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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

Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2

It wasn’t a banner year for boxed simulations, but the movies were hot. Gladiator, the Patriot, and U-571 all came to the screen this year. While not historically accurate, U-571 is one of the all time best submariner action flicks.

While boxed retail releases have been fewer, online games appear to have increased. HiTech Creations released Aces High in January of 2000, and has been constantly upgrading and expanding the world, eventually including naval units. Claimed to sport some of the best online flight models ever, and with a host of flyable aircraft, Aces High is an impressive online simulation.

In August of 2000 I heard from Mike Gilmartin that Confirmed Kill (CK) was still alive and kicking. This WWII prop sim was designed to compete with WarBirds and Air Warrior, and had been in development on and off since around 1997. Mike and some others purchased the rights to CK from Eidos and formed a new company, but nothing more has been heard on CK since August of 2000.

In October Microsoft released their Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2 : Pacific Theatre. Though reviews were mixed, the game is atmospheric, with solid flight models and the most beautiful aircraft ever.

Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2 added wingman commands to the game, as well as carrier ops. The command structure remained unchanged, but added the option of a command key set more similar to that used by generic combat flight sims.

The user community behind the original Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator (1998) adopted Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2 quickly, and even before the release new user created aircraft were appearing. Some of these, like those by Roger Dial and Eric Joiner, rival the beauty of the aircraft in the original release. Thunderjets Over Korea is destined to spawn many add-ons.

Closeup in CFS2: Pacific Theatre
Microsoft Combat Flight Sim 2

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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.