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SCGSalty64

On the Comparison between Flight Sims and Racing Sims

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I have flown primarily flight simulators for quite awhile, at least 20 years. These include GA and combat flight simulators. About two months ago I started to try racing simulators. I am a beginner, having never tried a racing simulator before. I acquired a entry level Thrustmaster T150 force feedback wheel with pedals. I started with Assetto Corsa, then I bought Project Cars 2 and recently purchased Assetto Corsa Competizione. It has been a steep learning curve and in two months I have practiced lapping and racing various tracks with various kinds of cars. In this time I have observed some simularities between racing sims and flight sims, that being, in both your attention must be focused intently whether driving a car at close to 250 kph, bunched up with other equally aggressive cars and drivers, or in a combat sim dogfighting other fighters who are piloted by equally determined and aggressive pilots who want to destroy you. The skill sets are different of course but require a lot of effort to acquire. I've watched more than a few youtube videos of people driving various tracks with various cars. Now what I have observed is more in the realm of the software and hardware developer that supports the racing sim industry versus the software and hardware developer that supports the flight sim industry. First, there are a lot more racing games available to play than flight sims. I have mentioned three but there are a number more. Now my purpose is not to critique either racing sims or flight sims. I will say that I think because of the nature of flights sims and the need to have realistic topography to fly over, that it's probably more complex to develop but I don't really know. The racing sims that I have tried utilize laser scanned tracks and they have replicated them to a high order in the sim world. Their cars are also very highly modeled. One major observational difference I have noticed is that all racing sims put a high effort into making force feedback a realistic experience. For a driver on the track, being able to feel through your racing wheel (and for some foot pedals also) the nuances of the track, kerbing, bumps, dips, tyre slipping and brakes beginning to lock up, etc., is paramount to having a realistic experience. Almost all wheels are force feedback enabled. The lowest Logitech wheel still uses mechanical gears to implement FFB, but Thrustmaster and some other manufacturers like Fanatec, use belt driven motors with high grade bearings to provide a smoother more subtle FFB. At the top of the performance list are direct drive wheels that have the wheel directly connected to a motor. These are supposedly top of the line. As you might guess, as you go up in performance and capability, cost is exponential. A high end Thrustmaster or Fanatec wheel using belt driven technology will cost a 1K USD, while DD will cost in the thousands. I mention this because FFB doesn't seem to have much currency with flight sim developers or hardware makers also. I am assuming but I don't know for sure that the crowd that plays racing sims seems to be a lot bigger than flight sims crowds, although there are probably many who play both. It seems that the racing sim players have a greater industrial base to support them and many manufacturers who cater to their desires with all kinds of hardware albeit more costly. Obviously supply and demand drives this. It makes me wonder how flight sims might benefit from support like this. Now this is my opinion only and it is not an indictment of the flight sim developers or the manufacturers that support the industry. But it makes me wonder when you have a company like CH that hasn't upgraded their joysticks, throttles and pedals in probably decades. I guess we are lucky to get what we get.

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I do both flight sims and race sims, I would say that racing sims or racing 'games' depending on your opinion have less barrier to entry these days and probably a little bit more support.

 

While both flight sims and racing sims were easier 25 years ago, something like DCS is pretty impossible to pick up on the fly, Il-2 now with all the systems modeled  is a lot  harder as well.

 

Actually driving and controlling a car in a simulator is harder than before but you don't have to worry about fiddling with your trim and mixture in a car, while a new sim racer may have low skill and be challenged to keep the car on the track, he or she is likely not to be confused on how to even get the car going and driving correctly, unlike a similar.

 

There are many people in the flight sim community that swear by a good force feedback stick, be it a MSFF or the more polarizing Logitech G940. At the end of the day, it's just not as necessary in a flight sim as a driving sim to get by.

 

At the end of the day though, there are still plenty of options for flight sim controllers, although the technology and products change or get revamped at a noticeably slower rate than sim racing hardware.. As long as you got a good setup, you shouldn't be let down or bored with it for a number of years.

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Many of us swear at force feedback too, when its bobbling our shooting all over the place.  It's never arrived at any grand precision point, don't care for the bump of a landing that's way over done to spoil the actual landing with a bogus output of force fed right back in as an input.

