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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

F-15 by Janes

Jane’s released F-15 by Janes Combat Simulationsin the summer of 1998 and set a new milestone for jet combat simulations. F-15 by Janes Combat Simulationssported the most detailed wingman and AWACS interaction yet seen. Flight models were outstanding, with the most detailed physics yet seen in flight. Team tactics took on new meaning, and the semi-dynamic campaign system created a highly immersive combat environment.

F15 Cockpit in Janes F15
F15 Cockpit in F-15 by Janes Combat Simulations.

F-15 by Janes Combat Simulationswas produced by Andy Hollis, who also produced the Strike Eagle line. Andy’s dedication to combat simulations was battle tested over the years, and F-15 by Janes Combat Simulations and Longbow 2were both his products. F-15 by Janes Combat Simulationsepitomized the well rounded "study sim", a simulation that was faithful to the small details of the F15 weapon systems and avionics, yet was also immersive and involving in a realistic combat environment.

The graphics of F15 were best on 3DFX Voodoo, but acceptable without it.

Sometime in the spring of this year Mindmaker, Inc. released their Game Commander software, giving any PC gamer the opportunity of incorporating voice control in his favorite simulations! My first trials were with European Air War, and then F-15 by Janes Combat Simulations. I was stunned at the ability to simply say "drag left", or "drop tanks" and have my flight obey me!

EA released Israeli Air Forceby Pixel Multimedia in 1998, finally retiring the US Navy Fightersengine. While Israeli Air Forcehad great multiplayer features and modeled a number of flyable aircraft, the graphics engine produced an odd shimmering effect that bothered some players.

GT Interactive published SIMIS Team Apache (1998) by Simis, Digital Image Designreleased Total Air War and iMagic released their iF/A-18E Carrier Strike Fighter. iF/A-18E Carrier Strike Fighter was acclaimed for its campaign system and flight modeling, but plagued with installation and graphics issues.

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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.