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Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

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Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby Thorsten » Sun Jul 04, 2010 1:27 pm

I am not in the forum exceedingly long, but I have come across the notion a number of times from different people that military aviation (i.e. actually using airplane weapons systems as opposed to flying military aircraft from A to B) has no place in Flightgear. This is brought forward combined with a number of assertions, some made openly, others implicitly. Since I don't want to take over other threads, but nevertheless have my own opinion on the matter, I have decided to bring my points here and give my thoughts on various points often made - so in the future I can simply refer to this thread if the matter comes up again.

Air combat is for action games, not for a simulator

I tend to get angry about that claim, because it is plainly unfair. In the real world, there are planes trying to hit a small target with a bomb. That is quite difficult and challenging (certainly more so than flying from A to B), and a simulator can try to simulate that experience. It becomes an action game rather than a simulation if the aviation aspects and the aiming procedures are grossly simplified - but that is a different claim and has to be proven.

All bombing/dogfighting scenarios I am aware of in Flightgear are actually terribly difficult and in no way an action game. They tend to require good control of the aircraft even under extreme conditions, a good knowledge of the aerodynamics involved and some seat-of-the-pants feeling since you can't watch gauges all the time. The amount of flying skill involved is, in my judgement, considerably greater than operating an airliner. To dismiss that as suitable only for action games shows in my view no real insight into military aviation. And after all - how many people feel compelled to post in every airliner thread that using the AP to fly a straight line from A to B has nothing to do with real flying? Even if someone has an opinion that activity X has nothing to do with 'proper' simulated flight - how polite is it to push that opinion into everyone's face? Is it not possible to accept that different people enjoy different aspects of flight?

Weapons are terrible things

I think we may all largely agree on that one. But the unspoken implication is that a simulated weapon is in some sense as bad as a real one. And the inplicit assertion made about, for example, me (as I happen to enjoy bombing a target) is that I am unable to make a distinction between the real world and the simulated one. But I am actually not that stupid - I can make the distinction quite well, and I would appreciate if people would not assume that I am so dumb. I enjoy bombing a simulated AI target precisely because it hurts no one - no damage is done, no opponent is angry, usually the rest of the world doesn't even know.

Now, I'm not talking about multiplayer - if armed planes could in general shoot down pilots who just want to be left in peace, that would be a problem. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's currently not an issue - as of now, you need to make some effort before your plane responds to damage - by default you are left alone, and I believe there is no technical problem keeping it that way. So, I think we can leave this aside, as a technical solution is available.


There are studies that simulated violence correlates with real violence to a degree. First of all, the correlation is weak - 99.99% of all first person shooter players have no history of violence. Second, it is not clear if the correlation is causal - do violent people simply like violent games, or do violent games cause some people to become violent? Third, usually the claims are made for first person shooters with close-up gore and violence. I seriously doubt the same can be said for Flightgear, where using weapons systems mean you have to learn to control an aircraft, you have to be able to find a tiny tank, and you'll miss it nine times out of ten when trying to learn dive bombing, and the destruction you get to see is a column of smoke.

I've tried to understand from various perspectives if simulated weapons use is morally bad in some ethics framework. I couldn't come up with any. It agrees with Kant's imperative - I could well live with everyone bombing simulated targets on his computer. It agrees with the Christian 'love your enemies' - it seems better to vent steam against simulated enemies to be capable of loving the real ones. It agrees with the Wiccan Rede 'An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.' - since I fail to see what harm is done to anyone by me bombing an AI target, it seems permitted. If anyone can give me an example of an ethics in which using simulated weapons is morally bad, I'd be much obliged - I haven't found any.

If X (dogfighting/nuclear weapons/...) becomes part of Flightgear, I will leave

Let me introduce John to you (I don't know if he actually exists, but he might). John's family died in the Concorde crash. He was pretty glad to see that this old and dangerous plane was finally retired and that he doesn't have to see it any more - but now he gets to see YouTube videos of simulated Concordes flying around, someone even made one with the Concorde crashing into the ground, and he is very upset. He asks that the Flightgear community might please respect his personal history and retire the Concorde for good (i.e. remove it from the download webpage).

I suppose we all can understand John and sympathize with him. But would we follow his request? The problem is that there is Akio (whose parents died in B-29 firebombing). Jane's fiancee died in 9/11 in the Pentagon, and she doesn't want to see a Boeing 757 in low flight or crashing into something ever again.

