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RobJC

MSFS vs. BMS Falcon

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I have been getting back into BMS Falcon the past few days, figuring that if Asobo broke MSFS with today’s update that I’d have a plan B ready to go. As I dove further into BMS I couldn’t help but compare these two simulators. On the surface they don’t necessarily compete head to head, as one is focused on flying while the other tilts totally towards combat. Still, there’s quite a bit of overlap.

For those who don’t know BMS Falcon is a mod of the original Falcon 4.0. It is an F-16 simulator, and a whole lot more. Its dynamic campaign is legendary in the industry. If the BMS F-16 were an add-on in MSFS it would rival anything PMDG offers. But BMS simulates far more than just the systems to fly an F-16. It also simulates weapons systems in detail. ATC is also advanced. Multiplayer is rock solid, and AI foes are both smart and deadly. 

One thing that struck me about BMS compared to MSFS is how much there is to do in BMS, and how mundane MSFS can start to feel by comparison. Both offer serious study level aircraft, although MSFS is pretty light in that department at the moment, but we know  it will get there. And BMS focuses mainly on the F-16 (there are other ac but the F-16 is the most detailed). It is safe to say that Falcon really defined the term “cold and dark.” But flying this bird is really a small piece of the puzzle. Here was one of our missions in BMS. Some background first.

We decide to create a campaign set in the Balkans. The computer runs this in real-time, and the war plays out over weeks. Our job is to fly missions. We are a small part of the war effort, and there is no hero gameplay. The war is not about you. Me and three buddies take a mission. We are tasked with taking out a bridge. First order of business is understanding our mission, then equipping our F-16s with proper ordinance. One F-16 had a jammer while the others had a mix of various bombs (laser guided) targeting pods, etc. We had to plan our load-outs as a team. We recon the target using the latest satellite images, but there is fog of war so we cannot be sure of its condition or defenses.

After we get our birds started we communicate with the tower, getting each of us to the correct runways. There’s a lot of activity at this base, with F-15s, AWACS and other aircraft cued up and waiting to takeoff. As we get in the air each of us fall into a holding pattern, waiting for the last of our group to get in the air. We fly for maybe 45 minutes before we find an air tanker, taking our turn refueling. There is pressure here, because if anyone stumbles refueling it can compromise the mission. One time i had to head back because i was unable to refuel quickly enough and couldn’t hold up the group any longer. This is simulated properly just like everything else in BMS.

We anticipate running into serious SAM threats as we approach the target, so we turn on terrain following systems, hugging the ground. As we get closer to the target we jettison our external fuel tanks, which changes the flight dynamics of our F-16s. There is very little quiet time in the Falcon. The first two F-16s line up the bridge and drop their bombs. I do a reconnaissance run to confirm whether the bridge is out, and it was only partially out. We line up another bombing run when we are jumped by Migs and SUs. At this point we dump our bombs and go air to air combat. While lining up a shot i take damage from a Mig, and i have to break off the battle. My buddy takes out another Mig and the other two are shot down. 

Limping home and low on fuel we look for alternate air bases we can land at. Looking up the frequency we get within range of one and try to get clearance to land. I am given priority due to my damage, and I land pretty good all considered. My buddy is directed into a holding pattern by ATC as other high priority aircraft are cued to land. He eventually signals he is extremely low on fuel and he lands on his belly skidding off the runway. We review our performance and get decent marks, and prepare for the next mission. A few days later we notice the bridge is operational again, and our efforts did little more than slow down the enemy. 

I think MSFS is fantastic in many areas. And eventually it will be even better. Graphically it is superior to BMS. MSFS includes the entire planet, while BMS only includes a handful of theaters. So again, definitely not apples to apples. There isn’t combat in MSFS at all, and even if there was, it would never approach Falcon combat.  So it is really impossible and unfair to compare the two. But I think i need to find some meaning to my flights in MSFS, because i miss the other aspects that BMS provides. Learning the advanced systems of any study level aircraft is rewarding, but taking off, navigating and landing isn’t really enough for me. I need to figure out what is. 

I started looking at Neofly, but i am just not sure flying for money is going to scratch the same itch. 
 

 

Edited by RobJC
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Yeah, Falcon was, and possibly still, unmatched in some regards.  I just tossed out my three manuals and the original falcon book that came with the CD's.  However, I thought this was all eclipsed by Digital Combat?  I also own this but only started it up once or twice.


