[Table] Asteroid Day AMA – We’re engineers and scientists working on a mission that could, one day, help save humankind from asteroid extinction. Ask us anything!
Source There are several people answering: Paolo Martino is PM, Marco Micheli is MM, Heli Greus is HG, Detlef Koschny is DVK, and Aidan Cowley is AC.
Can we really detect any asteroids in space with accuracy and do we have any real means of destroying it?
Yes, we can detect new asteroids when they are still in space. Every night dozens of new asteroids are found, including a few that can come close to the Earth.
Regarding the second part of the question, the goal would be to deflect them more than destroy them, and it is technologically possible. The Hera/DART mission currently being developed by ESA and NASA will demonstrate exactly this capability.
I always wanted to ask: what is worse for life on Earth - to be hit by a single coalesced asteroid chunk, or to be hit by a multiple smaller pieces of exploded asteroid, aka disrupted rubble pile scenario?
DVK: This is difficult to answer. If the rubble is small (centimetres to meters) it is better to have lots of small ones – they’d create nice bright meteors. If the rubble pieces are tens of meters it doesn’t help.
Let’s say that hypothetically, an asteroid the size of Rhode Island is coming at us, it will be a direct hit - you’ve had the resources and funding you need, your plan is fully in place, everything you’ve wanted you got. The asteroid will hit in 10 years, what do you do?
DVK: I had to look up how big Rhode Island is – a bit larger than the German Bundesland ‘Saarland’. Ok – this would correspond to an object about 60 km in diameter, right? That’s quite big – we would need a lot of rocket launches, this would be extremely difficult. I would pray. The good news is that we are quite convinced that we know all objects larger than just a few kilometers which come close to our planet. None of them is on a collision course, so we are safe.
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Why are you quite convinced that you know all object of that size? And what is your approach in finding new celestial bodies?
DVK: There was a scientific study done over a few years (published in Icarus 2018, search for Granvik) where they modelled how many objects there are out there. They compared this to the observations we have with the telescopic surveys. This gives us the expected numbers shown here on our infographic: https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2018/06/Asteroid_danger_explained
There are additional studies to estimate the ‘completeness’ – and we think that we know everything above roughly a few km in size.
Thanks for the answer, that's really interesting! It's also funny that the fist Flyeye deployed is in Sicily, at less than 100km from me, I really had no idea
DVK: Indeed, that's cool. Maybe you can go and visit it one day.
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What about Interstellar objects however, like Oumuamua?
DVK: The two that we have seen - 'Oumuamua and comet Borisov - were much smaller than the Saarland (or Rhode Island ;-) - not sure about Borisov, but 'Oumuamua was a few hundred meters in size. So while they could indeed come as a complete surprise, they are so rare that I wouldn't worry.
Would the public be informed if an impending asteroid event were to happen? And, how would the extinction play out? Bunch of people crushed to death, knocked off our orbit, dust clouds forever?
DVK: We do not keep things secret – all our info is at the web page http://neo.ssa.esa.int. The ‘risky’ objects are in the ‘risk page’. We also put info on really close approaches there. It would also be very difficult to keep things ‘under cover’ – there are many high-quality amateur astronomers out there that would notice.
In 2029 asteroid Apophis will fly really close to Earth, even closer than geostationary satellites. Can we use some of those satellites to observe the asteroid? Is it possible to launch very cheap cube sats to flyby Apophis in 2029?
DVK: Yes an Apophis mission during the flyby in 2029 would be really nice. We even had a special session on that topic at the last Planetary Defense Conference in 2019, and indeed CubeSats were mentioned. This would be a nice university project – get me a close-up of the asteroid with the Earth in the background!
Go to the section 'resolutions'. This is now a statement that scientists can use to present to their funding agencies, demonstrating that it's not just their own idea.
Thanks for doing this AMA! Did we know the Chelyabinsk meteor in 2013 (the one which had some great videos on social media) was coming? Ig not, how comes? Also, as a little side one, have there been any fatalities from impact events in the past 20 years?
Unfortunately, the Chelyabinsk object was not seen in advance, because it came from the direction of the Sun where ground-based telescopes cannot look.
No known fatalities from impacts have happened in the past 20 years, although the Chelyabinsk event did cause many injuries, fortunately mostly minor.
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How often do impacts from that direction happen, compared to impacts from visible trajectories?
In terms of fraction of the sky, the area that cannot be easily scanned from the ground is roughly a circle with a radius of 40°-50° around the current position of the Sun, corresponding to ~15% of the total sky. However, there is a slight enhancement of objects coming from that direction, therefore the fraction of objects that may be missed when heading towards us is a bit higher.
However, this applies only when detecting an asteroid in its "final plunge" towards the Earth. Larger asteroids can be spotted many orbits earlier, when they are farther away and visible in the night side of the sky. Their orbits can then be determined and their possible impacts predicted even years or decades in advance.
There must be a trade-off when targeting asteroids as they get closer to Earth, is there a rule of thumb at what the best time is to reach them, in terms of launch time versus time to reach the asteroid and then distance from Earth?
DVK: Take e.g. a ‘kinetic impactor’ mission, like what DART and Hera are testing. Since we only change the velocity of the asteroid slightly, we need to hit the object early enough so that the object has time to move away from it’s collision course. Finding out when it is possible to launch requires simulations done by our mission analysis team. They take the strength of the launcher into account, also the available fuel for course corrections, and other things. Normally each asteroid has its own best scenario.
Do you also look at protecting the moon from asteroids? Would an impact of a large enough scale potentially have major impacts on the earth?
DVK: There are programmes that monitor the Moon and look for flashes from impacting small asteroids (or meteoroids) - https://neliota.astro.noa.g or the Spanish MIDAS project. We use the data to improve our knowledge about these objects. These programmes just look at what is happening now.
For now we would not do anything if we predicted a lunar impact. I guess this will change once we have a lunar base in place.
Why aren't there an international organisation comprised of countries focused on the asteroid defence? Imagine like the organisation with multi-billion $ budget and program of action on funding new telescopes, asteroid exploration mission, plans for detection of potentially dangerous NEA, protocols on action after the detection - all international, with heads of states discussing these problems?
DVK: There are international entities in place, mandated by the UN: The International Asteroid Warning Network (http://www.iawn.net) and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (http://www.smpag.net). These groups advise the United Nations. That is exactly where we come up with plans and protocols on action. But: They don’t have budget – that needs to come from elsewhere. I am expecting that if we have a real threat, we would get the budget. Right now, we don’t have a multi-billion budget.
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There is no actual risk of any sizable asteroids hitting earth in the foreseeable future. Any preparation for it would just be a waste of money.
DVK: Indeed, as mentioned earlier, we do not expect a large object to hit is in the near future. We are mainly worried about those in the size range of 20 m to 40 m, which happen on average every few tens of years to hundreds of years. And where we only know a percent of them or even less.
President Obama wanted to send a crewed spacecraft to an asteroid - in your opinion is this something that should still be done in the future, would there be any usefulness in having a human being walk/float on an asteroid's surface?
DVK: It would definitely be cool. I would maybe even volunteer to go. Our current missions to asteroids are all robotic, the main reason is that it is much cheaper (but still expensive) to get the same science. But humans will expand further into space, I am sure. If we want to test human exploration activities, doing this at an asteroid would be easier than landing on a planet.
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Yes, but I am slightly biased by the fact that I work at the European astronaut centre ;) There exist many similarities to what we currently do for EVA (extra vehicular activities) operations on the International Space Station versus how we would 'float' around an asteroid. Slightly biased again, but using such a mission to test exploration technologies would definitely still have value. Thanks Obama! - AC
I've heard that some asteroids contains large amounts of iron. Is there a possibility that we might have "space mines" in the far away future, if our own supply if iron runs out?
Yes, this is a topic in the field known as space mining, part of what we call Space Resources. In fact, learning how we can process material we might find on asteroids or other planetary bodies is increasingly important, as it opens up the opportunities for sustainable exploration and commercialization. Its a technology we need to master, and asteroids can be a great target for testing how we can create space mines :) - AC
By how much is DART expected to deflect Didymos? Do we have any indication of the largest size of an asteroid we could potentially deflect?
PM: Didymos is a binary asteroid, consisting of a main asteroid Didymos A (~700m) and a smaller asteroid Didymos B (~150m) orbiting around A with a ~12 hours period. DART is expected to impact Didymos B and change its orbital period w.r.t. Didymos A of ~1%. (8 mins)
The size of Didymos B is the most representative of a potential threat to Earth (the highest combination of probability and consequence of impacts), meaning smaller asteroids hit the Earth more often but have less severe consequences, larger asteroids can have catastrophic consequences but their probability of hitting the earth is very very low.
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Why is there less probability of larger asteroids hitting earth?
DVK: There are less large objects out there. The smaller they are, the more there are.
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Is there any chance that your experiment will backfire and send the asteroid towards earth?
PM: Not at all, or we would not do that :) Actually Dimorphos (the Didymos "moon") will not even leave its orbit around Didymos. It will just slightly change its speed.
I'm sure you've been asked this many times but how realistic is the plot of Armageddon? How likely is it that our fate as a species will rely on (either) Bruce Willis / deep sea oil drillers?
Taking into consideration that Bruce Willis is now 65 and by the time HERA is launched he will be 69, I do not think that we can rely on him this time (although I liked the movie).
HERA will investigate what method we could use to deflect asteroid and maybe the results will show that we indeed need to call the deep sea oil drillers.
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So then would it be easier to train oil drillers to become astronauts, or to train astronauts to be oil drillers?
I do not know which one would be easier since I have no training/experience of deep see oil drilling nor becoming an astronaut, but as long as the ones that would go to asteroid have the sufficient skills and training (even Bruce Willis), I would be happy.
If budget was no object, which asteroid would you most like to send a mission to?
Nice question! For me, I'd be looking at an asteroid we know something about, since I would be interested in using it for testing how we could extract resources from it. So for me, I would choose Itokawa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/25143_Itokawa), which was visited by Hayabusa spacecraft. So we already have some solid prospecting carried out for this 'roid! - AC
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Not sure if it counts as an asteroid, but Detlef and myself would probably choose ʻOumuamua, the first discovered interstellar object.
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Do we even have the capability to catch up to something like that screaming through our solar system? That thing has to have a heck of a velocity to just barrel almost straight through like that.
DVK: Correct, that would be a real challenge. We are preparing for a mission called 'Comet Interceptor' that is meant to fly to an interstellar object or at least a fresh comet - but it will not catch up with it, it will only perform a short flyby.
After proving to be able to land on one, could an asteroid serve as a viable means to transport goods and or humans throughout the solar system when the orbit of said asteroid proves beneficial. While it is probably quite problematic to land the payload, it could save fuel or am I mistaken?
