A Space Fighter Versus the World

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

A Space Fighter Versus the World

The space sim may finally be ready to stage a comeback.

Read Full Article

Greg Tito:
A Space Fighter Versus the World

The space sim may finally be ready to stage a comeback.

Read Full Article

I think where we lost space/flight sims, to a degree, was when we were in the midst of the Peripherals Arms Race. This or that joystick, this or that throttle, nine bajillion buttons, a dictionary-sized manual... Getting a good sim had too high a buy-in (skill- and money-wise).

Shooters took over due to their simplicity. And now, even the more complex shooters benefit from the audience having practiced the basics for many years, so the tutorial can be largely a throw-away.

Reintroducing flight sims, including space, will pose the same challenge. They need to be able to fit on a standard controller, rather than requiring a dedicated joystick and one of those antique keyboard maps. They'll need to teach their players all over again, but do it in a way that puts them in the action ASAP. Distill it down to the absolutely critical elements, get folks used to them, and then add in features bit-by-bit.

And no joysticks. Sorry, but that ship has sailed.

See, I figure there are a couple of really popular space-opera oriented gaming franchises out there right now--Halo, Mass Effect, Gears of War--all focused on FPS/OTSS gameplay. But their settings easily allow for space combat to occur. Mass Effect's codex alone has dozens of pages on how space combat works.

I have this notion that their publishers could hire a good indie studio to make space sims for their settings, and maybe offer them as $15 downloads through XBLA/PSN/Steam to test the waters. Best case scenario, those brands draw in gamers who've never played a space sim before but end up liking it, kickstarting a renaissance of the genre. (E.g., did the original Mario Kart do well because people were clamouring for a kart game, or did the Mario franchise lead them to discover a good game?)

Worst-case scenario, gamers are drawn by their favourite space opera property, and discover a game very different from everything else in the franchise. Feeling betrayed, the space sims get bad word of mouth and may never recover.

Does either seem likely?

Freelancer had this problem licked, the mouse was a viable control system with that game.

Poor freelancer 2, so close yet snatched away by the monsters of microsoft... see this is why I hate consoles, ruined freelancer and Mechwarrior.

Funny since I have just spent the last month or so playing Dark Star One. I really enjoyed it and brought back memories going all the way back to playing Elite on the BBC Micro, through Wing commander, X-Wing etc. I think the joystick issues is too over stated. I picked up a Logitech Force 3D Pro, a force feedback stick for 29. This was normally the price for such devices. You don't need to go mental with 200 separate joystick and throttle like flight sim purists do. You can even get a stick now that mimics modern jet and does not move. It just senses the pressure you exert. This is over kill though. A joystick for these games should be no more that the price for another controller.

Also the Xbox controller does a relatively good job, so there should not be a price of admission problem for these games. I think it is more the amount of controls needed for these types of games not being able to be fitted on a gamepad.

Anyway I with this and the new X game going next year, it would be nice to see a bit of a revival.

Man I remember X-Wing and TIE Fighter.
Especially TIE Fighter - I loved the hell out of that game when I was a kid. I remember when it first came out I found myself wondering why anyone would want to play a game where you play as one of the "bad guys" (I was 11 or 12 at the time) - but once I started playing it I really dug, and actually found myself enjoying hunting down the Rebel Scum.

(Originally posted this in the timeline discussion thread before I realised there was an actual article - so here I am!)

If you're pining for the return of a game like Elite, I highly recommend checking out Infinity: the Quest for Earth, an MMO in development with newtonian flight, a procedurally-generated galaxy of billions of stars, etc.

It's still a good ways off from release (They're apparently working on commercializing the engine first, and then using the money on the game itself), but it's worth keeping an eye on.

Greg Tito:
The X-Wing I piloted was a bit slower than the TIE, but firing one of its four homing missiles was enough to turn the darting TIE into a mess of orange and yellow pixels.

This line right at the start kind of hurt the credibility of the rest of the nostalgic intro. There are three mistakes here:
The X-Wing carries proton torpedoes not concussion missiles. It carries six of them, not four. And there is little chance of hitting a TIE Fighter with a relatively slow and unagile proton torpedo.

