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Thread: Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0 31 Years Later

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Melbourne, Australia

    Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0 31 Years Later



    LGR put out a video on Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0. I was never a big fan of the games myself, always preferred Wing Commander (for it's action) back then. The games do have an appeal to them though, with just flying around and admiring scenery + the flight experience.

    Did you play these games back in those days?

  2. #2
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I played one of em on a friend's PC in the early 90's. I think it might've been MS Flight 5.0 tho. Here's a compliation video of the series.



    The only one I've been really into was the free-to-play MS Flight from 2012. I liked the gameloop in that one, with accepting missions at airports. And the whole thing being limited to 1 island meant you got the fun, challenging parts of the flying experience (taking off and landing) without too much of the boring in-between part (actually flying). That's why I'm a bit sceptical of this new game. Sure, it looks pretty, but what do you actually do in it? Just fly? If so, no thanks.
    Last edited by henke; 15th Aug 2020 at 06:33.

  3. #3
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Hong Kong
    I'm not which version I played, but from memory I think it was probably V4, judging by a comparison of
    earlier releases .

    While I wasn't very good it, frequently stalling the plane, crashing into airports, mountains and other things, I found it intriguing, and did improve after a while, particularly after I bothered to read snippets of the manual. Like iceman however, I eventually lost interest after getting my hands on WC, the third one in my case, and then Privateer. I've never been tempted to try any of the latter versions.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    I remember playing the original subLOGIC Flight Simulator on a friend's Apple II when I was 9 or 10. Shortly after, my family got an Atari 400, and my neighbor and I played the hell out of Hellcat Ace and Mig Alley Ace. Later I got a Commodore 64 and immediately took my money saved from lawn mowing and purchased subLOGIC Flight Simulator II. I put hours and hours and hours into that sim when I was a teenager and it definitely influenced my decision to enter the USAF. I got a PC in my freshman year of engineering school and that's when I got Microsoft Flight Simulator 4.0. I put as many hours into that as FS2. I liked F-15 Strike Eagle and Falcon too, but not as much as FS4. Possibly the only game I've logged more playing time with is Deus Ex.

  5. #5
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    As if to answer my question of what you do in the new game, this video popped up in my youtube feed just now.



    I skimmed through, and what I got was: no real campaign, but there are some "jobs" you can take on. I'm guessing delivery missions. I'd also like it if the geocaching missions from MS Flight 2012 returned, where you have to land in tough spots to pick up the cache.

  6. #6
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    There will be missions

    My take is that they are trying to appeal to both casual and hardcore flight sim fans, but leaning more towards the casual. Still, if you're looking for rewards, advancements, or some kind of game-like structure to keep your interest, you're probably not going to be satisfied. It seems like this edition is all about the realistic scenery. It looks gorgeous, and if the level of detail seen in the trailers is available in the areas that interest me, I will probably end up buying it JUST to fly around. But given the 150GB free space requirement and (what I assume to be) a casual focus, I might just stick with X-Plane 11.

  7. #7
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    The thing like the OP video that I played a lot was the original Stealth Fighter in C64.

    As for what one can do in the new MSFS, aside from just exploring the world and knowing that what you're looking at looks very, very close to what the real thing looks like -- which makes me want to explore some really off-the-beaten-path places in the world -- I think the multiplayer element can make it special. This video shows off how that can be fun. And there's a mission editor, like heywood said, so people will be sharing custom missions all over the world over time.

    Last edited by demagogue; 16th Aug 2020 at 02:09.

  8. #8
    My first flight sim was the legendary Geoff Crammond's 1983 release "Aviator". Here's someone flying under the bridge. What a difference 37 years of technology advances makes.

    Mind you, Aviator also featured an alien invasion to defend against, which might not be a feature that ever made it into the Microsoft offerings :)
    Last edited by Shadowcat; 16th Aug 2020 at 05:57.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    aside from just exploring the world and knowing that what you're looking at looks very, very close to what the real thing looks like -- which makes me want to explore some really off-the-beaten-path places in the world
    The video looks absolutely phenomenal, but... I wouldn't count on serious fidelity from anything other than the very-much-ON-the-beaten-track regions. Certainly their past iterations always had relatively poor detail for most of the world, and really good detail in only particular bits of it. All for fairly acceptable reasons, mind you.

    There was a significant market for third-party scenery, so that people could actually make their neck of the woods look good (because it's really pretty good fun to fly around the places that you personally are familiar with).

    Edit: The video henke posted speaks to this at the 15:00 mark. There is also some subsequent discussion of the ability to deliver scenery update mechanisms when they have more accurate data. I suspect the generic renditions will look pretty good to everyone who isn't familiar with the locations, but maybe those who are will find that the inaccuracies jump out at them? (Hopefully nothing so glaring as the absence of an entire island from my local region in the 2004 edition, but I suspect there'll still be a "that's not quite how it actually looks" feeling to a lot of places.)
    Last edited by Shadowcat; 16th Aug 2020 at 07:07.