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You might want to watch this video pertaining to the question of lack of Force Feedback in flight sims.

 

It's a great video which was poster up on these forums earlier and worth again addressing.

 

VR has made huge inroads into giving us the perception of Distance and makes it much easier for us to gauge what is going on with our sight but for these old birds, we still lack decent feedback via the controls.

 

Flight Sim's try to work around this by providing audio and visual cues to let us know when we are riding the edge of what control surfaces can do but - it ain't the same.  Let's hope that the call to action from this video comes to fruition by the likes of VirPil.  I'd put my hand up to buy one.

 

By the way - I enjoy Assetto Corsa with my G25 FFB Wheel. It might not be top of the line but it still is a good feeling.👍

Edited by blitze
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That’s why I got a jet seat...    I mean it’s not force feedback but at least gives me a sense of feeling the plane... or in FPS games, explosions and such... :)

 

vr is definitely the next step

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Hmmm...my crystal ball tells me this one long sentence will get moved to the Free Subject forum...

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I literally couldn't read that opening statement.  How do people write like that and not see it.

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I, for one, love the more realistic sim aspect of the newer combat sim (IL2 GB and DCS).  However, the more complex and realistic these become, the more of a barrier to entry is thrown up to new, intrepid players.

In a uber-realistic, very well done race sim, a guy can fire it up, pick a track, pick a car and start hammering down the road at break neck, fun speeds.  All he has to worry about is, steering, braking, accelerating and, now days mostly, paddle shifting as needed.  These are all things that almost everybody does daily.  The barrier to entry is WAY lower and the "jump in and have fun" time lag is all but non-existent.

Not so with IL2 GB or DCS.  Heck, with DCS, I have modules I've bought and never flown because I haven't had the time to "learn" how to fly them.

IMO, this is why WT was as popular as it was.  The barrier to entry (read learning curve) was way lower.

 

This is why it always baffled me when the purist snobs scoff at things like, "wonder woman view" or "air quake servers".  These are things that hold little (air quake servers) to no (wonder woman view) appeal to me, but I can easily see how, if they were available, would only serve to draw more players in and KEEP THEM INTERESTED.  As new players advance and become more comfortable and enthralled, they will gravitate to the more realistic settings.  But, being slammed with them at the outset will only serve to drive all but the most devoted off.

Seriously.  A new player with little time doesn't not want to spend 20-30 minutes flying around mostly blind on an awesome realistic m/p map only to get bounced from, what to him, seems like out of nowhere.

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It is a real shame that Logitech mess up with the G 940, so much potential ruined by cheap pots and cables too short on the throttle. Even more amazing was they refused to acknowledge the issues and quietly killed it off.

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On 11/5/2019 at 3:13 PM, BM357_TinMan said:

I, for one, love the more realistic sim aspect of the newer combat sim (IL2 GB and DCS).  However, the more complex and realistic these become, the more of a barrier to entry is thrown up to new, intrepid players.

In a uber-realistic, very well done race sim, a guy can fire it up, pick a track, pick a car and start hammering down the road at break neck, fun speeds.  All he has to worry about is, steering, braking, accelerating and, now days mostly, paddle shifting as needed.  These are all things that almost everybody does daily.  The barrier to entry is WAY lower and the "jump in and have fun" time lag is all but non-existent.

Not so with IL2 GB or DCS.  Heck, with DCS, I have modules I've bought and never flown because I haven't had the time to "learn" how to fly them.

IMO, this is why WT was as popular as it was.  The barrier to entry (read learning curve) was way lower.

 

This is why it always baffled me when the purist snobs scoff at things like, "wonder woman view" or "air quake servers".  These are things that hold little (air quake servers) to no (wonder woman view) appeal to me, but I can easily see how, if they were available, would only serve to draw more players in and KEEP THEM INTERESTED.  As new players advance and become more comfortable and enthralled, they will gravitate to the more realistic settings.  But, being slammed with them at the outset will only serve to drive all but the most devoted off.

Seriously.  A new player with little time doesn't not want to spend 20-30 minutes flying around mostly blind on an awesome realistic m/p map only to get bounced from, what to him, seems like out of nowhere.

