The Chinese tree has been improved significantly based on lessons learned from tech trees. Those lessons are:
Japan -- it is not raw speeds that matter most, but rather horsepower as indicated by engine development
Brazil -- it is not the date of acquisition that matters, but rather the date that it was designed
Finland -- captured aircraft are acceptable if they are refurbished and used en masse
Sweden -- imported aircraft are acceptable if they are essential to fill the tier
The engine development guideline is obvious, but the others are not:
Without the Brazil guideline, Brazil doesn't get to Tier X (Douglas A-4 Skyhawk)
Without the Finland guideline, Finland doesn't really get to utilize the Soviet technology that found its way into the Mörkö-Morane and VL Humu.
Without the Sweden guideline, Sweden doesn't get through Tier III (Seversky-Republic EP-1) or Tier IV (Reggiane Re.2000).
So with these things in mind, and with a broader array of sources, I set out to improve the Chinese tree based on their large assortment of seemingly unrelated aircraft. By including aircraft captured en masse from the Japanese and used by the Chinese during the Chinese Civil War it is possible to fill the problematic Tier V and VI and complete three fighter lines:
-- the main line (BLUE) begins with Robert Short engaging Japanese pilots in a Boeing P-12 prototype demonstrator, the first American to die defending China's airspace (1932). Coincidentally, the P-12 was also flown by Chennault (future leader of the Flying Tigers) during his leadership of an aerobatic team in Alabama. His performance on the team brought him to the attention of the Chinese government, who then hired him to organize their air force (1937), and ultimately led to the formation of the Flying Tigers (1941). The Flying Tigers then become part of the China Air Task Force (1943), also led by Chennault, and eventually the American aircraft are turned over to the Republic of China (Nationalists) who are then forced to withdraw to Taiwan. Despite a large investment in time and resources with Gloster, the planned CXP-1001 jet did not arrive in time. American aid then comes in the form of North American F-86F, and Republic F-84G.
-- a secondary line (GREEN) begins with the Curtiss biplanes used during the Battle of Shanghai (1937), and continues with aircraft used by the Flying Tigers, including a captured and refurbished A6M2 (also known as the "Tiger Zero" or "Zero 3372"). It is significant because it was captured 6 months before the "Akutan Zero" and a mere 11 days before Pearl Harbor (also 12 months before Technical Air Intelligence Units formed). The air-cooled radial engine trend continues all the way through the line with Lavochkin aircraft supplied by the Soviets to bolster the Communist cause.
-- a third line (RED) begins with the Soviet Volunteer Group aircraft used to combat the Japanese (1937) before they agree upon neutrality (1941). The line continues with aircraft captured in Manchuria ("Operation August Storm" 1945) by the Soviets, given to the Chinese to assist the Communist cause. The Kawasaki Ki-61's and Yak-9P's both used V-12 liquid cooled engines so their technology is analogous. Soviet aid further seals the deal with Yak-17s and MiGs (1950). The MiG-15bis is eventually built by China as the Shenyang J2 in Shenyang (located in formerly-occupied Manchuria).
-- an attack line (BROWN) begins with the Northrop Gamma assembled by CAMCO (1934) and continues with the Vultee V-11 and V-12, the design studied by Soviets and developed further to become the armored IL-2 and all that follows.
Now, I recognize that this goes against precedent, and it is not my judgement that matters but rather that of the developers, but seeing that this is possible, and that the playable progression tells an interesting story, perhaps this is a direction they might go to make China more compelling, and the tree more extensive for that enormous market that might boost the game to new heights.
I am still working on a few details but I was kind of excited to get this worked out because it has been nagging me for a long while. I intend to account for the captured Japanese aircraft as variables (it isn't essential to rely on Zero 3372 ... Ki-44-I is also a good choice), and gather remaining details to the extent possible.
Edited by J311yfish, 21 July 2014 - 12:32 AM.