20mm: What specific simulation titles have been the most inspirational to you in terms of what you strive for in the development of new titles, and why?
Flexman: Everything by Microprose. M1 Tank Platoon and Gunship 2000 offered repeat play through simple mechanics. And I'd also go with Wing Commander for its attempt at a narrative. And a huge shout out to Jane's Longbow 2 which was a fine blend of action and simulation. What's interesting in those choices is (with exception to Wing Commander) are totally dynamic. Grand Theft Auto managed to blend narrative with a free-flow structure. That's a little of what we're aiming for, a blend of dynamic missions with a few narrative threads. Both M1 Tank Platoon and Gunship 2000 had crew advancement (or death), you could get really fond of those AI guys. We unashamedly copied the idea of a crew roster you can develop over missions. They have metrics for flight time, skill level, combat fatigue, aggression. The latter being quite important for AI sorties.
Jane’s titles managed to walk a tightrope of action and simulation. The audio chatter went a long way to provide a sense of battle and excitement. F15 was super with calls of “shack” and “check your panel”. Even Falcon 3.0 has some amusing pilot chatter. All of that we scripted for our game too just because it added so much to the feeling of a Jane’s simulation and it’s not technically difficult to do. It adds value at little expense.