A few tips for people new to space/flight combat sims
For many of you, Squadrons might be the first combat space/flight simulator you have ever played that doesn't include a third person camera or some sort of flight assistance. Games like this can be hectic and overwhelming, with steep learning curves and high skill ceilings. This is a list of tips and tricks I've picked up over the years playing games like Freespace 2, Wing Commander, the X-Wing series, Elite Dangerous, and flight combat sims such as Il-2 and DCS World. I'm definitely not the greatest or most experienced player in the world, but hopefully this helps some newbies spend more time blowing up enemies and less time wondering why they exploded. :)
- Situational awareness is key. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed.
If I could give just one tip to new players, it would be this. Things get confusing when up and down are relative. In the heat of battle, it is all too easy to lose track of where your friends and enemies are. You will see a missile lock on, but have no idea where it's coming from. You will have an enemy dead in your sights, only to get blasted to pieces by a completely different one. Luckily, a little strategy and discipline can help you stay alive through this 3-dimensional battlefield.
At the start of a match, pay attention to where your enemies are coming from, and where the nearest cover or covering fire is. As you close in to fight, see how many ships you can keep track of at once. You might be able to track five enemies when they are in front of you at a distance, but struggle to keep track of more than one or two once the dogfight begins.
To stay alive longer, try to cut down on the number of directions enemies can safely attack you from. You may be completely exposed out in the open, but if you keep one side close to a spaceship or asteroid, you can't be shot from that direction. This is where that cover you found at the start of the match comes in. Use it, and you can get in bigger fights without being overwhelmed. When the fight gets too hectic to handle, disengage and get to safety until you can join the fight again from a better perspective. It's better to be cautious than dead.
One reason teamwork is so powerful is that teammates can watch out for each other, covering their blind spots even in empty space.
I know I spent a lot of time on this, but the biggest trap new players fall into is chasing one enemy without noticing what else is going on around them. Broaden your awareness, and you will improve dramatically.
We've all seen someone's little sister play Halo and struggle to move and look around at the same time. Video game control schemes take time to learn, and can feel clunky until you get used to them. Especially flying around in 3D space.
In the practice map, get a feel for the speed of each axis of your ship. Notice how you can pitch faster than yaw, and how your maneuverability changes at different speeds and with different engine power settings. This practice will give you a feel for what your ship can do, so you don't spend 5 minutes trying to out-turn an Interceptor in a Y-Wing.
Get your controls set up in a way that is comfortable for you, whether it be with HOTAS, controller, or mouse and keyboard. Don't worry too much about an "ideal" setup, just find what is comfortable for you. For example, I use a joystick with roll on the X axis and yaw on the Z (twist) axis because it's what I'm used to from other flight simulators. Others prefer to have yaw on the X axis and roll on Z. Fiddle around until it clicks.
- Practice the art of pip management.
Balancing energy has been a staple of space sims for decades. Learning how to do it properly is essential.
Switch from basic to advanced power distribution in the settings as soon as you can. The extra control allows you to do things like have 8 pips in engines and 4 in shields for escapes instead of keeping 2 in weapons. In Squadrons, 2 pips makes a surprising difference. Practice keeping your boost, shields, and weapons fully charged whenever you can. Having boost when you need it can be a lifesaver.
- Don't forget about your teammates.
Like I said before, teamwork is very powerful. Nearby teammates can help you shake off enemies and reach objectives safely. Together, a team can also focus their fire to evaporate single enemies. Keep them alive, and they will keep you alive.
- Worry about the enemy behind you first.
Like I said, it can be easy to get tunnel vision when tailing an enemy, but try to notice when another enemy is tailing you at the same time. Dogfights can sometimes feel like a big explosive conga line in the sky, with one ship following after another. You do not want to be in the middle of that conga line. The ship in front can go wherever they choose, devoting all their effort to staying alive. The one in the back just needs to kill their target. But the one in the middle wants to do both at the same time. This usually ends in death. It is almost always better to disengage and avoid being shot down. This is another reason why teammates are so powerful, as they can peel enemies off your tail.
- Match orientation with your enemy to make tracking easier.
When aiming at an enemy, notice which way they are moving relative to you and orient yourself so one axis (preferably your pitch) lines up with their trajectory. That way, the majority of your aiming is done simply by changing pitch. No more moving in multiple directions just to keep a bead on a straight-moving enemy.
