Here is the tale of the F-13, it’s an odd tale about an odd plane.
In the sense of a review there is nothing offensive about this plane. It handles very much like it’s larger brother the JU-52 (THI) and comes complete with all the little quirks you would come to expect from Adventure Air, such as Aeon Voom’s complete lack of understanding on the basics of the Laws of Physics ,the same HUD used in every one of their other planes and the completely unnecessary giant Adventure Air logo that appears above the Aircraft any-time you’re browsing the menu options.
The Aircraft is not by any stretch of the imagination an easy plane to fly, with a turning speed akin to an Oil Tanker and a flight core that looses speed (and therefore height) every time you turn too steeply; it comes off as something that is forcing you to behave as if you had your mother in the back seat and had to fly in a manner that wouldn’t upset her or her drink.
I say “your” mother because just like Yo Mamma if you bank too sharply she falls out her seat and the sudden shift of weight causes the plane to plummet out of the air.
Clearly this is not a plane for the Thrill seeking stun man.
This is not to say this plane cannot be fun. Once you get the hang of things it is a simply joy to fly. It is responsive, elegant in it’s own manner and has some of a cheesy “old timey” feel to it being that the “pilots seat” is actually some sort of smoking lounge chair and as your eyes drift over the instruments and display panels, you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a vintage sports car, everything is bolted on and finished with a brass or silver polish. If Second life has Smell-o-vision (and I’m quite thankful it doesn’t) this plane would smell of Leather and Cigar smoke.
The F.13 wouldn’t look out of place in a Steampunk region, as a mail carrier, a passenger service for small families, or one man and his favourite bottle of scotch taking a short trip by Plane because it’s faster than the Airships.
This, however, shouldn’t distract you from the slight issue this plane has, and when I say slight it’s a big one and probably the reason this plane isn’t selling too well.
At 5’4 my recently impulse bought Furry Avatar is short by SL standards and RL standards, In the F.13 he fits just snugly inside. My regular avatar stands at 6’2, tall by RL standards but still on the short side by SL standards, when seated in the F.13 his head lightly clips through the pilots canopy. And now you start to see the problem. My third Avatar stands at 7’7 and is a representation of the “average” male avatar in SL, we use it for testing. He cannot fit into the plane as a passenger and as the pilot he awkwardly sticks out of the aircraft like the owner of a compact driving down the freeway with his new Ladder.
To recommend this I would have to ask, do you have L$2,400 to spare? Do you like vintage things? Is your Avatar under 6 foot tall. If your answer to all of these things are “yes” then by all means buy this plane, it makes for a great grid cruiser, it crosses sim borders smoother than anything I’ve known and it comfortably fits five people. IF however any of of those questions you answer “No” then I would say save your money. It’s too small even for ‘short’ SL Avatars and Aeon Voom has a thing about scale. The plane is built to his scale and he refuses to sell it moddable or even with re-size scripts because such a thing in his eyes in near heresy.
When Aeon Voom first came to SL Aviation he did it in such a way that almost bankrupted everyone who came before him. Prior to Aeon; Aviation was Military focused and those who flew had little time for new pilots. The WWII groups dominated all and phrases like ‘user friendliness’ was a figment of everyones imagination. “work it out or get the fuck out” was the motto.
The construction of Old’s AFB changed that. Aeon didn’t care about the hierarchy and traditions of SL Aviation that had come before him, he appealed to a new market, one which was seen by some builders at the time as degrading, a market of non-pilots, people who couldn’t fly and lacked the skill or patience to learn. Markets like that were reserved for the likes of LeZinc or Wilder Skies, company names which were almost Curse Words by the standards of the day. But Aeon, not giving a shit, appealed to those people. His aircraft were user friendly, easy to fly and came with a certain amount of pomp and ceremony that ,as unpractical as it was, got people excited. That is how Aeon made his fortune and the legend of Old’s AFB was cemented.
