136: What Happened To The Last Starfighters?

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What Happened To The Last Starfighters?

"Suhr theorizes that the genre started to fade from the marketplace at a point in time when gameplay shifted toward simpler controls and away from realistic schemes, which included those of airplane simulators. Many of the classic space sims can be tricky to figure out how to pilot well.

"'Most space sims are more complex [to play] than games like Doom 3,' says Suhr. 'I do think they are harder to access. Some people prefer it that way, but it really is an obstacle for a lot of people.'"

Howard Wen tracks the demise of the space sim.

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I think the other important aspect in revitalizing the appeal of star fighters is cross-pollination of the sci-fi theme into sister genres (and particularly Adventure/RPGs) with games like Mass Effect. Sci-fi draws more heavily upon the human imagination that almost any other genre; in the same way that space is more boundless than earth, the possibilities of the future are more boundless as compared to things that are happening now or have happened in the past. But for many people, imagination takes a little while to "revv up", to really get going. Couple that with the gameplay difficulties of an unknown/forgotten genre, and for many, the barrier is set too high. With the demise of the Star Trek series, most people's imagination is no longer in that sci-fi state. That loss can be recouped, however, with more epic sci-fi based stories told via the popular game genres of today. Mass Effect was one game that really re-kindled that fire under my sci-fi passion: it was epic, it was galactic, it was gadgety and cool, it was Star Wars reborn in every way. If games like that came along a little more often than once in 10 years, perhaps people would be more likely to give a classic star fighter style game a try.

I would think that it's worth mentioning both Jumpgate Classic and it's sequel in-the-works, Jumpgate Evolution. MMO Space Combat Simulators to the core, far from extinct as the article seemed to relay - neither reason mentioned apply to JG (except maybe the forth, but that has nothing to do with the actual game...).

This is a great article, and as an avid fan of the genre, I'm glad you took the time to write on the topic. I can't agree with your first point (not every space sim is like the X series, after all), and I do think the potential for sales is there. However, there just isn't interest on the developer side right now. I believe part of it has to do with the necessity for a brand-new graphics engine, something I think could be truly amazing with the new lighting and physics effects that have been developed over the past few years.

I'd also like to add in a couple of other possibilities:

1) Lack of a compelling intellectual property

When the general public thinks of space combat, there's two immediate reactions: Star Wars and Star Trek. Realistically, Star Trek is too slow-paced to be suitable for the genre. Unfortunately, Bridge Commander is about as exciting as it gets. That leaves us with an IP that's been used up. Several games later, there's not a whole lot that can be done except with remakes. We've seen large scale combat with Rebellion and, more recently, with Empire at War, dogfighting with the myriad of X-Wing titles. All that's left is the prequels, and games based on those movies probably will end with the token treatment they got on the consoles.

There's nothing left, so you need something new. Wing Commander and X were popular but they had their niches to fill. I believe that FreeSpace had the potential to branch out, and it did to some extent. The series had a compelling narrative, one worthy of a television miniseries, but now developer Volition has moved onto console shooters and other such nonsense. The last bright spot for the genre was Freelancer, which was a disappointment in many regards. It could have ended up as envisioned in a MMO format and been quite good, possibly better than Eve, but it was converted at the last minute into a single player game with a truly massive but empty universe to explore. Fleshed out as a proper single player experience, this could have been a franchise for Microsoft to get behind and revitalized the genre.

2) Necessity of proprietary hardware

FreeSpace 2 was a lot of fun with a force feedback joystick. Not every gamer wants to shell out for hardware for a single game, though. Joysticks still see use in more conventional sim games, but an intuitive, straight-out-of-the-box experience may have been a good strategy. This was adopted perhaps too late in Freelancer and Darkstar One, for example. It's not the same as a joystick, but it still provides for a fun experience.

The genre has some of that "you need a joystick to play it" stigma. Perhaps it comes with the territory--for an immersive experience inside a cockpit, you should have flight controls. PC gamers have to spend enough on hardware to generate the processing power needed for today's games. They shouldn't have to spend extra on proprietary hardware to play their games.

