Recent air combat sim recommendations?


I am a huge rotorhead—I think it is reasonable to say I’m the biggest rotorhead at Qt3—and my vote goes to the Mi-8, for a number of reasons.

  1. More interesting weapons. The Russians, through long experience in Afghanistan, a) built rockets of many and sundry varieties, and b) made sure to mount them on all their helicopters, even the transports.
  2. More interesting flying experience. The Mi-8 is a nice middle ground between more or less automatic helos like the Ka-50, and very manual helos like the Huey. Which brings me to…
  3. More interesting systems. The Huey is very basic; there isn’t much to it beyond what there is in the Spitfire or Mustang. The Mi-8 has an autopilot which isn’t as nice as the Ka-50’s, but still present, and it’s one of the more stable helos I’ve flown without being too sterile. It also has a curious manual Doppler navigation system, which gives you offsets but doesn’t feed them into any kind of navigational computer.

I recorded a fun SAR mission last summer, which gives you a feel for the capabilities of the thing, and for my helo piloting of limited skill. :P


I wish someone would come up with a game where you run missions as a medevac pilot. Maybe just a general helicopter sim of Vietnam, allowing you to run transport, medevac, or support missions. I remember the original Gunship had a Vietnam theatre, but I don’t recall there being others.


There was one in 2002 called Search and Rescue: Vietnam Medevac that sounds like it ticks the boxes. :)

I think the DCS UH-1H campaign has similar missions too.


Excellent, thanks. I’m swinging Mi-8 myself.

Hesitating only because I thought it may be a bit similar to Black Shark, and one of the Western ones may be quite different. I do like getting to grips with systems though!


It’s much more like any of the other conventional helos than it is like the Ka-50, in my opinion.


I installed DCS World, and I’ve gotten about five hours out of learning how to fly the Su-25T, and I’m probably only a third of the way through the training missions. I think I’m starting to sympathize more with the posters championing the simplicity of WW1 aircraft.


Ditch the “full real” craft, and purchase the LockOn 3 module for DCS. This gives you a nice handful of relaxed realism warbirds where you don’t have to sweat every single little friggin’ switch.


The Su-25T is one of the relaxed realism warbirds. Honestly, the more complicated easy ones are much harder to get to grips with than the easier complicated ones—for me, at least, switches are a lot easier to remember than key binds.


From a very short interview with Damon Slye at

“I think the straight sims today, which I don’t want to mention, have no soul. They missed the mark. They miss the forest for the trees. They get all the minor details right, but don’t do a good job of letting someone experience the life of a combat pilot. When I play one, I don’t feel like I’m in World War I. Instead I feel like I’m sitting at my computer playing a computer simulation.”


See? He gets it.


Nice quote. And this is why I liked some of the old WWI games. They may have been terrible sims, but they combined fun with some sense of being in the war.


I don’t think he does get it.

By saying ‘they missed the mark’, he’s presuming to know what the mark is, and perhaps misses the point that there can be two or more different ‘marks’, that different people might enjoy.

Perhaps if he wasn’t so cagey about the specific product, the ‘mark’ he refers to would be clearer - although by mentioning WW1 it’s kind of narrowed down a bit… ;)


Flight sims seem the perfect home fir VR. Sittinh in a cockpit is where (current) VR shines.

Anyone know of any combat sims made from the ground up for VR? This may make me take the VR plunge.


DCS supports VR pretty well, including switch-flipping by moving a pointer with your gaze and clicking a button on the HOTAS.

And in recent leaks you can see they’ve also started on touch support!


You’re saying Damon Slye doesn’t get it. Damon. Slye. You know, Red Baron, the Aces Series, A-10 Tank Killer…you don’t think HE gets it?

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaahahahahahahaha, I’m sorry, but that’s funny right there.


I am here to entertain you!

And yes I do know who your little friend is. :)


Lawdy lawd I wish he were my friend.


Frankly, I agree with Profanicus. It’s incredibly small-minded to say that a flight sim with its detail in different places misses the one and only mark.

Falcon 4 and Battle of Britain 2 are the two flight sims I play which have the most soul, and certainly, the worlds they build are amazing. DCS doesn’t do anything similar. At the same time, though, no other sim has given me the same feeling of sitting in a real machine with all its quirks as DCS has. That’s a kind of heart too, even if it’s often disdained in this thread.


I like how the two sims you mention with soul are…on the older side.

Let’s be frank (Hi Frank!), the pendulum has swung way too far toward the machine/fidelity simulator side of the spectrum for way too long, and in my opinion, sims have suffered as a result. Of course there can be room for both fidelity-focused sims and pilot-focused sims, but these days pilot-focused sims are very few and far between.


It should have been possible for the rivet folks to include the other bits as well.