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32 minutes ago, Katj said:

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.

It is important in one specific moment: during the transition. DCS has an unrealistically shallow bank on part of the tanker, which lessens the effect of the transition knocking you out of alignment, but it's there, and also unrealistically, it doesn't announce when it's about to do this. Also, it puts you out of trim, which is an quite insidious, because in DCS, you may not notice the tanker is turning. If you're trimmed for level flight, you're not trimmed for the turn. Compensating for this takes some practice.

 

It is, however, true that you shouldn't focus on anything but the tanker. TBH, for this exact reason I think a cone would be counterproductive. It's another thing, just like the basket, that distracts you from the important thing, which is the tanker. I do have an idea that could work - an overlay similar to what we have for IFLOLS, showing USAF-style director lights. That would especially help low-end VR users, who may have trouble seeing the lights on the actual tanker.

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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?

  

1 hour 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. 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).

I've tried it. It's pretty poor and could be improved in a major way by actually having the full range of tools available to other flight regimes. You know what would be better than being told what to look for? Being told and shown what to look for, in a wide array of circumstances when what to look for — and how to make sure it looks that way — changes as you go through the steps of the procedure.

 

Also, don't confuse your subjective learning style for being an objective truth that works for everyone.

 

2 hours ago, Dragon1-1 said:

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. 

…and that's the problem right there. So why this compact resistance to improving the game to be able to do do what it says on the box? What's so horribly wrong with trying to teach the parts that you can't just listen your way into learning? Because there are ways of teaching those things, and the best way of doing that is to offer a difficulty gradient so the problem can be broken down in different parts focusing on different aspects of that muscle memory. As you point out, there isn't one at the moment — you can disable wake turbulence, and that's it, but that doesn't actually change much in this case and it is completely binary. Other options and aids and helpers might also be binary, but layer enough of them on top of each other, and suddenly get a fair amount of granularity in what the student need to keep track of.

 

Also, come to think of it, so what if there was an F4-style easy AAR? So what if it taught bad habits? That might be bad for those who want to go all the way, but those people would also known this and would push through to the next level of lessons; those that don't, won't, and will keep having fun. So where's the harm? DCS is supposed to hand-hold novice players; it is supposed to offer gameplay and options for casual players — if the new or casual player wants to get into the larger complexities and considerations that go into a mission that requires in-flight refuelling, what's the benefit of not giving them that?

 

39 minutes ago, Dragon1-1 said:

It is important in one specific moment: during the transition. DCS has an unrealistically shallow bank on part of the tanker, which lessens the effect of the transition knocking you out of alignment, but it's there, and also unrealistically, it doesn't announce when it's about to do this. Also, it puts you out of trim, which is an quite insidious, because in DCS, you may not notice the tanker is turning. If you're trimmed for level flight, you're not trimmed for the turn. Compensating for this takes some practice.

That's the funny thing here. So much of the argument against improving the game is that it would somehow make it unrealistic (even though as previously mentioned, it would actually open the window for much more realistic setups for more players) but at the heart of the matter is the problem that the refuelling itself  is… lacklustre, let's say… in that department. One thing that would probably make it a whole lot easier is if it were made more realistic. Granted some of that would require robbing the AI of its on-rails flying, which is likely to break things in irreparable ways, but a man can dream. 😄

 

That's not all that strange though. You'll always come across this undercurrent in any and all sim communities: the notion that “real” directly correlates with “hard” and vice versa. That something that is made easier must somehow forcibly mean that it is made less realistic. And then you get people fighting tooth and nail against increased realism because they've somehow tied their preference or persona and they've become invested in that difficulty, as if DCS was a bullet hell arcade game or something. This thread has actually been refreshingly free of that for the most part, but you can still see it pop here and there.

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2 minutes ago, Tippis said:

 That's the funny thing here. So much of the argument against improving the game is that it would somehow make it unrealistic (even though as previously mentioned, it would actually open the window for much more realistic setups for more players) but at the heart of the matter is the problem that the refuelling itself  is… lacklustre, let's say… in that department. One thing that would probably make it a whole lot easier is if it were made more realistic. Granted some of that would require robbing the AI of its on-rails flying, which is likely to break things in irreparable ways, but a man can dream.

