Jump to content

JTPO

What does a modern day Flight Sim NEED?

Recommended Posts

I've relatively recently come into flight simulation and spent a while scouring through a number of recommendations as to what platform is best for the full experience, but the replies have been varied.

Ended up going with X-Plane 11 which I've been enjoying immensely, but the responses did get me thinking;

If the flight sim community could make the perfect modern day flight simulator, what would it include? What features are essential? What is missing from the current offerings that you guys feel could take the genre forward?

 

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, JTPO said:

I've relatively recently come into flight simulation and spent a while scouring through a number of recommendations as to what platform is best for the full experience, but the replies have been varied.

Ended up going with X-Plane 11 which I've been enjoying immensely, but the responses did get me thinking;

If the flight sim community could make the perfect modern day flight simulator, what would it include? What features are essential? What is missing from the current offerings that you guys feel could take the genre forward?

 

Subjective question. 

You'll get lots of different answers as everyone sims differently - and therefore needs/ want's different things.  The two mainstream sims provide mostly everything 'needed' if we were able to miraculously combine the best aspects of both sims.  Both sims are independently lacking in wanted features - which for the most part is usually found in 'the other sim'.

For the rest, third party does a good job of filling the gaps.  Just have your wallet ready. 

The most important thing is that the base sim provides an efficient and accessible platform into which third party developers can add lots of content rich features.  The base sim just needs to allow that to happen.  That is really what we need.  The community will take care of the rest.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post

What any flight simulator's basic requirement is, or should be, is actually in the name itself, i.e. it should be able to simulate flight. Now it might seem a bit facetious to say that, but it really is the important thing if you are making a FLIGHT SIMULATOR lol. But, just think about the basic notion of an aeroplane flying along through the skies. Do either P3d/FSX or XPlane realistically simulate that like it is in real life? Nope, they certainly don't; and I'll tell you why too...

The visual depiction of the atmosphere (i.e. literally the location where you see rain, clouds,fog etc) bears absolutely no relation to how either XPlane, FSX/P3d simulate what is going on at that same location. In other words, fly through a cumulus cloud, or below it upwind a little, and you will feel some turbulence, because that cloud is formed by water vapour rising on an uplifting current which cools at a certain altitude as the temperate is dropping off with increasing altitude, and such air is unstable, so that instability is felt through the airframe as it passes through that air. Do that in FSX/P3d or XPlane and the best it can do is give you some canned version of turbulence based on overall conditions, rather than exactly what the sky is like for real for any given location.

This is a bit like how these sims handle runways, they aren't really wet in one place where the runway concrete dips a bit and water pools up, yet and not as wet on the next bit where there's a slight rise and water runs off, nope, they're either wet, or dry,  and that's if the simulator even bothers to take that either/or into account at all. You see what I mean? there's no real attempt to realistically simulate even the ground you roll along before you get airborne, let alone the sky once you are in 'flight'. At least XPlane does attempt to simulate those runway undulations, but that's about all.

Regrettably, the only simulation which was attempting to genuinely do something about that, in depicting clouds and such as real 3D presences with actual locations in the 3D space of the simulation, so that weather phenomena could be attached locally to those (which incidentally would also have meant weather radars could have been realistically simulated), was FSW, when it used trueSKY. But as we know, it got cancelled. So now we're back to being stuck with an obsession with eye candy by most software developers, because they know screenshots sell stuff, rather than a genuine desire to simulate flight properly.

Sad but true.

Edited by Chock
  • Like 4
  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post

Default airports which are updated on a frequent basis to reflect current configuration.

Share this post


Link to post

Decent wave animations? Decent water textures above a thousand feet? AI planes with a realistic rollout after landing? ATC controllers that don't issue endless "stop/start" messages to AI planes on the taxiway?

Share this post


Link to post
8 hours ago, JTPO said:

If the flight sim community could make the perfect modern day flight simulator, what would it include? What features are essential? What is missing from the current offerings that you guys feel could take the genre forward?

More realistic weather simulation, both for large scale (thunderstorms, etc.) and small scale (thermals, turbulence due to terrain and clouds, etc.) phenomena. And also more realistic weather visuals (e.g. 3d clouds with advanced lighting model).

Modern rendering engine optimized for performance (in terms of fps and smoothness) and visual realism (something that takes the best from the rendering engines of X-Plane, Aerofly FS 2, DCS).

An "open" and advanced flight model, something similar to JSBSim, that gives a lot of freedom to aircraft designers and capable of being used both as a look-up table flight model or a blade-element flight model.

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

No flight simulator can emulate real flight to a pilot.  So many things are missing.  Seat of the pants feeling of flight.  The nagging fear that surfaces when things don't sound right or you see a line of thunderstorms in front of you or when you get lost.  The feeling of freedom and control you get sitting alone in a small airplane 5000 feet above the ground. 

On the other hand it is a reasonable substitute for those of who can no longer fly and for those who wish to experience the essentials of flight.

