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#1392211 - 08/26/04 04:20 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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  • Ever try to tell your friends why you like WW1 simming? It's tough isn't it? Most of us hide it as our secret obsession.


Not here . When RB2 came out I got 3 friends playing it and when WW2 fighter came out I used to tell everyone at work I was going home to save democracy. \:D


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#1392212 - 08/26/04 04:30 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Man Flyxwire I like you . Put into words exactly how I feel about sports . I work in a PT clinic and half are mags there are Sports junk . I feel the same way.

People talk about history as being boring and if you have ever watched a segment of Jay Leno's Jaywalking they know little and care less about it . "When was the tv invented ?" 1850 was the answer.

These events determined people's /nation's fates , determined how we live etc. Not some game between grown men calling themselves the Bobcats and the Muskrats acting like it matters what they do besides entertainment . It's as stupid as me walking out of a theater screaming like the world is safe since Luke blew up the Death Star but worse at least he wasn't calling himself a Cougar or something .


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#1392213 - 08/26/04 04:37 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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What are you Mcgiver ? Never fly Nazi aircraft . Do you fly Republican a/c? \:D


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#1392214 - 08/26/04 06:55 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Fly you are absolutely correct when you mention the visual being a huge selling point. If you gave some gamer the original Castle Wolfenstein they would probably be bored in about 30 seconds even though it is not that different to a modern day shooter.

It's what drew everyone's eye initially to IL2 because it looked better than any sim before it. Even if I don't like the whole idea of WOW I have to admit the visuals and what might be done with them gets me excited. The fact it also seems coded well to run smoothly on people's computers is a bonus too.

Refering back to the earlier point, trying to complete a fps level is usually allot more repetitive and tedious I would think. Most of them are a pre-determined loop where you know what is going to happen and where. At least with getting your plane off the ground you have accomplished an action that does not need to be relearned. It's a sense of accomplishment which should be more gratifying than blowing away endless waves of monsters, soldiers, whatever.

I'm just putting out an example of what types of tedium a player will go through to achieve their goals. Anyways, that was my point about levels of complexity being a good thing while adding goofy stuff like powerups and super weapon add-ons doing nothing beneficial for the sim genre.

WW1 flying is already stripped down enough as it is for gaming purposes because it is a game. It does not have to be Super Mario in the air though.

I guess your friends are more tolerant than mine. They just give me a strange glazed over look if I bring up the topic so I don't bother anymore.

As you mentioned fearlesslds, people talk about history being boring. That is why I was stressing any marketing needs to focus on the emotional rather than the historical semantics to capture their audience. Once they're hooked they'll find learning more about the time period more gratifying.

(Your comparisons between political ideologies were a lackluster ending to your otherwise interesting posts.)

I don't think a developer can create a good sim without having some passion or interest in it. If the developer's feel that they are good in that area, there is no reason not to pursue it. Some make good arcade games, some make good sims. Developers are not some homogenous group that doesn't have strengths or weaknesses in one area or another. A developing company that tries to force their talents and product into a gaming niche they have no experience with will only end up with a misguided product.

I guess they'll all eventually lower their standards hoping they make the next Tetris or something. ;\)

S!

#1392215 - 08/26/04 03:57 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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I'm not sure I would classify myself has a hardcore simmer. I am building a very simple home cockpit for use primarily with FS2004, a sim which takes most of my gaming time. Perhaps that makes me somewhat hardcore. However, that would apply to FS2004 only. I really enjoy, or have enjoyed, the likes of IL-FB, BOB, Mig Alley, USAF, EAW, and RB3D. But I tend to approach those games with the view to quick fun-- I always start but rarely finish campaigns. I want the flight models to give an experience at least close to reality, I enioy the historical context, and I am fascinated by the continuing advancement in graphics. But in the end, when it comes to combat flight sims, I don't want a huge learning curve. I don't have the time to play games that require that much from me. So, a good-looking, somewhat historical, "easy" combat flightsim game with a good fun factor is often what I look for. I'm not yet sure about WoW, but it does appear to fit my criteria. I'd also be very interested in KoE should it ever appear.

#1392216 - 08/26/04 09:08 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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S! All!

I posted this on the editorial discussion on the General Flight Sim thread. This is a better place for it though and it is just as topical here as it is there! So forgive my re-posting it here!!

S! All!

There are some great ideas on this thread. A number of people have made great posts. None of them however really touch on what I think is wrong with this genre.