Today things are a little different. Aeon has acquired an attitude where he no longer wishes to appeal to the same market that built him Old’s. Instead ,like the Old self-proclaimed God’s of Aviation he de-throned, he now see’s his old customer base almost as a lower class. His newer vehicles ,from the Twin Otter onwards, feel less appealing to a new pilot and more to one who already knows what they are doing, or has the patience to learn. This is Aeon’s main issue with MCE. A common complaint from many Pilots that prefer more realistic aircraft such as ZSK or THI is that one must know the strengths of his or her Aircraft and put a great deal of effort into lining up the shot, which is unfair verses more Arcade style aircraft which simply have to turn. In principle MCE hoped to change that, by offering a separate system for those who prefer more realistic aircraft and didn’t want their dogfights getting interrupted by Arcade planes and even preventing people using Modern Military equipment ,such as stinger missiles, upon WWII Aircraft.
For Aeon however MCE became the ivory tower into which he entombed himself. Vice became a dirty word and his customer base now found their choices limited to Realistic aircraft or nothing. Despite numerous complaints Aeon wouldn’t back down, he was done with Vice and no longer had time to deal with people who couldn’t fly his new planes and seemed to take great pleasure in watching them try, fail and inevitably crash. He blamed the builders of Arcade planes for the ‘stupidity’ of today’s pilots and their unwillingness to learn; unaware that they were actually his pilots, who grew up flying his products and learned their culture of flying almost entirely from his examples.
Ironically in their confusion of suddenly having their back turned on them, they switched in their droves to the very creators Aeon blamed for their existence, who happily threw themselves at the opportunity to finally rid Aeon of his crown and flooded the community with all manner of Doomsday prophecies regarding MCE most of which were nonsense and some just plain weird. But all of them may as well have been true for the impact it had.
Aeon was now starring as the over dramatic Bond Villain in his own Saturday Night TV show and everything he did just seemed to make it worse. Even going as far as removing the “easy” mode from his helicopters, forcing people to update to the advanced version through a feature of MCE that was only designed to handle greifers even though it was a civil Helicopter and should never have had the system implemented into it in the first place. Naturally his customers revolted at this decision and soon began to flood Aeon with requests, some demanding but most polite, regardless Aeon stuck to his guns and blamed Tig Spyker for creating a culture of “idiot helicopter pilots”. He then retreated from SL, suffering something close to a breakdown.
Upon his return the new Old’s AFB, known as The Green Hell, was launched. The region had been panned as being the Flagship sim for MCE and it’s popularity would set right everything Aeon believed he’d gotten wrong at Old’s, we were excited for it but instead what we got was an asymmetrical build with prefab tree’s and buildings stabled in all over it, giving it the impression that it had been rushed the night before. Combat with vehicles was almost impossible and Jet fighters were at the mercy of any WW2 fighter, being that they could no longer use their missiles on them.
For a man that required constant sales of his items to keep his region up and running Aeon had metaphorically shot himself in the foot. Vehicles were next to useless compared to infantry and the market for the best MCE infantry weapons and equipment was being dominated by third party vendors.
So it’s no wonder it closed down. Aeon not discouraged decided that such trivial pursuits were beneath him. He was burned out from modern and it no longer interested him, he set himself a new target, he wanted to compete with ZSK.
Now I’m just going to assume you know who Zora is and agree with his reputation of producing some of the best WWII aircraft in SL, trust me it’s easier that way. So now lets assume you know that Aeon only ever did Modern Aircraft and tanks, the few WWII projects he did during his “Golden Age” were something of “throw away” projects and one offs, none which amounted to any great success, save for perhaps the Lancaster. His take-over of THI led to him neglecting it as something which belonged to a community he had little time for. Years would go by without any products being announced for THI and the last one Aeon attempted was a Stuka, two years ago, which contained little more than his basic Jet Engine script which he used in almost all of his planes, but slowed down.
Despite this drawback and despite the warnings of his closest friends and advisers Aeon choose to abandon his current market. He gave up on fixing any of the bugs in the Adventure Air products, updating anything further to MCE and forgot about his 6,000 Linden “early access” Carrier, which is still up for sale, still with the promise that it might one day be finished. All for the dream of building WWII planes.
What infuriates me about this more than anything is during my great rant regarding Dani Air-planes I took time out to bitch at our current generation of Builders were to blame for their own loss of business because they spent so much time building the products they want and not the ones their customer wanted. Out of all the builders who IM’d me in the weeks that followed, casually excusing themselves under the self-illusion that they were happy building for a niche market and clearly they were not my target, Aeon Voom gave the loudest applause and thanked me for finally “telling it like it is”.