I definitely agree that EVE does not quite scratch that Space-fighter sim that X-Wing and TIE catered to, but that's mainly because EVE is more of a naval simulator than a fighter simulator. Pretty much everything above a destroyer-class vessel moves like a brick.

I wasn't in the generation that played X-Wing, but I remember playing the Rogue Squadron games by Factor 5, which IMO were really, really good.

And then there was that Star Wars Trilogy Arcade, which, while it was on-rails, was really good. I remember sweating with that joystick in my hand, waiting for those TIE fighters to dare try to bring my shields down to zero.

And after Star Wars Galaxies instituted the NGE, I felt like Jump To Lightspeed was now the best part of that game, because when you're running around your ship trying to repair your ships functions so your buddies in the gun turrets can still shoot and your armor is taking a whaling, there was no alike experience at the time.

And why yes, I really, really liked Star Wars. :D

But ah well. Thanks for putting Sol:Exodus on my radar, Greg.

Tiamat666:

Greg Tito:
The X-Wing I piloted was a bit slower than the TIE, but firing one of its four homing missiles was enough to turn the darting TIE into a mess of orange and yellow pixels.

This line right at the start kind of hurt the credibility of the rest of the nostalgic intro. There are three mistakes here:
The X-Wing carries proton torpedoes not concussion missiles. It carries six of them, not four. And there is little chance of hitting a TIE Fighter with a relatively slow and unagile proton torpedo.

Is that all true in the game though?

Besides, it was the better part of two decades ago. Nerd rage at minor innaccuracies is a bit out of line.

Dastardly:

And no joysticks. Sorry, but that ship has sailed.

Bullshit. Sure, provide keyboard/mouse and gamepad support for those that prefer it, but no flightstick support means no purchase for a lot of existing space combat fans. I would say that if anything, the more peripherals supported the better in the space sim genre(but none of the required). I have a TRackIR that tracks my head movement and translates it into the POV controls in a space game I play. It isn't needed, but it is quite immersive to be able to look around without using controls to do so.

On the rest of your post, I've long believed that space sims should have an "action mode" where the controls are simplified so that anyone can just jump into the game and play if that's what they want to do. So I agree with you on that part, though I would still want the possibility of more in depth control.

A. Smith:
(Originally posted this in the timeline discussion thread before I realised there was an actual article - so here I am!)

If you're pining for the return of a game like Elite, I highly recommend checking out Infinity: the Quest for Earth, an MMO in development with newtonian flight, a procedurally-generated galaxy of billions of stars, etc.

It's still a good ways off from release (They're apparently working on commercializing the engine first, and then using the money on the game itself), but it's worth keeping an eye on.

I stopped following that game a year ago. Or was it two? Can't remember. All I know is that Horizons taught me to be wary of in-development mmos that offer the world and then get stuck in development forever. Infinity falls directly into "I'll believe it when they release the game" territory.

RagingNinja:

Tiamat666:

Greg Tito:
The X-Wing I piloted was a bit slower than the TIE, but firing one of its four homing missiles was enough to turn the darting TIE into a mess of orange and yellow pixels.

This line right at the start kind of hurt the credibility of the rest of the nostalgic intro. There are three mistakes here:
The X-Wing carries proton torpedoes not concussion missiles. It carries six of them, not four. And there is little chance of hitting a TIE Fighter with a relatively slow and unagile proton torpedo.

Is that all true in the game though?

Besides, it was the better part of two decades ago. Nerd rage at minor innaccuracies is a bit out of line.

Gah, you are right. The X-Wing had the proton torpedoes to go after capital ships and the A-Wing had the homing concussion missiles. That's what I get for trying to remember an experience from more than 15 years ago and why somebody like GOG.com needs to reissue X-wing. Seriously.

Scars Unseen:

Dastardly:

And no joysticks. Sorry, but that ship has sailed.