It has nothing to do with "on rails AI", and everything to do with ED trying to make it "more accessible" by making the tanker take unrealistically shallow turns, which take forever and sneak up on you. Try the other F-16 sim for more realistic tanker tracks, it'll put in enough bank to make what's basically a standard rate turn. If you're not prepared, you'll fall off the boom, which is why the tanker will give you a heads-up before it does that. TBH, handling the moment when the tanker is in process of banking does add some difficulty (mostly because you need to apply a larger input that can easily develop into PIO), but the current way trades that for an extended period when you're out of trim. 

9 minutes ago, Tippis said:

 I've tried it. It's pretty poor and could be improved in a major way by actually having the full range of tools available to other flight regimes. You know what would be better than being told what to look for? Being told and shown what to look for, in a wide array of circumstances when what to look for — and how to make sure it looks that way — changes as you go through the steps of the procedure.

There's no wide array of flight regimes involved. A tanker will fly a narrow range of altitudes and airspeeds, so every refuelling is more or less the same. All you need to do is trim, get in formation, fly the cues you were told about. If you can't convert simple directions into a mental image, then you have bigger problems than AAR.

11 minutes ago, Tippis said:

Also, come to think of it, so what if there was an F4-style easy AAR? So what if it taught bad habits? That might be bad for those who want to go all the way, but those people would also known this and would push through to the next level of lessons; those that don't, won't, and will keep having fun. So where's the harm?

Wasted development time that could be used elsewhere. We don't want ED working on simplified AAR, because it takes away programmer time from something else. It's a dead end, you can't use it as a stepping stone to realistic AAR, because you'll have to unlearn your bad habits. 

 

DCS has stopped trying to be a "game" long ago. FC3 was the last time it tried, and now MAC is taking that role. Devs have simply given up on casual players in favor of hardcore simmers. Simplifications made for their sake are now seen as flaws and being phased out. The last such thing was the ability of MiG-21 to be steered on the ground with rudder alone, which was greatly reduced after people complained (and that wasn't even ED). Game avionics are buggy and have been so for years. Instead, the devs are adding support to latching 3-position switches, which are present only on the most high-end HOTAS setups and on DIY ones. Whatever it might say on the box is an artifact of an earlier era, just like the FC3 pack.

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15 minutes ago, Dragon1-1 said:

It has nothing to do with "on rails AI", and everything to do with ED trying to make it "more accessible" by making the tanker take unrealistically shallow turns, which take forever and sneak up on you. Try the other F-16 sim for more realistic tanker tracks, it'll put in enough bank to make what's basically a standard rate turn. If you're not prepared, you'll fall off the boom, which is why the tanker will give you a heads-up before it does that. TBH, handling the moment when the tanker is in process of banking does add some difficulty (mostly because you need to apply a larger input that can easily develop into PIO), but the current way trades that for an extended period when you're out of trim.

Right. The on-rails-AI thing is more a matter of how the tanker isn't moving through the same air the player does, so something that just basic aerodynamics should help make happen, they player have to do for themselves because they exist in a completely different space than the AI tanker. If the AI actually flew the plane (and had some sense of self-preservation), the player would have an easier time of sticking to it.

 

The tanker AI behaving more like a tanker crew and the tanker plane behaving more like a plane are just two of those cases where more real = more easy, but the flight model part in particular is just so unlikely to ever happen because of what it would mean on a larger scale.

 

15 minutes ago, Dragon1-1 said:

There's no wide array of flight regimes involved.

You're mixing the two up: it is a single flight regime with a number of different circumstances. There are a number of sight pictures you want to keep track of (here, too, the terseness of the AI contributes a fair amount but fixing one could solve the other).

 

And again: don't generalise your subjective learning style. It is not a universal fact. People who don't share that learning style do not “have problems” to any greater extent than you do.

 

15 minutes ago, Dragon1-1 said:

Wasted development time that could be used elsewhere. We don't want ED working on simplified AAR, because it takes away programmer time from something else. It's a dead end, you can't use it as a stepping stone to realistic AAR, because you'll have to unlearn your bad habits. 

The question was: so what?

