Off topic question about flight sim games?

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Canuck Bob

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I hope this isn't to off topic. i bought the kids an Xbox for Christmas.

Then I realized that it could play some flight games. I have never played a video game, yes I am a dinosaur that still breaths.

I was wondering if anyone would want to offer some advice. I tried gaming places but I don't speak the language. I stumbled on a Xbox platform game called IL-2 Sturmovic, Birds of Prey, opinions?

Are these games just arcade games or is there some decent flight simulation?
 

SVSUSteve

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On an XBox, they are just arcade games. IL-2 Sturmovich is a great game but it's about as close to the reality of flying as The Sands of Iwo Jima is an accurate portrayal of an amphibious landing.

FSX, which is played on a PC, is good for systems simulation, etc. X-Plane is another similar system but far more accurate aerodynamically (to the point that it can be used to run low end certified flight simulators).
 

djschwartz

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All such video games are missing several critical aspects of real flight and as such are useful, at best, for learning rules and procedures. Most are simply fun arcade games. Among the things they're missing:

Motion and the disorientation that can come from it.
"G" forces and the disorientation that can come from them
"Feel" in the controls
Eyesight focus changes from distance to the panel
Any need for or support for peripheral vision
 

Joe Fisher

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My son is a computer geek and he has had all types of computer simulations.I have flown model and full size airplanes so long I can barely remember learning to fly. When I try to use the simulators I just crash over and over I just can't figure them out. When I was flight Instructing I found that students that were proficient with computer simulators were usually difficult to teach. They usually had trouble with orientation. The first lesson with a new student I would spent an hour or more preflight decussion on the use of flight controls and the effect of the wind and ground track. People with no experience could crab and follow a road and hold an assigned altitude, they could climb to an assigned altitude and level off and return to cruse flight at the end of the first hour. The people that had a lot of experience with simulators needed a lot more actual flight time to develop the same skills.
 

bifft

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My son is a computer geek and he has had all types of computer simulations.I have flown model and full size airplanes so long I can barely remember learning to fly. When I try to use the simulators I just crash over and over I just can't figure them out. When I was flight Instructing I found that students that were proficient with computer simulators were usually difficult to teach. They usually had trouble with orientation. The first lesson with a new student I would spent an hour or more preflight decussion on the use of flight controls and the effect of the wind and ground track. People with no experience could crab and follow a road and hold an assigned altitude, they could climb to an assigned altitude and level off and return to cruse flight at the end of the first hour. The people that had a lot of experience with simulators needed a lot more actual flight time to develop the same skills.
I had about 1000 or so hours in PC sims before I could afford to fly real planes, I had no trouble doing the things you mention. It was however hard for me to remember to look out the window, and learning to land via pitch for speed and power for rate of descent. I did find that flying sole by reference to instruments is easy. I'd been flying for years with no sensation of motion at all, so no problem to ignore seat of the pants feel and trust the gauges.
Also in the sims, never did anything but long straight in landings, even now it is hard to do a proper pattern when you can't just glance over your shoulder to see where the runway is.
 

PTAirco

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I think this topic always arouses strong opinions. The US Navy has done some trials and found that novices with sim experiences did better than those without. I personally have had sims as long as they have been around and have always found them to be a useful aid in flight training - as long as you treat it as such and not as a game. For instrument training, I thought it was downright invaluable. I had about 8 hours in a certified sim during my instrument training and found it no more useful than practicing at home with FSX.

It's useless for teaching a few things like spins (although some aftermarket models are getting pretty good at modeling spin behavior), great for teaching crosswind technique. I think a lot also depends on the attitude of the instructor; some are against all sims on principle, other see some value in them.

And as far as X-plane vs FSX - for the end user it makes little difference how the model actually does what it does, all that matters is that it does it realistically and I have found little to choose between them from that point of view.

Once I get my CFII, I won't hesitate to use sims as a training aid.
 

SVSUSteve

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Also in the sims, never did anything but long straight in landings, even now it is hard to do a proper pattern when you can't just glance over your shoulder to see where the runway is.
That is one of the reasons why a growing number of FSX/X-Plane users have a setup involving multiple screens which give at least 180 if not 270 degrees of visibility along the horizontal.

I had about 8 hours in a certified sim during my instrument training and found it no more useful than practicing at home with FSX.
A similar statement was mentioned in Dave O'Hare's Flightdeck Performance: The Human Factor based on military studies that a fixed base simulator could be just as realistic and had similar skill transfer in many cases as a full motion (six degrees of freedom) simulator.
 

autoreply

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The IL2 series has a great reputation and I liked the (PC) version. More on the flying side as the arcade side, but interesting enough for non-pilots, who typically die of boredom within an hour of playing with MS Flight sim.