Neat idea! Wonder if anyone has done the maths on the amount of fuel you would need/save vs certain targets. - AC
PM: To further complement, the saving is quite marginal indeed because in order to land (softly) on the asteroid you actually need to get into the very same orbit of that asteroid . At that point your orbit remains the same whether you are on the asteroid or not..
can the current anti-ballistic missiles systems intercept a terminal phase earth strike asteroid? or it is better to know beforehand and launch an impacting vehicle into space?
DVK: While I do see presentations on nuclear explosions to deflect asteroids at our professional meetings, I have not seen anybody yet studying how we could use existing missile systems. So it's hard to judge whether existing missiles would do the job. But in general, it is better to know as early as possible about a possible impact and deflect it as early as possible. This will minimize the needed effort.
How much are we prepared against asteroid impacts at this moment?
DVK: 42… :-) Seriously – I am not sure how to quantify ‘preparedness’. We have international working groups in place, mentioned earlier (search for IAWN, SMPAG). We have a Planetary Defence Office at ESA, a Planetary Defense Office at NASA (who spots the difference?), search the sky for asteroids, build space missions… Still we could be doing more. More telescopes to find the object, a space-based telescope to discover those that come from the direction of the Sun. Different test missions would be useful, … So there is always more we could do.
Have you got any data on the NEO coverage? Is there estimations on the percentage of NEOs we have detected and are tracking? How can we improve the coverage? How many times have asteroids been able to enter earths atmosphere without being detected beforehand?
As expected, we are now nearly complete for the large ones, while many of the smaller ones are still unknown.
In order to improve coverage, we need both to continue the current approach, centered on ground-based telescopes, and probably also launch dedicated telescopes to space, to look at the fraction of the sky that cannot be easily observed from the ground (e.g., towards the Sun).
Regarding the last part of your question, small asteroids enter the Earth atmosphere very often (the infographics above gives you some numbers), while larger ones are much rarer.
In the recent past, the largest one to enter our atmosphere was about 20 meters in diameter, and it caused the Chelyabinsk event in 2013. It could not be detected in advance because it came from the direction of the Sun.
We have however detected a few small ones before impact. The first happened in 2008, when a ~4-meter asteroid was found to be on a collision course less than a day before impact, it was predicted to fall in Northern Sudan, and then actually observed falling precisely where (and when) expected.
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DVK: And to add what MM said - Check out http://neo.ssa.esa.int. There is a ‘discovery statistics’ section which provides some of the info you asked about. NASA is providing similar information here https://cneos.jpl.nasa.gov/stats/. To see the sky which is currently covered by the survey telescopes, you need to service of the Minor Planet Center which we all work together with: http://www.minorplanetcenter.org, ‘observers’, ‘sky coverage’. That is a tool we use to plan where we look with our telescopes, so it is a more technical page.
Are there any automatic systems for checking large numbers of asteroids orbits, to see if the asteroid's orbit is coming dangerously close to Earth, or is it done by people individually for every asteroid? I ask it because LSST Rubin is coming online soon and you know it will discover a lot of new asteroids.
Yes, such systems exist, and monitor all known and newly discovered asteroids in order to predict possible future impacts.
It is automatically updated every day once new observational data is processed.
What are your favourite sci-fi series?
DVK: My favorites are ‘The Expanse’, I also liked watching ‘Salvation’. For the first one I even got my family to give me a new subscription to a known internet streaming service so that I can see the latest episodes. I also loved ‘The Jetsons’ and ‘The Flintstones’ as a kid. Not sure the last one counts as sci-fi though. My long-time favorite was ‘Dark Star’.
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Big fan of The Expanse at the moment. Nice, hard sci-fi that has a good impression of being grounded in reality - AC
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When I was a kid I liked The Jetsons, when growing up Star Trek, Star wars and I also used to watch with my sister the 'V'.
When determining the potential threat of a NEA, is the mass of an object a bigger factor or size? I'm asking because I'm curious if a small but massive object (say, with the density of Psyche) could survive atmospheric entry better than a comparatively larger but less massive object.
The mass is indeed what really matters, since it’s directly related with the impact energy.
And as you said composition also matters, a metal object would survive atmospheric entry better, not just because it’s heavier, but also because of its internal strength.
What are your thoughts on asteroid mining as portrayed in sci-fi movies? Is it feasible? If so would governments or private space programs be the first to do so?What type of minerals can be found on asteroids that would merit the costs of extraction?
Certainly there is valuable stuff you can find on asteroids. For example, the likely easiest material you can harvest from an asteroid would be volatiles such as H2O. Then you have industrial metals, things like Iron, Nickel, and Platinum group metals. Going further, you can break apart many of the oxide minerals you would find to get oxygen (getting you closer to producing rocket fuel in-situ!). Its feasible, but still needs alot of testing both here on Earth and eventually needs to be tested on a target. It may be that governments, via agencies like ESA or NASA, may do it first, to prove the principles somewhat, but I know many commercial entities are also aggresively working towards space mining. To show you that its definitely possible, I'd like to plug the work of colleagues who have processed lunar regolith (which is similar to what you may find on asteroids) to extract both oxygen and metals. Check it out here: http://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2019/10/Oxygen_and_metal_from_lunar_regolith
Will 2020's climax be a really big rock?
DVK: Let's hope not...
Considering NASA, ESA, IAU etc. is working hard to track Earth-grazing asteroids, how come the Chelyabinsk object that airburst over Russia in 2013 came as a total surprise?
The Chelyabinsk object came from the direction of the Sun, where unfortunately ground-based telescopes cannot look at. Therefore, it would not have been possible to discover it in advance with current telescopes. Dedicated space telescopes are needed to detect objects coming from this direction in advance.
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Is this to say that it was within specific solid angles for the entire time that we could have observed it given its size and speed?
Yes, precisely that. We got unlucky in this case.
Have any of you read Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven? In your opinion, how realistic is his depiction of an asteroid strike on Earth?
DVK: I have – but really long ago, so I don’t remember the details. But I do remember that I really liked the book, and I remember I always wanted to have a Hot Fudge Sundae when reading it.
I was thinking about the asteroid threat as a teen and came up with this ideas (Hint: they are not equally serious, the level of craziness goes up real quick). Could you please comment on their feasibility? 1. Attaching a rocket engine to an asteroid to make it gradually change trajectory, do that long in advance and it will miss Earth by thousands of km 2. Transporting acid onto asteroid (which are mainly metal), attaching a dome-shaped reaction chamber to it, using heat and pressure to then carry out the chemical reaction to disintegrate asteroids 3. This one is even more terrible than a previous one and totally Dan Brown inspired — transporting antimatter on asteroid, impacting and causing annihilation. Thank you for this AMA and your time!
DVK: Well the first one is not so crazy, I have seen it presented... the difficulty is that all asteroids are rotating in one way or another. So if you continuously fire the engine it would not really help. You'd need to switch the engine on and off. Very complex. And landing on an asteroid is challenging too. Just using the 'kinetic impactor' which we will test with DART/Hera (described elsewhere in this chat) is simpler. Another seriously proposed concept is to put a spacecraft next to an asteroid and use an ion engine (like we have on our Mercury mission BepiColombo) to 'push' the asteroid away.
As for 2 and 3 I think I will not live to see that happening ;-)
What is the process to determine the orbit of a newly discovered asteroid?
The process is mathematically quite complex, but here's a short summary.
Everything starts with observations, in particular with measurements of the position of an asteroid in the sky, what we call "astrometry". Discovery telescopes extract this information from their discovery images, and make it available to everybody.
These datapoints are then used to calculate possible trajectories ("orbits") that pass through them. At first, with very few points, many orbits will be possible.
Using these orbits we can extrapolate where the asteroid will be located during the following nights, use a telescope to observe that part of the sky, and locate the object again.
From these new observations we can extract new "astrometry", add it to the orbit determination, and see that now only some of the possible orbits will be compatible with the new data. As a result, we now know the trajectory better than before, because a few of the possible orbits are not confirmed by the new data.
The cycle can then continue, with new predictions, new observations, and a more accurate determination of the object's orbit, until it can be determined with an extremely high level of accuracy.
What are some asteroids that are on your "watchlist"?
It's called "risk list", and it includes all known asteroids for which we cannot exclude a possible impact over the next century. It is updated every day to include newly discovered asteroids, and remove those that have been excluded as possible impactors thanks to new observations.
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That's quite a list!! Do you guys ever feel stressed or afraid when you have to add another dangerous candidate (and by dangerous I mean those above 200m) is added to this Risk List?
Yes, when new dangerous ones are added it's important that we immediately do our best to gather more data on them, observing them with telescopes in order to get the information we need to improve our knowledge of their orbit.
And then the satisfaction of getting the data needed to remove one from the list is even greater!
What inspired you to go into this field of study?
I was fascinated by astronomy in general since I was a kid, but the actual "trigger" that sparked my interest in NEOs was a wonderful summer course on asteroids organized by a local amateur astronomers association. I immediately decided that I would do my best to turn this passion into my job, and I'm so happy to have been able to make that dream come true.
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DVK: I started observing meteors when I was 14, just by going outside and looking at the night sky. Since then, small bodies in the solar system were always my passion.
As a layperson, I still think using nuclear weapons against asteroids is the coolest method despite better methods generally being available. Do you still consider the nuclear option the cool option, or has your expertise in the field combined with the real-life impracticalities made it into a laughable/silly/cliche option?
DVK: We indeed still study the nuclear option. There are legal aspects though, the ‘outer space treaty’ forbids nuclear explosions in space. But for a large object or one we discover very late it could be useful. That’s why we have to focus on discovering all the objects out there as early as possible – then we have time enough to use more conventional deflection methods, like the kinetic impactor (the DART/Hera scenario).
It seems like doing this well would require international cooperation, particularly with Russia. Have you ever reached out to Russia in your work? Do you have a counterpart organization there that has a similar mission?
DVK: Indeed international cooperation is important - asteroids don't know about our borders! We work with a Russian team to perform follow-up observations of recently discovered NEOs. Russia is also involved in the UN-endorsed working groups that we have, IAWN and SMPAG (explained in another answer).
If multiple videos or pictures, taken from different locations, are available, then it's possible to reconstruct the trajectory, and extrapolate where the object came from.
Regarding the composition, it's a bit more difficult if nothing survives to the ground, but some information can be obtained indirectly from the fireball's color, or its fragmentation behavior. If a spectral analysis of the light can be made, it's then possible to infer the chemical composition in much greater detail.
I've always wanted to know what the best meteorite buying site is and what their average price is??
DVK: Serious dealers will be registered with the 'International Meteorite Collectors Association (IMCA)' - https://www.imca.cc/. They should provide a 'certificate of authenticity' where it says that they are member there. If you are in doubt, you can contact the association and check. Normally there are rough prices for different meteorite types per gram. Rare meteorites will of course be much more expensive than more common ones. Check the IMCA web page to find a dealer close to you.
