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Were you happier then or now?

When was your 'golden age'?  

143 members have voted

  1. 1. When do you consider your own 'golden age' of flight sim?

    • Now: MSFS
      91
    • 2011-2023: P3D iterations
      22
    • 2006-2011: FSX
      10
    • 2003-2006: FS2004
      13
    • Before 2003 (earlier ESP iterations)
      7


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I have not voted, because....despite having a great deal of fun at the moment in MSFS (and it is by far the most beautiful and realistic flight simulator that I have ever used), I would have to say that my "golden age" of flight simulation was between the end of 1999 and 2008 when I used Flight Unlimited 3 (and the FU2 San Francisco scenery region) exclusively. It may not have had the scale or popularity of its MS equivalents of the day, but there was something about it that was extremely satisfying. Maybe it was the photorealistic scenery, the advanced ATC system, randomised AI planes (I liked not knowing what planes I was going to see at each airport), sitting in my parked plane on the ground while listening to the rain falling, realistic floatplane physics and effects, and the best simulation of thrust reversers in flight simulation at that time in the Beechjet 400A.

I also thoroughly enjoyed making scenery packages with the Flight Unlimited Editor, adding a network of electricity pylons throughout both high resolution scenery regions, together with radio towers, water towers, fire lookout towers, wind turbines, marinas, breakwaters, oil terminals, electrical substations, and plenty more. I also completely stripped down and virtually rebuilt the taxiway lines, lighting, and AI pathways at all of the airfields and airports in both regions to make them look and work better. I felt like a really big part of the Flight Unlimited 3 scene, and that lead to writing two articles for PC Pilot magazine about the Flight Unlimited series.

Those were good days for me in the world of flight simulation :cool:

Edited by Christopher Low
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Christopher Low

UK2000 Beta Tester

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12 minutes ago, jon b said:

Interesting timing as this afternoon I randomly fired up my C64 replica for the first time in ages and had a quick go with Solo flight, I couldn’t get FS2 to load. I was almost appalled at how bad it actually was.
However for me too flying the C64 sublogic FS 2 ( cassette edition ,C64 disk drives were an expensive rarity in the UK) which was limited to the area between KCMI and KIKK will always be a special time.
....
I also recently flew an old familiar route from KIKK to KCMI in MS2020 VR using the new FSW Lear jet and that too was an incredible experience comparing the “real” world below to what once was just white vector line roads on a plain green earth.
Yes we are at a time where simulation is the best it’s has ever been, but I’m not sure we’ll necessarily look back and think it’s the golden era as things are going to get even better very soon (fingers crossed)


Beautifully said Jon and totally get you about your C64 experiences and sim and other entertainment/sim software of the day.. they just required more imagination to fill in the experiences you got both on the computer along with the manuals, and it all totaled to a different kind of experience that was beautiful in its own right. Think it's perhaps fair to say that what we imagined futuristic flight (and world) simulation would look like one day is what we now get for real in MSFS 🙂 and soon yes even better.
 

Edited by lwt1971
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Len
1980s: Sublogic FS II on C64 ---> 1990s: Flight Unlimited I/II, MSFS 95/98 ---> 2000s/2010s: FS/X, P3D, XP ---> 2020+: MSFS
Current system: i9 13900K, RTX 4090, 64GB DDR5 4800 RAM, 4TB NVMe SSD

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Hard to say its all relative but I guess if someone put all the sims past and present in front of me now and said I could only play one then it would be this one.

But that doesnt necessarily mean Im happier playing with the current sim than I was with the old ones at the time I played them

Taking games in general although I play some of the latest releases there is one that I keep going back to and still play more than any other and that is the original Unreal Tournament  which is like 25 years old now...swish graphics are nothing if the gameplay isnt there.

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If I think about it **Romantically** 1990-2000 or therabouts a period of many Civil Sims The *Printed-Paper Manuals period* of gaming; like the complete FU1 FU2 FU3 (Looking Glass Studios - Flight Unlimited series) FLY!1 & 2! , Xplane? MSFS(Aces studio) an Sierra-sim? and just a golden age of Flightsimming generally especially FighterJet-sims, cool joystics/pheriperals, booming Computer industry... 

Then perhaps a "Happy period" where I discovered FU3 from 1999(FU3), FS2002 ->2004  then perhaps a *PEAK* period whrere in MSFS-2004(fs9)Dreamfleet, BirdsEyeView,(Megascenery-USA Seattle/Oregon) Eaglesoft Bizzjets and Flight One Ground Environment Professional(with Anthony Vos, still in the company "before he left for ORBX") I have DEAR memories using Flight One FLIGHT-ENVIRONMENT as Weather/Active Sky This period was also my Homecockpit build (nothing fancy just buttons/switches)

 

IF I think about it *Realistically...* 

NOTHING compares to the moment when we saw in 2019/2020 Launch trailer... of the (Phenix)Rise from ashes MSFS *REINCARNATED* 😵💫😱😲😵💫😵🤤🤤

O.. M.. G... 