- Practice with non-gimbaled weapons (when you are ready to).
Gimbaled weapons are great, and allow you to pack a punch without having to do any fancy flying. However, relying on them for too long can build bad habits. Use them too much, and you might get used to slowing down and rotating around like a big turret, keeping enemies roughly in view instead of learning to actually tail them. This not only makes it harder to learn to use fixed weapons, but also makes you an sitting duck for enemies.
- Don't be too afraid of losing to have fun.
One of my favorite parts of space sims like Squadrons is their wide range of possible loadouts and flying styles. I love trying different ship builds, even if they aren't always the best. A competitive meta will form, of course, but that doesn't mean you have to stick to it all the time. Try new things! I like running an A-wing with rapid fire cannons and barrage rockets. What if I took ion cannons and seeker mines, and an engine tuned for high acceleration to zoom in front of disabled enemies and bomb them? It might not work, but it also might be awesome. You'll never know if you don't go. You'll never shine if you don't glow. This post is getting way too long.
Anyway, I hope someone finds this helpful. I am absolutely not the most skilled pilot around, but I'm jazzed to see so many new people interested in the genre, and I hope this saves someone a bit of frustration learning the ropes. :)
If you have other tips or pointers, leave them in the comments! Fly safe!
submitted by Orbnu
PSA: It's a sellers market (or, how I just sold my car to Carvana for 40% more than the dealer)
I bought my 2013 Focus ST exactly four years ago on August 22nd, 2016. It had 64,000 miles and was a fun, nimble, and trouble-free daily driver. I paid $14,500 for the car, which felt like a steal that that time since it's an ST3 package and is painted in the glorious Tangerine Scream hero color.
Today, it has a hair under 91,000 miles. The clear is beginning to peel from the headlights, the soft paint is showing its age due to rocks, and the car is start to show its maintenance needs with things breaking. Not a big deal, especially for a car that I only have a year of payments left on.
You might have heard that the used market is booming
right now. That was enough to pique my interest in getting some offers on the Focus and maybe move into something a bit more... adult? I have enough fun cars sitting around with the Lord's transmission to not feel so bad about sending my daily out to pasture.
But here's the kicker: I never considered Carvana at all.
In fact, I always saw them as one of those expensive app-based resellers that people who don't appreciate cars buy from and brushed them off. But then I saw this thread
over in /askcarsales
. Alright, I'll give it a shot.
Well, I'm glad I did. I spent $150ish on maintenance items and started looking around for quotes.
- Local dealer: $8,000 (trade-in only)
- Carmax: $7,100
- Vroom: $9,675.00 (Original quote was for $9,175.00, but I rejected the offer citing that it was too low and after three days, they sent a revised quote)
- Carvana: $12,699
Private sales on Facebook Marketplace were asking anywhere from $10,000-$12,000 in my area, up from earlier this year where the best one could find was closer to $8,000. So I decided to try my luck with Carvana. The Focus ST held its value pretty poorly, so since the opportune time came to offload it at a decent price I took it.
Maintenance, repairs, etc... aside, this meant that the ST cost me around $38/month throughout my entire ownership. Not bad.
On Tuesday, I submitted the paperwork (ID, photo of odometer, payoff quote from my lender) and waited a day for Carvana to give the green light to schedule an appointment.
I set the appointment for this afternoon. The gentleman who would be looking at my car called me and verified he could come out and take a look, and showed up about half an hour later. He had me sign about a dozen documents and handed me the check, less the amount left on the bank lien.
Then he went and looked at the car. He took a few photos, started the car in gear (and stalled it despite my warning), and told me he was done. The entire transaction took less than 15 minutes and he didn't even test drive it. The keys were put in a realtor-style lock box and rolled up into the driver's side window and is now awaiting a tiny Carvana-branded rollback to take it away.
This isn't a /HailCorporate
kind of ad, I'm honestly just kind of in awe on how easy this was. No tire kickers, no Facebook messenger battles of "what's your bottom dollar". Just simplicity.
Now I have to figure out what I want to buy to replace it, and remove it from my /cars
: Just to clarify some things... no this isn't an ad. I'm a real person who actually sold their car to Carvana
I have no idea how they calculate value, but it seems like it's different based on the local market, vehicle, etc. Some people have had success selling direct to a dealer or other means. I'm just letting you know what worked for me and got some extra cash out of the deal, and I know a lot of us could use it right now.
submitted by Robbbbbbbbb