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MadJeff

The State of Flight Sims today?

Are flight sims dying?  

29 members have voted

  1. 1. Are flight sims dying?

    • Yes
      17
    • No way!
      41


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I've seen a lot of people claim the death of the sim is upon us, that LOMAC will be the last of the great flight sim. I was curious what everyone's thoughts were on the subject.

 

My own personal feelings is we are just in a lull right now. I don't know how many times I've heard this gloom & doom prediction in all my years in this hobby. It's just the ebb and flow of the publishing game, stuff gets hot, then you don't see it for awhile.

 

Anyway, what do YOU think? :lol:

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Flight sims are not goin out....but here's a glimpse of what we will see in the future:

 

Many modern games are taking advantage of allowing the player to play on multiple fronts: In the air, on the ground, at sea...

 

This has been a concept that has been around for aa long time. We are just now starting to see games like WWII: Online, and Battlefield:1942 emerge that are starting to depict what the future of sim will be. Granted we may sit back and discuss Simulation vs. Arcade, but my opinion is that for producer to make games that allow a player to play in multiple arenas, those game may lean towards the arcade side.

 

Janes started a site called "All Out War" in which their original intent was to link all their released games and combine them into one map and platform where fighters from USAF could be dogfighting with fighters from F/A-18. There were to be ground troops and naval battles and the whole nine yards. I'm sure they weren't the first to attempt this, but there one of the few that I remember in recent history.

 

The Future of Simulation is here. It may be in somewhat of an arcade format, but as computers and technology a pushed to the limits, so will game producers. Within 10 years, IMO, we will see games that are modulated. In other words, there will be one game in which you can buy modules for. Each module will consist of one arena: Naval Forces, Air Forces, Ground Forces: Troops, Ground Forces: Manned Vehicle, etc...

 

You will be able to buy the game along with your favorite sim module. These will all be linked online via one huge multiplayer session. So if you want to be apart of the Air Forces, you may have a choice of countless aircraft..but you will be fighting real players....in the air and on the ground...much like the arcrade style games of today.

 

My reply to the question "Are flight sims on their way out?" is this:

 

They have only just begun. For true simulation you would need a person firing that SAM at your aircraft, or a person with a 50 cal firing AAA...Only then will it truly be "Simulation"

 

Fates

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Yeah and we have several pretty good looking ones coming out here shortly, CFS3 and SFP1 not to mention of course LOMAC.

 

BF

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I think flight sims are just clearing a hurdle right now. A few years ago they were selling like hot cakes...couldn't keep them on the shelves. Then everyone (software companies) wanted in on the action and started pushing out sub-par sims just so they could get thier slice of those profits. Well, we know with fan sites like this and others that the word gets out pretty fast how crappy a sim is and folks quit buying them.

 

Developers are getting the message now by visiting fan sites to see what people want in a quality sim...and are designing around this info.

 

I think the new line of sims expected out is going to help a lot to breathe new life into our hobby again...and hopefully be a blueprint of sims to come.

 

I agree with Fates too, online multirole sims are going to start being big too.

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I think that CPU and Graphics horse power use to be a hold back point, especially in the early days. But now I think it is possible to render a trully awe-inspiring flight sim the likes of IL2, Lomac, and even Project 1 (Graphically).

 

I think that alot of the Aircraft have been done to death Such as th F 22, F 16 among others. Now if some company were to do the Harrier and maybe incorporate the V-22 death trap into a naval based sim, that would sell, I'm sure.

 

Also the F-14, as complex as a two seat modeling would be, it would be awesome to get that bird. Then there's always the Tornato, the Rafale, Gripen, and an updated Euro-Fighter.

 

My hope is that deveolpers continue to go the path that LOMAC is traveling, but try to go for the birds not done yet.

 

Also, this brings to mind another question. Do we simmers demand to much from the developers with our constant whinning about this function, that button, padlock views and such? Let's face it, we're a hard to please niche market.