So I agree MSFS-2020/2024  IS ... the *GoldenAge* - *Realistically thinking*

But I am thankfull *for previous sims* and delightful memories they have given me *my youth age* ☺️ (45 now) Special thanks to FU3 for its AI ATC & Weather(and sense of really beeing there in Seattle) and MSFS-2004(fs9)

 

 

Edited by Rune-ENHD
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1 hour ago, jon b said:

However for me too flying the C64 sublogic FS 2

This was also my introduction to flight simming.  I was lucky enough that a co-worker was selling lottery tickets for her daughter's school fund raising drive & first prize was a Commodore C64.  A week later, they both arrived at my desk to present me with it as my ticket was the winning one.  That was a cool moment, as I entered as a lark and for helping her kid, because I hated it when I was her age and having my school make me go out and sell lottery tickets for fund raising. Just to go off topic for a moment, I remember that in high school they wanted us to go out and sell raffle tickets for a fund raising project to resurface the track oval.  Our history teacher gave us tips, that it would be easy.  After school, start hitting bars, that people who had gone to our school would be glad to buy them. I couldn't believe it.  I imagined that my parents would be absolutely thrilled to find out that my school was encouraging underage kids to go into bars in the afternoon, were I would be sure to find alumni from my school drinking at that time 🤪

So my first purchase was that Sublogic flight simulator.  The next software I bought was an ATC game:  Kennedy Approach

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1 hour ago, jon b said:

teaching you not only about how to operate the sim, but also the physics of flight, VFR and IFR navigation.

Secondly the sim required you to be more absorbed and interactive , you had to use your own imagination to build up the world you were flying around in. It was a bit like reading a book rather than todays sims which are more like watching a film where imagination is not required.

I spent hours and hours every night and all day on weekends flying around the Champaign/ Urbana area in my PA28 up to Bloomington and Kankakee via the RBS VOR

That's what I loved about it also: learning & demystifying navigation.  My first IFR flight was from Meigs Field to Kankakee with cloud cover all the way (weather was very limited in depiction: either clear or compete whiteout 🤣).  On final to Kankakee I was sweating bullets flying into the unknown. Then suddenly the runway appeared and I landed.  What a sense of accomplishment, I did it! As you mentioned, imagination fills in all the details.

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Ahh, Kennedy approach!

I’d forgotten all about that one  but I logged many hours working the Atlanta sector, it was brilliant.


787 captain.  

Previously 24 years on 747-400.Technical advisor on PMDG 747 legacy versions QOTS 1 , FS9 and Aerowinx PS1. 

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MSFS...this is the first sim that I have not bothered with any tweaks at all, don't bother with endless forum and YouTube trawling for performance improvements....and I didn't need to buy a new PC to get it to run from the very first Alpha test release to today...,.., in fact I'm still using my I7-7700K/GTX 1080Ti/32gig ram with pop out panels on a full FlightSimBuilder G1000 hardware.  I have less time to fly due to work and family but I probably spend more time actually flying....and I have to remember how to bring up a frame rate counter.🤣

Edited by YMMB
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I'm still addicted to Kennedy Approach. it's installed on my PC and still playing it a ton in 2024.   I never was able to get my career salary very high, but now that I can save successfully, I'm loving it.    Play mostly Chicago area.     Steam offers something similar too.  

Edited by jhaley101
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There was a time a few decades back when every supermarket in America had a magazine rack where "Computer Shopper" was sold. It was tabloid size (big as a newspaper). Inside were over 25 full page adds. There was no internet yet and this is where fans of the new hobby of computers learned what was available out there. Both hardware and software.

There were mail order houses that only sold game software and they had adds, some full page. And then there were mail order houses that only sold business software: spreadsheets. Word processors. Filing software. Accounting software. Tax software. But most of these did also list one game: Flight Simulator!

Even though their business wasn't about computer games, they did sell FS3. Because FS3 practically outsold all the other game put together! It totally dominated the game market. There was nothing else with graphics that moved around the screen like this!

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Ryzen5 5800X3D, RTX4070, 600 Watt, TWO Dell S3222DGM 32" screens spanned with Nvidia surround 5185 x 1440p, 32 GB RAM, 4 TB  PCle 3 NVMe, Warthog throttle, CH Flightstick, Honeycomb Alpha yoke, CH quad, 3 Logitech panels, 2 StreamDecks, Desktop Aviator Trim Panel.

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A few short years later, in 1990 there was still less than 100 sites on the internet and the world news was on TV and the newspaper, not online. It was hard to know what the new FS4 would be like, until you bought it. Avsim existed but it wasn't yet on the internet. It was a BBS thing (bulletin board).

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Ryzen5 5800X3D, RTX4070, 600 Watt, TWO Dell S3222DGM 32" screens spanned with Nvidia surround 5185 x 1440p, 32 GB RAM, 4 TB  PCle 3 NVMe, Warthog throttle, CH Flightstick, Honeycomb Alpha yoke, CH quad, 3 Logitech panels, 2 StreamDecks, Desktop Aviator Trim Panel.

