The Flight Simulator For The Timex/Sinclair
Michael B. Williams
First came Mazogs, with its stunning graphics and entertaining game play. Then 3D Monster Maze, boasting realistic, real-time movement along three-dimensional corridors. Now The Flight Simulator is here. And it supersedes any graphics I've ever seen on the Timex/Sinclair or ZX-81.
If you're skeptical, you won't be after you've seen it. The Flight Simulator challenges you to land a small, twin-engine plane safely — and it's not easy.
In all, there are three displays. The cockpit display shows the control panel and simulates the view from the inside of the airplane. As you dive and bank, you see the horizon shift through the cockpit window. On the control panel are rate-of-climb, fuel, power, and flap indicators, along with an RDF (radio direction finder) clock, and speed and gear readings.
The map display shows the area in which you are flying, including your present position, the runway, various beacons, and a mountain range rising 1500 feet above sea level. The purpose of this display is to show you your position relative to a beacon or the runway.
The third display — and the most important — is the visual display. It contains the information you will need in landing the aircraft: the altitude, speed, ILS (instrument landing system) and, of course, the cockpit display. Despite the rather low pixel resolution on the Sinclair — only 48 × 64 — the realism is outstanding. If you approach the runway at an angle, you will see it pass to your right or left with astonishing accuracy. It is even possible to notice that you are slightly off-center, due to some remarkable machine code programming.
During landing, you have complete control of the airplane, and you must make minor adjustments to align yourself with the runway. Once down, you must pull the plane to a complete stop. If, on touchdown, the screen disintegrates (indicating a crash), you have probably forgotten the landing gear. Some sort of warning that the landing gear is up would spare dozens of aircraft and who knows how many lives.
The Flight Simulator takes six to ten minutes to load, but the wait is worth it. The game so accurately simulates the flight (and for me the plight) of an aircraft that you almost feel as if you're actually piloting a plane.
The Flight Simulator
901 Fuhrmann Boulevard
Buffalo, NY 14203