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skully

Flight Simulator Firsts

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Thinking back, what FS breakthroughs do you remember or left an impression on you?

 

First aircraft night lighting ( window lights showing on the wings, logo lights, wing lights illuminating the fuselage etc) I remember seeing was a 757 from Bob Klemm's Meridian Airlines virtual. He had a good team over there.

 

First Southwest "Shamu" livery- Project Freeware Group- I miss them.

 

First Animated thrust reversers- A JAS 777 where the cowling actually moved.

 

First fairly realistic looking piston twin- Abacus Piper Navajo- for its day, it was pretty good.

 

First commercial dev squabble- Carenado vs FSD over some supposedly "pinched' seat cover textures.

 

Second commercial dev squabble- B25 vs B25.

 

First complex payware aircraft purchased- PSS 777

 

First HD livery- the "Feel There" Qantas F1 livery. It was very cool for it's time!

 

First realistic looking airliner- POSKY 767- my 500mhz HP Pavillion wouldnt even load the textures lol

 

In recent times- the first landing lights that actually illuminated the ground and objects- Milviz 310?

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I loved when mesh terrain was used. I would download all the mesh that my computer could handle and I would fly all around the Cascades in Washington State.

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I'll go back from the start:

 

FS5.1 - The whole Earth on one CD.  This was touted on the FS Box at the time.  I thought it was amazing they could model the whole earth.

FS95  - The new FS Gui designed for the Window 95 (I thought it was a nice touch), FS Gui's since don't impress me.  The departure from DOS was interesting

FS98  -  Freeware got my attention when this version was standard.  We had some awesome stuff from this time period that developers of today cut their teeth on and got their start.  I met Eric Ernst who made his first 767 professional panel during this time.  We still use a version of this early work today now known as the Level-D 767. 

 

FS2000 - This was the first shift in the scenery engine that we still use today.  I was amazed at how much more realistic FS looked compared to FS98 and versions before it.  This version also was the worst performing version of FS second only to FSX

 

FS2k2 - The gold code version.  What awed me with this version was it was virtually bug free and was a proving ground for Aces after all the flack they got about FS2000. 

 

                       1. Default ATC was first realized

                       2. Payware took on a more prominent role PSS leading the charge with their Airbus Series (not that it was the first but it was a major turning point).  Some were mad at the shift.

                       3. Magazines like MicroWings closed it's doors while sites like Simmarket, Avsim, Flight1, became ever more prominent

                       4. Flight Simulator was almost totally shut down because of the 9/11 attacks.  For the first time the World Trade Center in New York wasn't include in the default scenery

                       5. FSUIPC

                     

FS2k4 - The longest used Flightsim in FS history (so far but FSX will topple that in a few years if we don't see x-Plane take over or MS jumps back in the game)

 

                       1.  Detailed virtual cockpits

                       2.  Weather patterns and isolated clouds (Activesky).  Before there was only a pallet that stretched across the sky now one could fly into weather

                       3.  PMDG advancements in virtual aircraft technology (the 744 was a work of art)

                       4.  Fjords area by Holger including Misty Moorings for cabin scenery, turned FS9 into another experience with the right add-on aircraft

                       5.  The realization that every major (well known) airport around the world is covered outside of most major airports in Africa and Auckland Intl. 

                       6.  The shier volume of freeware/payware available.

                       7.  Flight1's Ground environment which makes areas around the world unique

                       8.  REX in it's ability to transform FS, we haven't seen something like this before

                       9.  TrackIR - Amazing in how this device can add to the being there aspect in the Virtual Cockpit.  No longer staring at instruments ones eyes can scan properly an keep eyes out of the plane.

                     10.  Every developer pushed the other developers with new techniques they found or ways in which they did things

                     11.  Started using Yoke/Peddles with FS9 that added a realistic layer to simming that helped coordination when I went to the real airport.  Before I had to get back into the concept after driving a car for so long.  Using these devices at home on my computer made the whole effort of control in the real plane not feel so foreign when I first got back in the cockpit after a long stint away from it. 

 

 

FSX - (if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all)

 

                      1. Round Earth hands down is an amazing concept

                      2. The edge of Space is realized for the first time in FS

                      3. Graphics - the detail of VC's, scenery, and everything else is astounding

                      4.  I'm shocked in 2013 a sim released in 2006 isn't running just as good as FS9 with all settings maxed out on moderate machines today.  We have never seen anything like this before with any version of FS including FS2000.

 

Flight - What FS11 could have been

 

                       1. Gorgeous scenery rivaling FSX with add-ons able to run on machines 3+ years old at the time of it's release.

                       2. I was impressed with the FDE's in Flight and found the best crosswind simulation of any sim out there.  I still use it today to properly practice crosswind takeoff's and landings.

