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#4364727 - 06/19/17 09:27 AM Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber?  
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Provocative thread title perhaps..!

Personally I think that the reason sims have started to disappear compared to the golden 90's is because the sims have gotten too complex. In particular, flight sims now require a lot of extremely expensive hardware to run competitively or online - the PC and graphics outfit itself, the flight controls, headsets and high speed internet to download the huge patches that come out every other week, etc. etc.

But besides the hardware requirements, users have to learn very long procedures that were not necessary in the past. Example, in the A-10 or F-16 sims popular now, starting up the aircraft alone takes 10 minutes or more just to get all the systems online from a cold dark cockpit. Then you have to program the weapons or nav systems, etc.

In the old days of simming a lot of this stuff was simpler, but not toooo simple. I guess this made it a lot easier for people to jump in and play.

At the same time though, I do wonder if people (young people in particular) are just more stupid than they used to be. When I was 12, 13, 14 years old I was playing very detailed sims like Falcon 4. It was complicated stuff. These days I don't know anyone in their teens who plays anything other than minecraft, skyrim or some console trash. Time spent thinking or studying something seems to have shrunk to zero and answers to any problem are available immediately on youtube.

Dark times ahead for detailed sims?

It is sad because I have long hoped for a higher detail version of Dangerous Waters, the naval simulator, but it will never happen.

Maybe the only future for high fidelity sims is open source collaborative projects. Most independently developed sims fail after the first year or two of development and the programmer fades into obscurity. Perhaps if someone created a sim completely with open source from the beginning, it could be picked up by later developers and eventually become something good.

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#4364729 - 06/19/17 10:01 AM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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i'll prolly get shot for this, but theres 2 things that are killing them and both are woven together

1 - The sims are either mostly hardcore or nothing, because thats what the more vocal forum people have demanded. So comapnys have gone that route to keep the 'core' player base happy .. however ..

2 - The "community" are, on most forums, THE most elitist and opinionated around, it frowns upon anyone who DOESN'T want anything other than hardcore "simulator". It also bickers like feck and brands anything other than a hardcore sim a "game" that's not even worth trying and then unfairly bash it to pieces without even trying it, even though the very "simulator" they use IS just a game (non of them are certified as FAA/CAA/whatever approved simulators for use as real training, and their own set ups certainly aint)

The only way simulators are going to come back in full force again is by allowing it to be simple if you want it to be, ignore the more vocal and never pleased diehards, and making a game thats a good balance between firewalling it and "simulator" like options.

Its why, for example (and in my opinion), CFS2 was such a great game. You could make it as hard or as easy as you liked. It also had the ability to be pretty darn hardcore (by the days standards) if you wanted it to be.

Last edited by Meatsheild; 06/19/17 10:02 AM.

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#4364730 - 06/19/17 10:40 AM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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Agree with Meatsheild, hardcore fans are killing the hobby, they are the ones that scream the most If a rivet is not on place always demanding more realism, (and at the same time calling sissies the guys that like to play less detailed sims), that means less planes, longer developent times and more bugs. Wondering how many FC3 level modules they could be done in the development space of the hardcore Hornet, or how many FC3 level F-16 or AH-64 modules they would have sell in the meantime...

Last edited by Stratos; 06/19/17 10:41 AM.

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#4364731 - 06/19/17 11:00 AM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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Are we talking about PC gamers getting dumber or the general population getting dumber?


Personally, I think it's neither. What changed was the PC game industry. Why pour 10 million dollars into making a hardcore sim that will at most sell around 50k copies when you can pour that 10 million into an RPG or a first person shooter and sell 1 million copies or more?


From a business standpoint it's a no-brainer decision.

Last edited by PanzerMeyer; 06/19/17 11:01 AM.

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#4364737 - 06/19/17 11:15 AM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: PanzerMeyer]  
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Originally Posted by PanzerMeyer
Are we talking about PC gamers getting dumber or the general population getting dumber?