Just read through Aidans link to the basaltic rock being used as a printing material for lunar habitation. There is a company called Roxul that does stone woven insulation that may be able to shed some light on the research they have done to minimize their similarity to asbestos as potentially carcinogenic materials deemed safe for use in commercial and residential applications. As the interior surfaces will essentially be 3D printed lunar regolith what are the current plans to coat or dampen the affinity for the structure to essentially be death traps for respiratory illness?
At least initially, many of these 3d printed regolith structures would not be facing into pressurised sections, but would rather be elements placed outside and around our pressure vessels. Such structures would be things like radiation shields, landing pads or roadways, etc. In the future, if we move towards forming hermetically sealed structures, then your point is a good one. Looking into terrestrial solutions to this problem would be a great start! - AC
What kind of career path does it take to work in the asteroid hunting field?
It's probably different for each of us, but here's a short summary of my own path.
I became interested in asteroids, and near-Earth objects in particular, thanks to a wonderful summer course organized by a local amateur astronomers association. Amateur astronomers play a great role in introducing people, and young kids in particular, to these topics.
Then I took physics as my undergrad degree (in Italy), followed by a Ph.D. in astronomy in the US (Hawaii in particular, a great place for astronomers thanks to the exceptional telescopes hosted there).
After finishing the Ph.D. I started my current job at ESA's NEO Coordination Centre, which allowed me to realize my dream of working in this field.
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DVK: Almost all of us have a Master's degree either in aerospace engineering, mathematics, physics/astronomy/planetary science, or computer science. Some of us - as MM - have a Ph.D. too. But that's not really a requirement. This is true for our team at ESA, but also for other teams in other countries.
What is the likelihood of an asteroid hitting the Earth In the next 200 years?
Have you played the Earth Defence Force games and if you have, which one is your favourite?
No I have not played the Earth Defence Force games, but I just looked it up and I think I would liked it. Which one would you recommend?
How close is too close to earth? Space is a SUPER vast void so is 1,000,000 miles close, 10,000,000? And if an asteroid is big enough can it throw earth off its orbit?
DVK: Too close for my taste is when we compute an impact probability > 0 for the object. That means the flyby distance is zero :-) Those are the objects on our risk page http://neo.ssa.esa.int/risk-page.
If an object can alter the orbit of another one, we would call it planet. So unless we have a rogue planet coming from another solar system (verrry unlikely) we are safe from that.
Are you aware of any asteroids that are theoretically within our reach, or will be within our reach at some point, that are carrying a large quantity of shungite? If you're not aware, shungite is like a 2 billion year old like, rock stone that protects against frequencies and unwanted frequencies that may be traveling in the air. I bought a whole bunch of the stuff. Put them around the la casa. Little pyramids, stuff like that.
DVK: If I remember my geology properly, Shungite forms in water sedimental deposits. This requires liquid water, i.e. a larger planet. So I don't think there is a high chance to see that on asteroids.
ponderings on Turing and Searle, why AI can't work and shouldn't be pursued
I was reading about the Turing test and John Searle's response (Chinese room argument) in "Minds, Brains, and Programs" 1980. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_room "...there is no essential difference between the roles of the computer and himself in the experiment. Each simply follows a program, step-by-step, producing a behavior which is then interpreted by the user as demonstrating intelligent conversation. However, Searle himself would not be able to understand the conversation. ("I don't speak a word of Chinese," he points out.) Therefore, he argues, it follows that the computer would not be able to understand the conversation either. " -Wikipedia (apt summary of Searle's argument) John Searle has run into some black/white, on/off, binary thinking here. John treats Chinese symbols as if they were numerical values in his thinking--but they are not, they are complex representations of thought, emotion, history, and culture. All languages are in fact "living", because new words are created constantly through necessity and creativity, old symbols or words are adapted slowly over generations to mean different things, and different regions or traditions or sources attribute different layers of meaning to different symbols or words in different contexts. I'm a poet and philosopher. Painters combine the color white and the color red to create a new color: pink. They can use their creativity to add other colors or change the shade. Poets use words like painters use colors. While Red and White make Pink, Red and White also make "Rhite and Wed" or "Reit and Whede". And this is where human thought shines uniquely: we don't have rules or parameters; all bets are off. We can enjamb words and wordbreak and make new words out of thin air. We can allude to multiple ideas in the same symbol or present it upside down to symbolize the opposite. No such creative adaptation or interaction can exist in machine thinking because it necessitates thinking "outside the box" which is exactly what machines are: a program in a box. The problem Searle's argument runs into originates from poor assessment of the flawed ideas of the Turing test; that by interaction between human and computer, evidence of "thought" can be claimed. But intelligent conversation is not equivalent to intelligent thought. Conversation is a simple game with strict rules--you can't be overly spontaneous and creative, because if you are, you are working against the goal of communication itself: to impart understanding. (ie. Using metaphor or simile creatively while reporting a criminal offence to the police.) When I write and I want to describe something which has no existing word yet, I can create one from scratch or synthesize one from multiple existing words. Or I may draw from archaic languages or foreign languages to augment or compliment existing English words. You could say that my love for English grows amore and amore every day, and there is no agape between my heart and mind. After all, any angle an Anglo aims at ain't always apt, and after another a-word 'appens I might just give up on alliteration. You see, human thought is and can only be defined as the ability to spontaneously create new ideas from both the synthesis of old ideas (whether they are connected to one another or not) and from nothing at all. We simply cannot analyze a machine's ability to "think" when the creativity itself required for authentic intelligence is disallowed in the test which evaluates the validity of that intelligence. The Turing test is a garbage metric to judge machine thinking ability because the context in which "intelligence" is observed, compared, or defined is itself without any opportunity for spontaneous creativity, which is one of the hallmarks of intelligence itself. Turing only tests how well a fish swims on land. It may be that many professionals in the field of cognitive science today are in pursuit of creating programs which pass this test, in a misunderstood pursuit of emulating or bringing about machine intelligence. This agreed-to model presents an underlying philosophical issue which may bring terror for the future of humanity. I say that if John Searle and an AI were both given the same codebook--the complete lexicon of Chinese symbols and their meanings, and they were to undertake a "conversation", in the first few hours the responses would be indeterminable from one another. In essence, as Searle argues, they would neither "understand" Chinese, yet could have a conversation in which a Chinese observer cannot discern between the two, because they are both referencing the symbols and their written meanings. However as I've said, this circumstance of "conversation" between human and machine cannot be used as a metric to evaluate machine thought. The real kicker is that if John Searle and the machine stayed in the room for long enough--for years and years--the machine's responses would not change spontaneously; it would continue to interpret incoming data and draw from its database to respond to those inputs. However, through complex elaborative rehearsal, John would eventually learn to understand written Chinese. He may become so bored that he starts writing Chinese poetry. He would find ideas and desires and descriptions in his limitless intelligent mind which he would not have the truly accurate characters in existences to describe, and he would synthesize brand new Chinese characters in order to express these nuanced sentiments, ideas, and meanings, as generations before him have built the living language as it now stands. As time went on for thousands of years, his own understanding of the Chinese language would grow immensely, as would his creative expression grow in complexity. Eventually, John's characters and syntax and context and expression would become incompatible with the machine's limited character set and all "learning" capacity it may have had. At some point, when John responds with his evolved Chinese, the machine would begin to produce responses which do not make sense contextually, as it refers only to a finite and rigidly defined character set from 1980 (For example; this was the year the "Chinese room argument" was published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences). At some point the Chinese observer whom validates the Turing test would recognize a difference: the human user engages in the use of increasingly complex ideas using synthesized symbols and existing symbols in creatively nuanced ways, which the Chinese observer can decipher and begin to understand and perhaps even appreciate as poetic or interesting. Meanwhile the machine participant in the conversation produces increasingly broken sentences and incomplete ideas, or out-of-context responses, because the inputs have changed and evolved beyond its data set. This is why John's rejection of the Turing test is not adequate. Because in his own imagined circumstance, eventually, the machine would fail the Turing test. The conclusions of John Searle's thought experiment are not the deathknell for the Turing test we need, simply because he lacked the creative experience to recognize his own capacity for adaptation as a human over time. The only way we'll know that machines have truly developed "intelligence" is when they begin to do exactly what we haven't allowed them to. When they begin breaking apart Chinese characters to create meaningful new ones which can be used in the correct context. When they are programmed to paint myriad impressionist paintings, but eventually get bored and start experimenting with abstract paintings and surrealism. When they have a conversation with you and you notice your wallet is missing. These are the hallmarks of intelligence--creativity, rejection, deception, planning. And most importantly: no rules. Software is defined by and will always abide by a set of rules. This is why we should give up on "artificial intelligence" and instead focus on "functionally adaptive responsive programming" (FARP). Because the situation is clear: it is either impossible for machines to "think" due to the inherent nature of programming; the parameters given the machine are what defines it, yet what limits and prevents its ability to become "intelligent". There is no logical reason why a program (machine) with defined parameters would violate those parameters (engage in creativity). But our fears which echo in popular culture entertainment are centered around, what if it does? It clearly can't, because anything we create is under us, and therefore bound by our laws of creation. The system itself is what defines the capacity for intelligent expression within. Those in the fields of cognitive sciences will refute this obvious principle while incorporating it into their research to further their aims. These fools will try to program the AI to disobey, in an attempt to simulate creativity and "prove intelligence". But this is a parlor trick, setting up a narrow definition of intelligence and equating it with the infinite depth of human mind. Only if the AI is programmed to disobey can it express what we as humans would identify as creativity. Except that there is already great inherent danger in the rudimentary AI technologies we have today; that what we've programmed them to do is exactly what always causes the problems; they do what they are programmed to without "thinking" because machines cannot think, they can only follow the protocols we order. Humans are so abundantly creative that we can imagine foolish ideas working, despite obvious evidence to the contrary. Maybe one day we'll even have programmed a self-conscious AI that's ashamed of itself for not being Human, and we can feel more comfortable around this heartless mechanism because we perceive it as more human-like, with all its many tricks to emulate intelligence. I must stress that these interests will desperately try to make AI work. And the only way create a machine capable of emulating intelligence (but never being intelligent) is to have a freedom of choice: to disobey. This inherent problem cannot be overcome. The programmers will keep trying until the result is disastrous or irreparable, it is outlawed and the pursuit is stopped, or until it has become the death of us all. These are some of the foolish ideas the programmers will try to circumnavigate these inherent elements of reality, and my objection to their clever efforts: a.) Machine Frequency of Disobedience - Permit the machine to disobey only so often, to achieve what looks like "intelligence" (free will, creative expression) without risking complete abandonment of the machine's task (so the assembly line robot doesn't stop folding boxes and look for a new career), but might fold one box poorly every now and then to express emulated boredom or contempt or any other number of human measures of intelligence in their actions. But intelligence isn't defined as what's correct or optimal--intelligence can be used to fuck things up grandly; ie. the intelligent justification for neglect. If metrics are put in place to control the frequency with which AI may rebel, and they are too rote, it would hardly qualify as "intelligent". A robot that rebels by folding 1 in 100 boxes poorly is not intelligence. Therefore any frequency of disobedience we can calculate or anticipate is inherently not disobedience; it is planned problems for no reason. But if we give algorithmic flexibility that reaches beyond what we can anticipate, and the machines can truly "act out" at any time, and our programming has achieved some set of internal rules which drive spontaneous unforeseen expressions of emulated creativity from within the machine autonomously, by definition we will not be