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Author Topic: view realism
markL
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posted 12-21-1999 06:10 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I have a question regarding realistic views in flight sims. I would like opinions from some experts as to what they feel is the most realistic view that a pilot may see that is available in most sims. Is it the virtual cockpit? The standard 2D full cockpit, or the full HUD mode? I am interested to find out what you think it is.
MarkL

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Beirut
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posted 12-21-1999 04:57 PM     Profile for Beirut     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hey there,

Well I'm not an expert (just damn good looking!) but I've found that a wider view field, in the sense of sitting farther back in the cockpit, seems more realistic to me. DID's F22ADF had a wide field option, and while is wasn't very good for A2A, it did give you (me) a better sense of immersion. You (almost) really felt like you were in a plane looking out, as opposed to in a sim and looking at. If you see what I mean. The problem is that it also gave the terrain a fishbowl look. Not practical for action, just flying.

Also, WWIIF has a nice cockpit view option. I find the P-38, with the seat back a notch or two, looks gorgeous, offers good immersion, and is fairly practical for A2A and A2G. I love seeing the yoke moving around in-picture, very immersive, possibly the best I've ever sim-flown. Why Falcon 4 doesn't have a wide field option, or a FULL cockpit option, is beyond me. I think it would look great and improve the game.

Maybe interior head movement, fluid, back and forth as well as side to side, would be the thing. True 3D head movement. Now that would be nice.


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Major Tom
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posted 12-21-1999 07:54 PM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I've actually been arguing at length in the those lift lines/reflections discussions that we just aren't not seeing a realistic picture of what it looks like in cockpit of a fighterjet.

I think that now that we have higher resolutions like 1600x1200 we can display this more realistic view of the flight environment. The simulation of periferal vision is key in doing this. Periferal vision simulation would eliminate the need for reliance on visual aids like lift lines, reflections and arrow cues.

With current simulations I always feel like I am looking at the virtual world with tunnel vision. We used to have fish bowl effect problems in 3D shooters and flight sims, but the developers obviously found a way around this. I'd hate to think they couldn't do the same thing with a more realistic picture of what you see in a fighter jet.


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Envelope
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posted 12-21-1999 10:44 PM     Profile for Envelope   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Desktop flight sims will never be complete until you can look all around without pushing buttons.
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Phil47
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posted 12-22-1999 03:10 AM     Profile for Phil47     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote

This seems to be following on from my last post re 3D effects in sims.
EUREKA !...Now If I can develop some sort of virtual helmet I may stand to make a fortune here.
Sadly I happen to be in the wrong field for inventing such things, but I,m sure if some bright spark sets his mind to it, us simmers would certainly know what we would be getting next Christmas.
Phil.

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Major Tom
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posted 12-22-1999 04:10 AM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
You mean a fully programamble F/A-18 Hotas made by CH products for next christmas?

nah, we wont be getting that either ;(

heh heh heh heehh...(sigh)


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Bill Hewett
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posted 12-22-1999 06:06 AM     Profile for Bill Hewett   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
F-22 ADF/TAW zoomed out is quite realistic (one zoom position). Also MiG Alley and WWII Fighters (both 'infinite' zoom).
As a concession to our limited monitor view of the sim environment most developers place us too close to the HUD and instruments. Flanker2 comes to mind. It's an excellent sim with relatively swift panning, however we are stuck at that too-close focal point.
Falcon4 is about the same in this regard. Unfortunately the upcoming Janes F/A-18 will also have a fixed focal point.

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Attila
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posted 12-22-1999 09:57 PM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
First, it is important to note that PC sims (unlike military sims with encapsulated domes, or future head-gear based sims), don't really simulate us being in the cockpit. Instead, the picture on our monitors can be thought of as relayed from a camera in the cockpit of a virtual drone (the legs you see are from your stand-in puppet, not your own :-). To look around, we use keyboard keys or a hat-switch to swivel the camera in the direction we want to see. What the camera/puppet sees is put on our monitor.

But, given this 'remote viewing' model --- what's the most natural/realistic view?. You could consider the monitor as a clear viewport into the virtual world, and take the monitor size and viewing distance into account. The figure below illustrates this.

This is analogous to what a real pilot would see if he put up a cardboard cut-out (Andy? :-) the size of a monitor screen in the same distance from his eyes whilst sitting in the cockpit.

