Sim vs Reality Tactics

@Hangar200 You asked for it, here it is.

What kind of simmer/gamer are you? By the “book” or what ever works? Combination of both?

For me it depends on the game I’m playing and who I’m playing with. When I’m playing DCS with you guys, I enjoy the quasi realistic procedures, tactics, and missions. @near_blind can vouch for my textbook carrier landing patterns. We fly realistic-ish scenarios with little to no jack-assery. Nobody gets bent out of shape for using the wrong brevity code, or not hitting pattern numbers exactly, or exploding on the ramp. When I play solo, I enjoy flying like a barn stormer, taking off from taxiways, buzzing the carrier, anything goes.

When playing ground combat/shooter games, I can’t get on board with the super serious ultra seal recon tactics. Mainly because most people’s version of realism is so far from my actual combat experiences it’s comical. I don’t think any game I’ve played has given an accurate depiction of really running and gunning. It’s a strange relationship for me because I also dislike arcade like abilities and characters in shooters. I’m most comfortable with a game that has realistic weapons, units, and physics, but played with a group that realizes it is not actual combat and plays it as such.


Just to add to the ground combat side, I think playing by “the book” also takes away the combat ingenuity aspect of real world gunfights that is encouraged in real life. Small unit leaders should be creative and use their own initiative to win the fight. Not just follow textbook formations and procedures.


That’s how I roll in DCS. I like to land and takeoff from runways, but I will buzz the tower even if the pattern is full after a successful flight.


Fun topic likely to get a broad range of responses.

For me, it really depends on what mode or mindset I’m in. If I’m trying to really sit down and learn a module, or accomplish a detailed mission, I really like to go through the process of planning, startup, and then following the mission briefing with an eye towards both self preservation and mission goals. I don’t feel that a mission where I flew good, destroyed some stuff, survived, but didn’t accomplish the objective is still a win. Most of us can’t relate to what it is like to have people shooting back, or even flying over territory where you know most of the people below would saw your head off if you were forced down (well, I do fly over Trenton sometimes), so that threat ever lurking in the back of your head surely makes you double down on attention to detail sprinkled with some self preservation.

Every so often I’ll fire up a “Dead Is Dead” campaign because it injects a little bit of that “hey…I probably shouldn’t do this” logic once you’ve invested some time.

Other times, I just want to get in a plane, chat with some friends, and screw around and learn some stuff in a laid back environment. You have to know your audience though, and if three other people are interested in going full-on hardcore, you should know when to bow out and realize they want to play a bit differently than you that night. I have no problems with that…there is a time and place for everything.

I also don’t mind getting no or only a few kills (air or ground) in a mission. I’ve flown many MP missions where all I do is come along and don’t actually end up shacking anything, but have fun anyway. I just don’t have enough time to be proficient or super combat effective in any DCS modules at the moment, so I’m lucky to get the aircraft started, remember to put weapons on it, and get to the first waypoint…so my definition of success is a pretty low bar. :rofl:


Well I’ve always tried to play games, especially tactical shooters by the book, with proper military planning and tactics. So much so that when I use to run the SWAT 3 then 4 server for Tactical Gamer, I had a couple quit, just wasn’t there cup of tea to watch a hall way or hold the 6. But many stayed, learned and loved it.

BUT… what I have noticed, even with games like ArmA… slow and tactical works against AI, but rarely against humans.

My current favorite game is Vigor, it’s currently an Xbox preview exclusive, but I love it. The intensity is extreme. When I play, when I go into the outlands for loot I try and be slow and methodical, play like I was really trying to survive, get some ■■■■, and get the hell out. And it works… but watching other players videos or broadcast of the game… the ones that usually kick ass and win, are the ones that run everywhere, engage fast and quick, with amazing accuracy, then off running and bunny hopping to the next target, location, or exit.

So what I’m saying… I think, lol… is that even thou games can be played slow and tactical… games are games, and even the most hyper, killer shot gamer usually wins. Not even the most realistic tactical shooters like ArmA or that new Sandstorm one on steam can really favor tactics over game skills. IMO… or I just suck really really bad, lol.