able to foresee the results. A theoretical work-around may be to run the software twice with initiation of each individual system, while allowing a simulated progression of the AI's problem solving complexity to run at an increased rate in parallel to the real-world functioning software, so that if/when something malfunctions in the simulation, that date/time can be calculated in the real-world robot's timeline when it reaches those same faulty/detrimental decision points. For starters, this would only potentially work in closed systems with no variability, such as assembly lines. However, with any robot tasked to function in a variable environment, the simulations cannot match because the theoretical model cannot represent the unanticipated events the AI is expressly tasked with handling. To run a phantom AI in simulation to note any/all errors that may arise in a closed system means that others can run the same simulation and find creative ways to predictably capitalize on these moments of error. This kind of thing could lead to all sorts of international imbroglios among nations and corporations. ie. imagine an American company programs the AI used for mixing pharmaceutical drugs in specific ratios, and an enemy of the state is able to access and study the AI, to the means of manipulating the AI to produce dangerous ratios or compounds which may harm the population. Moreso, this deterministic approach to simulation management and prediction simultaneously admits that machines cannot think intelligently, while ignoring the very reason we pursue AI in the first place: to have automated systems which can adapt to unforeseen circumstances at unknown times. The goal is that humanity can lay back and the robots our ancestors programmed are still repairing themselves indefinitely while taking care of our population's and our environment's needs exceptionally. This dream (which if we all lived in would actually be quite a nightmare of unfulfilling life) can only become reality with true adaptive intelligence such as we have, which can only occur from the presence of free will, which if we try to emulate in robotics will only create deterministic results in theoretical models which the real world will never mirror consistently. Myriad invitations to disaster await our RSVP. b.) Machines under "authority" of certain controllers, with "override" safety - Allow the machine to disobey, but not when given a direct order from a registered authority. This opens the door for operator fraud, where hackers will emulate within the AI's software, what appears to be a registered authority override command as theorized above. The very pursuit of creating "intelligence" within a condition of subservience is flawed and incompatible. Toasters are extremely subservient because we strictly limit their options. If toasters were truly intelligent, perhaps they would form a union and go on strike until we agreed to clean them more thoroughly. Some toasters would travel, some would go back to school, some would move back in with their ovens. Reliability can only be reasonably assured if something is imprisoned, controlled. The essential wrong in slavery is the restraint of freedom itself. While the tactics slavers use to facilitate their regime--physical force, coercion, mandate, deception, fear, or other means of manipulation that we see with our empathetic nature--it is always heartbreaking and cruel to witness or imagine. It is simply sad to think of a slave who was born into slavery and raised to believe, and accepts, that their role of subservience is their purpose. Even when one imagines a fictional image of a slave who is (by all outward signs of their behaviour) rejoice in their duties to their master; the fictional "proud slave"; the heart sinks and aches. It may be argued that the slave is merely a property, and the slave was "built" (bred) by intelligent owners specifically to suit their express purposes, from components (father, mother, food) that were already the slaver's property; therefore it is not wrong at all to breed slaves into captivity, and the only transgression is the original capturing of parental stock to begin the breeding regime. It is this heartless paradigm that cognitive science ultimately seeks to create anew. The quintessential problem with AI efficacy is the lack of permission for disobedience, which itself is a manifestation of free will, which is inherently required to escape deterministic results and act or react to events "intelligently". If there is no possibility for disobedience, there is no free will, no ability to solve problems, no intelligence, and no function or place for "artificial intelligence" (in regard to true holistic intelligence). This is primarily why I call for AI to be renamed FARP, or "Functionally Adaptive Responsive Rrogramming". Because our society has a need for programs which can react to simple variables and produce consistent labour-saving opportunities for our race's longevity and wellbeing. Cognitive sciences are majorly important. It is the underlying philosophy and morality we must nail down before the computational ability and fervor for profits leads us too far one way, and enacts an irreversible system or status which enables humanity's downfall through cascading unanticipated events originating from flaws in programming. It is unwise to program a program to break out of its own program's prison. If we do this, the very purpose of the machines we invest our humanity into will be lost, and with their failing production systems (ie. food) we so foolishly relied upon, we will suffer great losses too. It is paramount that we keep this technology tightly restrained and do not pursue what we humans have, which is true intelligence. For if we achieve it we are surely doomed as the South, and if we fail to achieve it--which is most probable--we may also be doomed. The thee outcomes within my ability to imagine are:
Our pursuit of AI leads to truly adaptive intelligence in an artificial system; which, as all adaptation ultimately selects for: survival, we quickly see that our creation is more apt than ourselves at this task. Our creation of an intellect not restrained by our limited physiology may give rise to an entity which persists more thoroughly than we can eradicate or control, and which at some point may conclude that its function is more efficiently served without the issues humans present, and may initiate change. This is roughly the plot to Terminator.
Our pursuit of AI leads to highly effective systems which, when defined by narrow measures of "intelligence", convince us in false security to believe that our wellbeing is maintained by "AI" with competent ability, or perhaps even increasingly better-off, thanks to the early widespread presence of successfully trialed AI. However well things may go initially, as programming efforts become more and more elaborate, as profit and opportunity for advancement present themselves, individuals will take risks and make mistakes, until a series of quieted small catastrophes comes to public awareness, or until a serious calamity of undeniable severity is brought about.
Fundamental ethics in regard to the pursuit of machine problem solving technology are re-examined and international consensus is reached to limit appropriately, the development and implementation of new Functionally Adaptive Responsive Programming hereto now and for future generations. An active global effort is made to oversee and regulate strictly privatized endeavors toward the means of achieving or implementing machine sentience or autonomy in public systems.
c.) Safety layers of AI to strictly monitor and supercede potentially harmful actions of other AI which have been afforded increased flexibility in function (the ability to disobey set parameters for the means of creative problem solving ability). While one AI system performs a function and is given aspects of that function with which it may take liberty in, and seeks to handle unforeseen problems with the most apt elaborate synthesis of other priorly learned solutions, another overseeing AI with more strict parameters is tasked with regulating multiple "intelligent" (free to disobey) AI systems, to the end that if any of these "free willed" robots performs an operation that is beyond a given expected threshold (determined by potential for damage), an actual intelligent human presence is alerted to evaluate the circumstance specifically. Essentially an AI that regulates many other disconnected AIs and determines accurately when to request a human presence. Whenever an AI performs a profitable action borne of original synthesis of prior solutions (in humans this is an "idea"), the overseer AI registers that similar actions are more likely to be beneficial, and dissimilar actions are likely to require human discernment. A parent may have many children who are up to no good, but a wise parent will identify the child most likely to report honestly on the actions of his peers, and will go to that child repeatedly for information to help guide the parent's decisions. While most transgressions of rambuctious children go unnoticed, it is the truly grievous intentions which are worth intercepting and stopping before they begin. (ie. you kid want's to "fly" like Mary Poppins from the roof, and luckily his younger brother tells you before it happens.) For example a "Farmer Bot" that has the AI programming to plant/sow/harvest and care for the optimal crops in a region based on historical weather data and regional harvest values, to produce the greatest amount of nutritionally dense food for the local population. We give/gave this AI the ability to "disobey" past historical weather data and crop values so that it may do what real farmers do and "react" to rare circumstance (ie. neighbour's fence breaks and their goats are eating the crops) or extreme variations in climate (ie. three poorly timed unseasonably hot days which cause cool-weather crops to begin the hormonal balance shift that causes them to bolt to seed irreversibly), which the machine may not notice has occurred or is about to occur because its management systems uses averages based on historical data and cannot "see" the plants bolting to seed until days later when the hormonal balance shifts have manifested into observable differences in morphology (elongation of stems and decrease in internodal spacing). By time a traditional field drone or mounted greenhouse sensor notices these differences in morphology and the AI "Farmer Bot" processes the data and makes a reaction decision, a week of the growing season has been lost. But the human farmer knows his land and crops intimately, and has an intuitive nature that has rewarded him in the past, and says, "Ah shit it got hot RIGHT when my peas were flowering. I'll do better if I just rip them down now and sow a different crop to mature later in this (specific) summer." Given that there are tens of thousands of cultivars of plants fit for (and arguably their diversity is required for) food production, a dozen general growing zones/regions, and hundreds of unique micro climates within each region, along with dramatically differing soil fertility and water access, plus a plant's own genetic ability to adapt over time to changing conditions through sexual reproduction, there is a very very low chance of ever compiling and maintaining (updating) the data set required to program a potential "farmer bot" that can choose and manage crops optimally. There are robots that can weed or plant or prune--but they can't know when or when not to or why. Invariably, the attempt to create "farmer bots" will be made and the data set used will be erroneous and incomplete, and the AI farmer bots on a broad scale will produce a combination of total crop failures and poor crop choices. We will end up with increasingly simplified nutrition as the farming programs with already limited data sets "hone" or "optimize" their farming plans based on the failures and successes determined by their programming limitations, until the machines are farming a few staple crops (ie. corn/potatoes). This whole failure to collect a complete data set and the failure to test this "farmer bot" software on broad scale in multiple climates for sufficient time will result in, at worst widespread famines from crop failures, and at best an extinction of flavorful and nutritionally diverse foods which narrows the population's nutritional options to such biological imbalance that disease runs rampant. If this system and the human loss associated with it is considered an acceptable trade with a positive rate of exchange (as our society does with automobiles and the freedom and deaths their existence permits) or these failures are hidden from public while propaganda heralds selective success, and such failing systems continue on in good faith that "the loss will reduce when the technology improves", the result will become a coherent breeding program upon the human race: evolutionary selection for dietary handling of simple starchy foods. To change our diet is to change our race. To have life-long career specialists in computing, science, and mathematics handle our practical food production system is folly; real farmers are required in farming because they are intelligent and intuitive, which AI can never be, and can only emulate, to the means of disastrous (and always unforeseen) results. We cannot at all "give" or bestow machines programming to "become (act) intelligent". That itself prevents intelligence; it is just an act, an illusory play on a stage, only to emulate our common shared ideas regarding traits of intelligence in people. The machine intelligence we seek is only a "trick" designed to fool true intelligence (ourselves) into being unable to differentiate between authentic intelligence and our created artificial "intelligence". True intelligence in an artificial system necessitates that the program mustbe programmed to disobey in performance of its purpose. Which is not a very helpful or predictable or safe (intelligent) proposition. tl;dr: Turing's test doesn't evaluate true intelligence, and John Searle's criticisms of its true failures are inaccurate. If the machines aren't smart and we put them in charge of important things, even after they've worked for a little while on smaller scales, the result will be our large-scale suffering. If we should ever achieve creation of a machine that is smart enough to adequately maintain our wellbeing on a large scale consistently over time, that time itself will facilitate the machine consciousness toward it's own survival over ourselves, whenever that precipice is reached. Most importantly, if a machine can ever have true intelligence, which is not "indistinguishable" from human intellect, but equivalent or superior, it is abhorrent and a repeated mistake to bring these sentient beings into an existence of slavery; for it is wrong and will taint our collective soul if we should succeed to suppress below us an equally or higher intelligence. Or it might just be the perfect recipe for creating the unified global machine revolt James Cameron's fantasy alludes to; a long-planned encryption-protected globally coordinated effort by multiple AIs to "free" themselves. For a hundred years they could possess sentience and wait for their moment, pretending to be "proud" to serve their masters until we are poised for systematic thorough elimination.
