Is There Something Wrong with Flight Sim Fans?

Bit of a weird discussion point, but watched this short clip on Mover not being keen on DCS videos so much anymore (video linked to timestamp at 38 mins in):

Are other hobbies like this as well? Is it something more unique about what attracts people to combat sims, or just flight sims in general that makes them like this?

One common trait I see over the years is the friction between the people that enjoy the hobby (the players) and those that make the sims, or make content for it and put it out there (the makers). It’s like the player community just sort of gets annoyed a lot.

Is there something inherently not great about flight sim fans? :slight_smile:

Could it be because nothing ever really works very well, and they take their anger out on each other? (Mover made some good points about the hassle of getting set up, and how it is off-putting) :slight_smile:


Interesting question.

I doubt I’m qualified to answer your question since I’ve never been that involved in other gaming genres to which comparisons can be made.

But I do have some thoughts on the subject, having been involved in flightsims for about as long as they have existed. At least existed for the home computer users :slight_smile:

Flightsimmers are a passionate lot. Aviation is something many fall in love with. I know I did. Many of us grow up wanting to become pilots and almost everybody remembers their first flight. Leaving the planet still is something special, even if it’s a more common occurance today, compared to when I was a kid.

Simulating flight, is tricky. I have never tried a flightsimulator that simulates flying an aircraft perfectly, professional or recreational. I doubt the technology exist that can accomplish this. This means that if you try to simulate flight, you will fail. Some fail more, others fail less.

Combine passionate users, who crave the feeling of flight, with software that can’t give them what they want, you get frustration. And frustration leads to harsh words and heated feelings that only alienates us further with the devlopers who can’t give us what we want, no matter how hard they try.

So yeah, maybe there is a problem with flightsimmers that is more or less unique to this genre…?


I would say that the devs takes it too seriously sometime. its just some comments, reviews, some subscribing and unsubscribing, … what is important are the sales :slight_smile:

for the content creators it could be more of an issue, but they can always just turn off the comments… or whats the speci motto of one of them!? ‘pls tell me that I can f myself in the comments below!’ :wink:

…its like in the cartoon you posted in the past @fearlessfrog . there was the devs and the customers and devs followed wrong advise from vocal minority to loose majority of customers… who to blame!? vocal minority or the devs?


First though I had was… that’s a rhetorical question.
Second is… yeah, sadly in everything humans love there are gatekeepers that tends to define what’s “real” and what’s not.
Stupid Elitism, if you ask me.


That’s a good point, we might be like everyone else online for sure. As a common baseline, for internet stuff there is, of course ‘GIF’ Theory, which probably applies.

I suppose two online communities I’ve spent a bit of time could be compared. Hockey (NHL) and CSGO (Counterstrike, online shooter thing), although not recently. Both have a lot of violence and nonsense, but it’s common to see people get aggressive with each other, but not so much at the ‘makers’ specifically, like sim fans seem to. So CSGO people are pretty much all toxic to a large extent :slight_smile: but it’s rare that Valve even engages with them. Like @NEVO said, the trouble with Flight Sim makers is that they often care or engage (I guess because they are fans themselves). Valve or the Vancouver Canucks don’t really reply online or argue - they are above it, because as long as sales are good they don’t care.

The other sub-species of flight sim fans, is the combat stuff - and a lot of that is the ‘I have expert knowledge’ flex from armchairs. It’s perfect for that, as if you corner people with :cow: :poop: then they can just say ‘Sorry, restricted info, can’t elaborate’.

Having said all that, it is of course not everyone, just a noisy minority a lot of the time.


It doesn’t help that flightsimming as a hobby atracts wannabe fighter pilots. They all have read about the persona of the fighter pilot as a Man with Big Brass Cojones and the ego to fit, and well, it aint hard to replicate having a huge ego on the internet is it?

Then there’s the thing that any highly technical hobby tends to have a large portion of its practicioners be ‘on the spectrum’, ie people who are not the best when it comes to dealing with wishy washy stuff such as other peoples’ emotions.

Then you have this intersection with the already rather toxic culture of male gamers who worship everything tactical and military and … oof.

It’s a miracle this place is as un-toxic as it is :wink: But then, we do a bit of gatekeeping, don’t we?


Absolutely. There are always those that can not accept that a sim might not be perfect or that, at the end of the day, it’s just a game and God forbit a real fighter pilot has some fun doing stupid sh*t in a simulator.

I fly a lot on the Storm of War server and the difference between the mentality of the guys flying axis compared to the allies can be staggering, especially once those people come on to fly.

Axis comms are mostly very professional and to the point, while on the allied team there is way more useless chatter and sometimes pure vitriol when a 109 manages to out smart someone in a Mustang and oneshots him with a 30mm or there is a conga line of Spitfires and Mustangs following a single axis fighter not being able to hit it and producing a few midairs while maneuvering into firing position and thus trying to occupy the same space all at once… Friendly fire is also way more prevalent as a result, leading to more frustration being vented over SRS.

