Why is the Space-Sim genre still dead?

frostytheplebe

Seventh Part of the Seal
Ohhhh boy!!!

And the genre is not dead, since we are talking about it here(and this thread needed a bump)

Yeah, I still love the Mummy episode. The preview for it "Will... help him find his mummy??" still makes me chuckle!:D
 

Lt.Overload

Rear Admiral
Ever notice every time a new FPS comes out, the space combat kind of takes a back seat? Halo came out, next thing you know, the flight/space sims kinda stopped.

Then a year or two later we get Ace Combat games and a few others... right now we're in a pretty hieghtened age of FPS, they're all the fad right now. The result: A new Star Wars game may be the last hope for a decent space sim at this point. But once the FPS fad fades away again, either the Turn based RPG, 3rd person action, or flight sim will rise again.

Well Halo: Reach does have a space combat portion if you are referring to that...but it's nothing like WC's space combat.
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
And as for a cheaper version of LOST? Come on, the least expensive thing is CGI these days, any kid with a core I7 and some talent could re-do S.A.A.B. Just look at the cinematic the WC Saga team once made....

CG is not cheap. Not just any kid can pirate a copy of 3DS Max or Maya and right away make something that looks better than his left nut. And making something of TV/cinematic quality that's longer than 5 seconds without a render farm takes a stupidly long time to render.

Sadly, ME's success is actually a problem for modern day WC pitches. Why do Wing Commander when you can do a game in EA's current popular sci fi setting?

Just as there's more to ME1/2 than my Gears of Wars generalization, there's probably far more at play than just a reboot vs sequel comparison.

As you mentioned Wing Commander is associated with FMV to a fault. To meet the expectations that prevented Arena from being a runaway success, they'd have to shell out a lot of cash for good actors and for a large bit of screen time. Given how big gaming is now compared to when WC3/4 came out, I could see actors and agents asking for more than is reasonable. And then EA is stuck looking at a scenario worse than WC4's - spending way too much and not even breaking even on launch week.

Plus ME is an action RPG and WC is a space shooter. Space shooters of any sort really aren't rocking any sales charts, but cover shooters and action RPGs are. Even if EA pulled out the stops with a new WC game, there's no indication that it wouldn't bomb in sales. And I can't be angry at EA for not taking a cannon ball into that pool of risk.

I think the new sub par Star Wars and the late Star Trek TNG movies had a lot to do with that.

This is an argument of opinion, though. The original series of Star Trek is even more terrible than Enterprise. It also got cancelled because while there was interest, it wasn't big enough. Mr. Roddenberry and crew had to fight to get a third season out. The franchise really didn't come into its own until the movies and The Next Generation.

Also the hate for the new Star Wars films is an issue of childhood nostalgia. Fact is the originals got just as stupid and boring on the same frequency. Remember the droning, banal dialogue of Obi Wan? Or the Ewoks? Or the terrible one-liners from C3PO?
 

boringnickname

Rear Admiral
This is an argument of opinion, though. The original series of Star Trek is even more terrible than Enterprise. It also got cancelled because while there was interest, it wasn't big enough. Mr. Roddenberry and crew had to fight to get a third season out. The franchise really didn't come into its own until the movies and The Next Generation.

Also the hate for the new Star Wars films is an issue of childhood nostalgia. Fact is the originals got just as stupid and boring on the same frequency. Remember the droning, banal dialogue of Obi Wan? Or the Ewoks? Or the terrible one-liners from C3PO?


I am not a big fan of Roddenberry, as I stated here already. But you're unfair here - the original Star Trek was fresh and somewhat original for its time, especially the preachy social-issues aspect of it.

Enterprise though had nothing new. I couldn't find a single new element there that wasn't recycled from its predecessors.

