my profile | register | search | faq | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
»  COMBATSIM.COM Forum Archive   » Archives   » Jane's F/A-18 Archive 1   » Real pilot review/ F4 comparison/ reality check/ suggestions (Page 1)

 
This topic is comprised of pages:  1  2  3  4 
 
Author Topic: Real pilot review/ F4 comparison/ reality check/ suggestions
Zambo
Member
Member # 2165

posted 01-27-2000 10:09 PM     Profile for Zambo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hi,

The name's Zambo and I'm a Harrier pilot (currently on a FAC tour in 29 Palms, CA). Some of my buddies and I really enjoy playing the flight sims during our spare time, especially overseas and on the boat to kill time. We even have Hornet 3.0 on the computer in our ready room back in my old squadron. I've been reading some of the posts here and elsewhere and I've thrown my 2 cents in a few times and finally decided to write a "review" of sorts from a fleet pilot's perspective vis-a-vis the good and bad points of Janes F-18 and Falcon 4, as well as areas that all of these sims could improve on. I believe that in the future, real life squadrons will use desktop simulations similar to these to reenforce procedures, HOTAS skills, communication skills, and practice recognizing the air and threat picture.

Graphics--everybody's favorite topic. I play the games on a PIII 450 (not overclocked or anything), 128 mb, and a 3d Prophet 32md geForce video card. I'm able to max out graphics in both games at 800x600 resolution and still acheive an acceptable and fun framerate. Falcon 4 has fantastic terrain graphics! Jane's has fantastic airborne graphics and weather. The sunsets and clouds in Janes are unbelievable, and the visual dynamics of intercepting/ interacting with other aircraft is more realistic looking. The terrain textures in F4 are similarly breathtaking when down low or over a built up area, but distant terrain looks more realistic in Jane's at altitude because of F4s habit of making "blocks" of terrain in the distance suddenly appear. And the winner of the "Wow-that-really-looks-like-a-steep-mountain" contest? EF2000! The cockpit in F4 looks better because it is more detailed with scratches, rivets, paint chips, etc, (plus it has a kneeboard--more on this later) but the actual displays look better in Janes. F4's HUD symbology is too small, especially the airspeed/altitude/heading numerics and the VV and TD boxes/diamonds. I know it's probably to correct scale, but at that size they're not prominent enough. Janes models these features nicely. Another example are the MFDs. The boxes and buttons look better in F4, but the info on the screen looks much better in Janes. Neither does an adequate job, IMO, of producing a neon green symbology color that is readable against background terrain. Red and blue don't count, there's no color but green to date. HARM, Mav, LGB, FLIR, radar, HSI, etc are more realistic in Jane's IMO (although I'm much more familiar with the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing displays in the Hornet than with Viper displays). I think one thing throwing people off about the Hornet cockpit is that in real life its really quite bare. The plane was designed from day one with a glass cockpit, so there are not nearly as many switches and buttons as in a Viper. Plus, I'm sure it won't be long before programmers everywhere are updating the cockpit art for Janes. After all, how many of you hardcore guys are still flying with the F4 cockpit that came in the box? The last thing I'll say about graphics is that Jane's also wins the special effects competition. Firey explosions and missle trails in the air look outstanding, and ground explosions, while not as huge as the one's in F4, look more realistic (yes, I've actually seen both airborne and ground ordnance explosions in real life, but that's another story). If anyone has gotten the idea from this that I like the graphics in one better than the other overall, don't. They both have good, great, bad, and terrible points.

Avionics/Systems--my pet peeve. This may shock some of you, but some systems in the real jets are SIMPLER than the systems portrayed in these sims! I ask you, why go to all the trouble to model a complicated system in great detail if you're not going to model it correctly? Is it because the programmers don't have someone to tell 'em how things really work? If so, someone hire me! I could use some extra cash. I'll give you an example from both sims. In Janes, to dial in a course line on the HSI, you select CRSE with pushbutton 9 (I think its 9 anyway), then you adjust it to the right setting with the course select switch by your left knee. In the real jet, you just move the course select switch, and the course line AUTOMATICALLY COMES UP! What a breakthrough. Why make the sim pilot perform the extra step of boxing the CRSE pushbutton, which to my knowledge doesn't even exist in the real jet. Also in Janes, TGT on the HSI should be replaced with DESG, for "designate". Instead of cycling through "targets" on your HSI (which is phony), select the waypoint where your target is. Pushing the DESG button designates the waypoint as a target and presents you with a TD diamond in the HUD over the waypoint. When the waypoint is designated, you can slave your sensors to it. Much simpler than the games as far as I've seen. F4 tries to model radio channels, which is a great idea, but they miss the mark entirely. Real life radio channels are much simpler and more intuitive than the channels Microprose "made up". More on this in the Comm section of my little diatribe. I won't dissect every system in these sims because that would take days, but I will say they are close enough to being spot-on accurate that it shouldn't take much for the next batch of sims to get it right. If Marines like myself can fly these things, they can't be that complicated.

Views--think you're hardcore and want realism? Get rid of external views. Ouch, my ears hurt listening to all the wailing coming from the masses. "But with our little monitors, we need external views to maintain SA!" Bull. That hollow, tumbleweed feeling you get because you don't know whats going on when things erupt and everythings going to hell, well that's the business. I say make external views an option that can be unchecked to up the realism rating. Plus, and I'm no programmer by any means, but maybe doing away with all this "eye candy" would save CPU cycles or something to run the game faster.

Padlock views--Jane's has much better selections available to padlock a variety of things, and these options don't depend on the master mode you're in like F4 does. I especially like to be able to slew my view to the general area and hit "Padlock center object" without having to cycle through 200 different vehicles or structures to see the one I want to see. It would be nice, however, to have a little transparent doughnut or pointing cross in the center of my field of view to help make my padlocking decision more precise and let me padlock say, the target on the left vice the target on the right. F4 does a better job modelling their canopy in such a way as to allow me to maintain SA in a turning dogfight without looking at the HUD, although the field of view in Jane's is more realistic. How about two lift lines, so that you never are staring out of just plain glass?. Put a lightly tinted red one on the left and a green on on the right, instead of just one black one down the middle. Both sims need to disallow the padlocking of objects that are not within your line of sight, i.e. behind a hill or a cloud. Adjust the range at which you can padlock an object according to how big it is. You should be able to padlock fighters at about 5-6 miles and twice to three times that for large tankers and such. Small objects like missles should allow padlock if you pick up the launch smoke and padlock it then and maintain your padlock, but once the smoke burns out, you'd never see it until it got real close, say 1/2 mile. This leads to another discussion concerning the labeling of aircraft and ground objects. Again, realism factor dictates that you're not just given the info automatically, but with allowances for monitor limitations. The perfect sim would allow objects to be seen as just a dot at a certain range. As the object gets closer, a small label or symbol pops up to basically classify the object, i.e., TAC for tactical jet or HVY for heavy aircraft like tankers. Then, as it gets closer, the label changes to specific, i.e., M29 or B2. Then as range continues to decrease, the label disappears entirely and stays gone as long as you are padlocked on it. In short, do a better job simulating the visual capabilities of a real pilot.

