Staff Roundtable: The Future of Simulations Part 1 – PC’s versus Consoles Page 4

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Tom Cofield (continued): Like a lot of people I am holding on to my boxes longer and longer. The great gold rush to increase gaming horsepower is waning I think. There will always be improvements but I can’t afford to shell out 3K every two years to stay current and the people that can are few and far between. I’m going to do one more significant upgrade and then I am done for at least three more years. Tweaks and little fixes, maybe a new vid card but that’s it.

We need to look seriously at this and I think we all are realizing it. Yesterday someone clued me in on a joystick for the PS2, mostly for Ace Combat 5. That tells me it can be done and if it can be done, someone will make it.

"Don't forget, we flight simmers are a funny bunch "We had better be ready for it.

Fran: My point is that it’s only a matter of time before we see high quality flight sims coming to the console. I mean, technically it’s possible — it’ll just take time for developers to start doing it.

Don’t forget, we flight simmers are a funny bunch — we don’t mind too much about spending a few hundred pounds or dollars or whatever for a HOTAS set up, so we’ll think nothing of buying a console just for a game If the game is good enough.

I think it’ll happen, it’s just a question of when. And when it does, we’ll wonder why we spent so long fiddling with the various settings to get something to work — “hey guys, remember when you had to edit the config file to get decent framerates?” — “hell, yeah, seems so long ago now” — , upgrading new video cards, motherboards…. Just grab a console and be done with it.

I don’t have anything against the PC — mine has given me years of fun. But I think the PC will become an office only machine eventually.

BeachAV8R: I don’t think we should review console games / sims. I think it would only serve to dilute our real focus, PC sims. Even though that focus may be growing ever finer, I don’t see the PC simming disappearing altogether. I don’t think we are suffering from a lack of reviewable material are we?

I think our distinguished member has a point though, the endless cycle of upgrades is a bit costly, although I think there is a big difference between a user that is on the bleeding edge of technology and one that upgrades every 3 years or so. It’s also a matter of perspective though, I’d rather spend 2,000 bucks on a computer every couple of years than go to Disney World.

The nutty thing is that software pushing the hardware to extremes doesn’t necessarily make for a better simming experience. I’ve only now just got into LOMAC recently with my new high-power rig, and it does look and feel fantastic. That said though, I’m skeptical that it’s rather “sterile” feel and rather limited wingman control and communications will hold my attention for very long. Older titles, that admittedly don’t look as good, still have massive appeal. Falcon 4, Longbow 2, EECH. Proving that for our genre, the graphics don’t make the game, the gameplay makes the game.

I get the feeling that the software community keeps reinventing the wheel over and over again. They spend scads of development money to churn out something that on the surface looks pretty good, but lacks depth.

I still think that modular simulation design has a place in our hobby. Release a main module that holds the core components, then charge $20 or $30 for ultra-realistic add-on airplanes and maybe lesser amounts for add-on theaters with GOOD and new campaigns Think flying in the arctic, the mountains, the desert, with differing target types and tactics required. Why NOT build on what is working and not reinvent the wheel all the time? That would ease the evolution of hardware requirements by sticking with a single simulation engine that doesn’t require ever increasing power to run it.

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