The IL-2 series of WWII flight combat simulators is one of the most respected and acclaimed games on the PC. Finally we console junkies get to have our own version and it delivers.

Birds of Prey puts the player at the controls of various WWII fighter and bomber aircraft on historically accurate missions from five theaters of war. The game tracks the air war in Europe from the Battle of Britain to the Battle of Berlin, by way of Sicily, Stalingrad, and Korsun. The locations are detailed and beautifully rendered, however the aircraft are the stars of the show. There are dozens of British, American, Soviet, and German examples that look great inside and out. Fans of WWII history will find plenty to love here.

Speaking of history, while the game is light on story, it includes videos that set the stage for the various battles using a combination of rendered footage and real historical film. Despite the fact that the various players in the game are basically nameless, the informative videos provide ample motivation for the struggle against Germany. I would even call the experience educational.

A cool new feature of the console games is the difficulty settings. The game can be as easy to fly as you wish, with the default Arcade setting providing an experience that everyone can pick up and enjoy immediately, and the Simulation setting that will challenge players to even keep the planes in the sky, let alone fighting.

Players attack various air and ground targets, while trying to protect their allies. Gameplay is engaging although not as exciting as 'after-burner' titles like Ace Combat. What you get instead is a very well crafted flight combat sim that feels more satisfying when you manage to send your enemies down in flames and come home in one piece.

By the way, the Ace-Edge flight stick that comes in the Ace Combat 6 bundle does work with this game. Works great.

Overall, this is the best game in its category. I'd recommend any fan of WWII or flying games to try this title immediately. Also, parents take notice: it's like the History Channel that you can play!
 

SVSUSteve

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who typically die of boredom within an hour of playing with MS Flight sim
That sounds like my own feeling about MS Flight Sim or X-Plane. Actually it sounds like how I feel about actual cruise flight. LOL
 

oriol

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I don´t know what do you think but a drone cockpit reminds a lot a PC simulator. Apparently both drones and Sims do pretty well for navigation, what I can´t tell for sure is if a drone pilot could learn to dogfight or to perform aerobatics without "real" flight experience.

When we were kids my parents took my brother and I to Disney, I remember we had a collective (we were around 15 people in a cinema like room) virtual ride in a Star Wars fighter with real accelerations. It felt amazingly real.

Some arcade parks have really impressive machines. Do you imagine this kid on the video conected with a RC airplane with small cameras mounted, maybe it could be a cheap/safe solution to learn some basic aerobatics skills, or at least to open the doors of aviation to a wider range of people.


Oriol


 
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Kristoffon

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And as far as X-plane vs FSX - for the end user it makes little difference how the model actually does what it does, all that matters is that it does it realistically and I have found little to choose between them from that point of view.
But it does. Not for the stock aircraft but when you realize every 3rd party plane you download for FSX flies exactly like either a Boeing or a Cessna you'll see the value in X-Plane's approach.
 

PTAirco

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But it does. Not for the stock aircraft but when you realize every 3rd party plane you download for FSX flies exactly like either a Boeing or a Cessna you'll see the value in X-Plane's approach.
Oh, I agree, a lot of third party aircraft models are nothing but visually different looking models using the same characteristics of the originally supplied ones. Pretty silly.

But companies like A2A produce very high quality, accurate models for FSX, like a J3 Cub and Spitfire, that do reproduce the characteristics of the original very well. I have never flown a Spitfire (I wish...), but I can vouch for how realistic the J3 Cub is. I spent many days playing around with the sim version and then going off to fly the real one, just see how they compare.

The A2A Spitfire is one of the few sim models that will go into (and come out of) a spin with a semblance of realism.
 

jlknolla

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There are FSX/P3D 3rd party planes, both freeware and payware that have fine aerodynamic performance, up to and including accurate behavior in gyroscopic aerobatic maneuvers - the real differences between HOW FSX/P3D and X-Plane function behind the scenes are not truly relevant with respect to the end-experience of the operator - if your objective is simply learning good airmanship, both are, in my opinion, equally useful which is to say, useful.

Both are good for basic switchology/procedural training if the aircraft being flown has been modelled correctly from a systems standpoint (A2A, Carenado and PMDG excel here). FSX/P3D has better built-in elements for simulating airborne operation within the National Airspace System (flight planning, simulated or multi-player ATC, etc.).