  10. #10
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I don't know. There are videos made by people from very rural areas of Canada and Alaska where they fly around their hometowns, places that can't possibly be hand-touched and must be done entirely by algorithm, and point out what's accurate and what's not accurate. The basic punchline was, well I'll just give an exact quote from a video flying over a rural town of Canada with less than 1000 people: "The mapping is so good and so detailed that where it's not quite right stands out just because of how much an exception it is, and how bizarre it is." You should watch that whole video & its Part 2 even. He goes practically building by building and points out the few places where something is off. (It's better to start from 28m15s, where he really starts to talk about it.)

    This could be a semantic issue of what you want to mean by "serious fidelity", but even in the everyday sense, it's pretty convincing for a lot of things, enough that the things that are off really stick out.

    The typical things that are off are like three buildings will be represented as one, structures using a stock model, bank-side buildings and bridges get rendered underwater, and water gets janky in other ways (like ice gets rendered as lakes on hills, or the levels get weird), trees are the wrong size (another stock model issue), and you can see the seams where satellite images meet. I have a feeling all of these things will get categorically fixed (as in they'll catch a lot of cases but not all of them), and some things like stock models will always be an issue.

    But anyway, as far as this regards my earlier post, another point the guy that made this video points out is, even though it's not 100% accurate, it still fairly represents the kinds of things you'd really see in this area. It captures the basic look and feel of a place that even locals think is a fair representation. That's kind of what I meant by saying that. It's enough for me that it basically looks like the place except a few models may be a little off. This isn't something any other earlier flight sim could do out of the box.

  11. #11
    I can't disagree with any of that -- and I do think it all looks absolutely amazing.

    This could be a semantic issue of what you want to mean by "serious fidelity"
    I essentially mean that, within the evident data resolution limitations, that it looks accurate to locals. Those "jumps out at you" kinds of inaccuracies you referred to would be an example of a lack of fidelity which might not occur in the regions which they are trying harder to reproduce in detail.

    It's all relative of course -- I reckon the whole thing looks grand -- but I also think the world is too vast (by several orders of magnitude) to realistically "fix" a very substantial proportion of inaccuracies (notwithstanding that procedural generation might well be 'fixed' so that structures are never improperly underwater, and so forth). You're probably right in that, for most people, most places will look Good Enough for this to be a bit of a sightseer's paradise.

    I'm sure the internet will tell us all about the hits and misses in due course :)
    Last edited by Shadowcat; 16th Aug 2020 at 07:29.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by demagogue View Post
    You should watch that whole video & its Part 2 even. He goes practically building by building and points out the few places where something is off. (It's better to start from 28m15s, where he really starts to talk about it.)
    Having watched that first video from that point onwards, I'm seriously impressed. If that's truly the kind of detail we can expect globally, I'll simply eat my earlier words.

  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Apr 2001
    Location: Switzerland
    I think I played some Flight Simulator 2 on Amiga as a kid, though never for very long. It was one of those games that I had a copy of but no manual, and that fascinated me because it was so cryptic. Just getting to a point where I could take off was already an achievement. Sometimes I wish that there were more games that offered this kind of experimentation and discovery (what happens if I press this?), but as the core gameplay rather than as an effect of me not having the right set of instructions. Though I suspect that I simply wouldn't have the patience for that kind of obliqueness any more, unless the feedback is much clearer and more immediate.

    Other than that, I played some action sims on C64 (can't remember its name, but there was one set during the Blitz where you could eliminate V1 and V2 flying bombs by flying right next to them and nudging them with your wing). I was intrigued by the Lucasfilm Games action sims, but by the time we got a PC they'd moved on to the Star Wars space sims.

  14. #14
    Member
    Registered: Sep 2001
    Location: Land of the crazy
    In addition to the manual, there was a "cheat sheet" reference card for the controls and a bunch of charts. I can't imagine playing FS2 without at least having the reference card and knowing the basics of flying, which the manual covered in surprising depth. Also, if you wanted to actually go anywhere, you needed the charts and you needed to know how to use the nav radios. The developers probably put more time into writing the manual and creating the charts as they did into writing the software.

    Switching to the new game, I expect the level of world detail is going to vary because it depends on the quality of the available aerial imagery. For example, if you browse Microsoft's Bing maps, everything looks consistent at zoom levels where they use the satellite imagery. But once you zoom in close enough to switch to the aerial imagery, the boundaries where two different sets of aerial imagery have been joined become obvious. Sometimes they don't line up just right, but more often it's because the imagery was taken at different times of the year and in different weather/sunlight conditions. The aerial imagery around where I live looks like a patchwork of imagery taken in winter. spring, and summer. It's a similar story with Google Earth. My house is rendered in 2D with imagery taken in the spring, but in the woods just behind my house everything pops into 3D using winter imagery. If I move two kilometers to the South, it's 2D summer imagery taken in the evening. If I move 3 km to the North, it's 3D summer imagery taken around mid-day.

  15. #15
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

    I guess this is just the official MS Flight Simualtor thread now?

    PSA: 1 month of XBox Game Pass for PC is 1 for new sign-ups! In case you wanna try this thing on the cheap. I'm downloading it right now.

    Also, I did get a few months of the Game Pass over the past few years but it still considers me a new sign-up. Weird, cool.

  16. #16
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I think we should start a new thread with the right title and OP. I'm downloading the thing now. If it ends before I have to sleep (it's ~100 gigs), I'll make a video and can make a new thread for it. But anyone else is free to do that before me.

  17. #17

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