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Flight Sims - The Future of Our Genre

Supreme Cmdr

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Good article. I think he's right on with most points, but I'm not sure the pricepoint thing would work the way he hopes. If he wants to get new gamers in, he's not going to draw them with an increased price point when the features that price pays for are intended for the niche audience that the developers can't afford to support themselves on.

I think he's right on with the realism vs. arcade-ish learning curve stuff needing to be scalable because he's absolutely right when he says that the advanced simmers didn't learn on sims with the current complexity, they built up to that on less complex sims. New gamers are going to need a similar "ramp."

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One thing is forgotten in my opinion;


In the old days you would get a nicely done flight manual on hardcopy. Now they just put a PDF file on the disc for you to print yourself.

I don't have the money to print a huge book after spending 45 euro's on a game.

I like to have these docs on hardcopy because I don't have the luxury of a second computer with the PDF ready, besides searching through a PDF is more tedious than turning pages on your hardcopy and leaving it in a convenient place to review the section you need.

Of course, you will use the manual less while your experience rises, but a hardcopy is important, at least I think so.

I would pay 10 euro's more if they included a hardcopy, without hesitation at all, even more given the fact that it probably costs me far more when trying to get my own hardcopy produced (either at home or at a copy house)

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  • 1 month later...


Originally posted by Zane Marlowe:

I'm not sure the pricepoint thing would work the way he hopes.

To be honest, if UC had shipped at $40, I wouldn't be here. Not that the game isn't worth that price, for me buying UC at $20, was like buying a picture at a yard sale for 2 bucks and finding out the frame is worth 10 grand.

But given the little I knew about it, I wouldn't of paid more at that time... However I'll be picking up ucHtL at full price the day it hits the stores.


New gamers are going to need a similar "ramp."

Yes and no.

I'm not new to Sim games, I've played plenty of them over the years. But it's also been years sence the last one I played. UC has one of the biggest learning curves of any game I've ever played.

However the tutoral that Derek wrote for UC was briliant. I read and played though that before I ever realy read the manual, and it tought me I'd say 60% of what I needed to know about how to play UC. The rest that I know I found here or in the manual.

After going though the tutoral and reading some here, and in the manaual, after about 2 weeks of playing I find this game really isn't all that hard. Once you get the hang of what the different menus, commands and such are, UC flows very efficently. When I first started, getting most anything done was daunting... Now after only 2 weeks of play I fly though the menus and commands with out any tought of what I need to cilck on or select. All my thought is about what it is I want to do, not how to do it.

So a game, no mater how complex, or how steep the learning curve. Can be picked up by n00b's to Sim's in general, provided that the game it self is efficent in it's menu/command setup, and has a good tutoral that spells out exactly what to click and why... All things that Derek has done with/for UC.

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Well, I'd agree that you and I are playing a game that is very well designed and very efficiently laid out. I command a lot of information with very little screen real estate (especially via TACOPS), but I'd argue that you and I already "ramped up" in the sense I'm describing. The point (made by the writer of the above article) wasn't that it was impossible to learn sims (obviously since people have), but that people who haven't had simpler sims to expose them to concepts and rewards of simulation games get turned off more easily because today's sims have built their complexity (and their market) on the backs of earlier simpler sims. He was essentially saying that if you didn't have that complexity ramp of simpler to more complex sims, then the "angle of frustration" (if I can coin a term) is such that it shouldn't surprise us that without the "ramp" simulations have become a niche market since more people will just give up and go elsewhere for their gaming fix.

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I still don't completely agree with his premise.

I do think that more forgiving sims or arcadish sims, or even that option in a hard core sim would be good.

But the idea that it's harder to get into sims today then say 10 years ago, because there aren't any of these ramp games I don't quite agree with.

There's always been sim-light games out there, of various difficulty/complexity. Take games like XvT, X-Wing Alliance, and Freelancer. All of these use simular systems to the more hard core fighter sims, but are much more forgiving.

Even UC, with all it's complexity, has a fairly simple flight dyamanic when in a fighter or shuttle craft.

Then there are other non-sim games that range in complexity, many RTS games are fairly complex, like the Tottal War serries for example.

I personally think the decline of the sim market is a bit more complex then what was sugested in that artical. Not that the author was wrong, just that there's more to it.

Hard core fighter sims, are unforgiving in their flight dyamanics, and weapon delivery systems. It takes a fair degree of skill to play one well. That's what the fans of such games want, however simpler sims don't IMO do as well because they lack any real depth. There isn't much feeling of acomplishment in learning to fight in say freelancer.

I played freelancer and enjoyed it for a bit. But once I had the best ship, with the best weapons, and serveral hundered million in the bank, there was no chanlange left and the game became boring.

The investment in learning to play a sim well, tends to relate to the amount of play it gets after that point.

So having games with more then one level of realism in flight dyamics would be good, because someone can in the same game go from a simple forgiving one to a complex realistic one.

But a game that is has only the simplistic system tends not to do well, because it is quickly mastered and offers no further challange.

Personally I think one of the things that have caused a decline in the Sim market, is the amount of other types of games out there. I've been involved with computers sence the TI-35, so I've seen it all. I remember the days when flight sims were about the only thing going. The days where FPS, RTS, and to a point RPG's were unknown.

That's not true anymore, there are a ton of different types of games out there now. FPS's, RPG's, RTS's, Sim's, sports games, card games, the list goes on and on.

Sims which once where close to the only game in town, are now just part of the larger market, and anything that makes them inaccessable to the general public will reduce their share of the gaming market.

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