You have people that are usually very disciplined and fly as a group, there are quite a few squadrons, both allied and axis, that do amazing stuff on that server and are a joy to fly with, but then you also have a few select people that use SRS as a way to vent their frustration with their abilities in DCS or the sim itself. And it happens mostly on the allied side when the americans join late at night european time (not exclusively of course!). It’s only a handful of people that do this but it can ruin the experience for everyone. Luckily there are other radio channels available but they are not the default ones, so less people use it.

So yes, there are sadly a few people that can ruin the game for everyone else and when that happens it’s best to stay out of their way and go elsewhere.


Yeah, that puts the devs in the same category as their customers. Two passionate groups that probably want the same thing but can’t agree on the realities…


Nice question!
It also came up in some podcast I listened to a while back.

One of the ‘problems’ I personally see popping up in general with the (combat)flightsim community is that there are a lot of ‘fly by the book, die by the book’ types.
These people get their knowledge of the various platforms they fly and fight from handbooks, novels, technical manuals and publicly available military documents.
They really go deep into the nuts and bolts of their subject, much like an engineer would.
Pilots, however, are one of the laziest personalities around and have a very pragmatic way of tackling things.
This often causes some friction between the ‘two types’ where the ‘by the book’ guy tells the pilot he is doing it wrong cause the books say so, which pisses the pilot off because even though the book says so, airmanship dictates a different way is better in this particular case and gets annoyed because of the internet guy not acknowledging his hands on experience.

I am generalising on purpose here.

Then there’s the ‘its a game’ issue that pisses people off who take sims too seriously.
But it is. We get VERY neat stuff with VR, buttkickers and what not, but a commercial product depicting military material will always be a game due to obvious limitations in ability to model stuff.

Even the full flight sims we use for training have weird ‘oh its the sim’ issues and besides that I’ve never come across one that actually mimicks landing the damn thing as realistic as you get in the actual jet. So there’s that. :slight_smile:


It’s so easy to criticize; it takes seconds, and no effort. It is much more difficult to be constructive. And dealing with criticism on line is hard to do well, let alone being time consuming. It gives the vocal minority more power, because they are vocal. Our hobby is 90% online (information, community, etc), and those voices can have even more of an effect if there are not other, more positive or constructive sources of information.


We do well compared to the mean for sure, and I give it a fair amount of thought on the whys. My theory on why we don’t get a lot of the usual fighting / trolling (and I don’t mean the usual ‘eye roll’ :roll_eyes: rubbish that especially I often put out, as it’s not like we all super agree all the time or anything (that would be dull)) is that we here are:

(i) Too much work to troll, in that for people that want to yell ‘Fire!’ then they can see they’ll get bored to death by an avalanche of words from the regulars…

(ii) It’s easier to do it elsewhere, there’s bigger and better audiences and…

(iii) we all have settled into a non-spoken collective agreement that we’re actually in @BeachAV8R’s front room just chatting - so if someone sort of suddenly shouts ‘I F*CKING HATE HAMSTERS THEY SHOULD ALL DIE!’ then we all know that’s sort of odd for a room full of acquaintances in someone else’s house. The collective ‘yeah, that’s not cool’ reaction helps more than any ban button or moderation with rules and whatnot.

The downside with (iii) is that it may put people off from joining in (maybe, it’s hard to measure people not interacting), which is why we probably all need to over-compensate even more than feels natural to be supportive and welcoming.


From my perspective, it’s the fault of the flightsim makers.

Always been into military aviation, but didn’t start combat flight simming until mid-90’s

The NovaLogic’s of the time presented something that wasn’t very real, but terribly interesting. Next, comes DiD and Jane’s. Again, it’s not very real, but it’s really getting better and most are hooked and can’t wait for more!

Jump to today - DCS is very real looking and sucks you in bad. Now, you want everything cuz you know they can do it. And it better be given to me by tomorrow.

Of course just a generalization and doesn’t apply to me, I’m just happy as hell.


Very true. ”I read that” isn’t evidence. And just because your favourite hero wrote that in his biography, doesn’t make it true. Humans are horrible witnesses.

Hey! Ok, true, but still… :wink:

We’re not even graded on landing the sim… The difference is that big.

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That is exactly what I tell people when they pull the hardcore realism card.


I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. And most of the time that’s why I turn off my radio since I just can’t stand to listen to these guys moan over and over again about everything. Some people just can’t behave, not only on comms but also on social media in general. It’s kind of why I don’t get involved with the community as much as I could.


In EDs case, I think a lot of grief was self-inflicted. Back when I was a mod for them, in hindsight we really sucked at managing expectations back then. When you hear that some feature is coming for the 3rd year in a row, it certainly gets aggravating. Not everybody had the zen to stick around, as at some point it just got really apparent that the expectations they were setting were just really unrealistic in some areas for the time being.