Campaigns-- I'll start by addressing the issue of the "dynamic campaign", the Holy Grail of flight sims. F4 is the only game I've played with this feature, however if the word "dynamic" means completely illogical, wanton, haphazard, and non-sensical, then they've hit it right on the head! Again, what's the purpose of writing God-knows how much code to model something in great detail, but not get it correct? Why in F4 do I get assigned missions to bomb short range SA-9 sites 200 miles behind the battle lines when there are nice juicy EW radar sites that should get destroyed first? Why even bother fighting a ground war way up north before you've spent a few days if not weeks destroying C3I infrastructure and critical IADS components? Why do tanks drive all over friendly runways? Why are there roughly forty million sorties a day? I can't figure it out. Personally, I think campaigns belong in strategy games and survey sims like USAF, and tactical planning belongs in "hardcore" sims. I have much more fun planning and flying the single missions and mini campaigns created by other folks. They tend to make a lot more sense than the scenarios dreamed up by the machine in the dynamic campaign of F4. You should be allowed to start from scratch and plan a whole package mission. Make decisions concerning force structure, weapons employment tactics, routes and timing for every element of the package. Have a section of Hornets launch TALD with a section of Prowlers right behind 'em to take out the radars that they trick into emitting. While this is going on, the four plane strike package is ingressing at low level from a different direction. Off target, another section of fighters covers the striker's egress with a combat air patrol. If the package fails, you gather your remaining assets, come up with a new plan, and have another go at it until you succeed or run out of assets and lose the battle.


Mission Planning--You should be allowed to look at four different maps instead of just one "zoom in, zoom out" display. The maps you should have are a 1:2,000,000 scale, a 1:500,000 scale, a 1:250,000 scale, and a 1:50,000 scale. On the smallest map, the 1:50,000, a 10,000 foot runway is about 2 inches long. Single shot black and white recon photographs of the target area (not 3d slewable, zoom-able, rotatable Star Wars images like in F4) should be available sometimes for precision targeting. The photos should look like they were taken from a recon bird or satellite. Clicking on a spot on the photo puts a waypoint there just like the maps. Connect some or all of your waypoints with a course line (not all or none). For instance, you may want to have a nav route to the target connected with a course line, but also want to put waypoints at bullseye, divert fields, secondary targets etc. You should have the option to label these however you wish. The waypoint label would show up on your kneeboard and on the data page in your jet. If you want to target something before flight, put a waypoint on it.

Set an airspeed for the route, then select a waypoint as your target and select a Time on Target. Times for all other waypoints on the route are automatically generated. (Here's how timing works in the real jet. If you've got a route, you can select a waypoint at which to arrive at a certain time (usually your target waypoint). Your timing cues in the HUD will give you an airspeed to fly, through all of the other points on the route, to arrive at that waypoint on time. If you designate any waypoint as a target by pushing the DESG button, including the target waypoint, your command speed cues will then tell you how fast to fly directly to that waypoint to arrive at the TOT.

Give your flight a formation to fly in. Set a specific type of target attack in the brief (you can change this in flight). Give each member of the flight a responsibility in the target area such as a specific target or high cover. Tell each member what ordnance to employ on their briefed attack, including quantity, multiple, and interval, etc, etc, etc.

All info from flight planning is put onto kneeboard cards which are in your virtual cockpit. This includes the package composition, callsigns, and radio frequencies on the top card, the admin card. Waypoints, airspeeds, TOTs, and minimum/ bingo fuel states are on the nav card. Attack procedures to include the quantity, mult, int and a graphic showing the attack geometry are on the weaponeering card. Procedures for employing all loaded weapons (step1-air to ground master mode, step 2-designate target, step 3- ATFLIR slaved, etc) are printed on the wep check card. Finally, there is map or two on your kneeboard. "But Jane's doesn't have a kneeboard like F4 does," you say? Not to worry- kneeboard cards are digitized and put on the MFDs, much like the landing and takeoff checks are in the sim. Go to MENU, select CARD, and you can select which card you want to look at. Neat, huh! Maybe in the next sim.

Comms -- Comms are simple. Through out the comm structure of all the current sims. Here are the channels that should be available to you, along with a list of who is monitoring those frequencies.

1. ATIS (automated terminal information)-- A looped recording which gives weather information and landing instructions for the airfield you are approaching
2. Tower--self explanatory
3. Approach--air traffic control. Monitor this freq when departing or approaching your field/carrier
4. Strike--the main freq for the mission. AWACS, JSTARS, and the whole package monitor this freq
5. FAC --forward air controller for CAS missions
6. Tanker--self explanatory
7. Tactical--inter-flight frequency for you and your wingman

On your UFC, there are two channel knobs because you have two radios. Clicking on the knob scrolls through the channels by number. When you change channel, the number for the channel, 1-7 is displayed next to the appropriate radio knob, and the name of the channel, i.e. Strike, displays momentarily on the UFC scratchpad. Now you have two "push to talk" keys. If you want to talk to tower, select channel 2 on one of your radios, push the corresponding transmit key, and a list of Tower options comes up. Put Strike into a radio, and when you key that radio, a list of comms for AWACS, JSTARS, and other package flights comes up. This alleviates the need to listen to people marshalling when you're doing your mission, or listen to people ejecting while you're trying to tank, etc.

HOTAS/ cockpit interface -- The stick and throttle in the real jet are simpler than some the one's that are commercially available. The simmers HOTAS answer, folks, is not sticks with more buttons but rather sims that model HOTAS correctly. This means making the switches and hats mode dependant. Sims have modeled every darn button in the cockpit so far, except the buttons on the stick! Unbelievable. It's like on the MFD...each pushbutton does many different things depending on the situation. The HOTAS controls are the same way. For instance, the same button on the throttle cages/uncages anything that needs caging or uncaging like the AIM-9 or the MAV. But if you are dropping dumb bombs, this button switches between AUTO delivery and CCIP. Give future sims this capability by, for example, having the "U" key both cage/uncage and switch between delivery modes. I do this in Janes by dragging multiple commands onto the same keystroke. For instance, I dragged the Master Mode Air to Air command onto the same keys as AIM-120 select, AIM-7 select, and AIM-9 select. (don't do this with gun mode or you will command AA gunsight if you switch to guns in AG combat).

This leads me to ask the question, "why don't sim makers like microprose and Janes ship a cockpit interface with their games? Imagine a little plastic cockpit that sits under your monitor with buttons on it that are analagous to the buttons in your cockpit! I know some people have spent hundreds or thousands building their own homemade version, but I'm talking about a simple plastic box moulded to look like the jet's cockpit. It would connect to your computer via USB or in line with the keyboard, and pushing the buttons would send the appropriate keystroke commands to the computer (actually, they wouldn't have to be keystroke commands). They wouldn't have to worry about people pirating software because the cockpit would be the real kicker for marketing and would be much harder to pirate than just burning a CD. The same with the stick and throttle. If they're going through painstaking detail in the sim to be realistic, ship a realistic stick and throttle with it. It seems that the HOTAS manufacturers aren't doing so well and neither are the "hardcore" sim manufacturers. Maybe if one company decided to make it all, make it technically correct, and make it work dependably, it might just save a terrific hobby from going the way of the dinosaur.

