Staff Roundtable: The Future of Simulations Part 1 – PC’s versus Consoles

Welcome to the beginning of a series of discussions here at SimHQ which we think you will find interesting as well as provocative. Provocative because we’re going to be talking about the future of simulations, that crazy hobby we all enjoy, that brings us together and at times pushes us apart. We’ll be exploring such things as whether our little niche community is dying, stagnant, or growing and how we may be able to influence those trends, what really constitutes a “simulation” and how it differs from most console games, whether the distinction between video “games” and “simulations” is well defined or blurring, the simulation community’s relationship with developers and publishers and how those relationships can be made better, simulation product marketing, including pricing, distribution methods, and expansions. Over the next month or so we’ll debate these things and more. Our contributors will include SimHQ’s Staff and Moderators, guests, and well-known industry developers.

Our sincere hope is that these discussions will be the foundation for action which will shape the road we’re going to be traveling on. While we always think it’s good to talk about these issues, it really fires people up when they move from talking about things to actually making something happen, to shaping the future of simulations. We think that’s possible and we’d like you to be part of it.

And now this week’s topic: PC’s Versus Consoles. The SimHQ Team is having a no-holds barred roundtable discussion about this, and you’re invited to listen in. You may be surprised at the opinions, and we hope the conversation spurs your own ideas about what the future holds for us all.

Guod: Welcome to SimHQ’s first roundtable discussion on the future of simming. Let’s get going, shall we? We’ll just go around the room. Jens, you look like a man with a lot on his mind. Care to start us off?

McGonigle: Why is it always me? (laughing) Sure, I’ll start.

What is a sim?

A simulation. It simulates something. Either the weather, an aircraft, a car, a ship, a tank, a weapon, or whatever. We used to say that a simulation will teach you how to handle the real thing. But I wouldn’t like to single-handedly fly any aircraft anywhere, with only my sim-experience to help me. Put me into a racing car and I’d have a go at that though, although I’d probably realize that I had a lot to learn.

In many ways a sim without a game would be boring for us if we wish to be entertained. The weather man wouldn’t need the simulation to be a game, but I think we would all be a bit bored if we only had rows and columns of figures, telling us the state our simulation was in."Instead of a Fantasmagun we want the M75 properly simulated."

So all elements concerned with visual and audio presentation, as well as peripheral equipment, you could say that their sole function is to spice up the mathematical simulation and to turn the sim into a game in order to draw the player back in for more.

Not satisfied? You want more?

We want real-life objects simulated. Instead of a Fantasmagun we want the M75 properly simulated. Instead of the FX-99 Annihilator we want the F-22 properly simulated. Why? If the sim is a true simulation it would simulate any gun, vehicle plane or vessel, even a fictional one, perfectly well.

We’re a choosy lot, because even if we get the F-22 properly simulated we still want it to have the correct paint scheme and operate the aircraft from the correct air bases before we’re somewhat satisfied. Isn’t the air the same everywhere? would it really make a difference to the simulation if the plane flies in parts of the world where it isn’t operational? Does the color of the plane mean anything in terms of simulating how a plane flies through air?

For racing sims we want real tracks, and if they are not accurate, or actually used in real life with those exact cars running on them, we sneer and dismiss the product as a game. Why is it that a fictional track, or a real life track which is not used in the simulated series, is so bad?

If the ship we fly past is not an exact replica of the real ship, or it is the correct ship but it lacks certain modifications that were in use at that exact point in time, we knock the developers. Does it have any impact on the mathematical simulation at all?

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