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JgonRedcorn

The downfall of the simulation community

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Posted (edited)

Let me preface this thread by saying this has nothing to do with Il2 box directly just the overall flight sim community in general.

 

I am over at simhq reading archives from nearly 20 years ago. I am fascinated by the amount of content, the number of users, the threads and posts, thousands of posts, so many people, article after article about the great bright future of flight sims, campaign generators, a totally unrealized future.

 

Why has it all seemed to have shrank? This is all just on simhq, I know many people have gotten very old as they got into this in the late 90's already in their 50's, but why haven't the younger guys taken it up nearly as much as it seemed to back then? All the great air combat books and guides were all written long ago. I am just so curious what people think is the reason for this fall off.

 

Back in the late 90's and early 2000's I was just a very young kid and unfortunately had very little interest in sims, playing n64 games like golden eye or battlefield 1942 on pc and the original call of duty. I feel like I really missed out on a golden age of flight sims that might never return. Makes me sad.

 

So to summarize, why do you think that future never materialized and why do you think interest seemed to be so much greater at the turn of the century?

 

I'd like to add my two cents as to part of it, back in those days, people basically just had cable tv, and on cable tv and movies, you saw WW2, movies, documentaries, you name it, video games, everything was ww2. Now people don't grow up with that stuff anymore. I have no idea what even plays on TV anymore as I don't have cable. I am sure it's just dumb stuff. But ww2 is getting further and further away, and seems like kids these days just want the gimmie gimmie now fortnight entertainment.

Edited by JonRedcorn
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20 years ago European Air War was released.  The stuff we have today is a lot better than EAW.  The "golden age" of combat flight sims is right now.

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Modern sim developers chose to shift their efforts away from gameplay so they could concentrate on increasing levels of mechanical complexity.  That is why modern sim titles are more detailed than ever before, although now much less popular than they once were. 

 

During the old days when simulations were at the height of their popularity, the focus was on gameplay.  Mechanical complexity of vehicles and environments had to take a backseat as technology really wasn't there yet.  Hopefully in the near future a more sustainable sort of balance can be struck, so that the customer base does not continue to decline.

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Well, looking at Steam stats, 12 000 people were playing War Thunder half an hour ago. Peak player count during the last 24 hours was over 20 000, through Steam only.

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, II./JG77_Kemp said:

Well, looking at Steam stats, 12 000 people were playing War Thunder half an hour ago. Peak player count during the last 24 hours was over 20 000, through Steam only.

If only war thunder wasn't a terrible burning pile of horse manure. Most play tanks, the rest use a mouse and auto pilot to fly around.

Edited by JonRedcorn

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35 minutes ago, JonRedcorn said:

... but why haven't the younger guys taken it up nearly as much as it seemed to back then?

 

How many under 20 you know involved with flight simulations games?

 

Actually I don't know any. 10+ years ago I borrowed a computer with IL-2:46 installed and a MS FFB stick for a ~15 year nephew, he show some interest (in multiplayer) during a year or two, then move for "zombies" games and give up of "flight games". 

 

Alias your personal experience is a good answer: lack of interest.

 

35 minutes ago, JonRedcorn said:

 

Back in the late 90's and early 2000's I was just a very young kid and unfortunately had very little interest in sims, playing n64 games like golden eye or battlefield 1942 on pc and the original call of duty.

 

The next generations (after your) had much more options, with new games and new genres of games, with fast action and competition, instant reward, full of "take by hand" that catch then - include there War Thunder. IMHO - It's a fallacy that War Thunder captures youngsters for CFS, captures more for what the WT is, an FPS with airplanes rather than AK-47, M-16's.

 

Even that people playing CFS in the "golden era" give up - for various reasons, in addition to age.

In 98/99 we have a 60 people squad playing Warbirds online - paying $2 per hour, perhaps 1/3 of then continue when IL-2(2001) arrive, and after IL-46 "hay days (2003-2005) half already give up, and now at best half dozen still playing the genre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If complex engine management, nice graphics and the same old multiplayer action that you all know and love is not working.  If the modern flight sim is still experiencing a decline in popular interest and a diminishing return on investment; what is it that is missing?  What is the answer? 