I don't know of a 'right' solution - clearly, both following John's request and not following it have arguments going for them. But if you're willing to keep the Concorde in spite of John's personal sensibilities, and if you are willing to accept that everyone should be treated equally, then you can not consistently oppose dogfighting, bombing or nuclear weapons in Flightgear on the grounds that these hurt your personal sensibilities.

My (personal) answer is to leave freedom of choice. If I find anything distasteful in Flightgear (I can assure you there are few things...), I simply don't use/download it - problem solved, I don't need to see it. It doesn't bother me that there are things on the server and in principle accessible which I find distasteful - I trust others to make their own judgement. In fact, I am quite incapable of making it for them - I am glad I get my own decisions right most of the time, and I know myself rather well. So, if someone does something which I personally find distasteful - as long as it is not forced upon me or others - I tend to tolerate it. I would have assumed that this is the prevailing spirit in an Open Source community.

So I would not follow John's request, based on the argument that John has no right to force the rest of the world to accomodate his sensibilities when a solution exists in which John simply avoids the Concorde or Concorde videos. I would feel sorry for John nevertheless. Humans are paradox creatures. And on the same grounds I would not oppose nuclear weapons in Flightgear - simply because I feel I have no right to impose my judgement of what is right or wrong or fits into Flightgear on the rest of the community, while a technical solution which prevents anyone from ever seeing weapons effects or a mushroom cloud in Flightgear MP is (or can be) easily made available.

But I recognize there is a different philosophy, based on trying to accomodate everyone's sensibilities.

Well - thanks for the patience in reading through this!
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby HHS » Sun Jul 04, 2010 1:59 pm

That all can be handeld quite well and fast:

From the official manual http://www.flightgear.org/Docs/getstart/getstartch1.html#x5-70001:
Civilian: The project is primarily aimed at civilian flight simulation. It should be appropriate for simulating general aviation as well as civilian aircraft. Our long-term goal is to have FlightGear FAA-approved as a flight training device. To the disappointment of some users, it is currently not a combat simulator; however, these features are not explicitly excluded. We just have not had a developer that was seriously interested in systems necessary for combat simulation.


Make a fork of FlightGear- call it maybe FightGear or MilGear etc...
So this can still make use of the features of FlightGear but enable the war-features. So people can decide what they want. Civillian, serious simulating or simulating wars. For those who don't know it yet: CSP- an OpenSource Combat simulator could be also the right thing:http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/csp/index.php?title=Main_Page

Let me introduce John to you (I don't know if he actually exists, but he might). John's family died in the Concorde crash. He was pretty glad to see that this old and dangerous plane was finally retired and that he doesn't have to see it any more - but now he gets to see YouTube videos of simulated Concordes flying around, someone even made one with the Concorde crashing into the ground, and he is very upset. He asks that the Flightgear community might please respect his personal history and retire the Concorde for good (i.e. remove it from the download webpage).....


We had such thing already and let some people dissapear here- there was a try of an reanectament of the wwII nuclear attack - a big, ugly discussion started.

Problem: the concorde crash was an accident- this can always happen. But the nuclear attack of Japan and WTC 09/11wasn't an accident, it was just meant to kill people- (call it murder) and destroy things.

In mine opinion a big difference!
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby Groucho » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:18 pm

We had similar discussions here for a while and there is a high propability that this one will lead in a deadlock like the other.

Basically I can not oppose in general against military aircraft or technology as from a technological aspect there is a great temptation to try it out how it feels.
However there is some social aspect coming with it. Some people feel they have the freedom to use it to do everything they want by arguing your way- that it is your own choice what you do with it and that your intention is not to hurt anyone.

The fact is that there are scenarios in which people have been physically and mentally hurt by certain military actions and that such actions are treated today as illegitime, unjustified or even criminal. This applies to the bombings of eg. Dresden, London, Coventry, Hiroshima and more, mostly in which civilians were explicitely targeted. The victims of those actions are by outnumbering the size of the FlightGear community by factors and the suffering is in lots of cases still existing.
Replaying such a scenario means replaying such a crime for fun and interest and one will have to ask himself how those who hear the bombs fall every night after 70 years would react if they knew this.
Today people from all parties involved have forgiven each other and accept today the harm they did to each other and have established friendship relations. How does that fit together with folks who enjoy letting the bombs fly today again and simulating harm to each other?

