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When was your "Golden Age" in this hobby?

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When you look at the whole period you have been enjoying the FS hobby, when would you say is your Golden Age?

 

....the time when things seemed most exciting, happy and enjoyable for you within the hobby?

 

For me, this would be 2004-2006, with FS9 and specifically, the Dreamfleet developments.    Lou Betti and his team creating some jaw droppingly beautiful general aviation aircraft (particularly the Archer III and Dakota), all based on aircraft that Lou knew of personally.    ......... and they flew fantastically!!!

 

If I was to choose one FDE that I would rate higher than all others in the 15 years I have been enjoying this hobby, it would be the Dreamfleet PA28-235 Dakota.

 

then came............. the Dreamfleet 727  :cool: .......... Wow, when you rotated that jet you just thought to yourself "heck, I'm really taking off here, this just feels so real".     It was an amazing airliner.    If we looked at the textures and visuals now we would probably consider them below par, but the systems, FDE and sounds of that FS9 jet were still better than a lot of today's releases IMHO.

 

So those were magic days for me.    Now, to an extent we are spoiled by many good releases.   It sometimes feels like we have too much choice now.

 

But in this particular Golden Age of mine, all I wanted to fly was the Dreamfleet Archer III, The Dakota, Their Baron 58, and their fantastic A36.         (oh and the 727 for airliner duties :smile:).

 

It would be good to hear other people's anecdotes of their Golden Age of the FS hobby.

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Hard to say Dave. I love the new stuff we have- it is INCREDIBLE how far the hobby has come. Things that I would lie awake in bed at night and dream of have been far surpassed for years now (like smart AI that has proper airline liveries that operate from the correct gate on a correct schedule, etc.)

 

I really got saturated back in 1998 (FS98) and flew that sim into the ground until FS2000 (so horrible, yet such neat new things) was replaced by FS2002. 

 

Back to FS98- I was really into the MD88 panel by a guy named Eric Ernst I believe...he developed it as freeware and he also did a few other panels (757/767) that I just loved. Then there was a nice 777 panel made by a Japanese guy for freeware- loved it too! This was probably a heyday for me as for my pure addiction to sim time. I would spend hours EACH day flying across the US and to Europe occasionally. I was so addicted then I remember days of going and driving home on my lunch break across Jacksonville (a 20 minute trip minimum from work to home) only to fly 20 minutes, then drive back 20 minutes to work.

 

I then got addicted to the idea of doing what Kevin Saker, Dave and Mike Lehkamp, and many like James Price were doing by hacking keyboards/joysticks to build full scale replicas, except I never was able to actually build my own until about late 2007. The hobby has turned into a part time business that I obsess over full time. So, as a result I do not always get to fly much, but I'd say that right now we are likely seeing the peak of it as a hobby only because of the way we see the likes of MS and others coming and going. Naturally, we hold on to hoping that LM, Laminiar Research, and others will continue to develop.  

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Arguably the golden age is now, althought somewhat bittersweet after what Microsoft have been up to, and not up to, after January 2009.

 

But on the whole, I'd have to agree with you that the glory days was the FS2004-era, especially because of the booming freeware community.  I used very little payware back then because much of the freeware was just as good.

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When Vista Australis reigned supreme and PSS had a great A320

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Back in the days of Project Freeware and FS98. I had just discovered I could download a livery for every occasion. Once I mastered Tom Allensworth's very helpful tutorial on how to decompress a zip file I was good to go!

 

John

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Strictly speaking, the best is right here, right now.

 

But in terms of my "Golden FS age" I concur with those fellows naming dreamfleet, PSS, and other developers producing for FS9.

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I've been with the hobby since its first inception. I have to go with FSX. It is amazing for the price.

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The day I learned how to correctly program an FMC.That set out all sorts of giddiness and newfound excitement for loading up the CS 757 and the likes. After that, the second Golden Age started when I could complete an entire 4 hour flight in the A2A 377 and greasing my landing! That led me to all sorts of old airline routes that I continue to enjoy.

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Ah, the "Golden Days". Mine was back in 2006-2007 when I first discovered VATSIM online flying. The feeling I got when I had time to sit down and load up a flight online. I thought it felt so real being able to talk to other people as controllers, get my clearance, etc. I would wake up early in the mornings to get some uninterrupted time. It was a feeling I can't really describe and certainly one I miss.

