Wings of Honor
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W.W.I Flight Simulations

A Short Abstract About W.W.I Flight Simulations' History

by Gremlin, Wings Of Honor Staff
on 24-Jul-2009

W.W.I flight simulations have a tradition in the relatively new computer gaming genre. Starting with the first arcade game called Red Baron on an Atari arcade machine in 1981 there have been a lot of simulations as well as arcade games in the W.W.I flight sim genre since. The high time of W.W.I flight simulations was during the ninetees with games like Wings on Commodore Amiga in 1990 followed by the first graphically improved titles for PC like Knights of The Sky (Microprose, 1990), Red Baron (Dynamix, 1990), Dawn Patrol (Rowan,1994), Flying Corps (Rowan, 1996), Red Baron II/3D (Sierra/Dynamix, 1997). Especially the Red Baron series by Dynamix had many followers but the titles from Rowan Software could compete with them.

Red Baron also introduced online play ability to the W.W.I flight simulations genre. Human vs. human was made possible by proprietary network service providers as the Internet was not common as it is today. Also Red Baron II/3D was the first W.W.I flight simulation which was modded extensively. Numerous modifications of the whole sim (called Super Patches), flight and damage model improvements, add ons and tools were developed by a very big community which even surpassed the developer and publisher companies Dynamix and Sierra which were closed some years later.

The first decade of the new millenium saw the demise of the W.W.I flight sim genre as well as the demise of the flight sim genre in general. As flight sims need a lot of patience and dedication to master the simulated planes as well as additional gaming hardware they became more and more a niche in the gaming industry with first person shooters dominating the scene. Being a niche within a niche market new releases of W.W.I flight simulations did not suceed and flight sim companies and private efforts came and went. Also a trend to arcadish titles evolved which only brought short-lived fun but no 'scientific' aspects.

After a long waiting time of nearly ten years since the release of the original Red Baron II first successful attempts of modding existing games arised in the form of Over Flanders Fields - Phase 1 (OBD Software, 2005) a total conversion of Microsoft's Combat Flight Simulator 3 into a historical accurate W.W.I flight sim with two huge improvement steps Phase 2 and 3 to date. Also a very small development studio called Thirdwire mainly focused on Jet Fighter simulations produced a W.W.I spin-off called First Eagles which also today has a firm modding community driven by the fact that the sim was made very open to modding. Finally in 2009 a W.W.I flight simulation with a completely new game engine made its appearance - Rise Of Flight by neoqb a young start-up company from Russia.

… to be continued.