FSX/P3D's multi-player capability is hands-down the best for allowing for shared cockpit virtual instruction for aircraft designed to employ it. The Lotus Simulations FSX L-39 is actually recommended by a real-world L-39 instructor in advance of people coming to him for training - high praise in deed.

Neither can provide the full experience due to lack of physical feedback - but the number, variety, and quality of 3rd party add-on aircraft and other tools favors FSX for the casual user in my experience/opinion.

That said, X-Plane is a superior tool if you want to design your own plane and then use a sim to function as a semi-fidelity simulated wind tunnel.

Like just about any other tool debate, it really depends on what the ultimate objective is.
 

Canuck Bob

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Thanks, I should have added I am a low time licensed UL pilot in Canada. I am a true UL pilot in that I fly from simple grass strips and fly to be in the air, always VFR solo, low, and slow.

My PC is an iMac. I'll look into X Plane to see if it supports Mac systems.

I'll try the IL-2 game for the fun.
 

Topaz

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Moderator Note: Moved this to "Hangar Flying", and left a redirect in the original location for a week. Not too "off topic" for the forums, but probably a better fit here, since it's not directly about aircraft and "non-simulated" flying. Interesting discussion, though!
 

Topaz

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...When we were kids my parents took my brother and I to Disney, I remember we had a collective (we were around 15 people in a cinema like room) virtual ride in a Star Wars fighter with real accelerations. It felt amazingly real....
That would be the "Star Tours" ride. It's actually a full-motion fixed-base simulator, just like they use for airline training, etc. It's really rather remarkable. Here's the Wiki entry: Star Tours - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Inverted Vantage

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You don't want to play flight sims on a console; typically you can't use a joystick which kind of defeats the point.

IL-2: 1946 is a good combat sim for the WW2 era. It simulates most all major flight forces (torque, p factor, pretty good flight physics), and puts it in an interesting setting (namely, WW2). It has a good "feel" for flight; if you fly it you'll get a good idea of what a plane roughly flies like.

Also - check out the online community for IL-2! You can get the browser here; http://hyperfighter.sk/ - install it and point it to your game install. Flying in 30-60 player dogfights online is a lot of fun.

FSX is good for learning the systems of an aircraft; IL-2 has very limited control over systems like the engine. If flipping switches is your idea of a good time, go with FSX. However, it has a pretty lame feel; flying in FSX won't, IMO, really prepare you for flying a real plane, unlike IL-2. Just because the former has guns does not mean it's an arcade game or that it's "simple".

BOB is a bit of a pain but it combines both the flight realism of IL-2 with the button-flipping of FSX. It was rushed on release though and while it is patched now it is still hard to navigate the interface.

The way I look at flight sims, it's easier to fly on the computer for a multitude of factors; it might actually be harder to control the plane, but not having to worry about dying does wonders for making it easier to try things out. But flying a combat fighter on your home computer will help you for flying a trainer in real life; flying a trainer in Flight Simulator doesn't really help you with learning to control an aircraft, like I said, it's more for procedures.
 

etterre

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Thanks, I should have added I am a low time licensed UL pilot in Canada. I am a true UL pilot in that I fly from simple grass strips and fly to be in the air, always VFR solo, low, and slow. My PC is an iMac. I'll look into X Plane to see if it supports Mac systems. I'll try the IL-2 game for the fun.
X-Plane is developed on Macs and ported to the PC, so no worries about Mac support. But you will definitely want to check the specs page at X-Plane 10 System Requirements | X-Plane.com to make sure that version 10 will work on your iMac. You may want to go over to Flightsim Community for X-Plane &reg (a forum for x-plane) to get a real opinion from someone if you need to upgrade to OS X or something. You may even be able to find someone willing to sell you an older version if it would work better. So... what were you wanting to get out of the sim? I can't imagine that a single screen on a sim would compare very favorably with the view from a low and slow UL. I don't think it would be bad for you, but I'm not sure what you want. IL-2 would be fun just to pretend that you get to fly a WWII era plane, but I'd be a little too tempted to spend money on a different controller to make it feel more real when I should really spend more money on avgas :)
 

oriol

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Some videos of full-motion fixed-base simulators, Star tours like, although perhaps the most extreme maneuvers couldn´t be performed with a 100% sense of realism.
Those machines can reproduce most of the feelings experienced in a "standard" flight, they can go far beyond airliner procedures, navigation.

It is somehow scary to realize how easy it is to fool our senses.





In the following video the "action" starts at 1:43.
It is funny, the guy who introduces the machine is so theatrical that somehow he ends up too looking like some kind of android.


In this video you can watch both the motion and the associated fligh sim view at 0:34.

 
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