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User information for SMA

Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request
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Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 3110 (Veteran)
User ID 13410
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News Comments > Saturday Consolidation
20. Re: Saturday Consolidation Jul 12, 2014, 23:11 Scottish Martial Arts
Microsoft ruined the awesome thing Bungie showed at E3.

I'm not sure this is true, but Halo definitely changed and I think it's fair to lament that

Well in fairness, if it had not been for Microsoft there probably wouldn't have been a Halo at all. As it was released, Halo was basically half finished, i.e. everything after the infamous Library, which was itself just a gigantic copy-paste job, had you literally playing through previous levels backwards. While the E3 2000 demo showed off what Bungie could do with the game, given enough time and money, they simply ran out of the latter two. When Bungie was acquired by Microsoft, they were pretty much on the ropes financially, and it's doubtful they were particularly close to finishing Halo, as envisioned by the E3 2000 demo, any time soon. From what I've been able to gather over the years, it wasn't that Microsoft gutted that earlier design out of spite or anything, but that Microsoft needed Halo as a launch title for Christmas 2001, and the condition for their riding to Bungie's rescue was that the game be ready by then. Hence, why the game's latter 3 levels are literally earlier levels played in reverse, with reworked encounters, and why, more broadly, the game was a conventional linear shooter with vehicle sections, and VERY good AI for the time, as opposed to the open-world SciFi Arma that the E3 demo showed.

Still even though it likely was a choice between the Halo we got, and no Halo at all, when you factor in how MS handled porting the game, i.e. a bad port job two years after the fact, and the sheer promise of that E3 demo, it's hard not to feel a bit bitter. Plus, slapping a Vista requirement onto the Halo 2 port was just downright evil.
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News Comments > Saturday Consolidation
13. Re: Saturday Consolidation Jul 12, 2014, 20:41 Scottish Martial Arts
Draugr wrote on Jul 12, 2014, 19:57:
While I don't care myself, I think it's a bit different.

It's not like Bungie demoed all the stuff on the Xbox one and THEN went on to say it's not happening.

I wasn't making a comparison. I was just concurring with Beamer that there is still some lingering bitterness over what happened to Halo following Bungie's acquisition by Microsoft back in 2001. The game that was being demoed back in 2000 was a completely different beast, an absolutely incredible looking beast that would have been way ahead of its time, than what eventually landed on XBOX. As for whatever Bungie is working on now, I wasn't even aware that it was a PS4 exclusive, which should be indicative of how little I care about the consoles.
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News Comments > Saturday Consolidation
9. Re: Saturday Consolidation Jul 12, 2014, 18:35 Scottish Martial Arts
Beamer wrote on Jul 12, 2014, 18:14:

Dude, people still bitch, on this board, this week, about not having Halo on the PC.

I must admit that I'm still butthurt that the Halo PC/Mac game that was demoed at E3 2000 never came to fruition. The open world, high player count, vehicle based multiplayer sounded incredible. Fucking Microsoft.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
9. Re: Out of the Blue Jul 11, 2014, 11:43 Scottish Martial Arts
Tipsy McStagger wrote on Jul 11, 2014, 09:57:
"I'm thinking of selling my theremin, I haven't touched it in years"

That one made me laugh.

I didn't get the pavlov reference,the irony bus stop one or Benoit B Mandelbrot though.

Not familiar with Mandelbrot but based upon the joke, I would imagine he was a mathematician who studied infinitely recursively defined objects. Were the middle initial B. to stand for "Benoit B. Mandelbrot" then his name would be an infinite recursion, i.e.:
Benoit (B.) Mandelbrot
Benoit (Benoit (B.) Mandelbrot) Mandelbrot
Benoit (Benoit (Benoit (B.) Mandelbrot) Mandelbrot) Mandelbrot
ad infinitum

The irony/bus stop joke is a play on the term irony itself. Irony is the defeat of your expectations, so if someone is indignant that they were accused of not understanding irony, then you would expect them to know what irony is. Being at a bus stop, however, has nothing to do with understanding irony, so the indignant speaker, whom you expect to understand irony, turns out not to actually understand it, thus defeating your expectations. It's kind of circular, but once you get your head around it, it might produce a grin at least.

