|Posted by Darcy on February 19, 2013 at 3:20 AM|
A lot of people are quick to put out their opinion that the most important element to any flight simulator game is its graphics. It is a common belief that the crisp landscapes, bustling airports and vast skylines are what makes or breaks a flight simulator is terms of overall quality and replay value.
I tend to agree that graphics and scenery certainly are really, really important to a flight sim – after all, no one wants to fly around in environments that look like they belong on a Sega Mega Drive – but if there is also a case to argue for another vital cog in the flight simulator machine and that is how realistic the in-game instruments are.
Newcomers to the games might not really know or be able to tell the difference between a flight sim that has boxy, tacked-on controls that feel like they’re been lifted directly from a 1970’s arcade and a modern age simulator but those who have played before can tell the difference.
The whole point of a flight simulator is to, well, simulate the experience of flying. The best flight simulators realise that the best way to get a player involved in the experience and to have them feel like they’re really a part of the action is to craft responsive, realistic instruments that behave just like their real-life counterparts.
This is achieved by modelling the controls within a virtual cockpit on the legitimate instruments that exist in the real world. Cheap and ‘lite’ flight simulator games don’t pay any focus to this side of the game design and that’s why they’ll never quite live up to the standard of a paid flight simulator game as far as I’m concerned. The developers behind games like Virtual Pilot 3D have taken the time and applied a pain-staking amount of effort to ensure that when you’re in one of the planes featured in their title, you’re as close to flying as physically possible.
Graphics are always going to be the first thing that people notice and comment on when it comes to any video game; that’s just the way that we operate. When you’re doing your research and looking for a flight simulator game that’s going to really impress you, then you should dig a little deeper and look into how detailed the in-cockpit designs are; that’s the true quality test in my opinion.
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