To me the Strike Fighters 1 & 2 series will always be like the first real Girlfriend you had.
You can only be glad all all the good times you had together but now you know it was not the one for you.
Despite the hotness and flexibility you simply can’t forget commitment issues, unreliability and overall shortsightedness…
Just my experience, at least. But what a blast!
Strike Fighters, I really had a love-hate relationship with it. I wanted to love it so much, but eventually didn’t. The premise was so fantastic. All those awesome classic jets from the greatest eras of air combat. The weapon modeling was done very well too. Sometimes missiles would fly off dumb or Sparrows would fall down dead from your aircraft upon launch. I didn’t mind the simplifications, but ultimately it was sloppy design around basic gameplay that killed it for me.
What struck me most were the issues around the view-system, which for a sim revolving around visual dogfights was a show-stopper for me. For years it was not possible to look further than 45° up using TrackIR! The view back was so limited, you could not even see the rear edge of the canopy. And it was basically impossible to see other aircraft without tagging and have a red box around them, which for me was an immersion breaker. Such little things that would have been so easy to do better. Just look at Il-2 which simply nailed basic gameplay. Strike Fighters had the potential to become the Il-2 of the jet era had it been designed better (and, let’s face it, get multiplayer).
Time and time again I had seen great screenhots and AARs, thought this couldn’t be as bad as I remembered, re-installed it and was disappointed again
For me it was Graphsim’s F/A-18 Hornet 3.0 and Korea on my Apple Mac Performa 6200 lol. I loved those games! That’s why I’ve always loved the Hornet
OH WOW! Talk about throwback! Nice ex-girlfriend
The time it would take me to get it all installed and back to the level I left the sim at, would be days.
But like you all, it holds a spot in my heart. Loved it and wished it could have met it’s full potential.
Vietnam-era Multiplayer Alpha Strike, dudes…
A-6s escorted by F-4s.
We were so close I could almost taste it…
Yes, it had (has) some issues for sure. It is a great “fire it up and go” sim though for moments when you just want to go quickly cause some mayhem.
I had seen a file posted over at our friends at Combatace.com that I had missed back in 2016 that replaced some of the Operation Desert Storm units assets with updated ones:
The game definitely looks like a game…and is gamey…but sometimes that’s just fun. I have days where I want to spend 30 minutes prepping a cockpit and getting all into the mission briefing, and some days where I just want to hit GO and be in the action. And SF2 does have LOTS of action…
It is definitely a process for sure. Back when I had my install up to date and all modded to perfect, I took a snapshot of the entire thing, moved it into storage, and last night when I saw the directory lurking on one of my hard drives, it literally only took me about 10 minutes to get back up and working. It only took that long because I had to move that entire SF MODS folder (75 GB) back onto a drive that my install was pointing to . I still had my USER/ files all backed up, so I didn’t have to mess with INI files or anything - just had to put the correct files in the correct spot. The only thing that didn’t appear to stick was controller assignments for some reason, each version I started (SF2, SF2 Europe, SF2 ODS, SF2 Odyssey Dawn, SF2 Vietnam, etc…) I had to set my controller axis (which takes about 20 seconds to waggle each).
But yeah, if you were going from a zero install, through all the SF2 packages, updating, modding…it isn’t a dance I’d envy for anyone. How nice would it be if TK, as sort of a parting gift to the community, would roll all those installs and updates into one mega package and charge us one last time for it. I know I beat this drum all the time, but MP functionality in SF2 with twelve of us flying an Alpha Strike in Vietnam would just be a ton of beer drinking fun…
There was a limited time offer he had…was it in the fall of 2011 maybe? There was a unified installer for all the titles to that point, I think it excluded NA which wasn’t out yet, and you only got it by emailing them for it if you had all the titles on your account. It was for like a month or two only.
I remember I got it, but I never needed it. The actual install for SF2 unified is only 2-3 GB I think. The vast space is used by the mods which I backed up after the time it took me to put them all together! So many maps, ground units, ships, and planes… Not to mention the weapons mods enabling nukes.
It’s a real shame that the survey sims have all but died off. Your choices are either really arcade style stuff or super-duper high-fidelity games with long prep time.
I miss being able to get something going in ~5min like in the IL2 days.
You can say a lot of things about the SF2 series, and not all of them are great, but it does a lot of things very well and does them with the minimum amount of fuss. That’s what I like about it and why I still fly it more than any other sim. Until CAP2 is finished, anyway.
ED said “FC3 was our best selling product.”
They proceeded to not release any more like it.
Perhaps they prefer building extremely detailed single machine simulations? Just because they like doing that more?
Given the amount of time it takes to make one of those vs an FC-level plane, they could pop out one of those a year for like $20 to fill out the roster. As previously mentioned, we have the MiG-21bis but we don’t have anything that really matches it. Maybe the 2000C, maybe?
We have a Ka-50, but only a UH-1, which already has the Mi-8. If we can’t have an AH-64, how about an AH-1W?
They can always choose to up its fidelity later but I’m frustrated by the glacial pace of releases and the fact that they’re all over the board era-wise.
I’d submit, that the vocal elements of the DCS community have created the perception that FC level airplanes are not wanted, and spending time producing them would be an economic liability. If you go onto the official DCS forums (not that I recommend that real often), people are excoriating the devs over trivial rivet count type issues. How are these same consumers going to respond to an AC with a non-clickable cockpit, or even just non-working switches?