Why then, after agreeing that builders need to appeal more to their own customers as well as the general demographic of SL Aviation rather than waste their time on ego projects that never sell, is Aeon’s first completed project ,since the day that article was published, a small vintage aircraft that I can guarantee you’d never heard of until it was announced. Why even after sales of this aircraft are so pathetic; does Aeon continue ignoring his customers, some of which had been loyal for years, in favour of appealing to a dead market just to compete with someone who wasn’t even appealing to that market.
I’ll give you the answer and some of you probably know it already, but first there is remissions to pay.
It’s been known that I’ve been working on an article about Aeon Voom for quite some time and as per fucking usual in this situation all manner of preaching wannabe fuckwits have been crawling from the woodwork, notecards in hand, desperate to “have their say” and make sure that whatever I publish was sub-edited to suit their own political agenda or revenge idea. Not how I work as most of you should know by now, so let me make a few things clear before we continue:
Firstly if you’re going to bitch that you can’t fly a helicopter anymore because the creator removed the “easy mode” it’s not because the helicopter is no longer flyable it’s because you cannot fly it. It can still be flown and I shall prove it.
Secondly “free updates for life” means updates for the life of the product, not your life. If a creator chooses to stop working on a product it is not your right to chain them to a desk and force them to make constant regular updates for eternity or your money back. If there is ever an update, you get it free, if you don’t then you have a reason to complain.
With that in mind we’re going to bitch about Aeon’s ego for a while.
It has occurred to me for various conversations that I’ve had with Aeon that he doesn’t actually know who his customer base is and regards them as something of an annoyance, save for a few exemptions. When Aeon thinks about his planes being flown he envisions epic dogfight battles flown by SL’s Fighter elites and those who aspire to be like them, he envisions professional acting Armies and Navies, well equipped and organised. What he doesn’t want to see, or largely what he doesn’t want the reputation of, is his products being used by ,if you’ll pardon the expression, noobs.
What Aeon hate seeing is one of his planes landing nose first and skittering to a halt and emerging a pilot who is a member of more sex clubs than anything else, or a navy turning up in large Duplo Block style carriers, screaming about their authority and shooting missiles at everyone. This he finds embarrassing and hates any idea that his products might be used in such a way and has began to structure his business, whether he is aware of it or not, to actively rebel against this sort of thing.
For example the F-13 and his resistance to including a re-size script is not based on any sense of realism as Aeon claims, nor on his inability to create a flight script that can work with a re-sizer but is more to do with his distaste for unrealistically proportioned avatars. The argument is more “If you don’t fit you are too tall, your problem, not the planes”. And while it’s always fun to giggle at the people who need Avatars over 10ft tall with bulging muscles and/or breasts the size of a Toyota Panda to satisfy their vanity, it doesn’t make for a good business practice and translates into poor sales. Which is exactly what happened.
The same goes with his Helicopters, quite possibly the worst decision Aeon has ever made, by removing the Easy mode Aeon was quite literally telling his customers “if you’re too stupid to fly my products then you don’t fly my products” this was especially cemented when he blamed Tig Spyker for creating the “three button pilot” culture. But ultimately you must ask yourself who’s helicopters do you think sells more?
Aeon’s bizarre and often Hostile attitude towards his customers is not a new thing. When Old’s first opened and during that entire period Aeon’s attitude was that his products were always appealing to his preferred choice of customer and being that he remained mostly within his skybox and rarely ventured down below, this attitude was never challenged. Back then he was surrounded by admins, advisor and group leaders of which at least half were competent. During the early days of MCE and later towards the Green Hell we see some of Aeon’s worst decision making as well as the creation of arguably some of his worst products, during this time the central core of Aeon’s Advisers had stepped away, leaving what was described to me as “a gaggle of yesmen” what also didn’t help was Aeon’s ego at this point, believing himself now to be too big to fail and believing himself to be the best scripter in Vice Aeon stopped listening to his Beta testers and numerous products were released before they were ever finished or in jagged, buggy forms.
Today, though Aeon is finally starting to listen to his Beta Testers, his two WWII Aircraft were released unfinished with any complaints ,including ones mentioned in this blog, being brushed aside as “it’ll be fixed in the update” as of today (21st of November) the final updates and bug fixes to the flightcore of the 109 only went live two days ago despite the aircraft having been released way back in July and despite being fixed on his two aircraft that have been released since.
