The flight simulator game genre stretches back to the heyday of the gaming industry itself. Incredibly, while simple games like Pong and Asteroids were the current hitmakers of the day, talented developers were already working on flight simulators which pushed the boundaries of what people thought games could do.
While naturally quite technically inferior to the games of today, these early flight simulator games were still highly advanced for their time, and created the framework for future games.
As graphics technology continued to improve, the flight simulator game makers were able to more accurately represent the look and detailing of both the interior and exterior of the different aircraft available, as well as the environments themselves.
Some games featured completely fictionalized areas to traverse, while others attempted to recreate small sections of the real world with varying degrees of success.
More important than the increase in graphics technology though was the increase in the memory and computing power available to flight simulator game developers.
This allowed them to apply increasingly more complicated and realistic physics engines to the aircraft, which allowed them to better showcase the differences in how different aircraft handled, which was after all, the hallmark of the flight simulator game genre.
As the genre grew in popularity, accessories tailored to flight sims became more populous. Joysticks were a natural fit with flight sims, but as video game console style controllers became more and more popular on the PC, it was up to flight simulator game accessory makers to release new joysticks for use with the newest games.
Another innovation was pedals, which could be used with both flight sims and racing games. Lastly came yokes, which were exclusively used for flight simulators. Yokes usually feature dashboards with various displays, as well as levers and an aircraft style steering wheel.
As the internet age grew, so too did the ability for developers to add online play to their games, as well as continuously update their games with new aircraft and regions via patches which could be downloaded online.
Online play has opened up a whole new realm of opportunities for users, and will only continue to evolve in the future, as our capacity for faster connection speeds and larger bandwidths continually improves. A persistent world flight simulator game, akin to a MMORPG, would not be at all surprising in the future.
While the PC flight simulator game genre was growing rapidly, the console system’s were going a different route, often focusing on combat flight sims, which didn’t necessarily have realistic physics, but were still enjoyable to play. For true aircraft enthusiasts though, the PC was the only place to get true, high-quality flight sims.
It’s an exciting time to be a gamer, as well as a lover of flight sims. Technology has advanced to the point where physics engines truly replicate the real thing, and graphics technology has begun to push the boundaries of realism to the point where gamers occasionally do double takes at the newest games, not quite sure if what they’re seeing is real, or simply graphics.
There’s no greater example of the power of this new technology than in the flight sim game Flight Pro Sim, the current leader on the flight sim market. With its large team of dedicated and talented developers providing constant updates and additions to the game, it undoubtedly has the potential to be the top game in the genre for a long time to come.