What the genre really needs is a shot in the arm from an innovative developer, backed by a big publisher. I don't know how someone can take a new spin on Star Wars and market it, so it probably will have to be something entirely different.

shinseitori:

The genre has some of that "you need a joystick to play it" stigma. Perhaps it comes with the territory--for an immersive experience inside a cockpit, you should have flight controls. PC gamers have to spend enough on hardware to generate the processing power needed for today's games. They shouldn't have to spend extra on proprietary hardware to play their games.

that's a great point that was clearly overlooked in the article, though I did enjoy destroying a couple of mice playing X-Wing that way for a while. Still, after Guitar Hero, nothing is impossible :)

I have been wondering about this for years. Wing Commander was one of the first "real" games I played, and all the space games since them have just been painful. What? You mean I can't accelerate in one direction and conserve my momentum while turning 180 degrees and firing behind myself? I'll have to check these ones out.

2) Necessity of proprietary hardware

I was always fine with the keyboard. It would be interesting to see what someone could come up with for Wii controls in a space sim, though :)

A discussion of community space sims and no mention of www.eternal-silence.net
?

If the concern is over the lack of appeal of space sims - surely widening the gameplay and experience such as ES does might help?

The same could be said of a lot of old computer game favorites...

Where is the latest incarnation of "Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe", "Their Finest Hour", or "Red Baron". All awesome flight simulators on a 386/486 PC, imagine them with todays technology!

Also, along the same line, is the current lack of good driving simulators. EA has totally destroyed the NASCAR racing simulator market. Papyrus was making awesome racing games every year until EA stepped in and destroyed it...the last crappy PC racing simulator they (EA) released was in 2004.

We can all blame the Wing Commander movie for the state of the world right now. That's right...the state of the entire world lies on your shoulders Freddie Prinze Jr!

Space sims will always hold a special place in my heart - Tie Fighter Collectors CD anyone? this is the Orange box of space sims

Its not just this genre really - how about point and clicks? Monkey Island, DOTT? Beneath a Steel Sky?

Reason why there not around is simple; both of these just don't sell enough. People want sequels and endless amounts of moronic gameplay in FPS

Ah, the days when Lucas Arts gave us games like Monkey Island, DotT and Tie Fighter. Before they sold out and decided that Star Wars themed FPS was the only viable IP. Bah. When was the last time Lucas Arts did something creative that wasn't 'Star Wars'? Maybe around the time Tim Schafer left?

Anyway, back to Tie Fighter. Potentially the greatest PC game ever. Forget the genre; Tie Fighter was an amazing piece of work, both from the story aspect and from the execution aspect. Of course, best played in DOS and with a joystick, it was still an incredible bit of programming for that day and age to say the least. It definitely did for Space Sims what Half Life did for the FPS genre. As much as I think the FPS genre is an overdone mix of gristle and fat. With a dash of creativity sometimes (HL series has at least a dash).

I don't think that the 'Space Sim' genre is dead, I just don't think anyone has taken the time to do it right. The X series, specifically X3-Reunion (and if "Wolverine" comes to mind, stop reading now, please), was an incredibly rich game, full of content (I spent 80 hours on it at least), but was also incredibly buggy and the story, IMO, lacked. For a space sim buff like myself, it was a lot of fun to play, and even when it was boring, it was still engrossing, if that makes any sense at all...

PC games today are either: FPS/Semi-RPG (Oblivion and the upcoming Fallout 3), FPS (HL, COD, Halo, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc., Prey), or some form of isometric garbage. Like SimCity Crap-cieties, Civilization, or prettified Diablo (Neverwinter Nights).

I mean, seriously, did anyone think 'Bioshock' was earth shattering? Yet it won numerous game of the year awards. Why? Because it was 'pretty', or 'underwater', or somewhat creative (though not very).

I think Game companies and publishers just like to follow the pack. Keep releasing endless numbers of games like Half Life, ports to PC like Gears of War, FPS like COD and Unreal, etc. etc. Forget taking a chance on a Space Sim game, kids these days don't have the attention span to stare out of a cockpit for 80 hours of game time. They want to be fragging aliens on foot with literally a half dozen different kinds of machine guns. Or pretending they are playing an RPG that's simply an FPS with Charisma points. How easily we're all duped.

I'm hoping that the new X3, Terran Conflict, can finally do that series justice and put space sims back on the map.

And why the hell doesn't Lucas Arts start putting together a game like X-Wing or Tie Fighter instead of games like "Empire at War", "Star Fighter" and, *vomit*, Rogue Squadron.

