No Online Platoons??

Posted by: QuickSilver

No Online Platoons?? - 11/21/11 05:51 AM

I did a yahoo search for online tank platoons. I have not found ONE. Do these even exist or is tank simulation too niche a product? I am not very interested in Steel Beast Pro. It is too expensive. I prefer modern tanks. Steel Armor:Blaze of War is the only one I have found in an acceptable price range that features modern tanks. It would be my preference to find a platoon that plays that. I have T-72 Balkins On Fire but I do not think many people play that online. Anybody want to help me out and point me in a direction? Also has anybody ever seen personel computer USB gunner controls. I can not find these either.

I prefer a first person view.I also prefer FULL sim. Not arcade like WoT. I am thinking a deep sim like the DCS Flight Products.

Thank you.
Posted by: Wicked

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 11/21/11 07:40 AM

Hi there Quicksilver. As far I know you cannot buy USB gunner controls for personal users like you and me. There is a market for Steel Beasts Pro and VBS2 but they sell only to military users. As commander in a modern tank you can use your flightstick. Looks similar.
To be honest, Steel Beasts Pro is not expensive, even compared with DCS products. DCS already announced you have to pay for future updates. And really, if you are truly interested in a full armour simulation there is only one product out there.

Cheers
Posted by: Magnum

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 11/21/11 07:43 AM

there are a couple of SB pro PE "virtual units"; you could probably find more over at www.steelbeasts.com other then that not to many tank games out there, enough for a virtual unit... steel fury is SP and Battle tanks is a good game but limited.
Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 11/21/11 08:47 AM

Eagle Dynamics did not announce that you had to pay for future updates. ED offered an upgraded version of Blackshark called Blackshark 2. I believe this is a one maybe two time incident while they "dial in" thier software. I think this is growing pains and nothing more. Anyway enouph of that. Lets get back to the tank discussion.

I am sorry, I still believe 125 USD is expensive. I could possibly have my view flipped but only if SB Pro PE had a VERY healthy online community.

I am a bit confused why there are no USB gunner controls. Maybe I am confused but don't tank gun controls work like the old Star Wars arcade game? It is a wheel with handles that swivel forward and back. That does not seem like something that would be terribly difficult to develop or manufacture. I mean they have been using this basic design in gaming since at least the 80's right? I know tank siming is a niche market but you would think someone would step up.

I am also curious about SB Pro SE supporting Track IR.

I am also curious how people look around the interior (I don't know if they call that a cockpit). How do you use the weapon sights and how do you pop your head out of the top to look around? Is it done with the mouse or is it some kind of snap view setup?

Posted by: Magnum

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 11/21/11 09:15 AM

mouse, then you click on the interior tool/sight you want to use and it zooms into that sight/station. It's great and works well... I'm not going to try and convince you, because IMO... if you haven't jumped into SB Pro PE yet because of the price, your probably NOT going to... but how long has SB Pro PE been out...years... total so far for me 175...125 plus 2 upgrades at 25 each. (I think it was)... well worth it... CoD series... 60 bucks a year, yearly release... then 3 or 4 map packs at 15 to 20 bucks each.... Tiger Woods golf, 60 bucks a year, yearly... 12 courses for 10 bucks each... iRacing 100 bucks a year, plus 400 bucks for all cars and tracks, lol... you get my point. wink
Posted by: Wicked

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 11/21/11 09:43 AM

No TrackIR support in SB Pro PE. You look around in the 3D cockpit using your mouse and click on the sights to use them. Works great. Or while in cockpit you can use keyboard. Out of turret same. Commander looks around with mouse and uses bino to zoom in.
As for tank controls, like I said, for military use only: http://afvsim.com/

Steelbeasts has a small but active community. People do play online. Check Steelbeasts forum or get online with them with Teamspeak.

About the price. Ya, like Magnum, its a neverending discussion.

