Take On Helicopters

Take On Helicopters

wikkid1 Mar 29, 2014 @ 5:33pm
Decent rotary sim with horrible controls.
Exactly as the title says... I'm not a fan of rotary aircraft in general, almost never flew them in FSX or other flight sims. But since ToH was part of a bundle figured I'd try it, I mean I already own it so why not.

Immediately the biggest thing wrong with ToH is the controls system. I've been playing games since I got my NES back in 94 and I've never (literally never) encountered a system as poorly thought out as the one in ToH. I'm using an xbox controller, as I'm sure are most people who are bothering with ToH... the more serious avsim enthusiasts will have proper controls (I've got a yoke for winged aircraft). So assuming you're using an xpad like myself... Right off the bat you'll notice that there's no way to see how the controls are mapped, there is a "default" mapping for xpad but without mucking around you can't see what those mappings are, that's stupid. Any new game I get first thing I do is open up the options to set video settings and look at controls, but obviously these guys (the developers) are all super pro, they can guess what the controls are without ever launching the game before, but not all of us are that pro.
On top of that, once you figure out how to get ToH to display what the bindings are and get to a point where they could be changed (I had to google for a solution to that because it's possible, but there aren't ANY hints as to how to go about it) you'll notice that there are SIX pages of controls. Many of the controls repeat on more than one page, and even more are impossible to figure out without binding them and then trying ingame to see what happens. There's like five different sets of bindings for looking around/moving head/freelook/etc, none of which will turn your character so walking around is also a problem.

I could go on and on and list every issue I had with controls but the above should be enough to get the point across. I literally spent over an hour buggering about with controls just to get it to a point where I could use the left stick to look around instead of snapping left/right.

The flight behaviour on the craft is a bit wonky as well, I've flown choppers in FSX/FS9/XPlane so am a bit familiar with how they should behave, even so my bird dropped out of the sky during the tutorials.

Basically unless you're a serious fiend for (somewhat arcade-y) chopper sims I don't recommend ToH. It's got issues on every level from controls to graphics to flight models. FSX is a bit old at this point and still I'd recommend it over ToH every time since it's better in every way.
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Showing 1-15 of 29 comments
bothersome Mar 30, 2014 @ 9:52pm 
You really ought to do a bit research before you start dissing a game/sim.

IF you would get a decent controller like a joystick with smooth control inputs you'd notice there is no problem there.

IF you would get your game out of Beginner and Trainee mode (Veteran or Expert), you'd notice the flight model is pretty damn close.

I have flown FSX and FlightGear 3.0 and a few other helicopter simulators. And I've flown a 4 different real life RC helicopters, largest with a 5 foot rotor span. So I know a thing about helicopters myself. TOH is a decent heli simulator. It might not be perfect but it was tuned from the advice of REAL helicopter pilots. They couldn't advise on serious yank and bank maneuvors because of running the risk of killing themselves, but the casual flying is pretty close.

Graphics is pretty decent on my machine but then I'm running 4Gz wiht 16GB RAM and a GTX-470 video.

So many people try to judge a simulator based on kiddie game boy input controllers and laptop computer performance. GET A CLUE.
wikkid1 Mar 31, 2014 @ 6:55pm 
Are you just trying to troll or actually have an intelligent discussion here? Because my intent was the second, if you're after the first then bugger off... but just on the assumption that you're here for the same reason as myself I'll reply in detail.

I'll start with something which I find irrelevant to this particular discussion but you seem to think is important so: My system probably performs better then yours, same in everything but the game is on SSD and my video card is a 560ti (nothing super but sure beats a 470). Not sure what your point with that was since even with what I have (which is better than what you have but much worse than top of line) ToH is not bottlenecking anywhere.

Moving on,
Are you suggesting that everybody interested in trying ToH should purchase a $70 joystick? If you are then I'll repeat myself "bugger off".
The game, ToH, comes with a premapped setting for xpad, which sucks really really badly, along with the rest of the controls system. You've seen FSX, can you really, honestly, say that the way they did it in ToH comes anywhere even remotely close? I don't think so, nor do quite a few people, at least judging by all the complaints on this board as well as all others.

