Saturday, December 31, 2005

Whew !

More on the next FS from Microsoft via AVSIM


'In a communication received from representatives of Microsoft Game Studios late yesterday, AVSIM was informed that 'the next instalment of the Flight Simulator franchise' is forthcoming, with a projected release date of Q4 2006. This information was released in response to the inaccurate release date published in US magazine PC Gamer's February edition; AVSIM delayed its publication of this note from MGS until it had verified that this information could be released to the public.'

Personally I am quite pleased about this as my next computer upgrade is scheduled for Q4 2006 anyway. Hopefully Q4 will mean Q4 world wide - as Australia frequently seems to lag behind US and Europe when it comes to Microsoft releases - I think we were a couple of months behind with FS2004 [on another subject XBox 360 will be released here in March - long after its northern release].

Something nice to look forward to anyway.

Being involved in the add-on side of things the SDK is almost as important to me as the main product. Hopefully it will be ready around the same time as FS X.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

FS X ?

On my daily visit to Sim-Outhouse I happened to notice a new forum - FSX General Discussion. On entering I saw a number of new threads on the subject of Microsoft's new sim Flight Simulator X [for X].

I do recall a thread somewhere [possibly AVSIM?] on a Flight Simulator X when XBox 360 was unveiled - many months ago. However this is the first mention such a product being the next incarnation in the popular Flight Simulator franchise.

My first inclination was to suspect some sort of hoax as there has been no official announcement from Microsoft - it's the wrong time of year for April fool's jokes - perhaps too much Christmas cheer? Maybe the ginger wine was a wee bit too strong? Anyway further reading revealed that this is based on a small article in PC Gamer magazine previewing FS 10.

AVSIM and Simviation have threads on this topic too. Just surprised that a magazine beat MS to the punch. Any hints of this on the MS blogs? Well we know there's a new version of FS on the way and of course we have a cryptic 'X Marks the Spot' Christmas greeting from pixelpoke, which could have meant anything ;).

I'm not going to speculate or offer much comment myself on this at the moment. I'm sure Microsoft's official announcements will be forthcoming 'real soon' as they say. If the article is correct then it seems that we'll have quite a rich environment to fly around in featuring cars, trucks, ships and even herds of wild animals going about their business. Cool :)

Sim-Outhouse FSX Forum
Sim-Outhouse initial thread with a scan of the PC Gamer article.
AVSIM thread
Simviation thread.

Looking forward to Microsoft's comments/announcements.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Over Flanders Fields Forums

This is possibly old news by now, but just in case you don't know there are two new forums dedicated to the Over Flanders Fields [OFF] CFS3 add-on, at SimHQ and Sim-Outhouse.

Some SimHQ threads have been moved to the new forum. I have also updated the links referred to in my post on CFS4 below.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A few pics .... Over Flanders Fields

I could not resist showing a few pics from Over Flanders Fields along with a dawn pic of my WIP 'Biff' (second from the top).

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Over Flanders Fields [OFF] Released

Phase 1 of Over Flanders Fields more commonly known as OFF has now been released and is available for download.

The OFF team have kindly provided alternative download mirrors at


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Virtual Bristol Fighter F2B 'Biff' project rolls on.

Just thought I'd post a WIP pic of my virtual Bristol Fighter project here. More pics and WIP news will appear in The Biff Diaries.

OFF Website updated

Just noticed the OFF [Over Flanders Fields] website has been updated at long last. OFF will be released on 18 December 2005 - not long now.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

CFS4 ....and all that

Every now and then a thread will pop up in one of the flight sim or combat flight sim forums raising the subject of Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 4 or CFS4 as it is more commonly known.

Quite often interesting threads will develop and, of course, with lack of news on such a product, much speculation arises. Inevitably some naysayers will chime in with doom and gloom comments not only about the possible future, if there is any, of Combat Flight Simulator but Flight Simulator too. The threads invariably evolve and diverge and invariably end up predicting the end of the simulation genre and the demise of PC games etc.

The consul v computer debate and angst has been on the go since the early 1980's and is nothing new. The simulation genre, while not quite as buoyant as it was a decade ago is undergoing something of a renaissance with many new titles appearing in store shelves and others announced in recent times. The simulation genre is far from dead and at the very least, will most definitely survive as niche products by smaller publishers if not by the larger publishers. If Ubisoft's catalogue is anything to go by the simulation genre is still viable and Ubisoft are not a small company.

For an interesting series of articles on the future of simulations I recommend reading the 'round table discussions' in the editorial section of simHQ [scroll down and on the lower right page].

As for CFS4... well who knows? Microsoft have changed their development and release cycle in recent years with Flight Simulator and until the advent of the ACES blogs and also the recent AVSIM conference there was much doom and gloom and speculation as to the future of Flight Simulator. This has now changed and there is much less speculation about FS - though there are a few people who do not read the MS blogs or do not want to. As to the future of Combat Flight Simulator, all we can glean is the little that was reportedly said by Microsoft at the 2004 and 2005 AVSIM conferences which amounts to CFS is not dead ... keep watching [or was not dead at September 2005 anyway].

Interestingly I carried out a web search this morning and discovered an interesting thread at simHQ showing some screenshots of what could have been in CFS4. It appears to have been well regarded by the beta testers and a considerable improvement on CFS3. Anyway - history is history and CFS4 did not appear - a real pity.

[Edit Sunday 1:47 PM - UMT+10: The images in the SimHQ thread now appear to have been deleted Fair enough - I appreciate the reasons. Very nice scenery though, and quite a tease. Sad and disappointing that such beautiful work was never released.
Edit 28 December 2005 - For some reason, the thread on CFS4 has now been moved to the new Over Flanders Fields forum at SimHQ - link updated above.]

Biff Diaries Update

At long last I have found time to start posting updates to the 'Biff Diaries'. I have been busy on the 'Biff' itself ..... light at the end of the tunnel. :)

I hope to return to more frequent posts and articles on this blog too in the near future.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monsters of Photorealism

I came across an interesting article by Clive Thompson, in Wired News, this morning. In this article Clive highlights a phenomenon that is going to become increasingly more apparent with the introduction of high resolution consoles such as the X-Box 360. With the high resolution afforded by these new generation consoles photo realism can be just plain ugly if not horrifying.

The article is well worth reading. Monsters of Photorealism

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Ground Crew Design Group - Me Bf110-G-4 Series

On the subject of new CFS3 releases, Ground Crew Design Group have announced the imminent release of 11 new versions of the Messerschmitt Bf110G-4 nightfighter.

The announced release date is 'next Sunday evening'. As the announcement was posted a few days ago that means tonight, though as the guys are based in Europe probably Sunday Evening 4 December UMT +2hours? We'll see :)

If these aircraft are up to designer Mathias Pommerien's usual standards they will be worth downloading.

OFF Preview Movie

Need an excuse to re-install MS CFS3 on your HD? Over Flanders Fields or OFF as it is more commonly known as may provide such an excuse.

OFF team member Polovski has recently posted a movie on his site. Worth a look!

OFF is freeware and planned for release by download on 18 December 2005.

The other large CFS3 addon project MAW, or Mediterranean Air War will hopefully be completed and released in the not too distant future - possibly northern Spring 2006. Their WIP screenshots are worth a look.