Interview: Matt Wagner On Black Shark

By Tim Stone on January 18th, 2009 at 11:30 am.

Most of the people that made high-fidelity flight sims in the Nineties are now making low-fidelity games about snowboarding, car theft, and pony care. Moscow-based Eagle Dynamics is one of very few studios that has survived and kept the faith. They’ve just released Black Shark, a helo hymn that doesn’t so much simulate the Ka-50 ground attack chopper as steal its soul. Sadly, I can’t say too much about the sim at present (because I’m scrutinising it for the lovely PC Gamer UK) but I did catch-up with project lead Matt Wagner recently and ply him with questions.

 

RPS: Can you say something about your route into the industry? I know you cut your teeth working on some of the great EA/Jane’s sims. What were the most useful things you drew from that period?

 

Matt: Prior to joining the Baltimore studio of EA/Jane’s Combat Simulations (F-15 and F/A-18), I was a military analyst at CIA. The combination of military system ground-truth knowledge and being a long-time flight simulation junkie proved useful when joining the Baltimore team as a game designer. However, even prior to that, I did a lot of outside testing, consulting, mission design, and making an effort to understand the environment of developing a PC simulation. Probably the biggest thing I came away with was the knowledge of how all the design, programming and art assets come together and the constraints imposed on development that most folks outside looking in do not appreciate.

 

RPS: What was it like to have to abandon a project like A-10 Warthog [an infamous cancelled EA/Jane’s sim]?

 

Matt: That was being done at the Austin Studio (home of the Longbow series), and to this day I am still a bit unclear why that project was let go. Given that we at TFC/Eagle Dynamics are now working on DCS: A-10C Warthog, I’m thrilled that simmers out there will finally get a very detailed and authentic A-10 simulation.

 

 

 

RPS: Black Shark at maximum realism is an extraordinarily complex creature. To the non-simmer, the idea of clicking twenty different switches just to ready a virtual helo for flight, is going to seem insane. Are simmers a breed apart?

 

Matt: Flight simmers are indeed a very interesting breed of computer game consumer – particularly the online flight simulation community! For the “hard core” simmer, the closer the game can get to replicating reality the better. Be this 20 steps to start the aircraft or a flight model that accounts for every nuance of flight, it is demanded (I do not use that word lightly) by our core-customer. If not there, we will certainly hear about it! What is interesting is that we often hear desires for other elements like dynamic campaigns and radio communications that are very far from reality. It’s a difficult balance of trying to please the majority of our core consumer base, while at the same time making a successful product for the much larger casual gamer. With DCS: Black Shark, we spent a lot of time and effort trying to include options to appeal to both types of gamers. While you can never make everyone happy, we hope we’ve at least made the users that have grown up playing flight simulations feel happy that they have a new, quality game to continue the genre.

 

 

RPS: There’s no dynamic campaign system in Black Shark, but I’ve heard talk of a new trigger system. How does that work and what does it bring to the average sortie?

 

Matt: Ah, the old dynamic campaign topic. Going back to the previous question about accuracy, at this time we do not feel a dynamic campaign works well for an attack helicopter game. For a proper battlefield environment, we require ground forces to be actively engaging each other and on the move. Additionally, we need to be able to create detailed and realistic AI Forward Air Controller interactions with the player and we want to be able to script realistic battle-flow. This simply has not been the case with previous helicopter simulations with dynamic campaigns, nor are we at the point we can create such a dynamic campaign system… yet. In the meantime, we’ve focused our efforts on creating a Mission Editor system that allows the mission designer to create triggers that allow cause and effect actions on the battlefield that give it a more live, and realistic feel. With this system, we’ve been able to create the realistic battlefield that we feel has been lacking in dynamically generated missions. As DCS evolves, new triggers will be added as well as all new Mission Editor functions. In multiplayer mode, realistic Forward Air Controller interactions with the pilots is achieved if one player takes the role of the Forward Air Controller.

 

 

 

RPS: What kind of help did you receive from Kamov during the development of Black Shark?

