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Tag: flight

“The Hangar” column

by on Mar.17, 2010, under PC Gaming Columns

Playability vs. realism – flight school 101 or Top Gun? This article was written for Computer Games Strategy Plus in the late 90’s.

Since the advent of PC flight simulations well over a decade and a half ago, the realism versus playability debate has been escalating gradually. In the distant past when flight sims were powered by the early 8086 chipsets, realism was severely limited by the hardware resources available to desktop pilots. With 640k of memory (less the considerable chunk required by the operating system), CGA graphics cards and tinny sound from the internal speaker, it’s no wonder most early flight sims were played as graphically and audibly Spartan arcade games. Over the last few years however, incredible advances have been made in the PC hardware field. Faster and more powerful processors, improved motherboard architecture, high-resolution graphics (and the current “hot technology,” 3D accelerator cards) etc. confer upon simulation designers the means to model a flight sim with the level of detail and exactitude that they would have o­nly been dreaming about in the late 80s. It’s also no exaggeration to say that sim designers are reveling in their newly enhanced medium; from the recent Back to Baghdad and AH-64D Longbow to the upcoming Falcon 4 and Su-27 2.0, highly realistic and complex titles are continuing to pour o­nto the market.
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