 

 

Last but not least the closure of Aces.  Who would have thought that would happen...

 

 

These are the FlightSim firsts that's got my attention over the years.

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Sublogic's Flight Simulator 2 was amazing leap from the first release offering real world regions to fly. The ability to land a Learjet with ILS at O'Hare was pretty revolutionary for the time. Then all the Sublogic Scenery Packs for the USA and Europe made for a lot of areas to explore.

 

Microsoft bought Flight Sim from Sublogic and Flight Simulator 4 was another milestone that brought many improvements from Bruce Artwick. Digital Sound, custom aircraft modeling, custom scenery modeling, this was the beginning of third party development and online forums.

 

FS 5 was exciting with the first use of textures, for the first time we could see photographic cockpit panels and scenery. Some great scenery with New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco done in great detail. This was the first time Commercial Aviation could properly be simulated.

 

Dillon has done a great job highlighting the improvements from FS5.1 and on

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FS2k4 - I forgot to add Flight1's Ultimate Traffic, Traffic Tools, GA Traffic, and WOAI totally revolutionized AI traffic and allowed FS9 to mirror what was going on in the air in the real world all around the world.

 

FS9 brought so many firsts I'm sure there's more to list.

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Getting FS2000 and having the joy of playing pilot, after that, landing lights and ATC for starters. Wish I could see what the future holds for all those young simmers in the crowd. Real time graphics/scenery someday, imagine that, or a helmet you wear and actually sit in a 3d cockpit, and would look and feel like the real thing, ya, a virtual real world. And to think just having a metal airplane to play with as a kid, and now all this, pretty amazing.

 

P.S. As a small kid I may have got the very first simulator ever produced. In the 1950's a toy came out that had a small 4 engine prop airliner mounted on a control console with separate throttles and two small yokes. As I recall the lights on the wings came on and the propellers turned with an increase in the throttle position. The mounted airplane turned when you manipulated the yoke. This was the coolest toy for a small kid who loved airplanes. Wonder what ever happened to it.....got me to looking and here it is http://www.timewarptoys.com/flyfox.jpg Want to see it in action watch You Tube video Remco Flying Fox Toy 1959

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Microsoft bought Flight Sim from Sublogic and Flight Simulator 4 was another milestone that brought many improvements from Bruce Artwick. Digital Sound, custom aircraft modeling, custom scenery modeling, this was the beginning of third party development and online forums.

 

A little clarification here, MS never bought FS from SubLogic. MS was the publisher for SubLogic's FS for the PC. When Bruce Artwick separated from SubLogic, he teamed with MS, and formed The Bruce Artwick Organization or BAO.  SubLogic then countered with their own simulator Flight Simulator ATP. MS/BAO got a court injunction against them claiming Copyright Infringement. As a settlement, MS agreed to drop the case, if SubLogic relinquished the rights to the Trademark of Flight Simulator, which they did. MS dropped the injunction, and Sublogic went on to release now renamed Flight Assignment ATP, then Flight Lite, and the scenery expansion packs, for both ATP and FS. before selling out to Sierra Online, who then produced ProPilot and ProPilot II. We all know how MS did from then on!!  

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Dillon, your two posts capture the progress of this hobby so well that there is very little else to add! Except to add that there has been a huge improvement in the design of AI aircraft modeling starting post FS2k2 that spawned the creation of almost every real world aircraft you can imagine. That in turn enhanced the sense of realism at most any airport.

 

Regards,

Mel

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I used other sims, primarily the Flight Unlimited series until FS finally caught up around the release of FS9:

 

-Real time ATC and AI traffic for both VFR and IFR flights (FS 2002 didn't have traffic at uncontrolled airports)

 

-Photo-real scenery (Megascenery, VFR England and Wales)

 

-Decent weather modelling for the first time

 

-More fun! Prior versions of FS made me feel like I was in school

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I used other sims, primarily the Flight Unlimited series until FS finally caught up around the release of FS9:

 

-Real time ATC and AI traffic for both VFR and IFR flights (FS 2002 didn't have traffic at uncontrolled airports)

 

-Photo-real scenery (Megascenery, VFR England and Wales)

 

-Decent weather modelling for the first time

 

-More fun! Prior versions of FS made me feel like I was in school

 

 

Were these all FS9 advances?

 

Also photo scenery never quite worked for me in FS9 do to the fact if you flew to the area with a jet you'd have mush until you slowed down and the detailed scenery caught up with your aircraft.  Low and slow was always better but don't fly into the scenery from another location or what you'd find below is a blob looking worse than FS2000 on a low performance machine of the time.  I wonder does FSX suffer this same problem with photo scenery?  I'd love to hear FSXer's chime in on this.  I've since left photo scenery alone in FS9 because of the slow update rate.