Personally, I think it's neither. What changed was the PC game industry. Why pour 10 million dollars into making a hardcore sim that will at most sell around 50k copies when you can pour that 10 million into an RPG or a first person shooter and sell 1 million copies or more?


From a business standpoint it's a no-brainer decision.


Agree, but don't you think simplet sims, not dumbs, but simpler ones will sold more then 50k copies?


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#4364738 - 06/19/17 11:21 AM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: Stratos]  
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Originally Posted by Stratos


Agree, but don't you think simplet sims, not dumbs, but simpler ones will sold more then 50k copies?



Of course! There have been quite a few "lite" sims that have sold very well. They tend to be mostly racing sims like the Dirt series and the Codemasters F1 series.


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#4364741 - 06/19/17 11:31 AM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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I too agree with Meatsheild.

Read the other day at ED someone complained about the "used" looks of the MiG-21 destroying the immersion of flying a mission portraiting old era (expecting newly polished textures).

I had to re-read it.

Grew up flying monochrome pixel F-19 sim etc. I just couldn't believe what I read.

In the old days, immersion came from yourself and your imagnination mixed with knowledge about the craft at hand.

Nowadays it has to be spoon-fed it seems.

#4364743 - 06/19/17 11:37 AM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: theOden]  
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Originally Posted by theOden


Nowadays it has to be spoon-fed it seems.



That's also how most people like their movies and news coverage but I digress. biggrin


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#4364748 - 06/19/17 12:31 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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+4 for Meatshield.


Make your sims as hardcore as you like, but allow lowerer "realism" settings for those of us who have better things to do with our lives (family for instance) than learn how to be an actual real world F-16 pilot just so we can play a GAME for an hour on a Tuesday night.


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#4364757 - 06/19/17 12:52 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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Pugio Online content
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No.

There are plenty of hardcore games out there that are both popular and challenging.

All the so-called sims people play here are games. There games are not as challenging as the sim-gaming community wants themselves to believe.

The actual game play of the so-called sim genre hasn't evolved in a fun and entertaining way it has in other genres. Indeed, the sim genre is absolutely stagnant in terms of ideas.

In the 90's the sim genre was a cornerstone of PC gaming, now it is a mostly overlooked side note. Many of those games were hardcore and for the time popular. They also had innovative ideas on game play. Namely, fun and entertaining campaigns that added the core game play that made them interesting and gave a reason to learn game. There was incentive to learn the game to gain proficiency with it and to play it.

Now it is largely IL2 and DCS that keep the sim genre alive. Both focus almost solely on system modeling and little to nothing on game play. DCS is the worst offender of this.

To clarify this point, both focus on the experience of learning aircraft and systems; beyond that the game play of playing missions hasn't changed in decades. In fact, I would argue it has gotten worse. In addition to having stagnant game designs the campaigns that were once the core of the game are almost nonexistent. Beyond any entertainment gained from the learning experience there is little to no incentive to go and actually play the game and hence little incentive to learn to begin with.

For the typical gamer there is far more incentive to learn and get good at games that actually reward the effort with a fun and imaginative experience. That simply does not exist in this genre.

#4364761 - 06/19/17 01:06 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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That's an outstanding post Pugio and it is 100% on the mark.


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#4364763 - 06/19/17 01:11 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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Most people are probably content with playing Candy Crush for a minute or two between checking what's new on Facebook.


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#4364764 - 06/19/17 01:13 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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I'am very curious how Cold Waters is selling. It's a throwback to 90's lite sims at it's best. Great mix of realism and fun gameplay. Hope they make enough money to expand it further.

#4364766 - 06/19/17 01:25 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: Immermann]  
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Originally Posted by Immermann
Most people are probably content with playing Candy Crush for a minute or two between checking what's new on Facebook.



If we are talking about the general population then that is very true.


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#4364769 - 06/19/17 01:35 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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I think we have been repeating ourselves a bit around these parts regarding the reason for flight sim's demise.

