Monday, September 04, 2006


Desert Combat Helos for newbs...

I was going to post this at gamespy, but the anonymous feature at their forums is broken. If it's disabled, it shouldn't even suggest it's available because that just pisses people off. Smacktards... Heh... Anyhow...

Dunno if this answers landing transports or Hind, since they handle like bloated pigs compared to Apache or AH-6. But I can offer some tips that might get total helo newbs started a little faster.

1. Get a stick. It doesn't have to be too fancy, a $20-$30 one will do fine. It just needs a variable throttle control.
2. When flying use first person view. It gives more detailed reference to orientation. (Easier to judge being level, etc.) Glimpsing external might help getting through tight spots or sneaks from behind, but other than that it's disorientating.
3. Throttle technique. This seems to be one of the more important things when flying helos. (If not the most.) Here's how I do it. First adjust the joystick throttle for neutral lift. This means if you're off the ground and level, the helo will be in a perfect hover. (A very slow downward drift is ok though.) This is probably easiest to judge on the AH-64 Apache. The helo will lift up on its landing gear without actually taking off. On the AH-6 Little Bird, you might start turning slowly or wobbling without taking off. Once you're in the neutral range with the joystick throttle, leave it there. Now just use the forward and back keyboard keys (W & S by default) to kick the throttle in addition to the neutral joystick throttle. (Be careful not to hit E though.) The neutral joystick throttle helps big time, because then you can coast. And it also makes landing and hovering heck of a lot easier.
4. Anticyclic (torque/yaw) control. This controls the rate of turn. My stick isn't fancy enough to have the twist action, so I just use the A & D keys. But if you have that channel on yours, then it's probably nice. (Better control?) In DC, the anticyclic is more of a rate control than a direct action. So staying on the control makes it faster and faster. Steering is also a continuous drift, almost like how the boats handle. On the crappier handling helos such as transports and Hind, you really have to anticipate turns in advance.
5. Cyclic (pitch) control. Works similar to anticyclic in that it affects rate of change rather than acts directly. But with a stick you can fine control it much better than keyboard. This will get your helo going in pretty much any direction. At first it seems like quite a balancing act. (And it really is.) It is also necessary to keep in mind that any thrust used to move the helo in a given direction is taken away from that which keeps it aloft. Thus you must compensate with the throttle.

As for best trainer for newbs? I'd say the Apache. It's responsive enough so you're less likely to overcompensate, and going to the other extreme it's not as twitchy as the Little Bird. Not to mention it's springy landing gear compensate a little. When learning you're probably best practicing in a non-server game where the Apache's role isn't vital. Landing is just simply setting down nice and slow and level. (Watch for the gear if using Hind though.) If helo starts to lean on ground, stay on with down throttle (S key), or you can hop out or switch seats. Those should help settle it a little better.

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