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#1392151 - 08/03/04 05:18 PM The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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S! All!

This is not a nay-sayer post calling for the end of the world. I don't believe that the sky is falling or that there will never be another flight simulator. I do however believe that the flight simulator market is struggling, and further I believe that most of the problems are entirely the fault of the flight sim community.

So what is the problem?

Most would say that the problem is that there are not enough people interested in propeller-based combat flight simulations. I disagree. Certainly this is a problem, but it is a problem that I believe is caused by another, underlying problem: I believe we have allowed our egos to get in the way of practicality and made our genre inaccessible to many new potential players.

What is the goal of a simulation? That's easy - right? The goal of a simulation is to make something as close to real as possible; to simulate the real thing. So why is it that whenever we read an interview with real pilots flying modern flight simulators (like Forgotten Battles) they all say that the simulator is harder than real life? Think about that for a minute before you read any further. Is it really our goal to have simulators that are harder than the real thing? Is that what simulators should do? What does that do to the sellability of flight simulators? Flight simulations have a reputation for being too hard. Part of that is because flying aircraft in combat is hard, but we are not doing ourselves any favors by making it even harder in the games than it is in real life.

If our goal is to make ourselves look better by making a game that is harder than the real thing, then we are succeeding. This however also makes it darn near impossible for new players to get involved in our hobby. Yeah - they can 'turn off' realism settings, but that goes against the instincts of a flight sim hobbyist. The Quake crowd might like god mode, but the flight sim crowd does not. People who fly simulators want a realistic simulator and thus want to fly with the realism cranked all the way over. If that makes the game too hard, most players will shelve the game rather than fiddle with realism settings. The hardest settings in a game should reflect the closest settings to real flight. There should be NO settings that make a game even harder than the real thing. And joystick settings? Why would a new pilot want to fiddle with joystick settings? And you need different joystick settings with each plane??? Come on now! That will work for those of us who have been flying sims for years, but a new pilot will stall a couple of times and then buy Doom 3.

If the flight simulation world wants to survive, we need to re-prioritize our expectations back to what they used to be. More realistic = better. When harder = less realistic, then harder is bad.

What would a more realistic flight simulator be like? Well, it would be easier to fly than contemporary sims (like Forgotten Battles). That would make it more accessible to newer players. It would also make us focus on the dynamics of the dogfight rather than the dynamics of the game. Believe me when I tell you that when you fly a well modeled flight sim against another good pilot, you won't think it is easy. But you WILL have to focus on the dynamics of the FIGHT rather than just the dynamics of the game.

And let us talk for a moment about plane performance. As long as the developer makes a realistic effort how about we give them a break? How much development time goes into trying to make every plane fly absolutely perfect according to historical statistics? And what does that get us? Even if we could agree on statistics, historical matchups are usually biased in favor of one side or the other. I for one would rather have great matchups even if they are not entirely historically accurate. I want it historically close, but I like to see a developer keep things even. I like different planes with different capabilities, but I also like a real chance to win if I fly my plane within its most favored flight techniques. I dont give a rip whether or not my 109 is 2 MPH faster or slower than in real life. I only care how it matches up against its contemporaries. Is it close? Do I have a good matchup? Thats good enough for me.

When we force developers to spend more time fiddling with individual plane performance statistics than with any other part of the game, we are also forcing them to increase their development costs. Our drive for harder and harder sims with more and more historical accuracy is making flight sims more difficult to sell and at the same time more expensive to create. This in turn makes flight simulations less profitable. Now we are facing a world where nobody wants to make a flight sim. We want to blame the developers, but really we ought to blame ourselves. This is entirely our fault.

So what is the solution? The first part is realistic expectations. It was stupid of us to keep demanding that flight simulations get harder even after they caught-up with the difficulty of real flight. Now we need to ask that the difficulty be scaled-back to make a more realistic experience. Im not going to get into a debate about what specific settings that means. Rather I am going to say that we need to change the whole rationale used for realism settings. It is also stupid for us to argue with developers over and over again about the flight characteristics of different planes. Are they close? Do they matchup well against one another? If so, then good enough!!

