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Making DCS more accessible to new players.


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they've forgotten how far they've come.

Oh I still remember exactly being a complete neophyte to anything related to aircraft and reading the A-10C manual on my iPhone. I didn’t know squat about anything...

But at no time was I confused by how to map the HOTAS. Literally the first thing I did was go to the section of the manual and map all those commands to the device. That’s not rocket science.

The better process than what’s in that video is to understand what these commands are and what’s on the “real” stick before mapping them. Some are obvious unless people don’t know what pitch roll and yaw are (I think that’s actually explained in game mode) some you’ll need to understand later. Or map them now and learn later. Again it’s a literal no brainer to look at the picture in the manual and set up your stick and throttle.

It’s a dead end to market the sim to people without any brains. If they need to actually watch that video DCS is too complex for them. Just stick to Angry Birds.

 

I'm pretty sure every game attracts people that have never seen a PC before.

Y'know I didn’t own a home PC until 2003 and I didn’t buy one with my own money until 2012 (the one in my sig). And I’m a lot older than that makes me sound. And I can figure this stuff out :smilewink:

 

Maybe the problem is videos. There are so many and of such good quality. But is it to the point where people won’t do anything for themselves? Videos are passive learning. They’re not a substitute for studying the manual. And videos aren’t easily revisited to brush up on something or find the one thing you didn’t get. People today seem to have forgotten how to study from books. Their attention span is zip.

The videos that I find kinda ridiculous are the “training flight” where someone just wants to be shown everything without doing. They’ll forget all of that the next day. You only retain what you do actively.


Edited by SharpeXB

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regardless of the technical correctness of the Manuals - they are good for systems/switchology...but don't do alot for telling you the What/Why of how to use them in a mission...

Never ceases to amaze me the claims people make about a document they've never read.

Again, quoting the A-10C Manual:

 

A-10 Evolution

A-10 Missions

Operational Use

A-10 Stores

 

it literally tells you the design target for the development program (what the aircraft was specifically designed to do), the mission types that it flies, the actual combat record of the aircraft (how it was actually used), and then an introduction of each weapon type, including a short history and recommended targets (what weapon you should bring for what target).

 

otherwise it might have been possible to meet in the middle and come to a consensus on how things could be improved.
You mean like the multiple instances of users trying to understand his point of view, meet him in the middle and discuss actual issues with the simulator and it's training materials... and then get summarily dismissed because it wasn't his desired solution, and suggested he do things he individually didn't want to do, no matter the benefit?
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@Sharpe

Well, as much as some folks throw around ''humbug millenials'' and ''entitlement'' to a certain extent, ease of access to the internet and familiarity with technology has somewhat ''democratised'' some of this stuff. People are used to tech in general, but they're really NOT used to stuff quite this complex, or how to approach it.

 

It's also worth noting, in watching people on these forums, I've seen a great many real pilots, and real engineers. All of them have a lot of head knowledge, and doubtless a great deal of experience. Even so, many of the pilots and engineer types I see here, I can see from the way they build their arguments or describe their processes they may have ''formal head knowledge'' but they lack much true ''aptitude''.

 

Whether it's grilling a steak, or building a rocket ship, there are people who ''get it'' or *truly* understand what they're doing, and then there are people who prove the axiom ''you can teach a monkey to do any task with enough repetition''. You don't have to look far to find real life pilots with many hours who somehow suck despite their experience and formal training.

 

That's really the issue here, and it applies to DCS, but even to ''Angry Birds''. There are people who ''get it'', and there are people who suck. People who don't get it, who lack aptitude, you're not going to change that or instill dedication in them that they are already lacking.

 

That's not to say some things can't be made more user friendly. The UI we have now is VASTLY better than when I first started playing 6 years ago or so. Regardless, these things being presented as roadblocks to ''new users'' aren't really. They're only roadblocks to people utterly lacking in interest in the topic and initiative to solve problems or investigate.

 

For the sake of argument, let's say the manuals and tutorials are rewritten, some more ''gamer friendly'' stuff is added... we might, MIGHT gain a few people, but 99% of the ones who leave, are going to anyway. If somebody lacks interest and initiative, there's nothing you can do. I've spent many hours trying to help exactly the kind of people OP is talking about, literally holding their hand and telling them what to do... wanna know how much difference it made? Zero. Every. Single. One. Got bored/frustrated and left, even with me leading them by the nose. To the point where I refuse to do it anymore. I'll give somebody pointers, explain concepts etc, but I always tell them they are going to have to devote some time to practice and study on their own, just by nature of the topic. If they show themselves to be lazy/stupid after that (different from inexperienced) then screw em, not my problem. Some of these guys think you can somehow bypass that and make somebody lazy/disinterested get onboard somehow are living in a fantasy. Wanna know how I know?

