As Real As It Gets?

The other morning I was farming along when one of the Steam users I follow messaged me.  He was asking questions about Farming Simulator 15 and the level of realism it offers to the virtual farmer.  During the back and forth exchange, he was asking if things like season, climate, weather and other regional challenges were factored into the game.  Of course I had to regretfully explain that none of these elements are factored into default game play.  I did elaborate slightly about how mods like the awesome SoilMod do go a long way in helping to achieve a slightly deeper level of immersion.  However, I believe he was really seeking even more depth than what is available through the mods I’m aware of.   He went on to throw out ideas such as seasons with the idea that during certain seasons the virtual farmer would be forced to do other tasks on the farm.  Take certain aspects of the farming life indoors through the use of greenhouse facilities.  In addition, many of us would love to see more realism with regards to ground physics, vehicle mechanics (maintenance, damage, dirt) and perhaps even player fatigue come into play.   Of course, there are mods which try to simulate mechanical reliability (the damage mod comes to mind).  But there really is no penalty if we choose to never wash our vehicles.  Try that in the real world and see where that gets you.

While it would be safe to say the majority of individuals who will read this blog post either directly from GrizzlyBearSims.com, PC-SG Forums or anywhere else it’s being distributed do truly want a more “As Real As It Gets” level of realism from our favorite simulation based games (myself included).  But unfortunately, our numbers are very small and for many reasons.  First, cost!  But more about these things in just a minute.

Of the simulation based games I enjoy (think Planes, Trains and Automobiles – and Farming Too!) Flight Sim (Prepar3D, FSX or X-Plane) is truly the best at delivering the most “As Real As It Gets” experience.  Actually, the term “As Real As It Gets” has been the Microsoft motto for their flight sim franchise for as long as I can remember.  But if you break it all down, flight sim (again via Prepar3D, FSX or X-Plane) offers the enthusiast a 100% global experience.  Want to fly from Denver to London?  Want to experience real world weather conditions both on the ground and in the air?  Want to experience the effects of windshere or what happens when you mis-calculate the amount of fuel required to complete a flight?  Yep….it can be done in flight sim.   Take the level of immersion up a few notches with complex payware add-on aircraft which simulate how the real aircraft equivalent performs from a cold & dark flight deck experience all the way to engine shutdown.  It can be done!  Of course much of what I’ve described is only available through add-ons (or mods).  But it is available and they do a really good job of full immersion.   But the downside, it costs a lot of money to reach this level of immersion.

A company like Giants is in business to make money and it is my opinion that at the present date and time, they are the best at what they do.  Yes, competition is certainly on the horizon.  The fourth quarter of 2016 and early 2017 is shaping up to be the year of all things Farming Simulation.  Some titles are already here with others to come.  While it’s true all appear to offer a little more realism, much of what we may want may never come.  Especially at the price point of $19 – 29 USD.  But just as important, the audience numbers are also relatively small.  Most are just not interested in the full immersion.  In the example of farm sim, most just want to plant, fertilize, harvest then rinse and repeat.  Factoring in the need to make important decisions such as do I have enough hay, straw, silage to last the winter months…is it too early (or too late) to plant X crop or another number of any of the many other factors which go into running a real world farming empire.

Of course, these are just my opinions.  What do you think?

Until next time…

Jerry


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