The second thing we need to do is tell the game publishers we are willing to pay more for quality flight simulators than for other games. Game developers dont care about sales quantities as much as they care about sales dollars. If they get more money for each copy, then they dont need to sell as many copies. We can create more demand just by paying more. How much more? I dont know the answer to that. I know that I would be willing to pay $150 for a good flight simulation. That doesnt mean $150 is the right number though. New players might not be willing to pay that much. But let the marketing people figure that out. We just need to make sure the game publishers understand that we are willing to pay more for quality. We are not the Quake crowd. The economic model they use for Quake games does not apply. They need to use a different economic model to make flight simulations profitable.

Third, the developers need to cut development costs. There are a number of open-source flight simulation engines out there. Some of these engines are quite advanced. Why not use one? As long as you dont use the open-source engine in such a way that it makes your product a derivative work, you dont have to open your code. That may take some fancy marketing. Maybe you have a free game with one plane for each side and one map (representing the open source part) and then you have a $100 package (or whatever the cost is) with the rest? Maybe you give out the SP game for free and then sell the multi-player part. My point is that the developers dont need to keep re-inventing the wheel. They can all use the SAME basic flight model. By using open-source pieces game companies would be able to make great games at minimal expense and with maximum profit. Everyone wins.

I think that covers it! It IS possible to make and sell a great flight simulation. It IS possible to make money doing it. It may not be easy to do, but few things worth doing are easy. And doing this will take some work from both the consumer-base (which in our case has become down-right anal) as well as the developer side.

Thoughts?

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#1392152 - 08/03/04 08:43 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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Salute RAF74 Wall-Dog!
Great Post!
I just want to add a few things that i think is destroying PC gaming. Xbox & PS2 consoles are the big money makers right now. They are way to easy to play, no messing around trying to tweek your anything to beable to play the game. Gamers have always liked to upgrade there puters to get a advantage over the playing field. I don`t think the new generation of gamers are all that inpressed with computers anymore. The internet isn`t all that exciting as it was in the late 90s.
I no puters have a funner and more realistic games, but PS2 & Xbox isn`t that far behind. Once they come out with next generation consoles watch out. We probable all be using them. I hardle ever see anyone using there puters anymore for gaming. I believe we are a dieing breed of gamers. The puters have to be to big and powerful to play the new games. Especially at full detail. So what do buyers do, they buy a 200 console and don`t have to upgrade anything for a few years. Everyone is on a even playing field for online games. Computers online gaming your always against people with faster connections plus bigger cpu and vedeo cards. We all no that speed and power in gaming gives you great advantages over your opponents.
Take Care!
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#1392153 - 08/03/04 11:06 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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I compliment you Wall-dog and Capt.Rooster both for two excellent posting, and I would like to say that there are some VERY astute observations here for the reader, some of which I am only now coming to realize myself!

Perhaps much of what Wall-dog's words express is the need for eminent simulation playability to be tied to an alluring sense of realism. I've really never thought of making a qualitative comparison between simulating realism, and simulating harder realism, but this is an excellent way to approach the on-going debate between simulation playability, the fun factor, and hardcore realism as opposed to a simulated feel of authenticity.

Firstly, I've always felt that more-real, means more-fun, well now I'm not so sure. Because as Wall-dog puts it, sometimes more-real means too-hard-real, and a loss of playabilty, as well as introducing a factor which threatens to raise the benchmark for developers so high that it jeopardizes to stifle our genre's future!

A personal case in point may be my current experience in two on-going WWI mod developments, both having high-fidelity modeling, good to great graphics, and "open-source" coding. One to me is superbly playable, although it's flight modeling may not be as dynamically demanding as it could be, while the other is so "realistic" as to threaten to smother any desire or ability I have to enter into the FIGHT with it! Now I thought an "ultra-realistic" mod would undoubtedly trump the latter iteration, but now I'm beginning to loose enthusiasm for it, because it almost seems to be pretending to be real, by just being "real hard". The end result of this experience is that I'm now longing to jump back into my "imperfect" experience, because it's a perfectly playable mod!

