California fires, and...a mighty need...

So, my entire state (CA) is on fire, as is normal in the summertime. Seems to get worse every year though.
The aviation nerd side of me always enjoy watching the fire planes fly though, and this year my friends house was threatened (its OK now) so I have been watching the Holy Fire very closely. Once the imminent danger had passed I got back to my plane watching, and the simmer in me now really thinks an Aerial Firefighting game or sim would be really cool.

Has anyone else ever put thought into something like this? what would you want to see in a game like this? (this isn’t an idea request, I’m not a developer and this idea will never go anywhere, but a hypothetical excercise…I’d love to see a game that showed some of the interesting things fire crews and aerial firefighters do fighting wildfires)

In my head it’d be something like a multiplayer (arma-esque) open world type game, where itd be up to the players to organize and fly against a fire, and have a hangar of neat fixed and rotary wing assets to use. Maybe with even a RTS aspect or Commander aspect of moving hand crews, engines, etc around while you and your friends fight from the air.

I dunno. Just thinking, seems like an interesting concept at least.

There was some fire fighting in Helicopter Simulator 2014…a meh game…but for the going rate of about 99 cents, it is kind of fun. My pictures probably made the game look better than it was…LOL…

There was also some Arma 3 mods that allowed for fire-fighting…

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I was thinking that arma would make a good platform for a firefighting mod, just based on the way that it’s put together and its mod accessiblity.

Did a lot of reading/youtubing on firefighting equipment and aerial tactics, and it seems like there’d be a lot there for an interesting study level sim, but thats REALLY niche. Like a MAFFS C-130 or that DC-10

I remember the 2008 Escondido, Bonsall, and Fallbrook fires all too well, but that’s a story for another thread.

Wasn’t there a firefighting mod for the Huey in DCS? Part of the civilian mission packs folks were working on?

@Navynuke99 are you local down here? didnt know! I was working in San Marcos during the Cocos fire in 2014, and remember standing out front of my shop watching the flames come over the ridgeline toward CSUSM. Watching that DC-10 do phos-check drops with the mountains above him was a little disconcerting. Crazy times.

I didnt know of any DCS firefighting stuff. Makes my wish my Warthog throttle hadnt taken a crap the other day. :frowning:

From another thread here. Mod for FSX and P3D

Hey - BC, Canada on Fire Again checking in! It’s getting like August is the ‘orange’ month every year now, in that the smoke will drift in from the Interior and our sky goes all apocalyptic.

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I think it would make a great game. But in order for me to buy it, it would have to have a storyline told through characters in much the way BI did with TakeOn Helicopters (still, I believe, a hugely underrated game). A combat sim style text mission briefing wouldn’t cut it.


Totally agree. I’m fine with a story driven game. Man, I loved TOH and wish they had been able to come up with “story modules” DLC or something. There was so much they could have done with it. I always wonder about that…like the heavy lifting “the programming and development” were already done…why not milk that cow with arguably easier to create add-on content? It obviously isn’t that cost effective though because so many developers have not been able to follow up with good campaigns and story-lines. I’m happy to see DCS seems to be going along fine in that direction.

Having worked in the gaming industry for a few years (console side), the biggest issue with new content is that good designers are really hard to find.

Think about the tens of thousands of folks who have made missions for all the various flight sims we have in the last 10 years. I can think of probably 10-15 missions that were actually good, like “man I’d pay for this” good. If we move into the actual payware stuff (everything from DLC to stand along products) there’s still probably less than 50-100 missions that I’ve played in the last 10 years that I truly felt were great.

A commercial designer has to be able to produce a mission/level/scenario that is of interest to the target audience. So they have to know what the heck the target audience wants in the first place. Then they have to be able to produce compelling action/drama for the player. The first one is tricky in a kind of open ended civilian sim like ToH, it’s not like a combat sim where you can pretty much guess what the player is there for. Secondly creating the compelling action/drama is a lot harder than most people think. How many failed writers are there? It’s the same process as mission/level/scenario making, except you don’t have to grapple with the mission editor/level designer/etc.

From personal experience, we had a lot of technically competent designers. Guys who could make our level designer do all kinds of cool things, AI programming guru’s etc. We really only had 2-3 per project (and this was at a AAA console company, Acclaim Entertainment, so we had 20-30 designers on each project) that could produce compelling, memorable, and fun content with regularity.


All good points. I have to remember that not all talented artists (like I feel a lot of these programmers are) aren’t necessarily also good storytellers. The Arma series seems to have at least managed some good stories, although some of the earlier content had some pretty corny dialog.

It is always nice to see a good story accompany a campaign or set of missions. The Museum Relic and the UH-1H Argo Campaign are great examples of that type of excellent writing and integration. And I know that Stone Shield and Piercing Fury are great (I’m sooooo far behind in my reviews!..argh!)…

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I worked through this when developing my simNovel, “Pilot’s Ghost”. (Per forum guidelines I need to inform all that this is a commercial product…@BeachAV8R reviewed it many months ago in Mudspike Reviews)

Rather than starting with Mission ideas, I start with a story outline–some type of “thence-thriller”–that I think will have an enjoyable plot. I develop an “aviation-laced” plot where it takes sense that some chapters are “flown” rather than read. My first novel dealt with cyber attacks on commercial airliners but it need not have had to. My next simNovel (working title “Bad Seeds”) does not. Whatever the plot, the flying needs to smoothly blend with story and make some amount of sense.

It is an iterative process. In Pilate’s Ghost, a chapter originally envisioned as a flying chapter just didn’t work well as a mission…it didn’t blend. It was rewritten as a normal chapter and I shaped the chapter’s end to smoothly move into a previously un-envisioned flying chapter that turned to to be one of the best and most challenging ones in the story.

When it works, it really really works. When it doesn’t work, I chuck it and start again. (There s an economic concept called “Sunk Cost” that I adhere to.)

Edit: FSX has forest fire effects…I never really looked at them but I am pretty sure one could write a mission or two for aerial forest fighting.


Its a dang shame that something can’t be done inside of DCS, it has nice effects and supports sling loading and dropping of objects. I’ve been messing around in mission editor but I’ve had no success with scripting anything in. Enjoy pics from the test though lol


So many Fire NOTAMs at the moment.

Sky is orange up here…

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Fwiw, there are forest fires in X-Plane. They are turned off by default now. Turning them back on requires a bit if editing. Once you do that however, the chances of encountering a fire are about the same as finding a herd of rainbow colored unicorns running across the runway.

(Believe me…I’ve been looking)