Which I personally think is a shame. I’d say for most of the complexity in a full house module that doesn’t deal with weapons employment people only use about 10% of it. Think about the ABRIS in the KA-50, really cool, but honestly who used it even close to it’s full potential? The F-15C and SU-27/33 have much less sophistication in the whole module I’d argue, but what is there is what engages the core of combat flight simming (flying, finding, and fighting) and does so well. Sure we can argue about the accuracy of the radar implementation in the F-15, but who ever saw anyone complain that the ABRIS didn’t properly show drift due to the fact DCS uses a flat map projection rather then a spherical one? No one, because very few people ever got that far into the system to know or care (and for the record I don’t, it’s just a convenient example).
I think FC style aircraft, hit the sweet spot between true simulation and “arcade” gameplay (not that I have issues with the later, HAWX is still one of my favorite console games). They require a little more work then SF/SF2 “select next ground target”, but I don’t have to bind a key to move a switch guard out of place. The reality of it to me, is that if I’m not in front of a full on pit (e.g. a military simulator), then some simplifications for usability are absolutely okay.
Visual modeling is usually the fastest part of the process, and if systems modeling can be done at a reduced, but still believable level I don’t see why couldn’t have quarterly releases.
I’m so loving the AV-8B right now. I can’t imagine it not having a clickable cockpit or MFDs. As far as the Eagle, yes it’s fun to jump in it and go. But there are times when I want to do things, like use nav radios, that are really frustrating. How much better that bird would be with a clickable cockpit. I hope to hell that RAZBAM builds a Mud hen.
As far as the SF series, it was a lot of fun back in the day. But the pits, terrain, and 3D objects are horrible and sparse by today’s standards. Strange that didn’t keep it from having some weird performance issues. The Phantom porpoised up and down as it went trans mach, TrackIR wasn’t 6 DOF, it doesn’t play well with Windows 10, the carriers are plain, it didn’t have multiplayer support out of the box, and the developer stopped developing it right when it needed some major updates.
And what was the weapons pack that you always had to manage and keep up with the add-one? That was fun.
I have great memories flying SFV 1 & 2 in Yankee Air Pirate. But going back would be like looking for your old girlfriend at your 40th high school reunion.
My hypothesis is the popular FC3 aircraft, the F-15C, the Sukhois, enjoy their position because they currently offer something the full up modules don’t. The F-15C and Su-27 are the only real air superiority fighters in the game right now. The Su-33 is the only X-BAR carrier aircraft. The -25s are the only dedicated Eastern ground attack aircraft, and even then the T seems more popular due to the Shkval, SEAD, and the community’s general bias towards missiles.
This is a skewed perspective, I grant you, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen an A-10A online. You’ll see the occasional MiG-29, but even these get less play time due (I wager) to the reduced capabilities compared to the bigger Sukhois and their more simplistic flight model.
I’m curious to see how these demographics shift with the release of aircraft that fill their niches while offering greater depth.
(Also heck yeah, give me the Mudhen).
Don’t get me wrong, I like a clickable cockpit as much as the next guy. However if you gave me the option of a Strike Eagle right now that had only a partially clickable cockpit (in the FSX sense where you can click on all the switches but less then half do anything), or waiting 5 years for a full fidelity one, I know which I’d take in a heart beat. Honestly the KA-50 could have about 85% of it’s switches as just window dressing and I’d never know. Really with the Harrier besides the MFD’s, stores panel, and the UFC there’s not a lot of other switches that HAVE to be clicked to fight the sucker. I’d be be more enthused with a fully working ARBS and TPOD then having the INS align do anything (I highly doubt I’m going to ever mess with aligning the INS). Don’t get me wrong I’ve got my $64 out of the module as is, but I know where my interest lie, and having a fully functioning lighting control panel is not it.
I’m curious how much of this is also due to perceived superiority/capability versus a realism issue. I’d wager that if the A-10A was the high fidelity module, with a fully clickable cockpit, systems modeling, etc, and the C was FC with the old SFM, people would still fly the C due to the TPod and ordnance available for it.
So I saw my ex at my thirtieth, and lets just say SF2’s install process was nicer to me than she was and leave it at that. So your point is taken regarding SF2 but I don’t think anyone is talking about going back to it. This is the old Quantity vs Quality debate.
Now let me be clear before I go forward - I do not think DCS should make FC3 aircraft. They are on the correct and proper path with the F-18, F-14, Harrier and F-4 for them. You hear me ED? Keep going! Nothing to see here!
But…I have been very impressed with Il-2 BOX’s model of what amounts to content packs that have a map and ten aircraft. The output and the gameplay is phenomenal. I really enjoy it and am impressed with how they have navigated their way to a model that fits, for all intents and purposes, between Warthunder and DCS:WW2. But I think an important consideration in all this is that simpler modeling just works in a WW2 aircraft. You can map everything you need to fly and fight the aircraft on a modern hotas. The lack of switchable cockpits just isn’t a barrier like in modern jets.
I would be curious if a new sim-lite with modern jets would be successful anymore, or is that genie out of the bottle now? Would simmers that have already committed a chunk of their budget to DCS spend on a jet sim that doesn’t let them change radar modes without heavy abstraction? And how would jets that are full modeled be viewed in their sim-lite versions? Why fly a dumbed down F-18 or Viggen when you don’t have to?
It’s not that I don’t see the attraction of a new-SF2 with multiplayer, I do and I would be into it, but I would also be disingenuous (14 points) if I didn’t point out that I didn’t kickstart BOS, or whatever they did, or pre-order it, in fact I was year and half late to it. I just think a sim-lite modern jet game would end up being another online pay-to-win grindfest because that’s how the market would sustain it.