Since you are taking input on “What you would like to see next from UOAF” I’ve been giving it some more thought and thought I’d just lay out some thoughts of *this* new guy.
Let me start with an idea that I did not hear being brought up today on Teamspeak:
Besides having something a bit easier for us noobs, I am very interested in seeing non F16s being flown. Don’t get me wrong the F16 is great, it’s nimble, it’s an amazing dogfighter, it’s the most authentic in terms of flight model and avionics from what I hear. I guess also, it sounds like BMS did a lot of work on the F18 and it sounds like it’s regularly featured and utilized by UOAF. I hope all the airframes that have fallen behind the F16 get more from BMS here shortly and I hope they just keep working to improve everything across the board. But anyway, I like seeing other planes being flown by human pilots, it just feels more dynamic when its not all about F16 and F18s even though those are the most authentic planes we have. So much so, that I don’t mind flying the Aardvark with an F16 pit at all. In fact, I enjoyed it. But I may be in the minority about this and so I think a mechanism to better gauge pilot interest might be in order.
It might be good for each pilot to sort of declare their primary aircraft for each of the running campaigns. So I might declare F111F for the next couple of weeks in Korea 1989 and the F15E in an alternate campaign (if we had one).
A pilot can change his or her primary aircraft at anytime. It’s not to lock a pilot into something forever, or even a campaign. It’s just a way to take the temperature of the pilots, to gauge interest prior to fragging. It would even be useful for those wanting to conduct training flights to see what members are interested in for the week and sort of frag accordingly. So, if I am the only F15E guy, well that’s not enough interest to frag it or have a training session for it. But if there are four guys, then that should definitely be looked at.
I would suggest using Etherpad at Etherpad.org. I’ve used it before and it’s basically a collaborative Google doc, but without all the data collection and snooping they do over there. Pilots can just log on and update their primary aircraft for each campaign as it suits them. Etherpad tracks changes and you can roll the document back like a DVR lickety-split so it’s pretty easy to catch abusers and fix any mischief. Anyway, fraggers and instructors then can refer to that list to help balance the preferences of pilots.
OKAY moving on now to the training ideas that others came up with at today’s TS meeting:
1. Like others mentioned UOAF wouldn’t have to change a thing and I would be happy.
2. All the training ideas were great, any of which would be a welcome addition.
3. There are obviously highly-skilled pilots here that enjoy highly risky missions and campaigns. I would not want to see that taken away at all. I hope to be an *effective* pilot in those types of missions and it’s a blast to whiteknuckle along and just try to keep my head a bit above tumbleweed in those. So yeah, from this noob’s perspective – lots of fun there but not a lot of opportunity to work on one’s own skills.
4. Also, I’ve been up quite a few times with folks in the last week, and because things are usually pretty hectic I do feel like I am distracting lead way too much with my knuckleheadness. Every lead has been nothing but polite and patient, but when the mission is fly, fight, and win orientated – well I do feel like a bit of a burden despite all assurances to the contrary. I am probably not the only less-than-efficient pilot here that feels that way. So keep that in mind please.
5. I think Ghostdog and others have expressed strong reservations about required training. That sounds like good advice to me just because of scheduling issues. So, out of all the suggestions I think it would be nice to run an alternate and easier campaign during the week. Possibly where:
a. it’s a 24/6 campaign (exclude Saturday to encourage everyone to go whiteknuckles on Saturday);
b. on-the-job training missions are encouraged;
c. almost all players (just need minimal competency and agreement to abide by the SOPs) can delete non-player missions and frag our own that we are planning to fly in;
d. where if a pilot frags a package he lists it online with the time of the flight (again I suggest Etherpad or something like it);
e. (I don’t know if it’s possible but if the campaign could be) synchronized to the real world zulu time that would be awesome – I know that puts a bit of pressure on the guys to show up for flights they have fragged and signed up for, but it shouldn’t be a big deal if they miss take off time either;
f. the priority of missions (I am thinking about those automatically fragged) set to be primarily Defensive Counter-air because then it’s easier to delete AI mission to setup your own offensive missions without getting a whole AI package wiped;
g. the ESW squadron be controlled solely by the players because AI HQ just wastes them on SEAD/DEAD anyway and it’s much better to use them as jammers to help out player packages.
h. if the alternate campaign is being used a lot, leadership can take off maybe an F16 and an F18 squadron from being automatically fragged by AI HQ and reserve those for players to frag.
So, just to sort of flesh out how this would be beneficial (assuming it’s possible):
In this looser campaign, you might have a player AI package of four near the FLOT working on CCRP and CCIP column busting (say something that a Sierra Hotel pilot put together to give pointers and practice to the rest of the flight.) It’s still a mission but since only four people are in on it, it will be easier to handhold the newbies like me. You might have at the very same time another flight training on refueling and if the refueling is successful they take off for a deep strike flight. And say they get jumped on the egress they could call out on to the column busters to intercept the migs etc.
I think that would be a ton of fun and it still would be informal and on-the-job training so to speak, but because the packages are smaller and if you are setting up the flight to help break in the new guys, you are going to frag a mission that will hopefully be fun and will allot for enough time to really help each other talk our way through issues that individuals are having and in this way bring our skills up faster – hopefully.
None of this precludes volunteers from offering Training TEs or even more formal courses. In fact, it just gives them a platform to run a similar campaign mission following the TE course just to help – you know – put it all together.
Again, I think things are great “as is” and I am confident that no matter what is decided it will be even better. I am just tossing out what I think would be easy, useful, and fun. So long as nobody gets uptight about the outcome of the alternate campaign, all should be good. Accidentally, deleting an important AI package isn’t a big issue because it’s the laid-back campaign. Just check etherpad, and if someone has listed a package there, that means they need it left alone (i.e. a tanker, ESW, tarcap, etc.). All else is fair game.