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Auto Air to Air Refuel


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So tired of all this reluctance to change and improvments stating realism as factor for not doing it. What realism?? It´s a simulator and it is already unrelistic in many ways and in particular t

There is absolutely room for a helper interface for AAR. How do I align the probe with the basket in the Harrier? Well, I can just keep trying until I find the right sight picture myself, I can switch

That's one perfect example of whataboutism.   This ongoing debate about what is a must in a study level sim is going to drive me mad. Where does this study level start and where does it end?

Just now, Tippis said:

So that's an “I can't” then, I presume?

Otherwise, again: prove it.

 

That's an "Boy, my sides! I need a break!" but whatever pleases you.

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5 minutes ago, Desert Fox said:

That's an "Boy, my sides! I need a break!" but whatever pleases you.

It doesn't particularly please me.

What would please me is is if you could actually explain what is so supposedly absurd about applying known and well-established techniques to address the issues being discussed?


Edited by Tippis
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It’s a wish list section. Not a demand list section, bug section or an “I can’t allow your opinion because I’m a snowflake”section. 
Give it a rest already. No matter how correct you are absolutely sure you are, you can’t tell him his wish is wrong. Don’t like his wish? Go suck an egg....

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A game has playability and challenge as a goal. The sim has a goal of making it as real as possible, no matter how hard or fun it is. That's the main difference. If you don't find any fun in AAR you're free to dive into all other aspects of a simulation.


Edited by draconus
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18 minutes ago, draconus said:

A game has playability and challenge as a goal. The sim has a goal of making it as real as possible, no matter how hard or fun it is. That's the main difference. If you don't find any fun in AAR you're free to dive into all other aspects of a simulation.

That's part of the goal, but not the entirety of it. Per ED's own description, DCS is…

Quote

designed also to offer a more relaxed gameplay to suit the user and his particular level of experience and training. The ambition is to hand hold users from novice pilot all the way to the most advanced and sophisticated operator of such complex weapons systems as the A-10C Warthog or the F/A-18C Hornet.

…and this thread is about a suggestion to further fulfil that goal and ambition. Apparently, for no adequately explained reason, this design goal should not be pursued according to some.

 

Also, let's not forget what the developers themselves say that DCS is, namely “a free-to-play digital battlefield game”. So it's not exactly surprising that playability is part of that mix, or that improvements to playability would be an improvement to the game as a whole. It even lists “Both hardcore realistic and casual gameplay modes and options” as a key feature — it doesn't exactly make much sense for them to skimp on those.


Edited by Tippis
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41 minutes ago, Tippis said:

That's part of the goal, but not the entirety of it. Per ED's own description, DCS is…

Good find, can't deny ED's own goals. Good luck then.

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TBH, the "game" part of DCS is so severely neglected, I don't know whether we can take those statements at a face value. FC3 was the last attempt at it, and barring occasional maintenance, it's basically abandoned. They're not making new FC3 modules, and several (admittedly mostly 3rd party) modules don't support the "game" avionics at all. I'm under impression those statements come from the time when FC3 was new.

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https://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com/en/products/world/
“Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS World) 2.5 is a free-to-play digital battlefield game.

Our dream is to offer the most authentic and realistic simulation of military aircraft, tanks, ground vehicles and ships possible”

 

A simulation is a subset of game. All sims are games but not all games are sims. Simulator games attempt to be as “authentic and realistic as possible

Games have no such goals or aspirations.

Artificial helper features which control the aircraft for the player in a manner which is not authentic or realistic are inappropriate for a simulation. 

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5 minutes ago, SharpeXB said:

Artificial helper features which control the aircraft for the player in a manner which is not authentic or realistic are inappropriate for a simulation. 

…but highly appropriate for the ambitions of what kind of game DCS is intended to be, as that very page explains.

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18 hours ago, SharpeXB said:

https://www.digitalcombatsimulator.com/en/products/world/
“Digital Combat Simulator World (DCS World) 2.5 is a free-to-play digital battlefield game.

Our dream is to offer the most authentic and realistic simulation of military aircraft, tanks, ground vehicles and ships possible”

 

A simulation is a subset of game. All sims are games but not all games are sims. Simulator games attempt to be as “authentic and realistic as possible

Games have no such goals or aspirations.

Artificial helper features which control the aircraft for the player in a manner which is not authentic or realistic are inappropriate for a simulation. 

This is a great definition as to what exactly is considered a game or a simulation.  With that said DCS should continue to focus more on achieving being as authentic and realistic as possible. However I see no problem with there being some training aids added to better help people be able to refuel and land without having to invest too much time.

For those still wanting an auto mode to just have fun then the new MAC game would be a better fit them.