 

And yes, you most certainly can use it as a stepping stone. It's an age-old and millennia-proven methodology: first you show and tell; then you try some minor part with a lot of hand-holding and even hand-guidance, still with a lot of show and tell; then you pull back on the show-and-tell in favour of just correcting the errors; then you expand the minor part to include more complex parts, possibly adding new things to show and tell as they become relevant. Tacit knowledge transfer is a known entity — we've been doing it for aeons, but it requires the right capabilities and tools to work well.

 

Oh, and we definitely want ED to work in simplified AAR because it puts programmer time on a part of the game that has been lagging behind and needs to be updated, and which would be beneficial to just about everyone no matter what plane they fly (because many of the same tools could be used for other flight regimes and tasks). Something that universally applicable should be a lot higher priority than any single module could ever be worth.

 

15 minutes ago, Dragon1-1 said:

Instead, the devs are adding support to latching 3-position switches, which are present only on the most high-end HOTAS setups and on DIY ones. Whatever it might say on the box is an artifact of an earlier era, just like the FC3 pack.

Well, the game already fully supports latching switches. That's just a binding UI feature. And what it says on the box is what the game should strive to deliver, especially given how they keep coming back to and hammering that single point on multiple occasions.

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48 minutes ago, Tippis said:

Oh, and we definitely want ED to work in simplified AAR because it puts programmer time on a part of the game that has been lagging behind and needs to be updated, and which would be beneficial to just about everyone no matter what plane they fly (because many of the same tools could be used for other flight regimes and tasks). Something that universally applicable should be a lot higher priority than any single module could ever be worth.

Except you're the only one who thinks that way. Instead of implementing more "helpers" like this, I'd rather see ED's time go towards damage model, ATC, performance, new clouds, AI... there's so much more they could work on instead. Making AAR accessible to casual players most definitely shouldn't be a priority. After those things are done, maybe. Not before. Until then, you'll have to do some reading and some spatial thinking. And it's not about "my" way to learn, either. Real pilots learn that way all the time, no magic AAR in real air forces. 

 

And no, AAR with simplified physics can't be used as a stepping stone to doing this in realistic mode any more than riding a trike prepares you to ride a bike. It just won't build the sort of muscle memory needed to fly this kind of thing. Was true in Falcon 4.0 days and is just as true today. 

 

Also, the tanker using the same physics as the player wouldn't change as much as you think. IRL, those planes are pretty stable. Tanker AI follows the trajectory you'd expect from a real tanker reasonably closely, including angles of bank. The unrealistic turn radius when in track (they can do normal turns outside of it) is the only issue that makes it harder than it should be. IRL, tankers don't generally maneuver themselves to help the pilot trying to hook up to them, in fact, they're typically on autopilot when flying the track.

 

I have a feeling that you're trying to blame DCS for your lack of ability, willingness and/or time to learn this thing properly, and expecting DCS to solve that for you. Well, in Doom, you don't get the BFG until you've put in some time and effort into the game, either. AAR is rewarding precisely because it's hard. In other words, go grind your AAR skill until you're on a high enough level. 🙂 Really, when you compare this to the time you'd spend grinding for essential skills in an RPG (engineers in Elite:Dangerous, anyone?), DCS is positively lenient in that regard.

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3 hours ago, Dragon1-1 said:

Except you're the only one who thinks that way.

Clearly not as this thread demonstrates.

 

3 hours ago, Dragon1-1 said:

And no, AAR with simplified physics can't be used as a stepping stone to doing this in realistic mode any more than riding a trike prepares you to ride a bike. It just won't build the sort of muscle memory needed to fly this kind of thing. Was true in Falcon 4.0 days and is just as true today. 

Yes it can. It is as true today as it was over the last couple of millennia. Training wheels exist (and are call that) for a reason.

 

You're also vastly simplifying what goes into AAR if you just condense it down to “muscle memory” — again, this thread offers plenty of explanations and examples of why it's more than that. It's part of a larger complex of tasks and skills to be learned. The more these can be isolated and practised individually, the better. Right now, the part you suggest is the most important is also the one that is the least supported by the game training tools.