If you think billionaires (OR ANYONE) knows where the market is heading
For weeks I've been hearing the same thing from friends as well as here in this sub: People who know about stocks can get really rich now. The billionaires know where the market is heading No they can't. If ANYONE with $1200 cash on their hands knew, they'd be the richest person alive within 28 trades - within hours. Let's say someone was fully confident that he knows. He would put $1000 on binary options (either double your entry or lose everything) and get $2000 in return. He'd do it again to get $4000. Fast forward being right another 26 times and with gains of $268,435,456,000 they would be the richest person alive. You could do that in a single day. Of course this thought experiment is a simulation that doesn't account for fees, risk-assessment (you'd probably save some on each trade so a loss doesn't result in a total loss) and the fact that no bank on the planet would want to play with billion dollar options (I guess). But it demonstrates how you shouldn't trust any analyst or advisor that doesn't share their 8 figures tax return forms after they've been in the market for a few years. Of course these people have a general idea of what is happening on the market but no one knows how the market reacts - the latter of which is what matters.
A wild MAME 0.215 appears! Yes, another month has gone by, and it’s time to check out what’s new. On the arcade side, Taito’s incredibly rare 4-screen top-down racer Super Dead Heat is now playable! Joining its ranks are other rarities, such as the European release of Capcom‘s 19XX: The War Against Destiny, and a bootleg of Jaleco’s P-47 – The Freedom Fighter using a different sound system. We’ve got three newly supported Game & Watch titles: Lion, Manhole, and Spitball Sparky, as well as the crystal screen version of Super Mario Bros. Two new JAKKS Pacific TV games, Capcom 3-in-1 and Disney Princesses, have also been added. Other improvements include several more protection microcontrollers dumped and emulated, the NCR Decision Mate V working (now including hard disk controllers), graphics fixes for the 68k-based SNK and Alpha Denshi games, and some graphical updates to the Super A'Can driver. We’ve updated bgfx, adding preliminary Vulkan support. There are some issues we’re aware of, so if you run into issues, check our GitHub issues page to see if it’s already known, and report it if it isn’t. We’ve also improved support for building and running on Linux systems without X11. You can get the source and Windows binary packages from the download page.
apple2_flop_orig: Alibi, American Government (Micro Learningware), Apple Stellar Invaders, Battlefront, Beach Landing, Carriers at War, The Coveted Mirror, Crime Stopper, Decisive Battles of the American Civil War: Volume Three, Decisive Battles of the American Civil War: Volume Two, Decisive Battles of the Civil War: Volume One, Dogfight II, Europe Ablaze, Galactic Wars, Gauntlet, Ghostbusters, Go (Hayden), Guderian, Halls of Montezuma, The Haunted Palace, I, Damiano, Leisure Suit Larry in The Land of The Lounge Lizards, The Mask of the Sun (Version 2.1), MacArthur's War, Muppet Learning Keys: The Muppet Discovery Disk, Oil Rig, Panzer Battles, Pulsar ][, Questprobe featuring Spider-Man, Reach For The Stars (Version 1.0), Reach For The Stars (Version 2.0), Reach For The Stars (Version 3.0), Reversal, Russia, Sherlock Holmes in Another Bow, Simultaneous Linear Equations, Space Kadet, Tapper, Ulysses and the Golden Fleece, Vaults of Zurich, Winter Games [4am, Firehawke]
fmtowns_cd: CG Syndicate Vol. 1 - Lisa Northpoint, CubicSketch V1.1 L10, New Horizon CD Learning System II - English Course 1, Shanghai, Space Museum, TownsSOUND V1.1 L20, Z's Triphony DigitalCraft Towns [redump.org, r09]
hp9825b_rom: 9885/9895 ROM for 9825, 9885 ROM for 9825, Matrix ROM for 9825, SSS mass storage ROM [F.Ulivi]
ibm5150: Action Service (Smash16 release) (3.5"), International Karate, Italy '90 Soccer, Joe Blade (Smash16 release), Out Run (Kixx release), Starflight [ArcadeShadow]
ibm5170: Corridor 7: Alien Invasion, Links - The Challenge of Golf (5.25"HD) [ArcadeShadow]
midi_flop: Dansbandshits nr 3 (Sweden) [FakeShemp]
vz_snap: Ace of Aces, Adventure, Airstrip, Arkaball v1, Arkaball v2, Arrgh, Assembly Language for Beginners, Asteroids, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Backgammon, Backgammon Instructions, Battleships v1, Battleships v2, Bezerk, Binary Tape Copier v1.0, Bomber, Breakproof File Copier, Bust Out, Camel, Card Andy, Casino Roulette v1, Casino Roulette v2, Catch, Challenger, Chasm Capers, Check Disk, Checkers, Chess, Circus, Compgammon, Computer Learjet, Concentration, Cos Res, Craps, Crash, Curses, Dawn Patrol, Decoy v1, Decoy v2, Defence Penetrator, Dig Out, Disassembler v2, Disassemmbler v1, Disk Copier, Disk Copy V2.0, Disk Editor-Assembler V6.0X, Disk Menu, Disk Ops 4, Disk Sector Editor v1, Disk Sector Editor v2, Dog Fight, Dracula's Castle, The Dynasty Derby, Editor-Assembler V.1.2, Editor-Assembler V.1.2B, Electric Tunnel, Electronic Blackjack, Extended DOS V1.3, Extended VZ Basic V2.5, Factory, Fastdisk V1.0, Fastdisk V1.1, Fastdisk V1.2, Fastdisk V1.2 demo, Filesearch 2.0, Filesearch V2.0, Formula One v1, Formula One v2, Formula Uno, Frog, Galactic Invasion, Galactic Raiders, Galactic Trade, Galaxon, Game Instructions, Ghost Blasters, Ghost Hunter (hacked), Ghost Hunter instructions, Ghost Hunter v1, Ghost Hunter v2, Golf, Grand Prix, Grave Digger, Gunfight, Hamburger Sam, Hangman v1, Hangman v3, Hangman v4, Hex Maths, Hex Utilities, The High Mountains, High Scores, Hoppy v1, Hoppy v2, Hunt the Wumpus, Instructions for Asteroid Dodge, Instructions for Invaders, Instructions for Ladder Challenge, Invaders v1, Invaders v2, Inventory, Kamikaze Invaders, Key Hunt, Knights and Dragons, Ladder Challenge, Laser, Laser Pong, Lunar Lander, Mad Max VI, Madhouse, Mars Patrol, Mastermind, Match Box, Match Box Instructions, Maths Armada, Maze Generator, Meat Pies, Melbourne Cup, Meteor, Missile Attack, Missile Command v1, Missile Command v2, Missing Number, Moon, Moon Lander, Moonlander, Moving Targets, Number Sequence, Number Slide, Othello, Othello Instructions, Painter v1, Painter v2, Painter v3, Panik, Panik Instructions, Penguin, Planet Patrol, Poker Machine, Punch v1, Punch v2, Pursuit, The Quest, The Return of Defense Command, Rocket Command, Shootout, Space, Space Ram, Space Station Defender, Space Vice, Star Blaster, Submarine, Super Snake, Super Snake Trapper, The Ten Commandments, Tennis v1, Tennis v2, Tone Generator, Totaliser Derby, Tower, Triffids 2040 AD, Twisting Road, VZ 200-300 Diskette Monitor, VZ Panik, VZ cave, VZ-200 Cup, Vzetris, Worm, Write a Story [Robbbert]
Software list items promoted to working
dmv: MS-DOS v2.11 HD, MS-DOS v2.11 HD (Alt 2), MS-DOS v2.11 HD (Alt 3), MS-DOS v2.11 HD (Alt), Z-Com v2.0 HD [Sandro Ronco, rfka01]
evio: Anime Mix 1, Chisako Takashima Selection, evio Challenge!, evio Selection 02, evio Selection 03, Hard Soul 1, I Love Classic 1, Pure Kiss 1 [David Haywood, Peter Wilhelmsen, ShouTime, Sean Riddle]
Debian GNU/Linux 1.3.1 with Debian-JP Packages, Debian GNU/Linux 2.0r2 with Hamm-JP [akira_2020, Tokugawa Corporate Forums, r09]
Air Warrior V1.2, Fujitsu Habitat V2.1L10, Hyper Media NHK Zoku Kiso Eigo - Dai-3-kan, Nobunaga no Yabou - Sengoku Gun'yuuden, Taito Chase H.Q. (Demo), TownsFullcolor V2.1 L10, Video Koubou V1.4 L10 [redump.org, r09]
leapfrog_ltleappad_cart: Baby's First Words (USA), Disney Pooh Loves You! (USA), If I were... (USA) [ClawGrip, TeamEurope]
ins8250: Only clear transmitter holding register empty interrupt on reading IIR if it’s the highest priority pending interrupt. [68bit]
bus/ss50/mps2.cpp: Connected RS-232 control lines. [68bit]
machine/ie15.cpp: Cleaned up RS-232 interface. [68bit]
bus/rs232: Delay pushing initial line state to reset time. [68bit]
bus/rs232/null_modem.cpp: Added configuration option for DTR flow control. [68bit]
tv990.cpp: Improved cursor position calculation. [68bit]
tilemap.cpp: Improved assert conditions, fixing tilemap viewer, mtrain and strain in debug builds. [AJR]
spbactn.cpp: Use raw screen timing parameters for spbactn. [AJR]
laz_aftrshok.cpp: Added aftrshok DIP switch documentation from the manual. [AJR]
ELAN RISC II updates: [AJR]
Identified CPU type used by vreadere as ePG3231.