The flight physics are a mess, there's just no arguing against that, unless you're one of those who argues against fact. You're trying to use your RC experience as some sort of an authority, but it's not. Neither of us is a real life chopper pilot, but those that are have mentioned numerous issues with the flight physics in ToH, and I tend to agree with some of those.

ToH is far away from being a good looking game (actually I'll agree with you on this point, it's decent, no more)... it's not the ugliest I've seen, but it's nowhere near those products that actually do look good. X-Plane could be a comparison here, ToH isn't even in the same league. Something that really almost shocked me was the texture on the headphones when you're flying with somebody next to you, just turn in their direction and look at the headphone that's facing you... it looks worse than myopia, a jarful of vaseline wouldn't be able to create a blurry mess like that.

I hope I have replied to any (and all) misunderstandings you may have had with my original post. If you've no further ones then please, at least attempt to, restrain yourself from posting back. If just looking to start a flamewar then 1. I'm surprised you read this far and 2. This isn't the thread for it... if you'd like I'll create a separate one where you can vent your anger at all those surrounding you who appear to not have a clue (though it sounds like perhaps the problem here is yourself, not the others). Just drop me a line and I'll get that set up for ya.
bothersome Mar 31, 2014 @ 11:44pm 
I don't know where you get the idea that I'm angry, cause I'm not. I just think you haven't done a proper review of the game/sim. Especially considering that you don't even play it with a joystick for control input. Seems a bit amaturish to me. That indicates you probably didn't explore the deeper setting the game offers either.

The graphics can be tuned to meet the available hardware. I'm getting close to 50 FPS in Seattle with my rig and I have most of the stuff turned up pretty high. But graphics aside, did you change the difficulty setting off that beginner mode and training mode? Bet not, cause if you did, you'd notice the flight model actually is pretty close the real thing. And an RC helicopter IS a real helicopter. It has to obay all the rules of reality life to fly. From my own experience, FSX helicopters seem a bit too stable and too easy to fly. A real helicopter is always trying to "fall off the ball" so to speak. If you don't actively keep on it, the aircraft will crash. At least this is with a single rotor and tail rotor (for anti-torque) helicopters. Most sims make them way too stable so the kiddies don't get all bent out of whack and quit in discust.

90% of the people that come in here to post a negative review don't put much time in to uncover the real gem this game/sim is. But they sure like to play 10 minutes and yack about how bad the program is.

Get a real joystick and then review again. I'm using a MS Force Feedback Sidewinder. TOH even has the force operable so I can feel the vibration of the rotor blades. FSX only vibrates at some frequency that doesn't even seem to be at the rotor speed. Kind of like when an airplane is rolling down the runway it feels like a flat tire or bad flat spot on one the tires.

Outside of TOH, the only sim I've found to measure up is DCS World. But you can't get out of the craft and go drive/fly something else or even shoot at anything while in infantry mode, whereas you can in TOH. Guess you didn't know that either. TOH is a sim in a class of it's own. People just don't want to take the time to learn it.
Piro Apr 1, 2014 @ 8:15pm 
I'm going to start off by saying that I rather enjoyed ToH as someone who's interested in rotary aircraft. While I believe a lot of the complaints with this game are blown a bit out of proportion, they shouldn't be tossed out entirely.

ToH uses the same engine the ARMA series does, which means it tends to carry over most of the same problems. The engine is horribly optimized on so many levels that it's a miracle that it runs at all. And please, don't defend the engine by saying, "it's a sim, of course it's going to run slower. There's more being simulated!" That unfortunately just isn't true. If someone wants to get into the specifics of the engine, I'd be happy to oblige, but let's do it in another thread.

Further, the op is correct. Traditionally the default and preset "mappings" for controllers, gamepads, joysticks, pedals, etc. have always been rather universally bad in ARMA and ToH. However, ignoring the presets, the interface for actually changing your bindings is rather good overall. As someone who's got a full flight sim setup, it's a godsend compared to most games. If you've ever tried to setup controls for four or five separate but absolutely related control devices (TrackIR, Joystick, Throttle, pedals, steering wheel and an additonal throttle quadrant) you'll understand why the interface for control bindings in ARMA is so nice. But again, the defaults are rather universally bad. Absolutely a fair point, OP.

As for the flight physics...Oh boy. ToH is really just an iterative refinement to the flight model in the ARMA series which, at it's heart, is an arcade "sim". ARMA's flight model isn't accurate and it isn't supposed to be. It's supposed to be accessible (easily understood). ToH refines it a bit to make it "feel" right. It's still not anywhere near accurate. It just feels good.

As for FSX and X-Plane, do keep in mind, while the flight physics for these titles are better than ARMA or ToH, they still are not accurate most of the time. FSX in particular has the problem in that it uses data tables. FSX is relatively accurate for any situation in which it actually _has_ data. Outside of that it uses a "best guess" approach which most pilots groan about regularly on the forums.

X-Plane is a little better in that it tries to model the actual physics of flight. Compared to FSX, it handles far better in the vast majority of situations. The exception being the situations in which FSX actually has data for. X-Plane has better general flight while FSX has better flight in specific situations.

DCS AFM's (note, most of DCS's flaming cliff's modules do not have AFM's) are similar to X-Plane in concept, but tend to be far more detailed. As a result, DCS tends to be a hair's width better. Your selection of aircraft however are significantly more limited.

Overall, ToH is a decent overall sim with a few issues. I found it to be a lot of fun and it will make you a better pilot in other sims.
wikkid1 Apr 1, 2014 @ 10:01pm 
Thank you Pirogoth, you at least read my post and understood what I was saying (writing.) Bothersome (how appropriate) keeps banging his fanboy drums, when not making up statistics - like, 90% of noise coming out of bothersome is just that, noise - completely disregarding most of what I spent all this time on writing... so to bothersome: "bugger off", I'm not going to spend nearly a 100 bucks on a joystick for a game that I got essentially for free... nor is that a good way of making a product, which is what I've been trying to get across this whole time... if it's still beyond you then I'm sorry, I can do nothing further for you.

Pirogoth, I agree regarding some of the comments being a bit over the top... like the one that claims that a better flightsim could be done in RPG maker. At the same time blind fanboy'ism isn't exactly a good thing either. I honestly believe that bringing these faults up will cause the developers to pay attention and avoid the same issues next time, which is why I point out things that I feel are wrong or badly done. Some people just don't understand (maybe aren't capable of understanding) that leaving faults dangling will only lead to more faults, they think everybody is out to get them and any disagreeing opinion is some sort of a personal attack worthy of a vendetta.

I do have some experience with all the controls you speak of, I have a yoke along with a throttle quadrant set up for FSX and I did own a HOTAS joystick for about a week. It took me that long to figure out that joystick is not an appropriate control for fixed wing aircraft (unless it's an Airbus, but I prefer GA). And in general I always take a lot of care with the controls when it comes to simulators of any sort, in terms of bindings I mean. Out of the flightsims that I've had experience with I think XPlane has the best controls system, the vast majority of controls are all right there on a single page (there are hundreds more available for those who want them, but for most purposes that one page is enough.) The only reason why I don't put FSX as the best in terms of control system is because it doesn't allow setting multiple functions to the same control, at least not without fiddling with the controls files themselves.

The thing that really ticked me off with ToH is that the names they picked for controls don't actually describe what the function is, there are like 4 or 5 different sets of controls for looking around. It took me over an hour to set the right joystick to gradually turn left/right instead of snapping left/right, because I had to go into settings, change it, go back into the game, check to see what it's doing, repeat. Then when I thought I was all done and I could get to flying I found that I can turn the view left/right but the character doesn't actually turn that way, so those moments on foot remained an issue. After spending even more time figuring it out and trying more combinations I think I have finally managed to get it to where I want it. This is just bad design, it's that simple. There's no reason for the control settings to be this difficult to deal with.

On the other hand I do like what they tried to do with the whole "campaign" thing. But it's not without it's own flaws. Again, FSX does it better with their scenario flights. So my original conclusion remains... if you're looking for a proper flightsim go with FSX, it may not be the best but it's better than ToH in every area. Plus you can probably get FSX along with the expansion for 10-15 bucks these days, so even the price is better (on top of that FSX has *years* of community made content behind it, while the mods section on the ToH forums is pitiful). Heck the only reason I even bothered with ToH is because I got it for free, if I had to pay for it, even 5 bucks, I'd be upset.
Piro Apr 1, 2014 @ 10:40pm 
I think I've found the disconnect between me and you in terms of the controls. I play a lot of ARMA, so I have that background. You're correct, there are a lot of controls in ToH and that is because ToH is very much an expansion to the ARMA series that happends to also run standalone. ARMA is a combined arms sim with an emphasis on infantry. All of the ARMA 2 content can be brought into ToH, so all of those controls are necessary.