While I only fly light aircraft 5000 to 7000 feet AGL I can't tell you which simulator is best for what you want to do.  For me Orbx Scenery in FSX or P3D (I've used both and am currently using P3D) allows me to create familiar flights with reasonable terrain and landmark accuracy.  I only fly in clear weather with a minimal layer of cirrus at 30,000 ft to give the blue a bit of texture.  I would never intentionally fly into marginal or stormy weather in real life so I don't do it in simulated flight either.  But if you are intent at replicating airliner or commercial flight then you want to have bad weather available.

Noel

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, birdguy said:

No flight simulator can emulate real flight to a pilot.  So many things are missing.  Seat of the pants feeling of flight.  The nagging fear that surfaces when things don't sound right or you see a line of thunderstorms in front of you or when you get lost.  The feeling of freedom and control you get sitting alone in a small airplane 5000 feet above the ground. 

On the other hand it is a reasonable substitute for those of who can no longer fly and for those who wish to experience the essentials of flight.

While I only fly light aircraft 5000 to 7000 feet AGL I can't tell you which simulator is best for what you want to do.  For me Orbx Scenery in FSX or P3D (I've used both and am currently using P3D) allows me to create familiar flights with reasonable terrain and landmark accuracy.  I only fly in clear weather with a minimal layer of cirrus at 30,000 ft to give the blue a bit of texture.  I would never intentionally fly into marginal or stormy weather in real life so I don't do it in simulated flight either.  But if you are intent at replicating airliner or commercial flight then you want to have bad weather available.

Noel

True, but VR has the potential to come very close to reality, I truly feel I'm there in the plane. We just need more computing power, to up the settings and resolution.

From here, with 128 Bit technology as a possible/likely next step/norm, I think reality will be approached sufficiently for any kind of training.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Guest

More users, more users willing to spend money ... especially if you want the kind of accuracy that Alan is talking about (which would require multiple computers and high end hardware).  "Complete" is an open ended term, but if you want a "more complete" experience then P3D V4.x has the upper hand right now, however, XP11 is catching up and neither platform is slowing down in terms of future development.

Your expectations and how you implement the "blind eye" will define your experience now and in the future ... unless there is a technological shift in computing power available to the mass market, we are always (no exceptions) going to need to compromise (the blind eye) regardless of platform.

The more complexity that is added to a simulator with the increased desire for realism also tends to increase in the size of development teams and the cost of development (and product) and need for better hardware.  The Add-Ons define the experience for many (not all), so to answer your question you need to define if the add-ons your interested in exist in your platform of choice (if you are a single platform flyer).  For example I'm a bad weather nut, I seek it out ... HiFi AS4 (weather with cloud motion that lights up at night), TrueGlass (rain/snow/fogging in VC), FSFX Packages (external effects like jet wash, tire marks, rain dropping from aircraft, wing air compression, etc.) and P3D V4.x is the best combination for that specific type of experience.  For photo real flying then XP11 with Artho4XP and xEnviro along with PBR is the best combination for that specific experience.

Real world flight is a great experience also ... operating manual flaps can take some arm work in a small GA that you never experience in a simulator ... pretty sure no one has a Force Feedback flap handle for one's simPit.  However, simulated flight is MUCH cheaper and one can operate aircraft they would otherwise never be able to experience at any level.  After coming back from FSExpo in Vegas that was sold out and more squeezed in past capacity, the flight simulator industry seems very healthy.  I see a very positive future for single and multi platform users.

Some of my more immediate personal desires:

Better ATC for GA aircraft
Implementation of humidity
Improved intelligence for AI aircraft with integration into the ATC system
Improved SDK support for failures (bird strikes, etc.)
Improved SDK support for damage and contact
Blending of roads and autogen with a little more uniqueness in the buildings/homes

Cheers, Rob.

Share this post


Link to post

Evolution of VR hw (HMD and UI) are essential for FS. 

 

What’s available now is quite amazing but looking forward to new hw with improved performance. 

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post

I've never noticed and the thought has never occurred to me while flying the sim.  But Rob's desire for implementation of humidity brings up this question.  Do any simulators replicate density altitude?  While you can set the temperature in Weather does it affect density altitude?

Noel

Share this post


Link to post
Guest
3 hours ago, birdguy said:

Do any simulators replicate density altitude?

Colin (Milviz) is the one that brought this to my attention ... as far as the simulators I've used I don't believe any of them simulate it in turns of how it impacts an aircraft.

Cheers, Rob.

Share this post


Link to post

It all depends on your focus of course...

I believe Murmur and other summed it up very well...

I can't expect a platform to include all of the features by default, but I surely expect it to be open enough to allow for 3pd products to complete the lack of detail regarding ATC, AI, Weather modelling, Flight Operations, and many other features that fit each user group requirements.