 

Overall no, I don't believe flightsim are dead, I think the genre will survive.

 

Good topic MJ

BirdDogg.

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They also said Janes FA18 would be the last too. The flight sim community moves in cycles like waves. 2 years ago we were on the downslope, now we are moving on the upslope. After LOMAC things will settle down and then start to move back up again. I am a jet guy myself, but I hope the Helo guys get something soon, they have waited the longest. Im not talking Comanche 5 or another Gunship disaster, something hardcore and comparible to the realism in LB2 or EECH.

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I've been trying to talk TK from Thirdwire (SFP1) into making Longbow 3 since he was a big part of LB2!!! Haven't heard anything back, but could you imagine an updated LB sim! :D

 

An updated high quality chopper sim needs to be made soon. It's kind of nice to hop around different airframes to fly. That's about the only reason I have FS2000...just to fly the Ranger. ;)

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I've been trying to talk TK from Thirdwire (SFP1) into making Longbow 3 since he was a big part of LB2!!!  Haven't heard anything back, but could you imagine an updated LB sim!  :D

 

An updated high quality chopper sim needs to be made soon.  It's kind of nice to hop around different airframes to fly.  That's about the only reason I have FS2000...just to fly the Ranger.  ;)

You caught me, I'm a rotorhead at heart as well... 8) I played LB1 & LB2 until I practically wore a hole in the CD. I still play EECH occasionally as well. I would kill to see LB3. In my world, LB3 would support at least 16 people in MP, and would also have the ability to fly A-10's in support. Basically a CAS-simulator... :lol: Sorry, I digress...

 

The only hope on the horizon that I know about at this point is Combat-Helo Mission Simulator being worked on by Richard "Flexman" Hawley.

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Man, LB3? I would cream myself (pardon the expression).

 

Seriously though, I think the major problem has just been the lack of developers interested in simulations. A sim is definately not an easy thing to code, especially if you want to make something worthy of sim-nards like us. I think Ubi-Soft might be breaking the mold in that respect, and hopefully it can take the place (heaven forbid, surpass) of Jane's.

 

What I've always wanted to see is a developer come out with an excellent core simulation, and then have smaller companies provide the aircraft. What have Oleg and the LO-MAC team always said when somebody asked for another plane? "It takes a lot of effort to accurately code the flight model, systems, 3D-model, and cockpits of an aircraft." Think about it, one sim, but lots of companies providing top notch aircraft for it.

 

Eh, its my personnal dream. I'd be perfectly happy to see them keep an engine like Il-2's or Flanker 2.5's around, and just pump all the effort into new campaigns, new high quality aircraft, etc...

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Oh, thing about LB3.

 

HELO SIMS NEED REALISTIC TREES!!!

 

All that stupid surface clutter? Yeah, its necassary. I don't think EECH cuts it, in this respect. To me, a helo sim needs to have lots of 'stuff'. Trees, minor buildings, rocks, just stuff. All those things a helo can hide behind, basically. I think we finally have the PC horsepower needed, too.

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I think, that the some devopers listen, but I think most don't. Flight sims seem to go through viods and vacuums. Then along comes a good one and then you see them start up again. Doesent mean that their good, simply there's more to choose from.

 

If Strike Fighters sales numbers are good it proves to me this much: A developer buck the jet trend, and went nack in years when avionics were in thier youth. The plane set works, that's why alot of have purchase Project 1 , which means that other overlooked aircraft would be just as plausible. No more darn F-22 sims please! Make a Harrier Sim Modeling say three variants and some of the British Carriers, and they will come. Model the F-14 Tomcat with a Carrier and they will come. Dynamic Campiagns along with a FULL mission editor and we will play them for

years!

 

No, most (not all) developers do not listen to us, and when they do it seems like they only listen to choice few.

 

BirdDogg.