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This is so true that it hurts. So to speak…

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They still look better than mine…

I don’t do a lot of FPS/ shooter types (I’m terrible at target ID/ aim), so that doesn’t really apply to me, but when I’m flying in DCS I do try and keep up with realistic-ish tactics as much as possible. When I’m flying online especially, I’ll do my best to follow as closely as I can with the realistic bits that aid most in avoiding confusion, causing accidents, doing more harm than good, etc, just because it’s a matter of being courteous to the time and efforts of others I’m flying with.

In terms of tactics, I’m a terrible air to air pilot in DCS (decent in Rise of Flight/ Flying Circus, but only when I’m actively flying them regularly), but I do try and use realistic doctrines as much as possible (even if it feels like I die even faster when doing this), because I figure somewhere down the line it’ll actually pay off better than just playing “Air Quake”.

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I try to be a by-the-book simmer with the caveat that I don’t do my flying as a job, so I don’t get the time and practice that I would in the ‘real world’ - whatever that is :-). So I try to be by-the-book, time permitting.

But, like others have mentioned, it depends on the game. In some games, DCS being a prime example, I feel like I need to be on my procedures/tasks and preforming and I sometimes lose the fun - it’s challenging, and I enjoy that aspect, but sometimes it is not ‘fun’ (as in not relaxing, not giving a … poop, laughing off dying, etc). As a game moves along the sim-to-casual level, I try to treat them as they are intended but I still have a problem dying … because that feels like failure (even though I know that failure is always an option (thanks Adam Savage :slight_smile:)). I also don’t like playing an evil character or an adversarial game - that’s who I don’t want to be, which is fully because in a game like Stellaris I have a hard time being a dictator or slaver race and then to want to annihilate them as soon as I see them.

Wait. Is this a trick psychology question? You may as well just asked: “What kind of person are you?” :slight_smile:


There should be a penalty for hopping more than twice…like a broken ankle or something…

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Back in the day…There was a quote hanging up in the intel center at NAS Oceana, purportedly from Soviet General that said:

“It is useless to plan against American doctrine. Most Americans don’t read their doctrine and those that do read it, do not feel compelled to follow it.”

…or something like that. True? I am skeptical about the authorship by in a lot of cases its general theme seems about right.

Yes we use doctrine–i.e. “the book”–but as a guide, not a rule, certainly not a strait jacket. So if we don’t do that in realty I can hardly make a case for doing it in virtual reality. :grin::grin:

My thought on this thread is to discuss “sim-isms” vs “reality”. The bunny hop example I used is a blatant sim-ism. Although I have never participated in ground actions, I’m pretty sure that jumping a couple of feet in the air when a grenade explodes right next to me is not going to completely save me from injury.

At one end of the spectrum, that is what I am talking about.

Closer to the other end of the spectrum is the story I posted on the favorite gaming moments thread. Short version. Playing Age of Empires II against the wife. I build a textbook, medieval army–proper mix of swords men and pike men infantry, supported by a robust line of archers, and cavalry protecting the flanks. My wife built “a bunch of horsies” (all cavalry) and kicked my butt. It was a Middle Ages Tank Rush. I wasn’t happy.

Did she do anything wrong or might be considered cheating? No, absolutely not. True, the same tactics didn’t work out for the French at Agincourt, but this was AOE2, not the Hundred Years War so…I lost fair and square. In other words, she wasn’t bunny hopping.

That is what I am trying to get at. I know that there are the equivalents of building “a bunch of horsies” in DCS–like spewing off 4 x AIM-54s to get an enemy jinking until you can put a Sidewinder up his tailpipe. In reality, the American taxpayers may frown on that tactic but, in DCS World, missile are free.

Take last night (SP) my not breaking off an engagement against an L-39 when I hit Bingo fuel. I was in a Fulcrum. I could have probably out run him at idle throttle. But no I stayed in the fight and flamed out before I was able to get a good lock and kill him. I win! No gulags in the virtual world!

I think the examples above are just players being creative and showing initiative. Doctrine? I think I tried a Hi Yo-Yo somewhere in my dog fight…but my TrackIR was being a bit goofy so I just went 1 circle with him…that should be doctrine enough. :grin:

My question then becomes, “Is there stuff in DCS that is blatantly Bunny Hopping?” If so what and hw do we feel about it?

Same goes for other games.