There is an idea floating around out there that flight sims don't sell well. I disagree. There is a lot of empirical evidence that flight sims don't sell well, but there hasn't been much discussion as to why they aren't selling as well as they did years ago. Have gamers changed that much? I don't think they have. I think the concept of combat flight simulations is just as viable today as it ever was. There is a romanticism involved with flight that people feel almost universally. Simulated combat is fun - be it laser tag, paint balls, or computer simulations. Add the romanticism of flight to the fun of simulated combat, and you should have something easy to sell.

I don't think there is anything making flight simulations inherently less popular. What I think is happening is that we look at flight simulations from such a grainular perspective - scrutinizing the flight model, the damage model, the view structure, etc. etc. etc. - that we forget about the most critical element: does it do a good job of simulating air combat?

Read a book about air combat. Read Adolf Galland's 'The First and the Last' or Richtofen's 'The Red Baron.' Hear from the actual participants what aerial combat was like. Then fly and see if you get the same feeling they discuss in their books.

What is aerial combat about? It is about dogfighting. That's it, folks! And guess what? Dogfighting is FUN! Make a game that centers on the dogfight and you'll make something you can sell. Everything else is secondary. Get the dogfight right and you'll have a great game engine to build around. If you want it to be fun then you build the simulation around the game engine rather than the other way around. The dogfight is 'the game' and simulations need to address that fact.

In all of my readings, one of the things I've found is that once a pilot sees another pilot they can pretty easily keep track of where they are throughout the combat. I don't remember Galland talking about flying past Bader and then wondering where Bader went. I remember reading things like "I went into a half-loop while my opponent circled around below me" and things like that. REAL pilots fought like the dogfight was a big chess game. The victor was usually the one who better employed their aircraft. That usually means starting with an advantage, but really it means they outflew their opponents before and/or after the merge.

But we don't have that. We manage our view systems instead of managing our energy. We manage our engines instead of our dogfights.

In the Red Baron 3D days we used to talk on these forums about the dynamics of a dogfight. How do you gain an angles advantage or get an energy advantage on an opponent? How do you turn-the-tables on an opponent who has an advantage over you? What are the strengths of your aircraft and how can you best employ your aircraft against different enemy aircraft? What are the different parts of a dogfight, how to you recognize what part of it you are in, and how do you react to that information? These are the things we should be talking about because these are the things that should help us win! But these are NOT the things we talk about.

In the quest for 'realism' we have defined settings that are neither realistic nor fun. Rather they are hard. Hard for realism's sake is a good thing. Hard for 'hard's sake' is just stupid!

People talk about having easier settings for newer pilots. I agree, but I think that misses the point somewhat also. Nobody really wants to fly at easier settings. Everyone wants to fly at the harder settings. Those who fly at easier settings generally do so with the expectation of getting better and increasing the difficulty with the eventual hope of cranking it all the way up.

That makes a big push toward the hardest settings. This is particularly true online, which IMHO is where the real fun is.

And someone should mention that you shouldn't need an advanced flight degree to figure out what difficulty settings or joystick settings to use!

Focus on making the game feel real. If that means doing some things that are not entirely 'realistic' then do it. It is the feeling that matters. Who cares if real pilots had external views? They didn't have computer monitors either. What should matter is making a view system that captures the experience of aerial combat. If Chuck Yeager could maintain SA in a real P-51, then Chuck Yeager should be able to maintain similar SA in a simulation.

Anyway, that's my point. I see a number of other great points and I don't want to detract from those, but I don't want what I think is the centerpiece of this whole thing to get forgotten either...

#1392217 - 08/27/04 12:19 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Wall-dog,

My points about enabling padlocking, or designing in sim playability (or what Dantes calls balance) squares well with what you have written above.

Also, there's good discussions still occuring on forums (like here) concerning what makes a combat flight sim engrossing to play, and it's not always harder-realism as you've noted, but more correctly how well a sim creates a convincing ranking in performance (the relationship) between the subject aircraft, and how well that relationship seems to mesh with known recollections of those who actually flew the combat!

Get that ranking relationship right, and a convincing fascimile of the real thing will follow.

I'd like to make another quick point here before I move onto the main emphasis of this posting, and that is to say there's often little need for cockpit instrumentation in much early aviation flying. In fact early aviators flew more "in tune" with their engines (through sound), than by referencing their flight gauges (if they had any). Now the reason I'm saying this, as most of you already know, is to emphasize that real flying is done mostly through audible and other sensory cues (first), and secondly through the instruments (non IFR flying that is). In fact, if we were to take away all cockpit instrumentation in our favorite sim, and then experience combat actions between different aircraft types and pilots, our impressions would sound much like what you have referred to from Galland's writings and those of other combat pilots............they responded to how well their plane's ranked, when compared to acceleration, zoom advantage, the ability to roll or hold the edge in a turn, etc..............in general terms! As opposed to reading something like "I reached 165 kph in level flight as I eased in behind my target, he saw me and immediately dove to 3200 meters where upon backing 30 degrees I was able to fire a port deflection lead of 10 degrees and he immediately caught fire, and went down."