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Before I get stuck in to this topic maybe a little about myself would be in order. I'm in my mid 50's and live smack in the middle of an RAF low level flying area in mid Wales in the U.K. (plenty of opportunities for photography). I've been interested in military aviation since my first encounter with the first Airfix Spitfire kit back in the early 1950's. Since then throw in lots of model making, loads of airshows, thousands of photographs, a veritable library of aviation reference materials and, as you will by now realise, an abiding interest in aviation stretching over 40 odd years.

 

My first encounter with a flight sim was during a visit to MFG2 of the German Navy in 1987 when I had the pleasure of a

'flight' in the then new Tornado simulator (MFG2 had,at that time, recently transitioned from the F-104G to the Tornado). First impression was 'I want one of these'. Fat chance! Then in 1990 I bought an Amiga 1200 complete with the early Falcon sim and I've been messing about with jet combat sims (EF2000, F22ADF and Total Air War although I couldn't get on with Janes F-15 or Israeli Air Force and I don't much like Rage Typhoon) ever since via a P166 then a P2.350 and now an Athlon 1900xp with GF4.

I will add at this point that I have no interest in aircraft with the air conditioning fan on the front.

 

When I recently moved up to the Athlon machine I also switched to Windows XP pro but on loading up my favourite F22 Total Air War the machinery didn't want anything to do with it (I think it's probably to do with the GF4) so I started to look round the net to see what else was available and came across three candidates i.e. Falcon4 SP3, Strike Fighters P1, and Lomac. I then wandered about the various forums to see what was happening. I found that the Falcon community seemed to lean somewhat towards having a totally authentic flight model which meant (to me) that you had to be a bona fida F16 pilot to get the thing off the ground and when you'd managed that the array of radar modes was totally bewildering. Too steep a learning curve for me I'm afraid.

 

Lomac looks really interesting but not yet available though I'll probably buy it when it is.

 

This left SFP1. The instant that I saw that it featured my all-time favourite the F 104 I knew that this was the one for me especially as it allowed skinning and texturing.

 

What did strike me when cruising round the various forums was that there seemed to be quite a lot of niggles about 'missing' features, whether it was the flight model, campaigns, comms, multiplayer, mission editors etc. What do we expect considering the low retail price of these programs? After all, look at the price of Photoshop, Windows XP pro, 3DMax. These programs are definitely not cheap but we expect the same level of features in our flight sims at a fraction of the price. Even Microsoft Flight Sim 2002Pro costs twice what we pay for SFP1. So, now to the question.

What features do we really want in our Jet Combat Flight Sims?

 

My own preferences, in no particular order, would be:-

 

Era:- 1950 - present day (or up to 10 years in the future).

Editable campaigns and missions.

Third party addons as has happened with MS Flight Sim (scenary, aircraft etc.).

Simple, mid-level and realistic flight models to cater for beginners up to advanced users incorporating training modules.

The ability to build realistic or fictional campaigns. (I always thought that Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising would make a great basis for a sim campaign).

Multi-terrain (maybe four terrain sets, A. as seen from 20,000ft upwards, B. as seen from 5,000ft - 20,000ft, C. as seen from 1,000ft - 5,000ft, and D. from ground level to 1,000ft to work so that as you transit from e.g. 30.000ft to 15,000ft the terrain would switch from A. to B. as you passed 20,000ft. Each terrain would feature different levels of detail for a given area i.e. from 20,000ft you can't see an awful lot of detail but you can see a long way therefore an A. terrain tile would cover a large area but with little detail whereas a D. tile would cover a relatively small area as you can't see far at 500ft but there is quite a lot of detail. This would possibly make the various terrain tiles roughly equal in file sizes.

Additional mission types, e.g.photo recon - pre and post strike

Hi-res maps for mission planning (updateable using recon results)

 

I know that this is perhaps of no relevance but the sims we 'play' with now on our desktops and which we take very much for granted are light years ahead of the Tornado sim that I 'flew' a mere 15 years ago and they are also a tiny fraction of the cost.

