Flying A Jet Fighter Looks Like The Best Job On Earth

Flying A Jet Fighter Looks Like The Best Job On Earth

Sure beats sitting behind a desk. It's a shame, then, that video games never seem to do it properly.

I've got a very long-running issue with flight in video games. Very rarely - Far Cry 3's wingsuit is a notable exception - do games ever nail the sensation of flight

Modern flight is a fast, thunderous and terrifying thing. Even commercial flights have moments of heart-stopping power, at points like take-off and landing. There's engines thrumming, wind rushing past at impossible speeds, forces acting and reacting against every movement an aircraft makes.

Yet when we get behind the stick in a game, whether it's a console title or a PC simulator, it's often an incredibly dry, sterile experience. The physics might be accurate, but the feeling isn't.

Look at this clip as an example. This is what it actually looks (and sounds) like to fly a modern jet fighter. It's an RAF Typhoon, and even though it's taking a leisurely stroll over the British countryside, it still gives the sensation that it's a total rush. There's wind buffeting the cockpit, everything's got a shake to it from the engines, etc.

I want to be doing this in a game. And this clip doesn't even have things to shoot at.

Typhoon - a ride with the best: The Science Museum, London [YouTube, via Gizmodo]


    I know how you feel. I always look for games which including dogfighting or general flight , and nothing comes close to the real thing(or the feeling of it being real).

    If you had a flight simulator maybe then some games would feel more realistic but we don't all have that at our disposal.

    I remember one day these jets flew over my house and they were pretty low, the sound and rumble they made was just amazing!

    One thing that flight games with jets forget to remember to put in is the sonic boom, god how I love that sound.

      But the pilot doesn't hear the sonic boom as he is travelling faster than the speed of sound in the opposite direction of the boom.

        Say something like battlefield, it has ground units and air units. The ground units never get to here the sound, it's never included (not saying it should be since it's battlefield, just an example game)

    The best simulated flight experiences I've had on my home PC have all been with the Oculus Rift - in particular, War Thunder with the rift (fudging around with just the slightly broken integrated support) was absolutely incredible.

    When you can see the scenery streaking off into your periphery, and you can just turn your head to follow it's motion as you fly past, or scan your surrounds as you try to narrowly skim a canyon wall during a dogfight, it really helps build up a sense of just how fast you're moving in the world.

    The reduced resolution of DevKit 1 does make playing competitively hard, but the easy of tracking everything in the world visually, and the sense of being there really makes up for it.

    I've also managed to get Take on Helicopters working via TriDef + OpenTrack, and that's pretty damn convincing too (at least on Veteran difficulty - the lower difficulties stick floaty HUD stuff in your FOV which breaks the immersion somewhat).

    I look forward to being able to test the rift out with the DCS series when I finally manage to find my media/keys for them again (again, it'll have to be TriDef+OpenTrack unless the DCS boys patch in native rift support)

    Also, for those worried about getting motion sick, you'll be surprised how much having a "static" frame of reference such as the cockpit, wings, etc - helps avoid massive motion sickness.

    Most of the big VR motion sickness I've felt is caused by effects we jam into 2D games to create a false sense of movement - things like head-bob/weave, excessively fast movement speeds without a vehicle context - or bad camera setup.

    Sadly, it seems this latest generation of fighters is the last. It doesn't make any sense to make them anymore when drones are cheaper, more maneuverable, don't have to be saddled with a cockpit and life support, and can be piloted by an operator in a bunker hundreds of miles away.

    I feel like pointing out that flying an aircraft cannot be the best job on earth because it technically doesn't take place on the earth but rather above it.

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