Whew! That was a lot of writing. I didn't mean to offend anyone's alliegances by putting down their favorite sim or, worse, praising the sim they don't like (seriously, I don't understand people who claim to hate something, like Jane's or F4, but insist on hanging around in that sim's forum telling everyone there how stupid they are for liking it---jeez, get a life!). I tried to explain some complicated things as succinctly as possible, but I'm not sure if I missed the mark or not. If you read this and you're thinking to yourself, "this guy's an idiot," you're not far off! If I helped anyone in any way, I'm glad to be of service to you. Semper Fi people. And if anyone knows what the shorthand below means, I'll buy ya a beer if I ever see you!

Zambo
(WU-OSX) TMPIM-IC FBAR MTWFB


Posts: 252 | From: 29 Palms, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Augermc
Member
Member # 1913

posted 01-27-2000 10:29 PM     Profile for Augermc   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Great post Zambo...lots of insight. Thanks for the informed viewpoint. I agree with you on your quote here:

quote:
Originally posted by Zambo:
I don't understand people who claim to hate something, like Jane's or F4, but insist on hanging around in that sim's forum telling everyone there how stupid they are for liking it---jeez, get a life!).


Posts: 152 | From: Tampa, FL | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Velociraptor
Member
Member # 1941

posted 01-27-2000 10:36 PM     Profile for Velociraptor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Interesting post with many good ideas esp the "mode dependent HOTAS switches".

I'm also having a blast with jf/a 18 even more than f4.


Posts: 25 | From: | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Shavah
Member
Member # 243

posted 01-27-2000 10:47 PM     Profile for Shavah   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I hereby retract every deragatory comment I ever made about Marines in the past, especially during my 11 years on active duty.

Thanks, that was just excellent.


Posts: 551 | From: Omaha NE | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Curious
Member
Member # 2225

posted 01-27-2000 11:44 PM     Profile for Curious   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
That's the kind of material we need more of on these message boards. It damn near makes it worth putting up with all the crap that's on here sometimes. For a marine you think (and express yourself) pretty darn good, Zambo. All the sim community has to do now is get together and convince/persuade the developers and publishers to come out with sims that implement at least some of your ideas.


Posts: 10 | From: Broomfield, CO USA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Saint19
Member
Member # 199

posted 01-28-2000 12:18 AM     Profile for Saint19   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zambo,

I really enjoyed your post.

Saint19


Posts: 515 | From: | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
AirFoil
Member
Member # 1604

posted 01-28-2000 12:49 AM     Profile for AirFoil   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
One word:

WOW!

Zambo, that was an excellent post with a lot of great ideas. Thanks for the insight.

The ECI (External Cockpit Interface) would be a godsend for me. Talk about immersion!!! That could re-invent the flight sim genre...

------------------
"Stop looking at the FPS counter and start looking at BANDITS!!!"


Posts: 106 | From: Bay Area, California USA | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Mnemonic
Member
Member # 402

posted 01-28-2000 12:49 AM     Profile for Mnemonic   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Very interesting!
Posts: 132 | From: Virginia, USA | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Kurt Plummer
Member
Member # 358

posted 01-28-2000 03:14 AM     Profile for Kurt Plummer   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Great Post Zambo.

I'd like to add that the ability to 'generate' packages based on mission and profile (and store them for recall) would be very nice.

Select 'TALD Package #2' for instance and you get your four Hornets in Flight 1 and the 'Division' becomes an automatically XXnm separated followon on EA-6B flight with YY# of HARM. At the appropriate range to hit emitters which are designated as TALD 'turn on' targets.

Also nifty would be a 'tie to TOT -or- Waypoint' system which would let you then put the TALD+HARM TOF arrival times on a given target point at a specific moment relative to the primary (separated by tens of miles) strike package actually had to go /through/ that airspace.

Currently, it's hard to generate truly big missions, using the 'each and every' method of creating individual icons and making their actions formate together. Which is a shame.

A separate route altitude elevation map (like the jammer dugout in the MDI) for the applicable routes to indicate LOS as well as absolute range profiles on various radars/weapons (SEAD too) would also be an addition kewl-help.

And optimally, Whole /package/ generation (SWEEP, SEAD, Escort/BARCAP and Main) could be better generated if you could plop a gorilla sized formation at XX formup and then 'designate' each airbase you wanted to block, each radar you wanted to kill or jam and each primary target for XX weapon TOF you had to shoot, all based on TOT rather than Airframe XX routing. Routeing should come last and the numbers of waypoints you can use to go around or under should come /after/ you've set everybodies mission up.

That there is no 'library' of tactical presets is a shame is I guess what I'm saying.

I also enjoyed your thoughts on waypoints-cue-sensors (not sensors look for waypoints) but would like to ask: If I'm flying FAC, and I've got good GPS and a good FLIR hand, shouldn't I be able to target and Mark/Designate (store) a 'random' target as well?

I have a lot of problems getting my wingmen to sort and separate ground targets and was thinking that between a UTM call over voice, secure 'Dolly'(?) coordinates or a laser spot track handoff from my designation I could mark one target, task them, store it, look for another, mark it, task the next element or section, return to the first for BDA and so on (It sucks that the GFAC can't shift marked targets).

With an INS, a GPS and a 1-2mil FLIR boresight, ALL of this 'should' be possible, even if I'm just doing the CAS myself. But it isn't, for some reason.

Your ideas for comms are neat but IMO, in a dogfight there isn't time to sort channels and select menu commands.

You need to break it down to basically the three basics: Offensive, Defensive, Informative with a subkey for Hammer/send and actual behavioural presets for how 'independent' your wingman positions/fires on his own, preset before entrance.

I've got this all worked out but /damn/ if I don't hate to just 'give it away' on a public forum. Janes? R'U listening?

My only real disagreement with you is in the basics of the Dynamic Campaign system.
It's not that you're incorrect in detail for F4's faults so much as we've fought so long and hard to get it here, it seems criminal to just let it all slide with the 'demise' of the Hasbro commitment to hardcore.

IMO, the one thing that needs doing more than anything else is to allow us CONTROL of the ground forces. No matter how 'deep' your thinking is it's the grunts that eventually carry the war there and it's the grunts that bear the brunt almost entirely, in defense.

Now mind, I'm not thinking super-real sophisticated maneuver warfare mind you just the basics of what I call 'My Six Rs':

Raid
Advance to contact within a given radius-depth ahead of the FEBA, engaging units XX% weaker and disengaging after YY% own attrition (weapons and fuel as well as actual). Good for cavalry/TF assigned 'motorized guerilla' unit warfare.

Remain,
In Contact. If the front pushes, you pull out, if they fall back, you fill in behind them. But there is never more than XX thousand meters between you and the enemy OR you and you're flanking friendly units (FLOT contiguity).

Resolve,
'hold til overrun or victorious'. The Stonewall Defense.

Rampage,
Pursue to Destruction/Waypoint where you also designate an opposition unit (size icon) or geographic goal that the friendly unit will attack or attempt to reach on a phase-line turn basis.

Retreat,
Like Remain but attempts to trade space and contiguity of force with side units in return for maneuver initiative. Takes advantage of longer engagement zones to set up local ambushes, small lateral advances, artillery killzones etc.

Reposition.
For deep maneuver and resupply reasons, the unit attempts to withdraw to the nearest deep artery and/or get to it's supply train.

Again, using your idea for multiscale maps, you could SEE where the enemy was advancing hardest on a frontal level and then /display/ the actual engaged units/terrain on a sector basis.