FPS? (Did you know that in STALKER CS,in one area you can run right off the map to avoid getting killed?)

RTS? (in AOE2 if you make bunch of horsies…did I already mention that)

RPG? (Kind of hard in some RPGs when you have Magic and enchanted swords and stuff, bit still…)

Hopefully that is what this thread evolves into. :slightly_smiling_face:


This Is a great thread!

My personal views are: If I’m playing a game I’m playing a game. It’s for enjoyment and entertainment for me personally.
now if I’m using a simulation like dcs or x plane I tend to treat it as a learning experience. Now that’s not to say that occasionally I don’t mess around and try to land harriers on buildings and try to get the wheels of the f15c to touch the top of a KC135 without killing it instantly (I havent managed this yet lol)
I always try to take something useful away from the simulators. Even if its something like sitting for an hour trying to program the INS on the harrier rather than having it pre aligned.
this is the difference for me between games and sims.
People may of seen the Ace combat 7 thread where I said I learn my procedures in DCS but sometimes I want to pull 15g at mach 2 and kill 50 migs in a mission and feel like the badass I am in my head lol.

One other thing is the online multiplayer.

I like helping people. I also like it when someone spends time with me trying to help me. I think the world would be nicer for everyone paying help given forward even if its only a little bit here and there.
so in the case of people spending there time to help me I never ever mess around or waste their valuable time. I take those moments most seriously as nobody is obligated to help me or play with me so it would be a terrible waste of that to not treat that with the solemn respect it deserves. Not to say you can’t have fun with it but you should always give it your 100% attention in those cases. For example “hollo pointe” with @franze @wes @WreckingCrew the other night. That was the most fun I’d ever had in DCS. Everyone working together. Everyone respecting each other. Fantastic experience


I’d say the most obvious one I’ve envountered is Spaamraming which will undoubtably be Substituted with phoenix’s shortly. Firing off 10 amraams at one target is hardly economical, but it will generally get the job done.

Another bunny hopping moment for me is the affect of flash/stun grenades in open spaces. Usually way over done.


This is a key reason why I believe the scenario dictates the tactics and strategies used. As noted, if you have an infinite supply of F-14s and AIM-54s, why wouldn’t you sling them everywhere? You’ll never run out and it’s the aerial equivalent of suppressive fire. If you say there’s only 4 F-14s available and a total pool of 32 AIM-54s, then suddenly it makes sense to not waste them – unless you put someone in the seat who doesn’t understand that and will happily waste all the aircraft and missiles, then quit when they run out of lives.

@near_blind has pointed out before that in most DCS scenarios, there is no reason to use realistic tactics because everything is separated and compartmentalized. The attack guys don’t like to get blasted out of the sky en route to the target, especially when aircraft like the A-10 aren’t particularly known to go anywhere fast. Likewise, the fighter guys hate to get shot down from 80nmi out when there was no real defense on their end tech-wise (and partly because certain strategies aren’t “fun”). If your scenario is such that one side has to work through an integrated air defense network to hit a target, then that side will have to adopt realistic tactics in order to achieve their goal. The same is true of defenders, where they won’t be able to stay low and rely on the IRST advantage if they desire to properly protect their objective. Aircraft shootdowns and target destruction in these cases don’t usually fall to whoever has the most individual skill, but whichever team works best together to achieve the objective.

We have to remember that in a lot of games, key pieces of the puzzle have been missing and still are. In DCS, the Bug only recently got the HARM, and prior to that point SEAD/DEAD was very difficult as the only player aircraft that mounted ARMs was the Su-25T. The Bug is getting a wider variety of tools to complete a number of missions, which I think will be opening the door to doing a lot more than in the past. I expect this to open even more once the F-16 hits since it will bring more of the same. Prior to the availability of these aircraft, the only options were pure fighters or pure CAS aircraft, and a lot of scenarios tried to shoehorn them into doing something they weren’t well suited for. It’s going to be very difficult for a flight of F-15s to maintain air superiority long enough for an A-10 to come in, strike the target, and get out – and that’s ignoring any ADA in the area.

