Christopher Low

Flight Unlimited 3 memories

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I came across one or two FU3 videos on YouTube today, and it has persuaded me to post this message on the FU3 forum here at AVSIM......

 

I really miss the days when I used FU3 (and the FU2 San Francisco scenery) exclusively. It was much more atmospheric and enjoyable than the versions of MSFS that were available at the time, even though the high resolution scenery regions were only a fraction of the size of the entire globe offered by Microsoft. Nevertheless, it simulated certain things really well, and there are a handful of items that have still not been surpassed! I am thinking here of the wonderful floatplane physics as my plane bobbed up and down in the water, with the sound of small waves lapping against the fuselage. I also remember those excellent water droplet effects on the windscreen and side windows when it was raining, the sound effects as a thunderstorm passed overhead and rain battered down on the roof of my plane, and the wonderfully atmospheric graphics as low cloud and mist partially obscured distant hills and mountains. The Beechjet very quickly became my favourite plane, and the simulation of those thrust reversers was the best that I had ever heard in a flight simulator (and impressive even by today's standards).

 

I also miss the friends that I made in the FU3 community, and this post is partly to see just how many of you are still around. I notice that quite a few usernames have the prefix "inatctive member" at the front, so maybe some of those guys have left AVSIM (and maybe even flight simulation) forever? :(

 

I eventually switched to FSX over six years ago, and last year I upgraded yet again to Lockheed Martin Prepar3d. I have been a beta tester for UK2000 for the past six years, and SIM720 for the past two years. I am actively involved with UK2000 products, and have contributed to version 2 of the VFR Airfields Volume 1 (released nearly two years ago; I was responsible for completely updated versions of seven of the airfields), and VFR Airfields Volume 2 (due to be released very soon; I have made plenty of suggestions, and added extra details at several airfields). In addition, I have made personal modifications to literally hundreds of AFD files, so the legacy of Seattle 2006 and SanFran 2006 lives on :smile:

 

I would love to hear from as many of my old FU3 community friends as possible, so please let me know that you are still alive and kicking!

 

Best Wishes,

 

 

Chris

 

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Nice post Christopher, Yes that's what I started with, Flight Unlimited, Only few weeks ago I was thinking of those early days when I was doing a flight out of half Moon Bay. flew up to Bonny Doon Village, my thoughts of how I couldn't get the airplane to fly at first and when I managed to get it up I was then worried about going to far and getting back until one day I found Half Moon Bay. I see Bonny Doon has also progressed and now has a picnic area. It also nice to know the work you have done to progress this great hobby.

no tweaks going on then just pure flying.

bob

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I guess there aren't that many guys visiting this forum anymore :( Maybe I need to post it elsewhere....

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I wasn't part of an online community when I used FU2+3, but that was a great simulator and it took Microsoft a long time to catch up with it.

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Nice post, and I share your thoughts and feelings about FU3.

 

It was well ahead of it's time !

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I guess this was already gone when I really got into things, but I just watched a few videos, and it seems like it was very promising. Wonder what things would have looked like if it was still around.

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Looking Glass Studios asked the question of which region Flight Unlimited 4 should be set in (there were five different US options if I remember correctly), and I voted for Hawaii (with a request for the inclusion of the entire Leeward Islands chain). Sadly, we will never know how this would have turned out :(

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I remember even then tiny little details, like the barber pole properly working on the spped tape of the Beechjet! By that time not even the best add-ons for fs had it working, and it took it's time before LevelD 767 was released and included it... I really don't recall if Airline Simulator 2 already had it ?

 

Weather, particularly winds, turbulence, precipitation, ice and icing, were all extremely well done for it's time - way ahead!

 

It was a work of Art by the programmers, and Love by the project leader - Peter James.  He might be the best acquisition for Dovetail's or any other Civil Sim developer.

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Very good post Chris,  intersting read 


My flight Simulation story is boring in comparasment 

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One more thing / thought, for Chris...

 

Most of the dismay I got from playing for years with the many limitations in flight dynamics modeling, weather, and many other items that plague MSFS, but also X-Plane, put me playing Combat Flightsims.