Bullshit. Sure, provide keyboard/mouse and gamepad support for those that prefer it, but no flightstick support means no purchase for a lot of existing space combat fans. I would say that if anything, the more peripherals supported the better in the space sim genre(but none of the required). I have a TRackIR that tracks my head movement and translates it into the POV controls in a space game I play. It isn't needed, but it is quite immersive to be able to look around without using controls to do so.

On the rest of your post, I've long believed that space sims should have an "action mode" where the controls are simplified so that anyone can just jump into the game and play if that's what they want to do. So I agree with you on that part, though I would still want the possibility of more in depth control.

That's what I mean. No joysticks required, so that people don't see it and think, "Great, $60 for a game and another $30 for a joystick? No thanks." But that also means designing games with non-joystick folks in mind, too. This inevitably pisses off the flight sim purists, but at this point I think they might start realizing that, if they don't broaden the audience by broadening the appeal, they might not get any new games made...

Not going to make a long post or anything, even though this subject is extremely close to my heart. I'll just say two things:

1. For the love of God get us Freespace 3 and Tachyon: The Fringe 2.
2. Tachyon:TF, y u no on tiemlien article?!?!

I'm on board, I'm not bored. How I've missed the simple joys of a dogfighting game! Though the article didn't mention it, I think I saw exactly the same problem mentioned with the game Star Trek: Bridge Commander. Granted there wasn't an economics sub-game involving starship construction and trading, but there were probably 30 discrete systems to keep track of during a fight. Not for the faint of heart.

All I really want though is the following: another damn Wing Commander game. Shields, settable power configuration, configurable loadouts for a few selections of ships and a ridiculous bad movie storyline to laugh at. Make it 30% prettier than Prophecy (which was fun, screw the numbers) and give me Thomas Wilson and I will absolutely buy it.

I spent HOURS playing X-Wing when I was a kid. If I still had it and knew how to run DOS, I'd still be playing it. I used to wake up two hours before school so I could play it. That was a big deal.
Then, I got X-wing vs TIE Fighter. And I discovered that you could use the keyboard to command your squadron to attack certain targets (my copy of X-wing didn't come with an instruction booklet). Suddenly missions that seemed impossible in X-wing were possible. And then my dad got a new computer and never reinstalled X-wing. Sadness. I miss that game.

RagingNinja:

Tiamat666:

Greg Tito:
The X-Wing I piloted was a bit slower than the TIE, but firing one of its four homing missiles was enough to turn the darting TIE into a mess of orange and yellow pixels.

This line right at the start kind of hurt the credibility of the rest of the nostalgic intro. There are three mistakes here:
The X-Wing carries proton torpedoes not concussion missiles. It carries six of them, not four. And there is little chance of hitting a TIE Fighter with a relatively slow and unagile proton torpedo.

Is that all true in the game though?

Besides, it was the better part of two decades ago. Nerd rage at minor innaccuracies is a bit out of line.

Yes, I'm talking about the X-Wing in the Lucas Arts game X-Wing.
I think if you really played X-Wing, you should know these things. But I didn't mean to belittle the article.

I would love a new version of Wing Commander with the technology from L.A. Noire, so the facial expressions would be better at the base scenes. More games need that technology!

Deviate:
Not going to make a long post or anything, even though this subject is extremely close to my heart. I'll just say two things:

1. For the love of God get us Freespace 3 and Tachyon: The Fringe 2.
2. Tachyon:TF, y u no on tiemlien article?!?!

My thoughts exactly. While I can't attest to Freespace- Tachyon: The Fringe was the end all for space combat in my eyes (and not only for the fantastic voice work).

Scars Unseen:
Sure, provide keyboard/mouse and gamepad support for those that prefer it, but no flightstick support means no purchase for a lot of existing space combat fans.

Yep, no stick support or cockpit POV and it's a no buy for me. Without both it's not a sim and shouldn't sell itself as one.

Ahhh I'll be looking for this, I always like to buy my Saitek presents. It is getting a good workout with BF3 even if DICE haven't optimised the controls for a proper stick and it takes some tweaking to get decent response.

