This article is the first is an ongoing series we plan. The idea is to interview players who are regulars on the SoW server and who contribute either currently or in the past to the community. Hopefully these will be entertaining and also will provide the potential for us to share our skills and knowledge with each other.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Real name is Tom, I am in my 40’s. I was raised and still currently live in Kent in southeast England. Been into military aviation since I can remember. I grew up living next door to a former WW2 evacuee whose hobby was building model aeroplanes. He had a vast collection, mostly WW2, which I’d spend hours marveling at, with him describing what their names were, what they were for and how good (or bad) they were. Studied Music Production & Sound Engineering for my University degree but all the while the passion for aviation and flight simming remained. Many years of airshows, a bit of stick time in various light aircraft, gliders and a Spitfire and I’m now CAD designer, a father of one, and still as nutty about military aviation (warbirds particularly) as ever.
How long have you been playing flight sims?
Since Chuck Yeagers Air Combat on an old 286, some 23 years ago! Blimey, I suddenly feel old!
What other gaming interests do you have besides WW2 flight simming?
Some dabbling in FPS’s and – forgive me – Train Simulator (do love a steam engine!) but since becoming a dad mainly just flight sims these days
What’s your all time favorite flight sim and why?
Currently, DCS – for it’s depth of content, the incredible simulation of the aircraft systems and behaviours, the ability to jump from Warbirds, to choppers or fast jets, and it’s incredible beauty. I do also fly a great deal of Il-2:GBS. Historically, Il-2:1946, Cliffs of Dover, European Air War, CFS2, Aces over Europe, Jane’s Longbow and Jane’s US Navy Fighters got a lot of love from me.
What got you into DCS and the warbirds in particular?
The A-10 in LOMAC (always loved the A-10) then DCS: A-10C. When the P-51 came along I was excited as to what this could mean for the future, as I’ve always loved WW2 sims… and here we are!
Describe your play style/ what interests you as a player?
Historical/prototypical operations in both multiplayer and single, but with a definite bias to the former.
Are you in a virtual squadron?
Yes. For nearly 13 years now I’ve been flying with the DangerDogz.
Tell us about the DangerDogz.
A fantastic bunch of guys whose approach to flight simming is relaxed and more about having fun as a group than following strict prototypical procedures or methodology. Typically we fly a evening of sequential co-ops (Il-2:GBS) or a large ‘bit-of-everything-for-everybody’ dogfight server (DCS) on discrete evenings/afternoons of the week, though we raise our game occasionally flying organised online campaigns; Storm of War with CloD and Scorched Earth Online War with Il-2: 1946 being particular highlights. Some of us are also partaking in the 443 Squadron PvE campaign for DCS which is proving a very challenging but satisfying experience, and I myself have started an in house PvE campaign in Il-2:GBS using Pat Wilson’s Campaign generator to emulate the experiences of a P-38 Group flying ops over the German frontier in the Autumn/Winter of 1944. They’re a great bunch, and we spend as much time in gales of laughter as we do calling bandits. We’re always looking for new victims… sorry, members, so if anyone who feels this ethos may fit their bill, they are most welcome to drop by http://www.dangerdogz.com and say hi.
What kind of rig/ hardware setup do you have?
I am currently running an i5-8600K (3.6GHz) with a CoolerMaster MasterLiquid Lite 240 High Performance Liquid Cooler on a Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 motherboard with 2x16GB DDR4 3000 MHz Corsair VENGEANCE RAM and a GTX 1070 Ti. A 120GB Kingston UV400 2.5″ SSD, for the OS and 2TB Seagate Barracuda Pro 3.5″ which all my games run from. Controllers are a Microsoft Sidewinder 2 FFB, CH Products Throttle Quadrant and MFG Crosswind Pedals, with either a TIR3 or Rift S depending on my mood for head movement tracking/visual interface.
Are you unhappy with any aspect of your setup right now that you’d change if you could?
Unhappy, no, but you’re always thinking about the next (affordable) upgrade! Primary next upgrade would be either a graphics card to help push the VR frames up some or a large capacity SSD to host DCS and hasten the load times. Also, my arse would probably thank me for getting a new chair!
What’s the single best piece of Hardware you ever bought to make DCS WW2 (or WW2 simming in general) more enjoyable?
Tied between TIR and the FFB stick; both kind of essential to me now. Rudder pedals a close second and throttle third.
What are your top THREE tips for veteran players who have mastered the basics of DCS warbirds and are looking for that extra edge?
- Get to know your mount inside out so that you can predict what she’ll do in any given attitude, power setting and airspeed, particularly as the ASI starts dropping towards the 100mph/160km/h mark. All these birds behave differently with power on and at increasing angles of attack, some in ways that can bite, some that you can exploit. Get to know them so that you can be prepared to counter or even initiate these behaviours when you need them the most.
- Receptiveness – be open to new information, tips and hints, and be prepared to test them out and see if they work for you or suit your flight style. It’s easy after some time to get comfortable and a little bit blasé about some aspects of your particular mount and to fob-off new suggestions that can actually be of huge benefit. It may not even be directly related to the flight characteristics of your ride, but stuff as pedestrian as hardware tweaks, input curves or even something as esoteric as some sort of tweak to a behavioural pattern to increase your SA. Try it out – it might bring dividends.
- For those who multiplayer – be a good wingman; when the bloods up and that sneaky e/a has avoided your decisive burst for the umpteenth time but by god you want to smack him down, it’s easy to get target fixated and forget you’ve likely got some friends around you who might have better geometry to make that bad guy eat dirt. If someone else says I’ve got a shot, break off and cover his tail. The really good guys out there aren’t diving into a fights, cutting-off a chasing friendly and risking a collision for their next kill; they stay above the melee and tell the offensive friendly that his 6 is clear, or, if it isn’t, where the threat is coming from and that he’s rolling on in to do something about it. There will always be a fight, there will always be those making a bee-line for the tracer – if you can be disciplined enough to stay above and watch the friendlies tails, not only will you have the opportunity to pick up (and hopefully smack down) some inbound e/a whose so fixated on joining the furball he never spotted your eagle-eyed ass up there, but you’ll also earn the trust, respect and appreciation of those you fly with. In turn, the good ones will repay you for your selflessness by covering your butt when you’re stuck in a grinding swirling furball in the future. Among the community I fly with that counts for a lot, and vastly much more than any K/D ratio.
What is the single simplest/ lowest effort thing that ED can change about DCS WW2 to have the most positive impact right now?
Work on getting the rear echelon elements of the WW2 Asset Pack a little more fleshed out; be it the trains, or period cargo ships, or fuel bowsers, or radio trucks, or towed field artillery, these are the things that the fighter-bombers we have now in our hands in DCS focused on – tactical interdiction. The wealth of armour types is nice but somewhat irrelevant as DCS simulates – quite accurately – how difficult it was to destroy heavy armour from the air! The target types I suggest provide more achievable mission objectives, and ergo more satisfaction for the entry level simmers on top of being more prototypically common target types for the aircraft we currently fly under DCS WW2.
What’s the most frustrating WW2 Flight Sim controversy that comes up over and over again but shouldn’t because it’s really resolved?
150 octane, who used it and when. Every. Damn. Time. Would I like it as an option? Sure! Never have a problem with choice, but too many people come wading into forums demanding 150 octane power ratings for their Spitfire/P-51/P-47 who know nothing of the nuance and complexity of it’s use in operations and how these sync (or don’t) with what we have in terms of a WW2 environment in DCS. Or any late WW2 ETO sim for that matter.
Many thanks to Fenrir for being the first to provide us with a player interview for the storm of war community!