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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

The cult of Su-27 Flanker

Su-27 Flanker was designed by a Russian team, and modeled systems and aerodynamics in great detail. 256 color graphics were becoming dated, but no one seemed to care!

Su-27 Flanker developed something approaching a cult following, and its multiplayer LAN features made it a popular simulation with online pilots. Virtual squadrons quickly formed around Su-27 Flanker.

Sometime in the summer Braveheart was released, a role that would vault Mel Gibson to legendary status. This story of leadership and courage in the face of oppression, told with bold strokes and in exquisite detail, dominated the movie scene in 1996.

Digital Image Designís EF 2000set a new milestone in simulation design in 1996. I penned these words for a review in a Danish gaming magazine:

"EF 2000is the best all-around modern military jet sim ever, and will probably age very well. Sure, Su-27 Flanker has a fabulous flight model and Back to Baghdad has some awesome avionics, but who else puts it together with a dynamic campaign, a decent wingman command structure for good tactical play, and incredible graphics? And the avionics in EF 2000can stand on their own, requiring dedication to learning the systems."

EF2000 Screen Capture

Back to Baghdad

The campaign mode was incredible, and multiplayer coop single missions were supported. EF2000 defined 'immersion' and the 'willing suspension of disbelief.' It was the first simulation with a fully believable environment, and won great critical acclaim. EF2000 cheated somewhat on campaign dynamics, but it was atmospheric and challenging. Like Su27, it sported great LAN code and became an online favorite, causing some to remove the aging Falcon 3.0 from their hard drives. Virtual squadrons sprang up world-wide devoted to multiplayer gaming with EF2000.

Read on

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