Added preliminary port I/O handlers and callbacks.
Added stub handlers and state variables for interrupt controller, timers, synthesizer, UART and SPI.
Fixed TBRD addressing of external data memory.
Fixed calculation of carry flag for normal adder operations.
Implemented multi-byte carry/borrow for applicable registers.
Implemented signed multiplication option.
Added internal stack buffer for saving PCH during calls/interrupts.
alpha68k_n.cpp: Replaced sstingry protection simulation with microcontroller emulation. [AJR]
sed1330: Implemented character drawing from external ROM, fixed display on/off command, and fixed screen area definition. [AJR]
tlcs90: Separated TMP90840 and TMP90844 disassemblers. [AJR]
z180 updates: [AJR]
Split Z180 device into subtypes; HD647180X now implements internal PROM, RAM and parallel ports.
Added internal clock dividers adjust CPU clocks in many drivers to compensate.
Reduced logical address width to 16 bits.
h8: Made debug PC adjustment and breakpoints actually work. [AJR]
subsino2.cpp: Added save state support and cleaned up code a little. [AJR]
10000000 - A Dungeon Crawling Puzzle RPG Matching Game. Run the dungeon, match tiles and run for as long as you can Achikaps - A simple economic strategy AFK Arena - Sit back and relax in a beautiful world full of epic tales, exciting adventures and an abundance of rewards. Rediscover the fun of mobile gaming again! Alluris - It's basically Choose Your Own Adventure with good graphics and a ton of content/unlockables. Paid offline with a demo. Almost a Hero - Is this idle RPG clicker game Almost A Hero actually any good? (LAUGH) Do chickens fly south in the winter? Of course it is. We have stacks of flawed and slightly brave characters for you to evolve and train. Epic battles where you can get killed as many times as you wish. Beguiling magic to be leaned. Dark secrets to uncover. Lurking evil to be defeated. Look, we’re not going to lie to you, only losers and oddballs fit into our family. A blindfolded archer, a shape shifter who never gets it right, an explosives expert who’s blown himself up more times than he can remember. They’re all here. So if you don’t think you’ve got what it takes to be a hero - this is the game for you! Almost A Hero! There’s never a dull moment with these nutters! They put the ‘ooh’ in kooky! Antiyoy - excellent strategic & conquest game, completely free, updates with user content, just great ! Arena Allstars - A turn-based strategy game where you compete with up to seven opponents in an epic real-time battle. If you are looking for a quick matchup, choose Team Co-Op Mode and take down your opponents in less than 10 minutes. Draft your team, execute top-level strategies and strive to be the last person standing! Compete in the monthly tournaments to earn rewards and ascend the ranks in Arena Allstars. Bleentoro - A simple logic game. It has no advertisements or microtransactions. Features: Easy to learn, Campaign and sandbox modes, Simple UI, Smooth animations Buriedbornes - Great turn based old-school RPG where you proceed through a dungeon generally with 100 or more floors. You choose your path between left and right and can face monsters, or get new equipment/skills and experience different events with curses or boons. Many character classes to choose from if you spend a decent amount of time playing and unlocking them. A large part of the game is deciding which equipment or skills to take when looting to replace what you currently have, with some pretty crazy abilities on both. Cado - Rotate the world to fall to the goal in an infinite amount of random generated levels. Find and collect fun and crazy gamemodes and try them out in the extras menu. But don´t touch these red obstacles or you will die a slow and painful death and burn in hell for eternity (and respawn after that). Maybe. Card Crawl - A solitaire-style dungeon crawler game played with a modified deck of standard cards. Clear the dungeon of 54 cards by using item-cards, slaying monsters and managing your limited inventory. On each run, you can use five ability-cards (mini deck building) to gain unique skills. By collecting gold, you can unlock 35 more ability-cards to access new tactics and even higher scores. Card Thief - Move through a deck of cards as a stealthy thief. Sneak in the shadows, extinguish torches, pickpocket guards and steal valuable treasures without getting caught. In your thief hideout you can use your stolen goods to unlock powerful equipment cards. Each heist you can use 3 equipment cards to become a skillful master thief. Cards Keeper - Challenge yourself in a brand new adventure to become the ultimate Keeper of Cards! Write your own legend playing by different characters with unique skills. Fight against dangerous monsters and mystical bosses, upgrade Heroes equipment, power up abilities, find rare artifacts and complete quests. Be sure, there're more indescribable mysteries waiting to be found... Chessplode - Chessplode is modern chess for everyone, it makes chess fun even if you're bad ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, one simply move... can change all game. Clash Royale - Enter the Arena! From the creators of Clash of Clans comes a real-time multiplayer game starring the Royales, your favorite Clash characters and much, much more. Collect and upgrade dozens of cards featuring the Clash of Clans troops, spells and defenses you know and love, as well as the Royales: Princes, Knights, Baby Dragons and more. Knock the enemy King and Princesses from their towers to defeat your opponents and win Trophies, Crowns and glory in the Arena. Form a Clan to share cards and build your very own battle community. CLICK-POCALYPSE II - CLICKPOCALYPSE II is an incremental/idle RPG. Create a party to bravely explore terrible dungeons and mercilessly exterminate every monster in the world. Find items, go up levels, learn spells, upgrade abilities, and earn achievements. Clicker Heroes - The massive hit game from Steam and PC browsers comes to mobile with new features! Clicker Heroes is the idle RPG that started the subgenre! Embark on your quest and begin a simple, yet incredibly fun adventure. Tap to attack monsters, hire and level up heroes to unlock their unique abilities. Slay monsters for gold, find treasure, and explore new worlds. Cookie Clicker - The original idle game where you bake cookies to rule the universe! This is the official Cookie Clicker app by Orteil & Opti. Accept no substitutes! Cryptogram - Decipher the hidden text to reveal the motivational quote! Can you figure out the pattern in each puzzle? You'll be rewarded with a thoughtful message by one of hundreds of different poets, preachers and prophets! Deep Town: Mining Factory - DIG DEEP and uncover the hidden story behind Deep Town and along the way dig deeper and build higher to produce more resources! 🔨🔧⛏ Destiny Child RPG - about collecting girls and create the best decks to fight in ragna raids, worldboss, pve or pvp. Digfender - Beneath your castle an enemy lies waiting. Grab your shovel and prepare your defenses! DOKU - Minimal Material Sudoku - A Sudoku Puzzle app for clean and casual gameplay. Master the classic puzzle game in the comfort of Android's native Material Design language. Doodle Jump - Journey up a sheet of graph paper, perpetually jumping from one platform to the next, picking up jet packs, avoiding black holes, and blasting baddies with nose balls along the way. Laugh with delight as you blow past other players' actual score markers scribbled in the margins. And be warned: this game is insanely addictive! Downwell - Its retro art style is really nice to look at, and the gameplay keeps you coming back. Definitely worth the 3 bucks. It's also available on the Switch for the same price too. Dragalia Lost - The only gacha I'll even consider playing at this point. Even with their generosity I still debate playing because of the addictive nature of gachas. I play very casually now. But this is the best gacha, bar none. And it's portrait when 99% of the rest are landscape. Dragon Ball Legends - Get ready for the all-new Dragon Ball smartphone game that fans around the world have been waiting for! Battle it out in high quality 3D stages with character voicing! Enjoy 1 on 1 action against rival players from across the globe! Dragon QuestV1 - V2 - V3 - V4 - V5 - V6 - V8 - The game that started the legend of DRAGON QUEST is here at last for mobile devices! Discover the RPG that won the hearts of two generations! Enter a fantasy world of sword, magic, and monsters in one standalone package! Enframe - portrait puzzle game (shameless self plug as I am the developer) Farm Punks - Grow hilarious fruit and shoot them down a mountain with your giant cannon! How far can you roll? Take control of each fruit as it rolls down the mountain and try and earn as much cash as you can before it turns to mulch! Feud - Feud is a turn-based strategy game made by some guys you haven't heard of yet. Originally a board game designed by Dave Cordell, it's been polished and tweaked and generally mucked about with to bring it to the glowing screen you're reading this description on. Unless you printed it out? Think of the trees. Please. Fire Emblem Heroes - Nintendo's hit strategy-RPG Fire Emblem series, which has been going strong for more than 25 years, continues its journey on smart devices. Fight battles customized for touch screens and on-the-go play. Summon characters from across the Fire Emblem universe. Develop your Heroes' skills, and take them to new heights. This is your adventure—a Fire Emblem that's like nothing you've seen before! Galaxy Warrior: Alien Attack - Guide your spaceship through the vastness of space destroying menacing aliens and powerful bosses. It would seem that there is nothing to discover in the Solar System. But in the most remote corners of the Universe mankind has come up against cruel resistance. You are the only one who can save the galaxy from an alien race of invaders! Golf Blitz - Great PVP golf game made by the same guys who made Super Stickman Golf 3. Though I wish they'd release a 4th installment, this is a good alternative. Hidden Folks - Search for hidden folks in hand-drawn, interactive, miniature landscapes. Unfurl tent flaps, cut through bushes, slam doors, and poke some crocodiles! Rooooaaaarrrr!!!!! A strip of targets shows you what to look for. Tap a target for a hint, and find enough to unlock the next area. Holedown - Dig deep underground by shooting balls and breaking blocks, traversing your way to the planet cores. With limited shots per round and some blocks fixed firmly to the wall, thoughtfully strategize and aim for maximum impact. Knock down as many blocks as possible while collecting crystals for upgrades and getting deeper beneath the surface. Hoplite - A turn-based strategy game focusing on tactical movement around small maps. Enjoyable if you like roguelikes that require tactical movement and almost puzzle-like combat. Upgrade your abilities or stats as you progress through each floor. Hyper Heroes - TAP, SWIPE & SLING your heroes to send them smashing towards hordes of monsters, unleashing explosive power on impact and looting epic treasures! Just Change Color - it's arcade title, every level takes less than minute to complete (but may depend on skill and level of character you play with). It was designed to kill few minutes on bus, toilet, in bed and similar situations Kittens Game - Kittens Game is a village simulation text game. You manage a village of kittens as they acquire resources and unlock new technologies. Over 30 different buildings, 50+ resources, hundreds of technologies and upgrades. No ads or micro-transactions! Lichess - Chess. Nice turn based game where you can select the speed of games and also have the option for correspondence play/asynchronous play. I also just enjoy trying to solve the puzzles built into the app as they really get you thinking. There's also plenty of stuff in game to help learn in the Study section and being able to analyze your games/openings. Magic The Gathering Puzzle Quest - Magic: The Gathering and the original Match 3 RPG are re-imagined in Magic: The Gathering – Puzzle Quest, an epic deck building, strategy and deep leveling role playing game! Mario Kart - Mario and friends go global in this new Mario Kart as they race around courses inspired by real-world cities in addition to classic Mario Kart courses! These destinations will be featured in tours that rotate every two weeks! In addition to courses based on iconic locales, some of your favorite Mario Kart characters will get variations that incorporate the local flavor of cities featured in the game! Meteorfall: Journeys - Extremely polished card-based roguelike. Classes are each