Flight Sims

Changing Arma 3's helicopters is Bohemia's first step toward a deeper simulation

Ian Birnbaum at

Arma 3 is good at many things. Bohemia Interactive’s military sim is a huge, open-world playground where action dramas unfold, but its greatest strengths show when it dwarfs you with scale. Being a lone sniper in three miles of sprawling mountain wilderness or driving with a vanguard of advancing tanks will strike awe into the heart of the most jaded gamer. Whatever it’s doing, Arma paints these experiences in broad strokes you can’t find anywhere else in gaming.

On the other hand, Take On Helicopters, Bohemia’s 2011 helicopter simulator, was great at a single, specific thing: modeling helicopter flight physics. Beyond the high-definition cockpit, its world was a blocky and lifeless version of Seattle. Seattle wasn’t the point, though: the inside of that cockpit was the point. All the love in that game went straight into those dials.

A Coward in a Camel - An Iron Man flight sim diary

Tim Stone at

For the last 30 years, sim developers have been slogging their guts out furnishing us with vehicles that live and breathe... machines that leak oily history into the tin drip trays of our lives. They’ve given us realism by the shedload and what have we given them in return? Apart from money, obviously.

I’m hull-down in a Steel Fury sunken lane when a thought hits me like a speeding Panzerschreck rocket: for most of my gaming career I’ve sought out super-realistic digital steeds, then proceeded to use those steeds in a manner that, while not exactly reckless, was hardly honest – hardly reflective of the person I suspect myself to be. What if, just for a change, I repaid a sim’s gift of authenticity with some authenticity of my own?


In Simulation: Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog flightstick and throttle

Andy Mahood at

Andy Mahood takes to the skies, race tracks, and battlefields in our monthly In Simulation column to showcase the best that sim games have to offer. This month, Andy test drives the Ferrari of flightsticks and shows how it can take your flight sim experience to the next level.

"Always use the right tool for the job.” Sage advice from my father many years ago, but his words rang especially true this past month when I finally got my paws on Thrustmaster’s latest HOTAS Warthog A-10C flightstick and throttle.Weighing in at almost 15 pounds, the mostly metal HOTAS Warthog is the Rolls Royce of Hands-On-Throttle-And-Stick controllers for current-generation flight sims. It ain’t cheap (the best online price I could find was $350), but if you’re serious about your virtual combat flying, it’s one of the best investments you can make.