I still believe in the stalwart goals of quality and immersion, but as Wall-dog expresses, I'm beginning to have real doubts about the need for hard-realism, as opposed to convincing, but eminently playable realism, with the adjunct of game appeal and ease of development thrown into the equation!

This is truly a set of issues I'm finding quite relevant, not only because of my current flight sim experiences, but also because it's something that most certainly may relate to our hobby in general, and in a much broader way, as Wall-dog and Capt.Rooster have explained above.

Sorry if I may have been a bit behind the ball in understanding this, but I'm really starting to "get it" now!

Thanks guys for taking the time to form these thoughts, and to present them here for us!

#1392154 - 08/03/04 11:34 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Interesting reading. Can you do me a favour and just change the heading of your thread to be less abrasive? It's sitting right on top of the WW1 sim poll and kind of puts a damper on things.

It's generally not wrong for simmers to ask the limits to be pushed because we are the market that will purchase the product and things should progress in simulations gaming in one form or another.

I agree about some of us not seeing the forest from the trees. Remember that article for IL2FB where an actual test pilot gave settings that felt were closer to the real thing? We could not accept the settings and the fact we were playing a game and had to debate away his findings. Funny enough, it was the limitations of our sim games and our computers that made up the brunt of the debate. Proving once again, we have a long, long way to go. That is why they are called Simulations and not Real Life. We need to take a step back and reassess our wants and needs.

Much as people like to degrade them for some reason, the first-person shooter games have complex programming and physics as well to satisfy the purchasers. It's not all eye-candy and huge debates will start about any weapon that unbalances the game and makes it less enjoyable.

There is that phrase again: Balance. Basic concepts in what makes something challenging without making it frustrating is tough with any decent game. However, that should also be paired with attempting to provide something that fulfills real-life expectations of what we should or should not be able to do. We need that so we can find our foothold in that virtual balance and conduct ourselves accordingly.

The effort expended to be proficient at something is in itself the greatest reward, be it becoming Quake clanner with a keen eye or a virtual WW1 flyer with good tactics. Of course, that is probably an outdated concept these days.

As the phrase goes: Be careful of what you wish for because you just might get it. ;\)

S!

#1392155 - 08/03/04 11:59 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Rooster nailed it. It is the playstation and X-box that take away any potential customers. Walk into any game store and ask for a title, first response is "x-box or playstation". Not soley their fault as publishers push and fund where the cash is.


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#1392156 - 08/04/04 01:16 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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Yeah, it's got to be easier to make a game/sim for a console because they are all basically the same. No need to worry about different video cards, cpu power, ram amounts...if it plays on one xbox it will play on them all.

As far as difficulty goes, I like the scalabilty options. I fly for the same squad as Wall-dog, {S! Wall-dog, Penguin here} and we generally fly in "difficult" servers and "wars".

I know when I first started online with IL2 I needed to turn down the difficulty. I typically take that approach with any new sim I'm learning.

Another big feature for me is a good offline campaign as in RB3D.

As far as price goes, I'd be willing to pay more for a good sim. One thing that does and has hurt developers is pirated copies. I wonder what percentage that comes to?

I think most simmers would be willing to pay more for quality games/sims. Not sure if stores such as Wallmart would stock them, thats a biggie for publishers. Hopefully sims such as KOE find a way to sell online to enthusiasts via word of mouth.

I want my KOE!!!

#1392157 - 08/04/04 02:59 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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I can remember the same arguments about consoles having computer games in their death-throes back in the Atari 2600 and Intellivision days. It just ain't so! ColecoVision was VERY cool when it came out, but it went away. Meanwhile computers are still here.

Will the next generation of consoles be as good as computers? They will probably be about as good as a cheap computer the day the console is released. So was the ColecoVision. But then the next day a new CPU came out while the ColecoVision got older and older for two or three years. Consoles NEVER quite catch-up. You just can't get the hardware for $200, and neither can Microsoft and Nintendo. Consoles won't catch computers until they really honestly become computers themselves.