 

No doubt if I were a hard core player I could think of much more but I'll leave it at that for the moment apart from saying that we all really should expect to pay more if we want more.

 

After all, the guys that produce these programs for us do need to put bread on the table just as we do.

 

Are FlightSims dying? No, I don't think so but we should be prepared to pay more if we want more.

 

fantomfour

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Hey people

 

I have been watching these forums for quite a while now and thought, I might as well join in. The topic of simulation and realism is quite interesting (especially the varying opinions that many people tend to have). I may as well my two cents worth into this topic.

 

I currently work as a software engineer for a compnay that specialises in developing both civil and military full flight simulators. Over the years, I have developed quite a few software components for various full flight simulators. One thing that always makes me smile is when people on such forums are demanding various little bits and pieces which they believe will add to the realsim or "simulation experience".

 

Now I am not having a go at such people. I believe that it is good when customers keep demanding more from the producers (yields a better product that provides greater customer satisfaction). All I am saying is that we have to be realistic.

 

Simulation of a physical environment can be quite costly depending on the level of detail that is sought. For example full flight simulators that are used in commercial and military use do not model reality 100%, this is simply impossible. Instead the models produced are made in such a way that they are acceptable to the users (the aircrews) in providing a positive training experience.

 

The second problem is hardware, for any small increase in simulation fidelity, the hardware requirements escalate at an extreme rate. Let's just say you would have no chance in running the software that is on a current commercial/military full flight simulator on a typical sim buff's home PC.

 

This all comes back to the point of why these PC based flight simulators are made. In my opinion they are there to provide the general public an insight into flight and a bit of fun for the seasoned user, nothing else. If you want realism you might want to see if you can get some time on a full flight simulator somewhere or take up real flying because it will be quite a while before it gets there on the PC.

 

Hopefully I won't get blasted for what I have written.

 

Ta

 

Bad Karma

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Well....I for one know where your coming from. I've been in several full motion commercial flight simulators, as well as helped in maintaining a 707 and 727 sim. I sorta sit on the hardware side more then the software side, but your correct when you say "full flight simulators that are used in commercial and military use do not model reality 100%"

 

I'm also a extrememly low time pilot and and I believe I can agree to some point that any simulator is not about being 100% accurate as it is about being 100% believable. Keeping that in mind.....as computers can become more advanced to make the average gamer "perceive" reality...then the word "simulation" will take on a different light.

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Guest Ranger332

Fates ya got on the head of the nail.

 

Novalogic and Microsoft both tried to get the sims "tied together Novaligic was leading the Janes "popped up" and stole the show. then the concept faded when janes server were hacked a few times via the gaming servers,and they dropped the idea, but it is one thats time has come.

 

Cornered Rat (WW2 On line) moved up to the plate and took up tha cause,with Battlefield1942 also using this idea.

 

Soon one will be able to "fly a jet" and if you have to eject Eand E till a SAR team picks you up as an advancing Tank formation canes ground. While a FAC calls in Navel bombardment. All done not by AI but by differnt ppl all "playing" thier roles in a massive gaming world.