Finally, Pavlov is a famous psychologist who studied behavioral conditioning. In most mammals the presence of food produces salivation, so Pavlov constructed an experiment in which every time he would feed his dogs, he would ring a bell. The bell would ring, he'd put down food, and the dogs would salivate and eat their meal. After several weeks of this, he would ring the bell, but not give the dogs their meal. Despite the absence of food, the dogs would still salivate upon hearing the bell because they had been conditioned to associate the ringing of a bell with an imminent meal.

I got everything but the chemistry jokes; I guess it has been nearly a decade since I took my last chem course, and haven't looked at the stuff since.
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
34. Re: F-16 Lands Uncomfortably Low.... Jul 8, 2014, 00:18 Scottish Martial Arts
Atomic wrote on Jul 7, 2014, 13:04:
Yea, kind of crazy. I don't think it an accident.

And, I'm fairly certain that is an F-18, but still a cool video.

Single-engine, definitely an F-16.

edit: looks like others beat me to it.
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News Comments > Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth in October
22. Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth in October Jul 3, 2014, 19:48 Scottish Martial Arts
descender wrote on Jul 3, 2014, 19:40:
I don't know why you think the maps are small you realize you can play on bigger ones if you choose...

Relative to the amount of "pieces" on the "board", Civ maps are VERY small. Even a huge map is only 128 x 80 hexes. The standard map (80x52) corresponds to about four map sheets of Classic Battletech, on which you might have... 15 - 20 pieces TOTAL. A Civ V game in comparison will have 10 times that number by game's end, and it will feel crowded for it.
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News Comments > Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth in October
21. Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth in October Jul 3, 2014, 19:42 Scottish Martial Arts
Yifes wrote on Jul 3, 2014, 19:14:
Hex tiles are great. However, as many people more knowledgable than me have stated, hexes do NOT work in Civ. The problem is with Civ's one unit per hex rule and that Civ's maps are much smaller in comparison than in a wargame; In Civ, an entire city is ONE hex in size, and is the same size as a single unit.

The small size of the maps means that the game design has to compensate by letting the player build fewer units, which has far reaching impact on all other aspects of the game. Additionally, the smaller maps limit maneuverability. A consequence is that the AI is notoriously terrible and highly exploitable ie. incredibly easy to set up chokepoints with a handful of units that the AI simply cannot deal with.

Sure, and I actually agree with your assessment: the switch to hexes in Civ V has largely been unsuccessful, but primarily for reasons which are separate from the hexes themselves, i.e. the small, constrained maps, and the one unit per tile rule.

My issue was with the poster's more general complaint with hexes, which showed abject ignorance of their advantages, and the consensus of turn-based combat designers for the past 50 years. Hexes are only shit if the only hex game you've played is Civ V. /shrug
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News Comments > Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth in October
17. Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth in October Jul 3, 2014, 18:53 Scottish Martial Arts
JediPunisher wrote on Jul 3, 2014, 17:24:
I've been waiting 15 years for a sequel to my favorite turn-based strategy game of all time, Alpha Centauri. Unfortunately, it looks like I'll be waiting a while longer, because this isn't it. I hate hex grids, which restrict movement to six directions making the game less strategic... in other words, dumbing it down for the Nintendo generation while simplifying the AI programming. Could be worse, I guess... They could've returned to square tiles and limited our movement to four directions, rather than the original eight.