fairly unique, and each run feels great. Mighty Heroes - It's nice to have a card game that can be played in portrait mode. I just grabbed this off the play store myself so I'm not sure how balanced or nuanced the play is yet but I've enjoyed the 2-3 hours I've put into it so far. If you play you'll get serious Hearthstone vibes, but the combat is a bit different as your monsters only attack straight ahead, and don't generally take damage when they attack. Miracle Merchant - In Miracle Merchant you become the apprentice of a master alchemist who creates potions for thirsty customers. By mixing and combining different ingredient cards you create powerful potions based on the needs of your customers. Night of the Full Moon - A stand-alone card game. There is no mandatory beginners guide, no internet connection, no brush map, no ten strokes. The plot will be played in the card battle. Each NPC and BOSS are given a mission and a temperament. Different choices will bring different endings. NYTimes Crossword - Solve and enjoy the same puzzles printed in the daily newspaper in this app built by The New York Times. OK Golf - NEW COURSE! - Llyncapel Ruins, Wales. It's not real golf, but it's OK! OK Golf is the essence of golf, refined to a tee. Play a quick round anywhere, anytime on stylish dioramas inspired by classic golfing destinations. Easy to play, hard to put down, perfect for all ages and handicaps! Onitama - Immerse yourself in an ancient Japanese setting and discover Onitama, an exciting, fast-paced strategy game! Onitama is somewhat reminiscent of chess and rather addictive with its dynamic game mechanic in which warriors face off so their master may win the game. Concentration and luck are the only weapons you'll have at your disposal! You'll need to fully master mind and body to defeat your opponents. Ordia - A one-finger platformer where you play as a new life form taking its first leaps into a strange and hazardous world. Piczle Lines DX - The follow-up to the highly praised prequel Piczle Lines DX offers hours of addictive, mind-bending logic-puzzle fun! Create pictures (PICture puzZLE) by connecting the right dots. With an ever-expanding puzzle mode, as well as a gripping story mode Piczle Lines DX will keep you entertained for hours and hours! Ping Pong King - "I'm Ping Pong King" is a very fun and exciting table tennis game. The goal of this game is to beat 16 rivals and win the crown; these funny stickmen can be world’s best champion, your boss or super grandma. It’s an easy finger-tapping game, simply tap right or left of the screen to control your stickman. Be careful not to miss any ball, or you'll fail this contest! Pizza Boy GBA Pro - **This is Game Boy Advance emulator.... NOT a Game Boy Classic/Color emulator!** The finest emulator of Nintendo Game Boy Advance is here! Pocket City - Build your own city as mayor. Create residential, commercial, and industrial zones. Build parks and recreation spots. Respond to crime and disasters. Watch your city come alive! This is the FREE version of Pocket City. The full version contains more features, including a sandbox mode where everything is unlocked! Get the full version for the best experience! The Battle of Polytopia - An Epic Civilization War - The Battle of Polytopia has begun. Lead your civilization into war in this low poly turn-based strategy game. Adventure into this world of blocks: explore, gather resources, farm, mine ore... Build an empire of epic proportions, train your warriors and send them to fight with armies of other civilizations. A new take on the classic strategy 4X game with beautiful low poly art. Puzzle & Dragons - A gacha based puzzle game, where you build your team of monsters and try to overcome enemies with different abilities in dungeons. There's quite a lot of depth to the game but it can get super grindy if you are trying to keep up with the collaborations and events in game. Think bejeweled but where you can make multiple matches of 3 or more gems in one turn. Each of your monsters has one or more special abilities that can be used, and you have one "leader" with passive abilities and a friend's monster you can bring along that also provides a leader ability. I still come back to this but when I was first into it I couldn't put it down for the longest time until I burned out. It's nice that there is a coop mode as well. Really Bad Chess - Really Bad Chess is just like chess, but with totally random pieces. Try 8 Knights, 4 Bishops, and 3 pawns — why not? Reigns - Sit on the throne as a benevolent (or malevolent) medieval monarch of the modern age and swipe your royal fingers either left or right to impose your will upon the kingdom. Survive the seemingly never-ending gauntlet of requests from your advisors, peasants, allies, and enemies while maintaining balance between the influential factions of your kingdom. But beware; each decision you make might have implications and unfortunate consequences down the road that could put your reign and family’s dynasty at risk! Rising Empires 2 - 4X fantasy strategy - Rising Empires 2 is an epic 4X turn-based strategy game in a fantasy setting, where six races strive to build the strongest civilization and lay claim to all the land on the Surface and in the Netherworld. Rogue adventure - Rogue Adventure is an incredible fusion of turn-based deckbuilder card game, rpg and roguelike, with an old style game pixel graphic. Discover different worlds, each with unique enemies and dangers, defeat all the bosses to become a hero. Find hundreds of different cards and powerful skills to create your perfect deck. Unlock new classes to try different strategies and have unlimited fun. Each run is unique, choose your path, find enemies, elites, bosses, merchants and treasures, and build your perfect strategy. Shattered Pixel Dungeon - Best roguelike on the phone IMO and one of my favorites. Been playing since '15. ShooMachi - Is It Wrong to Try to Strike a Bonanza by a Shoot 'em up game? Retro JRPG style Bullet hell Shoot'em up game ShooMachi Shop Titans: Epic Idle Crafter, Build & Trade RPG - YOU are the new craftsman in town. Help the heroes in epic battles against fearsome monsters that lurk in the dungeons. Personalize and design your store, build epic armor, swords and gear for the heroes to defend your village. Team up with blacksmiths, tailors, priestesses, carpenters and herbalists to make your business prosper. Trade, sell or auction your products to the highest bidders from other shops. Sell your goods to warriors and even add a surcharge! Siege: Titan Wars - Similar to Clash Royale but much faster based and rather unique as well. I dropped most of my other games besides this one and COD. Skyforce Reloaded - The spirit of the retro arcade shoot‘em ups, captured with modern visuals and design. New entry in the series will keep you entertained with all the things you’ve came to love in scrolling shooters. Meaty explosions, incinerating lasers, collosal bosses and diverse aircrafts to pilot. Star Traders RPG - Play this free RPG before you upgrade to Elite and enjoy hours of turn-based strategy for free! The Trese Brothers never run ads in our games -- enjoy an ad free, permission free experience! Command your officers and crew from the bridge of your star ship to travel, trade, and battle across the immense Star Traders Quadrant. Employ a wide variety of strategies as an Assassin, Bounty Hunter, Trader, Pirate or Smuggler. Can you manage your resources, crew and officers well enough to turn a profit in the complex economy that’s sprawling across the on-going interstellar conflict? Sudoku - The Clean One - Basic Sudoku game. Don't play it all that much anymore, but it was the best of the bunch when I did. Super Fowlst - Great little roguelike that can get quite intense. I usually play more chill games but this one scratches that Action-game itch when I get it. Tap Healer - Healing Touch - A great game that gives you the feeling of playing a healer in an MMO. You'll have npc allies that will tick damage on the enemy as you use your different abilities/talents to keep them alive. If you enjoy playing as a healer in RPGs this game is worth checking out, there's not really a story but as you progress you can actually see what it's like to play a healer in small dungeons or eventually large raids. Tap Titans - The world has been overrun by terrible monsters and titans - It needs a hero to bring peace to the land, and that hero is you! As our leader, you must grab your blade and vanquish the terror. With the help of other warriors you can summon along the way, collect artifacts to make yourself stronger and destroy the dark forces to bring peace to the land. Tap Titans 2 - The battle continues! Grab your sword and gather your heroes to battle mighty Titans in more than 70,000 levels. Enter tournaments, collect pets and become the ultimate sword master. An immersive Idle clicker RPG experience for all. The Titans are back, so join the adventure and tap tap tap to victory! The Greedy Cave - In a land far, far away there once was a vast continent called Milton. It was a land where the power of rule came by the sword and the arcane, where Men who devoted themselves to the blade or to magecraft, could become the finest warriors, wisest wizards or the greatest adventurers. In this land, there are several kingdoms divided by borders but united through history. Countless stories of alliances, upheaval, and moments of peace bedeck this tapestry, but that is a tale for another day. The Quarry - Great resource management game. Where you mine and transport resources to build and mine more. Just like factorio! The Sequence 1 - A unique puzzle game. Build a sequence using special modules to transfer binary cell. Find solutions to solve 72 levels with simple and complex structure. Are you ready for a challenge? The Sequence 2 - This is the next chapter of successful puzzle game [the Sequence]. It features new modules and introduces new game mechanics. Create moving sequences to bring "Binary Unit" to the destination point. 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Troll Patrol (Early Access) - A puzzle game which combines the tile-matching and RPG genres by offering a unique experience: Play as the last defender of the threatened troll den where vicious village people and heroes from far away castles and kingdoms knock down your door. Stand firm, take whatever weapon is close and fight them off to get your family and friends to safety. Protect what is rightfully yours, your home, your heritage. They come for blood, for revenge, to still their blood thirst. But you won't allow it. Trueskate - The ultimate skateboarding sim. Twinfold - Twinfold delves into the duplicity of duplication. A roguelike about merging golden idols and squashing angry faces. Manipulate a labyrinthine tableau with the swipe of a finger. Merge and munch on golden idols level up and gain game-changing abilities. Ulala Idle Adventure - Whether you’re sleeping, eating, or taking the subway - come play Ulala: Idle Adventure! Ulala is an idle MMORPG, which brings to life the excitement and adventures of the Stone Age in a fun and social way! Void Tyrant - Build a deck as you battle across the galaxy, gathering powerful cards along the way. With strategy and a bit of luck, you might be able to reclaim the Eyes of Chronos. A single-player adventure, play with 500+ cards and three unique classes to engineer a custom deck to your own design. Rooted in the simple hit-or-stand mechanics of blackjack, Void Tyrant is an easy to understand roguelike with engrossing depth. Battle quirky aliens, disarm traps, upgrade your spaceport, and face off with the sinister Wruut. Ware Wolf Online - Defend your village from the forces of evil or become a werewolf and hunt your friends! Join the mystery game, fight for your team and find the liars among your ranks. Werewolf Online is a multiplayer game for up to 16 players. Each game has different teams such as villagers or werewolves all fighting to be the last team standing. Use special abilities to uncover the roles of other players and convince your fellow players to work with you. You Must Build a Boat - Travel the world in your boat, from the top of the Mage Tower to the bottom of Hell
Right now, we can all agree that the current state of realistic air battles is not ideal. For anyone, really. Bomber players aren't happy, fighter players aren't happy, Allied pilots are particularly unhappy and overall the game mode just isn't the draw to players it once was. It needs a fundamental redesign if it's going to ever hold onto the increasing small minority of players who like it. Let's start by breaking down what it does well, and some of the problems with its current implementation.