Cheers
Posted by: Ronin_GE

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 11/24/11 09:00 AM

About the "tank control handle".
Not so easy to get, as far as I know they are labeled as "defense product" or at least "dual use" product.
You'll have fun getting one through customs ;-)

there are no 3-axis "joystick" handles for a reason
Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 12/28/11 02:01 PM

Sorry Ronin_GE I do not subscribe to that theory. As I stated before I have seen that design on many 80's arcade games. The Star Wars Arcade Game was but one example. That proves to me 3 axis sticks (by the way most flight sticks have 3 axis so I don't know what you mean by that. X/Y/Z Roll/Pitch/Yaw) are not just for military uses. I think its more likely that manufacturers do not think it is worth the cost to produce it for commercial sale. We all know the military over pays for everything. They pay thousands for something we would pay a couple of hundered or less for.
Posted by: strykerpsg

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 12/28/11 05:35 PM

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver
Sorry Ronin_GE I do not subscribe to that theory. As I stated before I have seen that design on many 80's arcade games. The Star Wars Arcade Game was but one example. That proves to me 3 axis sticks (by the way most flight sticks have 3 axis so I don't know what you mean by that. X/Y/Z Roll/Pitch/Yaw) are not just for military uses. I think its more likely that manufacturers do not think it is worth the cost to produce it for commercial sale. We all know the military over pays for everything. They pay thousands for something we would pay a couple of hundered or less for.

Quick Silver, the design on AFV's website is only sold to military purchasers, which if you notice, there are no prices offered. SO, some of the most informative minds have replied to your thread and you still seem unconvinced about the validity of Steel Beast Pro, so best of luck in your quest. I don't believe you're going to find any additional answers from here or other forums, except maybe Wild Bills flawed Sherman sim. Remember, you get what you pay for and Steel Beasts will not disappoint. Matter of fact, it's so accurate in scope and depth, many militaries use it to keep their armor crews proficient, but you would only know that if you perused the Steelbeasts.com forums. Again, best of luck in your quest, though think all of your searches will come back to Steel Beasts. If you find something else, please feel free to post here. We'd love to see what you find.

Matt
Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 12/29/11 01:22 AM

I have looked into Steel Beasts pretty extensively strykerpsg. Your post has a aura of defensiveness. I was not attacking Steel Beast. I have no doubt that it is a fine sim. The fans praise drives that point home. I am simply trying to understand why someone does not sell gunner controls. I was only stating that since the design had been used in a commercial arcade product that I did not believe it was something only the military could get. I am sure any company with the initiative could produce them. I know the website you referenced does not offer their product to the public. However, that does not mean SOMEONE could not offer something similar to the public.

The only negative comment I had about Steel Beast was that I thought it was expensive. But you know what... sounds like they update it a lot. Kind of like an online RPG. I played Ultima Online, City of Heroes, and Star Wars Galaxies for years and spent way over 100 dollars each so maybee it really is not that expensive. I honestly do not know. However, when you compare Steel Beast with other tank sims, coupled with the fact there is no demo, all most people are going to see is it cost at least 225% of comparable products in the same genre (or more). Maybe thats like compareing a Ferrari to a Geo. But for someone that does not know any better it is like there asking 125k for a 40k dollar car. Surely you can see that. I am sure you have the benefit of being a long time tank sim fan and have kind of "grown up" with the industry. Your a person in the know. Somebody like me (most people) don't have that benefit. They really have no comparable data, they just see the price. Even if you can tell me all about Steel Beast you probably have little information on other tank titles for me to make a comparison. I hope this stated my case of why I have that opinion. I also hope I did not say anything to insult you. That was not my intention. I know I get a bit defensive when I feel someone is attacking DCS titles. I guess we all have our favorties. Right?


Posted by: strykerpsg

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 12/29/11 03:38 AM

Quicksilver,

I agree that someone could potentially make these various turret controls, but I think it's a niche market at best and they would have to have some sort of universal usage for something besides tank sims. There have been a few people make helicopter specific cyclic and collectives, but again,they are a niche market and the producer will probably not make much money on them, at least not as much compared to an average joystick maker. For example, many people have subscribed to the Thrustmaster Warthog series of joystick/throttle combination. They are a fantastic build and very durable. However, they are not inexpensive, roughly about $400-500, depending on where you purchase them from. Some people will settle on lesser models and accomplish the same level of enjoyment, while others buy the Warthog for it's longevity, accuracy in simming and it's ease of programmability using the Target software. But I suspect Thrustmaster isn't making a killing on the Warthog series, at least not initially.