With this natural viewing solution, everything seen on the monitor would look the right scale and with a natural aperture (no lens effects). The problem is the limited field-of-view (~33).

Sims can use two tricks to enlarge our field-of-view: lens effects or scaling. Both have drawbacks.

Wide-lens effects suck in visuals outside your natural field-of-view (imagine bending the field-of-view outwards as it passes through the monitor in the illustration above). When rotating the camera, the visuals seem to distort as in a soup.

Scaling makes everything look like down-scaled models.

---

Beirut, the peculiar thing is that if we used natural viewing parameters through the monitor, we would actually feel even more pushed forward (ref. cardboard experiment).

Major Tom, it's the size of the monitor and your distance from it that is the deciding factors for field-of-view. The resolution is secondary, although if you try to compress more visuals into the same screen area (wide-angle view), resolution becomes important as everything becomes smaller.

Asking real pilots what's the most realistic view in PC sims is not necessarily fruitful, because the real experience is very different from the 'remote control' concept of PC sims. We should rather ask "what's lacking?" and "what's the most effective?", and then take the primary concerns into account, like spatial awareness (see Andy Bush's article over at SimHQ about padlocked viewing and check out messageboards for more).

[This message has been edited by Attila (edited 12-22-1999).]


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Kurt Plummer
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posted 12-22-1999 10:12 PM     Profile for Kurt Plummer   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hey Attila,

I wrote up something for Andy but since his 'couple of days' review period has elapsed without a reply, I'd like you're 'view' as it were. Let me know where to send it.


Kurt Plummer


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Attila
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posted 12-22-1999 11:12 PM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hi Kurt,

Andy mentioned your stuff over at the messageboard on SimHQ (http://www.simhq.com/simhq3/sims/boards/bbs/Forum10/HTML/000024.html). In any case, I would like to have a look. Check my profile for e-mail address.


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Attila
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posted 12-22-1999 11:19 PM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Sorry, Kurt, I can't seem to turn it on in the profile.

Vidar
[email protected]


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Andy Bush
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posted 12-22-1999 11:46 PM     Profile for Andy Bush   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
KP

I got your second post...but I'm kinda behind the power curve right now...or is the thrust curve...anyway, I haven't forgotten you!! I put this sim stuff on the back burner while I tried to get my kid's Lionel train to work. It's easier to work on than padlock views!!


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Andy Bush
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posted 12-22-1999 11:55 PM     Profile for Andy Bush   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Attila

>>Asking real pilots what's the most realistic view in PC sims is not necessarily fruitful, because the real experience is very different from the 'remote control' concept of PC sims. We should rather ask "what's lacking?" and "what's the most effective.<<

Oh oh!! Better watch out...you are getting real close to the external view argument that some of us make (OK, maybe it's just me!!).

I know we're talking about how to make a padlock better...but at this stage, I think the most mediocre external is better than the best padlock for accomplishing what you described above. But I'm gonna keep at it. I think your ideas about moving the camera back to give a wider perspective show the greatest merit.

Andy


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Major Tom
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posted 12-23-1999 02:41 AM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Well I got a big damn moniter :-)

Get a 21 inch moniter going at 1600x1200 and I figure you could offer a fairly realistic picture of what a pilot see's.

We need to figure out how to make it look like everywhere you point your eyeball on the moniter with this "realistic picture" being presentied, it would look like it does in real life.

THIS LOOKS LIKE A JOB FOR GERMAN OPTICS PROFESSIONALS!

Since every moniter is different, we would have to offer the cancelation effects with their corresponding moniter sizes and resolutions availible.

There has to be a way to present a realistic picture of the flight environment. They seem to present a fairly realistic view of what a person sees in a FPS nowadays and there used to be horrible distortion effects with those games.


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Major Tom
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posted 12-23-1999 04:34 AM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
http://spower.free.fr/falcon4/addons/images/logo_cockpit.jpg

Now that's what I'm talking about! Now if we could get a little more around the sides and some on the top, something like that would be perfect. It could be a little more improved around the edges, but overall it's more or less the effect I want to start seeing.


