Doh! A dear, a flightsim dear…

We’re `simmers` right?
Not gamers, and certainly not players.

I can’t pretend to know the difference, but I know it when I see it. We all do… it means something more than just casual. It implies something of a commitment

Why then, do we simmers – this breed apart – demand more sophisticated product (that more and more closely mimics the real thing) when we are seemingly increasingly incapable of matching that ever-increasing level of complexity with our level of commitment?

Have we reached some kind of limit? Are we about to see the ultimate simulation experience where virtual pilots fail to make the grade and washout and the Sim Police come round and remove your EULA?
Or is it the increasing laziness of the `now` generation where all information should be given, never earned?

I was brought to this thought by an all too-typical recent case where it took just mere minutes after release for the first whine to reach the forums.

Was it installation woes? Or a question about hardware requirements? Nope. It was a question about how to start the engines. Minutes, I tell ya! Not even enough time to have read the EULA. Much less the manual, the checklist – or even the words on the cockpit bitmap!

And I’m not the only one incredulous at the dichotomy of reviewing postings in many different fora for complex products by users barely able to string a sentence together, much less apply minimal intellectual capacity to offering sufficient information for a troubleshoot. Or even basic grammar.

Increasingly, others now share my once-maligned opinion that if someone can’t even find the manual they are unlikely to receive much benefit from complex advice and guidance, so hey! Let’s just not bother; modern confirmation that the old adage: “there’s no such thing is a stupid question” only applied up until the point Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet.

There is plenty of pretending on the internet. But mark this well: There’s no disguising idiocy with pretence. Skill and knowledge (or the lack of it) will ALWAYS find you out. A blatant mis purchase of something beyond you will only reveal you to all and sundry as who is unfit for purpose. It ain’t always the product…

But rather than waste column inches ranting at the futility of stupid people who hopefully won’t live long enough to breed, can we simmers not simply raise our game to match that of the complexities of the product we’ve purchased?

Seeking a hand up is exactly what the simming community is good for. Great in fact. Demanding a hand out when the question is brazenly moronic is likely only to raise the ire of those few smart enough to answer. Counter-productive when those answering are as dumb as the eedjit asking. “Just reinstall Flight Sim…” ? Serious – or just seriously stupid?

So, without further ado, here’s the idiots Guide to NOT being a flight sim Idiot.

1: Read the Flaming Manual.
84.7% of all posted first-time problems are caused by not bothering (estimated). How about you give the product the study it deserves, before expecting more sophisticated simmers to tell you how to do it? There’s a reason this is Number One…

2: Think before posting in forums.
Others may not tell you, but I will. Your idiot question has already been asked before. There, I’ve said it. Now think about how the `search` function can help you avoid being tagged with the `moron` label?
And guess what? It saves time as well! Ask your question by searching and have your answer now! Who knew?!

3: Asking dumb questions
Not only is there such a thing as a stupid question, there is also the even more cretinous repetitive question. Put the two together and you are only going to incite others to contemplate how pointless actually replying to you actually is.

4: If you only own shoes without laces then think about whether FSX or X-Plane is for you.
Give yourself a break and the rest of us a chance. MS have kindly provided a new channel to points and prizes with shiny, shiny things that glow on the screen. It’s called `Microsoft Flight` – and when even Microsoft abbreviate the name over the previous iteration to reduce the number of syllables it gives a clue who it’s aimed at…

5: Assume some personal responsibility:
Unless you stole the money that addon you just purchased was your choice, not an imposition. If you haven’t done your research; measured its complexity against your technical tolerance; or considered whether something that doesn’t have a `Ctrl+E` starting procedure might be a little tricky for your current abilities, you’ve wasted your time. Please don’t compound the error by wasting ours.

6: If you DO visit a forum and engage in a technical discussion please don’t assume that because you’re entitled to an opinion that you actually need to express it. Better to say nothing and be thought an idiot, than to post and remove all element of doubt.
Most complex topics engage a handful of seasoned experts.
Read by all means – Heck! you might actually learn something, but don’t post and lower the intellectual level. If you’re having trouble understanding, please refer to 5: above.

7: Don’t assume that a technical discussion has ANY technical merit whatsoever. I am reminded of a long-running saga over at a forum which at last count runs to over thirty pages on tricky little modifications and tweaks that, courtesy of a friend on the staff of the original development team do precisely NOTHING AT ALL.

8: Is part of that definition of `simmer` choosing the most eclectic, technical and complicated solution to a particular problem? How about doing things the easy way? THINK FOR YOURSELF!
A couple of recent examples: “Whine moan whinge the props start up too fast, is there a replacement model or a tweak in the .cfg file yadda, yadda..?”

Have you thought about turning the sim speed to half speed for startup?

”I calibrate my comptrollers entirely through FSUIPC, it only takes a couple of hours…”

Use the VC, match the full range of movement of the controller to the virtual one using the sliders that are designed for that purpose. A minute, tops.

“I’ve just installed FSX and now I need to know what modifications to apply..?”

None. There’s only one or two that are necessary, and then only when you have the problem they fix. LEAVE IT ALONE.

“I’ve screwed something up in my FSX and I need to recover some original files. Where are they on the DVD’s..?”

They aren’t. Six years ago all simmers were advised to copy a vanilla installation to a spare drive on first install to provide a resource to pick from in the event of overwriting errors or a desire to return to standard.

That’s six years ago. Why are you only reading this from me and learning this now? Back to 2: you go…

10: Never ever purchase an addon that claims to fix something unless it comes with a money back guarantee:
Most don’t, most only cause extra and new problems, and are supported by morons who either don’t understand your problem, or care less as they already have your money and you couldn’t track them down even if you knew where in Upper Betchuanaland they lived.


Down through the years with FSX I’ve seen increasing numbers of complex addons, catering to an ever more complex audience, but this increasing gap between the simmer complexity and that of the products has to stop or else it’s only a matter of time before the frustration overcomes the benefit. And where’s the once-prevalent intuitive thought that implies finding elegantly simple solutions to complex problems?
Nowadays it’s more about downloading this addon for the addon you’ve already purchased.

What the hobby needs is new blood. New blood from those who, if you like, complete their sim pilot training, become more experienced and well-versed and in turn become trainers having learned from others and their own research.

If you can’t see the benefit of this you’re not a simmer and probably never will be. Enjoy Duke Nukem and be happy.

Finally, you’re also a simmer if you noticed there are only nine tips not ten. If you can provide a tenth, eleventh or hopefully twenty-fifth then you are precisely the kind of simmer we need for the future of this complex hobby.




Happy Desktop Flying!

Simon Evans (`Irev`)
March 14th, 2012