Classic Air Combat Sim Recommendations

20th Century flight simmers will remember that Falcon 4.0 was the Duke Nukem Forever of its day. Took an eternity to develop, numerous delays, and when it shipped, it was buggy as hell. (Though unlike DNF, it was actually a good game.)

So if they announce Falcon 5.0, I’m expecting Early Access sometime in the early 2030s.

Nah, I doubt that’ll happen. They’ll likely just continue to let the BMS folks improve it, since it costs them nothing to do so.

I’m hoping they throw some resources their way. If BMS gets a facelift and is packaged up for Steam, we have a monster, especially now that VR is working with it.

Ditto. Some microprose support in terms of money and maybe programming talent to overhaul parts of the F4 engine would be just the thing. And then integrating that into one commercial game release where the BMS folks get a cut. BMS has a very ambitious roadmap for 2023 already including some great graphical enhancements to the creaking F4 engine. They’ve done amazing things with Falcon 4. I’ve predominantly beeen playing the Viper in DCS but have been looking in admiration at what the BMS folks have done - and when I have more bandwidth I plan to give it a whirl.

So last night I skimmed through the Longbow 2 manual and strategy guide because, for some reason, it’s bugging me that it gets more love than Gunship 2000. I can kind of see why, but in reading the docs, I feel GS2000 offers a lot more gameplay and flexibility of play than Longbow 2, which I kinda feel makes GS2000 a better game and package.

Like, in Longbow 2, it looks as if once you set your waypoints for your flight before the mission, you can’t change them for the other members of your flight once the mission begins. There’s also no kind of RPG element to your other pilots that I can find, as there is in GS2000. You can give all kinds of detailed orders to your wingman, but only your wingman, but personally I don’t feel the need to in GS2000. Give them some waypoints and they do their jobs.

It’s been a while since I played LB2 but I don’t feel it ever grabbed me the way GS2000 has, which is why for years, I ranked Hind above it, and I feel GS2000 would also rank above it as well, to me personally. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

Reading one of my favorite manuals for the shits and giggles.

Longbow 2 is based off real Apache ops. Gunship 2000 is more game-oriented in its mission design. That’s why Gunship is more flexible and more fun.

Realism killed fun missions in flight sims! IMHO fun peaked with the Jane’s USAF/US Navy Fighters/ATF series.

Yeah, agreed. 100%. I wish there could be room for both. I’m hoping that fun-focused sims like Tiny Combat Arena and Helicopter Gunship DEX usher in a new era of classic style sims.

Honestly? I think Fighters Anthology is the best Jane’s sim.

That was just a combination of the three I mentioned, and their expansions!

Just give me Fighter’s Anthology with modern graphics, more sophisticated flight models, and smarter AI and I’d be a happy camper. Leave the realistic systems simulation to DCS, and don’t tell any of the DCS rivet counters that the new version exists. :)

Yeah that’s what I meant. All that awesome in one unaccelerated piece if awesomeness.

Oh wait, you said USAF and I misread it as USNF, which is a different thing. Hah. USAF was great also. Shame it’s impossible to get running these days.

Though I do know a guy who got Longbow 2 running via PCem so I should try that.

So wow, LOL, it was relatively easy to set up Jane’s F-15 in 86Box & Glide. (Mostly making sure all the Win 98 SE drivers got installed.) Gonna try all the other bastard-to-run-sims now.

Ohh, would you mind explaining how you got it working, please?

This one?

Right, whew, no time to go through everything. But it basically boils down to two parts: getting the VM Host set up, and then setting up Windows 98.

I’d recommend searching for and looking at a Win98/86Box video on Youtube. There’s several on there that show you how to configure the host. I set up a Pentium MMX 200 on a Socket 7 board, 32MB RAM, a VooDoo 1, and all that stuff. If you’re familiar with PCem it’s kind of the same thing. You set up your host, your hard disks, etc. etc.

Then you install Windows 98 in “the usual way”. Again, pretty similar to any VM Host setup, i.e. mount the Win98 iso and floppy start up disk, etc.

After that’s drivers. The F15 disk was nice enough to include 3dfx drivers.

Basically, a bit of fiddly tweaky on the VM host settings and Win98 driver dance.

Then I installed F15, applied the last patch, and it just worked ;)

I’ll have to try this with USAF. Thanks!

Cockpit view has some corruption but this is just the straight-up MiG Alley 1.1 install straight from the .ISO. Frame rate’s not bad at all.


Some annoying cockpit corruption, even after 1.23 patch :( Maybe will have to check DX version