Then assign (graduated icon sizes for team/TF, company, battalion, regiment, division, each larger unit symbol manipulating all of the smaller ones under it) various ammounts of force to give way or advance in support of YOUR strategy. Not some frickin' computers.

The baseline for all units would be 'Remain' (contacted) and by selectively pulling or pushing the enemy with the other simple marching orders, you could CAUSE the bad guy AI to advance into killsacs to be cut off.
If you 'encourage' him to make a 'breakthrough' south in an area in front of some tight hills and deep forestation instead of going for the hard nut of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink defended open plains to the northeast then say 'Highway 90', your main N/S access to the capital, will stay safer that much longer because he's advancing at 12mph through gloom which any 2 men with a jeep and a radio can call in Arty on all damn day.

THIS is where 'dynamic' comes into play, for me. YOU doing the control and the _AI_ responding. Not AI bad guy vs. AI theatre command and you a puppet 'wondering why' in the middle (no depth to strategizing).

Now how airpower integrates into this is simple: Using your 'theatre map' you see where the general hotspots are and assign a given number of aircraft/sortie to a generic mission pool (this was originally for an A-10 idea of mine so it's all CAS, but you could make it variable SEAD/Escort/Recce or base it on pilot roster skill for 'multirole' aircraft) for that sector.

The more aircraft you pool, the less you have to worry about not exploiting properly and the more support sorties from other mission forces (EF-111, F-15 and F-4G in my case) you could expect back when making a 'request'.

The rest of your squadron, the ones you want to take the time to personally control, you 'game', literally, at the schwerpunkt that you perceive to be developing. This is my way of simplifying player control to the scale of commitment he wanted. It also gave me the chance to test out AL21 tactics on a numerically superior force. Get behind and club their logistics like seals in front of a windtunnel.

Now this is a /long/ way from being a deep-frontal, sequential reduction, battle plan like you suggest but again, it was for a WWIII Europe 'USAFE' game I was hoping to get published and in those compressed conditions, I think it would make a refreshing change from the 'A Building A Day Keeps The Enemy At Bay' (and wait till they surrender) type scenarios we see in today's sims.

Because, with this HUGE Red Tide advancing over Europe (plus the ability to control where you stuck your thumb in the dike with limited counterforces) there could be no doubt that 'He is coming to get YOU, now what're you gonna do about it?'

The one last thing I would add is that people overestimate how much the AI has to do, especially in-mission.

You set a 'preamble' win/lose condition based on where the front starts (maybe it's a surprise attack and half of West Germany is 'All Red Already'), and whether human player loss is based on 'to the Channel', 'to XX% territory gain (Germany), 'to the frontier/capital' or 'to YY% force attrition'.

With a possible-random nuclear ceiling excession xx% short of this (operating under a nuclear MOP condition would add further drama to the situation).

Anyway, where the badguy starts as a literal Thin Red Line says whether you're doing forward defence or defence in depth and in turn how much Followon Forces/OCA attack you can afford to do.

The threat AI simply marches West on a terrain/road grid value basis for mph and frontal 'width', keeping his supply trains at XX distance and shooting anything big enough within ZZ radius.

It helps that, in my game, the Russians had so much stuff that half you're problems were simply getting to the forces which are enveloping you from 100's of km of engaged-force separation

I set it up so you could use Red Book declarations or get unit-specific on how many of what T-ype and logisitic were where in each A/B/C class division.

THAT is how you do 'Dynamic Campaigning'.


Whew, anyway, I liked your post... KP


Posts: 672 | From: | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Gecko
Member
Member # 1436

posted 01-28-2000 03:35 AM     Profile for Gecko   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Just a quick note, mode dependent commands are a part of the Flanker 2.0 setup. So I guess this feature will soon find a way into other sims.

Greetings,

Gecko


Posts: 303 | From: Maribor, Slovenia | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Jackal
Member
Member # 1202

posted 01-28-2000 05:32 AM     Profile for Jackal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zambo,

I really enjoy reading such constructive posts ! Just two commants :
1. External views for SA : You are proficient with BFM and SA and it's probably much easier for you to get out a 3D picture from padlock views. But it would be more interesting if you remember your learning phase and how your instructors teached BFM. With all the monitor limitations, are you sure you could transfer all this by using padlock views only ?
2. I don't see the HOTAS issue that bad. With TM gear or a Suncom throttle you can switch modes with a single keystroke. The Suncom SFS has four sets of commands, switchable by a single keystroke. That's enough to get a "finger fire". It would be great if we could get more info what's exactly buried in the real HOTAS switches to replicate it.

You mentioned mapping several functions into one key command in F/A 18. What does that help, how do you know which one is executed ?
I mean, you can't make that context dependent !
Jackal


Posts: 220 | From: | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Andy Bush
Member
Member # 12

posted 01-28-2000 07:45 AM     Profile for Andy Bush   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zambo

>>...Get rid of external views...Bull... maybe doing away with all this "eye candy" would save CPU cycles or something to run the game faster.<<

There are a number of external views...which ones did you have in mind?

Your ideas regarding the padlock view are good. The problem with padlocks in general are of several types...inability to maintain awareness of nose position relative to the horizon, lack of cues as to rate of energy bleed, no airspeed or altitude info, lack of a usable lift vector in some sims, and what to do when the target flys behind some part of the aircraft structure. How would you 'fix' these?

>>Avionics/Systems--my pet peeve. This may shock some of you, but some systems in the real jets are SIMPLER than the systems portrayed in these sims!<<

Excellent comment, and one needed more often. I used to think reprogramming the INS was a bitch, but some of the gyrations the simmer has to go thru are silly and probably correctable.

>>Mission Planning--You should be allowed to look at four different maps instead of just one "zoom in, zoom out" display. The maps you should have are a 1:2,000,000 scale, a 1:500,000 scale, a 1:250,000 scale, and a 1:50,000 scale<<

Now we're talking immersion!! Great idea...can you imagine trying to teach the typical simmer how to do a pop? I'd like to see this...but first we need low altitude graphics detail that is more detailed than what we presently have...think of the hit the framerate will take.

Excellent commentary on formations, comms, and HOTAS.

I like the cockpit interface and stick ideas...but what would this cost?

We need more input from the field. Particularly from guys that can speak real world in flight sim terms. How about putting your ideas down on paper...Combatsim or SimHQ would be glad to post them.

Andy


Posts: 595 | From: St Louis, Mo | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Zambo
Member
Member # 2165

posted 01-28-2000 08:40 AM     Profile for Zambo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
>>There are a number of external views...which ones did you have in mind?<<

All of them. You never leave the cockpit.

<<The problem with padlocks in general are of several types...inability to maintain awareness of nose position relative to the horizon, lack of cues as to rate of energy bleed, no airspeed or altitude info, lack of a usable lift vector in some sims, and what to do when the target flys behind some part of the aircraft structure. How would you 'fix' these?<<

The problem with maintaining SA and flying your aircraft while looking over your shoulder is the same in the real jet. Canopy cues keep you oriented as your remain padlocked. If you need a critical piece of performance info, you quickly glance at the HUD then resume your padlock immediately. If the object you're padlocked on goes behind your aircraft structure, just like in real life, oh well-too bad- you just lost sight. It really happens.

