This April, we’re really excited to be launching Dovetail Games Flight School – a training sim for those uninitiated in the art of flying an aircraft.
Flying an aircraft is an experience unlike any other and we want to give more people the opportunity to experience that. In Flight School, we aim to teach you how to fly a light aircraft to the level of a Private Pilot from the point of view of a student. But it’s not just about giving you theoretical training, it’s about giving you a very hands-on experience of what it really feels like to learn to fly a light aircraft, right from the moment you turn up at the flight school. Flight School is here to make it really simple and fun for people to enjoy, as it should be, while at the same time remaining true to the real experience.
Flight School’s in-game instructors will quickly get you up to speed on the basics of flight control, which are not as complex as people think. Most people feel very detached from the world of aviation – the controls are very different from, say, the controls in a car, and that can be daunting for people. If you jump straight into a flight sim game with no preparation or prior knowledge of the controls, you might find even trying to keep the aircraft straight and level quite a draining experience. People wonder what they’re meant to do, how they’re meant to get from A to B, and this can be disorienting in a fully 3D space. You don’t just move backwards and forwards or side to side, as you also need to master the art of pitching up and down to climb and descend.
Our aim is to transform that haphazard experience into an engaging experience by breaking down the barriers that make flying seem inaccessible. By empowering you to relax and appreciate how you take control of an aircraft, we will help you to enjoy the very best and most beautiful aspects of flying. Flight School will also have an extensive Free Flight mode, where you can explore the world at your own pace, should you wish to put your newfound skills to good use. Here you can create your own adventure. You have the entire world to explore – the entire world, complete with over twenty-four thousand airports.
But what we really want is for players to take on, enjoy and complete the training lessons. These will give you the confidence not only to handle the aircraft but also to get the very best from it. It’s one thing to land the plane safely (perhaps with a hint of white knuckles and sweaty brow as you bring it down with a bump – something I can vouch for), but it’s another level of accomplishment altogether to glide gently down at the end of a smooth and enjoyable flight. And Flight School will give you the skills to do this.
It should also be said that we’re really keen to reinvigorate the flight sim genre ahead of the launch of Dovetail Games Flight Simulator later this year. Flight simulators used to be played by a very broad audience in the past, but over time and with the rise of other genres of games, they have become much more specialized and refined for a more niche audience, which has prevented a lot of people jumping on board and seeing what flight sims have to offer. We believe that there’s no reason flight simulation can’t once again be a very widely enjoyed genre. The aim of Flight School is to take the experience that a hardcore flight sim fan enjoys every day, but make it accessible to someone who hasn’t played as much or even at all.
This is not about becoming a pilot in real life, this is about getting enough of an understanding of how to handle a plane so that you can truly experience the exhilaration and joy of flying. I remain quite apprehensive of flying (yes, I know this seems a bit strange for someone who is Creative Director on a flight sim!) and I’m putting myself through this challenge to not only overcome my natural fear but to really understand what this world is all about. I can totally appreciate the awe of it when I immerse myself in Flight School. Our aim has been to capture that sense of awe so that people really feel like they’re in the sky and in control of the aircraft when they play.
When I previously started working on Formula One games, they had dwindled as a game prospect for a while because people looked upon them as simply driving a very fast car with a very complex cockpit in circles around tracks, again and again. That’s what outsiders throw at the sport. But get to understand it, appreciate the hooks, and you’ll see F1 is an awesome sport, full of adrenaline, speed, power and glamour. So why wasn’t that being translated?
The first thing I did was to immerse myself in the sport, so I could get under the skin of what it means to be a F1 driver. I learned that a key element of F1 is being part of a team. I wanted to make you look upon your teammate as your biggest rival, just as you would do in real life so that when you played the game, you were fully immersed in the whole experience, and not just driving a car around a track. Only then could I translate a true Formula 1 experience to the player. The simulation is important, but so is the human element. You want to feel a part of something you care about.
And now I’m trying to do the same thing with Flight School. I don’t just want to give you the facts and figures involved in learning to fly a plane, I want to give you the opportunity to feel just like a pilot when you’re in the sky. This is where the beauty of Flight School lies. Going anywhere and doing anything in the way that a flight sim allows you to do is pretty awesome and that’s the reason I love them, because they’re very different to anything else I play. I think it’s time people took a fresh look at this type of experience.