Sounds to me that he is pretty much sacrificing the genre to promote it. I understand it is hard, but if I read between the lines, it sounds very arcade. There is nothing wrong with arcade, it is just not a space sim.
Also, the two games mentioned failed because they were bad games, not because of disinterest imo. I personally would kill for a simple reboot of the x-wing vs Tie-Fighter series...

This just made me dig out my joystick and copy of X-Wing alliance

Freelancer, so much better than X3 because it wasn't stupid complicated. I loved X3 so much, but I just couldn't be arsed with it after a while.

Does this mean we might see Fun Space Game: The Game after all?

Anyway, flying around space shooting at things... why not? I'm sure they'll figure out a way to make future space battles gritty, brown, and possibly even cover-based.

Glad to see I'm not alone in missing the days when you sat down in a darkened room with the Top-Gun Soundtrack CD blaring in the background as you skimmed over the surfaces of kilometer long battleships, spinning to blow the hell out of that annoying prat on your tail.

LaughingAtlas:
Does this mean we might see Fun Space Game: The Game after all?

Anyway, flying around space shooting at things... why not? I'm sure they'll figure out a way to make future space battles gritty, brown, and possibly even cover-based.

Oh good, you jinxed it. You are now responsible for the horror we are going to experience when Fun Space Game: The Game comes out. Bastard.

If you want a space themed twitch shooter that allows your choice of mouse/keyboard/joystick, and runs under Mac/Win/Linux, then check out Vendetta Online. It's a twitch shooter space combat MMO with mining and trading between stations.

Society needs this comeback. Fuck a functioning economy.

posted in wrong topic

dunno if the fighter genre is the comeback i want. I'll probably buy sol just to prove this genre can be successful, and of that the kick in the pants lucasarts need to remake x-wing so be it(funny how it always comes back to x-winf TIE fighter).

THe game i want has been banging around in my head for awhile now. THe release of halo anniversary brought back memories of the only part of that game i liked; the very first level. The one where you are awakened for hypersleep and sent through the ruined decks of the pillar of autumn, fighting boarding parties and doing CPR on ensign kenny yelling,"MEDIC! DON'T YOU DIE ON ME KENNY, DON'T YOU DO IT!" then getting aboard the bridge and then the thrilling dash to the last escape pods, feeling the ship shudder under yet another bomber run. I could do a whole game of that. well a whole game of that and captaining/piloting a ship.

Like the way it would work is you're in command of a battleship/cruiser/whatever, and you take it out on missions. you take the ship into battles and you can either remain captain and do a stately ship to ship battle with space manouvers, broadsides, and fighterscreen. And boardings. if you're ship gets boarded you can quantum leap into the body of a crewman or ship security and repel the boarding action. and the reverse is true too, if you have succesful boarding parties you can quantum leap into the body of your marines and either sabotage or capture the ship.

thats the game and genre i want.

I'm eagerly awaiting the day that space flight sims (and mech sims, for that matter) make a comeback, but I completely agree that the space sims of old had big time accessibility problems.

I remember Freespace 2. It was one of the most awesome games I'd ever played, but it was just. So. HARD!!!

Probably half the missions I played in that game, out of multiple wings of fighters that my side fielded, I would frequently be the only pilot left, completely out of ordinance, outnumbered 20-to-1, and having to blow up a small cruiser on my own. And this was on medium difficulty! I can't even imagine how good you'd have to be to play that game on maximum difficulty.

I fully admit that I probably just didn't 'get' how to play the game (I had similar problems with the X-Wing and TIE Fighter games, mind). Perhaps it was because I hadn't cut my teeth on Jane's combat simulators like some of the adult gamers, but for me the hardcore space sims of yesteryear will most likely be forever beyond my ken.

I remember looking for a FAQ on TIE Fighter on the Internet, and happening upon a graphic of how you're supposed to evade a concussion missile. It looked like it had been drawn with a Spirograph. As Oscar Wilde was once incorrectly paraphrased by Yahtzee as having said, "No chance, you unreasonable dicks."

I'd settle for an HD remake of TIE Fighter... same game, modern graphics.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here