MiGMan's Flight Sim Museum < www.migman.com >

Len "Viking 1" Hjalmarson
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.

The Growth Years: 1990-1996

F-117A Stealth Fighter

1991 saw the release of another eleven titles for the PC. Birds of Prey EA included in flight refueling!

Microprose's F-117A Stealth Fighter included carrier launches and landings.

An atmospheric game, F-117A Stealth Fighter began to show some sophisticated avionics and weapon systems, and required some tactical thinking to survive.

Other titles in 1991 included Falcon 3.0, Gunship 2000, Jetfighter II, MiG-29M Super Fulcrum (1991) and Red Baron.

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.

Screen Capture of Falcon 3 courtesy of Thomas Spann

Falcon 3.0 Box

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.

Read on

This article is ©2001 Leonard Hjalmarson and Thrustmaster ® and hosted with permission in the Flight Sim Museum. Unauthorised reproduction is forbidden.