 

Matt: In order to provide the most realistic experience of flying the Ka-50, Kamov has supplied us with a host of information not available to the general public. Once we had beta versions of the software available for testing, Kamov reviewed the software for accuracy (systems and flight dynamics) and helped us revise the simulation for greater realism.

 

RPS: Did feedback from real Ka-50 pilots help shape any part of the sim?

 

Matt: Most certainly. Given the unique flight characteristics of the Ka-50, it was important that we have the real operators of this aircraft fly our simulation and provide feedback as to what was right and wrong. Their participation in the testing of the simulation contributed greatly to the level of detail and accuracy of the flight dynamics. In addition, on the beta tester team we have had a maintenance engineer who works on Kamov civilian helicopters, and many of the systems are similar to those in the Ka-50. Since the release of the project, we’ve been very happy to see the very positive responses from actual helicopter pilots about how authentic the feeling of helicopter flight is in DCS: Black Shark.

 

 

RPS: How do you think a skilled Black Shark user would get on in the real thing?

 

Matt: In regards to starting up the aircraft and working the various systems, I think an owner of DCS: Black Shark would feel right at home. With some practice too, flying the aircraft without breaking your neck would be much accelerated after experience with our simulation, provided that the player had some experience in flying a real helicopter. Nothing can replace the “seat of your pants” feeling of flying the real aircraft, and that can only be accomplished with the real thing.

 

RPS: Would ED rather work on sims for the military or the public? I get the feeling defence departments pay more and complain less.

 

Matt: We want to work on both! The developments are very much complementary. We have a development engine, which for want of a better term we call TFCSE (The Fighter Collection Simulation Engine). This engine is under continuous development and enhancement. Therefore the military gains an advantage of using technology that is state of the art, and the public get an entertainment title that has improved fidelity from our military experience (obviously limited to those are areas that are not classified!). We therefore can amortise our development costs across two markets, to the benefit of all. Military contracts are not a license to print money, as often they are required to be done on a “cost plus” basis, and I can assure you that they are very demanding as the simulation has to be perfect so as not to introduce “negative training”. In addition, gaining/winning military contracts is highly unpredictable, whereas for entertainment titles, we can plan a business over several years.

 

 

RPS: ED is famous for fashioning Russian aircraft. How do you decide what aircraft to ‘do’ next, and how important do you think that choice is to sales?

 

Matt: There are two primary factors that determine what will come next in the DCS series. The first, as mentioned above, is if the entertainment project can be based on the existing work of one of our military contract projects. This can save an immense amount of time in game development, but it is also subject to sensitivity-review by the military client and the time to get the needed permissions can be excessive. The next determination item depends on the availability of documentation about the aircraft at a 100% open-source level. For example, there can be no arms export act restrictions on the source documentation. This data not only needs to include basic instrumentation and operations data, but also detailed data on the operation of sensor and weapon systems. This can be very difficult to come by and another reason why branching our military projects into game projects is all the more important. We often get requests from online gamers for various aircraft, but the vast majority of them are not feasible due to the lack of information needed to do them properly at a DCS-level of accuracy (very high!). Now, assuming we had two aircraft with equal levels of documentation and base-work completed, then a primary factor in the choice would come down to what we think our customers would most like to fly.

 

 

RPS: I remember Carl Norman talking vaguely of a combination armour-air combat sim in pre-LOMAC days. Is there any chance ED will ever travel that road?

 

Matt: Actually, the whole concept of the digital battlefield goes back much further. Microprose, Spectrum Holobyte, and then later SSI have all had aspirations of creating a unified battlefield environment that aircraft would be added to with add-ons/modules. What is old is new again it seems, and we see other companies trying to go down this route as well. What we are doing with Digital Combat Simulator will at least initially just focus on aircraft system (fixed wing and rotary wing). However, that is not to say that further down the road that we may not add land and sea elements that the player can control (either first person or third person in an RTS manner).

