Microsoft Flight Simulator began as a set of articles on computer graphics, written by Bruce Artwick throughout 1976, about flight simulation using 3-D graphics. When the editor of the magazine told Artwick that subscribers were interested in purchasing such a program, Artwick founded subLOGIC Corporation to commercialize his ideas.
At first the new company sold flight simulators through mail order, but that changed in January 1980 with the release of Flight Simulator (FS) for the Apple II. They soon followed this up with versions for other systems and from there it evolved into a long-running series of computer flight simulators.
Released in November 1982, the original simulator, released for the Apple, had black and white wire frame graphics, featured a very limited scenery consisting of 36 tiles (in a 6 by 6 pattern, which roughly equals a few hundred square kilometers), and provided a very basic simulation (with only one aircraft simulated). During 1981 […]
In 1984, Microsoft released their version 2 for IBM PCs. This version didn’t differ too much from SubLogic Flight Simulator 1; the graphics were somewhat improved, as well as a more precise simulation in general had been created. The new simulator expanded the scenery coverage to include a model of the entire United States, although the […]
Released in 1988, Microsoft Flight Simulator 3 improved the flight experience by adding additional aircraft and airports to the simulated area found in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2, as well as improved high-res (EGA) graphics. The four simulated aircraft were the Gates Learjet 25, the Cessna Skylane, the Sopwith Camel and a Schweizer glider. Flight Simulator 3 […]
Released in late 1989, version 4 brought several improvements over Microsoft Flight Simulator 3. These included among others; improved aircraft models, as well as an upgraded model of the Cessna Skylane, programmable dynamic scenery (non-interactive air and ground traffic on and near airports moving along static prerecorded paths). The initial version of the program did […]
In 1993, Flight Simulator 5 was introduced, adding the ability to handle scenery libraries including wide use of satellite imagery, faster performance and a barrage of weather effects: storms, 3D clouds and fog became true-to-life elements in the Flight Simulator world. This edition was also the first version that was released on CD-ROM and […]
Released in mid 1996, just after the release of Windows 95, a new version was developed for that platform. Although this was more or less just a port from the DOS version (Microsoft Flight Simulator 5.1), it did feature a vastly improved frame-rate, better haze, and additional aircraft, including the Extra 300 aerobatic aircraft. It also […]
Released in mid 1997, Microsoft Flight Simulator 98 is generally regarded as a ‘service release’, offering minor improvements, with one notable exception: The simulator now also featured a helicopter (the Bell 206BIII JetRanger), as well as a generally improved interface for adding additional aircraft, sceneries, and sounds. Other new ‘out of the box’ aircraft included […]
Released in 1999, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000 was released as a major improvement over the previous versions, and was also offered in two versions; one version for ‘normal’ users, and one ‘pro’ version with additional aircraft. Although many users had high expectations when this version arrived, many were disappointed when they found out that the simulator […]
Released on the 19 of October 2001, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2002 improved vastly over previous versions. In addition to improved graphics, Flight Simulator 2002 introduced ATC (Air Traffic Control) and AI (Artificially Intelligent) aircraft. Users could now fly alongside computer controlled aircraft and communicate with airports. A target frame rate option was added, enabling a […]
Released on 29 July 2003, Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight, also known as Flight Simulator 9, was shipped with many historical aircraft such as the Wright Flyer, Ford Tri-Motor and the Douglas DC-3 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wright Brothers first flight. It included an improved weather engine, which provided true three-dimensional clouds […]