If they took X3, spun it into the Star Wars universe, they'd have absolute gold.

And finally, as if this wasn't long enough, I find the 'spending money on peripherals' argument bunk. If Guitar Hero can dupe people into paying $70 for a junky plastic guitar, or the Wii can dupe people into buying stupid little snap-in holders for the Wii-mote (I'm talking to you, Link's Crossbow Training), someone will shell out $30 for a force feedback joystick.

Freelancer was maybe the first major space-sim to break with the joystick control, offering instead a mous-and-keyboard arrangement that felt natural to anyone used to FPSes. I remember it was pretty controversial at the time of release. It was the first space-sim I'd played since X-Wing and TIE Fighter (which I loved but never finished), and I really enjoyed the vast, beautiful environments, which featured mineable asteroid fields, gas clouds, isolated space stations, and lots of different factions who would attack or ally with you depending on your previous actions. As you progressed through the game, new star systems were unlocked with ever-greater rewards and hazards, with a truly horrendous increase in difficulty towards the end.

Unfortunately the combat was often repetitive, the voice acting was atrocious, and the vaunted trading system didn't feature quite the sophistication originally promised. But it was a lot of fun being able to leave the story indefinitely and just head out exploring, buying and selling goods and occasionally fighting off pirates or rival gangs. I'd love to see something like this with an optional MMO component.

If a designer puts out a top-notch space combat game then I will happily buy it. If it was built onto an RPG frame so much the better - work up the ranks from pilot to admiral.

Recently:

The Jedi Starfighter series is good but it irks me that you can use the Force to pilot. Then again I put my faith in a blaster not hocus pocus.

"Star Wars Battlefront II" had some pretty fun space combat sequences but nothing too complex.

It was a shame there weren't any deep space sequences in "Mass Effect". I know that the PC was "Captain of the Ship" but even galactic exploration was a little lacklustre.

I'm 100% with you guys - this is a severely neglected genre and while TIE Fighter is a fantastic game I would like to play something fresh and new.

Hey there's also a very nice Battlestar galactica themed mod in development out there on the open_fs2 engine. Just look out beyond the Red Line... the demo campaign is out and pretty cool although a bit short.

Personally I think Space sims could learn a little from games like Ace Combat control wise (Sacrilege! right:)). I loved playing Wing Commander with my Joystick setup and I thought Ace Combat on my 360 was really good till I tried my brothers out with his joystick setup (he splurged on the special edition). WOW, made me remember how sims are really supposed to be played. I did still enjoy the game without the flight stick but a game like Ace Combat is Great with or without a Joystick. Decent setup on a controller made it accessible. I think they need to dumb down the controls but leave in the option to use more advanced controls if the user wants to.
Oh and I hated with a passion trying to play freespace and Wing Commander with a keyboard and mouse. Thats what made me splurge on a Joystick setup for my computer in the first place.

Side note: does anyone remember the name of that space sim that come out for the PS1. Had ships that looked like they where straight out of Homeworld. Loved those games even though they were a bit limited using the PS1 controler.

logos424:

Side note: does anyone remember the name of that space sim that come out for the PS1. Had ships that looked like they where straight out of Homeworld. Loved those games even though they were a bit limited using the PS1 controler.

Do you mean the Colony Wars series?

(cries a single tear for the loss of "Babylon 5: Into the Fire")

www.firstones.com

I got to play X-wing series with 5.25 floppy disk when I was just in 6th grade. Loved the same so much that I broke four mouses :(
Later I got the F-16 Joystick.
I really hope Lucas Arts make another X-wing series. Tie Fighter, X vs Tie, Alliance.
My favorite was X-Wing and Tie fighter since they had a great story line behind it.
I still remember when I flew across the death star and going straight up to see how it looks from the above.
Well, I eventually found out it was just a square ...

I remember hammering X-Wing as well. Great stuff. (I think X-Wing is now tied with Rez for being the game I've bought the most copies of).

I do think, however, that there was a lot of cosmetic simulation that they didn't really need.

When I get home I must try and get X-Wing installed on Vista, see if I can make it work with an Xbox pad, there should be more than enough buttons to map all the actually useful controls.

