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SimHQ linked to a series of new pics from DCS Ground. Tasty ground action going on in these, impressive explosions, almost photorealistic terrain. I admit that long-time SBP-fan sitting at my end of the wire starts to feel envious a bit.

http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3601900.html

Must I spell the obvious question, or can you imagine it yourself? :biggrin:

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SimHQ linked to a series of new pics from DCS Ground. Tasty ground action going on in these, impressive explosions, almost photorealistic terrain. I admit that long-time SBP-fan sitting at my end of the wire starts to feel envious a bit.

http://simhq.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/3601900.html

Must I spell the obvious question, or can you imagine it yourself? :biggrin:

It looks good.

But will it have the same depth and realism that SB has.

Also you will properly need a super computer to run it.

personally i will stick with the beast.

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It looks good.

But will it have the same depth and realism that SB has.

Also you will properly need a super computer to run it.

personally i will stick with the beast.

So will I, the DCS range of simulations are truly deep in system simulation, but they always feel somewhat sterile. I have A10 and Black Shark, but I do not use them, never.

My hint, my question, my idea is that SBP really could need a graphics update after all these years. It starts to look hopelessly over-aged. Yes, realism and playability over eye candy, I know I know, and usually I sign such statements.

But the paint of SBP really is spalling since quite some time now. The sim deserves a fundamental visual facelift, I would say.

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Well, we didn't just snatch him in a drunken stupor in a bar in Shanghai last weekend. The decision to find someone for this task was made a few months ago. So, at best it was a case of telepathy at a snail's pace. ;)

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from Matt (The PR guy)...

"Just to manage expectations, please do not expect ground vehicle control to be at the level of SB Pro. In this first iteration, it would be more akin to the Battlefield series. However, where it dramatically differs from BF3 is operational scale, inclusion of online JTAC controllers (an outgrowth of some of our military projects), interaction with DCS air units, indirect fire systems, and the 2D Command Map. While 1st person control of many ground units is possible, it will not be possible yet to act as a FPS leg unit.

While the first release of CA will be a big step for us in the direction of the digital battlefield, it is just the first step and there are many areas we plan on fleshing out in coming years (control of AI air and naval units, FPS role, higher detail terrain, different types of artillery rounds, improved dust and smoke, etc.).

Thanks"

I'm previewing it for SimHQ, and asked not to compare it to SB Pro PE...because it ain't meant to be the same. Just FYI.

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Well, we didn't just snatch him in a drunken stupor in a bar in Shanghai last weekend. The decision to find someone for this task was made a few months ago. So, at best it was a case of telepathy at a snail's pace. ;)

You may not have snatched him in a drunken stupor in a bar in Shanghai, but you may have snatched him in a drunken (and jetlagged) stupor in a Thai restauarant in London :P

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Glad to hear eSim is growing! You guys have been working hard and it shows. The best armored tactical simulator on the market keeps getting better. And I've noticed a surge in online participation lately as well. No doubt a direct result. This is good news and I wait with bated breath to see how this sim evolves.

...Okay enough feel good talk. BACK TO WORK!! :D

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I'm previewing it for SimHQ, and asked not to compare it to SB Pro PE...because it ain't meant to be the same. Just FYI.

I did not intend to compare it. I indeed just wanted to raise awareness for those really amazing screenies and great looks of landscape and special fx, and using that as an opportunity to ask whether we can hope for a major graphical improvement of SBP. I defended the looks of SBP against criticism since years, but now feel indeed that it finally has become time that the sim makes a jump visually, too. As I see it, the vehicles and interiors are low priority, they are nice enough to hold out for another couple of years, if needed. The rolling 3-dimensional landscape wireframe (modelling of the surface I mean) and vegetation, as well as special fx (explosions, smoke etc) imo are top priorities, second is sky and environmental light conditions. The colour palette of SBP I always liked, since it is not too intense and cartoonish but gives a very natural, somewhat pastel impression. One should stay close to that use of colours, I think.

Just my personal idea.

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Hopefully the AI in DCS won't drive aimlessly into rivers, streams, and wadis.

Nice jab. But yes, because DCS ground vehicles have no AI/pathfinding (that is why DCS:CA was created in the first place if I am not mistaken - to make the otherwise static vehicles into moving targets).

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Nice jab. But yes, because DCS ground vehicles have no AI/pathfinding (that is why DCS:CA was created in the first place if I am not mistaken - to make the otherwise static vehicles into moving targets).

Not a jab, unless you're taking it personal?

I, like many others, would like to play a good modern ground combat simulator that has decent path finding.

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Not a jab, unless you're taking it personal?

I, like many others, would like to play a good modern ground combat simulator that has decent path finding.

Just remeber how hard it is to teach pathfinding to actual soldiers...I imagine teaching it to AI is really a bitch :-P

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So will I, the DCS range of simulations are truly deep in system simulation, but they always feel somewhat sterile. I have A10 and Black Shark, but I do not use them, never.

Man you got that right.

Great simulations but they have no heart, no soul. One wonders why?

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Not a jab, unless you're taking it personal?