About Star Wars - I have actually watched the films in my teenage years, not as a little child. I think I was 15 when I watched for the first time the whole trilogy, before, I have seen some parts of it here and there and A New Hope Special Edition when I was 13 (wasn't that impressed) but never the whole trilogy as I wasn't that interested in them. A few years later I've watched TPM.

So I had no nostalgia when I watched the new films and even I can see the that the old movies were superior. Though, I don't think they are the best movies of all time or something like that (C3PO almost killed TESB for me, is there a fan-edited where he is cut out?).

For one thing why the old films are superior is because they felt a lot more real, the new ones look like a 3D Studio demonstration. Another thing is the de-mystification in the new movies: counting midi-chlorians, my God, the whole mythological framework reduced to an AIDS-test.

The dialog had more heart - the yoda speech about the force in TESB has no equal in the new movies.

So, yeah, the older ones are superior.
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
Enterprise though had nothing new. I couldn't find a single new element there that wasn't recycled from its predecessors.

There's a reason why I prefaced with the comment about an argument of opinion.

I don't think its following the same television sci-fi formula as proscribed by the original series was what broke it. LOAF pointed out the splintering of cable. There's more at play to why something succeeds and something else doesn't than 'because the new stuff sucks.'

Returning to an earlier comment about the new TNG films... none of the Star Trek films were mega blockbusters like the Star Wars franchise. In fact, the only one that did absolutely terrible was Nemesis.

For one thing why the old films are superior...

Again, opinion. You didn't like the new films. That's great! You and the rest of the Internet (it's a big club). There's one big problem, though. It doesn't address what's really going on.

They were blockbusters just like the first trilogy. Episode 1 broke box office records and was a financial success. Episode 2 lagged behind but what it pulled was by no means bad. Episode 3 made nearly as much as Episode 1 and broke a few records itself.

That some people didn't like the new Star Wars films because they were heartless or less realistic doesn't explain anything about the general decline of sci-fi and the space shooter.

You have to look elsewhere. Star Trek is a franchise that likes to get nerdy about pseudo-science. Star Wars is a franchise that likes to show off visually stunning settings and exotic things while shrugging off the details as 'It's magic!' It's no surprise that Star Trek reboots, trying very hard to distance itself from that nerdy technobabble and is rewarded with the highest grossing film of the franchise.

But it's not even as strictly simple as that, and that doesn't even touch on why space shooters are so sparse. My point is that if you want to really figure something like this out you have to ignore your opinions and tastes.
 

Death

gh0d (Administrator)
the original Star Trek was fresh and somewhat original for its time

"Wagon Train to the Stars" (how Roddenberry pitched it to CBS) is new? :p

Snark aside, I know I'm kind of frequently guilty of it myself, but you might want to try not looking back at the older stuff through a nostalgia filter.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
CG is not cheap. Not just any kid can pirate a copy of 3DS Max or Maya and right away make something that looks better than his left nut. And making something of TV/cinematic quality that's longer than 5 seconds without a render farm takes a stupidly long time to render.

You can rent render time with these farms, prices are stable but the calculation powers of the farms increase monthly, so it takes less time(cheaper!) and the machines can run 24/7, actors, make-up, agents, writers however keep getting more expensive, as their paycheck increases(for instance, in the later seasons of "airwolf", Jan Michael Vincent got payed $200,000 for each episode, Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell and Tom Wilson probably also asked more money to reprise their roles after WC3).

Caprica, "V", Doctor who, Merlin, SGU, are full with Sh!tloads of CGI, just because it saves on animatronics, locations, studiosets and make-up.

Space is pretty much the easiest thing to render; Lot of darkness, some stars and constellations, maybe a nebula, and no-one can ever tell you it does not look real because just about nobody has ever seen it with a naked eye, and those who have probably prefer the idealistic, more romantic version seen in sci-fi series.
 

t.c.cgi

Vice Admiral
You can rent render time with these farms, prices are stable but the calculation powers of the farms increase monthly, so it takes less time(cheaper!) and the machines can run 24/7

I like how you didn't quote a figure there.