 

Is it even more complex engine management.  Even more nice graphics.  And even MORE of the same old multiplayer action? 

 

What did the most popular flight sims of 15-20 years ago have that made them so popular.  What were those features, and where are they now?

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1 hour ago, Feathered_IV said:

During the old days when simulations were at the height of their popularity, the focus was on gameplay. 

 

Yes, I remember the fantastic gameplay of EAW, Red Baron, and the other old games.  You shot things down and blew things up.  Just with crappier graphics and less realistic flight models.  It was so much more awesome than today's games.  /sarcasm

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1 hour ago, Feathered_IV said:

During the old days when simulations were at the height of their popularity, the focus was on gameplay.

 

It still is.

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Not sure what you're laughing about, Feathered.  We all played games like Red Baron, EAW, and others.  The idea that there was better gameplay back then is arrant nonsense.  It was the same gameplay we have now.  Just with crappier graphics, flight models, and, well, everything.

3 minutes ago, Feathered_IV said:

No it isn't. 

 

Excellent response with some great examples.  Sorry I doubted you.  I can't wait to fire up Red Baron again for some of that awesome "gameplay" that you described so well.

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Everything seem to taste better when we are younger...

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Posted (edited)

It was the golden age of flightsims (air combat and space combat), because they were one of the most important genres...

 

Todays flight sims are not accessible - if you are new to the genre and buy a recent title, documentation sucks, there are usually no accessable training/tutorial missions and on that missions the newbie is not taken at the hand and is not explained step by step what is expected of him...

 

So a new player is expected to learn aviation principles, air combat theory, aircraft systems and so on on his own... So he has to visit forums, watch youtube tutorials, read user made guides and so on to be able to play the game...

 

Worst example Falcon 4.0 were the new user is expected to read and understand 500 pages of manual before deemed fit for the first training mission.

 

So only those who already know most of this stuff or those who are really really interested in military aviation are left as potential customers...

 

And the player casually interested in military aviation has ARMA, Battlefield and so on...

 

Other genres rose much more in quality compared to flight sims... Compare the original IL-2 with IL-2 BoX and then compare the recent God of war with any action game in 2001...

 

And I don't understand all the hate or arrogance against warthunder. That game got me into flying for example. Mouse flying and quick action is fun. And unlike world of warplanes or battlefield warthunder still has enough simulation dna that you have to do proper tactics...

 

Mouse flying in WT taught me energy fighting, situational awareness and strengths and weaknesses of many different plane types. I found all that very interesting, started to read about ACM and WWII airial warfare and decided I wanted more than WT had to offer and moved on - but without WT BoX would have at least one customer less...

 

PS

 

Better working mouse aim mode would definetly help to broaden BoX player base. I have friends who would never have the patience to work into the complexity of proper aircraft controls from the beginning - but if the mouse control mode in BoX worked as well as in WT I could bring them to give it a shot - and maybe they'd get fixed as well...

Edited by Eisenfaustus
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20 minutes ago, Feathered_IV said:

No it isn't. 

Yes it is. But today, flight sims have much stiffer competition from other games.

 

Before mainstream internet caught up to your games, games were made in a rather different way. Games, limited by the amount of content you could provide on floppy discs, were challenging. They had to be. They required you to fail a lot in order to be interesting over time. (Remember „Ghosts and Goblins“, anyone?) Same as archade games that required you to fail to put in a new coin for another round of play. And we got used to that. If you‘re over 40 and were fortunate of having access to a home computer at least.

 

Flight sims back then were not challenging at all. As soon as someone understood e.g. that the „light blue side“ of the horizon is the lake, meaning downward and the dark blue side is the sky, upwards, then fine. With EAW it got a little more sophisticated, but still you had to think a lot of missing parts to it. Like the big brick LEGOs. But it worked. Anyone could be Biggles.