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49 Comments »

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  1. Gap Gen says:

    “snowboarding, car theft, and pony care”

    I’d play that game.

  2. Mort says:

    Been playing this for a good week or so now, and it’s probably one of the best ‘proper’ sims to be released in recent years, superb stuff. It’s cost me a fortune as a result as I hastily bring my PC up to spec and buy all the latest ‘sim gadgetry’ like Track IR, and a new hotas, both essential for this.

  3. Pags says:

    Definitely one of the best proper heli sims released in recent memory.

    This simply has not been the case with previous helicopter simulations with dynamic campaigns, nor are we at the point we can create such a dynamic campaign system… yet.

    Exciting!

    Given that we at TFC/Eagle Dynamics are now working on DCS: A-10C Warthog

    Doubly exciting!

  4. pepperonakonasona says:

    Three letters: DRM

  5. pepper says:

    I love the LOMAC series, i think these guys should team up with Level-D/PMDG and make a full blown 744/737 simulation!

  6. Jonas says:

    Digital Russian Machines?

  7. M_the_C says:

    Duel Rotation Machines?

    This interview gave me the same feeling as the one with Brad Wardell earlier in the week. Someone who has a real passion for the game and it’s development, but who is also a member of the core team. I don’t really like hardcore sims(?!) like this, too difficult for my inferior intelligence, but I still get swept along.

  8. windlab says:

    Surely you mean Deadly Russian Machines?

  9. Pags says:

    Destructive Russian Machines? Double Rotary Machines?

  10. The Archetype says:

    Oh no! Deadly Russian Mecha!

  11. Jonas says:

    Dangerously Realistic Manipulation.

  12. Pags says:

    Dude! Rotarise me!

  13. driadan says:

    I’m glad you’re Done Reading Message, but you don’t need to post it ;)

  14. Winston says:

    Excellent sim – certainly the best to come out since IL-2. Like Mort, it cost me a small fortune as I went and bought a TrackIR, stick, throttle and rudder pedals.

    Still, I’ve wanted all that stuff since I was a teenager, and I can’t go for real in Winter anyway. :)

  15. pepper says:

    TrackIR, the best device for the gamer since the invention of the mouse. I baught one of those in 2005 after seeing a few demo movies, one of the best buys for my rig so far.

  16. crozon says:

    Can i just say a big thank you to the guys at eagle dynamics. Got the game as soon as the english version was out and am loving it. hopfully the game will do well and you guys can make even more sims :)

  17. phuzz says:

    Dynamic! Realistic! Military!

  18. teo says:

    Thanks for the interview

    DCS is a big step forward. LOMAC was quite unrealistic once you got into it. The Su-25 is excellet though

    Now if they would just ditch StarForce…

  19. jackflash says:

    Screw the DRM, I’m buying this asap. Haven’t played a proper sim since Falcon 4.0, it’s a real shame how few are developed any more.

  20. Radiant says:

    So we have a guy from the CIA creating close to real simulations of Russian attack aircraft, using inside knowledge from the manufacturers, whilst also creating simulations for the military…
    *gentlemen start your tin foil hat making!*

    But seriously that shot of the cockpit with the hands and legs in view and all the switches and gizmos really warms my heart.

  21. fulis says:

    jackflash: go back to falcon 4 =) there are some great mods out for it that do incredibly much for the game

  22. Aftershock says:

    WTB : AA on shadows

  23. Klumhru says:

    Seems a decent flight sim to be honest but two things put me off.
    First the drivel he spouts about dynamic campaigns.
    Second the idiotic DRM.

    Two games. Falcon 4 is still the king of sims, with high fidelity flight modelling and a fully dynamic battlefield, and up to 64 player multiplayer.
    LB2 is still the king of chopper sims, with front/back seat MP, AND a fully dynamic battlefield.
    The russians are trying really hard, and they deserve props for that, but until they put out a game with a good multiplayer campaign, I’ll keep playing games from 1995/99 for my simulator fix.