What will happen I think is that we will start to see a convergence between computers and consoles. TVs are now of a comparable resolution to computer monitors. Consoles won't defeat computers. Rather, consoles will become computers. Every time I see an X-Box I remember that it runs essentially on a stripped-down version of Windows XP. The convergence is coming. But that won't save the flight simulator because that isn't what the problem is. I'll grant you that one problem is that consoles don't come with joysticks. THAT is a problem because so many OTHER games get ported onto multiple platforms.

But even when the computer and the console merge you will have different models in different price ranges. Someone with a $2500 computer will do better than someone with a $400 computer. And the high-speed games will be made for the higher-end computers with the idea that people will catch-up. Nothing really changes. Its a big cycle. If you hang out with computers for 20 years you see it all go full-circle again.

Just for clarification - I'm not against 'full real.' I prefer 'full real.' I can remember playing Battle of Britain (the Lucas Arts title) and figuring out that it took exactly three bullets to shoot-down a plane. Then I made a mission with as many enemy planes as possible and flew it over and over again until I could shoot down as many planes as I had bullets for at three shots each. I don't remember how many planes that was. It was something like 40. That wasn't real by ANY stretch of the imagination. Nor was the ability to instantly saddle-up out of a full break-turn.

My first flight simulator (not including the Red Baron arcade game with stick-figure planes that I sunk a fortune into) was on a Radio Shack Color Computer 2. I don't remember the name of it. It might have just been called 'Flight Simulator.' You had a list of airports on a map. You took off, flew somewhere, and landed. You needed to watch your altitude too, because there was absolutely NOTHING between airbases. You had no ground objects at all. And because everything was a stick-figure you didn't even have different colors between the sky and ground. You had the horizon and that was it. Talk about boring!! And then I lost the map!! But I flew it anyway because it was all there was.

Then I got a Color Computer 3 and a Commodore 64 and flew titles like Aces High and Microsoft Flight Simulator (remember the WWI part of that?).

Back in those days the games were entirely too easy. But somewhere along the way the computer hardware caught up and we had systems that could accurately model the physics of flight. From what I've read the AFM in RB3D was pretty darn close to the real thing, minus the ubering of course. But did we stop trying to make those physics harder? No - we overmodeled stalling and speed loss in turns. We made planes bouncy in the middle so that you couldn't keep them on target. Not only isn't that fun, but it isn't realistic either.

You know what the best flight model ever on any game was? Great War Four. Excellent job Razman! I wish I could still fly it. Too bad glide wrappers don't work well online.

I've read I don't even know how many books by and/or about people who actually flew in aerial combat. I consider what they call 'real' to be 'real.' If they say a game is too easy, I say it is too easy. If they say it is too hard, I say it is too hard. And every one of them says that modern flight simulators are harder than real life. I don't want to fly something harder than Chuck Yeager's P51. Rather I want to fly something EXACTLY LIKE Chuck Yeager's P51. I want to feel what Adolf Galland felt. I want to see what he saw and have the same understandings he had. I can't get that in a book. Books are great for story-telling but you don't get the same feel you get actually doing it. Flight simulators for me have always been a way to reach out and touch history. You can't ride the Titanic down, but you CAN hop into a 1916 Sopwith Pup and shoot down Albatross DIIIs.

What I would like to see is a movement back toward making flight sims as realistic as possible instead of just trying to make them harder. Once they were too easy. Now we've gone too far the other way. That's all I'm trying to say. I'd like to see it come back to the middle.

Now look at what I've done! I've spent all my time talking about Flight Models. Views are just as big of a problem. TrackIR helps, but it still isn't where we need to be. What ever happened to headsets that panned your view as you turn your head? They came out with the headsets, but nobody supported them in games. I can't believe the hardware can't support it. I'd give up a few hexagons for a view system like that. Imagine looking over your wing by moving your head around the wing and looking down!! Now THAT is realistic! Until that type of system is commercially available though we are stuck with bad view systems and will have to make trade-offs between not being able to find anything (and not knowing whether or not it is a foe until you bump into it) and having radar in 1916. Neither is perfect. But I can tell you with absolute certainty which is harder.