 

I had the exact same experience with people in War Thunder. WAR THUNDER. It's not a DCS problem. It's a ''people are lazy and/or stupid'' problem.


Edited by zhukov032186

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''The target's sense of self preservation interferred with the effective employment of my weapons.''

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People are used to tech in general, but they're really NOT used to stuff quite this complex, or how to approach it.

I think what happens, and this is certainly true for myself. Is people, when they’re older and past being in school or whatever. They forget how to study. I had to take a professional exam a few years ago and hopefully my last. And it was terrifying how I didn’t have any skill or method of retaining what I would read etc. That’s the problem with videos. If I had passively watched a video on this subject matter. Forget it. I’d fail. There were all sorts of methods we used studying, basically making yourself actively involved. Making up mnemonics, like left hydraulic controls fLaps and right is the speed bRake. Or just massive repetition. No good education involves having someone just do stuff for you though.

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You mean like the multiple instances of users trying to understand his point of view, meet him in the middle and discuss actual issues with the simulator and it's training materials... and then get summarily dismissed because it wasn't his desired solution, and suggested he do things he individually didn't want to do, no matter the benefit?

 

Yep, that's the one.

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I think what happens, and this is certainly true for myself. Is people, when they’re older and past being in school or whatever. They forget how to study. I had to take a professional exam a few years ago and hopefully my last. And it was terrifying how I didn’t have any skill or method of retaining what I would read etc. That’s the problem with videos. If I had passively watched a video on this subject matter. Forget it. I’d fail. There were all sorts of methods we used studying, basically making yourself actively involved. Making up mnemonics, like left hydraulic controls fLaps and right is the speed bRake. Or just massive repetition. No good education involves having someone just do stuff for you though.

 

Sure it takes Repetition until you dream about it. You have to put in the effort no matter the age. We haven’t forgotten how, we are just lazier. This is what it takes to achieve retention.

 

I knew I was learning Organic Chemistry and Calculus when I was solving 10 page (front and back) equations in my dreams. That led to doing well and having recall in lectures and exams, where you see and hear it yet again.

 

Same with anything you want excel in. If you want it bad enough You put in the time and effort. You figure most out for yourself by digging. Yeah... not spoon fed.


Edited by MegOhm_SD

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it literally tells you the design target for the development program (what the aircraft was specifically designed to do), the mission types that it flies, the actual combat record of the aircraft (how it was actually used), and then an introduction of each weapon type, including a short history and recommended targets (what weapon you should bring for what target).

 

 

I don't want to be argumentative...but what the manual tells you about weapons employment is like something from an A-Z of World Weapons...

 

 

Aproaches, delivery profiles, weaponeering etc etc...the hows and whys of utilising weapons in a Combat environment not a "top trump card" listing how many lbs of explosive are in a Mk82

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I don't want to be argumentative...but what the manual tells you about weapons employment is like something from an A-Z of World Weapons...

 

 

Aproaches, delivery profiles, weaponeering etc etc...the hows and whys of utilising weapons in a Combat environment not a "top trump card" listing how many lbs of explosive are in a Mk82

The thing is, no game comes with instructions like this. Racing sims don’t come with training on driving techniques nor any other genre, like fps games don’t come with training to be better shooter players. That’s what the outside world is for. This all can’t be contained in the game because it’s too vast in scope and it’s easily found on this new thing called the internet. It’s a waste of resources for any game developer to provide this officially. These modules already take years to develop, nobody wants to see time and effort wasted on this aspect.