Edited by Evoman
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As someone who has put in many nights of practice to learn AAR, I find this would be extremely useful from a training perspective.  It is hard to learn how to do AAR just from videos and handbooks, but if you could press a button so that the computer could take control while you follow its motions through the controls indicator, it would be a lot easier to learn.

 

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42 minutes ago, Evoman said:

With that said DCS should continue to focus more on achieving being as authentic and realistic as possible. However I see no problem with there being some training aids added to better help people be able to refuel and land without having to invest too much time.

Why that focus and not the other, probably far more constructive and challenging one, outlined in the product description? It seems more in line with what the game is meant to be to strive to maintain a good balance between realism features and approachability features, especially since going after one at the cost of another will eventually just end up reducing the customer base and thus their ability to keep improving either part of that combination.

 

42 minutes ago, Evoman said:

For those still wanting an auto mode to just have fun then the new MAC game would be a better fit them.

Nah. Mainly because no-one really knows how MAC plays or what its design goals are. Given the goals for DCS, as demonstrated in Sharpe's link, there's no reason why people having fun in this game should suddenly abandon it and pick a completely different one — that would mean ED failed to create the game they wanted for the audience they want, after all.

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1 hour ago, [TF-108] Aero said:

It is hard to learn how to do AAR just from videos and handbooks, but if you could press a button so that the computer could take control while you follow its motions through the controls indicator, it would be a lot easier to learn.

I don’t understand why watching your aircraft fly itself and AAR in-game is any more beneficial than watching the same thing on a video. Many tutorials show you the control indicator as well. 

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1 hour ago, SharpeXB said:

I don’t understand why watching your aircraft fly itself and AAR in-game is any more beneficial than watching the same thing on a video.

Because you get to see it from your own perspective. And because it can be combined with other in-game indications. It is pretty darn trivial to figure out if you try to think. Or, you know, just read the thread.

 

But it's pretty nice to see that you finally understand why this improvement would be beneficial. After all, you suggested that very methodology of teaching yourself.

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If you really want that in the sim, you can just watch a track of someone who can AAR. That's basically what you're asking for. 

 

Myself, I needed only verbal description of canopy cues to plug the Harrier on my first try. Likewise, once I got a good description of what to look for in the Tomcat, I found I could plug it pretty reliably. We just need better training missions for the other aircraft, that's all. And that can be done by mission makers, as opposed to engine coders, which is another plus. Just a few well-chosen words is all it takes! AAR is all about sight picture, once you know what to look for, it's pretty straightforward.

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1 hour ago, Dragon1-1 said:

If you really want that in the sim, you can just watch a track of someone who can AAR. That's basically what you're asking for. 

 

Myself, I needed only verbal description of canopy cues to plug the Harrier on my first try. Likewise, once I got a good description of what to look for in the Tomcat, I found I could plug it pretty reliably. We just need better training missions for the other aircraft, that's all. And that can be done by mission makers, as opposed to engine coders, which is another plus. Just a few well-chosen words is all it takes! AAR is all about sight picture, once you know what to look for, it's pretty straightforward.

 

Having an AI that performs AAR for training purpose is just a strawmen. Everything this thread is about is an AI that takes away the burden of performing sim features some people have no initiative to invest learning time into while still looking to receive the benefits - in this case not having to land and refuel nor AAR themselves but have auto-refuel.

 

Folks will have an excuse why having an AI perform AAR for you "so you can watch from your perspective" isn't the same as watching a track of someone performing AAR. It's coming in a second, promise.

 

edit: sight picture isn't the most important imho, the hardest part really is stick and throttle control. And learning this takes time.


Edited by Desert Fox

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51 minutes ago, Desert Fox said:

edit: sight picture isn't the most important imho, the hardest part really is stick and throttle control. And learning this takes time.

Not really. The problem that people have, judging from the posts, is that they're all looking at the basket. The Harrier was the easiest plane for me to plug, because there, you can't look at the basket, as it's too far back to see. It does have snappy controls and a very quick-reacting throttle, but once you learn to work them and use the trim properly, you can control every aircraft with that kind of precision. Different throttle response is just about the only thing that can throw you off (and Tomcat's wings, if you forget to sweep them manually).

 

Plugging in becomes much easier when you're not trying to coincide the basket with the probe in space, but instead focus on some well-defined cue (like a gun cross or some part of the pitch ladder) and try to keep it in the correct place with relation to the tanker (ideally, also using a distinctive feature, like the hose or refuelling pod). Also, that's the only way to refuel on the boom - you just fly formation in the right spot, and once you know how the tanker looks from that spot (you've got a neat set of lights for when you're starting out), staying there is straightforward. The problems people have with AAR are entirely on the lack of proper training missions explaining what sight picture to go for and not enough practice.

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6 hours ago, Dragon1-1 said:

If you really want that in the sim, you can just watch a track of someone who can AAR. That's basically what you're asking for. 

