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Microsoft Lays Off Entire Flight Sim Team 162

Posted by Soulskill
from the throttling-back dept.
Dutch Gun writes "Microsoft has just laid off the entire Flight Simulator development team. This continues a long-running trend of terminating or severing relationships with game development studios, such as the Bungie split, FASA, or the closure of Ensemble Studios. While one would presume that core Xbox development is not currently in jeopardy after Microsoft spent up to a billion dollars to pay for Xbox 360 repairs and salvage its reputation with gamers, does this signal a reversal from Microsoft's recent focus on internal game development? And what are its plans for Flight Simulator, a twenty-seven-year product with an extremely loyal user-base and a multitude of externally developed add-ons?"
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Microsoft Lays Off Entire Flight Sim Team

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  • Who frigging knows? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:03AM (#26586687)
    Microsoft's "strategy" moves have not seemed to make any sense for years now.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by El Lobo (994537)
      Why? MS flight simulator is not precisely a big seller. In other words, we are not talking about Guitar Hero or World of Warcraft that everybody and their cats own. We are talking about a game that 3 or 4 geeky souls buy and the rest of those who care just get a copy on pirate bay. It's not a secret that MSFS has been a waste of money for the company since version 5. Since then MS has been updating it more for the love of art than for the money. Now the situation is different and every single hole in the ec
      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        MSFS sold far more than most people realize. It's no WoW, but few things are. You don't need to sell 7 million copies to turn a profit.

        • by Mattcelt (454751)

          FS' niche falls outside of the mainstream gamer culture, so it doesn't get much press. But lack of notoriety != lack of sales by any stretch. I know of many professional pilots who use FS to do ILS (Instrument Landing System) training, which cuts down on big-dollar simulator training times and improves checkride success rates considerably.

          Labor of love or not, Microsoft would not have continued development of an unprofitable software product for 15+ years. It just wouldn't happen.

      • Flight Sim 4 was pretty amazing. It ran on my 8086 with an EGA display and had all sorts of configurable options in the physics engine. I can probably thank time wasted with flightsim for the fact that I completed my gliding scholarship in about half the allotted flying hours. It wasn't as exciting as some other flight simulators - my favourite at the time was F29 Retaliator which let me connect a null modem from my PC to my father's laptop and fly head-to-head[1] - but it was still fun. FlightSim 5 imp
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dutch Gun (899105)

        I think you'd probably be surprised at how many people buy Flight Simulator. It's not a traditional game, so it probably doesn't sell well among those you know and game with. There are many, many non-gamers with PCs who spend a lot of money on this game, expensive peripherals, and software add-ons.

        When discussing this among my co-workers today, most of us were under the impression that Flight Simulator had been a consistent money-maker for Microsoft. I couldn't find any corroborating evidence for this (a

        • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @02:02PM (#26590293)
          Microsoft Flight Simulator is the ONLY reason I still keep an XP partition on one of my computers.

          If I really need to run Microsoft Office, I do that using CodeWeaver's Crossover Office under Linux.

          Microsoft's decision to drop Flight Simulator means that I won't have to even consider Windows 7. I'll just disconnect from my network whenever I want to fly so there is no risk to an abandoned XP partition.

          I'm one of those that has bought every copy of Flight Simulator even before Microsoft bought it from Bruce Artwick and SubLogic. I flew it when it was a wire frame grid with the profile mountain range to the north. I even wrote a shareware application for it that still can be found in various software repositories on the web. It has evolved into an amazing platform and some enthusiasts have built amazing motion cockpits and even full simulations of jet airliner cockpits.

          I also thought every release of Flight Simulator was profitable. For all of Microsoft's other ills, Flight Simulator has been one of the more popular offerings that people preordered, snapped up on release day, etc. there were flawed releases, but Microsoft would release updates that fixed them.

          Microsoft Flight Simulator was really a flagship product for them. I don't know what they are thinking. If any of the team read this, I really appreciate all of your fantastic work over the years. You people made magic.

          It really has been an amazing product and extremely useful. I know lots of real pilots that use it to stay sharp and/or used it to make their training more effective. I can count myself among the ones who had a flight instructor get frustrated that I was flying more by instruments and less by seat of the pants, doing coordinated procedure turns, holding heading and altitude first time out.

          But I wouldn't be surprised if the Linux flight simulators (X-Plane and FlightGear) pick up all the slack. The hard core people will go nuts putting in the hooks for realistic cockpits, added inputs, etc.

