20 Years of Military Flight Simulations on the PC by Len "Viking 1" Hjalmarson.
Flight sim guru Len "Viking 1" Hjalmarson chronicles the first 30 years of computer flight sims, the software, hardware, people and the culture.
1991 saw the release of another eleven titles for the PC. Birds of Prey EA included in flight refueling!
An atmospheric game, F-117A Stealth Fighter began to show some sophisticated avionics and weapon systems, and required some tactical thinking to survive.
Of all the titles, Falcon 3.0heralded a new generation in simulation technology.
Falcon 3.0 had the first dynamic campaign system, involving the player in an ongoing battle in a persistent world, with the forward line shifting with the fortunes of war. Falcon 3.0 was probably the first simulation to have a padlock view, simulating the player turning his head to keep a fix on the bandit.
AI wingmen reached a new level of sophistication. They helped in combat, and even warned the player of threats. Damage models had begun to improve, and Falcon 3ís mission designer allowed the creation of complex combat scenarios.
The inclusion of networking features gave birth to virtual squadrons and a true flight simulation community, even before the Internet. Falcon 3.0 also featured a working ACMI recorder, allowing the player to examine his maneuvers after the mission from a variety of perspectives. Finally, Falcon 3.offered a hi-fi flight model which could be activated on the top end hardware of the time, a 486/33 or higher.
This article is ©2001 Leonard Hjalmarson and Thrustmaster ® and hosted with permission in the Flight Sim Museum. Unauthorised reproduction is forbidden.