Computer flight simulator games have come a long way since Bill Gates put his money where his fascination with flight was and bankrolled the ACES studio. Flight simulation games have always been at the forefront of gaming technology thanks in part to ACES but mostly to the military. These days, when people in Nevada are flying war theater drones over Iraq in real time, the line between simulation and reality has become even more blurred.
But most people just want to have fun with a more serious game without any violence. And computer flight simulator games are perfect for this. Whether you are a novice just wanting to try out flying a plane, or are more experienced and want to hone your skills or try out some dangerous maneuvers, a flight simulator game is a great pastime. And it is only getting better; graphics have become so realistic and features so varied.
The better computer flight simulator games are so realistic that they are used for training new pilots and for re-training practicing pilots. The basics have not changed much. But the improvements in accessories, sights, and sounds have totally transformed how exciting the games are.
For instance, newer computer flight simulator games can network through a server and enable you fly with your friends. You can connect up a series of screens to expand your flying view up to a complete surround or have multiple views of different parts of the game. You can create your own sights, planes, airports and sounds.
A good flight simulator game will have animated, photo-realistic cockpits. So, for instance, if the airport you are in has a slight slope you will feel that when you release the brakes. Or if the instrumentation has a slight lag in response (as it does quite noticeably in certain aircraft), then the cockpit controls in computer flight simulator games will reflect this. Instrument and system failures will also be mirror-images of the real thing.
The range of aircraft and landing options in the fleet is another difference in later generation computer flight simulator games. Planes, from vintage to next-gen, should be available, but also helicopters, gliders, and other exotic aircraft like ornithopters and zeppelins should be options. Air-to-air refueling and aircraft landing should be some of the advanced skill options available.
Scenery is a key factor in creating and maintaining realism in computer flight simulator games. Whether it is topography, infrastructure, or astronomy, they all need to be flawlessly detailed and seamlessly animated. The impact of fog or sun, day or night, wind or blizzard should be detailed in the flying view.
Time synchronization is another feature to look out for – wherever you are in the world virtually, the game reflects the actual, real-time of your location. This kind of verisimilitude is what makes flight simulation such an addictive game.
The ability to record and playback is another feature that should be standard. The realism of the flight simulator game enhances the fun side of it. But an added bonus is that you are really learning to fly. You are developing a skill that, with a couple of further steps, can be applied to real aircraft as well. And the capability of record and playback allows you to make and learn from mistakes.