Whether you have the right to do this or not is not the question here. You can simply take the right to do it anytime. The question is whether you accept the social complexity of such issues or simply ignore it as an OPP (other people's problem). Though the public opinion would have found another evidence for boresighted online gamers playing killer scenarios.

The big advantage of FlightGear is that military missions can be created in any form without replaying an existing scenario thus avoiding that issue.
The interesting thing I often encounter is that this is not an option- interesting technology is in several cases not the primary motivation in favor of glorification of existing war actions.
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby mischka » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:22 pm

I think you understand some things wrongly.. the amount of ppl on this forum who are against simulated jetfighters/military aviation in general is far lower than the amount which is against nuclear bombs. Dogfighting, or bombing targets with small bombs, is an entirely different issue.. At best an airplane or two is destroyed, no big deal. But going through a lot of hassle to animate such a horrible thing as a nuclear bomb, which IRL could erase humanity, that's a very grey area. You might not know, but Russia has lost several small nuclear bombs, nobody knows where they are. It's a very scary idea that any middle-east country would get their hands on them, or al qaeda, taliban, etc. I think, or at least I hope, you know that if any country would use their nuclear weapon, within no time the other countries would to. And I also think you know what the result would be. In other words: if the next war is fought with nuclear weapons, the war after will be fought with sticks and stones.

For that reason, the use or simulated use of "nukes" is a very delicate one, and it dissapoints me that a seemingly intelligent person, who read or pretends to have read Kant and others, doesn't understand the delicacy of this matter. Every person who is right in their mind should be disgusted by the use of nuclear weapons, online or offline. The fact there are people like you, who find them cool, scares me a bit. People like you, who endorse such technology, are a scare to humanity, in my opinion.

Thorsten wrote:1)]Let me introduce John to you (I don't know if he actually exists, but he might). John's family died in the Concorde crash. He was pretty glad to see that this old and dangerous plane was finally retired and that he doesn't have to see it any more - but now he gets to see YouTube videos of simulated Concordes flying around, someone even made one with the Concorde crashing into the ground, and he is very upset. He asks that the Flightgear community might please respect his personal history and retire the Concorde for good (i.e. remove it from the download webpage).
(..)
2)So, if someone does something which I personally find distasteful - as long as it is not forced upon me or others - I tend to tolerate it.


For the first part: the concorde crash was an ACCIDENT. Accidents happen, there's not much you can do against it except hiding under a stone, which is not really what life is about. At least not mine. The nuclear bombs fired so far, and any that might be in the future, were no accidents. They are the fastest and most effective way to destroy our beautifull planet.

For the second part: I think this is a highly questionable attitude on your part. If people would just tolerate everything bad they see, as long as they are not affected by it, the world will take a bad turn.

In retrospect: I don't know you, and somehow I hope I'll never have to, but your morality and ideas seem highly questionable to me. maybe you should switch off your pc and, instead of developing nukes, go outside and see what a wonderfull planet we have. And think about what place nuclear weapons have in this world.
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby HHS » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:26 pm

Groucho wrote:...
The big advantage of FlightGear is that military missions can be created in any form without replaying an existing scenario thus avoiding that issue.
The interesting thing I often encounter is that this is not an option- interesting technology is in several cases not the primary motivation in favor of glorification of existing war actions.


Very good points!

We have a lots of military aircrafts here in FGFS due to their technology and perfomance they use: speed, high-g-manovers, high AOA-attacks, terrain following ...
Before using them to shoot I have to learn to fly them- the simulation of flying, that's all about! You can count dogfight into- did you all know that the flight acrobatics are based on the very early try to dogfight?

But using nuclear bombs has absolutly nothing to do with flying- therefor we don't need it!
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby Thorsten » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:31 pm

@HHS:

So the official handbook states that weapons systems/combat are not explicitly excluded - then why do you want to fork and rename? Isn't that almost the definition of 'exclude'?

Problem: the concorde crash was an accident- this can always happen. But the nuclear attack of Japan and WTC 09/11wasn't an accident, it was just meant to kill people- (call it murder) and destroy things.

In mine opinion a big difference!


In mine as well - but let's assume for the sake of the argument that it is not a difference for John, for whom it does not matter how his family died (or who blames the airline, the technicians, ATC,...). How do you react to John? - this is what is at the core of what I'm trying to say, my own opinion is rather irrelevant, it's how I deal with opinions not my own. Do you really try to convince him that the nature of the accident makes the difference?