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My golden age is now and continuing, just can't get over the immersion and so many great planes / helicopters + Opus, Accufeel, Aivlasoft EFB, PFPX etc available across FSX, then you got DCS and so on. Looking forward to DCS WWII!

 

Just need to be financially independent in order to have enough hours to fly it all! :)

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Late 1980's and early 1990's...

  • MSFS v.4 with the Aircraft and Scenery Designer had me engrossed for hours and hours, making fictional cities and airports, flying through them in my newly created fighter jet.... hours and hours.
     
  • Disney's Stunt Island had me equally enjoying both flying AND setting up props, worlds, and environments to "film" my exploits.

It seems that each "generation" of flight simulator technology has something I look back on and enjoy, but for some reason this time period stands out. This is not to say I'd like to go back in time, or that it was more fun then than it is now considering what more than twenty years has brought to the table, but I look back fondly on those days.

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Late 90's, with FS98 and Aerowinx PS1. Flightline, Northwest Virtual with it's CEO Ed Augustine, those were the days...

Nowadays software is more perfect, but some parts of the fun and fellowship were lost.

 

Gesendet von meinem GT-I9100 mit Tapatalk 2

 

 

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I think one of the most exciting periods for me was sometime in the late 90s/early 2000s when there was intense competition among different flight simulators.   Remember when FLY! was first released?   That was groundbreaking stuff, with photo realistic ground, a multiple part 2d cockpit, and pretty much all the planes (the few that were offered) having complete cockpit gauge and button functionality.  Fly forced everyone to step up their game, I remember some other sims besides MS flight sim competing for market share around that time like Looking Glass Flight Unlimited and of course, X-plane.  I suppose that was the golden era for me, because there was the potential for a fresh upstart to force Microsoft to innovate or die.  But we all know what happened. 

 

Now, even with Aces gone and the possibility of a FS11 up in the air, I think we are embarking on  a resurgence in development for FSX, especially the potential for P3D v2.0 to revolutionize the industry if they deliver as promised and more FSX only developers adopt that platform.  Even without P3D, which I can't imagine using without PMDG's involvement, I'm excited for FSX for the first time in years because of recent addons like ORBX global, PFPX, and PMDG 777.   If HiFi's Active Sky Next turns out to be the total rewrite of the abysmal FSX weather engine it promises to be, that is one more reason why now is the best time to be a FSX ######.

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Once I mastered Tom Allensworth's very helpful tutorial on how to decompress a zip file I was good to go!

 

Wow. Someone actually read that? I had totally forgotten it and am very impressed that you remember.

 

My golden age? Two days before AVSIM became "aware" and online. It's been down hill ever since. :lol:


 

 


Remember when FLY! was first released? That was groundbreaking stuff, with photo realistic ground, a multiple part 2d cockpit, and pretty much all the planes (the few that were offered) having complete cockpit gauge and button functionality. Fly forced everyone to step up their game,

 

That was an important nexus in the hobby too. FLY was the creative origins of PMDG, which has raised the bar in more than a few areas since and has driven more innovation than most.

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I don't think I've reached a golden age yet. 

 

Even though I've loved aviation since my first flight when I was a little kid, I got into FS in March 2011 after running into FSX videos on youtube.

 

I started with FSX and got into FS9 shortly after.  I enjoy both sims equally and have them running very well using some tweaks and my in-game NI settings.

 

I feel my golden age will come when I upgrade my PC in the future to something that can run FSX completely maxed out with smooth fps.  I tried this on my system before and the sim had a completely different feel to it.  The world was so much more "alive".  Of course, I was in the single digit fps during the test, but what I saw was incredible.

 

So at the moment, I feel I'm still on my journey to a golden age.  Sure, I'm having a blast right now with the payware sceneries, PMDG MD-11 on FSX and FS9, various CLS add on's, NGX, and waiting for the 777.  But just the thought of running all these add ons completely maxed out on FSX makes me salivate.

 

then came............. the Dreamfleet 727   :cool: .......... Wow, when you rotated that jet you just thought to yourself "heck, I'm really taking off here, this just feels so real".     It was an amazing airliner.    If we looked at the textures and visuals now we would probably consider them below par, but the systems, FDE and sounds of that FS9 jet were still better than a lot of today's releases IMHO.