#1392158 - 08/04/04 05:32 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Boy, I couldn't agree more about the "realism" cult in modern flight sims.
I engaged in a debate a few years back about the realism settings in Il-2 and seeing targets without padlock. I'm sorry, but in real-life it's much easier to see aircraft than in IL-2. I base this on almost 6,000 hours of military flying--take it or leave it for what it's worth.

One thing I do disagree with--this is just my personal position. I love WW1 aviation, and have been an avid RB player since RB first came out. I personally would NOT be willing to drop 150 bones on a WW1 flight sim. I've seen a few people here state "I'll pay anything." I will not.

I think this "$150 road" is a dead-end. Sure, some guys might be willing to pay this, but how many? To what end? To produce a cult game with a hard-core niche gaming audience. No thanks. I've lived that world the past few years with RB, and I most certainly would not pay a premium price for a game that would have a MMP audience of perhaps a few 100's worldwide. Empty servers, no thanks--been there, done that.

Not trying to rain on anyone's parade--but to produce a WW1 flight-sim that will have a general-marker audience the price is going to have to settle in at around $50 max.

Getting back to your post--again you've hit many the proverbial nail on the head.

Hautz

#1392159 - 08/04/04 08:30 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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Salute Everyone!
I agree flight sims have to be harder then real life. There wouldn`t of been that many Aces. You can`t hardly survive 1 mission in a flight sim. I wouldn`t mind trying to help out K.O.E. if they try and make a go of it. But we have one big game developer that is giving us flight simmers really cool games, that is Oleg. I no everyone of us could come up with something we don`t like or wish he would change in his flight sims. As i see it, he has got the best to offer us right now. And its free to play online, plus he has upgrades to his games everytime you turn around. I`am going to help support Oleg by buying his new Pacific Fighters. :p Can`t wait to Dive on a Carrier in a Hellcat with people trying to take off \:\) Us WW1 pilots are going to have to learn to fly these WW2 birds intill another great WW1 sim comes along. Hope its not to long await, sure gonna miss shooting down DR1s in my N28.
Hope to see everyone flying at Hypperfighter.
Take Care!
US95 Rooster

#1392160 - 08/04/04 02:03 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Personally I think that military sims develop in 3 different ways:

1. Graphics
2. Flight modelling (in the very broadest sense, I'll include opponent AI and the relative accuracy of gauges/panels and other instruments that are available)
3. The campaign

Graphics have certainly moved on since the early days. IL2, CFS3, FS2004 (ok, not military but needs including) and all the rest like LoMac etc all have unique aspects to their graphics that can make them look better than the others in certain circumstances and can all look very real at times. There's still a lot of room for improvement of course but graphics are generally pretty good in modern sims. As graphics cards support more and more features in the hardware and with increased CPU power to throw at models, not to mention some of the shared knowledge from other game types' engines, I think that getting the graphics right and looking 'modern' is probably easier than ever before.

Flight modelling has also come a long way, not just the flight characteristics but also the accuracy of cockpits and the range of instruments available and their usefulness in the air. Opponent and friendly AI has a long way to go, but again a reasonable amount of interaction is generally there. Whilst people can argue about which sim has the better characteristics, all of them are certainly better than what was around years ago.

Campaigns though - just what has happened? I look back at Aces of the Pacific, the Lucas Arts' BoB, Red Baron (and RBII/3D), Falcon, etc and then I look at what's available in the current slew of games. IL2 has very primitive campaigns (a bit better in FB/FBAces), CFS2 was pretty simplistic, etc. CFS3 had a good stab at getting a campaign back in the centre of the action again, but was clearly just a first version of something that could have been a lot better with refinement. I've not really played much of the other sims out there, but nothing I've read indicates to me that any of them are even half of what's available in Falcon or RB3D. So not only have things not progressed in 10 years, they've if anything gone backwards.