Il-2 GB has reduced realism settings available already to reduce barriers to entry for those that want them - we have icons, engine assist, auto rudder, autolevel and autopilot modes, aim assist, padlock views, etc. Nearly all the same reduced realism settings as Il-2 1946 had.  The issue in MP is that servers that have these things don't seem as well populated as 'expert' servers...because most people who buy flight sims want to fly on the most realistic settings possible. 

Frankly, its just as easy to get stomped by experienced players in MP servers with reduced realism settings. An ace who also has icons available to them will a) always see you coming, so you can never surprise him and b) retain all of their other skills that you don't have in terms of maneuvering the aircraft. There is, in essence, fewer ways to 'get lucky'. 

Ultimately aircraft are just more difficult to operate than cars, so unless you want to drastically water down the sim aspect (and thereby lose a lot of your dedicated fan base) a full-fidelity racing sim is ALWAYS going to be easier to get into than even a medium fidelity flight sim. Just the physical forces involved are many times more complex.

 

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I just got into racing sims too and yes they’re pretty amazing. The level of realism is very high and the quality and feedback of the controllers is amazing. Yeah I wish there were flight controls which are that good. Force feedback is just about mandatory in driving whereas you can get by without it I flying. Racing would it would be impossible though. 

I don’t know if racing sims are “easier” than flight. Yes I’ve been doing flight for so long it’s hard to remember when I couldn’t do it. But racing is very difficult. I equate the difficulty of racing with the most difficult aspects of flight except the entire race requires that level of focus. It’s like one big air to air refueling, that level of concentration only happens briefly in flight whereas a  race requires it constantly. 

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25 minutes ago, SharpeXB said:

Racing would it would be impossible though. 

 

 

Not at all.

Been into racing sims since Grand Prix Legends - currently drive ACC (though no time recently)

 

FFB is nice, I’ve had FFB wheels in the past.

For space and money reasons (old wheel died) I’ve been using an X-Box 1 controller with extensions and it only has ‘rumble’ (you can feel rumble strips and curbs) The extension enable that fine control, along with adjusting speed in-game curves. Driving with no aids.

..:I’m just as fast and can drive in a pack.

 

It’s all just muscle memory. It took me about 30 hours to get up to speed with the controller. I might gain a little time with another wheel, but I’m more than fast enough as my Monza times will attest, especially racing AI which I can dial down a bit.

 

The campaign build doesn’t leave me driving time right now though.

 

The main advantage of a wheel for me is extra immersion...but I just don’t have the space.

Edited by Gambit21

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1 hour ago, Gambit21 said:

 

Not at all.

 

Ok not “impossible” but very difficult. The thing about racing sims is we all know what it “feels” like to drive a car. And without the force on the wheel it would just be really odd. Now if I was a real pilot I would probably think the same thing about non FFB sticks. 

Funny because I was just gaming with my Xbox One X while my PC was disconnected and trying racing with the game pad. It’s clear that people can be competitive with those in any game type it just requires a lot more practice. After about a week of using it I was maybe almost kinda there. But of course the wheel is more immersive. Racing is very immediate and immersive. It’s intense. 

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2 minutes ago, SharpeXB said:

Ok not “impossible” but very difficult. The thing about racing sims is we all know what it “feels” like to drive a car. And without the force on the wheel it would just be really odd. Now if I was a real pilot I would probably think the same thing about non FFB sticks. 

Funny because I was just gaming with my Xbox One X while my PC was disconnected and trying racing with the game pad. It’s clear that people can be competitive with those in any game type it just requires a lot more practice. After about a week of using it I was maybe almost kinda there. But of course the wheel is more immersive. Racing is very immediate and immersive. It’s intense. 

 

More ‘on the edge’ with the controller/takes more mental bandwidth.

Brake/throttle ‘throw’ is smaller - so yeah muscle memory needs time to establish.

 

Not ideal for sure, but in ACC at least with it's controller settings doable.I can even recover from a slide if I catch it soon enough.

 

I used to have a small hand-held wheel, (RC sort of) no FFB at all and I raced GPL with that thing. 

 

Realisrically I’d probably pick up a few tenths to a second on some tracks with a new FFB wheel. Racing AI though there’s no need. I used to chase times, but learned to stop hot-lapping (other than qualifying) and just race.

 

 

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