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I thought this was a topic that was good enough to leave alone, but since we're talking about it (let's not call it "argumentative..." just a friendly discussion).:thumbup:

Aproaches, delivery profiles, weaponeering etc etc...the hows and whys of utilising weapons in a Combat environment not a "top trump card" listing how many lbs of explosive are in a Mk82

two thoughts on this:

 

1.) This sort of detail isn't needed for a new user to get bombs on target. Yes, as Sharpe has mentioned it's "above and beyond," certainly for the A-10, but in other aircraft some of this information is included. I speak purely of delivery profiles. For example, the F-5E-3 includes airspeeds, altitudes, and visual references for bomb, rocket, and strafing attacks. It's documentation (and tutorial missions) requires it, because there are no CCIP or CCRP bombing modes. For something like the A-10/Ka-50? I guess they have to leave something to be discovered by the player. The player is doing really good if they get to this point. I don't think any module which has the ability for computed bombing solutions includes any settings for fixed depression bombing, even though they all have the ability to select a fixed backup aiming sight.

 

2.) I have some FS2004 freeware aircraft that include this level of documentation (even though all weapons are INOP), and it's absolutely an enormous amount of information. Where the bases are, where the targets are, time of day, weather, threats, defenses, support, warload and fuel compromises, power settings, altitude choices, navigation techniques. Very good information, and something like it would greatly improve the experience of many DCS users, but so far beyond simply putting ammunition on target that it can be left until after the basic skills provided by ED's (and repeated/expanded by outside parties) training materials are attained. These are notepad files that take days to read and process...

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I don't want to be argumentative...but what the manual tells you about weapons employment is like something from an A-Z of World Weapons...

 

Aproaches, delivery profiles, weaponeering etc etc...the hows and whys of utilising weapons in a Combat environment not a "top trump card" listing how many lbs of explosive are in a Mk82

 

Also, remember pilots don't go from training manual and sim to F/A-18.

 

They are real real good pilots (Flying, navigation etc) first in small aircraft for years.

 

Then learn old school ways in small aircraft etc.

 

Now this is up to "THE USER" if they want to lean the real way or (Old School, WW2 style first) to really get it.

 

Use the L-39 or ww2 aircraft for an example and practice there first. Then use the fancy stuff that would come later for real pilots. The piloting stuff is second nature, now lean to deploy this X weapon platform in battle. Most want to skip all that and shoot the gun and fire mav's lol.

 

This is for the L-39C version etc.

 

 

 

Miss Bunyap. He still has loads for good old school training.


Edited by David OC

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It’s a very nice video. But it’s just amazing that people would need this level of handholding. And then still ask for it to be handed to them :doh:

Does DCS attract players who have simply never seen a PC game before?

Have you ever seen another game where people can’t understand simple controller bindings?

 

Yes.

 

What is going on here isn't unique.

 

I was active in another forum for a few years, similar gripes, similar diatribes. Similar amount of time and effort spent.

 

Always the same people, or group of people. Very emphatic, very dogmatic, after awhile, they were just ignored. It was the "Boy who cried wolf syndrome". Pretty soon, we would see who posted, and just walk away. Sad actually. That is what it comes to though.

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People see f14,f18,a10 e.t.c and want to fly blow **** up then come home in time for TEA and biscuits.

 

Well I am afraid that is not going to happen but with a little effort you will it is that simple.

 

For me personally one of the big thrills is learning and the wealth of information is huge on line, any new pilot I suggest stick your head down find some one you can jell with follow the tutorials and most importantly enjoy the ride because its well worth it :thumbup:

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There's nothing wrong with the sentiment of the thread, the truth is usually somewhere in between, but the concept of explaining some of the items mentioned recently like popup attacks, is not in scope. Why? Because it's a military process and technique we have abstracted from specific nations repertoires. For some reason, people are surprised to discover that the US aren't the only military in the world, don't have monopoly on making all the tactics. Yet, its treated as if everyone knows how they are conducted, along with enormous amounts of military tactics that people also study and enter into organised play together. Yet, NATO is not the only methodology. CAS 9 lines are not ubiquitous, Bullseyes dont exist in Russia. Russia doesn't have JTACs, or the same navigation techniques or doctrines and neither do many smaller countries that don't quite fit into a NATO-Soviet dichotomy. Folks somewhere miss that the combat simulator part isn't set in stone, and isn't part of what needs taught.

 

YET! The design of the aircraft, the "functionality" is easily explained by the learning of these tactics. Take the Viggen. Unique. Every part of the plane is tuned around the Swedish expectation of a Russian invasion. Soviet GCI mentality, forward facing RWR... Americans with 360 degrees. Can you work out the design from the doctrine?

