I've thought about bombing missions before and how they play out in FS2 and mods.
This is mostly a stream of conscience of ideas I've played around with in the past, likes and dislikes:How do FS2 bomber missions differ from what we've seen in past, present, and future?
-In Catch 22
our protagonist is one of the few examples of a dedicated bomber turning around and making a second bomber run. For the uninitiated, it is a tactical bombing run where they miss and "hero" takes the bomber back not out of sense of duty but survival. To paraphrase, 'we go back and make sure we hit that bridge, or else we are forced to face the same obstacles again tomorrow night! Assholes!'
I feel a lot of FS2 has that 'let us linger and destroy' mentality, which just doesn't exist in strike craft since their inception. I would rule out ships like the Spooky and AC-130, purposely designed for linger and engage in support operations, those aren't bombers but deserve tip of the hat. A-10s might, but only with complete aerial superiority.
-One of the defining moments in sci-fi bombing runs, the Death Star 'Trench Run,' was completed by a fighter with a space-wizard pilot. This was a contingency for when everything else failed, but the more I detail, the more I digress. I think the one mission I've played is FS history that really captured that 'trench run' feeling: Wings of Dawn - the mission where you are escaping with the Cordi queen through an asteroid field. You are in a suped up fighter, oversized weapons firing from all directions, you just have to make through the grid of death. One of my favorite missions of all time out of all mods released to date, I think it most encapsulated the trench run, even if that wasn't the designers intent.
-The biggest FS2 bombing failure: High Noon.
I think this is worth bringing up because not only is the mission boring, it's practically self playing and sloppy. I can concede that one reason the mission feels so lame now is because it has both the Juggernauts slugging it out and back in '99 it would have been resource intensive. I think the Sath defanging mission in AoA remedied much of what was wrong there.
-Diaspora and WCS both had great missions where you would return to base only to be scrambled to a new objective. With vanilla FS2, you lurk with your bombs while your wingmen 'whatever.' Both mods had a much more 'bomber feeling mode' where you release a payload or two, RTB, only to face new challenges. While a bomber with a depleted payload shouldn't be much of a threat to an enemy strike, both mods played on this really well. Even when secondaries run dry, an extra ship in the sky is worth two on the flight deck. Add a pinch of 'may have tactical missile left' and it was good.
-This leads me to the Custos-X which I get a vibe where current bomber design in BP is headed. Great mission. Innovation and controls off the scale. An intimidating amount of required microing. A definitive proof of concept built upon The Blade Itself. Are UEF bombers just going to feel like scaled back C-Xs? Or more automated?
Bombing can certainly be fun. The hold-lock-release formula can be great in small doses. My opinion is that bomb missions should not be repetitive in form or function, need excellent background excitement, and the occasional kick in the butt that you thought X, but we're gonna put Y here to keep the adrenaline flowing.
Good luck devs, eagerly awaiting the infamous cigar chomping Tev bug turned feature