Cactus521

When did you realize?

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This is meant for those of us that have been simming from the start, back in the 80's.  When did you realize that sims would be what they are like today?  Did you think FS2 would be the extent of sim detail?  Or Flight Assignment ATP, or Jet?  I saw the future while I had FS2, when I saw Evan's and Sutherland's efforts in 3D graphics and sims on mainframes, knowing that the Commodore 64 I had was as powerful as mainframes of the 60's.  I just knew, that sooner or later, we would have what we have today, especially photoreal scenery and 3D airports, trees, etc....  Oh how I remember how stunning 4fps was in FS2, then 12 fps in Flight Assignment ATP which was my favorite DOS based sim.  I even wrote my own sim, close to the quality of FS2, which modeled a 767 at 18fps, I wrote it in basic, then C.  Did not release it though, it would have been underwhelming, I just wanted to study 3D graphics tricks, such as page flipping (where one frame is drawn in the background while the other is displayed). 

What I did not expect way back when was the amount of add on aircraft we'd have in the hobby.  Never imagined CAD artists like Carenado would exist, or Realair, PMDG, even admittedly Ariane.  And I never imagined such freeware would exist out there, such as my recent P38 addition to Xplane11 suggested by a simmer here.

I liked Combat Flight Sim when it was released, it was a very good sim to run although shoot em ups are not really my cup of tea.  Closest I come to War fighting is Warzone, a Risk like online board game, which I always win, taking over the World like Peewee and the Brain, LOL.

I cannot imagine now where simming will go in the future because I feel I have seen it all.  Maybe sims that interact with your chair, enclosed little rooms to give you the sensation of flight like Disney's Soarin' over California which I felt emulated flight the best of any dark ride I had been on.

I do remember FS1's primitive graphics, preceding FS2.  And does anyone remember WW1 Flying Ace bundled with FS2, a great distraction from my Meigs to Champagne flights in FS2.  My FS platforms over the years went from the C64, to the Atari ST, to PC's.

Flight Unlimited 2 was the first vision of the photoreal scenery we can enjoy in our sims today.

John

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1 hour ago, Cactus521 said:

I cannot imagine now where simming will go in the future because I feel I have seen it all.

Funny, I have the complete opposite. Up to a few years ago every new feature and option came almost as a surprise. If I ever saw something coming it was in a year or so, maybe a few years, but never really far in advance. But now I have seen how things have progressed, specially in the last 10 to 15 years, I really can imagine where we are going. I don't feel like I have seen it all, on the contrary, I think we have seen nothing yet...!

Problem here is that what I envision makes current sims look really bad... I hear people saying that for instance TrueEarth is the best scenery ever and it can't get any better. This is it. Well, sorry, I like TrueEarth but I think it looks nothing like the real thing. Not even close. Every now and then this even frustrates my enjoyment of current sims... 

What I envision? Simple. A flightsim that looks and feels and behaves like the real thing. With a world that looks like the real thing. I believe that one day this will happen. That you won't be able to tell the difference between what you see in real life and what we see in our sim. 

If you think it can't get any better than what we have now and that we already have what I envision, you really need to have your eyes checked. Or your brain. What we have now may look nice in some areas but it looks nothing like the real deal. I think that in time people will look at P3D v4 and XP11 and say "Did we really like that...?!?! " just as we say now about FS2. 

Unfortunately I don't know if I will live to see that day but I am hoping and looking forward to it. Until then I will have to do with today's mediocre sims... 😉

Edited by J van E
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14 minutes ago, J van E said:

That you won't be able to tell the difference between what you see in real life and what we see in our sim

I don't even know if a Level-D sim can do that, let alone a desktop PC.

I think those of us that were around from the beginning (well, almost for me, I think I had FS2 on a Commodore 64) appreciate what we have more than more recent simmers.

The reference to Flight Assignment: ATP - I was amazed when Simon Hradecky's photo-realistic panels came out - wow! Then the game changer - FS5 (on DOS) with texturing for the first time. The FS6 on Windows. I could go on.

I now see complaints on relatively minor things (recently over at PMDG) and I think, my goodness, don't people realise how good it is now? Not to say things can't be improved, but heck, it isn't THAT bad. We are very lucky developers stay in this very niche, fickle hobby and create the things that PMDG, FSL and many others create.

Sometimes simmers need to lower their expectations a bit.