I think one other reason for the demise of this genre is similar to what has happened to fighting games: lack of further advancement in the genre. These games haven't changed much since the Wing Commander days. The space trading/mercenary aspect and perhaps the Newtonian physics model seen in a few later games were probably the last major advancement of these games.

One of the few games I thought to be innovative for its time was Allegiance...a Microsoft game. The RTS aspect along with multiplayer combat was like nothing I'd seen at the time. The only game to do anything similar in recent times is probably EVE Online.

There are plenty of good space combat sim type games still out there. The Starwraith series is quite good actually. I wish more people knew about it ( http://starwraith3dgames.home.att.net/go.htm ). Still, its pretty much like the other games of its type. Hope fully we'll see something new brought to the table that might reinvigorate this genre.

darth nader:
I think one other reason for the demise of this genre is similar to what has happened to fighting games: lack of further advancement in the genre.

They were fun and isn't that what matters?

Zeshin:
I would think that it's worth mentioning both Jumpgate Classic and it's sequel in-the-works, Jumpgate Evolution. MMO Space Combat Simulators to the core, far from extinct as the article seemed to relay - neither reason mentioned apply to JG (except maybe the forth, but that has nothing to do with the actual game...).

Haha! As soon as I saw this article I had to mention Jumpgate Classic and Jumpgate Evolution but you've already beat me to the punch! Though they are MMOs, they still use (semi) Newtonian physics and are simulator-based with a HOTAS (Hands on Throttle and Stick) emphasis (alternate controls for a mouse are very good as well if you don't have a stick).

This is a MMO that has been running for over 7 (?) years now and has such a strong community backing it that the original publisher decided to invest their own money into making a sequel (no publisher to force a release date in other words). Unfortunately for Jumpgate Classic, it was developed without an adequate tutorial to teach you how to use its controls. It also suffered from a semi-steep learning curve. Not too many controls, it's just that people aren't really used to Newtonian physics. X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter, Wing Commander, etc, all use atmospheric flight models and it took awhile to get used to space. But once you did, it was a very rewarding sim with a persistent MMO universe.

Anyway, I'm rambling on too much so please, just check out the flash video on the main website. It's going to be a beautiful game and hopefully recapture some of the untapped space sim/sci-fi genre.

http://www.jumpgate-evolution.com

Or a fansite:
http://www.joystickrequired.com

I miss having games that I could use my joystick with. Hell, I'd shell out $50 for a version of Freelancer that let me use a joystick to steer.

The space fighter games always did have a steep learning curve, but that was half the fun. When you got good at the game, you actually felt like you accomplished something. Freespace was a fun game, so was Starlancer, which I picked up after I got Freelancer. Of course, it may not be an open-space game, but I miss the original Descent. That game was my obsession for the longest time.

For me it has always been the lack of a joystick coupled with the percieved dullness of the experience that has stopped me from investing into something like X3. I rather liked Freelancer, it had a decent story and the acting wasn't too bad, considering it's a space-opera.

There is however one thing that I really, really, would like to see in a space-sim, and I think it's utterly criminal that it still hasn't been done:

Real-world scale.

I only know of Eve Online that has succesfully pulled it off, which would be a fantastic sim if it weren't an MMO. But if someone gave me a game like that, where you could fly around on your overpowered Hyperdrive around the solar system, whizzing by gigantic planets, then stop somewhere off a gas giant and actually trully appreciate the enormous size of the titan even as you hovered some thousands of kilometres off its surface...

Space sims have the ability to touch on one, very deep, fundamental emotion - awe. If I disregarded Freelancer's football-sized planets, it does a very good job of it. It is incredibly atmospheric as well as beautiful and very, very varied - there are debris fields, ice-nebulae, mine-fields... when you venture out to a distant, back-water part of the galaxy the atmosphere is palpable as you drift dangerously between radioactive debris and deadly plasma storms.

And then you have the pretty planet-side visuals, too - it's nice to feel sometimes that you're not just a ship, but that you're actually a person in there, too, and to be able to *see* for yourself where you get, look over all these strange new alien worlds. This is what I want from a good space-sim.

