View Full Version : Role playing elements in Flight sims

11-30-2009, 07:06 AM
This is something I've been thinking about.

I know that Over Flanders Fields attempted to introduce a small role playing side to flight simming, so that you work to keep 'your' pilot alive, get his kills confirmed etc. Though I've never played OFF, it has occurred to me that this is a concept worth expanding on...even beyond what would seem logical.

It's bound to happen one day-a flight sim with an actual world unfolding beneath you as you fly. A moving front, as well as civilians taking part in every day activities. It may seem far fetched- but imagine if you had the option to continue your 'quest' even after being shot down, contacting the resistance etc.

If this is too much, than at least imagine a sim with the wide scope of Il2, but with role playing elements like 'B-17 Flying Fortress: The mighty 8th' the ability to walk up and down your aircraft if it's a heavy bomber, the ability to have first person view as you hang from your parachute and the ability to walk around when you reach the ground, customizable pilots with historical flight gear, and maybe the option of landing and saving a downed comrade, something that happened on several occasions in real life.

It doesn't have to be the central focus of the sim, but rather some extra detailing that give it that extra bit of immersion that goes a long way.

Just thought this should be something to consider as well as realistic flight and visual models in future sims

11-30-2009, 07:31 AM
Ideas like these can go a long way and it seems like other games such as WW2OL come close to that. I'm not certain how much game you can make though, with out also sacrificing the quality of other particulars.

My experience with such games is that the parts of the program might have less detail inorder to allow for a better roll playing experience.
A sim that offers ground war, city or civilian life, as well as the air war component might be a pretty awesome game. But now imagine if all that programming power just went into flight simulation.
I don't think either game would suffer, but my point is that a game that tries to do it all is not going to have the same draw to a particular genre.

It would be neat to see Il2 and SHIII, and a WW2 type HALO game come together under one 3d world. That would be cool, but then imagine what one particular genre/game of that programming power can do.


11-30-2009, 09:24 AM
We already have 3rd party mission/campaign generators with moving fronts and their own briefings.
Within that framework it is already possible in campaign mode that gives medals.

11-30-2009, 09:59 AM
I think that the concept has merit.

Currently, the ingame experience starts with a map and a briefing, you confirm your weapons loadout and select your aircraft skin and then you start your mission strapped in.

Most of the immersion is provided by the brief and the cockpit.

There is no indication of the daily grind of life in a combat unit; no discussions with your crew chief about how much life is left in your current engine, whether your gun barrels were burned out on your last mission, the pre mission atmosphere in the ready room or your quarters, the duties of a young officer in the squadron or group (you could be assigned to give lectures on any of a dozen flying or air to air or air to ground related skills, you could be held responsible for censoring the enlisted men's mail, or scrounging up transportation to London or finding liquor for the next big party...), doing your post-mission de-brief with the Intelligence officer (or his clerk), writing your mission report, following up on your own claims or confirming your buddies' claims, performing post-repair flight checks, attending lectures, bicycling out to your aircraft's hardstand or over to the PX for necessities, standing the duty as Officer of the Day for your squadron or group.

And then there could be those moments when the other side stages a strafing or bombing raid ("You were the last man into your slit trench during the bombing raid, jumping on top of a pile of bodies jsut as the shrapnel started flying. Report to the dispensary for minor wounds to your buttocks. You have been awarded a Purple Heart, and have earned the heartfelt thanks of your comrades who were shielded from flying metal by your ample posterior. Prepare for two weeks of duties that can be performed while standing. You are off flight operations until the Flight Surgeon clears you.")

The more I think about it, the better it sounds, from an immersion/history lesson standpoint. Most of us have no concept of what the pilots actually did from day to day between combat missions.



11-30-2009, 10:39 AM
Exactly what I had in mind. Even though we are fascinated by the machines involved, it's the person in the cockpit that gives them soul. And this doesn't have to be an annoying hindrance either, if we start with baby steps, just the ability to properly customize your pilot and have control over him independently from the plane is a small move that goes a long way.

11-30-2009, 11:39 AM
How much can 3rd party generator pack into a briefing?

11-30-2009, 01:40 PM
Briefings aren't the whole experience.

I really enjoyed the Red Baron II/III concept of period music, 'newsreels', newspapers, and the ability to request assignment to a different unit flying a different aircraft type (or hopefully more air combat missions vs ground attack). You also got medals and sometimes courts martial in the course of your 'career' outside of the 'briefing' format.

That was ten years ago, so I imagine that with a little thought, a combined online/offline role playing/air combat sim is not entirely beyond our technological reach before the next decade elapses.

Of course, it might require two separate game engines--one for the ground level 'role', and another for the air combat sim.



11-30-2009, 01:55 PM
I like some parts of this idea, but I think it would be OK even without a 3D, FPS-style interface. That might require too much from programming/development to be worthwhile. I do like the idea of more in-depth character (pilot) development, though.

Besides your own pilot, it would be neat if your squadron-mates in a campaign had their own character development, ratings and especially personalities (aggressive, perfect wingman, by-the-book, cowardly, etc.). How about being able to pick pilots for a mission depending on their abilities/experience/endurance to get a good mix without choosing the best ones every time (and wearing them out)? (Falcon 3.0 had this and I really liked it. Some guys would be better at A2A, others A2G, some were good technical pilots, etc.)

12-01-2009, 11:12 AM
personality and charakter traits is one thing that would be nice. instead of all AI pilots having the same fighting style, the same voice and one of the same old 4 skill levels it would be cool with alot of variety in this.

12-02-2009, 12:15 AM
I think most games could benefit from role playing elements, but that's me. But flight sims and the like, I think could be very cool if there were role playing elements.

I was disappointed when I got IL-2 that there was practically nothing in terms of story or character in the campaigns. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting anything grand, but a little depth of character and motivation can go a long way. Someone mentioned Red Baron, I remember that, the news articles were a cool touch, and I especially liked being able to switch squadrons when I got stuck with a crappy plane. It wasn't much, but it really did help with the immersion of the game, and it wasn't like they had to add some huge amount of programming to do it.

I think even a menu improvement would help, I was also sorely disappointed (and still am) by the relative sterility of the menus for this game, it's just kind of boring...Menus based on location, or nation would be pretty cool. Like a barracks room, or a bar, etc. And again, it's not some huge undertaking, I'd hope for better for the future.

More in depth role playing elements would be a little tougher. If you look at some games that have tried to put too much into a game, it inevitably suffers. Soul Caliber comes to mind, great fighting game with some pretty crappy role playing elements tacked on at, presumably, the end.

But the idea of wingman traits, that's a pretty cool one.