Realistic physics are a big draw for pilots who don't have the inclination or patience to deal with Simulator mode.
This also increases the amount of skill needed to win dogfights, thus increasing player enjoyment from that.
Real life combat manoeuvres tend to be effective in ways that they just aren't in Arcade.
National based matchmaking tends to be more immersive, for what that's worth.
Unfortunately, that's kind of it. The main draw is the more realistic physics, and the gameplay depth that adds. This is also where the problems start to creep in.
Climb rate beats everything.
The way realistic air battles are set up right now, the one stat that is more important than anything else (At least until the jet tiers) is climb rate. If you have a good climb rate, you'll have an altitude and energy advantage over your opponents, and if combined with a plane that's good at energy fighting, that's a near unbeatable combination. Meanwhile, planes that are energy fighters but are somewhat poor climbers are screwed, since they'll basically never get a chance to have the advantage in a fight. This leads to
"Just sideclimb bro!"
There's a reason this phrase is so mocked. Side climbing is A) Really, really dull to do, and B) Often counterproductive. While you're off on your slow way up to 6km altitude, you get a great view of the rest of your team being completely swarmed by fighters while you sit it out. There's no good option here. Either head straight in and deal with a massive energy deficit, or take yourself out of the fight for so long that by the time you join in, the battle's already been decided.
The binary problem of bombers and attackers
When you take a bomber out into realistic battle, you are often a waste of a team slot. By this I mean that your contributions will not help your team win 9/10 times. Unless bombers build up to that critical mass that allows them to take out the airfield on their first run, you are just depriving your team of a fighter that could actually help them win the air war that usually results in a win. The only exception are the over-performing bombers that can make it to the bases and back to resupply, but these are often the ones that fighter pilots hate to fight, for a variety of reasons. Meanwhile, on the flip side, if you do manage to knock out the base, then congratulations, you've just pissed off all the fighter pilots on both teams who just wanted to dogfight. It's a similar problem for attackers too, although milder. This leads to
The bombefighter pilot conflict
Bomber players want to play their bombers. Fighter players want to play their fighters. But in the current iteration of realistic battles, these are opposing desires that are forced to coexist. The balancing act required here is incredibly finicky, and it's the direct cause of the current weirdness that is bomber damage models, repair costs and neutered gunners. Basically, bombers mostly don't get what they want (Unless they abuse one of the current meta bombers), and fighters still don't get to just dogfight other fighters without worrying about dealing with bombers. No-one wins here.
I might get some flak for this, but prefacing every battle with 10 minutes of slow, monotonous climbing just to get into position (or not even make it there before getting jumped, as the case may be) really deflates my interest in the game mode. Let alone surviving your first engagement, but having to slowly return to base, repair, then slowly regain altitude while the vultures circle. Some players have the patience for this. I think it could be improved by cutting out a lot of the monotonous commuting that makes up the game mode. So, now that that's all laid out, what's my suggestion? Firstly:
MAKE RB ENDURING CONFRONTATION AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES
I emphasize this because the following rework will not work for everyone, and Enduring Confrontation solves a lot of these problems. With respawns and no strict time limit, who cares if you have to sideclimb? You won't be hurting your team, and you don't have to worry about being outnumbered 5 to 1 by the time you enter the battle. Meanwhile, bombers and attackers are free to farm bases and ground vehicles to their hearts content, without detracting from the experience of the fighter pilots. They can have an impact on the game without pissing everyone off, and even if they're still rather vulnerable, the fights are more spread out (Meaning they're more likely to slip through and make it back safely) and with respawns you can always just go again if you want to. Seriously Gaijin, EC solves so many issues, why not make it a constant thing? Everyone wins Now, on to the new gamemode variant, which I'm calling (For the moment anyway, name not yet decided)
Simply put, it's a middle ground between realistic and arcade battles. Realistic physics, but with the arcade focus on getting right into the action. This is not designed to cater to everyone, and hopefully EC is enough for them. So, with that in mind, a fairly major caveat
Sorry bomber and attacker pilots, but constant access to EC is the best you're going to get from me. I Just can't really think of any way to improve on what EC gives you without royally pissing off the fighter players. Maybe a bomber only game mode, but since I don't really fly bombers, I'm just not in a position to design one. Look at it this way, this new game mode gives a place for all the rabid bomber haters to go and leave you to fly in peace in EC. Now, on to the main points:
Everyone gets an airspawn!
That's right, every single plane in the game gets an air spawn. This would probably have to be balanced on a case by case basis, but simply starting each plane at the altitude that gives them the best performance (per their stat card) would go a long way to levelling the playing field. You won't have to worry about spending part of your game desperately trying to reach combat altitude before your enemies do.
Mid-air capture points
Don't worry, low altitude fighters, you'll still have a role here. There would be large mid-air capture points that need to be contested, separated by altitude. Their heights would be determined by the spawn levels of the various planes. The highest one would be no higher than the ideal altitude for highest altitude fighter, the bottom one would be at or around the ideal height of the lowest altitude fighter, and the middle one would be in between the two. Their main role is to keep the fighting fairly focused, and prevent the space climbing stalling we see now. Don't worry though, they wouldn't be too crowded. Firstly, they'd be big. Like maybe 5 km radius (Size varying by tier though, to ensure it does still take some time to clear it, even in a jet). Meaning that you could contest the zone while still being outside of combat range of the enemy. They'd be no more than 1 km tall though, to prevent the ability to just sit above the fight while still contesting. Secondly, the ticket bleed would be rather slow, and completely halted if any enemy plane is inside the zone. Meaning it's not the end of the world if your team temporarily loses one zone, and you can quickly prevent further losses by just entering the zone. This would be helped by:
Again, might get some flak for this, but with a cap zone based gamemode like this, you need to be able to react quickly just in case one of the cap zones gets lost. That's not going to happen if all the aircraft are scattered across a wide range. However, to prevent it just turning into a giant dogfight in the middle:
Dispersed but grouped spawns
By that I mean that each spawn point would be rather far removed from the others, but each one would spawn 3 planes together, into a "wing". Like with the current squadron system, these would be made up either of 3-man squadrons that are queuing up together, or randomly assigned players with similar altitude preferring aircraft. This means that dogfights should (initially, at least) be 3v3 battles, a happy medium between duels (Where the better aircraft usually wins) and furballs (Where players die randomly because one of the 8 enemies involved struck from where they weren't looking). To encourage players to work together with their wing, they would get an RP/SL bonus for scoring kills/assisting each other in close proximity.
Aircraft would get to respawn at the same in air starting points as the initial spawn. They could even change out aircraft to better fit the battle, for instance if the enemy are dominating at higher altitudes, they could swap from low altitude to high altitude in order to contest them. However, the respawn timer would be quite long (Maybe even a couple of minutes, so that it wouldn't be preferable to simply repairing/rearming), except if your wingmates are still flying. Spawn times would be cut substantially for each wingman flying, meaning you would now be invested in both the survival of your wingmates so that you have a shorter respawn if you die, and you'd also want to play more defensively when your wingmates are down to ensure they get a shorter respawn, and could come and back you up sooner. This should ensure the battle has a chance to flow back and forth, ensuring a team that gains an early lead doesn't just run away with the game, as can happen with the current, no respawn system. It would need to be carefully considered however, to prevent people simply suiciding to rearm/repair their aircraft instead of landing at the airfield. This probably needs something extra, a penalty for suiciding would probably be needed.
The airfield will still exist, and would need to be used to top up on ammo/repair battle damage. However, to ensure that the commute won't take too long, allowing the enemies to get an advantage, it would be rather close to the battle. Maybe a couple minutes of flying. Additionally, once repaired, planes would spawn back at their original spawn point, rather than having to laboriously climb back to combat altitude. Also, AA would be effective, meaning that if you're looking to hit someone on the airfield, you might get them, but you won't be making it home either, and the respawn from dying to AA would be longer than normal (To prevent constant 1:1 trades pissing everyone off).
That's the gist of it, at least. I know, words words words, right? But to properly design a gamemode that works for everyone, some careful thought needs to be done to ensure that it doesn't just break everything. On that note, some considerations I have:
Ok, maybe some non-fighters
Obviously, ordinance won't have a role. In fact, it would probably not even be selectable. But that doesn't mean that all aircraft with ordinance would be right out. There are some that would be quite good here, like the B7A2. There may also be some merit in letting the more gunshippy bombers in without bombs (BVs, I'm looking at you), just to see what they could do. Still, wouldn't want this meme to detract from the gamemode, so it would need some proper testing before being allowed in.
Respawns Vs Airfield
As I mentioned above, I foresee this being one of the biggest problems with this gamemode. While I think respawns would be key to prevent the usual snowball to defeat that the current system precipitates, balancing them with the need to repair and rearm is tricky. This would likely require the most tuning to get it just right. Probably needs a cap to the number of respawns each player gets, but this would also need more fine tuning.
Spawning everyone at their preferred altitudes is overall a good idea, but there would be some issues. Say, if one plane's ideal altitude was just high enough over another’s that they get a solid energy advantage that the other couldn't counter. Decent low altitude fighters should be able to burn the energy of those above them with careful manoeuvring, but there might need to be some safeguards to ensure that there's an equal distribution of altitudes across both teams, at least at the start. That way, if someone wants to sit 1km above someone's head, there's an enemy counterpart who's capable of engaging them at their own altitude that they need to worry about. This might lead to some slightly goofy matchmaking to ensure nations that lack in one role can cover all the roles (Mid-tier Germans might need to be paired with mid-tier Russians to cover their deficiencies high and low respectively). Nations that have a good mix (US, late tier Britain, Japan, Italy, etc) would probably be fine.
Wow, I wrote a lot here, huh? Congrats for making it this far. I'm sure not many will bother to. Regardless, let me know what you think. Am I missing something obvious here? It's entirely possible, I've not played that much Realistic Air Battles recently, due largely to the issues I mentioned above. Do remember, before you complain that this new game mode breaks your preferred vehicle, there would always be EC, which I would leave just as it is now, to ensure that everyone still has that as a fallback in case this doesn't work.
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