I'm sorry but that's retarded. In the world of tabletop wargames, which in many ways the Civ games are a loose homage to, hexes have been standard for pretty much forever, because they are superior to squares for turn-based combat games. Yes, you lose two possible move directions, and yes, hexes do not align with the cardinal directions, but what you gain is significant. Namely, the center of a hex is equidistant to the center of all adjacent hexes, where as with squares, the centers of diagonally adjacent squares are significantly further than orthogonally adjacent squares, which creates a "bunny hop" like effect: you can go farther moving diagonally than orthogonally, yet pay the same movement cost for both moves. Squares, through a flaw in their design, privilege certain movements over others, which encourages players not to make moves in accordance with the tactical scenario, but in accordance with metagaming the movement rules. Furthermore, only orthogonally adjacent squares share an edge, where as adjacent hexes all share an edge; this is critical in games in which facing, i.e. any turn-based combat game worth its salt, makes a difference to combat results. Hexes therefore facilitate more complex combat rules, where facing, flanks, supporting units, etc. can impact the outcome, in ways that squares can't.

In short, there's a reason why you'll be hard pressed to find a tabletop war game made in the last 50 years which uses squares.
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News Comments > Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth in October
10. Re: Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth in October Jul 3, 2014, 16:14 Scottish Martial Arts
SpectralMeat wrote on Jul 3, 2014, 15:25:
Slashman wrote on Jul 3, 2014, 15:22:
SpectralMeat wrote on Jul 3, 2014, 15:08:
Slashman wrote on Jul 3, 2014, 15:03:
Did you turn off the advisers and encyclopedia??
I might

So you're a REAL man then! Salute
Well obviously not because I can't seem to get into the game. Maybe it is just not for me, but it does peak my interest so maybe I should try harder

Civ V is pretty user friendly as is. Was there something getting in the way of you understanding the mechanics, or was it simply a case where you understood the game but just didn't enjoy playing it that much?
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News Comments > Standalone DCS F-15C
12. Re: Standalone DCS F-15C Jun 30, 2014, 21:36 Scottish Martial Arts
Frags4Fun wrote on Jun 30, 2014, 19:57:
For you guys who've played it, do newbies have a ton to learn before we can enjoy the game/sim or can we jump right in in an easy/arcade mode to get our feet wet? Also, do I need a flight stick or can I pull it off with M/KB?

A flight stick is essential to enjoy the sim. You can control the game with mouse and keyboard, but not well or enjoyably.

Although the learning curve is not insurmountable or even at all bad, it does exist and this is not something where you can install, load up a dogfight quick mission and expect to shoot something down or even really know what's going on. Expect about 1-2 hours of watching the training videos and skimming the manual, plus another 1-2 hours of practice before you feel like you've got the hang of things. Note that "getting the hang of things" does not mean that you feel at all assured about your chances in combat, just that you know what's going on, and how to do things; becoming an ace fighter pilot will take quite a bit more work.
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News Comments > Standalone DCS F-15C
6. Re: Standalone DCS F-15C Jun 30, 2014, 13:47 Scottish Martial Arts
jdreyer wrote on Jun 30, 2014, 13:19:
What are the enemy planes in the vid? Are they just shooting down other F-15s? Or are those Mig 29s or Su-33s? Can't really tell.

I wish that DCS would focus on one time period and complete that before moving on to the next. Things are really all over the place with WW2, Korean, and modern aircraft.

This does look awesome, though. How does Flaming Cliffs 3 differ from their standard sims? The desc only says " The FC3 aircraft provide an easy learning curve for new players and focuses on a broad range of aircraft rather than a detailed single aircraft." What's missing, exactly? Like the 10 minute manual start up sequence or whatever? This is more of a get-in-your-plane-and-start-shooting-stuff kind of sim? Is the flight model still fairly realistic? I'd like something more realistic that HAWX, but maybe I don't need to go through the entire 10m startup sequence.

They looked like Su-27/33s although given their similarity in appearance, they could have been MiG-29s -- both the MiG and Sukhov design bureaus were working from the same body of research data and thus drew very similar design conclusions when designing their respective 4th-gen fighters.

