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Sunday, April 27, 2014

War Thunder is not a flight sim

Let's just get that out of the way shall we?

People who come onto this site and say 'I tried War Thunder and it is more of an arcade game than a sim'... guess what?

You are right.

The makers of War Thunder, Gaijin, call it a 'Flight Game'. They don't get hung up on the 'is it' or 'isn't it' a sim rubbish. They are just keen to produce a fun, accessible flight game that anyone with an interest in combat flight can pick up and play.

Want to play with a mouse? In 3rd person view? You can.

Want to play with a joystick and pedals? In cockpit only view? That too.

Want to see what it was like to go up against a Bf109 in a Mitsubishi Zero? Yep.

Or fight a realistic historic war with the right opponent plane types over the right part of the world...yes, you can.

Do War Thunder aircraft have the most detailed flight systems and accurate flight models? Nup.

Are the weapons and sounds purely historical ... nah.

Is it a great entry into the world of flight games, where you can try for free and buy if you like it, pay nothing if you don't...hell yes!

There. I said it.

War Thunder is Not A Flight Sim.

James, you traitor! What is a flight simulator? Why doesn't War Thunder qualify?

According to Webster Dictionary it is: an airplane pilot-training device in which the cockpit and instruments of an airplane are duplicated and the conditions of actual flight are simulated.

OK, so War Thunder is not a pilot training device, therefore not a simulator.

But then, neither is IL2 or Battle of Stalingrad. 

This is a flight simulator. Does your home made cockpit look like this? If not, get off the soapbox!

All of these games, are just that - games. They are nowhere near as close to the real thing as a flight simulator. Sorry to all of you out there with your home made 'pits. I am sure they are fantastic for immersion, and I wish I had one!

Nice! Wish I had built one myself. But not a flight simulator.

A real flight simulator has hydraulics throwing you around in the virtual sky. Not just a Buttkicker woofer in your chair.

Says Wikipedia: "A Full flight simulator (FFS) duplicates relevant aspects of the aircraft and its environment, including motion. This is typically accomplished by placing a replica cockpit and visual system on a motion platform. A six degrees-of-freedom (DOF) motion platform using six jacks is the modern standard, and is required for the so-called Level D flight simulator standard of civil aviation regulatory authorities such as FAA in the USA and EASA in Europe. Since the travel of the motion system is limited, a principle called 'acceleration onset cueing' is used. This simulates initial accelerations well, and then returns the motion system to a neutral position at a rate below the pilot's sensory threshold in order to prevent the motion system from reaching its limits of travel."

Does this describe your flight game experience? I suspect not.

So, you can rank your flight games in terms of lower (War Thunder) to higher (DCS, Battle of Stalingrad, IL2) authenticity, but you are just splitting hairs.

They are not simulators. They are games. All of them.

Sorry to disappoint.

But once you get past that fact - you remember it is all about the fun, and all that really matters is whether you enjoy your particular flavour of game!




  1. I started with mouse-aim - It was great fun. After a year i bought myself a proper joystick setup (Saitek x 51 pro, with rudder and TrackIr5). I knew from forum that the setup would be difficuldt, and it was. I have now bought COD due to my growing interest on more sim flying. In WT there is a playerbase who use mouse, stick flying is much more difficult - spesially the aiming.

    The playerbase on "serious" players are narrow, so there is a lot of bot's in sim mode, and historical battling is almost non present. A lot of things is good, the game is under development and will improve I hope. FM's, DM's and match making is not good atm, I am not sure about if they will succeed or not - I am afraid the "arcade" player base will force them to focus on a lighter game than go for full sim functionality.

    I have to learn to fly sim-wise, this game is a better place to do that.

  2. I´m sorry I can´t agree with you James. There are several "flying games" out there that may well be called flight simulators in that respect that they can serve as training platforms for IRL pilots. Maybe not Full flight simulators (with the tilting gear), but still so realistic that you can learn to fly from them. MS Flight Sim is just one of them. When I was going to do my long distance solo flight when training for my PPL, I dry-flied the whole distance on MSFS first and it was extremely useful. In some cases it´s even easier to fly IRL than on the computer. And many pilots in the club used it for dry-training. If you look at A2A:s P51-D it´s so extremely detailed that I bet I could take a real Mustang for a ride in fair weather and land it without killing myself (I have only flown Cessnas). Every button works in the clickable 3D cockpit and the engine systems is modelled in detail down to the function of single spark plugs. CoD is a good combat sim but not that realistic. BoS has the potential, time will show how far it will go. So IMHO there is a huge difference in "Flying Games" like War Thunder and Combat Flight Sims like IL-2 Battle of Stalingrad.

  3. Interesting real flight simulator? Free download? Multiplayer combats, fights........

    This is interesting game! Download for free! Only for US. users

  4. I am a real FAA-licensed pilot with hundreds of hours in simulators. Flight simulators are nothing like real flying. They are not realistic at all. The controls and instruments do not anything like they they do in actual flight. They're movement is ridiculously phony like something out of a Disney ride. Some of the very best pilots absolutely suck in a simulator, and lesser pilots are often great in them. In the civilian world they exist only to cut back on actual flight time in order to save money. I would much rather play War Thunder, or some other interactive game, then sit in some boring simulator.

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