Saturday, December 10, 2011

Microsoft Flight Simulator X

Microsoft Flight Simulator X. First title in my mini review series. It's my favorite title from all flight sims available today.

First, FSX is not a game. It's a sandbox. It's an ultimate sandbox for aviation enthusiasts. Do you want to fly heavy metal? Boeing 747 for example? Do you want to learn to navigate? Do you want to fly high performance racing plane and try famous Reno air racing? Or maybe just relax yourself and soar through the sky in a sailplane? Try to land on an aircraft carrier? At night? It's all there. And even more. Microsoft did one wonderful thing, they've made FSX as open as possible.

Anyone can grab the SDK, and start making new missions, sceneries, aircrafts. What is most important in the world of draconian DRMs, EULAs FSX licence allows selling 3rd party DLC.

The community responded in a way that no one could believe. They've expanded FSX in various directions, there are addons that changes weather, adds ridge lift. Other improves graphics, changes textures, shaders.

I'll focus on the certain features soon, starting from my favorite two - helicopters and carrier ops.

Few screenshots:

Bell 206 (helicopter from base FSX package) over ORBX scenery.

Vertical Reality F/A-18E on the Edwards AFB runway, just before take off. Scenery is included in Acceleration expansion pack.

A2A Simulations Boeing 337 Stratocruiser parked on the Ketchikan International Airport. Scenery by ORBX.

EH-101 Merlin over Mount St. Helens. This is one of the rescue missions included in Acceleration expansion pack.

A2A Simulations Piper Cub just after take off from Bowerman Airport, freeware ORBX scenery.

T-45C Goshawk landing on the USS Nimitz. T-45C is a freeware aircraft made by Dino Cattaneo, the carrier is a part of USS Nimitz & USS Eisenhower package made by Javier Fernandez.

Even with just released X-Plane 10 and upcoming Microsoft Flight, FSX thanks to 3rd party developers has bright and long future.

Few essential links:

These are the main libraries of additional content for Flight Simulator series. All of them hosts forums and are the sources of reviews and news from the community.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A dead genre

There is a myth among mainstream players and game journalists that flight simulators doesn't exist anymore, so I've decided to make a list of flight simulators that are still alive, have active communities, and work on modern computers. I've included simulators in development too.

Some of these games (forgive me purists) are quite old and theirs visual side shows it's age. I'm going to make short reviews of these flight simulators in upcoming months, describe their features, show screenshots, give links to communities, modifications and 3rd party addons.

Here's a list. Quite long for a dead genre, isn't it?

Civilian simulations:

Microsoft Flight Simulator 9/X
X-Plane 9
Flight Gear
Condor: The Competition Soaring Simulator
Lockheed Martin Prepar3d

Modern combat simulations:

Lock On: Modern Air Combat/Flaming Cliffs
Digital Combat Simulator: A-10C Warthog
Falcon 4 (Allied Force, BMS4, Free Falcon 5)
Strike Fighters 2 series
Total Air War
Jane's F/A-18

Vintage combat simulations:

Il2 Sturmovik: 1946
Il2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover
Rise of Flight
Battle of Britain: Wings of Victory
Combat Flight Simulator 3
B-17 Flying Fortress The Mighty Eight

Helicopter combat simulations:

Digital Combat Simulator: Black Shark
Enemy Engaged

Space simulations:

Space Shuttle Mission Simulator

In development:

Combat Helo
Jet Thunder
X-Plane 10
Microsoft Flight
Take On: Helicopters
Space Shuttle Mission Simulator 2
Fighter Ops

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A2A's F-104 Starfighter

If you follow A2A Simulations forums or Facebook page, you've probably seen this plane already. It's Lockheed F-104C Starfighter in development for Microsoft Flight Simulator X. I did 3d geometry including pilot model, textures, materials, and export to the game engine. As this plane is still in development everything may change before release. ;)

I love how Starfighter looks in Vietnam era camouflage.

Starfighter thread on A2A's forums.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Hello World.

Since I have my own domain, and I've configured blogger few months ago, it would be nice to start writing. I've been thinking about content last few days, and I've decided that I'll write about games and game art. It's my main hobby, both playing and creating.

I'm going to post about stuff I'm making in my (limited) free time and for A2A Simulations (don't expect any insights though, I'm not allowed to say anything that isn't already known), I'll write about indie games, my impressions about mainstream industry, and of course about various simulation games available for PC today.

My English isn't perfect, I know that. I hope writing in English will be good practice. Layout is not final either, it's just a random style, it will certainly evolve in next months.