@Groucho:

Replaying such a scenario means replaying such a crime for fun and interest and one will have to ask himself how those who hear the bombs fall every night after 70 years would react if they knew this.


It seems to me, the question is not the scenario as such, but the way it is pushed into other's faces. If a few folks meet, play such a scenario, never tell anyone - then no damage I can see is done. If they make a big advertisement in the forum, invite people all over the internet, and post videos - then sure, harm is done allright. Quite evidently, the moral implications change and neither ethical position I have investigated would support that behaviour.

So, please don't drag my arguments out of context. I'm not arguing a 'free-for-all, damn the consequences'.

How does that fit together with folks who enjoy letting the bombs fly today again and simulating harm to each other?


Well, I could imagine dogfighting an Englishman, he takes the Bf-109G and I the Spitfire, and the fact that we are able to do this without getting into a real life quarrel could be taken as an indication that we have indeed forgiven each other.
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby Thorsten » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:33 pm

The fact there are people like you, who find them cool, scares me a bit. People like you, who endorse such technology, are a scare to humanity, in my opinion.


I did neither say that nuclear weapons are 'cool', nor did I endorse that technology (in fact, what I actually said about nuclear weapons in the forum is quite the opposite, namely that I have been to Hiroshima and was seriously shocked).

And I develop clouds for Flightgear, not nuclear weapons. :D
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby HHS » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:42 pm

Thorsten wrote:@HHS:

So the official handbook states that weapons systems/combat are not explicitly excluded - then why do you want to fork and rename? Isn't that almost the definition of 'exclude'?


You missed that I underlined that the primary goal is the civilian aspect. And I underlined the word explicitly. Means parts of the combat can and will be included like dogfighting. But I doubt nuclear bombs and all of its aftermaths. And that was the starter of this discussion!

In mine as well - but let's assume for the sake of the argument that it is not a difference for John, for whom it does not matter how his family died (or who blames the airline, the technicians, ATC,...). How do you react to John? - this is what is at the core of what I'm trying to say, my own opinion is rather irrelevant, it's how I deal with opinions not my own. Do you really try to convince him that the nature of the accident makes the difference?


Johns problem is that he lost his family. That's his problem - not really the concorde.
The difference between the concorde and the nuclear bomb is: the concorde was never used to kill intentionally people. The nuclear bomb is!
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby Thorsten » Sun Jul 04, 2010 2:59 pm

But I doubt nuclear bombs and all of its aftermaths. And that was the starter of this discussion!


Hm, I actually didn't make this primarily about nukes and most of the text I have written is in fact not about nukes - the nuke just happened to be the last discussion in the forum in which the topic came up for me, I am sorry if I caused the impression that would somehow be very dear to my heart. Dogfighting actually is much more.

What shocked me in the nuke thread is how violently people reacted - instead of taking a bit of time and trying to explain the 'why not' quietly, there was immediately a big 'we oppose'. That's why it's in here, to indicate that there are more ways to see an issue and that it makes some sense to see through other people's eyes and not automatically assume the other is stupid or evil, that one can convince people rather than fight them - not because I like nukes.

Wow - so I have to be very careful what I say - apparently it's easy to get branded as a nuke-lover.

Well, I suppose it would not guarantee success to ask people to try to figure out what I actually mean or to come back to my actual topic - how we deal with opinions we don't share and find distasteful. Which I tried to explain, but didn't apparently succeed very well.

Anyway - if someone wants to talk about my topic - please let me know. If you want to bash me for liking nukes, I'm sorry, I really don't like them. I like watching clouds.
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby xiii » Sun Jul 04, 2010 3:16 pm

hi all,

I like to see things the simplest way, keeping in mind that there is a hierarchy in concepts.

- Most important simple though is respect and interest for other people.
- Second simple though by importance is self respect. (Dreaming of mass destruction is the worst thing you can do to yourself).

Now, we are simple people. Some of us like absolute things, some other prefer to play without thinking too much. (I'm right in the middle).
If we all keep in mind the former two important thoughs we could manage it. That is finding ways to respect others and have fun without hurting consciences.