  24. teo says:

    Yeah, dynamic campaigns make such a HUGE difference
    It’s like a scripted light gun game vs playing an online FPS
    You can get good at shooting targets that pop up in the same place every time but it’s not the same

  25. Chaz says:

    Looks yummy!

    So please tell me this will run OK on my ageing P4 3.0 GHz, 512Mb Geforce 6800 crate. It’s getting a bit long in the tooth now but unfortunately an upgrade for me means a completely new PC, an expense I can’t really justify at the moment.

  26. Heliocentric says:

    Word on that. A scripted game gets played once. A dynamic game gets played forever.

    What is lb2?

  27. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    So, how does it play compared to IL2-Sturmovik? Easier? Harder? For reference, I clocked in well over 40 hours in Maddox’s game. 40 hours of crash and burn, that is.

  28. Klumhru says:

    LB2 = Jane’s Longbow 2, sorry.

    I’m not biased towards western aircraft by the way; I’ve done as many missions in F4 in MIGs as in the namesake. And I really do respect the efforts of the developers, and I probably will buy the game to support the genre, but I will most probably never install it.

  29. Heliocentric says:

    Any tips on where i can pick up LB2? I can find Falcon 4.

    LB2 looks hella ugly, but if you say its a classic i might as well try it out.

  30. Klumhru says:

    Granted, LB2 looks terrible by today’s standards, and can be a bit of a bitch to get running, but I and my wife got it running networked and all on Vista and XP respectively a few months ago. As to where to get it, I can only point you to Ebay or the like. It can sometimes be found on Amazon being sold by 3rd party sellers.

    If you can find the original F4, I recommend the RedViper or OpenFalcon mods (Google will turn up either easy). Both add a lot of life to the campaign, far more than the Allied Force version of vanilla. Both supposedly work with Allied Force, but I use the original with the patches applied.

    Regarding DCS: Black shark, I’ve been following the development for a long time on SimHQ and other sim sites in addition to their own site, and I really hope they manage to make something of the DCS engine, further than a scripted campaign and a fancy mission editor.

    Other games that implemented good dynamic campaigns:
    Total Air War
    EF2000
    Neither was really a high fidelity sim though.

  31. Rainetower says:

    Actual Falcon4 flight dynamics are a joke compared to Black Shark. Systems modeling, they are mostly on par.

    And the dynamic campaing in F4, although fun, is highly unrealistic in every sense.

    After fliying through the first campaign in Black Shark, you know ED has got a winner in their hands. And for those that say scripted = not endless, go to the forums, there are many more missions published every day than you can possibly fly.

  32. Klumhru says:

    As I’ve never flown an electric jet, apache, ka-50, EF Typhoon or any plane beyond a cessna 152, I can’t attest to the fideltiy of their respective flight models beyond that they “felt real” to me. Down to flat spins, compressor stalls, auto-rotation and other scenarios. A joke? Not really, in my opinion.

    Why dynamic campaigns? Persistence and an over-arching method and purpose to the individual actions performed in the game. Lacking this, for me, is like lacking a storyline in an RPG. They are not really the same thing, but the serve the same basic purpose for me. Imagine doing, say, Neverwinter Nights as a series of non-interlocking adventures, with no story or purpose. It would be pretty, the mechanics fantastic, but there would continually be a sense of “what the hell am I doing this all for”?

    I tried playing the missions published for Il-2 and it’s successors, ditto LOMAC and it’s successors, but I have never found the same sense of participation.

    As for campaign realism… Considering what these machines are used for in actual, cold, hard fact, we should be loitering around over devastated urban areas in just-recently-moved-back-to-3rd-world-countries firing the occasional cannon burst or guided missile into rag-tag insurgent bands. Of course recording the event and posting to youtube/liveleak for the masses to watch in morbid fascination.
    Too political?

  33. Rainetower says:

    If you’ve flown cessnas, they you KNOW Falcon 4 flight dynamics are a joke. They’re not phisically-formulated dynamics, they do not take into account the shape of the wings, temperatures, airspeeds, air density… they are, in a word “scripted”. Black Shark has a “dynamic campaign” in the phisics part, if you wish, while F4 is scripted to do things under certain conditions.

