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Thursday, March 21, 2013

The 5 simple reasons you shouldn't change to Win8

I just bought a brand spanking new ASUS G75VW loaded with kit. New games should absolutely kick butt on this rig. Except for one thing. It comes preloaded with Windows8 OEM.

You will get a million hits on Google if you type this phrase 'Windows 8 sucks'. But I am going to repeat it here unless there is any doubt, WINDOWS 8 SUCKS.

And here is why.

1. Unless you have a touch screen, there is no  advantage (ZERO, NADA, ZIP) over Win7 whatsoever. No great new feature, no speed advantage, smart new way of working, nothing whatsoever.

2. You have to learn a new user interface which is just annoying because there is no incentive to learn it (refer to point 1.)

3. Many of your games will NOT be compatible with Win8. Even in Emulation Mode (and BTW there is no Win7 Emulation mode that seems to work). My two favourite sims BOBII and Cliffs of Dover, did not work with Win8. A user created a workaround for Cliffs of Dover, but BOBII still will not work.

4. You cannot create a separate partition on your PC for Win 7 and run your games there because they use different HD formatting. Win8 Pro will let you 'downgrade' (I'd call it an upgrade) your install to Win7 if you have a Win7 key, but only if you have the Pro version.

5. Once you realise how useless the new interface is, getting back to a Win7 look and feel is not easy. There are freeware progs to help you boot straight to the desktop, and avoid the stupid Win8 START screen (created for Touch screens, not mouse users) that has replaced it. But if you want your old Win7 START button and interface back in all its simplicity, the most popular freeware program for doing this is now a 20USD payware program, so great has the demand been.

Here is what to do if your new PC comes with Win 8 preinstalled:

1. Take your lovely new PC out of the box and plug it in
2. Do not install any new programs
3. Reformat the hard drive
4. Install Win7, and update to latest Win7 Service Pack and drivers
5. Now install your favourite games and periphals

Win8 is the new Windows ME (remember that dog?) of Windows updates. Unless you absolutely must have a touchscreen for your PC, stay on Win7 and skip right on past it.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

News roundup: March 2013

IL2 1946

New quick missions pack from Ian Boys. Heavy on the air to ground. Get it here:

Neural Dream has also created a fantastic aircraft reference guide, which you can get on M4T.

IL2 Cliffs of Dover

Team Fusion continues to work on their new mod which is currently in beta testing. The main focus is updates to flight modelling, with a few new or tweaked visual effects. Spokesperson MysticPuma says, "Players will need to learn to fly the aircraft all over again..." (Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing guys! You might not want to include that in the release PR!)

You can see videos of work in progress on vimeo:

Or Youtube:

Luftwaffe REDUX campaign:  Yours truly and Bolox (with assistance again from Gabuzomeu) are giving the REDUX treatment to the stock LW campaign and it is currently in beta testing. You can see sample AAR of the first mission here:

Or a video AAR from the second mission here:

Battle of Britain 2

Following up on the very positively received 2.12 update, the BDG is now canvassing for requested improvements to include in the 2.13 update. You can post yours here:

One little nugget that didn't make the 2.12 release but should be included next time, was a revised RAF campaign/plotting map from Scoobared, lovingly crafted from photographs of the plotting tables at RAF Uxbridge and RAF Duxford; illustrations in The Narrow Margin; the Royal Observer Corps website; plus various other sources scattered across the web.


Battle of Stalingrad

1C Game Studios has been pretty good at updating news about the sim every couple of weeks, and answering questions from Eastern Front enthusiasts. You can always get the up to date summary here:

Or read the weekly updates like this one, which are always done in a direct but humorous style:

Here is a shot of work in progress on the LaGG3 interior and BoS landscape/airfield

Full size here:

1) Will the bombers and attack aircraft need in the strategic plan or they will just as prey for the fighters?

Each class (fighter, attack aircraft, bomber) will have their own mission in the main campaign. So, whether they are needed, it depends on the players. Gameplay for each class will be unique in many ways. I think that of course you need to try everything.

2) Whether you considered opportunity to make the map of Gulf of Finland in the future, as in "IL-2"?

It's almost standard issue. I'll no longer respond to such questions, because the answer is always the same. About the future we need to talk in the future. Of course, we dream to make all theaters for all the wars in which the aircraft used. But after the dream work starting and we're working to make this future a reality. It is a matter of probability.