Aeon has complained several times that sales of these aircraft have been low, so for his benefit, let us conclude by going over the facts we have uncovered in this article.
a) The market Aeon is attempting to appeal to simply doesn’t exist. The World War Two community ,while it still “exists”, is a shadow of it’s former glory and the players are largely Vice users or non-com roleplayers, to which Uniforms, clothing and furniture take a higher priority on the shopping list.
b) The Real Market Aeon should be attempting to appeal to the same community that praises ZSK’s, the RealFlight community, those who enjoy flying more realistic planes or aircraft that have simulator start-ups or are just difficult to fly by design. They are mostly of the Civil mind and ZSK’s ,though flown, are rarely used in combat. Only being seen as legacy vintage aircraft that look great and for fill the desire for that near-realistic flight experience. No-one who flies a ZSK is going to pay an extra 500L for something that flies “almost” as good.
c) Vice is still King of the Combat Systems, while interest in combat is at one of it’s lowest ever the idea of switching to MCE is still a questionable choice. Aeon has done much to earn the reputation MCE has received but not enough to encourage confidence in it as a possible replacement for Vice. By refusing to support Vice and forcing players to “upgrade” to MCE Aeon has already told anyone still unsure about MCE to essentially “fuck off” therein giving the Anti-MCE movement another member and lowering the chance that curious players could be swayed over.
d) By implementing features that would appear designed with the aim of weeding out the noobs from being able to fly his Aircraft, Aeon has essentially knocked his market down by about two thirds, add to that his appeal to the wrong market, his anti-competitive pricing vs ZSK, his decision to make the new planes MCE only and react exceedingly hostile to anyone who asks about Vice, plus limiting that choice further down to three planes no-one really knows/cares about and who have you got left?
Aeon complained that only 50  of his new Aircraft had sold. What he failed to realize that in his target demographic, the few people that he had left while ‘trimming the fat’ was the serious Aircraft collectors, the few Jeogeot Gulf MCE enthusiasts and those with a passion for WWII planes that were more enticed by the detail and accuracy of the Aircraft. That would number only around 50 people so in actuality the Planes sold quite well. So the fault was not with the Aircraft themselves, nor competition from other builders but with Aeon who had failed to realize just how small his new Demographic actually was. Diving head-first into a Niche without doing any prior research and relying almost entirely on the THI brand name, forgetting that his own negligence of the THI name as well as the decline of realistic aircraft and the rise of the penny turners between 2012 and 2014 had reduced THI from being the highly respected producer of WWII combat planes to a “Who? oh yeah I remember them” company.
e) And finally there is Aeon himself, or at least his attitude. We can’t talk about this subject without mentioning this:
the now famous L$10,000 ‘limited edition’ bf-109. While Aeon laughed it off as a Joke, with all the money donated to charity, what it actually was, was a troll stab at Vice users. “If their stupid enough to use Vice, their stupid enough to pay 10k” was Aeon’s thought process and he wasn’t wrong, believe it or not this plane sold and when it became obvious that sales of this plane were not token one-offs but actually had serious interest, did Aeon take the hint that Vice wasn’t dead and that his planes would sell more if he stopped ignoring Vice?
Course not. Aeon decided instead to not give the money to charity and pocket it instead. Without telling anyone, as if I wasn’t going to find out. And I can pretty much guarantee you if 100 of these things were sold, he wouldn’t stop selling them.
Ultimately the F-13 is good plane but serves as nothing greater than an example of everything currently wrong with Amok Dynamics, THI, Adventure Air and Aeon Voom in General. He dove headfirst into a Niche market with minimal research and a head full of hot air, he became his own worst enemy and at the time of writing I happened to know Aeon is working on four projects, three of which are WWII planes and he is attempting to steal a fourth from Joe Sparrow, proving if anything that despite lack of sales and increasing hostility, he hasn’t learned a thing.
 The MCE “lockout” feature was an emergency system designed to allow sim admins to disable cheat weapons.
 No-one can actually agree when the Golden Age of Aviation was they just know it’s not now. They are all wrong.
 Not that I’m calling Aeon a liar, I’m sure that carrier will be finished “some” day.
 I am fully aware that the “easy mode” was removed due to the Mono-bug, my complaint is more based around how simple it could have been for Aeon to replace it.
 But he told me that back in July so it’s probably a little higher now