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ATP RevD, by the time I was using fs2004, was a major upgrade, and I used it quite a lot... Then, by the time fs2000 was already available, I bought Airline Simulator 2, and again went back to a lower graphics standard in turn for flight model accuracy and an excxelent (for the time) ATC simulation.

 

But Aerowinx PS1 was probably the product that impressed me the most. I used the DOS version and upgraded to Windows and even managed to couple it with fs9 and fsx!!!

 

Recently, FLIGHT, which I also think has some of the best examples of how a civil flightsim should be.

 

and DCS World - impressed me as, so far, the most advanced flight dynamics simulator I ever had the chance to use...

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Going from wire-frame graphics to CGA. :lol:

 

Yes -that certainly portraied a different World :rolleyes:

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Were these all FS9 advances?

 

I recall Flight Unlimited setting the bar for 2D and 3D Cockpits and a sophisticated ATC system. They also did the lines to follow when taxing that you could turn on and off to know where to go. MS eventually put these features into MSFS as well but were not the first to have these features.

 

The late 90's was a great time for Flight Sim as their was a few series out there pushing each others capabilities. MSFS, Flight Unlimited and Fly were the main three series at the time. If it wasn't for those other two then MSFS may have developed slower then what it did. They had some good competition that raised the bar in developing new features.

 

MSFS was the winner of that era in Flight Sim but Flight Unlimited was a lot of fun at that time and had some better features with their second release

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Most of you weren't even a glimmer in your Daddies eye when them were around. :)

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This video has been on YouTube for a couple of years now, but if it wasn't for this guy we wouldn't have FSX today:

 

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FS2K4 - Level-D's pioneering of accurate cockpit ambiance and sounds.

 

Level-D was the first add-on to accurately put together a sound package that depicted sounds in the cockpit versus sitting over the engines in the cabin. Before Level-D's 767 everyone was designing their sound files as if one was in the cabin over the wings. People actually complained about Level-D's work at first thinking the engines sounded too low from within the cockpit. After we figured it out that this was truly accurate we all were impressed for the attention to detail never before seen. Wind noise is more prevalent than engine noise in all cockpits especially the one's with rear mounted engines. Even today sound makers in our community struggle with depicting this correctly. I still hear sound packages allowing one to hear the APU in the cockpit (which can't be heard in the cabin let alone the cockpit), flap movement, and excessive engine noise to name a few.

 

If it wasn't for Level-D things would be allot worse in the cockpit sound department. After Level-D's 767 we got PMDG to refine their sound package for the 744 (allot of forum protesting).

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FS2k2 - Dreamfleet

Their 737 was the next step up from the FS2000 Wilco 767PIC add-on. It helped set the stage for what we've come to expect from payware to this day. With only 2D panels in this era it was a breakthrough that was an act to follow for everyone else.

 

- FSGenesis 

 

This was the first company to specialize in mesh for Flight Simulator.  


FS2k4 - Eaglesoft

This was the first developer to open up the world of coorporate aviation to the FS world. Before them was only prop planes and airliners. Eaglesoft was the first developer to specialize in detailed private jets as their specialty. No one since has bought us better jets like the Citation X. Carenado has stepped in the ring with their Cirrus but Eaglesoft pioneered advanced avionics in GA aircraft with their rendition of the Cirrus.

- Ariane

Aka Papa Tango of FS98/2000 fame holds the record for the worst company to do business with (a first in this community). This group was the first to lock their add-ons down to a point activation was a chore instead of a simple process. This is the first company to blatantly over price and overstate their add-ons and truly turn off the FS community with their history of trying to license the AA logo for their exclusive use.

- Perfect Flight

This company shamelessly sells sub standard freeware quality add-ons and was the first to do so with success. We all have wondered how in the world these guys are still in business.

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FS2000 - 767PIC by Wilco: First MSFS Boeing add-on (to my knowledge)  to implement LNAV - VNAV - Autoland - system simulation/interaction and failures. Same dev. team who made Level D 767 for FS9.

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FS2k4 - Interactive Virtual cockpits

 

I said detailed above but VC's were fully realized in FS9 where one could use them exclusively without the need for a 2D panel.  This was huge as one could fly the aircraft with the same perspective as sitting in the real cockpit.  No longer did one have the whole panel in their face and one's eyes could be focused over the glare shield and look down when one needs to reference the gauges.  With TrackIR one could practice real world scanning techniques of not only the cockpit but the world outside and properly do pattern work.

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FS2k2 - Autgen (instead of flat ground trees and buildings populate the ground as you fly along)

 

I first saw this realized in combat games in the 90's like JSF.

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FS2k2 - Autgen (instead of flat ground trees and buildings populate the ground as you fly along)

 

I first saw this realized in combat games in the 90's like JSF.

 

The first time I remember seeing autogen was MS's Crimson Skies.

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