Again, air combat is all about where the advantages fall, and how well to maximize your's while minimizing the enemy's.........right?

Ok, my friend Stickshaker sent me a collection of his favorite forum discussions here recently (thanks again Hans), and amongst the discussions was a gem written by the designers of GMX's Firepower add-on for CFS3 about accelerated stalls. Well one entry in that thread is approproate to our discussions here I think, so allow me to reprint the text contained in a post from airfileguy through ScottFP:

POST 1:
There's been some discussion about comparisons of the IL-2 aircraft with Firepower aircraft, with respect to stall and spin characteristics. Scott mentioned that, after the Firepower package was wrapped up and ready to go, he found some time to fire up IL-2 and do a little flying. The result of this was that he found the stall/spin behaviors of some of the Firepower fighters to be remarkably similar to the IL-2 fighters.

This was not intentional -- in other words, when the flight models were being developed, we didn't say, "well, lets play IL-2 and then try the Firepower stuff and really get it matched." The way it came about was much more natural and evolutionary, and was based on a lot of different experiences and research. But the result, in our estimation, was quite pleasing.

Scott and I are both pilots in real life, as well as being avid flight simulator fans. We think we have some understanding of the difference between flying a real aircraft and flying a computer. As one friend of mine put it, who's an aerobatic pilot and aeronautical engineer, the biggest difference is that "you can't hit the pause button." Obviously there is much more to it than that. Scott and I had many discussions about this, and, aside from the fact you can't hit the pause button, we came up with a few observations about the difference between computer flight simulators and real airplane.

The biggest difference is the "seat of the pants" feel you get from a real plane. In VFR flight, at any rate, you really do rely on the sensations of motion and pressure you get from your butt, along with the visual references from the outside. That's the second biggest difference. No matter how hard we try, we can only get a small slice of the outside world to appear in our cockpit view at any given time. There is just very little outside reference, which makes PC flight simulators much harder to fly than real aircraft. It's pretty much like flying on instruments all the time, at least with respect to maintaining level, coordinated flight. That's why takeoffs and landing are so tough in the simulator; you can't see much, which is why the games always give you a HUD view without the panel, which really helps.

What we wanted to do was to provide the most analogous experience possible. One way this was accomplished was through the g-view which is describe in another thread. The second way was the method we used to model stalls and spins. There has been and always will be a lot of talk about "realism." Just what is "realism," anyway? We decided it was a simulated experience that would leave the person feeling as though they had really "been there, done that." The problem is this is different for every individual. And most computer gamers have never flown a real aircraft and probably never will. They just want to have a great, immersive experience playing the game. But, at the same time, there are quite a few folks that like to at least believe that some effort has been made to get the game as "close to reality" as possible, or as Microsoft puts it, "as real as it gets."

That's where the slow flight, stall, and spin behavior really come into play. I'll follow up on this discussion a little later with another post, explaining just how we went about putting together our version of "as real as it gets."


I think this posting jives very well with the conversations we've been having here, especially this line:

There is just very little outside reference, which makes PC flight simulators much harder to fly than real aircraft. It's pretty much like flying on instruments all the time, at least with respect to maintaining level, coordinated flight.

..........much harder to fly than real aircraft!!!

See, flight sims don't always get it better by doing it harder, they get it better by getting the relationships between the aircraft types right, and so if the relationships in performance ranking between types feels right, then so will the simulated combat too! First though, we've got to be able to fly these simulated aircraft with some degree of control and SA, and if it takes a little mechanism here that let's our eyes track an enemy aircraft, or an arrow there that shows his relative direction, or some recognizable swooshing sound to let us know we're approaching the stall...........

.........well these things should be in there, afterall, it's the general combat feel that's got to be there first, or everything will just fall flat with a big thud...........game over man! \:D

#1392218 - 08/27/04 12:36 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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S! FlyXWire!

I think you and I see completely eye-to-eye here. A number of other people however still, based on what I'm reading, don't really understand the point of what we are saying.

#1392219 - 08/27/04 10:12 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Quote:
Originally posted by FlyXwire:
Wall-dog,

like "I reached 165 kph in level flight as I eased in behind my target, he saw me and immediately dove to 3200 meters where upon backing 30 degrees I was able to fire a port deflection lead of 10 degrees and he immediately caught fire, and went down."