I would be happy if we could keep simulated dogfight and such military things in the realm of friendly games. I'll never support dogfight oriented against enemies. This has to keep against in-game adversaries, no matter the color of the cammo. So I'm OK to simulate dogfight against Yvan in his Flanker, but I want this to remain friendly, like in the bests RL sports.

About mass destruction, Hanoi bombing and such, well, I properly can't stand this. Kids might need some more education to understand how playing such scenarios may hurt other sensibility and why. I do not like to see such ideas roaming here and there in the forum. Our job should be trying to explain why it is bad.

Ok, now, time to go to the beach and have a little sea birds observation.

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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby Armchair Ace » Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:21 pm

I swear I can hear Gijs' footsteps, and they're getting louder... :lol:
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby redneck » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:00 pm

You sure? :lol: At the moment I see no reason for moderation, at the moment. I think you just picked up that this is a sensitive topic. It's easy for misunderstandings to happen, and we're all too experienced with what misunderstandings ignite. Now to be on topic.

Why can't we just use our IMAGINATION to CREATE a scenario? Let me try right now. Two teams of pilots form. The goal is to protect the base/destroy the enemy base. For this scenario, we keep things realistic, so conventional weapons only. Each team has a bomber escorted by multi-role fighters. As they arrive at the enemy base, the fighters tangle it up, one team trying to protect the base, the other trying to protect the bomber until it reaches the base and deploys its load of bombs.
This can be done out in a desert, lets say KSLV and KUFO, or out in some ocean using multiple mp-nimitz's
Now, I just made a wargame. It can be replayed multiple times, and produce the same joy to the participants every time. Is ANYTHING about this offensive in nature? Well, I'm not hurting anyone. I'm not targeting civilians. I'm not in a crowded city or near a famous landmark. As I see it, I'm not hurting anyone with this scenario I just created.
Now, I know war is bad. That's why I want to emphasize that what I have created is just a warGAME. Just a chance for those of us interested in military aviation to test our ACM and bombing skills.
And guess what such a scenario may accomplish? It may get rid of some of the chaos at KSFO, with bored virtual fighter pilots flying around, trying to shoot everything in sight :D
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby mischka » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:07 pm

Armchair Ace wrote:I swear I can hear Gijs' footsteps, and they're getting louder... :lol:


yes, me too.. I wished he would be a bit more lenient.

but on topic: I think it's quite clear that most people don't want to see nuclear bombs in flightgear and there's a lot of negative feelings involved. When I told me g/f about this topic/thread she went like "what the hell for?".
Thorsten, you DO make the impression that you care for nukes a lot. Or why do you spend time to re-create them in flightgear? I don't know how old you are, but obviously not at an age where you are very aware of how little time each of us has on earth. Maybe that little time would be better spent doing other things, although that's entirely up to you. ;)

Seeing that there is so much to improve in flightgear, the airplanes and the scenery.. maybe the starter of this thread could spend the little time alotted to him to do something more widely appreciated?
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby Groucho » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:19 pm

redneck wrote:Now, I just made a wargame. It can be replayed multiple times, and produce the same joy to the participants every time. Is ANYTHING about this offensive in nature? Well, I'm not hurting anyone. I'm not targeting civilians. I'm not in a crowded city or near a famous landmark. As I see it, I'm not hurting anyone with this scenario I just created.


For me it is ok because it is purely fictional. It would be different if someone placed it inside a historic scenario like Hiroshima or Dresden.

Thorsten wrote:It seems to me, the question is not the scenario as such, but the way it is pushed into other's faces. If a few folks meet, play such a scenario, never tell anyone - then no damage I can see is done. If they make a big advertisement in the forum, invite people all over the internet, and post videos - then sure, harm is done allright. Quite evidently, the moral implications change and neither ethical position I have investigated would support that behaviour.


So as long as people secretly meet to play Nazi concentration camp everything is fine? I highly doubt that this is your idea behind this.
Because it is not the action which causes harm but the thinking and motivation behind it and as long as people know that these thoughts are alive they are harmed.
And how can you say that such a mission stays secret if several people are involved which flights are not only visible on the multiplayer map and their flights are tracked?
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Re: Regarding attitudes towards military aviation in Flightgear

Postby Quadunit404 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 7:53 pm

The first simulators I ever (for the lack of a better word) played were combat sims (Ace Combat/Air Combat and Ace Combat 6) so I personally have little problem with the military aircraft in FlightGear.
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