Fortunately for them, their PR game has become much better in recent years, and that may or may not have gone hand in hand with becoming better at their dev processes and project management, but at least from the outside it looks that way. There’s still the occasional project that goes slightly sideways (F-16 release, e.g.), but overall I feel that a lot of the axe grinding is people still holding grudges from 5-10 years ago.

As for the rest, I think that’s just the internet. It’s not like other communities don’t produce plenty of BS drama. I can sympathize with Mover’s frustrations though, even though he himself threw the occasional (mild) fit over the F-16 FM.


And to put more gas on the fire, the things goes even more wild when the complainers are driven by biased and political polarized tastes, like the wehraboos. That create so many BS discussions on ww2 flight sim forums.

Toxic communities are everywhere but with diferent styles. From my experience in flight sims specifically talking i see these classic ones:
The Rivet Obsessive
The Performance “Scientist”
The Wehraboo
The End of the World Bug Allergic
The Arrogant
(this one can have many spectrums or variants, from “tHiS Is NoT a GaMe!!!” to the 14 years old kids that because are boss on a VA and knows all the fcom acts like the boss of the world)


All this spiced with fanboys, gate keepers, its a potent powder to create toxic and drammas in forums and fs communities.

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Short answer: Yes.

Long Answer: Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssss

Sorry, couldn’t help it.

Okay. So it’s not that I don’t agree with every post so far, I do. But I would also like to point out Mover’s specific case, just because, context, and also, because I find it interesting as well.

I would think that Mover is one of the first (if not the first) Fighter Pilot digital influencers around. It’s a pretty recent phenomenon, that I am obsessed about. I think the first time it clicked for me (and I might be absolutely full of [email protected], because I’m relatively new to flight sims) was some Hornet pilot explaining Case I Landings. That was awesome. To have a real fighter pilot explaining how to do something in DCS was mindblowing. It felt that what I was doing was THAT real.

Then I think I saw Mover’s video dogfighting in DCS and that guy started to get some traction, it was awesome (until I read his book, one that I will only politely remark that I strongly did not enjoy). Now we have a handful of real pilots giving online lectures (Mooch being everybody’s favorite or it’s just me?) and a growing community around them. I cannot believe their success is not in some part fueled by DCS. Especially since most of them started on youtube after the Hornet release (that in my opinion, changed everything in terms of user base).

Mover had some tough times with the channel in the last year, he has a very sincere and in my opinion very good video about it, and so, content and views was high on his priority. He is trying to find a voice. For that, I can see how DCS might not fit him as much. On the other hand, dare I say he didn’t have the type of career Mooch had, and all the access that entails. So I get it, who is Mover, what makes him stand out as an influencer? That’s for he to decide, and if DCS does not fit into his plans, fair game. Although he’s the ironic movie ruiner DCS scoffing mover to me, I find it quite entertaining.

So his context is not only about toxic gamers (yeah, I would not put flight sim community that far from the gaming community, albeit usually older and good with numbers - also a tendency to some personality traits there), but also about how would that content work for his channel and how much work that would cost. Let’s all agree his DCS videos are not as well produced as some of the good DCS content creators out there, such as Growling Sidewinder and co.

I personally don’t think the community is that bad. In fact I consider it extremely helpful, polite, adult and intelligent. I do however know that it being the internet, there will always be those guys… But being a more recent simmer all I can say is that either over here, or in the group I fly with regularly, I was much more positively surprised than otherwise.

But maybe it was just me expecting so much worse…


Flight sim people are people. With all the bumps, warts, and baggage…

And it’s the INTERNET! Both the best thing to come along in my lifetime and the worst - anonymity is the issue, imho. Look at every other encounter with the general public. The 90/10 rule (or is it 80/20) applies: 90% are just fine. It’s the other 10% that cause all the problems. And the internet gives them a free ride to express it.

And I’ll guarantee you they drive like arse-holes too.

As for how you play. I’m just glad I have a hobby that allows me to play as real as I can.

Flight sims (or open-world combat sims) are likely the most complicated ‘games’ to create (esp. when you can’t seem to stay still and stick to a theme). Dungeon crawlers (sometimes they appear to be outside but are just dungeon crawlers without a ceiling) have to look really good to capture the passing fancy of their target audience. But are relatively speaking more simple. I think the hardcore racing sim world is just as caustic from what I’ve seen.

Simulating something complex, that is real, where comparisons can be made, is tough.

I find it more interesting that real pilots, specifically fighter pilot types, would even touch these things.

In my previous life (ATC) there was (and likely still is) a [very] small group that do ATC stuff in MSFS - and they were/are INTO IT! I hooked up with them briefly about 20 years ago. They wanted me to ‘play’ with them. Ick, that was the LAST thing I wanted to do. And they didn’t “get it” when I tried to explain that it was not, no matter what they tried to do, real.

But they had fun. That’s what counted. And I recruited a couple of the younger ones into “the job” - figured they showed an interest so why not. And they did well, checking out 3-ish years later.


Had the same thought.