Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Tools and toys

I think there are two ways to use thing in Flight Simulator, that is as a tool or as a toy. A toy is something to play with, while a tool is something for which you want to develop a skill. (In real life a tool also usually accomplishes something useful). In FS, often the same thing can be either. For example, you download a new add on airplane. First you treat it as a toy, looking at all the neat features, or taking it up for a quick flight just to watch it flying (if you love planes this can be very satisfying all by itself). But after a while the thrill starts to drain away. At this point you can either go off and find another download, or you can start to use the addon more as a tool. In the case of a plane this would mean learning to fly it well. So you can take off and land on a long runway? How about trying on the shortest length for which it is rated? How about flying by the book-- trying to nail the prescribed speeds for climb out, cruise, approach, etc?

Learning the tools does take more time and forethought. I mentioned my early morning flights a few posts ago. These are mainly toy flights, checking out a new plane or new scenery. Lately they have felt rather flat, so I think I will try to focus on skill building during these short sessions.

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