Edited by DavidP

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5 minutes ago, J van E said:

Funny, I have the complete opposite. Up to a few years ago every new feature and option came almost as a surprise. If I ever saw something coming it was in a year or so, maybe a few years, but never really far in advance. But now I have seen how things have progressed, specially in the last 10 to 15 years, I really can imagine where we are going. I don't feel like I have seen it all, on the contrary, I think we have seen nothing yet...!

Problem here is that what I envision makes current sims look really bad... I hear people saying that for instance TrueEarth is the best scenery ever and it can't get any better. This is it. Well, sorry, I like TrueEarth but I think it looks nothing like the real thing. Not even close. Every now and then this even frustrates my enjoyment of current sims... 

What I envision? Simple. A flightsim that looks and feels and behaves like the real thing. With a world that looks like the real thing. I believe that one day this will happen. That you won't be able to tell the difference between what you see in real life and what we see in our sim. 

If you think it can't get any better than what we have now and that we already have what I envision, you really need to have your eyes checked. Or your brain. What we have now may look nice in some areas but it looks nothing like the real deal. I think that in time people will look at P3D v4 and XP11 and say "Did we really like that...?!?! " just as we say now about FS2. 

Unfortunately I don't know if I will live to see that day but I am hoping and looking forward to it. Until then I will have to do with today's mediocre sims... 😉

If I tweak the winds just right in P3D and Xplane I get a feel somewhat similar to what I have experienced in real life, except for ground handling.  I do not understand the complaints of those who say the sims cannot behave like the real thing, they can if you nurture them and know how to get the winds to emulate real life chop.  I do not feel our sims are mediocre today, I feel they are good training tools and so do the CFI's I have worked with, and their opinions were based on the sims of ten years ago.  Navigation, cockpit drill, fuel management, weight and balance management, are all taught in today's sims.  And there are finely crafted flight models.  Being a real life trike pilot I testify my trike in Avsim's library, which flies in P3DV4, flies 99.9 pct like the real thing, down to the forces and moments of inertia, I worked on the flight dynamics for a month to get it to my satisfaction.

Winds can be made variable, gusting and in variable direction, just like real life, to make landings more of a challenge.  My CFI had faith in me, with sims of ten years ago, that I could takeoff without assistance and land with minimal assistance, which I did after he interviewed me.  Why?  Because I did not treat this hobby as a game, I always had a goal in mind. 

I could not finish my lessons--my wife wanted a new, larger home, away from the city which was getting ridden with crime.  So in 2007 when I was considering buying an Allegro 2000 aircraft I changed my mind and put a down payment on a home near Luke AFB, where my ex wife still proudly lives today, God Bless Her for keeping my gift.  I chose to be a homebody over a pilot and reverted back to simming, but I will take lessons again, possibly as early as next year, GA this time instead of Light Sport.  I do not have to own an aircraft, I can rent.

John

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19 minutes ago, DavidP said:

I think those of us that were around from the beginning (well, almost for me, I think I had FS2 on a Commodore 64) appreciate what we have more than more recent simmers.

I started flying around 1985 so I’m not really recent. 😉 Of course I appreciate what we’ve got. My comment about mediocre sims was tongue in cheek. It’s just that I can imagine thing becoming seriously better still, unlike some people who think we reached the limit already. 

But take note: something that can cause confusion pretty quickly: I was mainly talking about GRAPHICS. I see how John enjoys the simulation of flight and  how the sim can be used as a training tool, and I fully agree that that is possible indeed! But for me personally the world I am flying over is an extremely important part of my simming enjoyment. And specially in THAT regard I believe we haven’t seen anything yet. And because the opening post mainly talked about graphics and performance I thought that was the focus of this topic. John can hardly imagine where we are going in that regard, well, I can. 😉

Edited by J van E

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23 minutes ago, J van E said:

I started flying around 1985 so I’m not really recent. 😉 Of course I appreciate what we’ve got. My comment about mediocre sims was tongue in cheek. It’s just that I can imagine thing becoming seriously better still, unlike some people who think we reached the limit already. 

But take note: something that can cause confusion pretty quickly: I was mainly talking about GRAPHICS. I see how John enjoys the simulation of flight and  how the sim can be used as a training tool, and I fully agree that that is possible indeed! But for me personally the world I am flying over is an extremely important part of my simming enjoyment. And specially in THAT regard I believe we haven’t seen anything yet. And because the opening post mainly talked about graphics and performance I thought that was the focus of this topic. John can hardly imagine where we are going in that regard, well, I can. 😉

Graphics will probably surely surprise, cloud graphics I hope will improve, in my mind's eye I remember so many commercial flights I have been on where clouds flicked in and out over the wings and out the window, the mist as it fades and clears.   Also the depth perception in the cockpit which may bring us to 3D glasses or some type of representation.  Avionics should be enhanced, I love the way I can pull up charts on my Xplane11's Aerobask Eclipse in flight, I had not seen that on the P3D side of simming.  Last, traffic can still be embellished. 

