Sunday, June 06, 2004

My cousin got to fly in real navy simulator this w

It is only fair that I tell a little bit about stealth aircraft. Unless another country has an aircraft using stealth technology, none I know about. Only Americans have aircraft’s that show up as a small bird on radar. I know to some people that may be really cool and to others is very disturbing. The fact is the US government is not sharing any information on what alloy the airplane is made of. FACT: we know its very light and an extremely reflexive metal which forces radio waves to bounce off into space not returning to the radar command post. That’s a good thing for the pilot. THE F-117a Nighthawk is entirely controlled by computers and supposedly can not be flown without them. Nighthawk bombers were used in the Operation Iraqi Storm last year bombing military bases.

I think the most interesting plane in my era is the F-22 Raptor. It’s not only stealth based but also can go past MACH 2 and has alternating jet engines for those 90 degree angles without the plane locking up (Stalling) or blacking out. It’s crusin’ speed is just under Mach 1. Some say the Raptor is one of the easier aircraft to control in the air force.

I have this cousin, David, who is assigned in the West in California somewhere by San Francisco at an navial academy where he says there is a very, very cool air-force simulator complete with all the bells and whistles of a real aircraft also having spectacular graphics. He said the airforce academy got it this year. I assume that this simulator can only simulate one type of aircraft. I mean look at the screenshot. The detail in the game is much higher than any computer’s hardware ability today. Even if you have your Microsoft Fight Simulator 2004 pumped all the way at 1600x1200 with 16x anti-analyzing, this air force simulator would have more detail (higher resolution) than anything ever seen to the average computer user. AHEM! Non-navy people that is.

What’s interesting is the military simulators that the Navy uses are designed to control exactly like the airplane even the stealthly F-117A, so my point is, in a game like MS Flight Simulator 2004, how can they know about how a Nighthawk would fly if it is unlikely that one of them ever flown in one? I haven’t really seen anything big in flight simulation since it’s first appearance in 3D. Maybe I’m wrong and something in the “gameplay” has changed. The computer knows over a billion worst case scenarios. David says it took him 10 times to get off the ground. I suppose there is also a tutorial on these simulators as well, so I mean he wasn’t in the dark when he first controlled one. I mean where do game designers know how military aircraft jets fly if they are only game designers? Thus, I conclude most game designers aren’t retired civilian pilots and ex-navy pilots. I don’t know maybe there are a few ex-navy pilots who develop games after serving? Of course actual pilots have to test the simulators to see if they work just like in real life.

It’s like this….I like to speculate. I also wonder where the Navy gets it’s hardware because no company can make processors this fast yet except for maybe IBM or Intel. And making them costs as much as $3000 each. Maybe IBM hardware designers get the RAM, and sound-cards for the simulators at Best Buy or something?

So now I end my story on flight simulators. And if I had something like a high quality Logitech yoke pad and Flight Simulator 2004 or even Microsoft Combat Sim 3, if you got past the basics, how much more life-like can the game play be? I have a game called Falcon 4.0, developed by Microprose. Micropose did make 50 maps for Falcon 4.0. It’s very hard, was made back in 1998 and use to crash often on my computer. Back then it required an 8MB graphics card and 166 MHz CPU. A Pentium II at 400 MHz with 128 MB or RAM, and a 16MB graphics card was recommended. So it’s just a tad out of date graphically. LOL! But do graphics really matter that much? I don’t think they do last time I checked. The game had bugs even after I used the patch. However, it still could look very realistic on my PC, still had a lot of “flat terrain” that looked flushed out for some reason? Anyways, the instruction booklet for the game is damn big - like 400 pages thick! I didn’t bother to read it all just jumped into the pilot’s seat and learned by crashing. I learned that flying is much easier than landing. Landing is a whole different can of beans. Flying is just about staying in the sky, but all things must come down sooner or later. So if you learn to land your aircraft, that’s about 2/3 of the whole game. I successfully landed a F-16D Strike Eagle in this game many times...though I keep running off the road. I'm only begining to fly in aerial combat. The instruction booklet comes in a 3 ring binder…ouch! Other flight games I’ve played are Ace Combat 04 and Air Force Delta I have flown in a real aircraft, never piloted one.

Patches I use for Falcon 4.0 are:
- Official patch from Microprose v1.08 (17 MB)
- Super Pack 4.0 (134 MB)
- SP 4.1 hotfix on top of SP 4.0. (8 MB)

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