As for my defensiveness, I admit I am a bit biased toward Steel Beast, but like you, I did my homework years ago and it was a difficult sell for me. What I saw in the series though is Ssnakes very user friendly attitude toward listening and informing their customers/followers, unlike many other producer/designers. Also, because he actively markets military end users, his data must be spot on accurate versus arcade or marginal realism of other tank sims available. I think the fact that West Point and many National Guard units use his software, not to mention Canada and Australia come to mind, smacks of high fidelty in his design and data. By definition of a simulation, I want to immerse myself into the sim as much as possible and Steel Beast has that immersiveness hands down. Now, if only I could convince him to add the Stryker series of vehicles.....I would be in nirvana.

If I came off a bit agressive, my sincerest apologies. I just read too much into your statements and wanted to reinforce I believe your wallet is speaking more than you are, about what you're seeking. I know Ssnake lives on this forum and his own, and there are hordes of loyal followers within this forum as well, that will more than give you your money's worth in a platoon engagement in Steel Beast, should you take the venture. If you have nay questions, please don't hesitate to either PM me or ask here, again there's many wiser than I, as well as wordly opinions abound.

Matt
Posted by: BlueSixGolf

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 12/29/11 03:32 PM

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver
I did a yahoo search for online tank platoons. I have not found ONE.


There are gaming clans that support games that model tanks, Armed Assault 2, for example.

This clan, 7th Cavalry, is an example of a gaming clan that has what it calls tank platoons.

There are other first person shooters with tanks that have clans as well, Darkest Hour, for example is a mod of Red Orchestra and it has groups styled as 'virtual units' such as Spearhead Division. As far as level of activity and depth of simulation, et cetera, YMMV.
Posted by: SeanSB

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 12/29/11 08:58 PM

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver

I am a bit confused why there are no USB gunner controls. Maybe I am confused but don't tank gun controls work like the old Star Wars arcade game? It is a wheel with handles that swivel forward and back. That does not seem like something that would be terribly difficult to develop or manufacture. I mean they have been using this basic design in gaming since at least the 80's right? I know tank siming is a niche market but you would think someone would step up.



The reason why is that there is no money in it. Let's start with materials choices. Metal is a choice, but its pretty expensive. (I believe AFVSIM has gone the machined metal route for small qty production.) What most controller companies do now is produce a mold and then shoot it with plastic. This works out if you are going to sell thousands. You have to sell enough to cover your design costs and the costs of producing and tweaking the mold. Think low to mid 5 figures now. The plastic itself is very cheap, were talking a few dollars a unit. The usb controller and pots/buttons are also cheap. Economies of scale also kick in when it comes to assembly. Producing a few costs a fortune, produce thousands and it becomes cheap.
Posted by: jenrick

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 12/29/11 10:37 PM

It wouldn't be an exact match to any of the real controls out there, but a simple flight yoke will do the trick. Heck you can even use the buttons on the yoke to change your ammo selection, thermal, zoom, etc.

As to why no one does it, it's a nitch market. You'd probably have a decent chance getting some of the custom flight control shops to do a small production run that replaces the yoke of a traditional USB yoke. Heck I might by one, until then a flight yoke would do the trick if I wanted something specific.

-Jenrick
Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/01/12 11:23 PM

Originally Posted By: strykerpsg
If I came off a bit agressive, my sincerest apologies. I just read too much into your statements and wanted to reinforce I believe your wallet is speaking more than you are, about what you're seeking.


I would say this is very correct. Your absolutely right. I mean if it was $50 we would not be having this conversation. I know Steel Beasts has a lot to offer. It is at the top of the hill in its genre, no doubt. Another reason I am on the fence is I have heard work has began on the next Steel Beast title. Apparantly this sequel is supposed to offer a lot of what Steel Beast Pro offers. Maybe even at a more consumer friendly price.