 

The DF 727 is the most intense aircraft I have.  I love the way it handles and the primitive a/p system is so different.  I still consider it one of the best aircraft add on that I have.

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Back to FS98- I was really into the MD88 panel by a guy named Eric Ernst I believe

 

Eric is an amazing guy and someone who really moved the bar in this hobby.  I think the FS98 to FS2002 era embodied the essence of the "hobby". Freeware was at its prime. Payware was the exception, not the rule. You had people putting commercial quality effort into FS development solely for the joy of the hobby. It felt much more like a hobby then. You didn't have the large bureaucracies that you have now (give witness SATCO --> VATSIM) - it was just hobbiests coming together doing what they love and eager to show off the next greatest thing. I was far more engaged with fellow members and contributors then than I am now. I flew in the VA's, always flew online - loved flyins...worked ATC posts, even made a bit of scenery for FS2002 and Fly! and worked on ADE's (the old .air files). Almost everything in my sim back then was a creative effort by a fellow enthusiast. If it wasn't fun, it rarely happened.

 

Today, I skulk in the forums, don't fly in the VA's, don't fly online, any works I do I generally hoarde to myself, and my sim is almost 100% payware (hundreds of dollars worth) and almost next to nothing by way of freeware. Don't get me wrong, I think it's absolutely incredible the level of realism that has been achieved in a tired old sim that is FSX...but when I marvel at something, I tend to marvel at the labors of capitalism not someone's labor of love. It's engaging, but not for the reasons it was fifteen years ago. The hobby changed or I did or both.

 

I miss the simpler times. Sometimes less is more.

 

J

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For me it has been more of a roller coaster ride. When I initially got into flight simming with Flight Unlimited II around 1997, everything was obviously new and exciting.

 

When FU3 came out in 1999, it was a huge disappointment because my system at the time wasn't fast enough, but once I upgraded a year later, the excitement came back. Then I stuck with FU3 until FS9 came out. Towards the end I got a little bored with flightsims. FS 2002 didn't have what I wanted, and FU3 was getting long i the tooth. So 2003-2004 was a bit of a low.

 

With FS9, didn't care much for default scenery because of the framerate problems. However FS9 with Megascenery around 2005 - 2006 was another very exciting period.

 

With FSX, flight simming for me hit an all-time low. It was so buggy and slow that I completely gave up on flight sims. I hardly played FS at all between 2007 - 2011. I only got back when I discovered OrbX scenery and upgraded my system in 2011. Right now is a very good time to be a flight simmer IMO. Even though our current sims (FSX and P3D 1.4) are outdated technology-wise, there is so much amazing content coming out.

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Ok, this may sound strange... but I think it was sometime around 2004~2005, when I was just flying for fun with some friends in FS9.

 

My simulator was worse, my graphics weren't as good as they are today, I wasn't flying great PMDG aircrafts; my route planning was poor, my flying techniques were poor, I didn't have the knowledge I have today (which isn't really much actually, but I know a lot more now then I knew at that time), my aircrafts were all simple, freeware models. 

 

But I just don't have nowadays the fun I had at that time. Hard to explain.  :mellow:

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My "Golden Age" is right now :)

Things got better and better, and for me, FS has never looked so good since the last 30 years.

Our kids will have an other "Golden Age" and when they look back to our possibilitys they will say: "Oh my God, how could they do..." :)

 

 

Best regards/schöne Grüße

Werner

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But I just don't have nowadays the fun I had at that time. Hard to explain. :mellow:

Hard to explain, but not difficult to understand. I feel this way often.

 

If anything has really inspired that "old" feeling lately, it would be VFR flight over MSE and/or ORBX scenery in the RealAir Duke v2.0. I absolutely love this plane because it offers tremendous realism, but I can just climb into it and fly it without having to go through a space shuttle launch. 60 minutes of pure wow is not hard to find with this combo and it requires almost 0 brain cycles, yet very satisfying to fly.