The problem with this is that all of the flight sims are in fact games and of the 3 areas it's the campaigns that make them games. Whilst we all appreciate realism and graphics it seems to me that flight sims have pigeon-holed themselves by failing to have accessible campaigns. Years ago flight sims were fairly mainstream and whilst the number of computer games sold has gone up enormously I'd bet everything I have that the proportion of flight sims sold has dropped dramatically. I think this is because all the effort has gone into graphics and flight modelling and precious little into gaming. For sure 1&2 need to be top of the priority list, but not to the exclusion of everything else (at least not if the genre is going to become more and more sidelined in the next 10 years).

Of course the requirement to have a joystick to get anything from a flight sim only makes things worse in terms of reaching a mass market. 10+ years ago I'd guess most people who played games on a computer would have a joystick, now it's a minority. If a sim developer manages to get some sort of control mechanism where keyboard, mouse and joystick can be used to enjoy the game (not necessarily in the same way) then it could be the case again where everyone has a sim next door to their FPSes and so on.

#1392161 - 08/05/04 01:36 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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Originally posted by FinnN:
The problem with this is that all of the flight sims are in fact games and of the 3 areas it's the campaigns that make them games.
Just want to say I agree completely with what you say, FinnN. I hear that KoE is probably gone for good; but I have a sneaking suspicion it would never have delivered as a game anyway - enormous effort seemed to have been expended on graphics and damage modelling, but I never heard anything about how it would play as a game.

I suspect that flight sims have killed themselves as a genre by their obsession with graphics and flight modelling at the expense of gameplay. I firmly believe that the game should be developed first, then the flashy graphics and realistic (whatever that means) flight models added on top, if there is time. Instead we see products like KoE with superbly modelled aircraft, and the plug gets pulled on them before anyone gets around to adding a game. No wonder the publisher lost their nerve. (Apologies to all at Aspect if I'm wrong - that's how it looks to an outsider).

The two things I want from a flight sim are gameplay and immersion. Graphics and flight models can be essential to immersion (just as arcade gamey things like power ups can kill immersion), but they aren't an end in themselves, IMO. I would guess that most in the flight sim community are propeller heads, more concerned with technical aspects of flight than anything else. The board wargame hobby went through a similar phase a few years ago, as the obsessively 'realistic' (in a technical sense) wargames died out when people discovered that there were other games out there that were much more fun to play.

The sad part is that I believe that a realistic, immersive, fun game could very easily be built around WW1 aviation, much more easily than in any other period, because of the relative simplicity of the aircraft. But so long as people insist on 3000 polygon models and perfect to the last newton physics modelling, then they will never get what they want; or if they do, they will soon discover it isn't much fun to play.

So it's back to playing RB3D with FCJ for me...

#1392162 - 08/05/04 02:29 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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My feeling is that Flight Sims have tended to concentrate to a far greater extent on the minutae of the aircraft and have forgotten the world around them. Personally (and I know I may be in the minority here) I feel that if more attention in future games should be paid to what is going on on the ground. A world war 2 flight simulator should in an ideal world see something akin to World War 2 going on below him. You don't often see people just wonderng around in Flight Sims yet I am pretty sure this happens in real life as do aircraft taxiing. In war you tend to get ongoing fighting, damaged tanks from each other and a scene more reminiscent of Shogo Total War than most sims! I know that for practical reasons these things are difficult to simulate but I believe that the more immersive a simulator can be in the world around it the more the player is drawn into it. Immersion in games is all important and this is particularly true of flight sims - to look at it another way you won't get people buying your game if your roll rate in an FW190-A3 is ever so slightly better modelled than in Forgotten Battles. You will sell lots if you can make the average worker believe that he realy is about to cover the retreat from Dunkirk or fly observation over the Somme at the end of the first day.


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#1392163 - 08/05/04 02:39 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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I agree with von Stalhein - I've been throwing designs around for ages, and in them graphics and flight models take a back seat - they are essentially compartmentalised bits that can be developed entirely separately from the main game, the campaign engine. That's the bit I really want to have a go at designing. If I ever find myself with a barrel load of free time...