Zambo

"Lose sight, lose the fight"



Posts: 252 | From: 29 Palms, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
ScottMG
Member
Member # 1813

posted 01-28-2000 08:42 AM     Profile for ScottMG   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zambo,

You should contact Nick Grey (Fighter Collection) who works with SSI on Flanker2, and the up and coming sim SU-39 / A-10. He is ALWAYS looking for real military pilots to help make their sims more realistic. I think he would take you right in (and any of your buddies). As I'm sure you've read, the future of MPS and Janes in the realistic combat sim market is up in the air. SSI / The Fighter Collection and Rowan, on the other hand, appear to be making a real go at this market.

Scott.


Posts: 245 | From: | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Zambo
Member
Member # 2165

posted 01-28-2000 08:45 AM     Profile for Zambo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
>>Your ideas for comms are neat but IMO, in a dogfight there isn't time to sort channels and select menu commands.<<

You don't have to sort channels in a dogfight. Everybody flies with their inter-flight frequency on the second radio. If you need to call your wingman, hit comm 2 transmit and say what you need to say.

I should have incluced in my original post that new sims should have imbedded ability to use voice comms like Roger Wilco, Game Commander, and Battlefield Commander without having to use a third party add on.


Posts: 252 | From: 29 Palms, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
ScottMG
Member
Member # 1813

posted 01-28-2000 08:54 AM     Profile for ScottMG   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Also, as far as the SA goes with padlock, I disagree completely. We need as much information on the padlock screen (airspeed, bank, etc.) as we can get. In real life, you can keep your eyes glued on the target and your peripheral vision does the job of knowing where your aircraft is pointing. Also, pilotoage (an experienced pilot's 6th sense) is completely severed in a sim unless they try to make up for it somehow with enhanced sound and visuals. As far as speed, a quick glance and the airspeed guages and eyes back on the target only takes a 1/2 second. The monitor is a crutch when you compare it to your eyes and head, so there needs to be a balance even if it means giving you a little of something you wouldn't have in real life. You have a valid point with external views, but in the case of a padlock, NOTHING in a sim ever comes CLOSE to the ease of just having your hands on the stick and using your eyes and head. Don't you agree?

Also, thanks for the great info on comms. Too bad you weren't around when F4 or F-18 was being developed.


Posts: 245 | From: | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
leafer
Member
Member # 6

posted 01-28-2000 08:56 AM     Profile for leafer   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
>>Avionics/Systems--my pet peeve. This may shock some of you, but some systems in the real jets are SIMPLER than the systems portrayed in these sims!<<

Us simmers have this "if it's difficult to master, it is modeled correctly and therefore REAL" attitude (especially with spins and avionics). Therefore most developer loves to play those into our heads. BUT, not all developers use that trick on simmers. I can name one but then I might be flame. heheheh


Posts: 803 | From: Alhambra, CA U.S.A | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Andy Bush
Member
Member # 12

posted 01-28-2000 08:58 AM     Profile for Andy Bush   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zambo

>>If you need a critical piece of performance info, you quickly glance at the HUD then resume your padlock immediately. If the object you're padlocked on goes behind your aircraft structure, just like in real life, oh well-too bad- you just lost sight. It really happens<<

Since we're talking A2A padlocks, what type(s) of 'critical piece of performance info' would you be looking back to the HUD for? Is it the same in real life as in a sim?

Regarding the loss of tally when the bandit flys behind aircraft structure, what do you advise the simmer to do? What would you do in real life?

Use of cockpit and external views is a personal thing...and no one is 'right' or 'wrong'. How would you explain your belief that the external player to target view should not be used?

Andy


Posts: 595 | From: St Louis, Mo | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
WildWeasel
Member
Member # 1855

posted 01-28-2000 09:26 AM     Profile for WildWeasel   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zambo-- Good read. Enjoyed it.

Andy Bush-- The SA bar in F4 was a good idea but I did not like the apparent reduction in FOV. Perhaps a transparent overlay display with only the required data, like A/S, Alt, etc. off to the side(a la MS Combat Sim.). Still have FOV and SA.

Also, you mentioned reprogramming the INS . Were you an Avionics Tech?

------------------
WildWeasel
Gravity...It's not just
a good idea. It's the law.


Posts: 277 | From: Hesperia, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Datajack
Member
Member # 1437

posted 01-28-2000 09:27 AM     Profile for Datajack   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Zambo. Boy I really hope you become more active on this forum. The insight you gave was simply stunning. The only thing you mentioned that I disagree with is the reality of including a stick/throttle and button board with the sim. That would drive the price of the sim to $300.00 easily. This is because the sim company would need someone else to make this equipment and the cost will be moved along to us. Don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to see something like that. I think a more realistic option would be for the sim company to join up with existing hardware companies like CH and include a real good discount coupon for a HOTAS setup, along with including preprogrammed files for that HOTAS with the sim. A discount coupon for a Master Pilot and preprogrammed files for that device would round out the package.

What do you guys think about that?

Datajack


Posts: 483 | From: Miami Fl, USA | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Zambo
Member
Member # 2165

posted 01-28-2000 09:37 AM     Profile for Zambo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I know you guys don't want to believe me, but its true. Maintaining sight of the bad guys in a dogfight is EASIER in F4 and Janes than it is in real life. I'm telling you, maintaining sight is half the battle. For instance, say your target goes low and gets a little separation, then starts blending in with the background terrain. I real life you might lose sight but in these sims, you just automatically remain padlocked. Are you telling me that you have't been in the situation where you are still padlocked on the bogey but you can't actually see him? I like how F4 breaks your padlock if the bandit goes behind your aircraft structure for more than about 4 seconds. In real life, you have to predict where he's going and try to look over there and re-acquire him. As far as maintaining SA with regards to the horizon and your own aircraft, if you know what part of the canopy you are looking out of, then you should be able to know where your nose is pointing. For instance, if you are looking straight out the top of the canopy, where the lift line chevron is, and you see nothing but ground, then you are definately inverted. If you get confused, you glance quickly at the HUD to get your airspeed, altitude, and flight path angle, then resume your padlock (or break off the engagement if you're about to crash or something). Also, as your heads pans from padlock to the HUD and back, you are viewing everything in between and gaining situational awareness. I'm here to tell you that if you don't have "HUD glance fwd" mapped to a very convenient button or keystroke, then you are doing it wrong.

As far as getting rid of external views, I knew people would scream. The fact is, when you man the jet, all you have is your eyeballs, sensors, and radios and you build your SA from there. There's no "Gee, how many missles do I have left...let's hit F8 and look at my airplane and see", or "I wonder what the bandit is doing right now...why don't I just hit F-whatever and watch him, and then cycle thru all of his wingmen too!"

To reiterate, people who think that their SA is severly limited by the monitor don't realize that your SA is, in fact, limited because you are sitting in a single seat fighter. Instead of making the sim difficult by throwing you up against 40 bandits, make it difficult because reality is closely modelled.

Zambo

"There's no kill like a guns kill"


Posts: 252 | From: 29 Palms, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Scoob_SBM
Member
Member # 1065

posted 01-28-2000 09:43 AM     Profile for Scoob_SBM   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Awesome post.

A couple of thoughts.