Let's talk shop for 2009. Avatar cost $237 mil. Up cost $175 mil. Transformers 2 cost $200 mil. Ice Age cost $90 mil. That rounds out the CG blockbusters for 2009.

On the less CG dominated end of the spectrum you have Sherlock Holmes at $90 million and The Hangover at $35 million.

Oh, and the best film of 2008 (Slumdog Millionaire) apparently only cost $15 million to make. It wasn't a CG film by the looks of it.

actors, make-up, agents, writers however keep getting more expensive, as their paycheck increases(for instance, in the later seasons of "airwolf", Jan Michael Vincent got payed $200,000 for each episode, Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell and Tom Wilson probably also asked more money to reprise their roles after WC3).

"Garage projects are cheaper than AAA talent!"

Thank you for pointing that out. AAA render houses are exceptionally expensive... just like AAA talent! Wow!

Meanwhile no-name actors fresh out of drama school and looking to end years of eating boxes of Ramen are willing to do the same job for nickles. And then television networks discovered the ultimate solution! Take attention addicted, self-important people and put them on television. You can then do something silly like offer them a grand prize that values what they'd pay actual actors, writers, and crew to do a single episode. Nobody will notice and your ratings will go up! Pure genius.

And they didn't have to use any CG at all.


Caprica, "V", Doctor who, Merlin, SGU, are full with Sh!tloads of CGI, just because it saves on animatronics, locations, studiosets and make-up.

I already knew the Syfy channel used bargain bin garage artists for everything that couldn't be solved by buying a humvee and driving it through a national park on Sunday. However I would like to point out that one channel is not what we'd call a... umm... trend.

But TV CG still looks terrible, and they aren't getting that for free. What the TV networks see in CG over other methods is reusability. When you want to stretch a series over as many seasons as possible you don't want to blow up or otherwise destroy REAL props and models that could be recycled later. Why? Because with real ones you can't just reload the scene. CG you can blow up the same monsters billions of times.

Yet nobody is using CG exclusively at all. It's just like everything else: it's part of the toolkit, not some savior of entertainment.

I also don't understand your self censorship.

Space is pretty much the easiest thing to render; Lot of darkness, some stars and constellations, maybe a nebula, and no-one can ever tell you it does not look real because just about nobody has ever seen it with a naked eye, and those who have probably prefer the idealistic, more romantic version seen in sci-fi series.

I wonder why everything isn't in space if it's such a budgetary no-brainer.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
Maybe space-sims in general are rather popular in Germany? I understand it is the first or second most popular market for Wing Commander games.
 

GamesFuhrer

Swabbie
Banned
I'm also a bit peeved about the lack of decent Space Sims out there (and by Sims I mean X-wing, Wing Commander, FreeSpace types of games, not realistic sims ~~~).

Wing Commander has nothing on the learning curve of OpenFalcon. It just seems that Modern Warfare and high fantasy are more popular these days than space combat.
 

MuffinMan

Spaceman
Another thing that hurts is the 'sim ghetto' that we helped build. You know what Wing Commander's gameplay is? DooM without a floor--but we (and the folks advertising it) worked so very hard to convince everyone it was something much more complex. It's not an arcade game or a shooter, it's a *simulator*. Ooooh. You know what? People *like* shooters and arcade games and they don't necessarily enjoy being told something else is superior.

One of the upcoming HALO games has an arcade-derived space combat mission--maybe that'll be a start.

.....whaaat?

That's a total nonsense, Wing Commander is not a "Doom with Floor" , this is a very unfair and wrong comparison

Let's just talk gameplay-wise:
- in Doom , there's no targeting/locking system
- in Doom, there's no tracking missiles
-In Doom, you don't missiles going after you and you don't have decoys to mislead missiles.
- In Doom, there's no capital ships where you have to dodge its turrets , to hit several parts with torpedoes till it's dead.
-In Doom , there's no escort missions, guarding missing , destroying capital ships mission, gathering capsules missions ,searching artifacts/satellites to scan missions and rescuing missions.
- In doom , you don't have rear turrets or side guns.
-In doom , there's no wingmen that you give orders.