Combat, more often than not, ends up with you sitting in a cockpit, looking and darkness as you frantically try to pan around until you catch sight of a ship, then try to keep a lock on it, before it escapes and starts somehow pummelling you from behind. X3 had lovely visuals, and very pretty music, but from what I've seen of it in the demos it suffers from that boxed-upness of areas... this is the vastness of space, yes, so why is it that invariably all the environments in games like this are confined to a tiny little spot of space somewhere, hovering over a planet perhaps, with no actual ability for you to venture further out and explore the vestiges of space other than where the jump-gates decide to take you?

There's a lot that can be done to capture people's imaginations with space-sims, but instead they merely retread the same soil over, and over and over again.

If anyone can prove me wrong, you're more than welcome to - I sincerely hope you can.

Ohh I remember Allegiance...man that was a great game. The teamwork in multiplayer was so much fun. I almost cried when it crashed and burned. It whent open-source after that but I never tried it. Can still not belive its a Microsoft creation.

I too have fond memories of Tie Fighter and the X-wing games, LucasArts need to get it's act together, I also want a new Rebellion type game, Still have and USE that game today..:D

I second..or third or whatever that Freelance promised much more then it delivered but that didn't stop me from playing it.

I also like Independence War 2, now that game had a story...:D

Btw where are all the helicopter sims like Janes Apache or the more arcadeish Commanche series. I miss Novalogic, hope the new Delta Force is gonna be good...:D

For me, having a good force feedback flight stick was an essential part of the experience. It helped lend to the illusion that you were actually piloting your ship. I would argue that a lack of high volume sales, coupled with the drying up of IPs that could be used for these game settings and a healthy dose of console gamers has led to the slowing down of this genre. Let's face it, PC gamers have always been a bit more of a different breed and ideas like complex controls and steep learning curves are becoming a thing of the past as games become less and less sophisticated. I don't think gamers are less sophisticated, just that dumbing games down for lcd sales has stunted things.

[quote=Freekill]

I too have fond memories of Tie Fighter and the X-wing games, LucasArts need to get it's act together, I also want a new Rebellion type game, Still have and USE that game today..:D
/quote]

Tbh I don't really know what happened to LucasArts in the past few years. They've gone from producing outstanding games to releasing quite frankly a load of balls.

nightfish:
[quote=Freekill]

I too have fond memories of Tie Fighter and the X-wing games, LucasArts need to get it's act together, I also want a new Rebellion type game, Still have and USE that game today..:D
/quote]

Tbh I don't really know what happened to LucasArts in the past few years. They've gone from producing outstanding games to releasing quite frankly a load of balls.

yeah they released one space fighter game after episode I and it was utter crap. steering was horrible, story to short and the missions boring.

what i was missing in the last space sims, like freelancer and darkstar 1 , is the possibility to steer it by joystick. sure its nice to be able to use a mouse if you have no stick but why cant we ahve both. it just doesnt fell like flying when i steer with my mouse. its just like a fps then with no floor.

anyway i was wondering the same why there arent any decent space fighter sims out there any more, id love to see one soon.

Yeah; after all, Xur is still out there.

Oh. Sorry. Different Last Starfighter

WE DON'T KNOW WHAT WE FEEL!!

Wing Commander gave people a "fly by the seat of your pants" feeling. Combat, though unrealistic, was "up close and personal" - more like a WWI sim.

Wing Commander V started to lose the "feeling" because it was too easy. It was fun but played more like an arcade game.

Even though people complained about the video cut-scenes in III and IV, that made it seem like you were really out there as a genuine human hero.

The name of this site is "The Escapist". When a game delivers a genuine feeling that causes a person's dreams to "come alive" that is what will determine the game's success in the long run. At 38 years old, I still yearn for another Wing Commander IV experience.

Some have commented on space sims being to complicated. Details are great as long as it doesn't affect your ability to fly right up on the tail of the guy in front of you and blast pieces off his craft! Also, the combat interface MUST be intuitive. I certainly shouldn't have to look at the keyboard in combat!

If any other space sim flys like Wing Commander IV, please let me know!