Thanks for the reply strykerpsg.

Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/02/12 10:54 PM

I am going to ask a series of questions. I am working on a project but need some information.

Does Steel Beast have a start up sequence (like fuel pumps, hydrualic pumps, etc.) or do you just press a key to start the engine?

Is there a bail button (as in bailing out of the tank)?

Does Steel Beast have smoke generators?

Do you have to turn a laser on for rangeing or is it always on?

Can you control the tank treads individually? Here is an example of what I am talking about. Is it like WoT where if I push left one track goes forward and one goes back to rotate the tank or can you press two buttons one to make one go forward and the other one backward? (As a side note the only tank controls I know of are the type with 2 levers. Maybe more modern tanks use steering wheels or something like a flight stick?)

Do the gears change automatically or manually?

Do the tanks have variable throttle control or is it just gas and brake?

Do you have to close (or open for that matter) the hatch after popping out to look around or does it do it automatically.

Thank you.


Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/02/12 11:15 PM

Originally Posted By: SeanSB

The reason why is that there is no money in it. Let's start with materials choices. Metal is a choice, but its pretty expensive. (I believe AFVSIM has gone the machined metal route for small qty production.) What most controller companies do now is produce a mold and then shoot it with plastic. This works out if you are going to sell thousands. You have to sell enough to cover your design costs and the costs of producing and tweaking the mold. Think low to mid 5 figures now. The plastic itself is very cheap, were talking a few dollars a unit. The usb controller and pots/buttons are also cheap. Economies of scale also kick in when it comes to assembly. Producing a few costs a fortune, produce thousands and it becomes cheap.


I see your point. But then again......




When I see things like this, it gives me hope. Talk about a niche market. This was made for a Mech game for XBox.
Posted by: jenrick

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/03/12 05:50 PM

Yep and Steel Battalion cost well over $200 (I know because I bought one) at launch.

-Jenrick
Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/04/12 12:05 AM

A TM Warthog cost $499 at launch? A normal game back then cost about $40. Making the price for the controller about 160. Seems pretty cheap to me.
Posted by: Ryujin

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/04/12 02:11 PM

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver
I am going to ask a series of questions. I am working on a project but need some information.

Does Steel Beast have a start up sequence (like fuel pumps, hydrualic pumps, etc.) or do you just press a key to start the engine?

Can you control the tank treads individually? Here is an example of what I am talking about. Is it like WoT where if I push left one track goes forward and one goes back to rotate the tank or can you press two buttons one to make one go forward and the other one backward? (As a side note the only tank controls I know of are the type with 2 levers. Maybe more modern tanks use steering wheels or something like a flight stick?)

Do the gears change automatically or manually?

Do the tanks have variable throttle control or is it just gas and brake?


One thing to note is that SB pro is a gunner/commander sim, it's not intended to train drivers and this area is not covered in depth. I never use the drivers station, just give orders from other stations. Gears are automatic, acceleration/braking, turn left turn right are the control. Engine start up is one button.

By contrast, some vehicles (depending on military customer requests) have full and detailed start ups for the turrets. The gunner's and commander's stations get the majority of the detail and depth.

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver

Is there a bail button (as in bailing out of the tank)?


No, as far as I know this is considered out side the scope of the sim.

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver

Does Steel Beast have smoke generators?


Yes, engine smoke generators and smoke grenade launchers with IR and regular smoke that do effect laser range finders.

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver

Do you have to turn a laser on for rangeing or is it always on?


Yes, you hit lase to fire the laser and get the range. Which can also burn out. You can choose if you want to use first or last return on many vehicles and all the fire control stuff is there on the appropriate vehicles with automatic lead, fusing options, and etc.

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver

Do you have to close (or open for that matter) the hatch after popping out to look around or does it do it automatically.


