We are at a crossroads at YAP (and Rising Sun). TK has killed refueling in SF2. While he failed to get rid of helicopter flight, he can whenever he wants and we expect that is next. Without helicopters, the need to take on fuel, ground targets that die, collateral damage, realistic night missions, lighting, real AAA, busy carrier decks, cluttered airfields it's silly to us and an insult to a historian. (No, I wouldn't call that a My Humble Opinion.) Possibly, seeing our success, has acceded to developing helicopter flight and refueling himself...finally.
So going to SF2 is unlikely for YAP. Rising Sun is already SF2-capable but recent patches have caused unrealistic changes. So, we think our tenure as an uninvited guest in a fantasy world may be drawing to a close. We may provide models for a time because we have an awful lot as yet unrevealed that may be of interest.
Therefore we want to have a discussion with you...the players. A shopping list? Okay. An opportunity to vent the politics of the denizens of the forums? No way. Things are happening and they will effect you, your investments in entertainment and your future choices. We might be able to do something about it but only if the rewards exceed the sacrifice.
We will do it with pics, if you don't mind.
This first is cut from an ad you have seen running. Their major contribution is that they have an ad budget and they are reaching out beyond those of us here to bring in more "players". You can fly with a mouse or a finger in 5-minutes. Some will enter our world and discover or demand better things. In that respect, they are certainly more important than we are and are doing us a service.
As you can see, this sim is not the best at anything really. This is not to condemn their attempt but to point out that nobody can do it all since WE are playing with YOUR computer. And maybe we are also pointing out that what people are demanding are possibly the wrong things.
Saigon with a moonscape in the background.
Dogpatch: our standard village.
Plei Mei Special Forces Camp using trees and a special tile to subtract un-reality.
IL-2 does terrific cockpits. Jet Thunder was doing good seas. We think we use whatever tricks we have to do better villages (ie. covering the crappy ground tiles with enough trees and houses to make it look real at high speed.) Check Paris in their ad. They are doing the same thing and, like us, are very carefully posing the shot.
Thirdwire does good shadows...now.
We know more about what really goes on and it shows. For instance, that F-16 being towed by an M-35!...and not a shadow to complicate the scene with realism. You have to wonder if they were drawing a horse race if the horses would have jockeys. That's why YAP developed all we did. We know what is missing from the picture even if all the players don't.
What follows are some pictures from real life.
The above is a picture of the last bombs I dropped. That's what you see on downwind. You see a lot more on final but you see it at 450 knots and you are not looking for songbirds on the wires. You look for what you need to see and your mind blurs the rest. Game designers do not know that. They are busy drawing shoes on rudder pedals. You do not look at all your instruments. You look for flashes and those little gray zip lines made by rounds passing by. What you KNOW is that all those little tin roofs are homes and people and you just missed the target by half a football field and that was good enough. We think it is important in a war simulation to know you are killing people and breaking things. It is both exciting and horrible...but it's real.
The water pictures. The blue one is at about 8000 or 9000 feet. I am looking for Lead, not waves. The gray one was taken as a passenger (hitch-hiking home to Danang after some aviation misadventure) in a C-123 grinding up the coast at a zippy 140 knots. Even as a passenger, you see a lot more in a photograph viewed afterward than you do in flight.
And for you rivet counters. You can see detail on the belly of the T-38's in this photo but the pilot of the airplane that was out of position taking this shot did not. If you stop long enough to see them, you will again be out of position. They are pulling about 5 G's, at about 12000 feet at around 300 knots. No time to be criticizing the art work.
Bonus: This is the landing of the last flight of Deuces in Southeast Asia. They didn't do much but they were sure pretty.
YAP's angle was to provide realism through situation. The player knew we were leveling with them and that we had placed them as accurately as we could in the moment...same for Rising Sun. IL-2 leans on computer memory to provide great artwork. X-Plane touts being able to make that plastic stick and LED screen behave like an airplane...certainly they do it better than we do. But aerial warfare is becoming..."different"...now.
Now we have to ask: What do you want? Where do you want the genre to go? What experiences do you want to simulate? Do you like to look at landing gear detail? Or do you want to wander around on the ground looking at tire treads? Do you want repetition and reward? Or do you want to have something to lose if you do not perform? Do you want to fly...I mean have to control the simulation...at the level of a pilot as in YAP or do you want to roll the mouse and look out the window?
The great joy of flying as a passenger is looking around and seeing little things. The pilot is not doing that. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO?