Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I've been playing this F2P WWII fighter game with Eric, called War Thunder. His character name is DelroyLindo and I'm LouisGossettJr. The game is basically a re-skin of Wings of Prey, which I also own on Steam. It follows a similar model as World of Tanks with its currency and XP progression. While playing for free you get a limited amount of XP per mission, but if you pay for a premium account using their high value currency, you gain more XP per mission, planes repair faster, and you can progress much more quickly to unlock better content.

For a controller, I usually use my Xbox 360 gamepad, because it makes flying so much easier. Unfortunately, when it comes to targeting an enemy, the way the analog stick snaps back to the center is constantly at odds with me trying to get pinpoint accuracy on a target. It's like trying to get a headshot in an FPS. Consoles usually have a bit of auto-aim built in. It's easy-mode. No one likes to admit it, but it's true. So I use the mouse. Like, ...at the same time. I'll be flying along, and when it comes time to shoot someone down, I grip the elevator controls in my left hand on the 360 pad, and the mouse with my right.

What sucks about this is you can't designate one as inverted flight controls, and the other as point-and-click-and-kill. So I have to remember that "down is up" on my mouse, while pulling back on the stick for the controller. I kind of wish they were independent, like I'm grabbing the mouse to man a turret. Needless to say, I kind of suck at the game. I might as well plug in a Guitar Hero Stratocaster into the USB port and play with that instead.

I'm playing as Japan, and once I unlocked my Ki-61-lb, things started to get better. I am able to catch up to people and pull off some pretty good flight maneuvers. Eric and I have been studying some flight combat info, and I'm not talking about youtube videos of people playing sim games (although I've been watching those, too). I mean a typewritten combat manual from the 60s. I think my favorite moves are the snap roll, and my pull up/inverse barrel roll move I use to turn around when someone passes me. I didn't realize it, but after reading the aerial attack study we found this is the fastest way to make a turn. You will always beat someone who banks and pulls up.

The study was written by John Boyd, and while it's dry and full of maths and section titles like "Procedures for Maneuvering from an Overhead Attack with a Negative Delta Mach," there's a lot of good info that can be applied to simulated aerial combat that's easily understandable.


Unknown said...

I'm considering a flightstick purchase for Star Citizen. I just can't see myself using a mouse or a pad for that. I'm sure you eventually make it work, but like you said, it's awkward. I will probably wait to see which ones they support or endorse.

Digital Mercenary said...

I think this is what Chris Roberts had in the background of his video. A bit pricey for me, I'm thiking something more along the lines of this.

LoneStranger said...

That second one looks nice, I'd probably go with that too. I don't see a version that comes with pedals. I think it might be fun to learn how to fly with those, but also more complicated.

Nicholas Colla said...

Here's what Eric had to say over on fb. I felt the need to re-post it here:
"John Boyd is a mostly unknown American hero. He was a maniac, foul-mouthed, borderline crazy and intensely egotistical. Yet at the same time he had maximum integrity and didn't seek recognition, only acceptance of his ideas. I am not overstating when I say that as a military philosopher, he is on par with Sun Tzu. The naked aggression of the maneuver warfare we use today (see Iraq invasion) is his brainchild."