Get to grips with War Thunder on SHIELD Android TV
Feeling intimidated by Gaijin's massive game of online air assault? Ease yourself into the cockpit with these helpful videos
For the ultimate in historically accurate air combat action, you'd be hard pressed to find a better experience than War Thunder.
It features over 400 faithful reproductions of fighter, ground attack aircraft, and bombers, and puts you in the cockpit to take part in a range of scenarios based on actual battles from World War II and the Korean War, against players from all over the world.
It's completely free-to-play, features breathtaking graphics, sound effects and music, and it's available now for NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV.
War Thunder is big on realism, and even in the simplified arcade battles there's a lot you need to know.
To help you get started, developer Gaijin Entertainment has put together a series of video tutorials explaining the game's technicalities and the basics of air combat. We've selected seven of the best for setting you up with the SHIELD version.
While they were made with the PC version in mind and feature references to keyboard commands that you won't need, the general lessons they impart will still hold true and give you that extra edge when you take to the skies.Arcade battles
Unless you're supremely confident about your piloting skills, arcade battles are the only way to get started with War Thunder, and despite the name they're far from easy.
The whole business of flying has been simplified, but there's still quite a bit to learn. This video will walk you through arcade mode, taking you through the different types of aircraft and the importance of setting up your ground crew.
It’ll also fill you in on the basics of actually flying and engaging the enemy without getting blasted out of the sky – or accidentally taking out one of your own team.
Ever heard of horizontal convergence? If you want to actually hit anything when you start firing, this is just one of the things you really need to know about if you really want to start working on your kill rate.
While in arcade mode your guns reload – after a certain period of time – when they run out of ammunition. You can guarantee it'll happen at the most inopportune moment, and so you want to ensure that you make your shots count. This video tells you how to do just that.
Bombs, rockets and torpedoes
There's more to War Thunder than just dogfighting. To win battles you'll need to take out ground targets, and to do that you'll need more than the machine guns and cannons you'll find on a fighter plane. This is where bombs, rockets and torpedoes come into play, and they of course come with their own complications that you'll need to know about.
They add extra weight to your aircraft, affecting its maneuverability, and the business of aiming them and successfully hitting a target takes skill.
So, you've learned how to fly your plane, operate all the weapons, and you're still getting wiped out? You need to step up and learn some tactics, because if you just fly around shooting at any enemies that come into view, you're not going to get very far.
Check out this video , it reveals some of the basic rules of combat, including situational awareness and plotting your attack runs, why you should try to get the height advantage in battle, and much more.
Learn how to outmaneuver the enemy when you're in their sights.
With an understanding of some of the tricks you can pull off mid-air, you can find it much easier to turn things around in battle by knowing how to shake off an enemy tail, what to do when attacked head-on, how to break off from a pursuit and, most importantly, how to turn the tables on an attacker.
This, then, is your lesson in elegant air superiority.
Time to get serious. If you've mastered all the subtleties of arcade mode and are ruling the skies without breaking a sweat, then maybe it's time to step up to realistic battles.
This might be a bit of a shock to the system, though. Damage models, flight models and physics are much closer to real life, which means that you can tear your aircraft apart by simply flying it too fast.
You'll also need to return to base for a reload if you run out of ammo, and if your plane gets destroyed then you're out of the battle.
Be prepared for the move to realistic battles by watching this video.
Finally: jets! You'll need to be a War Thunder veteran before you're even allowed in the cockpit of a jet, and with good reason. They're fast and powerful, but they demand a lot of skill to be flown effectively.
The basics of flight are much the same as any other aircraft, but jets rely on speed and so you need to adjust your tactics to suit the fast attack runs of jet combat.
If you lose your speed then your maneuverability goes out of the window, and you're as good as dead. Prevent that from happening, and learn all the other intricacies that put jet combat in a class of its own with this video.
War Thunder is now available for free from Google Play [download].