#1--> For HOTAS setups, what you describe is completely possible with the F22/TQS combo. You can program several layers on buttons to do different commands depending upon with mode you're in. With the dogfight switch, it can be programmed to change the master mode, and then have the various buttons do cage/uncage, as well as auto/ccip, padlock, etc. That is how I have mine set up in Falcon 4, and I'm still in the process of programming it for J-F18.

#2 -- You seem to dis. the Falcon 4 dynamic campaign, because it sets unrealistic flight parameters. Perhaps you were not aware that you can control the tasks, and the geographical areas to target. Take over control from HQ, change your PAK's, and the objective sliders to the priorities you wish to tackle, (air defenses being an obvious priority).

#3 -- I agree completely with suggesting that external views be an option for increased realism. The only time I use external views is to watch my target blow up. It's a little bit like pretending I'm my own wingman, watching the ord. hit from a trail formation.

#4 -- You almost imply that there should be labels, or that you currently use labels. I should hope not, since that would defeat the realism even more than external views.

#5 -- I agree w.r.t. SA. I have never used labels, and I don't use external views. What helped me the most was playing a lot of WWII flight sims. No radar. No AWACS. No missiles. Just you and Zen. Dogfighting in jets is a cakewalk, compared to prop planes.

#6 -- I disagree with your believe that single missions are where its at. I have made many single missions, (10 in F4, 1 in F18). To get the immersion factor in a single-mission takes an IMMENSE amount of time. In F18, the time it takes to build a mission is at least double that of F4. On the plus side, though, the single missions that are capable of being created in F18 are far more sophisticated. F18 wins for single mission play, but F4's dynamic campaign is the gravy.

I wished you had talked about landings, and A/A refueling. It would be interesting to know if it's harder / easier / different in real life. Refueling is the one and only thing I completely fail at in both F4 and F18.

Scoob
The Screamin' Blue Messiahs http://sbm.warbirds.org


[This message has been edited by Scoob_SBM (edited 01-28-2000).]


Posts: 577 | From: Canada | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged
Datajack
Member
Member # 1437

posted 01-28-2000 09:45 AM     Profile for Datajack   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I have to agree with Zambo. Not because I am a pilot and I can verify what he says, but because HE is a pilot and has experienced this first hand. I am one that rarely uses external views (I do like to follow my weapons to impact though!). What he says makes sense. I don't know how difficult it would be to model that in a sim. How is the program supposed to know the moment you can't "see" a target anymore against a particular background? I would love to see someone try though. Thanks again Zambo.

Datajack


Posts: 483 | From: Miami Fl, USA | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Zambo
Member
Member # 2165

posted 01-28-2000 09:51 AM     Profile for Zambo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Datajack:
The only thing you mentioned that I disagree with is the reality of including a stick/throttle and button board with the sim. That would drive the price of the sim to $300.00 easily.

Datajack


Datajack, by my count an SFS combo can be bought for 79 bucks, the sim software is 39 bucks or less, and I don't know how much a master pilot is but I'd bet its about 75 bucks. This adds up to about $200 or less. Factor in the fact that an interface supplied by the game wouldn't have to be programmable because for instance, the gear handle button would always control the landing gear, and also factor in savings as a result of marketing a bundle instead of a bunch of indiviual pieces, and the price goes rapidly below $150. That's less than the video card I bought JUST TO RUN THE GAME!

Zambo


Posts: 252 | From: 29 Palms, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Editor
Member
Member # 2239

posted 01-28-2000 10:02 AM     Profile for Editor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Wow.

This is easily one of the best threads I've read in a long time. Zambo, you make some excellent points. Having people like yourself and Andy Bush take the time to post such thoughts here is what keeps me taking time out of my hectic day to read the forums.

Regarding the points made about external views : The Flanker 2 ladder pilots have external views disabled during competition. I flew against a couple of the top guys a month ago, and I had my external views enabled, since I wasn't aware that they did not use them. In ten or so fights, I never took one round, and shot down my opponents time after time. Then, when they informed me that external views were a no-no in the ladder, I disabled them and we went at it again. Needless to say, the tables turned very quickly as my lack of experience and SA while using internal views only became evident.


Posts: 406 | From: COMBATSIM.COM | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Datajack
Member
Member # 1437

posted 01-28-2000 10:13 AM     Profile for Datajack   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Your talking about equipment that already exists and is produced in mass. If you mean packaging the game with existing hardware then yes the price would be lower (although at $150.00 it will be still be too expensive for many). I thought you meant creating a HOTAS and button board specifically for the game (since you say it won't have to be programmed). In this case I stand by the $300.00 price tag. It will have to be specifically manufactured for the sim. And since a much lower quantity would be produced it will cost more than the HOTAS you can pick up today at EA.

Again don't get me wrong, I would LOVE to see it. I for one can afford it and would surely buy it, I just don't think it will happen.

Now, package up a CH USB Stick/Throttle/Pedal and a couple of Master Pilots with preprogrammed files for each and I'm there!

Which brings up another point. Many simmers already have a HOTAS setup. Unless it's a custom HOTAS designed for the game (again the price will shoot up), why pay extra for an additional HOTAS? Also, simmers are real partial to the setup they want to use. I am a CH fan. If you package a flight sim with Thrustmaster I will be real disappointed, and would wait for the game to be released stand alone to buy it.

Again just my 2 cents.

Datajack


Posts: 483 | From: Miami Fl, USA | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Zambo
Member
Member # 2165

posted 01-28-2000 10:15 AM     Profile for Zambo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Scoob_SBM:

#1--> For HOTAS setups, what you describe is completely possible with the F22/TQS combo. You can program several layers on buttons to do different commands depending upon with mode you're in. With the dogfight switch, it can be programmed to change the master mode, and then have the various buttons do cage/uncage, as well as auto/ccip, padlock, etc. That is how I have mine set up in Falcon 4, and I'm still in the process of programming it for J-F18.

I do much the same thing with the mode switch on my Saitek combo, but the mode switch doesn't switch master modes in the sim, it just changes the keystroke assignments. My bitch is that people shouldn't have to do this. It should be set up for you just like in the real jet. Then the manual that comes with the game could say "to call up your AIM-9, rock forward on the Air to Air select switch. This commands Air to Air master mode and sets the radar to RWS, 40 miles, 4Bar, 140 az", instead of "hit the 'M' key twice to call up AA master mode, then hit the '3' key to select your sidewinder, then push this key and that key...." The jets automate a lot of this.

Again, in Jane's, if you want to model your HOTAS realistically, drag AA_master_mode onto the same keystroke as AIM120, AIM7, AND AIM9 select. This is the kind of workaround that we shouldn't have to do.

#4 -- You almost imply that there should be labels, or that you currently use labels. I should hope not, since that would defeat the realism even more than external views.

Do I use labels? I think NOT, kind sir! I was merely suggesting a workaround for the fact that the monitor's resolution isn't nearly that of the human eye. Notice I suggested that labels should pop up at a certain range then go away. For example, in a head on merge, at about five miles you are able to gain a padlock. At about 4 miles some indicator(a label or symbol or something) pops up to classify it as a fighter or whatever, then at about 2 miles a label pops up that says Mig29, then at about a mile the label goes away and stays away. Its frustrating to not be able to VID (vidually identify) enemy fighters at realistic ranges.

I wished you had talked about landings, and A/A refueling. It would be interesting to know if it's harder / easier / different in real life. That is the one and only thing I completely fail at in both F4 and F18.

