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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 Mature Years: 1997-2000

SimHQ.com is founded

SimHQ.com was founded in 1997. This fan site has grown to enjoy the support of thousands of simulation enthusiasts and sports some of the most active simulation forums on the Internet.

Later in 1997 Dynamix released Red Baron II. A new landmark for WWI simulations, RBII sported a fully dynamic campaign system and modeled more than a dozen flyable aircraft. Many players complained about the graphics, which were later updated with 3dfx support in a free patch. The flight model was also adjusted post-release, since somewhere before the release date it was rendered less daunting. - Red Baron 3D.

The multiplayer features of Red Baron II were also very strong, and the ability to paint your own aircraft and transfer the skin to other players so they would see a unique aircraft while flying online lent personality to the game. RB II is still a favorite for online play.

John Denver died in the fall of this year when the light aircraft he was flying had a mechanical failure.

Also late in 1997 the second edition of 3DFX Voodoo Voodoo chipset arrived in such hardware as Canopus Pure3d II, and Orchidís Righteous 3d II. This second generation chip sported 2.5x the power of the first generation, and game producers were quick to take advantage of the additional processing power.

Red Baron II box.
Red Baron II box.

Cockpit in RB II3d
Cockpit in RB II 3D

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