 

In the last 10 years, that changed. As delivering content has become a non-issue, the only metric is to keep you playing. This means that the game becomes as trivial as needed to keep even the most casual player involved. As the other game is just one click away the game has to do everything it can to keep you playing while trying to tax you then, People have become used to that. Especially the ones that grew up playing games on their phones. As a kid, I had a dial on that, not games.

 

While games evolved to appeal to anyone, flightsims on the contrary got drastically more complex. While there are „simple settings“, it usually requires that you have an idea what you are supposed to do in an air war. And it is a fact that WW2 has become a rather distant memory and is largely an unknown thing to todays kids. Maybe they show „Dam Busters“ every New Year in the UK, but that is about it. What is worse, nobody knows about engines, a critical knowledge to make most of your plane in a current sim. In EAW, just click 100% power on the keyboard and you‘re good to go. Looking at the myriad of buttons can be daunting, especially when you‘re supposed to understand what they do and you understand as little of systems as a 5 year old or your typical BMW car mechanic.

 

Today is indeed the golden age of flight sims. Finally, the planes can do what they were always supposed to do. The game/sim world looks as it should. You can indeed translate real world knowledge into the sim and it works. But aircraft are complicated items. It fragments the potential player base, in essence the same base you had in EAW. WT is doing everything to keep the player base together with obvious effects on gameplay.

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Yeah, what I called "flight simulation" 20 or 30 years ago, I'd really have trouble using that term now.  I called F-19 Stealth Fighter, and Red Baron, and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, and all the rest "Flight Simulation".  But by todays standards, if we're being honest here, lets just call them "video games".

 

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47 minutes ago, Eisenfaustus said:

And I don't understand all the hate or arrogance against warthunder. That game got me into flying for example. Mouse flying and quick action is fun. And unlike world of warplanes or battlefield warthunder still has enough simulation dna that you have to do proper tactics...

 

Imho, the worst things about the WT aren't even technically/FM related - the worst is it's a MMO and have nonsensical "economy system" with multilayered grinds. It tries to irritate players enough to go to a shop and buy the (GE) fix. That's an awful business model and it shows.

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1 hour ago, SeaSerpent said:

Yeah, what I called "flight simulation" 20 or 30 years ago, I'd really have trouble using that term now.  I called F-19 Stealth Fighter, and Red Baron, and Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, and all the rest "Flight Simulation".  But by todays standards, if we're being honest here, lets just call them "video games".

 

BoX, DCS and the like are just video games as well... I find it interesting how in these forums the word "game" and it's connotations are often used derogativly to show that the own prefered genre in video gaming is somehow superior to anything else...

By the way a mindset - in my opinion - that also smothers interest in potential new players...

 

36 minutes ago, Ehret said:

 

Imho, the worst things about the WT aren't even technically/FM related - the worst is it's a MMO and have nonsensical "economy system" with multilayered grinds. It tries to irritate players enough to go to a shop and buy the (GE) fix. That's an awful business model and it shows.

True - the grind is another reason I stopped playing...

But early progress is fast enough to get to some of the most iconic WWII planes quite easily...

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Feathered_IV said:

No it isn't. 

 

1CGS wouldn't have spent (and continue to spend) as much time as they have on creating the current career mode if they didn't think it was worthwhile - to say nothing of the other improvements being made in other areas of (surprise!) - gameplay. 

Edited by LukeFF

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What made early flight sims so popular?   

1. Novelty.  It was relatively new to have technology available in the home that could bring a flight sim to one's desktop. 

2.  The generations that were mainly into flight sims were of ones where airplane (specifically warplane) technology and space flight technology were viewed as a point of pride amongst nations.  

 

Why are flight sims seemingly on the decline?

1.  Today's prevalent generation is looking forward to cars that drive themselves because texting on the subway is "icky".  The idea of having a sim/game, where twiddling your thumbs on a game pad in the living room or a phone touch screen as you walk down the street isn't part of the control scheme, is way beyond what a large portion of the younger gaming public cares to get involved with. 