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I think we're going to continue to see this hobby grow, not only from the software standpoint, but also in the area of hardware. Take a look at the Thrustmaster Hotas Cougar, the simped F-16 pedals, the various manufacturers of pre-fab cockpits such as Ranger332 posted here, the list of "hardcore" items continues to grow. Now, there are even companies beginning to make "affordable" motion platforms available! (ok, more affordable than they have been in the past anyway) One thing I noticed is the number of these items that are related to Falcon 4.0. Just goes to show you what can happen when a truly quality product on the software side is released. A passionate community forms, and the hardware is developed to make the most of the software. Not only that, but even if the original producer of the software quits supporting it, the community steps up to the plate to continue the evolution of the product. I can remember being told that USAF was probably going to be the last of the "pointy nose" sims! Time to stone some prophets of doom! So, the new sims may be a little slow to roll off the assembly line lately, but hey yall, the best is yet to come! Just think about the stuff we have today and how impossible it would have been just 10 years ago! I think the items I would really like to have to push the realism factor to the next level would be a projection system that would put me in a "dome" where I could turn my head to see my wingman, or the bogie trying to toast me, without a hat switch, or a padlock view, or even track IR. That, to me, has always been the weakest part of combat flight simming. After all, the addage " Lose sight, lose the fight" was'nt coined just because it rhymed! Yup, if a fella had himself something like that, it would'nt matter much if he was sittin in an F-16 shaped bathtub with all sorts of switches and knobs to play with, or a garage with the lights out, that would be the thing that would make a dogfight a real heart pumper! Well, there's my .2 cents worth!

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I am very reluctant to say that any particular genre of computer game is dying. Remember, back in '97 everyone thought D&D-style roleplaying games were truly dead. Nowadays we've got tons of 'em. Or how about that period during 2000 and early '01 when some people were sure PC gaming itself was on the way out?

 

I will say that flight sims are in a bit of a dry spell right now, but the fact that a game like Il-2 FB is on the market can't be a bad sign for the industry. LOMAC should help a lot too.

 

My dream flightsim would be a Cold War sim starting as an escalation of the Korean War. You could fly regular fighters, two-seat interceptors (with the AI handling the other seat), or crew multiple stations on massive bombers and actually use nukes! Doing so, though, would provoke the enemy into using theirs too, so you'd have to really decide the worth of such an action. All the equipment would be true-to-life (the vacuum-tube intercept radars, bombing radars, LABS and what-have-you). Yes, I would jump up and down at the chance to play a game like that...

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Well the only thing I will say is: Strike Fighters is not worth $49.99 and if I am going to pay $80 for a sim it better blow my mind with its realism and graphics. The $50 mark is set by retailers not software companies. It's easier for stores to sell software if they are all sold at a standard price which is $50. MSFS has two versions and one of them is a $50 version.

Instead of "being ok" with subpar sims we should expect nothing less than the next level everytime a new sim comes out.

Problem is there arent that many to choose from so the chances of getting a crappy sim are far greater than getting a good one. We may spend 3 years buying crap sims just to get that one sim thats worth a damn. It's sad, but that's our Genre.

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Hello all,

 

I was just curious to know if some one, or some sim has incorporated the ability to have two sims in one: What I mean by that is, for about ten years or greater I've always wanted to have a choice of ATC or pilot. There are some really nice ATC simulators out there. I have messed around with a few and am not very good but I'm sure there are simmers that love them.

So why not have them in say LOCKON or such. Have them in the tower, eye in the sky, or call the ball on carrier. Not that it would be mandatory but an option for game play. Pilot sim and ATC sim all in one, with an option to have either or both running; Just a thought. Maybe this is already being or been done? In that case, what sim? I realize most developers are more interested in the quick to market dollar and I can see their side of things, but maybe some one in the community could one day mod it?

I also want to say to the community here, Thank you for all your efforts. I really do enjoy these flight sims and because of the interest and work of others, I enjoy them that much more.

 

Thanks Again:

 

ALF

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Hi all,

 

I too have had an abiding interest in aviation since my early Airfix days, and when I saw Jetfighter on a friend's Amiga way back I was totally blown away. I just had to get into this so bought myself an Atari ST 512, then An Amiga, and have subsequently gone down the PC route purely because that was the format that all the more "serious" flightsims were on.

 

I have owned or played pretty much every flightsim across all 3 formats for the last 17 years and must admit to being more than a little disillusioned by the state of modern flightsims today.

 

Personally I think the "golden age" passed away with Microprose and Janes. Nothing has come close to these dedicated people in terms of gameplay, content, interest, manuals, and sheer replayability since.

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