The core is, if you don't make interesting and fun sims that attract more players to the genre, you will never get any publishers and developers to invest money and time with them. Period.

When Microsoft decided to kill Flight Simulator, one of their cornerstone franchises, it was the big sign of the decline. Other developers could struggle and go down, but Microsoft could have kept it alive for tradition's sake, and they didn't. DCS practically keeps making a living of their existing player base by publishing separate modules for everything.

People are not dumber, but the sources of easy available entertainment have multiplied in the last 10 years. They all have much more to choose and limited time to enjoy them all. So if you can pick up a game and be enjoying it in the first 10 minutes, or invest hours and hours in a sim until you are proficient and can really get yourself into it....what do you think people will choose?

My guess is those who still invest a lot of time in sims do so because they have already overcome the learning hump, so they may have a disconnect with the newcomers that try a flight sim for the first time and find it frustrating and boring. I do not think it is the hardware cost so much. People are investing big bucks on VR, but just because they find fun games and experiences in it. A cockpit experience in VR would be very fun. Learning to fly in it, maybe not so much.

Developers have to concentrate to create software that emulates the flight sim experience without the workload. The feeling of flight with a sense of accomplishment. Once the numbers grow,then we might get people that want to take the hobby more seriously.

You have to appreciate the irony a post that denounces elitists while questioning if nowaday players are stupid.

Last edited by Bib4Tuna; 06/19/17 01:46 PM.
#4364771 - 06/19/17 01:39 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: PanzerMeyer]  
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Originally Posted by PanzerMeyer
Originally Posted by Immermann
Most people are probably content with playing Candy Crush for a minute or two between checking what's new on Facebook.



If we are talking about the general population then that is very true.


I don't want to bring this to a meta-level since it started with games, but the vast majority of people are dumb and have always been dumb. Its why the world is the way it is and the reason it has been the way it has been. In case you were wondering.

#4364772 - 06/19/17 01:42 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: Bib4Tuna]  
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Originally Posted by Bib4Tuna
I

but Microsoft could have kept it alive for tradition's sake, and they didn't.


Not when you are a publicly traded company and thus have stockholders and Wall Street to answer to.


Actually, if I was a major stockholder in MS I would have had concerns as well. Why pour millions into a product that is only appealing to a niche audience when you can instead put those millions into something with a greater return?


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#4364773 - 06/19/17 01:44 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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Bringing up casual gamers to this specific debate is, IMO, a strawman argument. When waiting at a bus stop or whatever your time-killing opportunity may look like, something like Candy Crush on your mobile phone is perfect. That doesn't mean that you can't come home to fire up the PC for some serious gaming.

No, I think that the argument about stagnant gameplay is spot on. Strike Commander, for example, wasn't a bad simulation at the time but it had a storyline (how ludicrous it may have been) that also appeled to people who would usually not play a flight simulation. These days - and that includes my own product - there's absolutely nothing comparable in the field. There are a number of reasons for that - unreasonable demands from certain vocal minorities certainly being a contributing factor, though not the only one. Systems simulation is easier, as are improvements to the rendering quality, and the core market actually largely rejects attempts at storytelling for "compromising fidelity". The pre-launch public atmosphere quickly turns toxic, which is a massive deterrent to publishers to try it. I've seen a similar process at work with Cold Waters. It never wanted to be anything but a glorified remake of Red Storm Rising, and it perfectly delivers exactly that. But immediately after release some people started the comparisons with Dangerous Waters and pointed out all the things that CW didn't have because it didn't attempt to replace DW in the first place.

My own excuse is that our team is so small that we couldn't possibly deliver the kind of storyline interwoven with a campaign that I'd like to see if we tried selling our product as a game. So, we're not selling it as a game, and consequently I'm not suprised that only few gamers actually bother to pay for it. But it's sort of a vicious circle here: Because the market is small, the team is small. Because the team is small, we concentrate on systems modeling rather than storytelling. Because we concentrate on systems modeling, the market is small.
WoT on the other hand shows that going light on the systems modeling and on the storytelling can still draw a significant number of players if you go down the freemium route (=casual gaming). I still have a hard time seeing this as the stellar example to follow, though.