The point using this quote is well made. I will always remember the way one ace described dogfighting, - Johhnie Johnson I think it was -
He likened it to chasing a pig round a farmyard. Nearly all the time keep the eyes on the pig. The gates, fences, obstruction you dealt with peripherally, apparently.
So, yes - no need nor desire to look at instruments when fighting - positively dangerous I would say.
But, after the "Phew!!" it is nice to see a "realistic, instruments-working cockpit, and for it to be able to be used to fly home or onward. And if the sim can do it, well, fine. However, I would never call a sim, without this level of sophistication, seriously deficient in the hardcore stakes.
Unless you are talking modern jets (F4 etc ) where avionics are essential.
Wings of War, because of the mouse view, and particularly if you have TrackIR, has you chasing round the farmyard, as much if not more than any other sim, and certainly more than any other WW1 sim, including Red Baron..( Caveat - talking about Instant Action here \:\) .

That's why I think it will be flown enough to succeed for the next stages of modders ( and hopefully ) a patch to be implemented.


Mankind's problem is not failing to know the difference between right and wrong; - It is failing to know the difference between different and wrong
#1392220 - 08/27/04 11:34 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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I think you see the point Cas, and of course modern jet combat is all about avionic-assited scoring.........like there should be an asterisk (*) listed after every kill achieved (sorry jet-jocks). ;\)

Simply put (and I'm a great believer in authentic modeling and graphics to a fault btw), if we were forced to fly our sims "blind" for demonstration purposes that is, without any data feedback to quantify the experience, and therefore we didn't have any quantitative benchmarks to measure our flying by, then our impressions would be drawn only by the "seat of our pants", by the feel of the flying experience, and how well our mount seemingly matched up against the other guys.

This is the essence (IMO) of "getting it right" in combat flight simming...........you against him, his mounts capabilities as opposed to yours...........it's the dynamic comparison we experience........the mental ranking our minds assembles from the experience of the dogfight that makes it feel real.

If the experince doesn't "feel" authentic, and the aircraft performances can't be reconciled with one another as we have learned to understand them, then our minds will never allow ourselves to totally accept the experience as plausible..........it'll fail in that exhalted task of "suspending disbelief".

This to me is one of the most important differences between a "sim" experience, and a "game" experience. Both can be fun as heck, and you can't (or shouldn't) argue against success, but what exist in our mind's eye can never be dispensed with, afterall, this is what we draw upon to make critical judgements, but if a sim's aircraft seem to rank and compare in their relative performances to one another well, then it doesn't matter what the "numbers" say.........the "feel" is already there. \:\)

#1392221 - 08/27/04 03:51 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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What makes a sim?

It seems to me that many define a sim in terms of whether it is difficult or hard to play, or not.

But I havent seen a more detailed discussion about what a sim is. I probably need to stress that there's nothing wrong with preferring one type of game over the other.

Also it should be noted that we are, most of us armchair pilots, and those amongst us who are pilots irl have not always had the chance of flying the particular aircraft that are modelled in a given sim/game. This means that there will always be an element of subjective evaluation and guestimation involved. The totally objective truth is probably impossible to ascertain. Besides, none of us were there, (as far s WW1 is concerned) so we must acknowledge that we're basing a lot of our logic on the available sources.

Now, imagine a scale from 1 to 100. Now consider that the highest value is used to indicate full sim, 50 is used to indicate "middle-of-the road, and 1 is full arcade.

Next we need to think about what parameters should go into the system. I'll suggest the following:

1. Flight-models; how well does the flight model compare with real life
2. Models; how well do the models of planes, vehicles, buildings, weapons compare with real life
3. Terrain; how well does the terrain compare with real life terrain
4. Gameplay; How well does the gameplay (missions, campaign, objectives, tactics, AI behaviour) compare with real life
5. Historical accuracy; how well are historical facts incorporated (Squadrons, markings, a/c developments, frontlines, battles)
6. Credibility/fidelity to the experience; Does the sim/game give you and me the impression that this is really like it could have been, even if the mission or campaign is not 100% backed up by established historical events? This is where the "feel" of the package comes into play.

I think those are the more obvious ones, the ones that are the first to come to mind.

Now place a couple of sims and games in that system. And see what you get. We can probably agree to quite a large extent on titles like BoB, RB3, FCG, Il-2 to being placed somewhere between 70 and 100, and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe being between, I don't know, let's say 70 to 40.

Note that a parameter such as difficulty, or hard to play has not been mentioned yet. And that I haven't mentioned the scaleability thereof either.