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22 minutes ago, Mike S KPDX said:

Yeah, Falcon was, and possibly still, unmatched in some regards.  I just tossed out my three manuals and the original falcon book that came with the CD's.  However, I thought this was all eclipsed by Digital Combat?  I also own this but only started it up once or twice.

DCS has a LONG way to go before it even begins to approach on BMS territory. At least with regards to the F-16, campaign, etc. It might be 30% of the way there. Maybe. Graphically is about the only area that DCS is ahead. The depth of the simulator, just with regards to the basics in BMS is miles ahead. BMS is PMDG level on steroids. And that does not address the dynamic campaign, the lethal AI, weapons delivery, the tactical engagements, strong multiuser code, ATC, etc. etc. If BMS is PMDG+++ then DCS is Carenado. It's pretty, but that is about it. But again, BMS goes way beyond a serious hard core study sim. It is an entire ecosystem around the F-16. 

Edited by RobJC
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BMS is the best modern combat sim ever in my opinion. Even with all DCS is still missing a lot.

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flight sim addict, airplane owner, CFI

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Edited by RobJC

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I never knew any of this.  I am amazed.  I had the original Falcon 4 all those years ago (I remember people moaning about the giant size of the telegraph poles :biggrin:), and I remember I heard about a Falcon gold that I meant to check out, but never got around to.

I will keep my eye on this, especially when the landscape mods are out.

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I like to fool airline passengers into thinking I have my own swimming pool by painting a large blue rectangle on my patio!

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Curious that sometimes hardcore simmers divert to BMS, Aerowinx PSX, after feeling somehow less then happy with their "mass" flightsim platforms 🙂

I remember Murmur mentioning he had made an incursion into Falcon BMS, and really found it extremely detailed and fun to play.

I did try it sometime ago, but might as well revisit it one of theses days 😉

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Use your flight simulators with a well defined purpose...

Don't expect them to be "perfect" or to fully cover all aspects of simulated flight...

Try to enjoy it instead of stressing... ( in few words - don't be like me ... )

 

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17 minutes ago, bobcat999 said:

I never knew any of this.  I am amazed.  I had the original Falcon 4 all those years ago (I remember people moaning about the giant size of the telegraph poles :biggrin:), and I remember I heard about a Falcon gold that I meant to check out, but never got around to.

I will keep my eye on this, especially when the landscape mods are out.

BMS is mega Bob. You quickly get past the graphics and immerse yourself in the beauty of a full on study sim with a dynamic war engine that has or will never be equaled. BMS is fully polished. Pretty much everything works to an extreme level. When they get the terrain updated it will be amazing.  

Edited by RobJC
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4 minutes ago, jcomm said:

Curious that sometimes hardcore simmers divert to BMS, Aerowinx PSX, after feeling somehow less then happy with their "mass" flightsim platforms 🙂

I remember Murmur mentioning he had made an incursion into Falcon BMS, and really found it extremely detailed and fun to play.

I did try it sometime ago, but might as well revisit it one of theses days 😉

It is a solid backup when you feel like MSFS is getting boring. But you really need to join a virtual squadron so you can cut the learning curve way down. It is very deep. Again, PMDG on steroids with a massive ecosystem to go along with it. 


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Well - agree that it's impressive what has been done to keep the Falcon 4.0 code alive with BMS. I would say that it unfortunately feels a bit too old in the graphics department compared to DCS with VR. In version 2.7 with the new clouds you really get the feeling of being IN an F16 and not looking at a representation on a screen of it. Anyway - I like BMS as well, especially the dynamic campaign.

But to go back to the topic of the lack of meaning in MSFS - I fully agree that it's the major problem with MSFS now. I think you either need to go full Monty with the online VATSIM community - or some third party "mission generator / finance simulator". I really can recommend giving Neofly a try. It's free so no hurdle there. Before I started using Neofly I flew MSFS for an hour or two and went back to DCS and IL2. With Neofly I got hooked with the missions that give a purpose that works for me why I need to fly somewhere and make sure to get down with less than 200 fpm to not damage that sensitive cargo. And when you buy a new aircraft you really want to understand all the features of the autopilot etc. I am not the least interested in getting military aircraft into MSFS but look forward to transport aircraft now 🙂

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6 minutes ago, mazex said:

Well - agree that it's impressive what has been done to keep the Falcon 4.0 code alive with BMS. I would say that it unfortunately feels a bit too old in the graphics department compared to DCS with VR. In version 2.7 with the new clouds you really get the feeling of being IN an F16 and not looking at a representation on a screen of it. Anyway - I like BMS as well, especially the dynamic campaign.