 

I started with DSC World, mainly with the P51d, but then also the helicopters which are unique among all sims I ever used, then moved to IL2 BoS, which is still my preferred Combat flight sim, and also my preferred flight sim for prop aircraft when flight dynamics are the focus, and even tried IL2 ClOD, another great Combat flightsim platform, although not as good as either DCS or IL2 BoS when it comes to flight dynamics.

 

Have you ever experimented any of these ? Because Chris, these are actuallt - mostly Il2 BoS - the closer I ever got to the feel of FU2 and 3, and of course, MS FLIGHT too, but that's another, very sad, story....

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Jose,

 

I'm not really interested in military flightsims, although I have heard a lot of good things about DCS World.

 

One aspect of FU3 that at first sight would seem to have been a limitation (the relatively small flyable area) was one of its attractions for me. MSFS had by that time "gone global", but at a cost. The limited variety low resolution terrain textures created a very boring and generic world that I really had no interest in exploring. On the other hand, the (for the time) high resolution photoscenery in the Seattle and San Francisco regions was a relatively realistic representation of those two parts of the world (and a smashing example of alliteration to boot) :lol: With such a limited flying area, modifications and updates (using FLED - the FLight Unlimited EDitor) were a realistic proposition that wouldn't take a century (and a massive amount of cash) to implement. Flight Unlimited 3 was rather rushed onto the shelves before it was completely finished, and this was clearly evident at some of the airfields. Many of them had been left with taxiway edge lines and AI pathways that were.......well, all over the place. I decided that something needed to be done about that, so I started a massive upgrade project that would see me strip out and rebuild virtually all of the taxiway edge lines, centrelines, lighting and AI pathways in the entire Seattle region! It was a daunting task (particularly when SeaTac was the next one on the list), but it had to be done. Even worse was the fact that FLED didn't like my PC at the time. It would regularly freeze or crash, forcing me to reboot the system every single time. I remember one occasion where I had to restart my PC seven times in succession because FLED froze after a single click on one of the taxiway nodes!! :huh: :angry:

 

It took me months to sort all of the airfields and airports out, but I am still proud of myself for completing it. In fact, it was the start of a larger scenery upgrade project that would add lots of new airfields, and a handful of scenery packages (including an electricity pylon network) to the Seattle region (the Seattle 20xx series). Jon Point was the man who built any new 3D models (including those lovely pylons), and I am very grateful for all of his help at the time (and also Robert Driscoll).

 

When I had completed that lot, I decided to do the same for the SanFran region. While the various airfields and airports in this region were in much better condition than those in the Seattle region, I still made various tweaks and modifications to many of them (and also added several new ones, including a fully working version of Hamilton AFB). I also rebuilt San Jose International, added far more AI parking spots (because the default number was pathetic; I think it was five), and managed to work out how to get the AI airliners to take off from the start of the displaced threshold on runway 30L (this may sound simple in theory, but FLED refused to play ball with me when I tried to do this. I worked it out eventually, but the method is probably lost to history). The main reason I wanted to do this was because it stretched the runway enough so that the heavy AI airliners (747s, 777s, and DC10s) could use the airport. This enabled me to increase the traffic to this airport to an appreciable extent. Since Ansgar Avermeyer (another FU3 friend of mine, and the creator of that wonderful 747-400) had built lots of new AI models (including an Airbus A320), it seemed a good idea to show them off as much as possible!

 

I ended up creating over two hundred scenery packages for the SanFran 20xx series, and these again included an electricity pylon network (now with two types of pylon, and also electrical substations), and all sorts of other wonderful models (again mostly provided by Jon Point, and a couple of specific objects built by Robert Driscoll), including water towers and tanks, radio towers (several different designs), fire lookout towers, breakwaters, marinas, oil terminals, wind turbines (there were over two hundred of these at Altamont Pass), and a couple of excellent models of the Carquinez Bridges.

 

So many happy memories of working with those guys, and the satisfaction of knowing that other FU3 users would enjoy all of that hard work!

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Whow Christopher, I didn't even make any idea you had gone so far in your passion for FU3!

 

The deeper I went was some flight model tuning, playing with unvisible lift generation surfaces that could be used to simulate fuselage lift / drag, specially for aerobatic airplanes, and trying to tweak the 747-400 model that became available.