X-Plane 11 is IMHO standing as a very interesting platform. It has it's drawbacks and limitations like all platforms do, but it's being developed with the Future in mind and it is attracting a worth of users - you're there already, and I believe you made a good choice.

There's a freeware platform, which can't of course compete with the commercial competitors, but IMO is very much worth the try - Flight Gear, now in version 2018.2.1. Flight Gear is being developed with lot's of interesting features being added and fine tuned. It includes among other two interesting FDMs JSBSim having been mentioned by Murmur above, but also Yasim. The Advanced Weather model includes features which are unique to this sim, and for instance regarding weather for soaring it actually does a much better job than either P3D or XP with their default engines.

 

Edited by jcomm
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post

I was watching the demo videos from FSExpo for Deadstick simulator. Now that's the sort of sim I want 🙂

Whilst yes, the locations are actually fictional, look at how well everything seems to be simulated, and you can even get out of your aircraft and walk around. The scenery, vegetation etc looks fantastic. Not concentrating on simulating the entire planet and every aircraft under the sun I think is a good start. Concentrate on a smaller part of the whole experience and do it well.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

“What does a modern day simulator NEED?”

I’ll spin that around and say do we NEED a modern day simulator ?

If a new all encompassing multi use simulator were to be released would I buy it? Certainly I would , do I think we need one? No

We’re extremely lucky at this moment in time  with the platforms available to us and their quality. I think the key to getting the best possible simulator experience is to employ multiple platforms, and making the most of each platform’s specialities and capabilities.

P3d/FSX is without doubt the king when it comes to airliner flying at this moment in time at least. Real world wether integration, systems modelling, and the breadth of aircraft, scenery and airport add ons available means that just about any real world scenario can be recreated.With the addition of Orbx or similar the P3D world is also a cracking VFR platform.

Moving on, X-plane, I’ve always loved this platform for its flight dynamics. This was always well ahead of Microsoft’s offering.Having recently returned to the hobby after a few years away I’m now not feeling much difference. I don’t know if X plane over the years has lost a little fidelity in the flight model or if P3D’s third party add on aircraft have caught up , I suspect it’s the latter.X plane provides a superb platform for IFR flying with its silky smooth instruments and flight dynamics, and of course a magnificent VFR/GA platform. I must admit I don’t fly X plane as much as P3D and it can go weeks unused. But like yesterday when I took the vflyteair twin Comanche out of Orbx Meigs field for a short spin around Chicago I’m left mesmerised and literally sat swearing at my screen at just how astounding it looks and handles. Once the third party development truly ramps up this will be one heck of a platform.Will it ever overtake P3D? Who knows,personally I think the areas where P3D is falling behind slightly at the moment will be addressed in the future.

Of course if you are in the mood for a bit of gliding you can get yourself a glider for P3D or X plane and off you go, ...but you don’t want to do that! What you want to do is , again , specialise.Get yourself a copy of condor soaring simulator 2 and be amazed by is flight and weather physics, realistic whinch and aerotow launches.Putting a glider into a spin and watching it spiral down from an external view in this simulator is truly spellbinding.

Now, after spiralling around the sky all day at 45kts you’re in the mood for some high performance aggression !. Again you could buy a military add on for your favourite civilian platform.But if it’s the realistic feeling of a high performance jet you’re after you simply can’t do any better than get yourself a (free) copy of DCS. I’ve never known flight modelling like this, in all the years I’ve been simming, the realism is just superb. Perhaps a little too realistic  if anything. The first time I tried taking off in the mustang I crashed on takeoff the first 3 attempts.Despite having around 18,000 hours of real world flying experience, I’ve no experience or training in high performance piston tail draggers and so I made exactly the same handling errors I would if I just jumped into a real mustang and tried to take off with no training. The thing bit back ! I’m certainly no pacifist but I’ve not fired a single shot in the ‘ combat  ‘ sim DCS I’m just there for the flight dynamics and system modelling and with the addition of VR and good control hardware it’s the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to real flight on a simulator. And as I’ve said before, I include multimillion dollar level D sims in that statement.

It seems we’ve also  a treat in store for low and slow bush flying when Deadstick is released. Of course we can bush fly in P3D and X plane, but like with condor it won’t compare to a simulator specialising in and optimised for its particular genre.

So, personally no, I’m not longing or looking for a new one size fits all simulator. Running several specialised platforms along side each other is the way to go I feel.

We have such a rich and varied  selection of simulator platforms available to us at the moment, buy them all, if finances permit, and and enjoy and savour the different flavours and styles of each and every one of them.

Cheers 

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
11 hours ago, birdguy said:

Do any simulators replicate density altitude?

FlightGear is the only civil flight sim that simulates density altitude (depending on temperature).

I don't remember if one or both between DCS and IL2 also model that, @jcomm knows better than me.  🙂 

Edited by Murmur

Share this post


Link to post

Neal, you posted 2 minutes before me... LOL.

A modern day flight sim needs sales!! Look what happened to FSW!

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...