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Im now 56 years old and I have never played games on pc before since ......hmmmm 2-3 years ago and had a pc since 96/97

But when young I had the interrest in ww2 , read Battle Britton magazines and hole life have the interrest felling and psykologisk how to be in a war and FX a plane 

I started with warthunder and mause - later the tm16000 

It was good in a beginning , but to much arcade game playing ( and I was never really good ) 

After reshurching I find the Ill2 and start with Stalingrad on Steam .....and now I have  rift and high end pc and controllers 

If it was a easy game I would have lost the interest - I have many hours so ww2 is soon coming to and end - but that's why I continue to like the game because I can still be better and better 

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Flight sims today have a much steeper learning curve, and the younger generation has a much smaller attention span. They are more into instant gratification.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I have been playing since early 2000...

The old Il2 was a great experienece and for the guys born during the 60 -70's grown with stories about ww2 in magazines and documentary was a way to realize thier dreams.

Now this pool of people is getting old and I suspect the new generations are too far from ww2 and old aviation interest.

Another problem the new IL2 (GB), is several step forward respect the old IL2 about its difficulty. Many peolple coming from the old IL2 were not able to cover this gap and simply they told was problem of the game.

The new IL2 require a bit more training and dadication to learn, every plane has a proper way to fly, so I suggest to start with one model and try later with others.

Edited by ITAF_Rani

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55 minutes ago, =AVG77=Mobile_BBQ said:

What made early flight sims so popular?   

1. Novelty.  It was relatively new to have technology available in the home that could bring a flight sim to one's desktop.

 

I think that the very primitive thus abstract graphics of early video games helped, too. They looked very differently to the reality around and it had its own charm. Flying an early air sim game you had to imagine a lot - not unlike getting immersed by reading a book. Now, when (more or less) photo-realistic graphics are ubiquitous it feels... mundane.

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1 hour ago, LukeFF said:

 

1CGS wouldn't have spent (and continue to spend) as much time as they have on creating the current career mode if they didn't think it was worthwhile - to say nothing of the other improvements being made in other areas of (surprise!) - gameplay. 

Some people have had a personal axe to grind ever since the Pacific delay announcement.

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I think that one reason that flight sims were more successful in the past is for people like me it was much more relevant.

As a young lad I grew up talking to adults who had fought in both world wars, and I was enthralled by their stories... most impressive were stories about the air war.

Also, there were always films being made about the wars (WWII in particular) that made me want to know more.

When computer games allowed me to take part in my favourite interests it was something that drew me straight in and I've been at it ever since.

 

Kids in more recent times only get a watered down version in their history lessons, but for people of my generation, we were fully immersed in it as it was a relatively recent event.

Add to the fact that veterans in those days were not the old decrepit people you see today that are steadily dying out... talking to adults when I was young invariably led to lots of war stories, so it was always in my mind as I grew up...

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The peripherals needed, the learning curve. The overall increase in game studios pumping out what most folk want. 

 

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In general terms it's not a matter of fewer gamers among the younger generations.  Their numbers are probably much higher.  In many cases younger people's tech consists of their iphone, tablet or small laptop.  Many of them also have games that are console driven.  The idea of having a desktop is foreign to them, especially as a platform to play a game on.  Although the decline in interest in WWII history may be true, there are modern era jet sims out there but these aren't seeing high numbers either from the younger crowd.  The flight sims themselves are much better today and there isn't anything one can do about to the requirement of heavy tech to drive them.  It seems to be a general decline in the interest in sim flying in conjunction with the investment needed to achieve it.  VR is of high interest with the younger generations.  If this drives more purchases of desktops with them, there is an opportunity of flight sims making a comeback.  There is also the chance VR, and the games it drives, will be geared toward lower tech devices.