I do understand that the controls probably could be made a little more clear in terms of naming conventions. There are a lot of controls that do, essentially the same thing in just slightly different ways and that can be confusing. For example just looking to the left. There are binds for doing so with the mouse (with and without moving the gun), snap views (for hat switches), head tracking (TrackIR) and all of them are similarly named. This is a bit of a problem, to be sure, but that functionality is very much needed.

As far as the "pitiful" number of mods for the game, the reason for that is that ARMA 2 mods _and_ ToH mods are almost always completely interchangeable. ARMA has one of the biggest moding communities around and all of it can be brought into ToH. It's a shame that isn't better advertised.

As for the Yoke vs. HOTAS debate. I play mainly combat sims and fly mostly rotary aircraft (which is ironic considering my focus is fixed wing fighters) so a joystick is most appropriate. However! I am intending to pick up copies of FSX and X-Plane along with a yoke in the near future. Any recommendations on available Yokes? CH and Saitek seem to be the two most often brought to attention. Any experience?
wikkid1 Apr 2, 2014 @ 7:03pm 
There is no Yoke vs HOTAS debate. Just mentioned that I've owned both and am familiar with them. They serve different purposes, I prefer to fly fixed wing GA aircraft (really like the beech 1900) so for my purposes a yoke is perfect. For dog-fighting and rotary one would be better off with a joystick.

I own the CH Eclipse yoke[www.amazon.com] and I've got not a single complaint with it. It's been a while since I bought it so my reasons are a bit fuzzy but I think they were:
1. that the eclipse has more controls (this is a big one for me)
2. the throttle quad is attached, so the whole thing is just one piece, important to me because I'm short on real estate plus it means less wires.

The Saitek piece looks slick with that little display on it and all, but I went for more functionality over looks, and every single one of the controls I mapped to something. I've seen people complain about the "rudder pedals" (the flap things that look like paddle shifters in cars) feel fragile, but I've not seen anybody mention that theirs broke, but I think you mentioned that you have pedals so that wouldn't matter to you either way then.

Why are you considering both FSX and X-Plane? The sims themselves aren't very expensive but the addons quickly add up, I'd recommend picking one sim and staying with it. Them PMDG planes are like 60 bucks a pop, would be too expensive to spread them over two sims. Also all the graphics stuff available for FSX can get quite expensive and obviously won't work with X-Plane. Pretty sure there are demo's for both sims so you can try them and see which you want to go with.

I also found this thing called FS Economy[www.fseconomy.net], it works with FSX, X-Plane and even FS9. I was getting bored simply flying around without a purpose, and FSE was perfect for that.
Georgie Apr 4, 2014 @ 6:00pm 
If you can't keep the helicopter in the air on the easier modes you're doing it wrong. Turn on autohover and forget about trying to become a "pilot" with your Xbox controller.
Piro Apr 4, 2014 @ 9:35pm 
@wikkid1 Sorry, I didn't mean there was a debate between you and I. It's just a topic that is argued fairly often in the sim community. No side ever wins and it's a pretty useless debate to begin with.

I'll probably grab one of the CH Yokes. I have the CH Pro Pedals[www.amazon.com] and they have excellent build quality which says great things about CH. Sadly I'll be replacing the pedals at some point as well. The quality is excellent, but I want set of pedals with a little more throw. I've tried the Saitek PRO Flight Combat Rudder Pedals[www.amazon.com] and I found them both more comfortable and slightly more accurate due to the increased throw.

As for the reason for picking up both FSX and X-Plane, I honestly haven't given it much thought. I figured I'd pick up both and see which I liked better before picking up the addons. The base software is relatively cheap in both cases.

And FS Economy? That looks amazing. Bookmarked for the future. Thanks!

@ARGH The problem with the 360 controller, in my opinion, is that there just isn't enough throw (travel) on the trigger for your collective. Further, you have to have a lot of trigger control in order to keep your collective at specific rates as it's not a "set and forget" when dealing with the 360 gamepad. You're going to tire your trigger finger out pretty quick. And seeing as a significant portion of proper control on a heli is collective control...