 

3 hours ago, Dragon1-1 said:

I have a feeling that you're trying to blame DCS for your lack of ability, willingness and/or time to learn this thing properly,

I have a feeling you've run out of arguments since you feel the need to inject this ad hominem. Oh, and the general lack of argumentation also further enhances that feeling, of course, but that one is a pretty standard sign of someone opening their final box of coffin nails… 😉

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21 hours ago, Desert Fox said:

 

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.

 

You obviously haven't been following the thread very closely if you think that everyone commenting is asking for AI to fly the plane into the basket. Lots of us are asking for learning aids, not auto-refuel. Perhaps we should start a separate thread.

 

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21 minutes ago, sthompson said:

You obviously haven't been following the thread very closely if you think that everyone commenting is asking for AI to fly the plane into the basket. Lots of us are asking for learning aids, not auto-refuel. Perhaps we should start a separate thread.

 

 

Oh, i didn't say 'everyone in here', but 'everything the thread is about'. First post states so and there's a bandwagon following. If you skip a few pages back, you'll see i even contributed an idea that might help learning without being anything-auto (if you had followed the thread very closely... 😉 🤗).

 

I'm all in for clever learning aids but against any auto, so we're on the same side actually. Having a separate thread might be a good idea on one hand (due to the title of this one) but be aware it will be hijacked by auto-folks asap.

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Oh, i didn't say 'everyone in here', but 'everything the thread is about'. First post states so and there's a bandwagon following. If you skip a few pages back, you'll see i even contributed an idea that might help learning without being anything-auto (if you had followed the thread very closely... ).
 
I'm all in for clever learning aids but against any auto, so we're on the same side actually. Having a separate thread might be a good idea on one hand (due to the title of this one) but be aware it will be hijacked by auto-folks asap.
I'm most definitely in something of an auto camp. It could be implemented like if you fly in the general vicinity, like a mile or so, of the tanker you get the gas. That way you still have to manage your fuel, find the tanker, and join up. I.e. you have to handle all aspects except the close formation flying.

I don't think many of the "learning aids" you guys are discussing would help much. When I see people struggling with AAR it's because of PIO, not because they don't know where they should be. Especially when we're talking basket. Perhaps the boom operator could be more talkative and actually help talk you into the correct position, at least if you ask him to via radio menu.

Of course every AAR capable module should have an instant action type of mission that starts you off right behind the basket or boom. Most missions starts you off way too far behind, and it's just tedious to first join up on the tanker if you just want to have a quick 10 minute sit down in front of your computer and practice some AAR.

Such missions could also be voiced and tell you about any tricks that are helpful for the module in question. Like "Put the thing on the thing", "sweep the wings back to such and such", that sort of stuff.

Other than that I think practice, adjusting equipment (like joystick axis curves), and patience will have almost everyone doing AAR within a reasonable time frame.
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51 minutes ago, Katj said:

if you fly in the general vicinity, like a mile or so, of the tanker you get the gas.

40 years back in River Raid you had to fly right through the Fuel. Now in a flight sim we need a mile or so 😄

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Can someone chime in on the real life experience for the Viper.  I seem to recall the boom operator does all the connection work and afterwards you are hands free until disconnect.  This would be a better option for some.  Simply toggle boom operator in the settings, and when you get in contact position, the boom grabs you and you autopilot along with the tanker until disconnect.


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8 hours ago, glide said:

Can someone chime in on the real life experience for the Viper.  I seem to recall the boom operator does all the connection work and afterwards you are hands free until disconnect.  This would be a better option for some.  Simply toggle boom operator in the settings, and when you get in contact position, the boom grabs you and you autopilot along with the tanker until disconnect.

Yeah, that's what real boom operators said in these forums. But the pilot still needs to be proficient at precise formation flying or it won't happen. So it would not be an option - just part of possible simulation improvement.

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On 2/19/2021 at 2:19 AM, upyr1 said:

This would be cool for a USAF Phantom II, I've seen an F-4 pilot say the WSO had an easier time refueling

Don’t know about USAF wizzos, but the RAF verbal ballast certainly had a nice time during tanking. I’m doing all the work, whilst he is seeing how frayed the drogue may be - any spokes missing - working out what brand of cocoa he will have before nighty-night time, or telling me we should swap seats as he is sure he could do it better.
 

At least I make him feel better by telling him he is useful where he is - his seat will double as the final flare should I need it. 😇 😈


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