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A History of Flight: Inside Microsoft Flight Simulator, Part 1

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May 24, 2006 1:58:41 PM

Microsoft Flight Simulator has been around for more than two decades, making it one of the longest-running and most-popular PC games ever. TwitchGuru takes a look at the game's rich history, evolving design and several of its expansion versions. Fetch your flight suit and sunglasses because it is time to take off.
May 24, 2006 3:59:48 PM

Yep......it's a....game. No more, no less. No FAA approvals to be found for this.....game. On the other hand..x-plane 8 has many FAA approvals. But than the usual joe-blow-off-the-street finds xplane 8 too difficult, just like real flight. 8)
May 24, 2006 10:44:16 PM

gm0n3y: I have no idea why you would make such a tasteless and ill-advised comment, and I don't care to know. Peddle your senseless 9/11 humor elsewhere.
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May 25, 2006 3:37:20 AM

Finally, an article on flight simulators!

I have not actually used the latest MSFS, but I did have flight sim 98 when it came out. It was a great sim, but the choice of only the learjet and cessna left me wanting more.

Then a few years back I found X-plane 5.52 sitting on the shelf at my local office depot. The great choice of planes, including the 747, concorde and SR-71 and the detail of the scenery made it a no-brainer to buy, and I have loved it ever since.

Today, I'm running v8.40 of x-plane at 1680x1050 resolution. The scenery is just amazing, the realism is uncanny and the level of detail and response beats anything else. And likewise, you can download additional aircraft, modify existing ones, edit the scenery, fly on Mars etc...

It is just simply the ultimate choice in flight-sim software.

But don't take my word for it, check out http://www.x-plane.com and download the free trial.

It's advanced, it's detailed, it's serious, but if you love to fly, you will love x-plane!
May 25, 2006 9:39:36 AM

I remember X-Plane used to be free right? Maybe not, maybe I mistaken with another one.
May 25, 2006 11:24:00 AM

The X-plane 7 or 8 download is free....however, after a few minutes the program reverts to demo mode by disabling the joystick. Keyboard will work.....but that is no fun. This simulator is worth every dollar it costs. FS9 has lots of eye candy but it is not a simulator. It is a game. Xplane is science...even NASA and aeronautical engineers use it. Noobs and rookies play fs9 and think it is a simulator......yeah....right. 8)
May 25, 2006 11:38:42 AM

Quote:
="gm0n3y"Now the most important question: Is there a New York mod that puts the WTC back in place so we can have fun mowing into it with a variety of planes? I would love to fly a c-130 into the WTC.


You are sick.....
Only the US government is allowed to do that
May 25, 2006 10:11:59 PM

We all know xplane is better than MSFS, but what gives you the right to say MSFS players are noobs. There are probably pilots using MSFS that can be even better than you. On the other hand, I would like to ask if xplane addons have panels that included FMC (or in airbus terms FMS).
May 25, 2006 10:20:17 PM

Uhhhh, yea.....lets just admit this wasn't a look at flight simulator's "rich history".

It was 4 paragraphs of flight simulator history, only 3 paragraphs providing real information.

the other 12 pages were advertising one company's payware addon products to expand the sim. One company out of many in a highly competitive industry. I don't care a hoot that the company got nice advertising, but to title it a look at flight simulator's rich history is misleading. The real title should have read, "a review of flight 1's products".
Anonymous
May 26, 2006 9:51:12 AM

Another vote for X-Plane 8. Nothing better out there at the mo!
May 26, 2006 10:30:06 AM

Quote:
gm0n3y: I have no idea why you would make such a tasteless and ill-advised comment, and I don't care to know. Peddle your senseless 9/11 humor elsewhere.


I know it's not of a good idea to do such thing a recreate the 9/11, especially we still have men and women dying and sacrificing their lives right now fighting against terrorism for our freedom. I don't believe this Flight Simulator X is gonna have a mod to this and that would be really f@cked up if they do. All I wanted is for this game to release and so I could enjoy yet another great flight simulator just like the 2002 version. :D 
May 27, 2006 6:51:27 AM

well that guy made the Nitwit of the month club. I think he should be ban.

I Do like the idea of being able to fly. Where I live There a 14 year old who learn how to fly a helicopter and with games like this and a Flight instructor he went to school and landed on Football field.
May 27, 2006 4:56:29 PM

You have a point there.

You would expect something like this:

FS9 is a single core application; so you have to disable HT (set the affinity to CPU0) for best performance. You also need a very good graphics card, at least 1GB of RAM and 3 GHz CPU speed to get somewhat adequate performance. Fluid graphics are possible , but you must have the knowledge of a systems unification engineer to make it work. You have to mess with page files, disabling windows o/s features, tweak the graphics card and tweak FS9 config files. You also have to replace the default cloud textures with low res textures to avoid a slide show performance.

The engine behind fs9 is based on tables, i.e. the planes behave you expect them to behave versus xplane 8 where the actual aerodynamic performance is calculated for every airfoil. In xplane the planes behave the way they should behave. Hence, there is FAA approval for xplane based trainers and there is none for fs9. The fundamental concept of fs9 is hopelessly flawed.
Don't expect anything better from fs10 (fsX) besides more eye candy which has nothing to do with flying.
Nuff said. 8)
May 27, 2006 5:37:50 PM

Quote:
We all know xplane is better than MSFS, but what gives you the right to say MSFS players are noobs. There are probably pilots using MSFS that can be even better than you. On the other hand, I would like to ask if xplane addons have panels that included FMC (or in airbus terms FMS).


