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Deadstick - Development Update Part 3


Deadstick - Development Update Part 3 - The Fun Bit

Tactile World

One of the key philosophies of Deadstick is the focus on being thepilot not the aeroplane. To this end, we have tried to capture as manyof the processes that a pilot would go through and faithfullyreplicate them in-game.

Some of these features we have demonstrated previously, however wehave since identified a few areas in which we felt we could go evenfurther to enhance the experience within Deadstick. Some of theseitems are highlighted below.

Briefing Rooms

One of the key elements of Deadstick we have yet to reveal to thepublic is the map screen and job planner. Its development has beenvery fluid with constant iteration as we work to make it asuser-friendly and intuitive as possible. As such, it has never quitebeen at a point where it has been representative enough of the finalversion to show it off (one for a future update)!

One big lesson from this process however, was the discovery that wewere making life far too easy for the player. From the map screen,players had constant access to weather information (TAFs/METARs) andairfield information (NOTAMs). Any jobs that were available would bedisplayed on the map screen and could be selected at any time.

A key part of good airmanship is gathering relevant information fora planned route and using that information to safely conduct aflight. By providing constant access to this information at the pressof a button, we were robbing the player of the opportunity to gatherthis information in a realistic manner - and so, we decided to makethings more difficult!

All weather (TAFs, METARs) and notices (NOTAMs) must now begathered by the player by visiting an airfield's briefing room,walking in, and using the briefing computer. Any information obtainedwill then update the map screen and can be used for planning. As inthe real world however, that information is only relevant at the timeyou retrieved it and will quickly go out of date. It is thereforeimportant to factor these briefing room visits into your daily flightsto have a good idea of the forecast and/or temporary airspacerestrictions that might be active that day. To complicate mattersfurther however, as in the real world, not all airfields have suchfacilities and, as such, the player will need to carefully plan theirflights to make sure they don't find themselves in unforecastweather/temporary airspace!

Cell Phone

In much the same way that weather and NOTAMs must be obtainedmanually via the briefing rooms, we wanted the manner in which theplayer obtains jobs to be done in a similarly physical fashion and soit was only natural that we equip the player with a cell phone. Thisis your central device for communication within the game.

Should you start to get a reputation as a safe and successful BushPilot within Deadstick, you will likely start to get text messageswith job requests from which you can choose to accept orignore. Everything you do in Deadstick will have some influence onyour reputation and, as such, you must manage it carefully should youwish to grow your bush flying empire. Don't worry though - if you ruinyour reputation in one location you can always fly elsewhere and hopeto start afresh. A word of warning though - the extent of damage toyour reputation caused by a particular 'event' will also determine howbadly that ripples through to other airports and may therefore haveimplications on your job offers elsewhere. If you're going to crash -best to do it where no one will see you - although it may then be along walk home!

With that in mind airport facilities can also be contacted via textmessages including salvage companies, should you find yourselfstranded out in the bush with a broken aircraft.

Be careful however, as much like the VHF radio simulation, we alsosimulate cell phone coverage and reception. If you're in an area oflittle to no coverage, you may just find yourself walking around onfoot searching for signal before you can make that important rescuecall. Yes, you can text and fly. However, we don't recommend it!


Managing weight, balance and fuel loads are key elements toperforming a successful flight and, as such, we felt it important toimprove upon our previous proximity based fueling mechanic withplayers instead being able to physically refuel the aircraftmanually. It is now possible to taxi up to the pumps, remove the fuelhose and manually refuel the aircraft with the hose physics correctlysimulated. A small detail that goes a long way to creating abelievable and physical world.


You'll have to pay for this however, using your hard earned cash,so be sure not to overfill the aircraft and limit your cargo carryingcapability should you not need to!

Checklists/Walk Around

One of the goals with Deadstick is to provide purpose to people'sflying, by gamifying the bush flying experience without compromisingon the simulation aspects where important (such as the flightmodel). It was therefore important to us to design an initial aircraftthat is forgiving and simple enough for a newcomer to fly, whilstbeing accurate and faithful enough to the real world inspiration thatexperienced pilots and simmers can push it to the limit.


Whilst we are happy we have such an aircraft, one thing hascontinued to foil people not familiar with the type - the MasterSwitch location! We saw this as a great opportunity to think about anddevelop our walk around and checklist system. Checklists can now bepulled out and flicked through in the same tactile manner as our otherinteractions, providing clear and concise instruction to the pilotwhen performing external walk arounds, pre-flight checks, powerchecks, etc. For each item, it is also possible to click on a givenaction and have it highlight the relevant object on the aircraft foryour attention - No more searching for the Master Switch!

Checklist usage is not mandatory and, similarly, does not force theexact sequence of events to be followed accurately. In the real world,it is possible to skip checklists or read off items out of habit vsproperly checking the item leading to mistakes. These all play intothe human factors element we see as key to the challenge ofDeadstick.

Our walk arounds have been updated too. It is now possible toperform all of your full and free checks whilst examining the exteriorcondition of the aircraft.


At times, it is not always convenient to start up and taxi youraircraft, particularly if you want to go in reverse! As such came theneed to be able to maneuver our aircraft on foot. What better way todo that than with a towbar which can be quickly hooked onto thetailwheel? This is a physical process, with your character applyingforces to the aircraft to get it moving. Maneuvering the aircraft on aflat apron may be relatively straightforward but trying to pull it uphill or, worse, stop it from rolling downhill, could lead to anexpensive mistake!


About Deadstick

Initially announced to dedicated flight sim fans duringFlightSim2017, Deadstick captures the thrill of being a bush pilot,braving the elements in an attempt to keep both yourself and aircraftintact as you deliver cargo. The skill is of flying is no longerenough as you must use your superior pilot judgement to navigate lowcloud, attempt daring off airport landings, and survive deadly stormsgenerated by a dynamic and unpredictable weather system.


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