These are important elements, but they really are not connected to the evaluation of a given games "sim-yness".

So we have to use a scale system again, this time to say something about these other parameters. This time we'll have to define a different scale though: 0 is for not present, 100 for present and perfect. Values in between are used to indicate that element is present but with some sort of qualifyer against it.

The parameters are (amongst others):
1. Scaleability of Flight-models, models (weapons-effectiveness, instruments), Gameplay (Easy mission/campaign, Easy objectives, Easy tactics, Easy AI)
2. Support of Mouse-look/TrackIR
3. Introduction of Aids such as e.g. threat-markers, radar-HUD

Now place the same sims you chose under the sim-scale and see what you come up with.

And in terms of Gameplay, and the scale is the one used under the scaleability section:
1. Mission Generator
2. Multiplayer, Internet, LAN, split-screen or other form of dual play
3. "What-if" scenarios or missions/campaigns that are developed to give the player "instant gratification", perhaps as "quick-shots" or "fly now" missions/campaigns.
4. That elusive quality of ambience: Some games have them some don't. It's the quality that let's you play your favourite over and over again in spite of it being technically inferior, or replaced with newer titles, with better graphics or models with more polys.
5. RPG/character development
6. Fantasy elements like power ups, your plane can be upgraded to a UFO what have you.


Same exercise as with the previous two scales.

Now we have defined the sims/gaames in 3 main categories; one that attempts to place any game or sim on a scale defining its qualities as a sim, one that defines it in terms of scaleablility/user-friendliness, and finally one scale that defines it in terms of gameplay/logevity.

Now what about the fun aspect, I hear you ask.

Well, fun is totally subjective, my idea of fun may and probably will differ from your idea of fun. That's why fun cannot be, and should not be attempted to be, pre-programmed into any kind of entertainment software. Imo it can't be done.

Determining is a game or sim is fun for you should be slightly easier, And discussing what exactly a sim is should also be slightly less confusing if you had those 6+3+5 paramaters in mind when describing a given sim or game.

With this system you can make a more informed descision (and make a more detailed review as well, if you write reviews). Consider two flight sims that score as follows (just a hypothetical example):

Sim-scale:
Sim a b
Flight-models: 60 80
Models: 60 80
Terrain: 60 80
Gameplay: 60 80
Historical: 60 80
Credibility: 80 80
Subtotal: 400 480

All this will tell us is that b is slightly more simmy than a.


Scaleablility-scale
Sim a b
Scaleability: 80 20
TIr etc. 50 80
Aids: 80 20
Subtotal 2: 210 120

Ok, now we know that the slightly less simmy alternative is the best with regards to scaleablility.

Gameplay-scale
Sim a b
Mission Gen.: 60 80
Multiplay: 80 80
Inst.Action: 80 20
Ambience: 60 80
RPG/Character: 60 0
Storyline: 80 20
Fantasy: 80 20
Subtotal 3: 500 300

And the slightly less simmy alternative scores high in terms of attempts to add RPF and other elements. Additionally it provides easy access to instant action.

So we have:
Sim a b
Subtotal 2: 210 120
Subtotal 3: 500 300
Total Score: 710 400

You see that although both alternatives seemed quite close, there are many differences too, and one or more of those differences might be very important to you, when you decide which sim to get. I'd want the one with the lowest total score. What you'd want is entirely up to you to decide.


Jens C. Lindblad


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#1392222 - 08/27/04 05:03 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Great thread and nice detailed thoughts from everyone here, thanks guys.

From all these thoughts and from my own, I think just about every good game/sim experience comes down to doing a few things right.

Many of these things are linked to each other, help to enforce each other, and because of that draw you into a game.

Atmosphere
Very important.
Atmosphere can be created by many things, but done well it draws the player in.
For example well done weather effects, creating a real sense of "being there", how you show the world environment and events going on around you. As others have mentioned, in a WW1 sim seeing solders moving on the ground, other battles going on that may have nothing to do with you etc. Seeing the rain rush past, hearing the howling wind, the spluttering of your engine.

Wings of War for all its arcade parts does the atmosphere, landscape and weather effects etc in spades.

Realism/Suspension of disbelief

Realism in terms of things looking and behaving realistically, moving in what we deem to be a "realistic" manner. So seeing a plane crash and bounce 10 times 200 meters up like a rubber ball is bad, seeing a player model run like he has piles the size of footballs all destroy the feeling). This includes FMs of course and AI.