Aerial refueling in both sims is immensely harder than in real life--I don't even bother with the actually hookup portion. It's like two monkeys trying to f*** a football while standing up in a hammock. Landings look pretty accurate but there's no substitute for seat of the pant feel.
[/B]



Posts: 252 | From: 29 Palms, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
SWOdaddy
Member
Member # 769

posted 01-28-2000 10:17 AM     Profile for SWOdaddy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
What a great post, Z.

My first overall impression is, "Will ANY of these (or even just a few) great ideas *ever* see the light of day?" Not just because the industry might be drying up and blowing away, but because of the NIH principle (Not Invented Here).

Look at the great canopy cues in EF2k. Why can't other developers expand on a good thing? Reflections (I'm finding) aren't doing it as well as I thought they would. Janes' reflections *definitely* needs to be stronger to be effective.

Good comments about the avionics. I'll only add that with today's monitors I think its acceptable to have reduced graphical accuracy in the standard view, but in a close-up view the MFDs need to have correct representation of symbology and color detail. Also, changing zoom levels in FLIRs should cause a momentary blur as the focus changes.

I really like the idea of a donut/cross-hairs for "padlock center." There really needs to be some feedback to the user. To add on that concept, I think the "center" indication should be transparent/alpha-blend technology (like current canopy reflections) so as to provide an aid, yet still preserve some "suspension of disbelief."

I'm with you all the way on a total and un-repentant banishment of external views! :D Especially with respect to linking their usage with difficulty rating! BZ. Other note - [just about] any CPU-cycle-saving mechanism will be met with approval from me. If EXT Views are disabled, perhaps the amount of textures to be drawn on other a/c can be minimized. (Look at the model a/c pilots often have mounted on sticks - they usually lack tiny detail, yet provide the minimum/necessary aspect info to be effective.)

Great padlock ID ideas.

Your comments about Hornet-TALD/Prowler-HARM hunter-killer team made me think about something else. Not all platforms have the same capabilities. This needs to be further developed in future sims. This is what I'm talking about: An F-16CJ has a better EC/EW capability than an F/A-18C, for example, because of electronics onboard. The point is, different hardware provides different performance. If there could be some differentiation between platform vis a vis what they could detect electronically, the sim community would have some reason (actually be forced) to think tactically. Right now, is there *any* reason to use Prowlers to follow Hornets? No. Every RWR can detect every electronic emission wether its a target aquisition, fire control or search radar. There should be some disimilarities in capabilities. I'm not advocating yielding up any national security secrets. I don't think that's necessary. If certain platforms detected only search radars, some could detect TAs and FCs (some not all), other platforms could detect more - others less, we could *approximate* the real world. Just give the gaming community more opportunity to "game." Of course, I am advocating additional support aircraft - like in the real world - to interact with the player via vox comms and inflight data links. Additionally, jamming needs to be looked at closer. There needs to be a heavy HVAA a/c that stands-off and is very effective at jamming, closer tactical SOJs, escort jammers and finally pods and internal jammers. Each platform/system should have different caps/lims. Their capabilities shouldn't be spot-on to protect our own technology, but should be "near" to expected real-world performance. In other words - threat search radars are probably of the long-wavelength variety [let's just stick with common-sense-physics] and fire control radars would probably be shorter range short wavelength (we already see this development in air-to-air radars on the subject a/c of study sims) so jammers and ES a/c with corresponding detecting/jamming equipment should appropriately be matched against them.

Comms - you ask for a lot of buttonology associated with comms.

(Quote: On your UFC, there are two channel knobs because you have two radios. Clicking on the knob scrolls through the channels by number. When you change channel, the number for the channel, 1-7 is displayed next to the appropriate radio knob, and the name of the channel, i.e. Strike, displays momentarily on the UFC scratchpad. Now you have two "push to talk" keys. If you want to talk to tower, select channel 2 on one of your radios, push the corresponding transmit key, and a list of Tower options comes up. Put Strike into a radio, and when you key that radio, a list of comms for AWACS, JSTARS, and other package flights comes up. This alleviates the need to listen to people marshalling when you're doing your mission, or listen to people ejecting while you're trying to tank, etc).

I like the idea (especially as it pertains to non-time-critical agencies such as tower, ATIS, etc - but even interactions with AWACS need to be made faster than buttons can provide), but I think we need to be encouraging developers to take voice-technologies, represented by Game Commander and Roger Wilco, on board and incorporate code/drivers that make interaction with these products easier and maybe even an integral part of the game.

Formations - I think we need better wingman control. I'm thinking cross-unders, shift sides (for tactical reasons sometimes its better if the WN was on the far side of a single-side offset...), tac-turns, etc. Developers need to work closer with you drivers more in the future. There's a long way to go in this aspect of flight sims, in my opinion.

Waypoints - Couldn't agree more with you here. I would like to add that often AI's actions are keyed to the waypoint the player currently has selected. I'd like to see a de-coupling of AI behavior and wpt selection so that we have freedom to do what we need to with our avionics.

I like Kurt's input about data links - keeping in mind that not all aircraft have data link capability. But the important point is that some platforms DO and those systems aren't being modeled. We're encroaching on that ground now, but we need improvement in this field.

Well, I've blathered on enough for one morning. We'll SEE if it does any good!

:D

Cheers!


Posts: 142 | From: | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Andy Bush
Member
Member # 12

posted 01-28-2000 10:19 AM     Profile for Andy Bush   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
WildWeasel

No, I was a pilot.

The A-10 has an INS panel on the lower right console in the cockpit. The pilot uses this console to reprogram INS data in flight.
All of which probably doesn't sound too exciting until you consider that he is doing this with his right hand.

There is no autopilot in the Hog, so during this time, the pilot is flying with his left hand.

Now as an airline pilot, I program a similar instrument...it's just a lot easier with an auto pilot!!

Andy


Posts: 595 | From: St Louis, Mo | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Bear14th
Member
Member # 2468

posted 01-28-2000 10:23 AM     Profile for Bear14th   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hands down the best post I have ever read on this forum. Great work and thanks for all the info.

As for the interface, what a great idea to make a ton of money. It would not really be that complicated as it is nothing but an extended keyboard with the buttons seperated to their respective places. Or, think of it as two linked masterpilots. My god, I'd pay for that in a heartbeat. Talk about immersion. Now if we could figure out a way to get smoke to pour out of it whey you get hit.....


Posts: 34 | From: Syracuse, New York | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Mr Frag
Member
Member # 2338

posted 01-28-2000 10:25 AM     Profile for Mr Frag   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Reading through all the stuff here, there are a few really key points that come up.

External views (reality check): If you are strapped into a G suit, strapped into a seat, pulling 7.5G's in a turn, just how far do you think your head is going to turn to see things??? Anyone who has ever pulled G's care to give us non-fliers an answer?

Dogfights (reality check): in todays modern Jets are silly, BVR missiles and IFF were developed for the express purpose of killing things before they get close enough to shoot back. If you think your CG is going to sit there and let you dogfight once things have entered the carriers bubble, you're nuts. If something gets past the fleet defenders (you know, those silly looking Tomcats) it's not your problem. While it might be fun to dogfight your buddies, it is not what the F/A-18 was envisioned to be. Remember, it is a A-6 replacement (go dogfight in that) that added the ability to defend itself instead of having to keep a wing of F-4's around for cover.