When I was taking a flight lesson out of Chandler, AZ I remember seeing sailplanes in the distance as I was flying over our practice area, and I pointed them out to the CFI.  Also I'd like to see other forms of aircraft modeled, like powered parachutes which have not been modeled much, with hi def photoreal scenery, they are more enjoyable to fly.  In simming I like to fly what I have flown in real life, or imagine I would fly if I went onward, like light jets.  I do not fly heavy iron much, my attention span is not good for long haul flights.  One of the reasons I took up Light Sport lessons was because I pictured myself as a recreational pilot, not a transport pilot.

John

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43 minutes ago, J van E said:

I started flying around 1985 so I’m not really recent. 😉 Of course I appreciate what we’ve got. My comment about mediocre sims was tongue in cheek. It’s just that I can imagine thing becoming seriously better still, unlike some people who think we reached the limit already. 

But take note: something that can cause confusion pretty quickly: I was mainly talking about GRAPHICS. I see how John enjoys the simulation of flight and  how the sim can be used as a training tool, and I fully agree that that is possible indeed! But for me personally the world I am flying over is an extremely important part of my simming enjoyment. And specially in THAT regard I believe we haven’t seen anything yet. And because the opening post mainly talked about graphics and performance I thought that was the focus of this topic. John can hardly imagine where we are going in that regard, well, I can. 😉

Sorry, my comment was intended more as a generalised comment, not directed at you. In fact, it was prompted by those posts that I saw recently and I think I commented at the time that it was essentially a "first world problem" with regard to simming and things are a lot better than some make it out to be.

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3 hours ago, Cactus521 said:

When did you realize that sims would be what they are like today? 

Flying FS3 (before FS3 it was just too "computerized or unbelievable" for me) for the first time, I thought that was the greatest thing in the world at the time. Once FS5 came out, I knew I was in for a life of constant longing for more realism and never would have guessed that MS would go the MS Flight (foolish) route. Thankfully LM carries the torch forward.

But while we're on the topic,  why don't we try and guess what we'll have 20-30 years from now?

There was all this talk about 5GHz being some kind of max speed just a couple years ago, now were talkin 6GHz.

If hate, greed, pride, and disasters like WWIII stay away long enough, holodecks will eventually be a reality.

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Although I've been simming since the sublogic days, it really started to hit me that sims were starting to evolve when I got into combat sims.  Particularly Microprose and their early version of F-15, DI and their Tornado, F-14 Fleet Defender and lest we not forget all of the Janes combat sims (which I still have all of their CD cases and manuals).  During that period was when I started to get more interested into flight dynamics and the avionics systems.  It also had to do with the fact that I was going to college for Avionics at the time, but the passion was always there.  

 

Of course you look back at those sims today and I can't believe I thought they were state of the art, but remember a 1MHZ processor was state of the art back then too.  I miss those days, brings back memories.  Wish Janes would come back, but DCS seems to be filling that void nicely.

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Back in 1985, I /expected/ the Holodeck by 2018.

I guess I didn't really notice things improving significantly until about 1995-ish and texturing.  It was around that time, that I saw FS 5.0 or 5.0a or 5.1 on either a fast 486 (DX2/66 or 100), or early Pentium, and to me, quite improved graphics as compared to FS4 that I had been using.

Still, I want my Holodeck.

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Sim since zx81 was my first platform. Hw trends clearly pointed to better gfx and realism but pic767 was the major milestone that confirmed hw and sw vectors were pointing the right way. 

 

Didn’t see anything  like VR come along tho. it’s a game changer. Instead of evolving to personal mini level d sim in the house, vr is the path forward in this hobby. Better hmd and hopefully finger position tracker, perhaps one can interact with vc buttons and knobs. Motion platform would be nice, too  

 

 with the rift cv1, can experience and see into the future.

 

 

Edited by kdfw__

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As I've posted before, someone gave me a copy of FS1, and then FS2 on floppy discs that I played on my PC at work. From then on I was totally hooked on virtual flight.  Even though the graphics were incredibly crude, it was something I had never seen before on a PC (which was an actual IBM brand PC that cost $5000 back in '85 with a 30mb hard drive).  