The modern environment of US and Russian hardware is essentially done, at least in terms of AI objects. AFAIK, the only in service US aircraft that isn't in the game is the F-22A. Obviously only a handful of the various objects are player controllable, but in terms of implementing the military hardware as AI objects, the modern air/land environment is complete.

The goal of ED/TFC and their 3rd party partners is to eventually simulate all military hardware, at least at an AI level, from the WWII era to present, with attendant theater terrain maps, and the most popular/interesting/iconic aircraft as player controllable high-fidelity simulations. Obviously that's a nigh impossibly ambitious goal, so now that the modern era is basically done, TFC/ED's focus is on WWII, at least with regard to AI objects and terrain; TFC/ED's F/A-18C module is still in the works, along with the new terrain engine and the Nevada map, of course. Meanwhile, Belsimtek has already gotten their F-86 module to beta release state, hence its launch next month.

As for the difference between a Flaming Cliffs and full-DCS module, the former does not purport to provide an accurate model of the avionics -- which isn't to say the model is unrealistic, merely that it's not a one to one simulation of the real thing -- and has a non-interactive cockpit. The stand alone Flaming Cliffs modules have fully featured flight models that are as realistic as the full-DCS modules. The MiG-29 and Su-27/33, which are not yet available as stand alone modules, do not yet have advanced flight modules, but those will be implemented in the coming months.

Aircraft startup is generally a 5 or 6 keystroke process, but that does not mean controlling the aircraft is as simple as HAWX or something of that nature. To be honest, I actually find the fully simulated aircraft a bit easier to get the hang of because you manipulate the cockpit directly rather than memorizing a set of key/button commands. For example, the A-10C module fully implements the HOTAS functionality for designating a target, selecting a weapon, and delivering the weapon, where as the A-10A (Flaming Cliffs) module requires that you memorize a change weapons button, a designate target button, a weapons delivery mode button, etc. The difference is that the former uses a conceptually consistent model of avionics interaction where as the latter is simply a single key for a single function.

This comment was edited on Jun 30, 2014, 13:54.
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News Comments > Standalone DCS F-15C
2. Re: Standalone DCS F-15C Jun 30, 2014, 09:25 Scottish Martial Arts
It's not upcoming; the standalone module has been available since the most recent patch, which was released over a month ago. The trailer, however, is new.  
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News Comments > Evening Tech Bits
5. Re: Evening Tech Bits Jun 26, 2014, 09:22 Scottish Martial Arts
jdreyer wrote on Jun 25, 2014, 21:57:
As for Occupy Google, really? There are a lot of worse companies to protest out there. Google would be way, way down the list. Worried about killer robots? Go protest General Atomics whose Reaper and Predator drones have actually killed thousands of people. Google's Boston Dynamics' robots aren't even weaponized.

The killer drone complaint is retarded, but if you live in the Bay Area, the tech industry-drive hyper-gentrification is really rather concerning. I've lived in Mountain View, where Google is headquartered, for 20 years, and the rate of increase in high end development, evictions, and cost of living is unparalleled; the late nineties tech boom wasn't like this. Unless you make 6 figures, at least, you really can't afford to live here anymore, and consequently the character of most Bay Area communities is being remade into something else. Certainly, change is a constant and no community will retain its character in perpetuity, but the rapidity of the change is what's most concerning, particularly when you consider that tech's current day in the sun, just like in the late 90s, won't last forever.

One fifth of the land area in my home town, a town in which all the land was developed when my family moved here 20 years ago, is now part of the Google campus, as if it's some ever expanding Borg-like entity, cannibalizing the city in the process.
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News Comments > Morning Consolidation
7. Re: Morning Consolidation Jun 23, 2014, 22:47 Scottish Martial Arts
Julio wrote on Jun 23, 2014, 15:36:
What's a 10 GB download (unless you're on bandwith restrictions). I recall when they had to mail me a floppy with the patched game on it.