          It's an end of an era. For me it totally cuts the cord to Redmond, Gates, and Allen.

          I'll sure miss updates to Flight Simulator but in a way am kind of relieved that I will never buy another copy of Windows again.
          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            I am pretty much in the same boat. I keep Windows just for FS2004 and FSX and CAD. Microsoft Flight Sim is one of those historic benchmark products. Microsoft would be stupid to dump it. Heck I wounder if the Apple might not pick up the dev team. I would buy a Mac if that was the only way to get FS.

          • by T-Bone-T (1048702)

            Why can't Flight Simulator run on Windows 7?

            • by WiiVault (1039946)
              It probably will, but I think the sentiment is that he can just keep using XP and the current (final) version, no need to upgrade since he doesn't use Windows for anything else.
          • But I wouldn't be surprised if the Linux flight simulators (X-Plane and FlightGear) pick up all the slack. The hard core people will go nuts putting in the hooks for realistic cockpits, added inputs, etc.

            Funny how people see things differently.

            One of the reasons that I left Flight Sim behind years ago to use FlightGear instead was cockpits, "photo realism" is all well and good but I'll take a basic looking 3D cockpit (like basically all Flight Gear aircraft) over a 2D cockpit of any quality (like basically all Flight Sim aircraft) any day.

            As for X-Plane, I tried it once a year or so ago. It was crap compared to Flight Gear, in my opinion.

            • Flight Simulator supports the TrackIR head tracking system. It's pretty amazing all set up in the 3-D cockpits to be able to look around just by turning/tilting your head a little.

              It takes a little getting used to, but being able to look up and to the right or left as you bank in on final to line up with the runway is a thrill and also extremely useful and natural. I've also flown full-up military sims with full motion, and Microsoft Flight Simulator with Track-IR for head tracking really doesn't suck ev
    • Microsoft's "strategy" moves have not seemed to make any sense for years now.

      Ok, I could come up with a bunch of anecdotal support for your comment, but MS has been into the subscription software idea for years. Part of their press on this mentions the possibility of Live based flight sim options.

      So this particular move seems to fall right in line with the push to move customers to a greater everyday dependency on MS for the products they used to have the freedom to do with as they pleased (after lawful purchase of said product of course).

      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOsPam.hotmail.com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @09:03AM (#26587839) Journal
        MS has been into the subscription software idea for years. Part of their press on this mentions the possibility of Live based flight sim options.

        Yep, Microsoft is suiciding.

        The backlash against any attempt to turn Flight Sim into rentware will just push people over to Flightgear [flightgear.org].

        With this sort of arrogance, the Vista/Win 7 debacle and sluggish Office 2007 adoption, Microsoft is digging a very deep trench for itself. It'll be interesting if they can find a way out.

    • by mrphoton (1349555)
      I don't understand why do they not just sell the whole team and game to somebody else?
      • by drsmithy (35869)

        I don't understand why do they not just sell the whole team and game to somebody else?

        In case they want to resurrect it later.

    • In a short bit, they will "decide" to re-do the team. And they will be hired in India or China with MAYBE one or two ppl from the old team. If these coders were smart, they would approach a VC person NOW, about doing another game.
    • by Khuffie (818093)
      Microsoft didn't really have much choice with Bungee. Sure, they were in control of the company, but they weren't in control of the people working there (ie, the creative talent). They could have held on control to Bungie, with the creative talent choosing to leave to be in control of their own fate, or release control of Bungie back to its talent, foster a relationship with them and make sure they continue to use their talent to support their console.

      You're right though. Ensemble Studios doesn't make mu
  • I prefer X-Plane (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:07AM (#26586699)

    Hopefully they'll spend their spare time contributing to X-Plane -- a much better simulator if actual flight simulation is important to you. I was very disappointed to learn that the helis in MS Flight Sim are actually just fixed-wing aircraft with unrealistically large flaps and other such hacks. X-Plane uses a much more realistic flight physics engine. And since I fly RC helis, I have to say that MS's sim always felt strange, not like a giant RC heli at all.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hopefully they'll spend their spare time contributing to X-Plane

      Are you serious? Contribute to a competing commercial product!? So that they'd have tougher competition if they get to continue working on MSFS. If they want to continue working on related stuff, they'll apply for jobs at companies developing third-party addons for MSFS.