 

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i think it has decayed much more the sim racing comunnity

 

in the 90s there were many more people online in every racing game

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Flying is harder than collecting stamps. The more involved one has to become in order to play a game and moving forward while doing so is just too much for most people - including me.

I'll gladly admit that I have too many options available on my PC:

 

- X-Plane

- DCS

- BoX

 

You see, I'm kind of into flight-sims only, as I didn't even bother installing other time-thiefs, such as ARMA or the cheap shooters.

 

I almost never play DCS, as it is too involved and I have realized that making a complex module like the F-14 my own (read: learning the airplane any not just sucking in it all over the sky) is just too much of a strain on me, coming home from an 8hrs work-day and having other things to do (housekeeping, sitting on my balcony and reading a book, doing sports, etc.).

 

Then there are other distractions: I'll easily spend an entire evening in front of youtube or netflix.

Then there are the days I'm trying to go flying to keep current (and to keep my wallet nicely empty).

 

Death by too many options. Especially when easily distracting stuff on the internet is just two clicks away.

Then there's facebook, instagram and other brainsuckers...

 

It's just very hard to compete for people's continous attention with all the easy distractions in place.

The same is true for any hobby that needs more than just 5 minutes of attention.

GA Pilots, golfers and other people might agree: The numbers of people involved in your time-consuming hobby are shrinking.

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Young people today: attention span of a drunken newt,  one third are taking drugs for ADHD or autism, which is very scary since that means that two thirds of them are off their meds!  More than half of them are not sure what sex they are, and many of those that are sure are wrong. ;)

 

Seriously though, you cannot blame the audience.

 

Gaming used to be a craft industry staffed by people with a passion for games, aimed at people with their own level of intelligence and ability to concentrate.   Now that video games are a huge business, bigger than movies, the suits have taken over, at least in the large studios, and have scientifically determined the optimum mixture of reward mechanisms to generate dopamine, with the payment mechanisms to monetize the addiction, while dumbing down the content to make it accessible to any halfwit with the wherewithal to pay for it.

 

In a way I find the occasional incompetence (from a suit's POV) of the BoX team curiously endearing and reassuring: at heart I believe that they are still essentially enthusiasts making a living doing something that they love, attempting to do things with both a width of scope and a level of detail that would defeat most AAA studios.  We are lucky that someone is still making historical simulations of this depth.

 

    

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Eisenfaustus said:

BoX, DCS and the like are just video games as well... I find it interesting how in these forums the word "game" and it's connotations are often used derogativly to show that the own prefered genre in video gaming is somehow superior to anything else...

By the way a mindset - in my opinion - that also smothers interest in potential new players... 

 

 

Well, whatever label you wish to use, the closer something comes to a simulation of a real airplane, the less accessible it is going to be to the masses.  At the higher end, that means that it's going to appeal to either real pilots, would-be pilots, or at the very least, fairly dedicated Walter Mittys and airplane enthusiasts. Creating a quality simulation of a very complex aircraft is not, and cannot be, compatible with trying to appeal to the masses, who might rather be playing Nintendo.  The goal of the kind of software that I'm talking about is striving to come as close as possible to the real thing within the limits of what is reasonable on a desktop computer.   What you appear to be desiring is something that skips the compexity of a real aircraft to a point that it will entice casual gamers.

 

Quote

Worst example Falcon 4.0 were the new user is expected to read and understand 500 pages of manual before deemed fit for the first training mission.

Yeah, because it was a complex simulation.  Were you not interested in a simulation of the F-16?  I'll be the first to admit that I never got very far with Falcon 4.0, because at that time, I didn't have the time, the interest, or the hardware (and the printers worked a lot slower then!).  Obviously others did, because there are still people using its descendents to this day.

 

Interestingly enough, if you dive into the world of something like DCS, you might find that there are an awful lot of very hard-core flight simmers, and if this is what's left after the 'downfall' of desktop flight simulation, I'll take that any day of the year (Anytime, Baby! 😀) compared to what some are calling 'the golden age'.