    As for the real life of a pilot in a war… do you really think a helicopter pilot knows what other F-15 sqadrons are doing? how many tanks are left in the batallion near the FLOT? how many missions are fliying the A-10 guys in the airport 30 miles away?

    Apart from that, a combat pilot has 2 “action missions” in every 30 missions, maybe. Most of the missions are pure bore where nothing happens. Most conflicts today are not “open warfare fulda-gap” escenarios like depicted in F4. And a Ka-50 is precisely deployed well away of those scenarios, where radar sams would make mincemeat of it.

    I have finished the first campaign in the BS sim, and I tell you, it feels way more real as a “pilot life” than most F4 dynamic missions (and I’ve flown hundreds). And this is only the beginning, there’s a lot to brush in BS, too. Many rough edges in the AI and mission editor. But it’s way ahead of anything we have on the market today. And that’s a fact, not an opinion.

  34. Bassem B. says:

    Screenshots 2, 3 and 4 looked a lot like Armed Assault to me (it has the Ka-50 as well,) but that closeup of the fully functional instrument panel makes all the difference.

    Since I can’t afford all sorts of different sims, I’ll have to stick with ArmA, the poor man’s all-in-one combat sim.

  35. Klumhru says:

    Neither of us have flown DFCS planes, so I don’t think I’m going to argue the point here (totally different world from manual flight and all that). It’s been done elsewhere (I’d recommend SimHQ forums but I think you already know of those ;) )

    Obviously you feel very strongly on the subject of the quality of the simulation, so there must be some truth to what you say. On the strength of your conviction I think I might try it out sooner than I might have. As soon as their publisher drops SF.

  36. Punisher says:

    I think DCS concept is rather a bad idea. They have released game which is in fact previously made military flight-sim now accessible for public. Unfortunately it is also cut in many areas due to security reasons. For instance Ka-50 self-protection suite is very primitive. Moreover this game lacks many features that are now mandatory for such games like already mentioned above dynamic missions and multiplayer campaign. You can also compare DCS with Open Falcon and you found OF has many modes not present in DCS (working IFF, much advanced radio communication). Note this is game improved for free by modding community – not professional developer studio.

    All in all ED wants to re-sell the same flight-sims they created for military using old and non-optimized Lock On graphic engine without many improvements required in the public entertainment sector. I know this genre is now very low niche market but such game concept do not improve this sad situation…

  37. Rainetower says:

    ¿Has ED done a Ka-50 sim for the military? I may be wrong but I think it hasn’t.

    As for the RWR suite. Real Ka-50s do not feature one, at least until October 2008, wich is the last unclassified info available. It was present only in test units, just as the various FLIRs and night-combat systems that real, operational, Ka-50s don’t have.

    About the graphics, you can see screenshots of both sims. I won’t comment on that.

    I would only like that you try the sim before ruling it out beforehand. I was expecting something along the lines of LOMAC, good flight model, but boring as hell.

    Instead of that, I was blown away in every sense.

  38. Punisher says:

    1. Yes, Ka-50 flight-sim was also done for Russian Army Aviation.

    2. As for RWR: DCS Ka-50 was based on real Ka-50 prototype which was very incomplete. It is true Ka-50s with in-game ECM suite were used in Chechnya ten years ago but now they are fitted with mostly up-to-date ECM equipment. Even very good “Kolchuga” system was tested on Ka-50 five years ago! Unfortunately in DCS we got unrealistic Ka-50 in ECM aspect – how can you imagine modern gunship without RWR? It is very vulnerable on present bettlefield (modeled in DCS also!) so I do not know how you can fly Ka-50 in this game without RWR and chaff dispenser against NATO forces? Normally such gunship would be shot down very quickly. However it is true real Ka-50 do not carry FLIR, radar and similar modern equipment. There is two-sit Ka-52 version equipped with them. Unfortunately Ka-50/52 number in Russia aviation is very low and their production have been stopped now because Army chose Mi-28N gunship to replace old Mi-24 fleet. That is also indirect answer why Ka-50 details were declassified and released on public in this game…

    3. I did not compare F4 and DCS graphics but avionics. I only stated DCS has in fact six years old Lock On graphics. Yet the worse is Ka-50 fly at very low altitudes where terrain graphics now looks quite ugly.

