Confessions of an Elitist Page 2

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Sometimes an Elitist will refer to themselves as “Purists”, but since I don’t like that label (and I’m the one writing this article), it’s stupid. Did I mention Elitists can sometimes be snobbish and somewhat arrogant?

“I am a Settings Elitist.”

There. I said it. But I’m still not going to the meetings or putting the “One Day At A Time” bumper sticker on my truck.

Besides, I’m not very good at it; I became an Elitist by default due to my own incompetence — and a willingness to share it with others.

Gear

While I can type fairly quickly, I do so by typing whole words without really thinking where the keys are. It’s like a savant skill in that I can place my hands on the home keys and hammer out sentences without much thought. However, finding an individual letter or number on the keyboard individually is a real challenge. In FPS games, I always remap the direction movement keys to the four arrows that sit off to the side by themselves and make the other commands very close to it.

Solution: Buy a Hands On Throttle And Stick (HOTAS). A programmable one. With big buttons that are easy to both press and remember. I have a Saitek X52 because it fit both my hands and pocketbook.

Never really mastered the use of a hat to change views and look around.I’m ham handed with the joystick, so rudder control via a twisty stick is out, as I’ll be fishtailing all over the place while trying to do a simple turn or dive. I stink at pressing keys, so naturally I have a set of rudder pedals. Actually,two sets. The Saitek pedals have a tension control to make them harder to press and are further apart than my CHPro pedals.

Never really mastered the use of a hat to change views and look around. It’s a simple thing, and 99.97% of the population can handle it without comment. When TrackIR came out and I could just move my head around to change the view I was thrilled. One less thing to fumble with. And the latest version, the TrackIR 4 Pro, tracks me no matter how much I thrash around in the chair. Yes, gentle reader, I’m the one that actually ducks down in the chair when the guy on my six is shooting at me.

The Computer

Okay, here I fit in with the other Elitists. I’m not a real benchmark let-me-publish-my-frame-rates kind of guy, but I want the sim to run consistently smoothly regardless of what I’m throwing at it. Heavy flak over Berlin with searchlights and incendrenaries while my flight of 12 is attacked by 24 German fighters? I want my 45 frames per minute with no jerkiness. I want no jaggies. I want the waves on the water. I want to run with the “Perfect” terrain settings so I can see as far out as the software will allow — “first to sight wins the fight.”

Like most Elitists, I tend to perform all upgrades myself, part by part, reading review after review of the latest hardware and working up dream systems.

Unlike most Elitists, my new rig is a pre-built Alienware monster. Undoubtedly my comrades have just cringed and howled at reading that. I don’t care. As I make the first dive into liquid cooling, I will do so with a warranty. And onsite service. I didn’t order the t-shirt, though. My alleged lack of vanity will only take me so far.

Bonus Plan for Mainstream Sim Pilots

Since Elitists are in the fairly routine habit of upgrading various parts of their computers, the bookshelf on the top of their closets has what a normal person would consider a treasure trove of high tech gear. The smart ones send Private Messages to Elitists that talk about their upgrades, making offers of small amounts of money + shipping. If you’re in a squadron that has a couple Elitists, share with them that you think it’s really cool that they got new gear and that you’re planning an upgrade from your present POS. Chances are that it’ll be offered up at not much more than shipping. In my squadron we actually have a sort of hardware pool of stuff.

The “Realism” Settings

Fancy gear does not an Elitist make. Indeed, the hardware is no more than a function of money and fiscal will. I saved for over two years to buy my monster computer. Somewhere out there is a trust fund baby playing Hello Kitty Adventure Island on an Alienware Aurora Quad SLI rig with 4 GB RAM, a Terabyte of hard disk space, and will ditch the whole thing when the DX10 ready video cards come in. Simply because he’s tired of the blue case and thinks a black one would be more “cool”.

Being an Elitist is all about flipping switches to harder difficulty settings and denying your opponent any possible edge that can’t be arrived at through hardware.

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