Edited by SeaSerpent

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Sokol1 said:

 

How many under 20 you know involved with flight simulations games?

Actually I don't know any. 

Count me in so you know atleast one :salute:.  Joined when I was 15.

Edited by Psyrion
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Posted (edited)

I have gone back to IL-2 1946 and honestly find it more engaging than Il-2 GB.

 

Older games were more open to user involvement (yes I know it took a long while to mod the original IL-2). In almost all games there were far more mods, missions, campaigns, skins, etc made by users. Most games these days are too complex or simply too closed off to allow as much of this. So you must play it the way it was meant to be played, or not at all.  DCS - in theory there should be thousands of user missions and campaigns by now. But they break the damn game more frequently than they fix it. Who wants to spend hundreds of hours building something that could stop working forever  a month or two after you finish it? And the official campaigns and missions content is so meager it boggles the mind. Why build this damn great game and then have nothing to do in it?

 

Battlefield 1942 was so moddable.  There was quickly a fantastic mod called Desert Combat which turned a WWII game into a cracking modern warfare game complete with new maps. It was brilliant. BF2 was equally fantastic for mods - hundreds of them. Then developers realized the money was in DLC and clamped down on modding. The people who owned Nascar 2003, in preparation for  iRacing actually went systemically around the web threatening various modding sites with legal action unless that content was removed.

 

In IL-2 GB there are four official campaigns, 50% of which are in a 109. Flying a 109 over Moscow feels the same as flying a 109 over Stalingrad. The game is slowly adding more and more quality user made stuff. But, personally, I find there is not enough variation in the map/setting/mission type to allow it to remain interesting to me.
 

It's about money. Games have gotten so expensive to make and the commerce model has changed. I prefer simpler, cheaper and more open games.  Look up Automobilista - this is a racing sim done correctly; great realism (no, the graphics aren't bleeding edge and no VR), best sim FFB/handling imho, decent AI, tons of mods, tons of replay-ability. If you yell "VR or no buy" or you must have ultra-realistic graphics, this game isn't for you.  In fact this type of gaming isn't for you. Those things require so many resources that developers have to give way on other things and maximize profits. Rising Storm Vietnam is another good example - it's far simpler  graphically than any current BF, but game play is, for me, far more satisfying, because they spent time on things that don't look good in a trailer but instead make the game fun.

 

So I think it comes down to changed gamer expectations , ... and money.

Edited by Pudu
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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, Pudu said:

 

Older games were more open to user involvement (yes I know it took a long while to mod the original IL-2). In almost all games there were far more mods, missions, campaigns, skins, etc made by users. Most games these days are too complex or simply too closed off to allow as much of this. So you must play it the way it was meant to be played, or not at all.  DCS - in theory there should be thousands of user missions and campaigns by now. But they break the damn game more frequently than they fix it. Who wants to spend hundreds of hours building something that could stop working forever  a month or two after you finish it? And the official campaigns and missions content is so meager it boggles the mind. Why build this damn great game and then have nothing to do in it?

 

 

 

There are a mind-numbing amount of mods available for DCS.  And there are three whole pages of offline campaigns.  In the multiplayer world, you've got so many groups doing so many things, that one of the difficult tasks of the new would-be-multiplayer participant is trying to filter it all out to decide what it is you really want to do, not lack of choices of what to do.  My "pals" in Il-2 haven't seen much of me for a couple of weeks because I've been so tied up with so much to do in DCS, that I literally haven't been able to do both.  In other words, I completely disagree with your description about lack of content and lack of things to do.  If you can't find something to do in DCS, you probably aren't looking hard enough, or maybe it just isn't the right thing for you.  

 

As far as stability goes, I agree, there have been some issues there.  But my impression of how it is now is a lot different than, say, it was in 2015.  Accurately or not, I perceived it as rough back then.  The initial beta versions of 2.5 struck me as problematic.  But right now, it seems pretty smooth going.  The beta version is stable enough that it seems to be in much wider multiplayer use than the 'stable' version.