You can manually ope and close the hatch, although if you hit the key to stick your head out the hatch will open automatically (this is not the case with closing it when you stick your head back in). You also get the nice option to either just poke your head out or stand up all the way in the hatch.
Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/04/12 09:56 PM

Thank you Ryujin.
Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/06/12 01:03 AM

Got another question. I have heard of tanks firing an anti-air missile from their main gun. Have you guys heard of this? How does that interface work (as far as targeting)? What guidance system would something like that use? Do they use a sabot?
Posted by: strykerpsg

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/06/12 01:49 AM

I haven't seen any dedicated anti-air rounds, just one of a few varieties either being laser guided, lucky shot with conventional rounds or the US Army's MPAT(?) round, but it's not anti-air specific, just has fusing options not available on conventional rounds.

However, not a tanker by trade, so there may be something I haven't seen or heard of.

Matt
Posted by: Ryujin

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/06/12 02:35 AM

I haven't heard of any dedicated anti-air missiles being gun launched, but I'm no expert either.

Some tanks can have gun launched laser guided ATGMs that use the tanks existing optics, laser, and fire control. They could in theory be used to engage helicopters (you can point the laser at anything). After some quick googling it seems the Israeli LAHAT does make some mention of being able to engage helicopters.

"LAHAT is highly effective against a variety of target types, including ground targets, ships and Helicopters at ranges up to 8 km. LAHAT can hit static or moving targets, including moving helicopters with pinpoint accuracy."
http://www.iai.co.il/31015-37347-en/Business_Areas_Military_Land_Precision_Munitions.aspx?btl=1

Posted by: QuickSilver

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/13/12 02:03 PM

Would you guys be interested whatsoever in a driver / gunner setup. I was thinking of something similar to the Star Wars Arcade Game setup with a switch that acts as a modifier (to switch from driver to gunner).

It would work like this

Driving
Turn Left to Turn Left
Turn Right to Turn Right
Tilt Forward to Roll Forward
Tilt Backward to Roll Backward.

Gunner
Turn Left to Rotate Left
Turn Right to Rotate Right
Tilt Back to Move Up
Tilt Forward to Move Down

I am still considering button layouts.

Driving
Smoke Generator
Mountain Brake
Transmission Gears
Start Engine

Gunner
Lazing
Change Ammo type
Fire
Reload (if its not done automatically)

Do you see any buttons that are missing?

How could this be used for Tank Commander Functions (TCF) as far as buttons?

Edit: I should have specified that this set up would most benefit more that one person in a tank. Obviously you need to be able to move AND shoot at tbe same time. You could not do both with this controller setup of course. Can you have multiple people in one tank in Steel Beast Pro?
Posted by: Kontakt5

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/17/12 04:47 PM

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver
I have looked into Steel Beasts pretty extensively strykerpsg. Your post has a aura of defensiveness. I was not attacking Steel Beast. I have no doubt that it is a fine sim. The fans praise drives that point home. I am simply trying to understand why someone does not sell gunner controls. I was only stating that since the design had been used in a commercial arcade product that I did not believe it was something only the military could get. I am sure any company with the initiative could produce them. I know the website you referenced does not offer their product to the public. However, that does not mean SOMEONE could not offer something similar to the public.



Directly from the manufacturer's website:

http://afvsim.com/contact.htm

Quote:
Please note that the controls are designed for military use, or for the defence industry.


Their business model simply does not include the consumer market- they don't want to do it. Evidently they calculate that the costs of manufacturing dies for the mass market isn't lucrative enough for them to recoup their investment. There you have it, but you can contact them directly and ask them to sell you one if you disagree. I understand that no one has been able to do this, though.
Posted by: Kontakt5

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/17/12 04:53 PM

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver
Got another question. I have heard of tanks firing an anti-air missile from their main gun. Have you guys heard of this? How does that interface work (as far as targeting)? What guidance system would something like that use? Do they use a sabot?


