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Red Baron
October 26, 2013 - DamonSlye

Red Baron will support Linux and Steam OS.

We like Linux because it's Open. As an Indie Game developer for 20 years, I have had to fight the gatekeepers for access to their walled gardens. I want to let the players decide what games they want. I welcome an open, competitive market because I think we can deliver as much value in our game as anyone else. I would rather put all our time and effort into making the best possible game.

We are also excited by SteamOS. It will be an excellent gaming platform.

October 25, 2013 - DamonSlye

Since I left the game and flight sim industry in 1994, the new flight simulators have not appealed to me. They have truly excelled in the obvious areas: graphics and flight model. But I think they dropped the ball in other key areas. I don’t think the campaigns are as immersive and compelling as they could be. They certainly haven’t pushed design in this area at all.

And, I think they pretty much have ignored the vast majority of people who don’t play flight sims. This is sad. The genre could be so much more popular and be filled with so many more great gamers. I myself am a hard-core flight sim player—I’m a real pilot, and I am familiar with the details of flight and weather and airplanes—but I want to bring in many more people. Right now many flight sims are really daunting to new players.

The controls are difficult and frustrating. I am not saying that we should make silly arcade flight games. I dislike those as much as anyone. The experience they offer is vapid. However, we can create a much better learning experience for new players. We can help them along each step of the way, and as they progress, discover new levels of realism for them to master. As it is now, we only get the really determined players to stick it out and become experts.

So, I believe there is a false choice being presented to gamers: a flight game must either be:

a hard-core hyper-realistic vehicle simulation that will require tens or hundreds of hours of intense learning before you feel proficient, OR
it is easy to learn, easy to fly, kind of fun for while, but ultimately it’s a pretty empty experience, and really it’s just an arcade game skinned as a flight sim.
I completely reject this choice. The consequence of this is that the vast majority of gamers don’t even bother to look at flight sims because they want something that is easy to learn, fun to play, yet is a deep, rich experience with layers that can be discovered over time.

So, we will deliver an experience that is both a game that is easy-to-learn, but under the hood it is a rich and deep simulation, and the player can peel off more and more levels to discover new tactics and levels of immersion within the reality of the world.

We'll have more detailed examples in the coming days and weeks on how we will accomplish this.

That’s why Red Baron now. Thanks for listening!


October 25, 2013 - DamonSlye

We’ve had a few questions about the flight model, and its level of fidelity.

The flight model will manifest all the primary forces of aerodynamics: thrust, drag, lift, gravity; and the player will be able to manipulate the pitch and rotation of the aircraft with the ailerons, the rudder, and the elevators; and as pilots know, the throttle will also affect pitch and bank (due to torque). Of course, high angles of attack will result in stalls, and should one wing stall before the other, spins. We’ll also have some of the more nuanced effects such as gyroscopic precession caused by propeller and engine rotation (in the case of airplanes with rotary engines like the triplane and the camel), carburetor freezing, and icing when flying in visible moisture. Additionally, there’s a human component to flight. We will include blackouts from positive and negative Gs, and blackouts when flying at high altitudes for too long.

Closely related to the flight model are the controls. As a real pilot, I’ve learned to apply right rudder to counteract torque, use the rudder to maintain a nice coordinated turn, and apply back pressure in a turn to keep the nose above the horizon so that I don’t inadvertently lose altitude. However, these things take practice before they become automatic reflexes. I’ve spent a lot of time watching novice gamer-pilots try flying in a flight game, and what I’ve seen is that often flight games can be very difficult to learn. Even a simpler maneuver like a banked turn will often send a novice player into a spiral, loss of altitude, and a total loss of orientation. If we want to help those new players along so that they can learn to love the genre as we do, I think we can do a much better job. I think it’s the responsibility of the game developer to do a good job bringing new players on-board.

We have developed a nice system that will assist novice pilots by automatically applying the necessary rudder to coordinate turns, apply back pressure when banked, and use the rudder to counteract torque. The important thing here is that this is NOT a dumbed down flight model-- the flight model is the same. It's just a layer on top that handles the more finesseful parts of flying for novice pilots. The pilot can override these inputs at any time. Expert pilots can turn off this feature permanently so they are in full control of the aircraft at all times. This will remove ALL the training-wheels.

Finally, we are going to include a Realism Panel. We've found a realism panel is a great solution so that every player can customize their experience to their own liking. In the single player campaign, players will be able to turn off any or all of the more advanced and challenging features at any time (we will not limit this in anyway; players will have access to the realism panel form the moment they first launch the game). Of course, in multiplayer, it's not fair to have some pilots turning off all the more challenging realities, so players realism settings will be set to that of the dedicated server or host. Each host will have the opportunity to change realism settings before the game is launched.

In the coming days and weeks, we'll continue to answer any questions and welcome any feedback about Red Baron's flight and damage models.

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