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Getting back to realistic Milsim and Naval Simulators

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OK, I have not been playing computer games for a long time and in the beginning, I just loved realistic simulation games like Harpoon (boring to look at, but so interesting), F-15 Strike Eagle, and F-16 Fighting Falcon. In that era in the 1980s and 1990s, there was a big genre that focused on realism. And, when I was really a kid, there were board games like Panzerblitz that did the same thing. But then Call of Duty arrived and while the first versions were very realistic, today, these are really about bouncing around.

So, what if you really want to get a feeling of realistic scenarios. Turns out that after a long-dead period, starting in the early 2010s, realistic simulations made a comeback. With this terrible war raging in Ukraine, I’m reminded how these simulations can make it easier for us all to understand what is happening.

So in the search for realistic milsim and as in Top 15 Best Warship & Naval Warfare Games – FandomSpot, there are not that many (see The best naval games | Wargamer). Most are about being shoot them ups with great graphics (which everyone turns down to get a millisecond advantage and minimal ping times). So, getting back to the old days, here’s a look at realistic simulators that you can use:

  1. Command: Modern Operations. This is the spiritual Matrix Games’ Command:Modern Operations – First Look! – Armchair Dragoons to Harpoon, the original board game and then computer simulation that was used for Tom Clancey’s really amazing first works (before it became all about spies and things) which were Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising. It is at its heart an incredible open-source database that includes naval, air, and ground systems. The one thing it doesn’t do is simulate ground wars, but when combined with a 3D visualizer called Tacview, it’s really great for air and naval-oriented engagements. The nice thing is that there are a host of “workshop” or community generated scenarios although you can buy $15 scenario add-ons and with Tacview it is $112.
  2. Modern Naval Warfare (maslasbros.com). This is another naval simulator that is more ship to ship and features a 3D world that is the inside of a submarine. Looks like fun playing hide and seek in underwater that is just about to come out.
  3. Arma 3. This was shipped in 2013, but it has remained the most realistic large-scale simulation. It is no Panzerblitz in that it doesn’t simulate large-scale operations and when I get to it, it would be good to find something like that.

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