Beeb

I always thought the death of the starfighter sim games were due to the rise of third person space shooters like Rogue Squadron. One of my favorite games it X-wing with its game play and a I loved earing metals for the uniform. Even X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter wasn't too bad fixing the problem ship selection but becoming a space sim death match game. However, when I played Rogue Squadron I could get over the strange way the ship flew and seemed to want to auto-correct its flight angle in deep space. This 'arcade' shooters continued with tites such a Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge and other titles while the Wing Commander and X-Wing type games disappeared completely.
Maybe it was the difficulty, though I doubt it as the arcade shooter seem much more difficult to me. May be is was the additional accessory, the joystick, that was needed. Hell, maybe it was the bad Wing Commander movie that did in the genre. I know is I enjoyed battling capital ships with my A-wing.

mitsoxfan:
Ah, the days when Lucas Arts gave us games like Monkey Island, DotT and Tie Fighter. Before they sold out and decided that Star Wars themed FPS was the only viable IP. Bah. When was the last time Lucas Arts did something creative that wasn't 'Star Wars'? Maybe around the time Tim Schafer left?

Anyway, back to Tie Fighter. Potentially the greatest PC game ever. Forget the genre; Tie Fighter was an amazing piece of work, both from the story aspect and from the execution aspect. Of course, best played in DOS and with a joystick, it was still an incredible bit of programming for that day and age to say the least. It definitely did for Space Sims what Half Life did for the FPS genre. As much as I think the FPS genre is an overdone mix of gristle and fat. With a dash of creativity sometimes (HL series has at least a dash).

I don't think that the 'Space Sim' genre is dead, I just don't think anyone has taken the time to do it right. The X series, specifically X3-Reunion (and if "Wolverine" comes to mind, stop reading now, please), was an incredibly rich game, full of content (I spent 80 hours on it at least), but was also incredibly buggy and the story, IMO, lacked. For a space sim buff like myself, it was a lot of fun to play, and even when it was boring, it was still engrossing, if that makes any sense at all...

PC games today are either: FPS/Semi-RPG (Oblivion and the upcoming Fallout 3), FPS (HL, COD, Halo, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc., Prey), or some form of isometric garbage. Like SimCity Crap-cieties, Civilization, or prettified Diablo (Neverwinter Nights).

I mean, seriously, did anyone think 'Bioshock' was earth shattering? Yet it won numerous game of the year awards. Why? Because it was 'pretty', or 'underwater', or somewhat creative (though not very).

I think Game companies and publishers just like to follow the pack. Keep releasing endless numbers of games like Half Life, ports to PC like Gears of War, FPS like COD and Unreal, etc. etc. Forget taking a chance on a Space Sim game, kids these days don't have the attention span to stare out of a cockpit for 80 hours of game time. They want to be fragging aliens on foot with literally a half dozen different kinds of machine guns. Or pretending they are playing an RPG that's simply an FPS with Charisma points. How easily we're all duped.

I'm hoping that the new X3, Terran Conflict, can finally do that series justice and put space sims back on the map.

And why the hell doesn't Lucas Arts start putting together a game like X-Wing or Tie Fighter instead of games like "Empire at War", "Star Fighter" and, *vomit*, Rogue Squadron.

If they took X3, spun it into the Star Wars universe, they'd have absolute gold.

And finally, as if this wasn't long enough, I find the 'spending money on peripherals' argument bunk. If Guitar Hero can dupe people into paying $70 for a junky plastic guitar, or the Wii can dupe people into buying stupid little snap-in holders for the Wii-mote (I'm talking to you, Link's Crossbow Training), someone will shell out $30 for a force feedback joystick.

I liked Rogue Squadron on N64 and Rogue Squadron 2 was good, although Rogue Three wasn't interesting enough to get me to play... I would love to see A new X-wing Vs. TIE fighter. Obviously we have the ability to do it right, zero throttle shouldn't stop you dead in space, etc. I want to install X-wing on my laptop, and will, I just need to buy a joystick, something that will open my otherwise one use laptop up for other games that I desperately want to play... I love flight sims just for the flight sim aspect. Space is better because the open environments are just insanely open for possibilities... And why can't they do one right at the boundary of a planet? Imagine chasing an x-wing into atmosphere, and having to fly differently because your ship isn't as manueverable as it is in space... So much potential.

I always tried to fly in first person in Rogue squadron, so maybe that is why it didn't bother me as much. I agree that 3rd person flying games are a pointless pain in the ass.... I play Ace Combat from Cockpit view in every level. I HATED, HATED, HATED with a fucking passion flying the B-wing in 3rd person on Rogue Squadron 2, I will give you that. It sucked fucking balls, only time I ever got disoriented on a flying game, EVER, was that stupid fucking B-Wing.

