I’ve been listening to a podcast lately called PilotCast and on episode (#56) they pay tribute to Lt. Cdr. Kevin J. “Kojack” Davis, a former member of the US Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team.
Flying and listening to people talking about flying simply does it for me and I couldn’t help thinking that I would love to be in the shoes of an F/A-18 (or any other modern fast jet for that matter) pilot. This got me thinking: what is the definition of role playing? To me it means that I am pretending to be somebody other than myself. So could I not role play a fighter pilot?
Now, the most I will probably ever achieve in that regard is a ride in the backseat of such a jet. So how then could I get that experience of being the pilot in command (PIC)? Well, in today’s day and age we have these computer thingies that do almost everything for us. I am quite a keen fantasy MMORPG player and it just happens that my job is in the flight simulation industry. This begs the idea: why don’t we develop a modern fighter pilot MMORPG? Now I have done absolutely no research on the subject to see if one already exists or not so if one does, please leave a comment and a link.
I see the principle issue in the development of such a “massive” style game being the following catch twenty two situation: the game would be designed to let the average joe role play a fast jet fighter pilot but in order to make the flying realistic we want to try and eliminate people just “messing around” so that we can provide a realistic simulation of the same lifestyle one would experience as a fighter pilot (preferable without having to actually do any pushups for training).
I think what I would aim for in this would be a realistic simulation of life as a fighter pilot where one would have a human avatar and a few of the game play elements might be:
- pre-flight briefings & post-flight reviews
- option to become a test pilot (requires x number of hours, etc.)
- option to join an aerobatic team
- combat tactics training
- operation from around the world including from carriers
- fully dynamic conversation with air traffic controllers
- operation from military and civilian airfields
- realistic representation of aircraft operating procedures and aircraft performance
Unfortunately, the only way I can think of at the moment of getting around the catch 22 situation I described above is to have a very heavily instanced game. In that way, the serious players can for a group and enter there own instance where they won’t be disturbed by other players just messing around. However this is not a good solution as far as I’m concerned because it removes the massive multiplayer element to a large degree.
Another way of putting the catch 22 situation is that we want to provide a fighter pilot game where anybody can fly and can do what they want but we also want to simulate the military world full of rules, hierarchy and operating procedures, which is inherently very rigid and not everybody can become a fighter pilot.