 

When I fly the big PMDG metal, i'm combing through my flight planners, figuring out my weight and balance, fuel loadouts, pulling up charts, reviewing winds aloft and forcast weather at my destination, running ETOPS calculations, finding suitable alternates, setting up the sim and a half-dozen external apps, working through all the ground ops...baggage, passenger boarding, flight crew...filing flight plans with VATSIM and finding an online controller, going through long checklists that were meant for 2 pilots, 1000+ clicks to get the aircraft ready to taxi, and....Out of Memory! You Lose! At that point, I just want to retreat to my XBox to play Skyrim and put an arrow through a villager.

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The Golden age for me was 2000 to 2004  was always flying online.    We have now get the best addons ever like NGX,777 MD11 because there has been no new sim since FSX not including X-plane.  I use to fly everyday back then these days I find im flying less and less one week I might do a flight every night and then not touch FSX for a month. or two.

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The '80s. Solo Flight, Project Stealth, Gunship, FSII, ACE... It was innocent. It was fun. There was no pretence. No grizzling about frames (which were awful), or demands for release. I think it hit the peak for me when I could finally land an F4U on a carrier in Aces of the Pacific, which was a bit later. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy FSX immensely and want to see if X-Plane will reach the same lofty heights for me (note - for me!). And there are some great planes and wonderful sceneries.

 

I'm sure it's looking back through rose tinted glasses, and the wire frame alps would just make me cringe now. But that wasn't now.

 

Mike

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I have two golden ages, or maybe it's all one and I just don't realize it. First 2002 - 03, I bailed into FS about the time FS2002 was released, I call this the "Ketchikan epoch", that stupid looking GPS (remember, it showed your track in yellow? ...which was actually pretty cool), Naji's bush scenery (Fox camp1, Fox camp2, etc.), Flight Simulator Scenery Creator (FSSC), a Super Cub by Bob Wening, Nova and Nova Gold textures, Bush Flying Unlimited, a really hideous homemade airport on Kinskuch Lake in Canada with an ILS so I could land the Lear 45, Alaska Terrain Mesh by Eddie Denney (all downloaded on dial-up), Frank Betts sceneries, etc.

 

Then 2004-06 or so when FS9 came along. I tried for probably 2 whole hours not to like it, just a bunch of newfangled garbage, you know :smile: . After about hour #3 it was all about FS9 and freeware. IMHO the user guide that came with 9 Dragons Kai Tak should be required reading for all simmers even if you don't install the actual scenery, it was brilliant and fascinating, I must have read through all the stories and listened to the captain interviews .mp3 20 times, you'll never see anything like it in a payware release, I was completely lost in it for a month or more. At the end of the user guide there was a scan of the tower log showing the last flight cleared out of Kai Tak, almost brings tears to my eyes to this day just thinking about it. Then there was Project Opensky in it's heyday, iFDG, the Stratojet Excalibur, a play with panels and XML gauges, Robert Versluys A380, the Vistaliners 727 (loved it), Holger's Columbia River Gorge and British Columbia sceneries, multiplayer on "The Zone", VOZ, Milton Shupe's Commanders, Dave Garwood's Dragon Rapide, FSGenesis freeware mesh... I have to stop somewhere but I could go on for hours, lol

 

Like others have said, those were great times but I don't want to go back. It took me a lot more than 3 hours to warm up to FSX, like 4 years actually, but once I built a capable machine and saw it running flat out with Orbx, Carenado, A2A, etc. it was curtains for FS9.

 

Jim

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Having been simming since FS98, I'd say now.

 

Forgetting the many wonderful add-ons, we now have PC's that can run all this stuff reasonably well, which certainly wasn't the case most of the time through history.  I don't remember the last time I had a CTD or OOM.

 

Having said that, is there much left of the original Flight Simulator product?  For me, not much.

 

Flyable aircraft: no - currently PMDG 737 and occasionally Aerosoft A320

AI traffic: no - a mixture of freeware downloads

ATC: no - ProATC-X

Airports: not really - most of those I've use often have been replaced  

Weather: no - Opus FSX

Textures: no - GEX/REX

Landclass: no - UTX

 

Did I miss anything?

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I'm with A.J...

 

1. Turn of the century: Flight Unlimited 2/Fly was my first feeling of immersion that started to close in on reality.

 

2. Now: FSX with ORBX/PMDG and REX (+42" screen) another huge step closer to my real world flying.

 

Richard

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