  39. HardRocker says:

    Punisher, you contradict yurself. You say it unrealistic, but then you say the real Ka-50s doesn’t have RWR, ECM, or missile warning and jamming sensors. That’s right, none of these things real Ka-50 has and so we don’t have them in DCS. Some Ka-50 testing prototypes have these, yes, but only testing.

    What you have in DCS is what Russian army has. If the Ka-50 goes to war tomorrow, it will be like the you see it in DCS.

    Sorry, but welcome to realism. This is how Russian army went to war with Georgia in August last year. No Ka-50 that we know fighting there, but Mi-24s did and those also did not have RWR, ECM, or missile warning and jamming system. But still they win the war in 5 days… Not so crazy, is it?.

    LB2 may be classic, but it’s like stuck in the 90s and you can’ts bring it to the present and DCS standards or realism. I don’t want to call it arcade, because back then we thought it was “hardcore” but it depends. Compared to DCS, LB2 is very “softcore.” I like it, but it’s not the same playing field of simulation anymore.

    Also, about what you say about military simulations, I think ED’s want to develop both, because this way they have very accurate information and also helps them finance more development. I think they feed each other, the military sims and the public sims.

  40. Rosco says:

    Excellent interview questions. I find this to be very rare. Thanks!

  41. Punisher says:

    @HardRocker: Think what reality is first! Yes, Ka-50 lacks modern ECM but it does not matter for you that in DCS campaign this helo must fight against NATO forces??? This is realism??? Of course not because in reality Ka-50 would be shattered to pieces in a matter of minutes after entering enemy NATO airspace without any anti-radar protection systems. However I suppose DCS campaign designers intentionally created very unrealistic battle environment to improve player’s chance to survive. Otherwise nobody would like to play this game. As for old Mi-24s sent to Georgia in 2008 one should know these choppers had RWRs installed after leaving factory. However now they are so old their RWRs had broken down and were dismantled. So this is completely different situation than Ka-50 case. In fact real Ka-50 was tested several years ago with a lot better ECM package but in DCS Ka-50 has ten years old and useless from practical point of view self-protection system. Even if this is reality – successfully flying Ka-50 against NATO forces is not real at all! Simply you would be very happy after returning from one such mission – not a hundred kamikaze campaign missions!

  42. Flighters says:

    I bought the english online version of the game in december 2009 and I must say it´s absolutely amazing and thrilling. So much detail, crystal clear sharp gauges at 1920*1600 Res and extrem realism. Guys, give it a try!

  43. Flighters says:

    … december 2008, sry… lol…

  44. Seymore Butts says:

    Rivet counters, get lost!

  45. Redman says:

    Played this game it’s crap. SF DRM so uninstalled it within 1 day. If you want to to try this game I will sale my activation key for half price ($25) email me at il2longjohn@hotmail.com

  46. Slaine says:

    @Punisher:
    Aren t You being a little bit JacKrear on the edges? DCS BlackShark project is stated to be happening in the early 90 not today. Don t say you don t know that or you ll loose total credibility.

    And realism is not in the campaign, your arguing is just a nickpicking to try to find false flaws on the product, find the real ones. If you want realism on campaign, then you ll sit your ass in barracks and die of boredoom.

    If you knew better than what your saying, you would have taken account of pissed pilots at surveillance sistem operators that constantly gave false alert and weren t able to give real threats. You would also take in account so much FF in recent wars accounting for unperfect IFF systems, lacks of proper reconaissance etc etc.
    Do you really think that every ground sortie has a full SAM system on their backpack?