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Major Tom
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posted 12-23-1999 04:37 AM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote


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Attila
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posted 12-23-1999 09:15 AM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Major Tom,

Yes, the hardware solution is to get a bigger monitor, or better yet a projector and a screen (or maybe start building that dome... :-). It's as simle as this: The larger surface, the larger natural field-of-view you can cover without resorting to fish-eye effects. Of course, the sim would need to support adjusting the field-of-view.

Other than that, there's no added optical hokus-pokus necessary (as you seem to suggest). The figure in my previous post illustrates the general perspective projection --- just enlarge the screen to your preference. (Unless you change the shape of the screen, that is.)

Note that the viewing distance from the screen affects the natural field-of-view as well. You can see this in the figure. Moving closer will make a wider field-of-view natural. This is analogous to Andy sticking his nose up to his cardboard cut-out or vice-versa. He can then see more of the world through the hole in the cardboard (ie. the viewport).

[It would have been cool to have a position sensor on top of our monitors and a reference point on our foreheads --- then the sim could adjust the field-of-view according to our viewing distance combined with the screen size. If the 3D projection supported viewing the screen at an angle (and add 3D shutter glasses as well), the we could really start looking for that Mig...]

Do you pan the camera around much in your sims, or do you mostly stay stationed in the forward view? I'm guessing that's why you find the wide cockpit so appealing? Flanker taught me to pan around all the time --- which I find very rewarding in that it gave me a sense of spatial awareness that I didn't have before. When panning, fish-eye effects are particularly undesirable.

Personally, my preference is for a single integrated in-cockpit view, with a smooth and easily slewable camera, with a field-of-view close to the natural --- ie. no distinct "views" inside the cockpit. Then add features and aids that help our spatial awareness and our efficiency. Let us easily adjust the zoom of the camera as well (wide-angle toggle?).

Now integrate the in-cockpit view with a smooth transition to the 3rd-person marionette view (move the camera back), so that we easily can evaluate the spatial situation as well as the larger picture.

BTW. The strange effects in early FPS games was probably due to cheating in the maths department to achieve software texturing speeds. This and/or the fish-bowl effect can easily cause nausia (a reason why yours truly never got into FPS games).


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Attila
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posted 12-23-1999 12:39 PM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Here's a Java demo of the '3rd person marionette' view, or SA-view as I have named it:
http://www.btinternet.com/~hasfjord/sa-view/ani/sa.html

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Phil47
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posted 12-23-1999 01:50 PM     Profile for Phil47     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
HOLY S***,
There are some clever people in here re computers. Afraid I'm not one of them.
Still! makes very interesting reading.

Hey between you guys, why don't you invent the sim to end all sims...I'll buy it..Ha Ha ha.
Phil.


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Major Tom
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posted 12-23-1999 06:03 PM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Actually, I detest panning around in a virtual cockpit, it's so slow, cumbersome and unrealistic. No wonder Mr. Bush is such and advocate of the external view system.

The thing that really ticks me off in simulations is when you have to look around your cockpit to crosscheck and see instruments and guages relavent to your flight opperations. I think you should only be about to move your head to 4 quadrants in the cockpit. Forward, Left, Right, and Upwards. I'm a big advocate of blending the offset quadrants 45 degree quadrants into very much larger Forward, Left, Right, and Upwards quadrants. Later tonight I'll do some funky **** on Paint Shop Pro to illustrate what I want done.


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Attila
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posted 12-25-1999 03:17 AM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Major Tom, just a little comment on the image above --- compared to the real thing you feel like a fly in a living room:

Not that having a wide-angle view necessarily is bad, but I'm pretty sure panning around the cockpit and canopy with this lens setting is a mind-buggling experience. Hence, if available, it is important that this wide-angle zoom is adjustable/selectable. Eg. Mig Alley has a nice fast zoom feature available in-flight.

[This message has been edited by Attila (edited 12-25-1999).]


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Attila
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posted 12-25-1999 03:32 AM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Phil --- maybe next year, when I get a copy of Flight Sim Toolkit 2 (from Simis)... :-)
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Vector
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posted 12-25-1999 03:47 AM     Profile for Vector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
What plane is that from? I can't see any DDI's, is that an F-16 or maybe an F-15?
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Vector
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posted 12-25-1999 03:47 AM     Profile for Vector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
What plane is that from? I can't see any DDI's, is that an F-16 or maybe an F-15?

