Inter-Sim: Deadstick Weekly Developer Update Three
This week’s Deadstick developer update saw REMEX Software demonstrate the tactile world the upcoming simulator has to offer. A point the developers wanted to emphasize was that in Deadstick the focus is on being the pilot, not being the airplane. This tactile world is meant to replicate the many elements of work that a pilot may experience.
The first item of the tactile world is the briefing rooms. Called one of the “key elements” by the developer, the briefing room is the map screen and job planner. Development of the briefing room had been constantly tweaked, and up until now it never seemed complete enough for the public eye. One of the big challenges for the briefing room was that it made the experience for players too easy. For example, “players had constant access to weather information (TAFs/METARs) and airfield information (NOTAMs). Any available jobs would be displayed on the map screen and could be selected at any time.”
The developers say that gathering the necessary information and using it accordingly is critical to the safety of a flight and that the constant access to TAFS, METARS, NOTAMS, and jobs undermined this principle. As a result, gathering this information is now only possible by visiting an airfield’s briefing room and using the computer. The information gathered will update on your map accordingly, though like in real life it is only accurate from the time it was obtained. So it is now very important to get the relevant information for your flight before you take to the skies. It should also be known that not all airports will have these briefing computers available, adding a layer of difficulty.
Similar to the access to weather and airfield info, the process of getting jobs has also been changed. The player is now equipped with a shiny new cell phone (which looks almost identical to the legendary indestructible Nokia 3310) and is the game’s primary communication device. If you get a good reputation as a reliable and safe bush pilot, text messages will be sent to you with job offers which can be either accepted or ignored. All of your actions have consequences on what the developers call your “bush flying empire”. In terms of damaging your reputation, the severity of the damage will affect how widespread your reputation is damaged. So if you’re going to crash, crashing in a place where nobody is will help save your reputation, although they say it’ll be a long walk home. Airport services are also able to be contacted via the cell phone in case you somehow end up stranded. Cell phone service/coverage is also simulated, so beware of areas where there is no reception. You may end up walking a ways to get a connection. Texting while flying is possible, but just like any other vehicle is disrecommended.
Management of weight and balance and fuel are must-have items to any good flight simulator. Players can now refuel aircraft themselves by taxing their aircraft to the pump, walking over to the pump, bringing it back to the plane, and connecting it to their aircraft. However the cost for the fuel comes out of the player’s pocket, and the developers recommend avoiding overfilling the tank and limiting the amount of cargo being carried if possible.
The walk around a checklist system also was demonstrated in-depth this update. Checklists are now as intuitive as any other action, “providing clear and concise instruction to the pilot when performing external walkarounds, pre-flight checks, power checks, etc.” Each item on the checklist can now be highlighted, eliminating the sometimes difficult search for the manipulator of the part. Checklists aren’t mandatory and can be skipped, or done in no particular order at all. This all plays into Deadstick’s aim to account for human factors.
The final item shown in this update was the towbar. Knowing the inconvenience of needing to get your aircraft short distances across the ramp (sometimes backward too), a towbar has been added. The player will connect the towbar to the aircraft and physically pull it, as they would in real life. While getting the aircraft across the flat apron may be simple, pulling it uphill, or even trying to stop it from rolling downhill could lead to what the developers call “an expensive mistake!”.
The next developer update for Deadstick will delve deeper into the career and economy side of the game. Our previous article on Deadstick Bush Flight Simulator can be viewed here. The developer update can be found here.