If you're in the US, with third world broadband, it can potentially be a painfully long download, bandwidth cap or no. I live in the SF Bay Area, yet my particularly neighborhood only has access to slow DSL service. A 10GB patch means a 12 hour download for me. Multiply that by two if I want to throttle the download so I can actually use the internet while I'm waiting.
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News Comments > Pillars of Eternity Beta Nears
5. Re: Pillars of Eternity Beta Nears Jun 11, 2014, 21:58 Scottish Martial Arts
nin wrote on Jun 11, 2014, 21:44:
jimnms wrote on Jun 11, 2014, 21:33:
PoE's Beta is included at $110 tiers and up. Originally Divinity: Original Sin's Alpha access was going to be limited to the $135+ tiers, and they too sell early access on Steam. So what is your point?

What do you mean? He's not being positive?

I'm not sure Halsy has ever been positive, but he's been even less lately.
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News Comments > DCS: F-86F Sabre Announced
22. Re: DCS: F-86F Sabre Announced May 30, 2014, 20:08 Scottish Martial Arts
Task wrote on May 30, 2014, 19:51:
Wildone wrote on May 30, 2014, 19:15:
sensitive information about its capabilities they would not want the Russians especially to know about

Technically they should have plenty of information. Before the U.S. current government went balls to the wall imperialism stupid over Ukraine, Americans and Russians were jointly joining forces for mock "war games" in mock combats with their latest aircraft like the Mig-29 and F-35, or other types, so they could observe, the pilots could have some 'fun,' and share some info. They also sold aircraft to each other, the U.S. has some Su-27's and Russians have some F-14's and other stuff, etc.

The MiG-29 is a generation behind the F-35. The F-35 has not engaged in any US-Russian training exercises because its not operational yet. Both the Su-27 and F-14 are a generation behind the F-35. The Russians surely have a good general measure of what the F-35 can and cannot do, but unless they've been engaging in industrial and military espionage that puts the Chinese to shame, then they likely don't have access to all the engineering data, avionics data, and computer programming that's detail precisely what the F-35 is capable of.
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News Comments > DCS: F-86F Sabre Announced
20. Re: DCS: F-86F Sabre Announced May 30, 2014, 19:23 Scottish Martial Arts
DangerDog wrote on May 30, 2014, 18:59:
How did they get the details on the A-10? I mean they seemed to have everything about it, just look at the user guide for the sim. At this point they could probably just come up with stuff and probably not be that far from the real thing.

It was initially a "desktop simulation" contracted by the Air National Guard designed to give A-10A pilots practice on the new avionics of the A-10C. The commercial DCS A-10C supposedly has 95% commonality with the ANG version, except for the remaining 5% of avionics functions which are still classified and thus removed/altered for the commercial product. And as Wildone notes, the A-10 is over 40 years old now and much of the data on it is no longer classified. Furthermore, it's an avionics light plane since it doesn't have, and doesn't need, radar and all of its impedimenta -- the Warthog's avionics just aren't that sensitive from a military secrecy standpoint.
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News Comments > DCS: F-86F Sabre Announced
15. Re: DCS: F-86F Sabre Announced May 30, 2014, 18:38 Scottish Martial Arts
DangerDog wrote on May 30, 2014, 16:50:
They're Russian Devs, I doubt they would give a crap about it being classified. That would just make it even better since everything is so hush hush with the F35.

Even if we assume that they'd be willing to never leave Russia again, lest they get arrested for espionage while traveling, the more pressing issue would be actually getting the data necessary to make an accurate simulation. How would you make an accurate start up sequence if you don't know the details of what avionics are on board, and how they're configured and operated? How would you construct an accurate flight model without access to the engineering data? How would you create an accurate electrical, fuel, or hydraulic model without knowing how they're designed? How would you accurately model the capabilities of the radar if all you know about the radar is its name?