So for me, the needs of the situation at hand determine how I play. Air quake? You bet I’m pulling out all the stops, because the other guys are going to fight just as dirty. Outside of that? There’s a reason why real-world tactics are used and sticking with them usually gives a favorable result. This is partly why a lot of scenarios I like to design involve lots of flying and administrative stuff like aerial refueling; having to fly 150nmi to the target and back tends to cause the air quake crowd to puke and quit out of boredom.

One time, I picked a Su-33 on a random multiplayer server, and the aircraft was on the Kuznetsov from the west side of Crimea. In order to get anywhere, I would have basically had to fly across the map. So I took a minimal loadout of missiles, balanced with as much gas as I could get, with the intent of rearming at a front line base for a real mission. Did I mention I was also the only red player? By the time I crossed the Crimea, a bunch of blue Bugs decided I should be attacked and were loaded up and coming at me. Strangely enough, they came at me one by one. In the red air defense network. I knew I couldn’t best a AIM-120 with R-27ERs, so I instead drew them over a SA-6 site and one by one, they each ate a Gainful. I didn’t make a single kill, but they lost 4 Bugs to ADA because they just had to try and shoot me down – it was that important to them. In effect, they still lost, but in their minds I didn’t win either because I failed to shoot them down. To me, the mere fact that they got shot down and I didn’t was enough of a win for me. Few people treat a game like DCS that way – most treat it as, well, Air Quake.


I haven’t noticed that but I haven’t used FBs since Rainbow Six (I loved those games)

My ground “tactics” consist of knowing the divergence between cover and concealment…and how to do covering fire (from Hell’s Highway)

You would think that all the time I have spent with Marines (2 years / 2 floats on USS GUAM) I would have picked up more.

There was one thing…it was an exercise and the MEU was tasked with taking a bridge. I remember seeing A Bridge Too Far where Robert Redford (I think) tests a subordinate with “What is the best way to capture a bridge?” The answer is “Both ends at the same time.”

So I’m helping the S2, USMC O4, with the planning and I ask?, “BTW, what is the best way to capture a bridge?”
He looks at me, smirks and says,“Both ends at the same time. Just like in the movie.”

Really, that was their plan. Claimed he had called a USMC doctrine office in Quantico and that had said, “I don’t know…probably both ends at the same time, just like in the movie.” :sunglasses:


Perhaps some air force dudes are looking at all the air quake and how IRST is used to counter Link16 by all those kids. Perhaps not entirely realistic, but interesting enough.

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An obvious sim tactic as well for A-10C users is to load up with a full load of CBU-97s, save for whatever CBU-105 WMCD’s you can take (if so inclined to have the guided version) - then drop them on various armor groups one by one. You can destroy mountains of units with the “Hockey pucks of death” and @Franze puts it.

Definitely not a real world tactic, but definitely effective in DCS. This also compensates in some sense for the lack of effectiveness of rockets, due to our simple damage model at present.

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I think that hinges on how its used. In conjunction with GCI/AWACS, it’s an awesome way to sneak up on enemy aircraft and gain the advantage of surprise. Once again though, both assets are rarely in place or used within scenarios, so the only systems are IRST and Sirena. Keep in mind that IRST as depicted on the Flanker and Fulcrum probably takes liberties with system performance, so in the real world it may not be quite as useful.


Because most players arent afraid of dying in a sim/game. They just toss in another quarter and off they go into the maylay.

Because of 8ball’s great skins and the bush airfield mission he created for the Yak-52, I took a gamble and bought it. It’s my goof around plane that I can have fun in. Simple and I dont interfere with anyone else’s flying.

For the more real-sim tactical flying, I try and learn as much as I can about the correct ways to utilize that particular aircraft or helo. And follow those procedures to the best of my abilities. Mutual support of a wingman instead of just ditching him in a furball. Or doing a single pass during an A2G mission, against a well defended target in order to live and fight on.

Just my $.02


When I fly a campaign I tend to fly it as realistic as possible. When I am working on a mission I will fly it in as many ridiculous ways as possible, for fun and to see how the AI will react, so I can create a more immersive scenario. Quick missions anything goes and a lot of how I play then depends on my mood.



The main issue I see is there’s typically no consequences to dying.

This is where systems like limited lives, spawns, and ammo stores can make a difference, but even then everyone has to play by those rules and have the same sort of conservation mindset.