Falcon BMS 4.36: It gets even better!
Around this time last year I uploaded an article about Falcon BMS and how much I liked what the team at Benchmark Sims did to the base Falcon 4 game. But, for one reason or another, I kind of stopped playing Falcon BMS for a while. That, I would learn, was a mistake. I never imagined that Falcon BMS could get even better, but it did.
Released earlier this year (April, 2022), Falcon BMS 4.36 brought a plethora of improvements and features to the simulator that, unbelievably so, make the Falcon experience even more realistic and enjoyable. Let me list some of these features which blew my mind.
I do know I might be late to the party, but I thought this was still worth talking about.
BASKET AIR TO AIR REFUELING WITH SIMULATED HOSE PHYSICS
This might sound like a basic feature that should have been in the sim before, but one has to remember that there are no operational F-16 variants that use this method of refueling. That means that the only aircraft that use the basket system in the game are the secondary ones. These include the Mirage 2000, AV-8B and F/A-18C. But now that there is an F-16 variant in the game with the conformal refueling adapter, the devs have implemented something truly amazing: basket refueling with proper physics.
This is somewhat of a rarity, as even games like DCS World seem to be lacking in this particular area. As you can see in the gif, which I extracted from the 4.36 trailer, the probe and the hose act like physical objects that interact with one another. They collide and move in a fluid manner. The same goes for the hose itself, which seems to move in a life-like manner. It stretches and even straightens as it reaches its limits when pulled by the Hornet.
To me, the difference between simulators lies on how the developers treat these tiny details. This shows that the guys at Benchmark Sims really care about their product in ways that many of us would just take for granted. But speaking of realism, this leads us to another feature which amazed me.
REALISTIC JTAC IMPLEMENTATION
If you were ever interested in working with JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) and destroying ground targets even through the thickest of cloud covers, then this is the feature that will define 4.36 for you.
As demonstrated in this video by Wheelman 105th, realistic JTAC operations are now possible in Falcon BMS 4.36. The possibilities this opens are huge and, from what I have seen over the past few months, the community is already using this tool to the best of their abilities.
The feature also seems to be more complete and realistic when compared to DCS World's current JTAC implementation. This means that, if judged purely from a realism perspective, Falcon BMS now has something that makes it better for mil-sim groups wanting to dabble in realistic air to ground operations.
I do hope that Eagle Dynamics takes some notes from Falcon BMS in this regard, because I would love to do what Wheelman did in his video but in DCS World.
UNENDING LOVE FOR AN OLD GAME
These two features are the ones that got me to look at Falcon BMS again, but that does not mean that they were the only ones included with the 4.36 update. Several improvements to the core were done, including many visual enhancements to both textures and special effects. AI aircraft also got a revamp alongside a rework of the missile guidance code.
Another feature that I did find worth mentioning on its own is the new reflection and light pollution mechanics. When flying at night over a city, clouds will be affected by the city lights, making them shine with that oh-so iconic orange tint of street phosphor-based lights. This should make flying at night a bit more interesting for everyone! That being said, what never ceases to amaze me is how much love and care is still being put into this project. All of this just for the sake of giving the community something that they will enjoy, and all for absolutely free. Benchmark Sims, if any of you are reading this, I would like to extend my sincere thanks for everything you guys do. Keep at it!
About the author:
Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos
Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000's leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities but only started being active around the mid 2010's. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as a writer and the co-founder of Skyward ever since. Twitter | Discord: Cubeboy #9034