I wonder just how much extra code and speed they would be able to have if all the external stuff that looks pretty but is not available in reality was gutted out of the sim. Leave the pretty stuff for games like Fly! and MS FS2K.


Posts: 46 | From: Scarborough, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Zambo
Member
Member # 2165

posted 01-28-2000 10:25 AM     Profile for Zambo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Datajack:

Which brings up another point. Many simmers already have a HOTAS setup. Unless it's a custom HOTAS designed for the game (again the price will shoot up), why pay extra for an additional HOTAS? Also, simmers are real partial to the setup they want to use. I am a CH fan. If you package a flight sim with Thrustmaster I will be real disappointed, and would wait for the game to be released stand alone to buy it.

[/B]



My point, Datajack, is that non of the commercially available HOTAS setups accurately model the buttons and switches on the real thing. For instance, the Air to Air select switch under your thumb on the Suncom sticks doesn't just push down like a button. It move forward, back, left, and right like a four way hat switch, AND it pushes down like a button. The same with the TDC. You slew it around with your finger till its over the item you want to designate, then you mash down on it. If you hold it down and slew it around, it moves the cursors around much faster (how many times have you not been able to slew fast enough).

Also, on a systems note, in the real jet you can slew the captains bars on the radar over the push-tile options around the edge and mash down to select that option, so you can operate all radar functions without taking your hands off the throttle or stick.

Zambo

"Fill your windscreen with the enemy's plane and fire!"


Posts: 252 | From: 29 Palms, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Andy Bush
Member
Member # 12

posted 01-28-2000 10:32 AM     Profile for Andy Bush   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Editor

You said you did well using the external view in F2. I suppose this was the F5 key selection using manual panning to keep the bandit in view. When using padlock only, your success rate dropped off. Was this just because you didn't know how to use the Flanker padlock as well as the others?

What was it about using the external view that allowed you to do so well?


Posts: 595 | From: St Louis, Mo | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
SWOdaddy
Member
Member # 769

posted 01-28-2000 10:41 AM     Profile for SWOdaddy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I guess I lied! :D That *wasn't* enough for one morning - I've got more to spew!

About Mission Planning - SOME developer out there incorporate this guys ideas! Please? Better yet, hire him (or someone just like him) - whatever you payed him wouldn't be enough!

Also, is anyone listening to Kurt? Seems to me like he has a good idea every once in a while - we might be pleasantly surprised if we saw something he thought of pop up in one of our sims some day...


Posts: 142 | From: | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
ScottMG
Member
Member # 1813

posted 01-28-2000 10:45 AM     Profile for ScottMG   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I have an idea. It is almost like the padlock should track the target, but not always keep it in the center, but just keep it in view somehow and make you have to track it on the screen. Mig Alley feels sooo real when the target gets low and is so hard to see against the ground clutter. The first think that can be done is to lose the box around the target that makes it impossible to lose it.

Zambo, you are making me rethink my position on the SA. Perhaps when a target goes out of your view (like underneath you), padlock should make its' best random guess where the target will exit. It could track it but randomly stray the longer the target is out of view. Then, with your hat, you can re-center the target once you have found it. When it is in clear view, it can lose track much slower than in a nasty knife fight. You would always have to "trim" your view with the padlock.

Maybe, you'll select targets that are already within your fixed view and it will initially be highlighted it with a little pulse graphic or something that goes away, which forces you to keep your eyes on it. The little initial pulse would be necessary to indicate that the computer is tracking the target you are looking at, then you're on your own to see it.

Another way would be to have all fixed views that would simply switch to the one the target is in, forcing you to always track it with your eyes. It would always be on the screen, but not necessarily in the middle. This would eliminate the clumsiness with a hat during a close fight. The more I think of it, the latter idea would be interesting and easy to implement.

Any thoughts?


Posts: 245 | From: | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Zambo
Member
Member # 2165

posted 01-28-2000 10:46 AM     Profile for Zambo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Frag:

External views (reality check): If you are strapped into a G suit, strapped into a seat, pulling 7.5G's in a turn, just how far do you think your head is going to turn to see things??? Anyone who has ever pulled G's care to give us non-fliers an answer?




In reality, its VERY hard to look behind you, especially when pulling Gs. That brings up an idea that I haven't seen modeled yet...make your head pan around slower as you pull more Gs. If you try to look at your HUD and you hear yourself grunting and your head is moving real slow, you know you're pulling Gs.

Typically on a 1v1 training sortie, we'll set up a few engagements that start from a defensive position--straight and level with the bandit aircraft about 45 degrees behind your wingline anywhere from a half mile to 1.5 miles and either high or low. Even straight and level, looking back 45 degrees behind your wing (135 degrees behind your nose) is very uncomfortable when your are strapped in, 30 pounds of survival gear on, and your oxygen mask hose restricting your head movement. The inflateable lobes of your life preserver wrap around the back of your neck and your helmet hits this when you crane your neck. It all adds up to a pretty restrictive environment.

Zambo


Posts: 252 | From: 29 Palms, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Datajack
Member
Member # 1437

posted 01-28-2000 11:00 AM     Profile for Datajack   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
And your point is well taken Zambo. I would love to see a hardcore sim that includes an authentic preprogrammed HOTAS and cockpit panel. I would drool like a dog with rabies.
My only concern is the cost, and that concern is for others that are less fortunate. I can afford it and would certainly buy it, even at $300.00.

Again thanks for your post. Have you flown any other jets besides the Harrier? I can't imagine what it must feel like to hover in a jet! I saw a Harrier demonstration at an air show here in Miami about 6 years ago. It was awesome!

I would love to see a study sim on that bird.
How about you?

Datajack


Posts: 483 | From: Miami Fl, USA | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged
Truro
Member
Member # 679

posted 01-28-2000 11:09 AM     Profile for Truro   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
If you're going to limit external views, it should be done only as a multiplayer option.
Posts: 1441 | From: Tulsa, Ok | Registered: Oct 1999  |  IP: Logged
Zambo
Member
Member # 2165

posted 01-28-2000 11:14 AM     Profile for Zambo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Actually, I don't have a big desire to have a Harrier sim. The cockpit is virtually identical to the Hornet (just remove the center multicolor MFD and replace the two monochrome MFDs with two multicolor ones).
Plus we have an extra lever in the cockpit to rotate the nozzles--you'd have to assign this to some keystrokes or something and it wouldn't be very realistic. Plus, hovering is VERY seat of the pants dependant--you'd almost surely have to use an outside view to land the thing in the correct spot.

Zambo


Posts: 252 | From: 29 Palms, CA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Datajack
Member
Member # 1437

posted 01-28-2000 11:28 AM     Profile for Datajack   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Yeah Zambo, why do it on a PC when you can do it for real!

Interesting, I didn't realize the Harrier had such advanced avionics. Somehow I thought is was an older plane. It just shows my ignorance on the subject.

Datajack


Posts: 483 | From: Miami Fl, USA | Registered: Dec 1999  |  IP: Logged

All times are MST (US)
This topic is comprised of pages:  1  2  3  4 
 

   Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | COMBATSIM.COM Home

COMBATSIM.COM, INC. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Infopop Corporation
Ultimate Bulletin Board 6.04b

Sponsor
2014 COMBATSIM.COM - All Rights Reserved