To make what you want would require nothing less than theft of a whole boatload of highly classified data. Not even a Russian game dev would go that far.
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News Comments > DCS: F-86F Sabre Announced
8. Re: DCS: F-86F Sabre Announced May 30, 2014, 16:41 Scottish Martial Arts
Quboid wrote on May 30, 2014, 16:02:
What do these include, apart from the aircraft? Is there a Korea map included, era-appropriate units to fight, things like that?

Right now the only terrain map is the Caucausus/Crimea/Black Sea region. They've been working on a new terrain engine for a few years now, which will support additional terrain maps, with a Nevada map and a WWII era Western Europe map currently announced. The Nevada map was supposed to come out a few years ago, but that was before they decided to scrap the work on it in favor of one which makes use of the new terrain engine. The WIP shots look pretty good, but who knows when it will be released.

With that in mind, it's highly unlikely that this module has a Korea terrain map. If it's like other Belsimtek modules it will include interactive training, and a full 15-20 mission campaign, plus a few single missions. Since this is a period aircraft, and given current announced plans, its likely that there will be some period AI objects to go with the module, like the MiG-15 mentioned in the feature list.

Finally, the P-51D module has been lacking in content for a while -- it's really a "fly a P-51!!!" module as opposed to a WWII module -- but there is a DCS WWII module under development from RRG Studios, formed from former IL-2 Sturmovik devs, and Eagle Dynamics has a FW-190 module nearing completion, so the WWII environment should get more interesting soon.
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News Comments > IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad in September; Beta Nears
20. Re: IL-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Stalingrad in September; Beta Nears May 28, 2014, 13:48 Scottish Martial Arts
descender wrote on May 28, 2014, 11:56:
All I said it is needed the matchmaking aspect of Warthunder... but your boner for flight sims seems to be entirely too large to have a coherent conversation about them. Yes, every one of the games has had a server browser in them. A completely empty and unused server browser because third party software fragments your community. Server browser != Matchmaking.

You accuse me of being incoherent yet you keep posting shit like this?

NO, 1st-gen Il-2 games didn't have server browsers in them -- just manual IP entry. For server browsing you did need a third party utility like Hyper Lobby, that thing we've spent the past few posts discussing. Here's the thing you don't seem to understand though: Il-2 Battle for Stalingrad, the game that's coming out later this year, NOT the game that came out in 2001, includes a fully featured server browser, as it should, obviating the need for any sort of third party utility and the community fragmentation that comes with it.

And I understand that peer to peer matchmaking is not the same thing as a server browser. The problem with matchmaking in the context of flight sims is that we're not talking about Call of Duty style multiplayer here. You don't hop on for a quick 10 minute match, where one game server is pretty much identical to the rest. Instead, you generally play for several hours -- 10 minutes is generally enough time to get airborne and up to altitude so that you can start hunting -- playing on specific servers, which foster specific kinds of communities, each offering specific kinds of content, perhaps with mod support. It's much more like the early days of Counter-Strike, where you would find specific servers that you would frequent because you liked the admins, regular players, and the maps and mods it would run.

If you just want a quick "Play Now" button, so that you can get in a 10 minute team death match, like CoD, then you aren't the target audience. No aspect of a flight sim is about instant gratification, and the way multiplayer sim servers are found reflects that: you don't want a "Play a Game" button, you want a list with details on players, mods, settings, etc. so you can find what you want.

Furthermore, Il-2 came out in 2001 and while an exemplary title, it is still part of a niche genre -- 90% of War Thunder players would have no interest in playing something like Il-2 or the forthcoming DCS WWII module. Given its age and its limited audience, why are you dismissing 500+ players at peak hours as insignificant? How many more people would really be playing an over 12 year old game even if Hyper Lobby were built in? Looking at player populations for games from 2001 which did include a server browser, I can assure you that we would not be seeing "ten times that number".
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