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#4364776 - 06/19/17 01:48 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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No, I don't think people are any different.

I think Meatsheild is right to a good degree.

And Pugio as well. Much of the systems focused simulations really isn't gameplay.

My early sim days were largely oriented around what I was doing in a mission within the sim. Checklists and kneeboards were not required to get there. I may have even started in the air (cue shock and horror, clutching of pearls). I seemed to have the most fun with those sims. Then things started to shift more to systems proceedures, and less (or even zero) actual game/mission structure provided. At first, learning all the systems and procedure stuff drew me in, and pretty good. But once I had memorized some routine or another, there wasn't much left in those sims for me.

Regarding the ideas about simpler console games, and finding answers on YouTube and such...

IMO, this is nothing really new. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, when I was into console games, there were the many "Guide Books" and things like the "Action Replay" system ( Wikipedia ). This was back when paper magazines were a primary part of gaming, before forums and YouTube. And the magazines were filled with advertisements for these products. Just like today, there were some players who were into that kind of thing, and some who weren't. They each had different goals with their games. Just like seeing solutions, tricks, or exploits on a forum or YouTube, back in the day these products (as well as the magazines that advertised them) were the way.

And another angle to this, which I think does play into the situation with modern game design... Sometimes a game may not be worth the play required to get to what a player wants to see. I can think of a few old NES games with dang annoying and aggravating levels. Without passing these levels, the rest of the game is often simply *unplayable* because there is no other way to reach it. Personally, I used to just drop a game that was annoying like that, but other players maybe didn't want to let it go. Products like the above could get a player past that situation, and on to what they actually wanted to enjoy.

There are modern examples. In Elite Dangerous, for example, there are some top tier ships (Cutter and Corvette) which are rank locked. To get these ranks in a shorter time requires boring and repetitive "play". Sometimes "play" is doing absurd things like reloading the game over and over, until a highly favorable mission appears. This isn't gameplay to me, and I will not sit there and do that stuff. Now that said, I *really* have enjoyed Elite Dangerous outside of this, and yes if I play another year or two solid, I might could unlock those ranks along the way without the "grind". But yea, I've headed over to YouTube to take a peek at what these ships offer, because they are content I will not be touching in-game for a good long time, if ever.

#4364783 - 06/19/17 02:11 PM Re: Is the decline of simulations because people are getting dumber? [Re: VF9_Longbow]  
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I think of the modern flight sim like DCS (and particularly with DCS Normandy) and compare it to my experiences with the old Aces series (Aces of the Pacific/Europe). Sure the systems weren't particularly well rendered but you could pretty much fly a mission a day (in-game days) for every single day of the war with historical battles on the timeline as well if your squadron and location matched. You also had an "advance to next waypoint" button that allowed you to cut down on flying time as well (my god how great that was!) so you could get to the action and maybe fly 2 or 3 missions in an hour versus one in a game like IL2 or DCS. Similarly games like X-Wing or TIE Fighter allowed almost endless replay-ability with very limited story presentation beyond a few cutscenes and narrated text boxes - again with pretty simplistic controls (I guess they don't count as sims but they were in MY imagination!).

Elite Dangerous is an oddity which I have yet to really put my finger on (beta backer here). It has a relatively simple flight model which was designed from the beginning to be usable on a console controller and it has an absolutely bare bones story with very little in the way of engrossing narrative (this is a particular bee in my bonnet) due to its 6 month to a year delivery method. But it renders the galaxy in beautiful relief and so I have played it for years (I am on a rage-induced hiatus after their E3 fiasco and general community strategy).


It's interesting to think that something which can be relatively simple like story falls by the wayside when push comes to shove and instead the button-rendering is focused on. Is depth of story really so costly a part of production?


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