I, like many others, would like to play a good modern ground combat simulator that has decent path finding.

Personal? No, just calling you out is all -- very creative. In any case, did I say it was unjustified? No.

Yes indeed, maybe DCS:CA is the answer to your pathfinding woes.

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Man you got that right.

Great simulations but they have no heart, no soul. One wonders why?

They have a soul. Unfortunately it is Russian. :biggrin: And the Russian soul thick and heavy.

From Flanker over Lomac to today'S DCS series, the IL-2 series, Rise of Flight, some Russian tank games by Gravityteam recently, they all feel to me as if they share the same philosophy, or orientation. Always super-detailed setup options, which unfortunately often come in non-ergonomic menues - it is no fun to set these sims to your preferences and set up joysticks and such. Russians seem to love a thousand buttons to push. :) Visually, always stunning. But also always mediocre in atmosphere and feeling, to put it mildy. Sterile. Cold. Linear in design and gameplay from A to Z. I indeed have a simulation category in my head named "Russian simulation".

Don'T get me wrong, techncially and regarding coding they know their stuff for sure. But they do not know how to blow some warm life into their cold impressive monster sims. They should do the coding, the platform simulation aspects and visual design - but leave the design of ergonomic menues and options as well as designing the complete package (usage options, mission, campaigns, and how to realise these) to some - Western - partner teams. Il-2, RoF, Flanker 2.0, 2.5, LOMAC, A-10, Blackshark - they all looked great to me, I all appreciate the competence behind them, the level of realism, the depthz to which they simulate their thing. And I found them all to suffer from the same "lifelessness". It simply leaves me cold and desinterested to be in their worlds. That is not due to a lack of interest, then I wouldn't have bought them, but a lack of atmosphere. And the lack of what I call a "round package".

Could anyone imagine that Microprose could have been a Russian developer like DCS? Hardly. But what was it that fascinated the older amongst us in their games? Right that is what is missing in the Russian titles, and almost completely.

Falcon 4.0 - those were the days. :) Microprose. Longbow II.

I'm drifting. Well, so be it. My currently most used sim is FSX, with PMDG's unbelievable 737NGX (my current benchmark in platform simulation) and the also well-done J41, nice weather modding, and special airport sceneries. I occassionally come back to SBP, still so, and look forward to - Virtual Pool 4 :D in mid August.

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I can't speak for other teams, but catering simulation games to the gamer audience is a very tough nut to crack. On the one hand, appealing visuals still is a, if not THE prime driver of purchase decisions. There's many reasons for that, and I don't intend to bash the public for this. On the face of it, it's just that - an important market factor.

The consequence is that as a team of developers, you NEED to get this aspect right in order to have a chance at all to be actually recognized. It's also an aspect that isn't terribly difficult to fulfill, as long as you have enough manpower to throw at the problem.

But there's the catch - people working on visuals as the #1 priority can't work on other stuff. And content - creating some sort of a story, maybe even characters suitable for the player's self-identification, or at the very least a set of at least somewhat dynamic yet carefully balanced/scripted scenarios that create a challenge to both the novice and the expert is something that usually requires the by far most manpower, yet it is something that you can't really start before at least all the major elements of the game are in place.

Unless someone comes up with a very, very wicked automatic scenario generator, this is what is the biggest challenge to any team working on a simulation game (unless it is a racing simulation, which doesn't need further justification of a story other than winning the championships).

This manpower requirement is pretty much impossible to meet as long as you are bound to work profitable as a team. Sim players would love near-Battlefield 3 like graphics, and some sophisticated storylines, yet they aren't nearly as many as Battlefield players (tens or low hundreds of thousands vs several millions).

It simply doesn't work out. In order to create a simulation with a strong content element you need a team size comparable to that of EA's AAA title developers, yet you can't mobilize a market of sufficient size to make it profitable. That's why many games put such a strong emphasis on multiplayer modes. Multiplayer is cheap. You provide the engine and the settings, the players will eventually make up their own story as they go (or, if they just want to socialize in a virtual environment - well, they abolish the demand for a story from the beginning).

Therefore, if content for simulation games is what people want, they have to create it themselves. If they have to create it themselves, the software must come with authoring tools that are reasonably easy to learn.

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You know, I get that SB's graphics are, by gaming standards, far too long in the tooth, but compared to what the big boys use for training (i.e. CCTT et al) it holds its own or is considerably better. I'm glad the Beast is getting a make over, but remember, to the military customers, what's under the hood is typically the first priority.

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We have a foot in both areas, and as long as I'm involved, I wouldn't want to give up either. The trick is to find the areas that are mutually supporting rather than neutralizing each other.

SB Pro PE is a great way to force us to reconsider user interfaces, better visuals, keeping the simulation relatively easy to learn, broad in tactical perspective, and as a rallying point for the team to consolidate work in regular release intervals rather than creeping with little control into too diverse directions.

The military version on the other hand forces us to stay focused on contemporary tactics and technology, and gives us access to vehicles which otherwise would simply be impossible to get our greedy paws/palms/tentacles on. I think we found a good combo. There's reason to have hope that it'll last for a while.

:)

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