So yes lets ease off a little on the anal realism in terms of measuring turning circles to the nth degree. Yes there are some people who think this is a big problem, as I say everyone is different. But for the vast majority of players this detail isnt as important as long as its known plane x turns faster than plane y in real life, and it does so in the game in a believable way thats fine.

Randomness
Seeing the same plane turn the same way 17 times in a row is a sure way to kill interest quickly. One reason RB3D still survives today, people playing this for 6 years still sometime see something really amazing happen for the first time etc.

Remembering that everyone is different
Everyone in life is different with different requirements and expectations. Watch one of those morning discussion programs about life, and say this to yourself and all the arguments become irrelevant. In the end you see the conclusion they reach is well everyone is different ;\)

So make it customisable!

Environmental Detail
ADDS to the atmosphere and therefore closely linked with the first point, these are the little extras that may not be completely necessary but help to draw you in to believing its a real world.

I want to believe Im in a world, thats living and breathing around me, not just a cold set of perfect mathematical calculations and measurements.

These are sometimes small effects or details that may not seem important for everyone, but it really adds to the immersion for many. If you suddenly find they actually thought about the world and what a player might see or what he might try to do.
For instance in Joint Operations, looking backwards whilst in a helicopter and seeing the heat warping the air from the engine, seeing the air bruised and pushed aside by a very close high speed sniper bullet passing your face, and the dust blow from below a chopper which steadily lessens as the dust is blown away \:\) , IL2 seeing the engine smoke when you first fire it up. All these add, not essential but really help to draw you into believing this is a real object or world. All are extras and are easy to leave out but they are important touches.

So we need a sim that FEELS right, can be easy or real (not too hard just realistic to the point of satisfying most sim needs) and makes us forget for a moment its a game. I agree flight sims are often harder than real life. Its almost impossible to take off for newbies in some sims so help (Like in Geoff Crammond's Grand Prix with the auto breaking, auto gears etc) and have an option to go with less help as they improve maybe do this automatically by default (can be disabled) as they progress?

Also maybe have this clear and visible somewhere so people know exactly what setting they are on and how they are improving.

So a sim with two main modes and make it clear and obvious which mode you are in, and then let it be further customisable. Arcade FM and arcade campaign with an option for full sim FM and sim campaign mode with good multiplayer would be the killer WW1 game. Appealing to many types simmers and general arcade players too. In WoW for instance they have most things done well, it has the eye candy, it has the some of the best atmospheric dogfighting I have seen when the arcade options are off (apart from the some of the FM and rockets). It also has real extra detail in some parts such as rotating magazines, great model detail, some amazing fragile looking and under used planes etc), but is lacking in some obvious detail e.g. no wing warping on the Eindeckers. It has a fun arcade mode if you can just turn off the its not a sim attitude and just enjoy yourself for a moment, and it also can be made more sim-like although not enough.

We are nearly there, come on KOE! \:\)


Regards,

Polovski,
OBD Software, developers of immersive flight sims;
Wings Over Flanders Fields and Wings Over The Reich
http://www.overflandersfields.com
http://www.wingsoverthereich.com
#1392223 - 08/27/04 05:09 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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This is most fascinating Jens..........a process for quantifying a game's "sim-yness", as well as for evaluating other parameters too, like playability, and scaleability!

Thanks for the posting, I think this organized approach to game/sim evaluation will help expand our thinking here greatly.

First-class!

#1392224 - 08/27/04 05:12 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Geesh, here comes Polovski's list too. \:D

Guess I'm going to have get my printer up and running now.............

Good stuff here!

#1392225 - 08/29/04 11:03 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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RAF74_Wall-dog surrenders::
Quote:
I've come to the personal realization that I'm willing to sacrifice some "ultimate realism" in one category or another, if a sim has that overall balance, and represents eminent playability.
Wall Dog personally admits Defeat. Don't anybody here follow Wall Dog or you will personally never see another flight sim worth buying.

Why?


(0) The claim that we have become too "nitpicky" about FM is false. Only a loud vocal minority of simmers post on flight sim internet webboards that Whine about FM so loud. Did anybody here at the sinhq stop to think that in the quiet "old flight sim days" there were no flight sim webboards for these dozen or so FM Whiners to advertise themselves as the total community? Indeed it is possible that Wall~Dog has confused the Whining of a very few with the silent majority of flight simmers out there.


(1) You need no difficulty settings in a flight sim. You need historical era flight sim training planes and a deep manual and game interface that leads the flight sim Newbie through basic flight training and into combat training. This requires programming effort, not watering down realism as suggested here.

(2) Wall's idea of using External View to "make up" for computer monitor demonstrates the danger of following his/her entire advice in this thread. Why? To start, full cockpit view can be made so it is as easy to use as natural human vision...