Edited by SeaSerpent

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26 minutes ago, Pudu said:

But they break the damn game more frequently than they fix it. Who wants to spend hundreds of hours building something that could stop working forever  a month or two after you finish it? And the official campaigns and missions content is so meager it boggles the mind. Why build this damn great game and then have nothing to do in it?

 

In IL-2 GB there are four official campaigns, 50% of which are in a 109. Flying a 109 over Moscow feels the same as flying a 109 over Stalingrad. The game is slowly adding more and more quality user made stuff. But, personally, I find there is not enough variation in the map/setting/mission type to allow it to remain interesting to me.

 

As a mission builder (to some degree), I have to agree with the "they break the game more frequently" assertion. I find this frustrating and it discourages me from making more missions until things are sorted out. 

 

With the way the developers are continually adding content (not necessarily better game play), one can't really keep up with things. Don't misunderstand, I want and like new content but not at the expense of fixing acknowledged problems or weaknesses with the simulation. Example: The AI.

 

But there is no immediate money to be made with improving the AI so we keep getting more and more planes and new maps. Again, I'm not against new planes or maps. I've purchased almost everything offered to date. I just desire the gameplay quality (AI) to be a priority.... ground and air. 

 

Watch your sixes our there. :coffee:

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, SeaSerpent said:

 

There are a mind-numbing amount of mods available for DCS...

 

 

There are tons of mods available, but they are only useful if you or someone else cobbles them all together and does something with them.  Many people don't want to make a mission and then fly it - it's like writing a short suspense story and then sitting down to read it.  Yes there is a handful of user made campaigns for most modules (how many still work?). And if you are lucky there is one or even two commercial campaigns for the plane you have bought - A-10C has many more I know, some modules have zero.

 

My point was that by now there should be sooooo much more content than there is - both official and unofficial. It's big, complicated and constantly changing. Before I got into DCS there was apparently a complete make over changing Georgia into a Vietnam-esque jungle environment. Which would have been perfect for the huey. But it was broken and is no longer viable. Then it gets more complicated still when you add in things like the high cost of additional maps and paid assets. I'm not suggesting devs shouldn't be paid for their work. But the business model isn't a good one. And the only map that everyone has is the Caucasus, so even the training missions for every module have to be set there. It's ridiculous to learn the F-14 flying around Georgia when NTTR is already available.

 

And it's not just the lack of user content for our games. There used to be so many commercial games available to choose from. But we must have stopped buying them because they seem to have stopped making nearly as many.

 

I'm not at all surprised that there is a lack of simmers these days. Simming is more complicated, more expensive, and arguably less interesting  - both current major flight sims are thus far focused on the Russian area of operations - one heavily, the other exclusively - take it or leave it.

Edited by Pudu

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Posted (edited)

I guess I just have a different set of expectations than you do, Pudu.  I'm valuing different things than you are.  I'm being trained to fly the F-14 now by a squadron, and that squadron has lots of people in it who approach their flight simming at a level of seriousness that I haven't encountered before....and there are lots of them, and squads like them, for just about any plane or helicopter you want to fly.  There is no shortage of content, scenarios, or things to do from my vantage point.  But you (not picking on you specifically) have to take the steps to reach out, because I think with flight sims (whether DCS, or Il-2, or Clod or whatever) a lot of what you get out of it is dependent on what you put into it.

 

I tend to agree with those who have said this is the Golden Age.  At least for me it is.  I feel like I have more choices than I've ever had before in the hobby.  I can be a 737 pilot in P3D.  I can choose between nearly 40 planes to get good at in Il-2, or several of them.  I could be playing Rise of Flight.  I could be getting into Flying Circus.  I could even be a Tiger tank commander if that was my thing.  I can choose to be a Hornet pilot, or a Mig pilot or a Huey pilot in DCS, or all of them, or none of them, and instead be a RIO or a FAC.  I could play Cliffs of Dover.  I can join any of a gazillion squads.  I never percieve a shortage of people enjoying the same things I'm enjoying or sharing my interests, or available on-line even just to talk shop with (or discuss things on a forum like this one, as we are doing now).  I can dabble with these things at a superficial level, or I can jump head first and go all in if I feel like it.  I have enough to learn and attempt to master that there isn't enough time to learn it all or do it all.  So from my standpoint, these are good times.