 

So I can imagine that people think they are missing out, simply put, offline play without connections to others is where this is the gap. You can pickup a lot of things much faster. No one says you need to adopt X,Y,Z process but because a lot of the online squadrons focus on NATO tactics, it's deemed as this private, inaccessible, undocumented thing by casual observers.

So, it gets confusing that combat tactics are not spoken about in game, in a sandbox sim about combat.

 

However this is all irrelevant to the OP who time and time again complained that the sim didnt help him learn, refused to pick up the manual, complained about hidden manuals (after not reading the basic docs with the product he purchased) complained about the contents of the first lesson being boring and not having enough taking off, shooting down and instant gratification on, complained that the Lesson in the P51 was hiding the flaps when he had enabled show pilot body, complained that he didnt understand which bindings were important, after explaining he thought Lesson 2 was the first lesson and cockpit orientation clearly irrelevant to the order he wanted to do things in, and so on, building a very exact picture of a person who deliberately ignored the instruction provided then blamed the game for it's lack of delivery. It's utter absurdity. No wonder it riled people.


Edited by Pikey

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some of the items mentioned recently like popup attacks, is not in scope. Why? Because it's a military process and technique

 

 

Though in fairness...it IS a military simulator isn't it...and doctrine is probably more important than systems functionality in terms of how things would be operated...

It seems obvious that if NATO fielded the Su25 (as they would have had the A9 won the original flyoff) then they'd still use on-call CAS controlled by JTACs/FACs for direct ground support...whereas if REDFOR fielded A10s rather than Su25s they'd still use them with unguided AG ordanance en mass against pre-briefed targets...

 

 

Though I agree...perhaps we've moved away discussing from the first stage of the learning experience (basic flight and weapons employment) which is what the OP was so irate about!

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Though in fairness...it IS a military simulator isn't it...and doctrine is probably more important than systems functionality in terms of how things would be operated...

It seems obvious that if NATO fielded the Su25 (as they would have had the A9 won the original flyoff) then they'd still use on-call CAS controlled by JTACs/FACs for direct ground support...whereas if REDFOR fielded A10s rather than Su25s they'd still use them with unguided AG ordanance en mass against pre-briefed targets...

 

 

Though I agree...perhaps we've moved away discussing from the first stage of the learning experience (basic flight and weapons employment) which is what the OP was so irate about!

Yes, its a military sim. How to use a CCIP mode versus CCRP would definitely be in scope for explaining how to execute, but what is not in scope is explaining "when" to use a particular release methodology and that's a common question you can see people wanting to ask, but feeling too embarrassed to ask. And the answer depends on a really deep and broad knowledge of what some people think is fundamental, after 20 years. Some folks regard this question as "what is the correct answer to win at DCS". Like the approach to a game, say an RPG game, what is the best armour to wear or weapon to use or spell rotation to do.

The same people are not interested in in depth mission planning. I'm suspecting.. I have no stats, but how many folks have plotted a radar height map for the exposure of their route to known radar systems using CombatFlite's Line of sight tool? Not many, but some. More often, we look at the map, eyeball the contours and say, yeah, I fancy a western IP, popup here and run down this south east riverbed here. If at all. And the new folks are still at the point of... "BUT WHY?" and that is your void. If you or I can see there is an SA2 10nm north east and we need to avoid anything high, and we know there is kinetic defences only, no manpads, a popup would be a good low level, minimum exposure to Radar and guns.

 

The new folks that this doesnt come back to dont want to google "SA-2", "ZSU-23-4", work out the maximum engagement range of the SA-2, the service ceiling of 23mm AAA in order to work out that they can't just fly around in circles happily. Whereas most folks playing DCS would automatically know the SA-2 is only dangerous if you fly straight and level, because DCS AI is not cunning to LOAL because there is no in built IADS and you should never directly dive on a 23mm AAA or you get rinsed.

 

Thats the bit I feel for new people on. But I dont feel sorry when they dont read the manual, because it's like the difference between school and university. In school, they read the book with you. In university, they give you a suggested reading list, but ultimately you go find it out yourself. DCS is like that. It's complex, the world has many units, they have realistic abilities, but aren't perfect. Not only do you need to understand the weaponry to make a decision (and thus be a walking encylopedia - and boy, this community IS) but you also have to know how DCS isn't real life and can be a bit dumb in places, so that a wiki search doesnt help you... IADS and SA-2 is case in point.

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. . .

