Aviation games, especially flight simulator games have always been that little bit more special than other games. I think its mans fascination with flying, and the fact that most of us will never actually get into a plane and take control ourselves so I think these virtual worlds give us an opportunity to realize a dream.
What exactly is it though that has made these airplane games explode in popularity, I think the first thing is the advances in technology that have enabled your average user to buy higher specification computers so that they can run these huge file flight simulators.
The resources called upon to turn these basic aviation games into top games has also played a big part in their jump in popularity. One example is the use of Google maps and digital elevation models obtained from SRTM (Shuttle Radar Topography Missions) to recreate a virtual representation of our own world.
Below is a list of the other significant recent developments that have propelled these virtual flying games into the spotlight.
(1) Some aviation games are synchronized with real world time so if its dawn in New York it will dawn when you fly through virtual New York.
(2) The best games even have correct placement of the moon/stars and the sun for specific time and dates.
(3) Night flying in these games is a real treat with ground lighting concentrated over urban areas based on google maps, you will even see car headlights on the busy motorways.
(4) Real life weather or customized weather conditions to suit your preferred experience.
(5) Play games online against other aviation game enthusiasts – try joint missions, free flying, air to air refueling etc
The aircraft in these aviation games have come on leaps and bounds as well, the top flight simulators will have planes that are realistically modelled with real word instrument behaviour. It’s not all plain sailing though or should I say Plane Flying (sorry about that one), If you want a realistic experience then you will have to deal with the realistic problems that can come with it:
Instruments that lag in real life lag in the simulators, gyro drift is modelled correctly and the magnetic compass is subject to aircraft body forces
Correct instrument representation for 50 – 100 planes
Equipment and system failures are also very accurately represented.
You can have a fully 3D interactive cockpit
Everything you need out of flight simulator aviation games is now at your finger tips, if you ever wondered what it would be like to fly over the great wall of China or the Pyramids then you should get yourself one. If you do invest in a flight sim I recommend investing to some hardware to enhance the experience i.e.
Multi-screen – For the panoramic views to enhance the experience
Please let me stress though that this hardware is by no means essential and you can thoroughly enjoy the game without them.
Check out the Aviation games (flight simulators) that I am currently playing that offers all the above and so much more atwww.aviationgames.org. What I’ve mentioned above is only the tip of the iceberg
Declan is a gaming enthusiast who loves Aviation games and First person shooters.