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I have very fond memories of FS9, since it's both the sim in which I started flying (in 2005) and the one I flew the longest (main sim until 2019, still use it for travel). For me, FS9 era was the golden age for freeware. I mean, TDS is still making aircraft for that sim! I remember also having painted several airliners (some of them available here at the Library) and even co-developed some continent-wide vector scenery for FS9.

My FSX era was so short, and I wasn't as fully satisfied with the sim as with FS9, that I jumped first to MSFS (on day 1), then abandoned it for P3D a month later, and now I switch between v5 and MSFS. All in just 4 years. I feel in MSFS the same enthusiasm I felt in FS9 when installing airport sceneries, but I also feel MSFS is not yet there, specially regarding airliners. However, I also feel MSFS is very close to do so. With how things are being developed, I believe in a year I'll be changing my mind.

Edited by Luis Hernandez
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Best regards,
Luis Hernández 20px-Flag_of_Colombia.svg.png20px-Flag_of_Argentina.svg.png

Main rig: self built, AMD Ryzen 5 5600X with PBO enabled (but default settings, CO -15 mV, and SMT ON), 2x16 GB DDR4-3200 RAM, Nvidia RTX3060 Ti 8GB, 256 GB M.2 SSD (OS+apps) + 2x1 TB SATA III SSD (sims) + 1 TB 7200 rpm HDD (storage), Viewsonic VX2458-MHD 1920x1080@23-144 Hz (locked at 120 Hz, FreeSync OFF), Windows 10 Pro. Runing FSX-SE, MSFS and P3D v5.44.5.

Mobile rig: ASUS Zenbook UM425QA (AMD Ryzen 7 5800H APU @3.2 GHz and boost disabled, 1 TB M.2 SSD, 16 GB RAM, Windows 11 Pro). Running FS9 there... sometimes on just battery! FSX-SE also installed, just in case. 

VKB Gladiator NXT Premium Left + GNX THQ as primary controllers. Xbox Series X|S wireless controller as standby/travel.

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1 hour ago, Luis Hernandez said:

I have very fond memories of FS9

I feel that way also, I enjoyed painting liveries for FS 2000-2004. I enjoyed flying both Cpt Sim & Dreamfleet 727s. I immensely enjoyed flying the Tin Mouse 737-200. Having never actually flown an aircraft, it felt really right to me, especially on final approach, a bit sluggish to control inputs that was very immersive.

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I should also mention that I have fond memories of FS4, which was the flight simulator that I used with my very first PC way back in 1992. Whilst I did fly in some areas of the USA (with those scenery disks that could be purchased), my favourite scenery packages were definitely Hawaii and Tahiti from Mallard Software. I remember starting a flight from Kure Atoll in a Cessna 172 at the far west of the Leeward Islands, and flying all the way to the big island of Hawaii :cool: They even created a Grand Canyon package, although that was not quite as absorbing as island hopping.

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Christopher Low

UK2000 Beta Tester

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I know with the likes of MFS and X-Plane 12 our sims and addons are the best they've ever been and I wouldn't change that now :)

As someone who doesn't really like flying larger aircraft, I look back fondly on the days of FSX, and mostly because of Orbx scenery and long gone devs such as Earth Simulations.. The regions and little GA airstrips felt super immersive at the time and it was a time when developers were constantly trying to push the limits of what FSX could support, e.g. I remember seeing Russ's texturing work and seeing just how detailed, high resolution and realistic they looked. By today's standards, most of this is standard and expected now, but at the time there was a lot of hype over products as developers discovered new ways of doing things. The community also felt more helpful and connected back then (although it could just be that nostalgia feeling). It was a time of discovery, and it's difficult to describe (although others in this thread have posted similar)

X-Plane 9 was the sim that got me into development, so I also remember that fondly, however from a purely simming perspective, it was definitely FSX (Although I have used FS since MFS2000)

Either way, I'm really excited for MFS2024 because it looks like it's going to cater for the low-and-slow flyers like myself, adding amazing detail to the scenery at a low level. I might finally get that Alaska bush flying simulator I've been hoping for

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Ray Proudfoot said:

@JYW, Interesting survey. But it might be better in neutral territory like Hangar Chat. Thoughts?

Why no option for P3D from 2017 onwards? As a P3D user I’m happier now than ever.

Hi Ray,

You're absolutely right that the question could be widely considered by all simmers across all platforms.  For this one I was thinking from my own perspective of a MSFS user, who sees the wonders we have now on that platform, but who has sentimental memories of being happier / more satisfied in earlier days. 😎

I can't edit the post now, but Ray if you're able to, you could amend the P3D option to read 2011-2019: P3D iterations.

👍


Bill

UK LAPL-A (Formerly NPPL-A and -M)

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