Well for one thing FMS stands for Flight Management System, the Flight Management Computer (FMC) is a part of that system and it is not a specific Airbus term. You program the FMC by using a CDU or Computer Display Unit. BUt what fun is that? You become a slave of the magenta line.
Real pilots fly raw data, at low altitude that is.

OK, 99.9% of fs9 users are noobs. An occasional professional pilot uses fs9 for procedures training for example in persuing a new type rating or for transition training. But you can accomplish much of the procedures training by sitting in front of a big cockpit poster, the ones that FlightSafety publish. Don't need fs9 for that.

Not sure if FMS is implemented in xplane airplanes. Pretty sure you can attach an external hardware CDU to the xplane8 program. If you can afford them. 30+ years of ATP flight experience and being involved in fs since the commodore64 gives me an idea about the people involved in it.
May 29, 2006 3:50:56 AM

Flight Simulator, or Flight Fantasy? I bought the thing because it was on sale and I heard that it included a lot more airports than in the past. I looked up one, "Bickerdike Field" in North Dakota. Why that one? It belonged to my Uncle George Bickerdike. My mother, father, brothers, and I all flew out of it. So its nostalgia, you know. Well, the way Microsoft rendered the field, it was nothing like what I have known for over 50 years. Buildings randomly scattered all over the place, trees, all kinds of stuff that isn't there. I tried a few other fields that I flew out of and found the same thing, nothing that resembled reality. Why bother. If this is the junk Microsoft is going to try to pawn off on the public, then they must think the public's mighty stupid. I want a flying simulator that is realistic, not cartoon like.
May 30, 2006 9:09:42 AM

I think it's unrealistic to expect that they might have every airport, strip and back road modelled to the same level of precise detail - it'd require a small army, wads of money and several decades of development. That's what scenery add-ons are for, as I explained in the article.
May 30, 2006 3:15:31 PM

Aaron, you must realize that to give 12 pages to a SINGLE vendor you provide nothing more than an infomercial. Any person wanting to understand Microsofts product would have been better off reading the program box panels on the store shelf.

Shoddy journalism to hide an informercial for a SINGLE vendor under a title that might draw in folks honestly interested in flight sim.

Assuming your article was always meant to target addons, why not title your article fairly, the introduction would pose the problem listed in your latest post, and your article would briefly touch on the world of addons, meaning freeware and payware, and touching on the major sites and major vendors.

Do you benefit from Flight1 sales personally? Or were you just too lazy to contact other vendors? Are you a bad writer who just didn't notice your title is misleading, or was that intentional?

Bob
May 30, 2006 3:35:42 PM

I'll recall what Oscar said, smile and continue...

In relation to your comments, you are quite correct that this article focuses on Just Flight. It might also be worth noting that this is not the last article we ever intend to publish on the flight sim genre... the reviews of the products were reviews fair and square, and I resent any suggestion that I might benefit financially from writing an infomercial for them. Please remember that my reputation is just about all I have in this business, and to throw it away like that would be folly.

The reviews are fair, the article is not the be-all-and-end-all of our flight sim coverage now or in the future.

It also be might worth noting that Just Flight is the most prolific of all expansion makers for MSFS... all the games listed are made by different developers working under them. If they happen to have a large segment of the market cornered then they'll get more coverage, ala a feature and so on.
May 30, 2006 5:02:07 PM

So you think a 12 page infomercial for a vendor should be titled a History of Microsoft Flight Simulator?

Sad. Did they teach that in writing class or marketing class?

Bob
May 30, 2006 5:15:42 PM

Well, Aaron, maybe I'm just too picky. At the same time, I think that if the airports aren't going to be laid out realisticaly, then they shouldn't be there at all. What's the point of having lots of airports, but they are all the same except for the nametag? It makes a mockery of the name, "Flight Simulator", and reduces it to being just a flying game. To an extent, I can get better realism with the old "Red Baron" game and a number of other flying games that never tried to say that they were anything other than games.

I just find it a bit insulting when an airport is listed in which I know the hanger, taxiway, landing strip, etc like the back of my hand and then see it rendered in a generic "one size fits all" theme. I'd personally rather have few airports and more realism.
May 31, 2006 10:19:50 AM

Quote:
Well, Aaron, maybe I'm just too picky. At the same time, I think that if the airports aren't going to be laid out realisticaly, then they shouldn't be there at all. What's the point of having lots of airports, but they are all the same except for the nametag? It makes a mockery of the name, "Flight Simulator", and reduces it to being just a flying game. To an extent, I can get better realism with the old "Red Baron" game and a number of other flying games that never tried to say that they were anything other than games.

I just find it a bit insulting when an airport is listed in which I know the hanger, taxiway, landing strip, etc like the back of my hand and then see it rendered in a generic "one size fits all" theme. I'd personally rather have few airports and more realism.

Well in FS there are plenty of well done airports, alas mainly big ones. If you removed a worlds worth of airports and strips then the game would have much less appeal... it's a catch-22 alright, but the nice thing about the FS mod community is that you can do up your own stuff and add your knowledge to the base.

Quote:
So you think a 12 page infomercial for a vendor should be titled a History of Microsoft Flight Simulator?

It's called "A history of flight: Inside Microsoft Flight Simulator". The history of flight bit doesn't say it's a history of MSFS... though I agree in hindsight that we should have used something a little less suggestive.
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