You could said Wing commander is MECHWARRIOR without floor, not doom without floors!
 

MuffinMan

Spaceman
All that 'HALO is just like Wolfenstein 3D!' acerbity is just talk. One big factor in FPS' continued success is the fact that they're able to both evolve in incredibly important unnoticed ways (multiplayer, physics, mouselook, etc.--all the stuff that becomes standard over time) and because they're willing to innovate around the basic concept in different directions (open worlds, themed pieces, multiplayer dedicated games, things like Half Life where they build the story into the game..

-Many space-sims have "open worlds" ie, the X universe games.
- Wing commander did have a story into the game, what about all those radio conversations between characters while you are playing? what about all those cutscenes and video cutscenes during missions? What about all the triggers happening during the missions? all those are part of the story.

Again comparing wing commander to FPS is like comparing orange to apple.
 

Zelvik

Rear Admiral
The spacefighter genre seems to be a bit dead both in video games, series and on the big screen. Even the new incarnation of BSG had hardly any spacefighter action compared to the original - and with no sound and the general dim tone of that series no big emotions were involved with those few times we got to see some action. Same for the Star Wars prequels, they hardly had anything compareable to those great spacebattles of the original films. Since Babylon 5 and Space Above and Beyond there hasnt been much to talk about in this regard and that was back in the mid ninetees (strange coincidence that the last big fighter sims were released around that time - or started production (Free Space 2, WC-Prophecy, X-Wing Alliance). After those the genre never again saw a realy big release.

Generally the fighter pilot genre seems to be a bit dead at the moment. There werent that many historical movies and series around too in the past decade that depicted fighter combat - and virtually none that gained a bigger audience.
 

Jason_Ryock

Vice Admiral
The spacefighter genre seems to be a bit dead both in video games, series and on the big screen. Even the new incarnation of BSG had hardly any spacefighter action compared to the original - and with no sound and the general dim tone of that series no big emotions were involved with those few times we got to see some action. Same for the Star Wars prequels, they hardly had anything compareable to those great spacebattles of the original films.

I actually JUST realized this about Star Wars prequels the other day. I felt so silly when I did, too. We really just had that nice teaser at the start of EPIII. EPII was supposed to have a space battle as well but it ended up getting cut, I think the end of the film suffers for that. Typically at the end of a Star Wars movie there are like three things going on, but I digress.

I was really just going to say that they wanted to do more space combat in BSG, but they were limited in their FX budget because of the cost of the 3D renderings. Often times they were saving that budget for things like Season Premiers and the Season Finales (and who WASN'T screaming at the TV when the Galactica was rocketing down on top of the Refugee camp?).

Sci-Fi is suffering right now, and it's very upsetting. I would like to see much more space combat (done well) in a game movie and a television setting. Or hell even just one of those. :/
 

Kaunisto

Rear Admiral
All flight sims have been doing bad so song. At this point even talk about new Star Fox is a good sign.

I think the biggest problem of flight/space sims is that they rarely fit well on consoles and these days it's hard to do a PC-only game.

Dead genres stay dead. Occasional hand may rise from the grave is a shape of game or two, but name me a genre that has resurrected?
Single player RPGs? Dead. Classic (puzzle) adventure? Small episodic releases at best. Beat'em'ups (2D)? Actually never quite died, just suffering a long terminal illness; new MK may prolong life just little more. RTS? We may just be watching it die.
 

Wedge009

Rogue Leader
What qualifies as dead? Seems to me that single-player RPGs are still around and recent RTS releases don't seem to indicate a process of dying to me.

Well, whichever. I don't play many games, anyway, so what would I know?
 
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