Recent air combat sim recommendations?


The Russians, I believe, are totally incapable of programming dynamic (or even psuedo-dynamic like LB2) campaigns, or even interesting ones, for that matter. See: RoF (3rd party DCG), Il-2 (3rd party DCG and payware campaigns), DCS (3rd-party payware campaigns), BOS (LOL wut), etc. etc.

I think I’ll go boot up Strike Commander again.


I think you have a point there, and it has a lot to do with how Russians see simulators.

Russian man is serious man, american may call dour. Simulations, they are serious man hobby, not fun toy. You study machine and tactics for remembering and honoring properly sacrifices of fathers in Great War against fascist swine or in case of modern machine simulator for when day comes HATO needs their backsides kicked </russian accent>

So utter fidelity is paramount to those guys, and ‘fun’ or even immersion as we would understand it is deemed frivolous embellishments. I understand and respect this seriousness and dedication to making a proper academic historic representation of the machines. It’s prefectionism in a certain sense.

Also programming falcon 4.0 was too fucking hard and nobody is ever going near trying that shit again. sadly.


I have to wonder if you guys who think the systems-focused sims of today are just fine have ever read any of the fascinating books written by combat pilots, or where combat pilots are interviewed.

Because whether it’s reading about trying to nurse home a leaking P-51 and finding a B-17 under attack, or doing a 100 foot AGL supersonic run over Cuba during the missile crisis, the exciting stuff never once mentions “and then I had to flip the framistat to sprocket mode and precisely adjust my barometric blah blah.”

Authentic performance parameters are great because they let you recreated the different tactics pilots used depending on the relative capabilities of their planes. But when the AI isn’t programmed with these tactics (boom-n-zoom vs, turning fights, escorting large formations of bombers, turning for home when damaged, etc.), when there are no setups to recreate breathtaking historical combat scenarios, you’re missing such potentially rich flight experiences.

Plus experiences like Bob Hoover stealing a german fighter after escaping a prison camp and flying it home. Wouldn’t that be an amazing canned mission?

But hey, the placards in my Bf-109E-6 Field Mod 2b (Africa theatre) are all in the right place! And it takes 12 minutes to start the engines on my F-16, that sure is fun!


On VR air combat:
DCS is excellent
Combat Air Patrol 2 - (early access but coming together nicely – Harrier sim)

Nothing on in the WW2 or WW1 box kite fronts right now, sadly, other than DCS’s ability to fly a few WW2 planes over modern scenery.


Any book recs, Danny?


I’m of the school whereby liking one type of sim does not disqualify you from also liking another.


I’ve been flying for the USAF for the last 13 years and I can state without reservation that flipping switches and running checklists is by far the most boring part of flying. I can see how it might appeal to some people but I’ve got to side with @DennyA here. I’d rather play a game that translates the joy and thrill of flight as opposed to one that teaches you how the AC bus ties work.


There’s absolutely nothing wrong with detail. But if you have limited resources, modeling systems with excruciating detail while forsaking environment and AI isn’t the best place to spend them.

I would love a sim with everything! But if you can’t do it all, I’d much rather see the experience re-created in as much detail as possible with the systems modeled at a convincing level.


Seems like you guys need to get a western publisher / developer with western sensibilities to build a flight sim game. I do too.

I agree with Denny and agape that jsut switchology and historical accuracy doesnt make for much of a game. Just a game with some aircraft doesnt cut it either (though ace combat are great!)

Its good to have these russian study sims. I prefer having them to not having them at all. They arent games but more like a modelling hobby gone way extreme. Cant wait to learn how not to compressor stall a tomcat.

Apparently building a game on top of the sim layer, despite the elaborate hooks made available to do so with the powerful mission scripting tools is even harder than building an aircraft in excruciating detail. I am quite certain a dynamic campaign would sell even better than a trainer aircraft or utility helicopter would.

Coders of the west, unite! you have nothing to loose but your nostalgia-induced chains!


I can’t remember the sim manual or interview I read, but the designer basically stated “we don’t model stuff like trim or fuel mixture, because we assume that the [simulated] pilot is trained and experienced enough to handle that stuff automatically out of habit”.

Now, this was back in the day when there really weren’t enough CPU cycles (or pixels on the screen) to accurately represent those controls, so who knows what that early sim designer would have done had there been enough resources. Still, that’s the mindset I like in my simulations: give me the big decisions. I don’t want to worry about, for example, hopping into the back seat of my F-14A to pop individual breakers on the electrical panel like you have to do in real life.


DCS Normandy is coming soon, for whatever that’s worth from Eagle Dynamics. (Not very much, in my opinion. If I can’t buy it now, it’s two years away in DCS land.)

Anyway, I feel differently on the big decisions/small decisions thing. For me, part of the fun is knowing my machine well enough to do the right things in complex situations.


I get it if people want a simulation of a combat aircraft that is as detailed as possible, so they can get as close an experience as possible at learning what it feels like to fly that aircraft.

However, I’m more interested in simulating the experience of a combat pilot in a war environment, and a perfectly simulated aircraft in a war environment that is sterile, predictable, non-dynamic, etc. is not a combat pilot simulation.


If only there were enough of us to fund a Kickstarter…

It’d be super-fun to help build a modern WW2 sim focused on the missions, tactics, AI, and environments of the air battles there. But I’d have to quit the Internet the day it shipped, no matter how happy I personally was about how it turned out. :)


I often wonder where our flight sim Kickstarter is. I mean after all the RPG’ers and space sim fanatics got theirs but there hasn’t been anything comparable flight sim wise. But then again our hobby is full of rivet counting assholes and who would want to make anything for those ungrateful shits.

A year ago I visited the BMS forums and saw some posters arguing with real life/former F16 pilots over some obscenely miniscule feature that only a rivet counter who had a maintenance manual memorized would appreciate. I was totally aghast at what at the tone of these asshats had taken when they were trying to prove some point by flatly stating the real life Viper pilot was wrong about an IFF feature that the neckbeard was an expert on. In another thread someone once bragged about putting the Jane’s F15 people in place after he after he found some flight model document from god knows where that proved the Jane’s devs were committing crimes against humanity because the Strike Eagle didn’t perform how he expected it to perform

Actually isn’t the IL2 Stalingrad a Kickstarted project? I know Damon Slye tried one for a Red Barron successor but the graphic engine he used as a demo did him no favors IMO. It looked like a cheap knock off of World of War Planes.


How’s the Wings Over Flanders Field pilot experience? Because aren’t those guys doing a WW2 game now?


Combat Flight Sim 3 is now 15 years old. So I have zero interest in something built on that engine.

I want something built for my GeForce 1080 and Oculus Rift and AI that can take advantage of four modern CPU cores. Just imagine…

Of course, I can still have fun playing 1942:PAW, so flight sims aren’t all about graphics. But imagine historical air combat recreated authentically with the level of graphic details possible with today’s hardware.


You should seriously rethink this. The amount of love and care poured into this sim overcomes its creaky base engine, which, after some l33t-haxoring of shaders and stuff, now looks remarkably nice. Not full-real, of course, but beautiful in an austere, painterly way.

If you want a “pilot” experience, right now this is the only place to get it.


Seconded, it’s one of the best in its class.


I may check it out, but after VR playing on a monitor is just so frustrating…


See this? It’s the glimmer of a single tear of pity trickling down my cheek. LOL.


Another vote for WOFF, (surprise, I realise), regardless of how it looks. If you want spiky AI to fight against this game has the full mix.

You’ll know almost immediately if you’ve latched onto a rookie or a veteran, and when the guy who drops onto your tail is Werner Voss it’ll be eye-opening.