In My defense, I hate all 3rd person games anyway. I prefer FPS or FPF in this case, simply for it's increased realism

I think the Last Great Game of the Space Sims was a game Called "Independance War 2 - Edge Of Chaos" or "I-War 2" http://www.i-war2.com/

No reason not to buy it now that it is 10 bucks

The requirements for a new space sim to work in this day and age where met by the amazing Freelancer. It had a workable and well done control system. Fast based action. Great storytelling, and amazing visuals. The game itself was in my opinion a crowning achievement of what all the new space sim's need. The only problem it had was the lack of interest. It didn't advertise well, and such.

The game would have been excellent on a console system, but fans of the space sim series simply said it wasn't very compatiable with PC gaming. Which is true. It didn't allow much for community content, it wasn't as open as it should have been, and the choices where extremely limited. But as far as the base shell of what it needed, it had all the right options I feel.

If someone can make a space sim that uses the freelancer control system, emulates the epic story and keeps the action pouring on, they could have a winner on there hands. All they need to do is mix the winning elements with the missing ones. Sandbox Freedom, Community friendly engine, and a decent amount of publicity.

Bring back the space sim. I miss blowing up captial ships with 60 mates!

I've not really played enough space sims to have a good perspective of how they should be, my experience with space sims is the Starfox series (although from the definition given that may or may not count) the original Descent Freespace and a more recent game for the 360 called Project Sypheed. From the fact that I had heard absolutely nothing about it before seeing it at Blockbuster and renting it, and that it's only about $12-14(USD) used, I would guess Project Sylpheed isn't very popular. It makes sense I suppose, the story is horrible and best ignored and it has a tendency to get repetitive, but I still rather like it. It's freedom of movement is mainly only hurt by the fact that the HUD makes it extremely difficult to discern just how close you are to some objects, the only indicator besides a small meter that tells you your approximate distance from a single target being your own depth perception, the former being unhelpful if you are trying to gauge distance on something else while keeping track of your target and latter being unreliable because you ship can travel at ridiculous speeds with the afterburners on, and I don't mean ridiculous like "Oh hey, motion blur, and I've already caught up to my target, that's great!" I mean, "AHHHAHAHHAHAA! Oh crap I flew past the battle again, now I have to wait for my afterburners to recharge so it doesn't take me 5 minutes to get back." The HUD also has a tendency to get overly cluttered with all the markers indicating enemy fighters (of which there can be a ridiculous amount, or ridiculous for a console game anyways) and destroyers and frigate and carriers and such. And commanding your wing seems a little unnecessary, seeing as how I rarely ran into a ship that was big enough or fast enough for me to need help, more often than not, I just end up making my wingman cover me and letting the rest attack whatever they want.

On the other hand, the freedom of movement and the ability to play around with certain maneuvers such as cutting my engines and turning around while my ship drifts on inertia and targeting the squadron I just flew past with missiles that can lock on up to 60 times (and I don't even have the fully upgraded missiles in my current game, I forgot what the maximum is), which means that the aforementioned unfortunate pilots I just shot past will each probably have at least 5 missiles with their names on them (it only takes two to kill them, but it never hurts to make sure), after which I can target the nearest destroyer and bombard it with torpedoes or a rail-gun or magnetic glaive-thrower, makes for a fun experience. The amount of control given to you in this game surprised me, given that they managed to put these controls on an Xbox 360 controller. The amount of destruction you can cause can make things boring at times, especially in certain missions, such as the one where you are pitted against one enemy pilot who is really difficult to shoot down but it is your objective to do so, the boring part was where I ended up destroying countless numbers of his backup ships, who just kept coming and getting shot down while I was aiming for my objective. Like I said, it's repetitive but fun, and it makes me wish there were more space sims for consoles, because even though I haven't played it in a while, I remember how fun it was to play Descent Freespace, and the level of control in Project Sylpheed is really good in my opinion, and probably a step in the right direction for getting a similar level of control to a PC title. Imagine a console game that gives you such freedom of movement and, unlike Project Sylpheed, has the multiplayer support of Xbox Live or Playstation Network, that would be a great game. Though from what I've read here, it looks as though I've missed most of the good PC space sims, if I thought this computer could handle any of them anymore I'd invest time in trying them out.

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