Mouse view for those that don't have TrekkieIR ( ;\) ) It works.

Aircraft grafix that don't vanish and monitor resolution dependent "dot" sizes for distant aircraft. Some may recognize here that I am come from the FB camp which is totally diseased with this problem of aircraft invisibility.

A wider zoom cockpit view, at least 120 degrees maximum like LOMAC, and with zoom in view possible. And I don't mean the Sloppy LOMAC zoom controls that are slow but instant zoom in view like FB provides (here we have one minor example of sloppy implementation in LOMAC that makes the game hard to play).

Pilot Lean. I agree with Wall Dog that we need pilot leaning control, but then Wall Dog states we can't have it yet (we can).

I could go on with more, but the pattern so far shows that everything here all depends on programming code to make it happen, programming that is not being done but could be, and not bizzare debates about flight sims being too realistic or too hard. There can never be such a thing. Just thinking and it sounds dumb. Don't be fooled here. Flying can be easy and very difficult at the same time. Modelling both requires programming effort.

I believe what turns off most Newbie flight simmers is the lack of immersive air combat environment. Wall~Dog is conspicously silent on this. Going by my experience with FB, a flight sim should provide the basic air combat game engine but allow 3rd Party people to easily communicate with the the game to create engaging frontline situations.

Wall Dog::
Quote:
I fly almost entirely online. I'm not big on AI. They just don't move right - they don't fly smart.
Bingo. Wall Dog must by admission ignore 95% of flight sim purchasers.

Why don't AI fly smart? Because the AI needs more programming. I will say that AI programming in flight sims is an afterthought.
The goal of AI programming is to reduce the visible difference between computer and humanoid operator. AI can be programmed far more deeply than is done now. Follow Wall Dog and AI will never be improved.


Again, all this requires much more programming effort than we have seen so far, and more effort than would be required by Wall's ideas about watering down flight sims into arcade games (okay, I said it). Wall's claim that flight sims are too hard are correct but he/she conceals the reasons--lack of programming. Ignoring this will truly be the Death of the Flight Sim Genre (possibly why Wall chose this as a title).

Granted, IL~2/FB was Oleg's first flight sim with limited funding, and his future sims may be far more deeply programmed for gameplay. If so, we are about to witness the Birth of the Flight Simulation Genre.

:p Granted, Oleg still refuses to allow re~fuel and re~arming for those who wish to sim an all day "scenario" with multiple missions.


Better, and more, programming is the key to Victory. \:\)

I shall agree with Wall Dog about the prices....that such programming could use a more expensive retail package, or at least far greater sales volume at current flight sim prices. \:\)

#1392226 - 08/29/04 11:14 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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*Think*

If somebody programmed DOOM~3 with the (apparently) fantastic AI of ROME TOTAL WAR the retail package would be worth...?

...how much...?

#1392227 - 08/29/04 11:33 AM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Interesting read ... and it does raise some interesting questions!

The flightsim 'world' is a divided entity. The mention of AI is a pertinent one, and the crux of the division. Most 'newbies' are going to start off flying Offline. They are unlikely to dive in and subscribe to an online arena, or start flying online. They don't know the tricks, and will want to 'learn' the game first.

Lets look at Flight Sim AI.....

Going back to the sims I started flying..SDOE and EAW. The AI was able to give a reasonable fight, but was basically a 1-trick pony. They tried to get on your tail, and that was all they did. You couldn't pretend they were real.... you knew what they were going to do.

AI, though, is actually a VERY complex area. It takes a lot of resource, and will use up more CPU than fancy graphics.... Would you go for a sim that looked like EAW today...with good AI? Now try to sell it to a casual gamer...

Any sim builder looking to spec out a project can read this thread and learn what Us... the sim buyer.. wants from a sim. How we would tailor it to encourage learners. Whether padlock was a good idea ( personally.... it made me dizzy!) whether external views are good or bad ( I hate em..ruins the sense of being there ) or how the thing would hang together, we have to face reality. Making a modern sim costs big bucks, and there has to be a reasoanble chance of making some!

Lexx made a good point about 'learning' though... having a flightsim where you had to learn to fly would be a damn good idea.

