FS-1 on the Apple II (1980) Meigs  -  FS2000

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FS1           (1979)
MSFS 1/2  (1982)
FS II         (1983)
FS 3.0       (1988)
FS 4.0       (1989)
FS 5.0       (1993)
FS 5.1       (1995)
FSW95      (1996)
FS 98        (1997)
FS 2000     (1999)
FS 2002     (2001)
FS 2004     (2003)


On behalf of myself and all of you, FS-friends, who visit my website, I like to thank Miguel Blaufuks, director of simFlight.
He kindly offered to house the FS History website and take the burden of all the needed disk space and traffic.



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The Alternate Scene

FS II for the Apple, Atari, Commodore, Ö.

When Microsoft FS 1.01 was released as a second generation flight simulation program, Apple owners felt left out and let Apple know about that. And because users still had a say in 1983, SubLOGIC hurried to port this new generation over to the Apple II platform as FS II, version 1. Enhanced versions for the Commodore 64 and Atari 800 (both also equipped with the 6502 processor) followed suit in 1984.

So a whole new line of SubLOGIC Flight Simulators developed parallel to the Microsoft line, also developed by the same SubLOGIC crew under the leadership of Bruce Artwick. Intrinsically the same as version 2.10 of NS-FS, the FS II versions profited from the (much) better graphic capabilities of the other systems, compared to the very limited features of the CGA graphics of the early PCís.

FS II for the Apple II   -  do you have a better picture?

The first release for the Apple II was still quite simple, but the 1984 releases for the C64 and Atari 800 featured 8-color scenery with buildings, roads, rivers, mountains and solid color surfaces. It had view in 8 directions (+ downward) and "see own airplane" form the inside (wings, rudder). Te aircraft modelled was a Piper Archer, with COM/NAV radios, OBI and DME. As in MF-FS 2.10, environment could be set to wish, including season, time of day, winds and turbulence.

The positioning system was still very crude, with an accuracy of 256 feet. So it wasnít even possible to use the coordinates to place a plane on the runway, except for the slew function in zoom mode. There were 4 scenery areas: Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and New York/Boston, with in total 80 airports, with ATIS an many runways with ILS. A slew function was provided for rapid transportation, as between scenery areas there was absolute barrenness.

FS II on the Commodore 64 (1984) - Thanks Sergio

This version of FS II came with a 90 page pilotís manual and even a 92-page book on aeronautics. With a little imagination this version could give an "armchair pilot" the idea of really flying! For the first time separate language versions were published in French and German. A drawback however was the fact that the scenery areas were very limited and the FS-system was closed, without any possibility for expansion by third parties.

When newer computers arrived in 1968 like the Atari ST, Commodore Amiga and Apple MacIntosh (all based on the same Motorola 68000 processor btw), SubLOGIC in turn responded by developing new versions of FS II for these systems. All in all at least 14 versions or releases of FS II were published between 1983 and 1988, including one for the first major laptop, the Data General 1.

Of course the new versions were upgraded to the new features of the new systems like 16 color (but still only 320x200 screen) and the use of a joystick. The number of scenery areas was expanded to 5, including San Francisco, counting 120 airports in total, with correct elevations and radio-beacons. More objects were added like buildings, bridges, runways, mountains and roads and with greater detail with hidden surface elimination. A map view was added in its own overlapping and movable window. The night panel was lit (coloured) differently.

FS II on the Atari ST emulator

For the first time the plane could be seen from the outside in the Spot Plane view and clouds and fog were actually made visible. Colors changed corresponding to the time of day. The standard airplane now was a Cessna Skylane 182 RG (retractable gear), but a new plane was added: the Gates Learjet 25G turbojet with much higher speed and different flight characteristics. All together now 47 flight parameters were taken into account in the calculations! The panel was expanded and included ADF and DME and the first autopilot with wing leveller, VOR lock, heading lock and altitude lock.

An instant replay function made it possible to enjoy you last successful landing or to learn form your mistakes. And a multiplayer function made it possible to enjoy a flight with other pilots in a network, which generated the start of flightsim clubs all over the world, like FSFAN in The Netherlands, later Europe. No wonder the new version needed a 135 page manual.

Maybe the biggest changes however were the use of a new kernel, based on the separately by SubLOGIC developed JET simulator, that by itself didnít survive. And the introduction on a new ingenious coordinate system, developed by Bruce Artwick, with an accuracy of 1/100 inch! The whole scenery-world could be modelled in a 10.000 x 10.000 mile area with its centre (x=0, y=0) in the building of SubLOGIC in Champaign, Illinois.

But probably even more interesting to the flight sim fan was the release of the first additional scenery diskettes SD1-6 by SubLOGIC in the spring of 1988. They uncovered a lot of new territory to the FS pilot and could also be used with MS FS 2.xx.

Who can help me with a picture of The Eiffel Tower

Made with FS II and the Western Scenery Tour disk?

From the point of view of the European flightsim enthusiast one of the highlights was the release mid 1988 of the "Western European Tour" scenery disk, that for the first time made it possible for them to fly in their own back yard. It included Southern England with London and the Tower bridge, Northern France with Paris and the Eiffel tower, Southern Germany and even Moscow with the red square to land on (Matthias Rust had just done it). Under the assumption that you could find it, as between Germany and Moscow there was absolutely nothing, no road, no radio beacon, no nothing.

In retrospect you wonder why this version was still called FS II. In many aspects it was the new generation, that should have been given a new version number. In fact it more or less has, because the next version for the IBM PC had about the same characteristics and features as the latest releases of FS II and was indeed called: Microsoft Flight Simulator 3.0!

Flight Simulator © Microsoft
This website © Jos Grupping 2001 (joscmg@xs4all.nl)