But to go back to the topic of the lack of meaning in MSFS - I fully agree that it's the major problem with MSFS now. I think you either need to go full Monty with the online VATSIM community - or some third party "mission generator / finance simulator". I really can recommend giving Neofly a try. It's free so no hurdle there. Before I started using Neofly I flew MSFS for an hour or two and went back to DCS and IL2. With Neofly I got hooked with the missions that give a purpose that works for me why I need to fly somewhere and make sure to get down with less than 200 fpm to not damage that sensitive cargo. And when you buy a new aircraft you really want to understand all the features of the autopilot etc. I am not the least interested in getting military aircraft into MSFS but look forward to transport aircraft now 🙂

Okay I will definitely see how Neofly goes. Thanks. Hopefully it provides the purpose I am looking for. They have upgraded BMS to DX11 so I think it is only a matter of time before the graphics get a huge jump. I think it is a lot easier for the BMS team to improve the graphics than it is for DCS to fill in all the missing pieces that BMS already does so well. 

Edited by RobJC
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Dating myself but I cut my teeth on Falcon 3.0 / MiG 29 expansion..ahem,  1991 and then Falcon 4 .  Good times.  However lots of work has happened to get F4/BMS to the current state and many years.  The dynamic campain was one of the great designs from Sprectrum Holobyte/Microprose

Edited by joec63
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Semper Fi 

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I had been always a fan of Falcon 4, from its beginning 20 years ago, with all its versions, and its actual modern BMS mod.- I used the Thrustmaster hotas Cougar joystick, which is the exact replica of the F16 .s, programmed to emulate all its real functions.- As I acquired MSFS three months ago, I put away the device and reinstall my old CH yoke, pedals and quadrant and began to fly MSFS.- I am pretty satisfied with it, specially after the recent update, but I noticed that am beginning to miss the Falcon 4 adrenaline, its realism, complexity and inmersion, the F18 carrier operations, with their inherent take off/landing difficulties, the IFR landings, etc, etc,  all in spite of its natural ancient graphics compared with the modern sims.- And so on, as I am afraid to begin loosing my skills about the flying, navigation, and arming systems management, whose steep learning curve cost me a lot of time,  I decided to alternate and get back to Falcon 4 and re-train myself periodically as real pilots do.- Sorry for my poor English

 

 

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BMS is great and I have many, many hours on it. It's quite different to DCS though, I think. I like that the SAM ai in BMS is so smart, turning off and relocating makes them far smarter than the brain dead DCS equivalent. Flying out on every mission is a huge challenge, if you don't hit your TOS and TOT there are serious consequences. The IFF system is fantastic too. I've never hit task saturation like I have in BMS, for example you could have unknown SAM's going off, Mig 31s scrambled to your position (and the AI will genuinely try to pull you out of your CAP box and sneak around you). The intelligent ATC is great too - plus the weather is awesome.

 

That said, there are ways to enjoy DCS in the same way - but it involves joining a squadron who is serious about doing things right. For example my squadron has about 50members split across the Harrier, Viper, Tomcat and Hornet. We have dedicated mission makers and dedicated ATC which provides an incredible environment to learn in. Once you've flown the BMS campaign enough times, you do start to see repetition - which is what happened to me. Burnout perhaps. The payware campaigns in DCS (For example Zone 5, Raven One) are very good too. BMS doesn't have anything that matches things like launching off the Nimitz at night with a human RIO in the F14 for example. They're both fantastic sims - I watched a video that described DCS as tactical, and BMS as strategic - and I think I'd agree with that.

Edited by Bigbluss
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On 9/8/2021 at 12:27 PM, joec63 said:

Dating myself but I cut my teeth on Falcon 3.0 / MiG 29 expansion..ahem,  1991 and then Falcon 4 .  Good times.  However lots of work has happened to get F4/BMS to the current state and many years.  The dynamic campain was one of the great designs from Sprectrum Holobyte/Microprose

My very first intro to flight simming was Falcon AT. I'm not sure if that became Falcon 3.0.  Wasn't the code base of Falcon 3.0 leaked?  Where does Allied Force fit in the evolutionary tree?  I walked away from Falcon after getting distracted by Enemy Engaged, DCS, Microsoft flite sims, and the Supreme Commander strategy game (which has very realistic ballistics physics, and to this day still has a very active community also).

Edited by bofhlusr
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