    I understand you re trying to save your old games with models based on excel sheets, i still look foundly at ef2000 v2 Manual and disc even not being able to play it.
    But unfortunatly those games as LB2 are a joke.
    About campaign, TAW was so ridiculous it hurted, i could down near a hundred S27 in a lone misison just landing and rearming refuelling, and the country wouldn t go bankrupt or stocked out, this got boredooming.
    Its sad, but DID only got right on the spot with EF2000, TAW was a total miss as WARGASM, and TFX was in crawling stage of flight sim, and Typhoon was a mixed thing.

    I agree that Dynamic campaign even if unrealistic has more charm and appeal than canned stuff, no matter how good the can is, and that Eagle should try it nonetheless.

    Unfortunatly time has changed and there s only 2 Russian companies doing, the mighty americans went doing Microsoft crap(CFS, Blazing angels), Poney care, and gods know whatever more of the same FPS/RTS.

    We live in sad times for Military Flight sims fans.

  47. ruggbutt says:

    BS is head and shoulders above ED’s previous incarnations Lock On and Flaming Cliffs. It’s a lot of fun if you’re a button pusher and takes quite a bit of time to skillfully fly, attack and survive the battlefield environment. With the announcement that they’re attempting new modules every 9 months (or so) I can only hope that they will continue to support previous modules. ED has a history of patching their sims, breaking things that are just unacceptable then abondoning the previous title altogether. I hope this isn’t the shape of things to come from ED. I understand moving on to a new module but to not patch glaring issues in a previous module smacks of “we already have your money so too bad” syndrome.

    IMHO Black Shark gets an 82:100 from me. Issues that score it that low are allegedly being addressed in a patch but there is more that needs to be done than what’s been publicly discussed. Dedicated server software is a must. The last time I had to have a video card to run a game on a dedicated server was for Ghost Recon in 2003. The net code isn’t bad but there are still issues with server glitches, player placement in the 3d world and a whole slew of things that were wrong with Lock On/Flaming Cliffs. These are stuttering because of sound card processing, keyboard sometimes stops working for no reason, crashes to desktop when you meet certain parameters for video processing and sound combined.

    I have confidence that ED will fix these issues eventually. Hopefully they’ll fix their business model as well regarding abandoning previous titles completely. It doesn’t take very long before flight simmers figure out that type of behavior and take offense to it.

  48. psyk says:

    Thinking of getting this, will you be doing a wot i think.

  49. Serondal says:

    I broke down and baught this game when I saw some videos on you tube (one where a guy lands a blackshark on a moving train and another where he attacks a convo rambo style ((I.E. flying back and forth with high banked turn abouts blasting ground vechiles with his cannon ALA the Rambo VS Hind battle))) O.o Wow heavy use of brackets lol.

    One thing that is NOT mentioned here is that there are two modes. Realistic mode, which is talked about here, and Game mode which is not. In game mode the game is more like an action sim say like HAWKS or Aircombat, the targets are all lit up for you and you can use buttons to target nearest, the flying isn’t so hard you can’t jack yourself by over reacting to the controls as easily ect.

    I played one quick mission in game mod and had some fun blowing up ground units then getting chewed to death by an enemy sam site because I couldn’t firgure out how to arm my missles lol.

    I highly suggest if you’re thinking about buying to watch youtube videos of the sim in action, it is so good.

    Blackshark = One of the few attack helicopters (maybe only) that can get its tail blasted and still fly since it doesn’t have/need a tail rotator to stop it from spinning out. There is a video of someone landing one without the tail, it crashs at the end but it’s not his faut ;)

    Also interesting to note there is some very advanced connection between you and your wing man/men. You can send him target info that you’ve gotten with your laser and then have him attack your targets. you can send him out on recon and when he returns he can upload what he scanned with his sensors into your computer O.o Very awesome. You can play the entire game just clicking the buttons in the cockpick wtih the mouse.

    I think the last good helicopter combat game I played was one where you fly a Havoc , can’t remember what it was called but this is certain a big jump forward for me lol.