3) Loft, I have a question. Very often we can find on the forums arguments to players about what is a "simulator" as a game genre. Tell me what you mean by "simulation"? Is this some kind of an objective entity or it depends on the needs of the target audience? If this is the first, what characteristic features should have the game and on which the principles it should be built so that it can be called a "simulator"? Thank you.

This is a great and very personal question. I'll answer it, speaking only for myself. I.e. let's assume that my colleagues may not agree with my opinion.

The definition of the genre can be found in Wikipedia. But the question was about something else; Where does the simulator end and where does the game begin (and vice versa). The border is very unsteady. And for the audience it is also very shaky. Simulations can be divided into two global camps:

1) Simulation of equipment
2) Simulation of situations and events

Both types can be part of a whole, or they can be completely independent. I was always more interested in the second type. Every day I drive my car, it's available for me, as many other people do. But, nevertheless, I have no opportunity to participate in the Dakar Rally. This example describes my attitude to the subject. I’ve flown in different aircraft, propeller-driven and jet, but I never took part in a dogfight. I’ve also never killed a dragon, didn't shoot an arrow at an Orc, never driven a space repairman, not fought with swords under the walls of Troy and in general I try not to expose myself to danger without the need.

The question is about the depth of the simulation, as you rightly pointed out, depending on the target audience (including age). In general, this is a huge question and answering it is like defending a doctoral dissertation. The quality of the simulation should be evaluated according to the result (without regard for what audience it's directed). You need to look as far as the result is correlated with the data that we see in the real world. If the planes are breaking the laws of physics then the simulation is shit, but it does not say anything about how the way we obtain the result. You have created a million lines of code to get a good result in the simulation or you wrote thousands lines of code. I think this is Chinese proverb: it's easy to draw the gods and demons because no one has seen them, but it's hard to draw a rooster and a dog because all seen them.

From Jason: This is the biggest problem for any flight-sim development team. What systems to create faithfully with full realism and which to compromise on. Albert has touched upon the big issue. Are we going to just simulate the systems and machinery or also the external situations and events with extreme accuracy? Unfortunately, it is impossible to do both in a PC simulation, especially when you have a finite amount of resources and time. Albert likes to create the overall illusion and experience of flying an airplane in combat, which he does very well. Some in the community want every button and knob to work as it did in real life. I am more inclined to that approach since I love to learn about systems and machines and that can be a challenge itself. But if we try to do both “situations and systems” to the extreme, will only end up killing the project. We are confident that in the end we will have a simulation, not an arcade game that the large majority of flight-simulation enthusiasts will enjoy.

4) Do I need a permanent connection to the internet? Or everything will be done as in RoF: I once logged in and then I can always play in offline mode.

Connection required for activating the game or installing any add-on. Also, some game modes (including the main mode) will require an internet connection. But we also make a mode where you can play even disconnected.

5) Will criticisms from CloD taken into account for BoS?

Yes, they are already taken into account. And for this reason, this forums has a lot of dissatisfied people J

6) What would you do if you see that you don't have time?

I dismiss myself and dismiss all who believed me. J More seriously, we need to take into account too many factors to answer you. You can not keep up in different ways. But if we don't have time and it will be a critical influence on the quality of the final product then I'll insist on the postponement of the release. I promise you that I'll say this openly and loudly.

7) Now enthusiasts from ATAG themselves correct CloD (copyright for this game belongs to you). Whether any cooperation with this team?

So far none of them have tried to contact with me (or with anyone else from 1C-777) and discuss this possibility. This is a bad sign. They don't respect us. If there is no respect for other people's property, any dialogue is impossible. I hope that this is due only to the fact that this boys don't yet know what they want and what they have done. Therefore, they are shy.

8) Will there be special and elite bonuses for registered and paid for pre-order, intended to stimulate teleporting money out of our wallet in your wallet?

Yes, of course. All details will be disclosed in a future announcement, but I'm sure that we can thank those who help us in the most difficult first step.

9) Will there be reflections from scratches in the canopy glass?!
IMO this would look absolutely great as it really gives you the feeling that you are sitting in glassed in surrounding. It doesn't have to be disturbing and should maybe be visible in certain angles only while maneuvering...