Some Russian/Soviet designed tanks can gun launch an ATGM at air targets. They are SACLOS guided just as if they were fired at a ground target, i.e., the gunner has to maintain the missile sight on the target up until impact. This is only practical for a hovering helicopter, you can imagine. They don't shoot high performance radar or IR tracking anti-aircraft missiles.
Posted by: Ronin_GE

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/19/12 06:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Kontakt5
Originally Posted By: QuickSilver
I have looked into Steel Beasts pretty extensively strykerpsg. Your post has a aura of defensiveness. I was not attacking Steel Beast. I have no doubt that it is a fine sim. The fans praise drives that point home. I am simply trying to understand why someone does not sell gunner controls. I was only stating that since the design had been used in a commercial arcade product that I did not believe it was something only the military could get. I am sure any company with the initiative could produce them. I know the website you referenced does not offer their product to the public. However, that does not mean SOMEONE could not offer something similar to the public.



Directly from the manufacturer's website:

http://afvsim.com/contact.htm

Quote:
Please note that the controls are designed for military use, or for the defence industry.


Their business model simply does not include the consumer market- they don't want to do it. Evidently they calculate that the costs of manufacturing dies for the mass market isn't lucrative enough for them to recoup their investment. There you have it, but you can contact them directly and ask them to sell you one if you disagree. I understand that no one has been able to do this, though.



I'd like to add to that(again), that handles, like those made by AFV-sim are "dual-use Items". Therefor they will have some problems selling them to joe-publick
Posted by: Ssnake

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/22/12 05:15 AM

I'm a bit late to the party, and haven't yet read the entire thread, so forgive me if my post here is redundant.

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver
I am simply trying to understand why someone does not sell gunner controls.


At the core it's a matter of commercial viability. A plastic stick will require molds to be made. These are very expensive to make (in the mid five-digit range). Once that you have the molds you can crank out a hundred thousand copies at virtually no cost. So, who'd going to buy those hundred thousand control handles?
There is a very real danger that you can sell only a small fraction of them, and then you're stuck with a substantial bill for production and storage.
The alternative is what AFV Sim does. They are milling the parts out of solid aluminum blocks. The initial investment is much lower, but quite naturally the costs for the CNC machine and the aluminum material, the powder coating etc. are much, much higher - way beyond the range of consumer price levels for joysticks.
In addition, Ronin's statement wasn't a "theory". It's a matter of fact that the control handles are considered war material that fall under export restrictions. It may sound insane, but this is the law in the UK. That there are other examples which apparently were sold worldwide without this bureaucratic hassle doesn't render the law invalid. Maybe they came from a different country, or the laws were different at the time, or the authorities didn't look very closely, or maybe the export simply was illegal under law and someone DID go to jail afterwards. I don't know, and AFV Sim doesn't care; the only thing that matters is what the law is today, and that curtails the export of such handles from the UK.

Quote:
...about Steel Beast ... I thought it was expensive.


...and you are right about it. In a way, it is (even though you brought up examples of other games that, in the end, cost you about as much though in smaller chunks). We at eSim Games simply are honest about what we want right from the start. There are no subscription costs. We just kindly ask to also consider the value of what we're offering. A pretty solid real-time wargame, more than a dozen highly diverse contemporary armored vehicles replicated with high fidelity (most of which are world-exclusives, actually - especially in the field of infantry fighting vehicles), integrated map and mission editors, an active multiplayer community with virtual units, tons of single player scenarios ready for download at SteelBeasts.com, both cooperative multiplayer games and team on team. About every 15 months there is an upgrade to pay for at $25.-, and usually about two or three minor updates (free) between these upgrades. SB Pro doesn't crash. It's not "bug free", but we try to limit it to those that aren't terribly annoying. We've tripled the headcount of the core team over the last twelve months now that we worked ourselves a bit out of the mire of too many development contracts that beset us in the 2006...2010 period, and that will allow us to gear up the pace of our development work noticeably.
So, all in all I think that we offer good value in return. But value is a highly subjective element, therefore I won't tell you what to think. This is our offer, and it is your privilege as a consumer to decide whether its attractive or not. smile

Quote:
when you compare Steel Beast with other tank sims, coupled with the fact there is no demo


For all practical matters, there actually is. You can download and install SB Pro PE for free from here, and there are people at SteelBeasts.com who will borrow you a license so you can try it out. smile

Quote:
...all most people are going to see is it cost at least 225% of comparable products in the same genre (or more).


