Saturday, May 05, 2012

Real World Simulations
Simulated Worlds - Land - Sea -Air

Flight Simulator X - The Island of Bali


Over the past decades the art of simulation of the real wold has been featured in computer games and simulators in increasing detail and quality. This has been seen in a wide variety of simulations, some based on real world events such as the military sims such as Combat Flight Simulator, and the Silent Hunter Ubi Soft series, and others feature a mod of transport such as the Microsoft Flight Simulator series, the Microsoft Train Simulator title which has been followed by RailSimulator and RailWorks and others. Each of these has seen deveopment but thru the published titles and also a parallel stream of add on modifications (Mods) or add ons that number now in the hundreds of thousands for each of these and many other titles. A vast array of talent and development has grown up for every area of this form of simulation and we would like to feature some of the main titles in this area and discuss some of the major developments that have occurred.

Pattern of Development.

With each sub genre of simulation, such as Flight, Land, and water based, the tools for making add ons have grown and expanded to the degree that players and users can create add ons that are equal to and in many cases even superior to the stock items and environments provided by the published titles. This has led to a huge array of sophisticated mods, of both the subject of the sim and the world environemnt that seems to be literally wide open for continuing development. Some of the older simulations had game engines that limit what can be achieved but with improved textures, improvements in lighting, complexity of mesh and constant effort, the various on line communities that exist to support each title seem to have an endless ability to add more and to get better over time. In addition many of these titles were published with adjunct editors and mission creation tools that have resulted in a large literature of add ons that continue to expand the original titles in scale, scope and depth.  In addition, the original developers have often continued to improve and expand the sim and game engine with successive published titles, as in the case of Microsoft Flight Simulator and the Aces Studio, with a whole series of titles each of which has large libraries of thousands of add ons hosted on line for users and players to download or for them to add to, and improve and convert between generations of published titles.

We will feature some of these development streams here and share images of some of the remarkable features of each.

Flight Simulations

One of the major areas of simulation titles is flight, a complex and demanding environment that modern Computer processors can handle with ease and with increasing accuracy. The long series of Microsoft Flight Sims was one of the first and remains probably the most well known of these series, it started with basically a wire frame environment with miminal detail and just a few planes created in the sim and now the latest title Flight Sim X or FSX as it is know has the entire world in high detail with dynamic weather, most major cities and towns and thousands of airports and with thousands of add ons both payware and free made by community members, that allow the entire planet and even outer space to be the realm of exploration in this sim. The major titles in the Flight Sim series were Flight Sim 98, FS 2000, FS 2002, FS 2004 or FS9 and now FSX. The major payware producers of add ons have created high resolution texture packs that cover the entire world, high detail mesh which creates the underlying shape of the land and sea areas, very high detail cities, towns, regions, airports with fully detailed and dynamic services, and hundreds of thousands of planes again all both payware and free from the major download archives of Avsim, FlightSim, and Sim Outhouse. Some of the add on landscape designers such as Jon Patch, and Holger Sandmann have achieved miracles with the improvement of the published products, and such advances have helped the publishers as well continue to improve the published titles. Along with this main MS Flight series, there is a parallel stream of numerous flight sims based on military history including the Combat Flight Simulator series which also started out quite primitive and improved up to CFS3, all of these titles also were greatly improved by community creations and design efforts to greatly enhance the original published titles. Additional individual titles also have increased in detail and accuracy over the years, and these include many titles for World War I and II, and the modern era, and latest developments include an advanced flight sim the Rise of Flight pioneering a new model of release, the player downloads the basic world mesh and textures and a few default planes and then pays to add additional planes all done in highest quality and detail and all from the WWI era. This may be the model for sims of the future with download content becoming increasingly popular with publishers.


Some images as samples from various flight sims follow:
Cockpit of JU 52 All Controls are fully functional


FSX - Ju 52 Over Greece, 1940






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