Doctor, I’ve Lost the Will to Sim! Page 2

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The Treatment Session

The doctor began…

“Now just relax, let all that tension go. Good, that’s better. I’m going to ask you some questions, you just respond with whatever comes to mind and then we’ll go from there. First, how often did you used to sim and for how long?”
I took a deep breath and started to explain…
“It varied, but I used to sim pretty much every day. Maybe an hour or a little more. The longest I simmed at one time was theSimHQ 2.4 Hours of Le Mans. We did that race with rFactor and some mods. The actual day of the race, including qualifying and practice took over 3 hours. That’s over three straight hours in my chair, sweating and straining. Plus, I’d been practicing for about a week before the race to learn the track and the car, tweak the car’s setup all that stuff. We used to have a SimHQ Staff race every Saturday for about an hour. I miss that.Then, there were my Falcon 4 days. I’d fly every night after work for as long as a mission would take me. The Deep Strike ones would easily last an hour. Plus, I wrote AAR’s for a lot of those missions and that took some time. But it was fun. I was into IL-2 for a long time there. Earlier, I flew tons of Jane’s F-15 and F/A-18. I had my HOTAS programmed just right and knew all the key commands on top of that. EAW was a big favorite of mine for a lot of years. I still have great memories of that sim.Jane’s Longbow 2, EECH, LOMAC, Wings Over Vietnam, Yankee Air Pirate, Steel Beasts, Black Shark, FSX, lots more.”
“Quite an impressive list, you’ve obviously got some good sim memories and a lot of nostalgia. But is there one or two sims that are your all time favorites?”
“First, I don’t have nostalgia anymore, I took some Advil for that.”
“No, no. I don’t mean myalgia, I mean a sense of fond remembrance.”
“Oh. Yeah, that I got. Anyway, it’s difficult to name one or two, but since I am supposed to answer I’d say Falcon 4 and rFactor. Falcon 4 because it gave me a sense of really flying a modern day combat aircraft in an immersive environment. I knew all the systems, all the avionics, the weapons capabilities, everything by heart. rFactor because it made me learn about auto racing and how hard it is to concentrate on something like that for every single minute of a race. To not get too down on myself when I made a mistake, learn from it and go on. Mentally, racing sims are the hardest sims I’ve ever done.
“Good, you’re doing very good. I don’t hear you talk about Naval sims at all. Do you not like boats?”
“Boats are fine, but I don’t have the patience for naval combat. It’s like a whole lot of waiting. It’s the difference between fishing and hunting. Fishing is waiting around until you get a bite, hunting you go out and walk until you find something.”
“I see. How would you describe your simming today? More, less, much less, than before?”
“Today? You mean this day? Well, I’ve spent it pretty much over here with you guys, so I guess less.”
“No, no. I mean in the present. How would describe your simming lately?”
“Oh, that. It’s not very good. I mean, not very much. I try, I really do, but something always keeps me back. Maybe a half hour on a good day, once or twice a week.”
“Hmmm. That is severe. If you had to say what is causing this lack of simming what would you say?”
“Doc, that’s what I’m here for.”
“I know, but I am looking for your thoughts and opinions on this SD problem.”
“I don’t know. I guess, I just don’t have the time anymore.”
“Ah, the “I don’t have time” reaction. Let me ask you, is that really true, or just an excuse? Could you make more time for simming if you made it more of a priority in your life?”
“I don’t know, I guess so. But I’ve got so much else going on and before you know it the day is done. I just can’t fit it all in anymore.”
“And yet, in the past you managed to do just that. Interesting. If you set aside a given period of time at a prescribed time, could you do that? For example, you decide to sim at 5:30 PM for half an hour, to start, every day. Is that doable?”
“Doable. I like that word. Sorry, uh, yeah, I could probably work that out. Only half an hour. I spend that much time taking a cra…Oops, sorry. Too much information.”
“What are some other things that hold you back?”
“Other things, other things. I like eating, so when I have dinner, I’m not simming.”
“Yes, of course. I mean other things that aren’t essential to staying alive.”
“Oh. Sometimes I get overwhelmed. It’s been so long since I’ve flown Falcon 4, I would be embarrassed to try. Relearning all those controls and systems and avoiding missiles and such. rFactor, I would be extremely embarrassed to try and drive a race car today. It would be like starting over from scratch. Running around the track like a clown car and plowing into everybody that actually knows how to race, I don’t think my brain could handle that stress.”
“So, you’re afraid of failure.”
“What, you mean like performance anxiety? I had that too, but I got some pills through the Internet and they…”
“No, no. I mean your feelings of being overwhelmed are stopping you from simming.”
“Oh. Yeah, I guess that’s true.”
“Right. What else is holding you back?”
“I’d like a printed manual, like they used to have.”
“Does Falcon 4 have a printed manual?”
“Yes, of course, comes in a three ring binder.”
“And you have that?”
“And yet you don’t play Falcon 4.”
“Yes. I mean no. I don’t know.”
“Very interesting. Can you name one thing in particular that sims today could have that would induce you to play more?”
“I like immersion. I like to feel like I’m actually flying the plane or driving the car or the tank in the environment it’s supposed to be in.”
“Are you saying today’s sims don’t do that?”
“No. They do, I just don’t know it because I don’t do it.”
“And so we’ve come full circle. You don’t sim like you used to, you wish you would, but you won’t.”
“That’s about it. So Doc, what’s my cure?”
“Cure? Try two sims tonight and call me in the morning.”
“That’s it?”
“That’s it…”


The Recovery

I have to say that initially I wasn’t very impressed with the doctor’s cure. Just do it?

I’ve always been the kind of simmer who plays whatever’s hot at the time, plus everything else that interests me. And I think, to some extent, that’s a part of the problem. I just can’t learn everything, or relearn everything in a half dozen sims, play them, and play them decently. Years ago, maybe, for whatever reason, today, not so much.

My self diagnosis says I should take one sim at a time, learn it, practice it, get decent if not good at it. That’s all I got, all I can muster.

"There’s so many good choices out there, it’s an embarrassment of riches."What is that sim and how will I begin playing it? I don’t know. I’m still in recovery.

Could be something like Steel Beasts Pro PE. I like that sim, a lot, but never got much past the gunnery range and several missions where I got blasted by something sight unseen.

I could very well see me playing DCS: A-10C Warthog when it comes out. But it’s not out yet.

There’s so many good choices out there, it’s an embarrassment of riches.

But I think the doc was right, pick something and just play it. Doesn’t have to be all day, a half hour or so, maybe more the next day.

Assuming I don’t lose my HOTAS.


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