I think it was FS2 that included Catalina Island and their small airport (AVX) 1,600 feet up.  It's still as challenging to land there today as it was back then... 

 

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I started on my grandpa's lap with FS2, lining up wireframe runways, and then was left to my own devices with Chuck Yeager's Flight Trainer when we brought home our Apple IIGS.

I honestly wasn't blown away until I was leaving the runway at Meigs in FS95, being wowed by all of the textured buildings in Chicago. It was with FS95 that I stopped playing with the instruments and started looking past the panel...

Edited by pmanhart

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Hello all,

I am amongst, I guess some of the opriginals, as my first simulator was on a Commodore 64 computer with a tape drive.

However, the answer to the OPs question is very easy .....  Yesterday and will all the new releases coming on board recently and in the near future  the answer will be the same next week and the week after ad infinitem.  We are going through incredible hikes in Technology.  One wonders what P3Dv? with Vulcan??? will be like.

Lots and lots to lioik forward toi

Regards

Tony

 

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First came the bug then the simulators. Thousands upon thousands felt on the side except truly strange us.

Cheers,

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I started flightsimming in 1984 using Sublogic's FS2 on my Commodore 64.  Even had the scenery disks for different areas of the U.S.  I stopped simming around 1987 and didn't start up again until 1995 when I got a Digital brand PC with an Intel Pentium 66 MHz processor.  I got MSFS 5 and couldn't believe the improvements, plus the use of different ground textures and weather effects.  I've gotten every new version since then and have always been impressed with the improvements and increased realism. 

I believe that the next big leap in flight simulation lies with virtual reality.  As this technology matures I think it will offer a level of realism and immersion we've never had before.  To be truly successful will require higher resolution graphics and better performance but I think we'll get there within the next 10-20 years.  Exciting times ahead...

Dave

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Dave,

I have to agree with you on all points. 

However LOL ... "exciting times ahead ... 10-20 years."  I think that most of us who started as you/we did so long ago may not actually have the luxury of those 10-20 years ahead. Sad but true.

I do think though that if you ask the younger generation just starting their simming now, their answers in that 10-20 year span will be so completely different to the ones we are reading now, as to to be almost unrecognisable.  

I am actually hoping that some of these revelations occur very much sooner as 10 years hence, I shall be very doddery on my way to the flight sim computer (touching 80 ... ouch)

Regards to all

Tony

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2 hours ago, himmelhorse said:

Hello all,

I am amongst, I guess some of the opriginals, as my first simulator was on a Commodore 64 computer with a tape drive.

However, the answer to the OPs question is very easy .....  Yesterday and will all the new releases coming on board recently and in the near future  the answer will be the same next week and the week after ad infinitem.  We are going through incredible hikes in Technology.  One wonders what P3Dv? with Vulcan??? will be like.

Lots and lots to lioik forward toi

Regards

Tony

 

My first computer was actually not a C64 per se', but a Commodore SX64 with a built in 5 inch screen and built in floppy drive, Commodore's idea of a "laptop" even with a carrying handle, but three times as bulky as the bulkiest laptops of today.  It was quite the sight to behold.  So I had to squint to enjoy FS2 on it.  I did not get a tape drive for it, just a cartridge or two.  I bought a book on C64 internals and loved using peek and poke to get the display to do strange things or get the computer to make odd chirps and sounds.  I learned to code in assembler on it and made a program that computed prime numbers in memory, you had to peek at the final result, I used Binary Encoded Decimals: (http://www.6502.org/tutorials/decimal_mode.html)

John

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13 hours ago, DavidP said:

I now see complaints on relatively minor things (recently over at PMDG) and I think, my goodness, don't people realise how good it is now? Not to say things can't be improved, but heck, it isn't THAT bad. We are very lucky developers stay in this very niche, fickle hobby and create the things that PMDG, FSL and many others create.

Sometimes simmers need to lower their expectations a bit.

I agree, for sure.

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Frankly, when I witnessed the pathetic state of terrain graphics in FS5 through FS2002, I started to wonder whether we would ever see realistic graphics in a flight simulator.

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11 hours ago, Cactus521 said:

My first computer was actually not a C64 per se', but a Commodore SX64 with a built in 5 inch screen and built in floppy drive, Commodore's idea of a "laptop" even with a carrying handle, but three times as bulky as the bulkiest laptops of today. 

Actually, my very first computer was also an SX64! I bought it to keep the books for my General Electric Service Station (2-way Land Mobile Radio sales and service). Eventually I installed FS2 on it and several of my employees and I enjoyed "flying" during any down time we had.

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