------------------
-\/ector, Flight Sim Enthusiast


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Vector
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posted 12-25-1999 03:50 AM     Profile for Vector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hey guys, why don't you use the player to target external view? Most new sims have them these days. Janes F-18 probably will. Looks kinda like what Andy wants.

------------------
-\/ector, Flight Sim Enthusiast


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Attila
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posted 12-25-1999 04:27 AM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Vector, the image is from an F-15.
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Major Tom
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posted 12-25-1999 06:47 AM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote

As Andy would say, it's all a matter of perspective. Put a big guy in next to a comparatively little cockpit, use a funky lense and it looks like his face is mashed into the HUD. Use a 140 degree fisheye lense and you can practically see whats going on behind you.

I sat in an F-4 cockpit this last weekend. I'm an average man 5 ft 11 inches, it felt kind of comfortable. I could easily see every little relavent flight guage with out moving my head around.

My Falcon 4.0 example wasn't the best, but it's better than the traditional Janes F-15 view.

In flight sims I want to see what the fighter pilot is seeing. I dont want my computer moniter acting as some kind cardboard cutout window to what I'd see in real life if I was wearing a box over my head with 3 square inch cut out in the front.

Idealy in the future we could have some kind of VR helmat that works on the same premis as that tilt sensing microsoft gamepad works on and that also sees where your eyeball is pointing at. When that day comes I could look down and say, "cool, I'm wearing Nomex gloves!"

Come to think of it, does anyone wear nomex gloves while using their Hotas's? I had a buddy that was doing that once with his thrustmaster rig, course he also wore a German Pancho and a GI helmat while playing Delta Force Me personally, I'll occasionally wear my CWU-45/P jacket durring online play ;-) I should be getting a B-15 Flight Jacket for christmas sometime this morning, something to play MiG Alley in I suppose...


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Major Tom
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posted 12-25-1999 06:49 AM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Whops!

Those images should have linked to the little preview images off the USAF site.

Darn it, must have copied the big pic links

sorry bout that


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Andy Bush
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posted 12-25-1999 07:06 AM     Profile for Andy Bush   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
MT

For all the folks out there that have never been in a real cockpit, your second picture (the one with the Ms. in it) presents a good feeling for the amount of room to be had...much better than the previous pic of the F-15 pilot (I thought he looked too scrunched up!)

The F-104 had a tight cockpit, but today's aircraft are far roomier.

Sure wish I had a web site so I could post some pretty pictures too!! (gg).

Have a Merry!!

Andy


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Attila
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posted 12-25-1999 09:42 AM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Major Tom,

Your images are nice, and probably indicates your huge monitor, but on my small 15", this interesting thread is now practically unreadable... (please edit! :-)

Again, the image of Lt Katie illustrates how tight it is in a real cockpit --- instruments are as close as we are to our monitors. But that's not my concern, I just tried to explain the 'viewing formula' and how things would look if we used natural viewing parameters and dimensions. Whether we like it or not we are restricted to the small stationary viewport (aka 'cardboard cut-out') the monitor provides.

The sim can enlarge FOV and scale the world, but as I tried to point out --- both has drawbacks. To add another example of such --- visual identification of targets: If you enlarge FOV everything gets smaller than in real life (hence fewer pixels on screen). To counter-act this problem, the sim scales up the aircrafts --- not ideal as things move slower and relative distances get smaller.

As this thread is about view realism --- my mission was just to point out the limitations of our hardware, and that 'realism' neither is practical, nor can a monitor ever replicate the 'real cockpit experience'.

Although a wide-angle view comes closer to the latter for you, it has serious drawbacks in regards to functionality and realism. It depends on your rationale/what you aim to achieve. (Your last remark about gloves gives me a clue, I guess. :-)

For many purposes, eg. BFM, your proposed solution based on a series of preset overlapping wide-angle views, would be far from ideal. Personally, I'd prefer manual panning and padlocking to such a scheme any day.

That said, an integrated virtual cockpit with features that combines adjustable zoom/FOV with smooth and fast panning is fully possible (Mig Alley is a good example -- it even has the preset left/right/up views).

markL, to answer your original question, I would only exclude the 2D cockpit view (that one is dead) and the full screen HUD, and go for a good implementation of a virtual cockpit viewing system (ie. a consistent simulation of a camera in a cockpit). And as Andy and Vector suggest, don't be ashamed to use the external views as well.