Edited by SeaSerpent

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, SeaSerpent said:

I guess I just have a different set of expectations than you do, Pudu.  I'm valuing different things than you are.  I'm being trained to fly the F-14 now by a squadron, and that squadron has lots of people in it who approach their flight simming at a level of seriousness that I haven't encountered before....and there are lots of them, and squads like them, for just about any plane or helicopter you want to fly.  There is no shortage of content, scenarios, or things to do from my vantage point.  But you (not picking on you specifically) have to take the steps to reach out, because I think with flight sims (whether DCS, or Il-2, or Clod or whatever) a lot of what you get out of it is dependent on what you put into it.

 

 

Yes, I fully understand your point of view. But you must realize that it's a highly specific view of gaming. For this to work, you must have the time and flexibility to prearrange a mutually agreed gaming time - you can't pop on and off  whenever you have a moment. You have to like gaming cooperatively with other people, most of whom you don't know. You can't hit pause and come back to the game after you have averted whatever current crisis interrupts your session. 

 

I can easily agree that the way you enjoy flight simming gets the most from something like DCS. No question. But some people can't possibly dedicate the time and resources to do it that way, or simply don't want to spend their sim time engaging with strange people, online.  I have been playing Battlefield, Rising Storm, and a few other shooty type games, once a week or so, with a group of friends since 2002. It's about socializing with them, beer in hand, and hanging out - even when we are living on different continents. I don't enjoy these games by myself or with strangers. And I have zero interest in flight simming online, in any form.

 

The games we have now work reasonably well for the way they are designed. But great games are the ones that let everyone find something to love about them and keep them engaged. And that's when mods, user content, open structure, good AI, etc become important, and keeps things fun for more people. It's why I still play IL-2 1946, why I will always have Automobilista on my hard drive (so I can play the 1998 CART, and 1988 F1 championships whenever I want), and why I reinstalled GTR2 a few months ago.

 

The question was asked, why is the simming community  somehow less now than what it used to be. I believe it's because what we have now is very focused, fairly complex, and rather more closed than what was available before. What's there is quite good, but there isn't something for everyone, or at least not a lot for everyone.

Edited by Pudu
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Understood, but I guess my point is that you can play Il-2:1946 if that's what works out best for you. That's what I mean about choices.  You have them.   There is something for everyone.

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3 minutes ago, Pudu said:

The question was asked, why is the simming community  somehow less now than what it used to be. I believe it's because what we have now is very focused, fairly complex, and rather more closed than what was available before. What's there is quite good, but there isn't something for everyone, or at least not a lot for everyone.

Back in 2001 it was Il-2 Sturmovik that convinced me that I really needed a joystick. Prior to then I had played arcadish flight sims like Red Baron or F-22 with the mouse or with the keyboard. Offline and on my all-purpose computer that I had for my studies (and later for work). Nothing extra was needed to enter the flight sim scene and to get the hang of it. Now if I were not a flight sim gamer since ages, I probably would not have

-- a gaming rig specifically chosen for the task (also considering family finances);

-- a HOTAS with an FFB joystick;

-- a flight rudder;

-- a head tracking device;

-- a writing desk/home work station adjusted to hold all these props;

-- dozens of history books on military flying;

-- and a loving wife who forgives for all the money, time, and home space sacrificed.

These investments were all done because I was assured by my former experiences that I had a real and deep interest in this genre and it was worth investing the time, money, and learning. Now tell a youngster to have first all those props, to read all those books, and to spend all that time, just to learn whether he or she is really devoted to flight simming. Like it or not, WT (what I've never played) keeps the gates open at least.

 

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