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I wrote two articles for PC Pilot magazine about the Flight Unlimited series over a decade ago. The first one was about Flight Unlimited 2 (it was available on the Sold Out budget label for £4.99), and it was published in Issue 18 (August 2002). The second one was dedicated to Flight Unlimited 3 freeware (FU3 was finally released on the Sold Out budget label for £4.99 in July 2005 after at least two years of legal garbage), and this was published in Issue 25 (October 2003). The assistant editor at the time (Mark Embleton) was a great guy to work with, and he now works for Just Flight (I met him for the first time at last year's RAF Cosford FlightSim Show). I was free to write the articles in my own style, and then he just edited a few sentences here and there to give them the "PC Pilot touch" :smile: Once again I am very proud of getting those two articles published, and I have pristine copies of both magazines that are still encased in their delivery packaging. They'll be worth a fortune some day :lol: :wink:

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I would like to read those articles Christopher.

 

Regarding Combat flight simulation, I didn't like it either, but adhered to it because I find there, even if I just fly around without actually engaging in any sort of simulated air combat, the best flight dynamics, weather, and many effects I simply couldn't find in any of the general civil flightsims I had used ( exception to PSX, for the 744, but that's another story... )

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Jose,

 

It appears that those two issues are no longer available to purchase. However, I have sent an email to the current editor (Derek Davis), asking him if these two articles can be accessed online anywhere. I will let you know when I get a response.

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Ah yes Flight Unlimited 3 still have a copy of it and Flight Unlimited 1 sitting around somewhere. Those Sims were so ahead of their time I think Microsoft only release at the time was FS98. With Orbx PNW,Rex clouds and P3Dv2 I can almost recreate the feeling of FU3 but for some reason FU3 still feels better in my mind I don't know why.

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Thx Christopher!

 

I still have FU1 FU2 and FU3 disks, and those are the only old sims I still keep. None of them is presently installed on my rig though :-/

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I have two copies of FU3 (including an original boxed copy) and two copies of FU2!

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Makes me sorry I missed it. By the time I hit the scene, FSX was "the one" and everything else was old and largely uninteresting history.

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Great times, FU, Propilot ending with v99, even the rebirth of ATP - Airline Simulator 2.

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It looks like the updated Aerofly might eventually become something similar........ Once version 2 hits the PC

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I really wish that I could contact my old FU3 buddies. Lars Peter Galaasen appears to be still active here, but Hans Petter Roverud hasn't visited the AVSIM forum since October last year, and there are a whole host of names (including Jon Point, Ansgar Avermeyer, Robert Driscoll, and a guy called glidernut) that are classed as "inactive member" :(

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I was a beta tester on FU. It was a lot different back then how we tested compared to today. Machines were sooooo...much slower back then. I can't remember how we received any updates back then.

Nice sim. Clouds were ahead of their time.

Bob G.

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I am almost certain that Flight Unlimited 3 was released without the full weather engine that was being developed for it. The reason I say that is because one or two screenshots displayed during the software installation showed cloud models that I never saw in the simulator itself. They looked good, but sadly it seems that they never made it into the release version (probably because FU3 was booted out of the door before it was 100% complete). Whatever the case, it's nice to meet an FU3 beta tester after all these years. To be honest, many of the FU3 community members here were disappointed that none of the development team (or anyone else involved with the project) made contact at the time when we were all actively trying to promote it. Even Peter James seemed to be reluctant to speak about it, which is something that remains a mystery to me to this day. Maybe it had something to do with the ridiculous legal issues that surrounded FU3 after Looking Glass Studios folded (and which delayed the budget release for a considerable amount of time).

 

I would love to hear from more people who were involved with FU3 (and indeed the entire Flight Unlimited series). They were excellent products.

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Chris,

 

These nostalgic moments come upon us every now and again, but there's at least one of us still flying regularly in FU3, though I gave up modding stuff a long time ago & doubt I remember more than half of what used to come so easily.

 

I think glidernut is John Lewis of the terrorble speling (see some of his uploads - Tak Off Backwoods comes immediately to mind).He made one of my favourite planes, the Vigilant motor glider, the other being Jon Point's Dash-8.

 

D

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