I always thought it would be cool if infinite flight had a real atc server where players could talk to atc like they do in real life. Obviously in theory this sounds cool but there are lots of problems associated with it. I think most of these problems could be fixed if only grade 4 or grade 5 pilots could access a expert type server with this type of communication enabled.
Instead of the usual options in the atc menu currently in infinite flight, this menu could turn into a panel for changing frequencies by moving a dial. Also, the usual atc menu could still be available in case players can’t communicate effectively for some reason.
I just think that the same text to speech voices over and over are so boring and it would be cool to have the option to communicate directly with other infinite flight players, hear unique accents from around the world and more fully immerse yourself in the game.
I’ll weigh in a little! Others have made two of the biggest arguments already:
Additionally, the realism switch isn’t flipped the moment you can hear someone’s voice on the other end. I’m not convinced it would be enjoyable to hear someone’s interpretation of ATC, non-standard phrases and plain speak to direct traffic. ATC training programs are some of the most overwhelming and intense experiences due to the sheer amount of info you’re taking in and applying. I spent a collective 2 years training to become certified in real life. Despite being a controller for 8 years I am still in training after transferring to a new airport (KMDT) because of the new procedures, airspace, LOAs, etc.
Accomplishing this would require focused, airport-specific, training which would take years to achieve what you’re after. VATSIM does this and their members are often limited to an airport or handful of sectors within a facility after very extensive training. We’ve chosen to remain accessible and offer a universal ATC experience for our global audience. We absolutely intend to continue developing our system and adding layers or complexity to achieve the closest possible thing to real world ATC.
I don’t really like the idea of voice ATC for the same reasons listed by Tyler and others.
However, the idea in this feature request below, with a settings page to select which version of the predetermined responses you want to give, is the best of both worlds: you get a more unique conversation based on different people’s preferences, while still maintaining the preset commands and responses format that ensures efficient and realistic operations. Might be worth a look - the implementation proposal looks great!
I think you make a good point. But with the development going at the pace it is and we’re seeing a increase in releases who says that having limited live atc isn’t possible. I think voice to text is a very realistic option that could meet in the middle. Not to mention AI are definitely capable of moderating and or correcting phrases/words.
One possible issue with live ATC a la VATSIM/IVAO is that if you allow live transmissions in an app, e.g. anyone can say anything, either verbally or textually, then it may come under the rules for chat/social applications which would need protection for minors from potential predators and/or IF could potentially be legally liable for anything that results from inappropriate use of ATC chat.
Or they might have to ban the under 18s from ATC which would be tough.
Adding on to what Tyler talks about with VATSIM from some perspective of someone that loves IFATC here, and controls on VATSIM as well…
The VATSIM training process took about five months to complete. I can control in just the ZFW (fort worth) region, and only in the B / C airports that I am trained at. Meaning I can only open a very limited set of airports, and if I wish to open my portfolio to control other locations, I’d have to go through extensive training to do so. If I wanted to join another region, I would have to go through their full training process to learn their region, airspace, and airports.
When we open, we are limited to the procedures completely at hand. That doesn’t always work on Infinite Flight (rarely does with very high traffic). Having voice definitely does not make controlling any easier. And you have to use very specific phraseology. English is the primary language of VATSIM, just like real world, but even such there is definitely a language barrier in other countries.
Both bring a unique aspect to the controlling experience between IF and VATSIM. You do not have to have a PC sim to try out and listen to the vatsim process, and even it is not perfect. There are still trolls, there are a lot of times where the pilot on the ground doesn’t know the procedures and requires help (and traffic dependent, you can’t always provide that help).
VATSIM has both text and voice ATC and people are free to choose what they prefer. Even in IF no one would be forced to use their voice for ATC communications. It could work if its implemented without removing our current system