Not really, no, since there is no interaction or direction in that the way you could with some proper teaching tools. Watching a track is, if anything, even less informative than watching it on youtube and that is already lacking in pretty much every way except that it can have graphics and audio overlays.

 

6 hours ago, Dragon1-1 said:

We just need better training missions for the other aircraft, that's all. And that can be done by mission makers, as opposed to engine coders, which is another plus.

Just one problem: it can't be done by mission makers because the tools aren't there. The engine coders haven't put it in. So yeah, putting those kinds of tools in would be another plus and also be fully in line with what DCS is intended to be and with the content and toolset it is meant to offer.

 

5 hours ago, Desert Fox said:

edit: sight picture isn't the most important imho, the hardest part really is stick and throttle control. And learning this takes time.

It sure would be nice if there was some way of teaching that, perhaps methods of easing the pilot into it. Doubly so if it also taught you the sight picture.

Hmm… if only there was a suggestion or five in this thread as to how that could be achieved, as opposed to a bunch of people wishing that this wishlist thread was unwished for some poorly defined reason. But alas.

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4 hours ago, Tippis said:

Just one problem: it can't be done by mission makers because the tools aren't there. The engine coders haven't put it in. So yeah, putting those kinds of tools in would be another plus and also be fully in line with what DCS is intended to be and with the content and toolset it is meant to offer.

It can. Try the Harrier the next time it's on free trail, or buy it, it's worth the money. It includes an AAR training mission that'll teach you how to do it. There is no need to implement anything more than that. In fact, telling you about the sight picture is better than showing it. When you see an image, you don't know what to focus on. OTOH, when you're told what to look for, you can just focus on one cue and keep it in alignment (or, as with the Harrier, scan between two locations). Focusing on the whole picture isn't the best way, because it's far less precise. It works for something like F-16, because without even a canopy bow you don't have much of a choice with the tanker above you, but it's too imprecise (especially when starting out) for plugging into a basket.

 

Falcon 4.0 had "easy AAR". It wasn't recommended for actual AAR training because it would teach you bad habits. Any simplifications that would not be equivalent of watching a track or YT video would have the same result. You can disable wake turbulence, and that's it. Control during AAR is ultimately about developing muscle memory, a lot like riding a bike, actually, and I can tell you that riding a bike with training wheels on doesn't actually do much to teach you the hardest part, which is also the one part you can't learn from someone telling you about it. 

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4 hours ago, Tippis said:

It sure would be nice if there was some way of teaching that, perhaps methods of easing the pilot into it. Doubly so if it also taught you the sight picture.

Hmm… if only there was a suggestion or five in this thread as to how that could be achieved,

 

Best way of teaching is formation flying and tuning your controls until you feel confident on controlling your position w.r.t. other aircraft. Only then you are ready for the next step, not earlier. This does not need additional coding effort and this method is already available under the best teaching conditions you can think of.

 

It has been mentioned several times in similar threads...

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10 minutes ago, Dragon1-1 said:

It can. Try the Harrier the next time it's on free trail, or buy it, it's worth the money. It includes an AAR training mission that'll teach you how to do it. There is no need to implement anything more than that.

 

This I would recommend too. If I remember correctly it was refueling over the sea. I missed the ground in my peripheral view. I think refueling at low altitude above solid ground would help in the spatial awareness and would also be beneficial when the tanker is in a bank.

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31 minutes ago, Wrcknbckr said:

I missed the ground in my peripheral view. I think refueling at low altitude above solid ground would help in the spatial awareness and would also be beneficial when the tanker is in a bank.

You may think so but it's irrelevant. You don't need to know where ground or horizon is in a formation flight and so it works during AAR. You just follow the tanker. No matter if it is in a bank or a climb.

 

Sight picture and points of focus are important esp. for boom type but aren't helpful at all until you're fully in control of your aircraft. This is the skill which takes most time - some get it sooner than others but actually the formation flying is the one and only tool you need for learning.

 

So, basically AAR is:

1. The approach - no tools really needed, maybe a mission with some additional visuals like already suggested before.

2. The connection - imho the hardest part as it requires you to fly most precisely to the point in space, with the right speed and in the right direction - here some exagerrated cone visual would help to direct the player into.

3. Staying connected - depending on the type we have some wiggle room here - some box visuals might help.

 

This are of course just learning tools - not an easy AAR alternative.


Edited by draconus

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This I would recommend too. If I remember correctly it was refueling over the sea. I missed the ground in my peripheral view. I think refueling at low altitude above solid ground would help in the spatial awareness and would also be beneficial when the tanker is in a bank.


You really shouldn't focus on anything but the tanker.

That way it doesn't matter how much the tanker is banking, or doing whatever. The horizon is just a distraction that might tempt you to level your wings.
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