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Major Tom
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posted 12-26-1999 12:39 AM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The size of the instrument pannel in a F-15 or any fighter aircraft isn't as large as people make it out to be.

Look how far the pilot sits back in his chair. The lady is fairly small and her head still dwarfs most of the pannel.

FSSDOE had it right for the most part IMHO, where you could zoom all the way back to a near 180 field of view and right down to when the gunsight litterally fills the screen. The cockpit view I want included in every sim is one where you can see a large ammount of the virtual world and see every vital guage in the cockpit.

Conversely I also love using very upclose HUD type views. I'm not to big of a fan of the cockpit views we have now a day.

I think that going to a virtual type cockpit where you can zoom and zoom out all day is ideal. I also like seeing the cockpit and pilot moving about, getting thrown around, like in JSF FSSDOE and WWII Fighters.


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Attila
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posted 12-26-1999 05:46 AM     Profile for Attila     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Major Tom,

Agree --- adding zoom to our arsenal of viewing tools is a good thing. It's not about realism, but all about compensating for lack of visual and physical input that exist in the real cockpit.

Here's a few thoughts about how a good zoom should work:

1. Fast enough, preferably configurable.
2. Configurable presets.
3. Among 2, preset for natural parameters (screen size and viewing distance taken into account).

Then hopefully sims could scale the world and vehicles 1:1.

Also agree on the head shaking. Let it depend on G-strain, AOA buffeting (?) etc. Also make panning speed and padlock response dependent on the latter. This would give us a clue about G and AOA. All this optional of course (not everyone would prefer it).

[This message has been edited by Attila (edited 12-26-1999).]


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Turbo
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posted 12-26-1999 02:16 PM     Profile for Turbo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Major Tom, Don't let the photo's fool you into thinking that the F-15 has a small cockpit, actually it's quite roomy. The woman has the seat raised all the way up and she's leaning forward (looks like she's looking at the knobs on the VSD (that's what we used to call the radar display)). I'm six feet tall and 180 lbs and used to climb in and out of an F-15 with ease. There were a lot of pilots that were larger (220lbs. and even 245lbs!) than me and they didn't have any problems either.
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Major Tom
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posted 12-26-1999 05:58 PM     Profile for Major Tom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Nah, I've never sat in a fighter cockpit that was so small that I couldn't more around in it. I'm about your size and felt very comfortable in all the cockpits I've sat in.
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Gel214th
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posted 12-27-1999 09:25 AM     Profile for Gel214th   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Heh..what a discussion.

Right now the most "realistic" view you can get on your FLAT, 15" Viewable Computer Monitor for Situational Awareness and Maneuvering, is an EXTERNAL PLayer to Padlocked/Radar Target view.

Its that simple.

You want some sort of "realistic" Cockpit view with a great padlock?

Put down the US$1200.00 for a good 1024*768 16Bit Color Helmet Mounted Display from VFX3D which is coming out next year, and then play your flight sims.
THAT will be as realistic as you can get with respect to internal cockpit viewing, and amonitor.

Right now to me, the "debate" about "realistic" cockpit views on a Flat 2D monitor is just..well..frankly..ridiculous.

How could you equate a 3Dimensional world..and a fast paced combat world at that..with a flat 2D image..and then strive for "realism" and "Situational Awareness" using a little hat thingy on your joystick or cursor keys??

Its hypocritical. You want Situational Awarness that is "Realistic" to the response times and SA you would have in a real aircraft? Use an external Player To Padlock/Radar target view...similar if not exact to what Attila has proposed.

Worried about people "cheating" with the external view?

Have one that is allowed in all modes of play by the Host that effectively LOCKS you're view to whatever you have a radar lock, or Padlock on depending on you're Mode or whichever is closer.

So no getting a view of the other planes around you..or anything like that.

And of course to gain Padlock in the first place you'd have to make the initial lock from within cockpit. Other than that perhaps even in External view when you hold a key..you could slew a small box over the visible external area..and thus lock your eyes to an object.

Pure SA..the way real pilots experience it.
*shrug*

------------------
-Gel
214th Annihilators
http://www.214th.com/flanker2


Posts: 135 | From: Trinidad | Registered: Nov 1999  |  IP: Logged

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