. These include tents, supply containers, armored personnel carriers, main battle tanks and watch towers. The most important units are self-propelled anti-aircraft guns (SPAAG) and surface-to-air missile launchers (SAM). The SAMs have a relatively long range when comparing them to the standard missiles and cannon carried by the air superiority focused aircraft, the MD-15C. In version 0.002 these are the only two original weapons capable of hitting ground targets. Fortunately, a new air-to-ground missile was added for players. Known as the PR-78H, this stand-off land attack munition is able to strike land forces from long range. Even outside the range of the new SAM units. While it is not terrain following, meaning it will run into obstacles if any are in its flight path, the missile does strike targets in a top-attack profile to clear smaller obstacles in the immediate vicinity of the target area. Its heavy fragmentation warhead allows it to destroy clusters of enemies with ease. Taking time to maintain distance and let the PR-78 lock onto targets at maximum range doesn't always pay off, as the missile occasionally cannot fly as far as the aircraft's radar can achieve lock. This missile can also be launched without lock. By lining up the HUD whiskey mark and the velocity vector icon at the desired target, the PR-78H becomes a heavily destructive unguided rocket. The current SPAAGs in At Skies' Edge are somewhat slow firing anti-aircraft units, but surprisingly are able to intercept missiles. They do not actively target the missiles like a close in weapon system does. The SPAAGs are actually targeting the launch aircraft, but if a missile flies into the anti-aircraft barrage it has a high chance of being intercepted. This threat can be minimized by the aircraft that launched the missile changing course sharply. This drags anti-aircraft fire away from the missile, giving it a higher chance to succeed. I strongly support this game mechanic because it forces players to be a bit more tactical even with the high volume of weapons they can carry. ASE 0.002a is an incremental update, which is big for this particular title, but may seem small in the grand scheme of things. As always Marckel Sky, its openly honest developer, hasn't promised much in the near future but has said the next update may include dialogue, a better mission structuring system and an overhaul of the current weapon system to allow for new weapons like bombs and rockets. On a personal note, I do hope a solution to the inaccurate gun reticle for the aircraft cannon is also found. My interest in At Skies' Edge continues as this unknown title from years ago now etches out its own space in the current indie flight game scene. It is an unusual story I look forward to seeing progress. About the Writer Aaron "Ribbon-Blue" Mendoza Co-founder of Skyward Flight Media. After founding Electrosphere.info, the first English Ace Combat database, he has been involved in creating flight game-related websites, communities, and events since 2005. He explores past and present flight games and simulators with his extensive collection of game consoles and computers.