You start off flying circuits in an Avro 504, being given lectures on the basics of flight control. Then doing 'exams' to demonstrate your ability to fly 'circuits'. Bump and go landing practice....then basic gunnery training. Depending on how you do, you may get posted as an observer/gunner to a 2 seater.... THAT would be a proper career \:D Shouldn't be hard to do... just needs some thought. NEVER seen it actually done though \:D


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#1392228 - 08/29/04 12:48 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Well Lexx_Luthor don't blame Wall-dog for this quote:
Quote:
I've come to the personal realization that I'm willing to sacrifice some "ultimate realism" in one category or another, if a sim has that overall balance, and represents eminent playability.
Those are my words. ;\)

The issue we're talking about here is the degree of difficulty needed to fly an "ultimate realism" FM on a PC, as opposed to a "realistic" FM.

Until we get hardware and coding that enables us to experience 3D surround-visuals, surround-sound ambients, g-force pressure for our posteriors (as well as the rest of our body), realistic force-feedback, stall buffeting...........and all programmed to work for everyone's system, no one is going to be flying the "ultimate realism" flight sim...........in fact I think this is why Wall-dog mentioned the following concept in another one of his thread here:

Quote:
Everyone has seen the NASCAR simulators in some of the malls? You sit in them for like $5 and drive against others. These simulators have hydraulics, wrap-around screens, etc. and really give the feeling of driving in NASCAR.

Why not offer the same thing with WWI aircraft in combat?

The mall simulators would be just a part of the project though. Really, what I see is making TWO WWI Flight Simulators. One would be for use in malls and would have hydraulics, etc. The other one would be a computer program sold for home use.
If you want all the "hard-realism" in your flight sim experience that comes with the real world, then it will have to be realistically servicable from a hardware/software point of view too, in the meantime we'll be staring at these flat screens of ours until that day arrives.

#1392229 - 08/29/04 04:28 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  

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S! Lexx!

I had to laugh a little when I read your thread. You completely miss the point. I'm not saying I want to see watered-down flight sims. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather I'm saying that there is a difference between something being difficult and something being realistic. I'm also saying that there is a difference between trying to capture the mechanics of something and trying to capture the feel of something. If you try to capture the feel of aerial combat and try to do so such that the simulation is the same difficulty as the real thing, then I think you will have accomplished something very special and very realistic.

I said at one point that I wanted to try and stay away from debates regarding specific settings. I said that for a reason - I didn't want this thread to degrade into an agrument about padlock or externals or anything else. My point has nothing to do with specific settings. Do I believe in external views? I think they are one way (and with current technology a GOOD way) to make up for some of the limitations inherent in modern computer sims. That does not mean I view externals as the only way or even the best way to make up for those limitations. What I do believe is that there are limitations inherent in current computer simulations, and I think it is frankly stupid to ignore that. All of this 'a real pilot can't do that so we shouldn't be able to either' talk is the #1 reason our genre is in trouble.

Look at the numbers. The more flight sims center on the mechanics of 'realism' rather than the feel of 'realism,' the lower flight sim sales go. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the trend. It ironically doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the solution either.

Why doesn't anyone buy flight sims anymore? Because they are no longer fun. We have such a grainular view on 'realism' that we have forgotten how to capture feeling of the real thing. We have forgotten from the most basic sense what it is a simulation is for. Simulations are by definition not real. The point of them is not to make them real, but rather to make them feel real. None of the modern flight sims do that.

As for Artificial Intelligence, you say that all we need is to code better AI. I disagree. I think that the Internet gives us a unique opportunity to move away from AI entirely. Just as simulations are by definition not real, AI is by definition not intelligent - hence the word 'Artificial' in the name... Why simulate intelligence when you can use real people? Why not simulate the offline campaign instead?

#1392230 - 08/29/04 06:05 PM Re: The Death of the Flight Simulation Genre  
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Ditch AI and you ditch a lot of customers. Period.
Myself included.

It needs to be a part of the sim, and an enjoyable part. If you prefer flying online against real pilots, then thats fine, but don't assume that everyone can or will. To consider online as the 'solution' is just another nail in the coffin. How many novice pilots will want to fire up their new game and go looking for real pilots to fly against...

No practice, no chance to get to grips with the plane...and straight into a potentially hostile environment. Or..maybe the whole online world just got fair and friendly? You can't guarantee that ;\) How many people bought into Warbirds etc. as their FIRST flightsim? I'm guessing not many.

How many RB pilots played the offline game for a while before going online? Most I would think.

Yes you need stable multiplay... but you MUST have good AI. And I refuse to believe that it is impossible to make AI pilots that can fly 3 or 4 basic tactics and be able to use the right one for the right plane. Usually, the AI just tries to circle....and if you fly a Zero or an I16 in IL2 FB against the AI in, say, a P38, you will see it making pathetic attempts to out-turn you. Keep it up and they lose speed and die. A good pilot knows HOW to use his plane. The AI should do the same. Thats all a novice needs!


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