You can fly with the collective all the way to max output, you'll just never be able to fly well when doing so.
Georgie Apr 6, 2014 @ 7:09pm 
Right, along with the deadzone on the Xbox controller, there's no fine control to be had with it. It works better with autohover though, like I said.
Last edited by Georgie; Apr 6, 2014 @ 7:09pm
bothersome Apr 7, 2014 @ 2:22pm 
And that's why they put out bad reviews to this game. They have to use training mode or less flight models to have auto-trim becaue they don't have fine enough rudder controls, and then because of game pad controllers, they even have to play with auto-hover. Both of which do not even exist on these type helicopters. Then they come on here to complain about the lack of a proper flight model in TOH.

Which is exactly what I was trying to say earlier. In order to give the game a proper review, you need to have the proper hardware.
Piro Apr 8, 2014 @ 1:24am 
The problem here, is you didn't actually address any of his criticisms. ToH has a built in control map for the 360 that isn't actually documented anywhere. There's absolutely no place that states what button does what and this is enabled by default. In order to rebind it you have to then turn that mapping off (which is hidden in a sub menu).

Further, he had no idea what half of the controls in the game do. As I mentioned earlier, there are a significant number of actions that are similarly named but give no indication as to how they are different from the others. There's, what? Six different bindings for variations of "left"? What do they do? Turning to the left, straffing to the left, looking to the left (via head tracking), aiming to the left, looking to the left (WITHOUT head tracking via a mouse freelook, and yes, it's a separate control), tilting to the left, a snap view to the left (think hat switch on a joystick), gradual snap view to the left (rather than snaping, it gradually turns the view to the left hte longer you press the button), gradual snap view to the left with an immediate snap back to center! Whoops, that was nine different similarly but vaguely named controls. Keep in mind, the names I used are not the names used in the control binding window as I was far more specific. I can totally understand someone getting confused with this.

I love ARMA and ToH. But lets be honest, we love them despite their flaws and because there isn't any competition in this space. Good, somewhat realistic combined arms sims are very rare. Rare to the point that I believe Bohemia is the only developers in town actually making them.
bothersome Apr 8, 2014 @ 11:34am 
I see your point about the confusion. I didn't have all those problems because I had to actually go into the menu and bind all the controls and sensitivities to my input stick and what buttons I wanted to do what. I figured that such a complex simulation system would naturally have just about everybody doing the same. Default settings rarely work the way you want them (unless this is your very first game). I had gotten used to a certain button layout from way back in Decent from Parralax. Ever since then I've needed certain controls inputs to do certain things. It wasn't that hard for me to figure out that infantry in the dropdown at the top of the screen was inputs for "on foot mode" of the game and so on. Yes there are look left and turn left. Hmmm, how could it have been worded differently without clutering up the screen too much? Maybe they should have documented it more in the documentation. I don't know because I never even looked at the documentation.

Anyway, you've explained the confusion pretty well. However, just because it's a complicated setup, doesn't warrant a "this game sux". Complex sims are going to have complex setups. It goes with the territory.
Piro Apr 8, 2014 @ 3:37pm 
Originally posted by bothersome:
However, just because it's a complicated setup, doesn't warrant a "this game sux".

Which you'll note wikkid1 did not in fact say, "this game sux". He called it, and I quote, "a decent rotary sim with horrible controls", which I have to say is accurate.

Originally posted by bothersome:
Complex sims are going to have complex setups. It goes with the territory.
The problem is the setup for ToH and ARMA isn't complex. It's just badly designed. ToH and ARMA have a default mapping for the 360 gamepad that does not tell the player what actions the buttons are bound to. You can't rebind the 360 controls unless you go into an incredibly badly named sub menu, click to a badly named tab and actually disable the default mapping. This is outright terrible design and I see zero reason to cut Bohemia any slack for this. How else are they going to learn?
bothersome Apr 8, 2014 @ 4:26pm 
Bohemia is never going to "fix it" for the very few that play this sim. They have dropped TOH in developement and moved on to DayZ and Arma 3. You either learn it they way it is, or leave it.

I don't even know what a 360 gamepad is but the word gamepad tells me it ain't worth a♥♥♥♥♥♥
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