I have mentioned this subject before, sorry to reiterate. But I just have to get this off my chest. Before I get to my complaints, I will emphasise that I'm really impressed by the in-sim experience, the flight model, graphics and effects as well as the new features like the impressive voice recording and new scenario builder functions.
But, I cannot understand the rationale behind the new front-end in Flanker 2. It is cumbersome, resource hungry, slow and doesn't add any new benefits to the window-based front-end of v1.5. And why do sims insist on a lengthy intro sequence with no options to turn it off (yes, I know I can remove the folder to beat it :-), and why must a sim reinvent an anachronistic cumbersome screen-based interface?
Here's a summery of my grudges:
- Slow start-up. Enforced intro sequences, as well as insisting on loading all in-sim resources before starting.
- The front-end doesn't multi-task well (it seems to run as a critical real-time task for some reason). I did some wav-editing on a training mission, and had to shut down and restart Flanker for every little task-switch to my wav-program.
- The screen-based interface is to a large extent just cumbersome. A lot of jumping between screens and waiting (for some reason). (Hint: Press Alt+F4 to quit Flanker without climbing back to the front screen.)
- Resolution bound to same settings as in-sim.
- The mouse is sloppy (mentioned a lot elsewhere).
- The encyclopedia can't be accessed from the editor.
- Program options not available from the editor or training screens.
- The main menu is simply redundant. All of Training, Mission and Campain menu items can (and should) be accessed in a consistent way through the Editor interface. Add that Training doesn't debrief after completion (hence better to load and play the mission from the editor!).
I appologise to Maxim Vorsobin, but in my opinion he (?) was given an impossible job, trying to compete with the Windows interface, an interface that has been perfected for over 10 years. In my eyes totally wasted resources.
Some may argue that the look of the interface justifies it. But I argue that equally good results could be achieved by building on Windows, ie. adding nice icons, custom-drawn elements and background bitmaps (check out ChessMaster from SSI), but still retain the much more user-friendly and customizable interface of Windows.
Why not integrate and cooperate with Windows? Life would be much more easy for those who want to dwelve into details and customize Flanker. And it would be easier, not only for 3rd-developers, but also for Flanker dev team to benefit from features in Windows, as well a dev tools.
Here's my feature list for the ideal front-end:
- Windows interface and design. Complies at large with Control Panel settings (colors, fonts, mouse, etc.) for added user-friendliness. Multi-tasks well.
- Built around the editor. All sim functions available from a standard and effective program menu.
- Uses a document-model. Scenario/mission files opens in the editor, and can be drag-and-dropped from Explorer. Integrates with OS functions (file assosiations, Explorer, etc.). Su27 1.5 works like that, and I have shortcuts to often used missions on my desktop --- a simple dobbelclick and it opens in seconds. Also, I can organize missions and open them from Explorer. Nice.
- Quick, no nonsense startup. No enforced lengthy introduction sequence (make it optional, or provide it as separate introduction sequences and presentations on the CD). In-sim resources shouldn't be preloaded. Ideally, a low-priority background loader is activated after start-up.
In short, I think v1.5 had a winner design, and am disappointed that the developers seem to have conformed with the less functional typical 'game look'. I wish they would have built on the 1.5 interface rather than taking these, in my view, steps backwards.
Sorry for my lengthy moaning... :-)
[This message has been edited by Attila (edited 01-15-2000).]