All I can say is that despite this apparent, glaring disparity, our customers seem to be happy. Don't you wonder why...? wink
Posted by: Ssnake

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/22/12 05:49 AM

Others have given answers already, but here's "the official reply":

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver
Does Steel Beast have a start up sequence (like fuel pumps, hydrualic pumps, etc.) or do you just press a key to start the engine?

Some vehicles do, provided that the scenario designer set a variable in the scenario to NOT have the vehicle battle ready at mission start. Even then however, starting up a tank is usually less complicated than an airplane with multiple engines. The main focus of Steel Beasts is tactical combat. Army customers also want it for crew procedure training, where commander and gunner are the training audience. Steel Beasts is not a driving simulator (a lot of work would be involved there for comparatively little gain, as far as we can see; the same can be said for a loader's position).

Quote:
Is there a bail button (as in bailing out of the tank)?

Not yet.
Arguably, as long as the tank isn't on fire, the safest place to stay is inside, and once that it actually is on fire, it's usually too late. There is of course a sweet spot in between, and maybe we'll implement such a feature in the future.

Quote:
Does Steel Beast have smoke generators?

Some vehicles do. Most have smoke grenades.

Quote:
Do you have to turn a laser on for rangeing or is it always on?

In most vehicles its always on. Some armies wanted to have the laser key simulated as an educational measure so that the crews treat it like a weapon, other armies are more lenient about it. Eventually we'll simulate it in all vehicles where such a key is used, but leave it plugged in and active by default.

Quote:
Can you control the tank treads individually?

We model the difference of some tanks being able to picot steer while others can't. But by and large all modern tanks rely on some sort of a steering wheel or motorcycle handle bar. Levers to steer tracks individually are a concept of the past. The only vehicle that still does it and which is still in use today that springs to my mind is the M113, and maybe also the T-55 (I have to check that one, though) - arguably the oldest and weakest of their kind.

Quote:
Do the gears change automatically or manually?

Automatic transmission all the way. Like I wrote above, SB Pro is no driving simulation.
Frankly, I don't understand the interest of many people in the driver's place. While it is a very important position usually given to the most mature crew member after the vehicle commander, from a gaming perspective there isn't much freedom for your own decisions actually. Bring the vehicle from here to over there. Make it as quick as possible, take a concealed route, and try to not get stuck. That's about it.

Quote:
Do the tanks have variable throttle control or is it just gas and brake?

With a joystick (or steering wheel and gas pedal) you can fine-control the vehicle speed, yes. Still, don't expect wonders. For normal operation Steel Beasts has five speed settings - top speed, medium, slow, stop, and reverse. The practical reality is that as a vehicle commander you don't need more.

Quote:
Do you have to close (or open for that matter) the hatch after popping out to look around or does it do it automatically.

You may open and close hatches separately, but for the normal user interface if you're buttoned up and you give the command to elevate your point of view, there is a delay and an animation of the hatch and then you go to "chin defilade" automatically. I see very little benefit to convolute the user interface more than absolutely necessary. There is only so much that even with a 3D turret interior one can accomplish wehn all that you have are hotkeys on the keyboard and mouse click and drag options. For example, as a Leopard 2 tank commander to open the hatch you need to turn around and use both hands to
  1. unlock the hatch
  2. elevate it to top position
  3. unlock the swivel limiter
  4. rotate it
  5. push it down, and finally
  6. lock it in place
I can see no value in attempting to replicate that with extensive switchology. That's just occupational therapy to divert the player from the important elements, to maintain situational awareness. Striving for high fidelity incurs intelligent choices about which elements may be simplified and which need to be modeled in full, both in order to support the focus of the simulation. And that is tactical combat, above all. That's complicated enough.
Posted by: Ssnake

Re: No Online Platoons?? - 01/22/12 05:52 AM

Originally Posted By: QuickSilver
Can you have multiple people in one tank in Steel Beast Pro?


Of course!