#1392164 - 08/05/04 02:41 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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#1392165 - 08/05/04 02:51 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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I was wondering whether a D-Day flight sim would be the sort of thing - huge numbers of ships, supporting troops in entrenched positions, operating from forward bases - add in a really slick interface (something like a massively updated version of Origin's Strike Fighters)and a branching storyline and you could have something quite impressive. The simulation side would be bang on and there would be mission editors etc but it would also appeal to the "casual player" so that you could shift units off shelves and therefore make a bit of money as well!


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#1392166 - 08/05/04 07:30 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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S! All!

I can certainly tell you what the future of online campaign systems is for the IL2/FB family of games...

It's called SCORCHED EARTH!

But that's not WWI, and deep down inside I'm a Sopwith Pup pilot.

#1392167 - 08/05/04 11:18 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Oh shut up.

So sick of hearing of the "death" of this and that.

WW2Online has all the sims bottled up into one with no end in sight. And that's just one sim. Give it a rest.


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#1392168 - 08/05/04 11:49 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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Terrible Two,

I don't think anyone forced you to read this thread, so if you find it offensive, you'll have to excuse me if I don't give a rip. This has been up until your post a very constructive thread.

You are sick of reading this kind of thread? There is a simple solution to that: stop reading!

#1392169 - 08/06/04 04:55 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Quote:
Originally posted by FinnN:
Campaigns though - just what has happened? I look back at Aces of the Pacific, the Lucas Arts' BoB, Red Baron (and RBII/3D), Falcon, etc and then I look at what's available in the current slew of games. IL2 has very primitive campaigns (a bit better in FB/FBAces), CFS2 was pretty simplistic, etc. CFS3 had a good stab at getting a campaign back in the centre of the action again, but was clearly just a first version of something that could have been a lot better with refinement. I've not really played much of the other sims out there, but nothing I've read indicates to me that any of them are even half of what's available in Falcon or RB3D. So not only have things not progressed in 10 years, they've if anything gone backwards.

The problem with this is that all of the flight sims are in fact games and of the 3 areas it's the campaigns that make them games. Whilst we all appreciate realism and graphics it seems to me that flight sims have pigeon-holed themselves by failing to have accessible campaigns. Years ago flight sims were fairly mainstream and whilst the number of computer games sold has gone up enormously I'd bet everything I have that the proportion of flight sims sold has dropped dramatically. I think this is because all the effort has gone into graphics and flight modelling and precious little into gaming. For sure 1&2 need to be top of the priority list, but not to the exclusion of everything else (at least not if the genre is going to become more and more sidelined in the next 10 years).
Its not only flight sims that are lacking offline. Cossacks for example didn't have any AI to play historical battles against. After reading several posts regarding piracy, I was thinking that maybe the single player game is being neglected because of piracy. You can steal a game an play it offline all you want, but try to take it online and you have a problem(if I understand correctly). Guess maybe that doesn't make producers too keen on single player gaming.

#1392170 - 08/06/04 10:20 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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Just to add to this discussion ...

Flight sims aren't dying because of the community. The hardcore community has always been there for many years through many different simulations.

What has changed is that PC games publishers are no longer willing to invest the amounts of money and time required to develop a AAA flight sim when they can go and develop a console game that will sell a lot more units and make a heck of a lot more money.

That is why most of the combat flight sim development has shifted to Eastern Europe and Russia where development costs are infinitely lower than the U.S. Notice that there are almost no US flight sim developers left. Of course Microsoft still has Flight Simulator but that is the only one.

The only other U.S. developers still writing sims are those publishing pay-per-play online games. IL2 and LOMAC both come from Russia. Quite a few PC games are now coming from Russia and East Europe.

Except for some major PC games franchises very few U.S. devs are still writing PC games. It may be cyclic and we may see a resurgence but the days of big ticket flightsims coming from the U.S. market are well and truly over.

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