 

The new folks that this doesnt come back to dont want to google "SA-2", "ZSU-23-4", work out the maximum engagement range of the SA-2, the service ceiling of 23mm AAA in order to work out that they can't just fly around in circles happily. Whereas most folks playing DCS would automatically know the SA-2 is only dangerous if you fly straight and level, because DCS AI is not cunning to LOAL because there is no in built IADS and you should never directly dive on a 23mm AAA or you get rinsed.

 

Thats the bit I feel for new people on. But I dont feel sorry when they dont read the manual, because it's like the difference between school and university.

 

. . .

 

 

That was what I did, googled those weapons systems, learned how my RWR presented them, made simple missions to experiment with different weapons, delivery, approach etc. Learned how to use my RWR to orient, and get a rough idea of distance, in order to flag them in my TGP.

 

Some of the most satisfying, and eureka!! moments in my A-10C! Took some time and effort, and the reward was well worth it.

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As brand new to DCS (one whole day). I love it... but hate the fact that it is so inaccessible. I will figure it all out, but most people likely will never invest in the time. It is a shame, because I think there is something really special here. Personally, I will spend a lot of time in DCS, and also MSFS 2020. Right now they are both free to me (MSFS in a few weeks).

 

Why are there not default profiles in DCS for the popular HOTOS? Yeah people can customize to their hearts content... but wouldn't detecting the HOSTOS and provide some default mappings increase newcomers chance of success?

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Honestly I think we need an advert to move people across from the other sim come 18 AUG when they find theres nothing to shoot at.

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Why are there not default profiles in DCS for the popular HOTOS? Yeah people can customize to their hearts content... but wouldn't detecting the HOSTOS and provide some default mappings increase newcomers chance of success?

I believe this function already exists although I think everyone will tend to customize them. For example if you have head tracking you won’t need POV hat switches and can assign that to trim like the actual stick. Really, mapping your own controls is a good way to learn what they all are.

The best way to do this is look at that section of the manual and copy that arrangement as closely as you can on your HOTAS.

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There are default profiles for all your controls when you start the first time.

I would recommend you look at chucks guides for the module you wanna fly and use his recommendations on the hotas layout for the chosen module.

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I did look at Chucks guide, in fact, have some of it printed right here. I am not sure what default profiles you are referring to, but not a single button was mapped except yaw pitch roll and a view. Nothing for the rudder pedals. Sure, everyone will customize the buttons, and Chuck's guide did a good job of highlighting which ones to focus on.

 

@shu77 I definitely agree that MSFS will bring more people to DCS. I don't think there is any question. There is room for both and they have an entirely different focus.

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Mapping controls is not that hard to do.

 

If are new and you just want to fly, we are talking about pitch, roll, rudder, throttles and Trim.

 

When you want to dig deeper and add more, its not rocket science.

 

Are people really so lazy they want it auto-magic...go figure.

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Mapping controls is not that hard to do.

 

If are new and you just want to fly, we are talking about pitch, roll, rudder, throttles and Trim.

 

When you want to dig deeper and add more, its not rocket science.

 

Are people really so lazy they want it auto-magic...go figure.

 

Yes, it's not hard to do. But remember what this thread was. "Making DCS more accessible to new players" Not lazy players.

 

Mapping controls took hours for me because you first need to know what buttons are important enough to go on your HOTAS. Which means going through the tutorials which takes good 20 minutes each. And then repeat for different plane. Imagine how daunting this can be for new player who got excited and purchased 5 planes.

 

If there's default assignments to few popular controllers and simple chart showing which button is what, then it would be "More accessible" to new players. They have default assignment for keyboard, why not for controllers? This, actually is not that hard to implement.


Edited by Taz1004
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and simple chart showing which button is what,

:music_whistling: :book:

ABC43571-A5C1-4DC6-8EF8-D5A4529EB46A.thumb.png.063cdb5a27be45e867bc71a1fd46e5fa.png

Velocity Micro PC | Asus Z97-A | i7-4790K 4.7GHz | Corsair Liquid CPU Cooler | 32GB DDR3-1600MHz Memory | EVGA RTX 2080 Ti XC | 240gb Intel 520 Series MLC SSD | 850 W Corsair PSU | Windows 10 Home | LG 32UD99-W UHD Monitor | Bose Companion 5 Speakers | CH Fighterstick | Ch Pro Throttle | CH Pro Pedals | TrackIR 5

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