      I take it that you're disappointed with the simulation of helicopters - I'm quite disappointed with the simulation of advanced fly-by-wire aircraft. The 777 is fine since the system in the real thing is coded to behave very much like hydraul

      • by KDR_11k (778916)

        Hm, yeah, X-Planes doesn't get many addons it seems. An Amazon search returned 35 results for X-Plane and 666 for Flight Simulator.

        • Presumably if Flight Sim disappears most of the user base will migrate to X-Plane, and then the add-on developers will start bringing over their products as well.
        • Re:I prefer X-Plane (Score:5, Informative)

          by quacking duck (607555) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @12:00PM (#26589135)

          If you're searching Amazon it seems you're only looking for paid or official products, but why? Most X-Plane add-ons are free.

          The biggest X-Plane enthusiast site is x-plane.org [x-plane.org], which lists over 2500 aircraft and hundreds of scenery/airport packages.

          X-Plane also runs on Mac and Linux, not just Windows. A stripped-down version even runs on iPhone.

      • Not all third-party aircraft are hideously expensive.

        MSFS is worth the entry price for David Maltby's exquisite (and free) models of classic 60s British jets.

        Superb graphics and models. Check out this pic:

        dmflightsim [dmflightsim.co.uk]
        • by LoadWB (592248)

          That is a pretty neat screen shot. As a non-pilot, I find flight fascinating and often wish I could see the view from the cockpit window while traveling.

          I would bet that such a view is not for the faint-of-heart. I have been on a few planes which have the drop-down LCDs, even one which had the screens in the back of the headrests. I think it would be cool to select "Pilot's view" provided by a small camera in the cockpit.

          As an extension, providing that with a recording system might also be helpful to NTS

      • But if they are no longer employed by MS, then X-Plane is no longer competition. Unless MS are going to let them start up their own outfit and hand over all the code and other IP. Sure, they might get a job for MSFS add-ons, but that's hardly a certain thing -- some of them may not even want to do that.

        As for good FBW simulation, "X-Plane's flight model can handle flying wings and fly-by-wire systems". I have no idea if that covers what's needed for the 777, but worth looking into if that's your thing.

    • by darkeye (199616)

      yes, I'm also an X-Plane user - it's much better, and it's cross platform - works on Mac, Linux, Windows..

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by 4D6963 (933028)

      X-Plane is great, but not in all areas. The super-sonic flight model sucks, there's a lot of improvement to be brought in areas that are just a let down (I haven't played it in a while, but I'd say things like roads in the sky, no reflective textures (non-shiny matte airplanes? The 1990s just called..), a feeling that it could be all optimised a bit, have some better graphics on things like smoke (individual rounds of smoke? come on..), rain (the rain looks awful), crash effects, and so on...

      My point is, X-

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Glonoinha (587375)

        LOMAC. Lock-On Modern Air Combat

        Drink one glass of your favorite 80 proof adult beverage, turn off the lights and fire up LOMAC and you will have a hard time discerning it from reality (at least with respect to visuals.)

        The combat is also absolutely amazing.

        Pick it up for under $20 in the bargain bin - it's worth it.

      • I've never seen roads in the sky. As for non-shiny planes, X-Plane isn't designed for eye-candy. Although, if you have a powerful system, you can get the terrain to look really good (which is more important that the outside of the aircraft). As for supersonic flight simulation, I think it's a bit unfair to put X-Plane down on that because AFAIK, no other flight sims for the same price do that, either. Where's the evidence that he has no interest in working on that?

    • by Rich0 (548339)

      The main issue with X-plane is that nobody actually uses it (comparitively). The flight model is clearly superior in most situations. However, it lacks quite a bit of polish (voices sound robotic, graphics aren't as nice, flight-planning/etc isn't user-friendly, etc). It also lacks the MASSIVE library of add-ons. Many people stuck with FS2004 just so that they wouldn't have to give up their $500 libraries of add-ons (there was some compatibility, but generally not with super-advanced expensive payware a

      • I just wish X-Plane had full 64 bit linux support and actual city landmarks, at least as downloadable add-ons I was a bit disappointed when I took off from Toronto Island and couldn't find Ontario Place or the CN tower. And I was so looking forward to flying in the Toronto air show.

        I would love to see formation flying and combat over a LAN added. Oh, and take out the "must insert CD" copy protection please - it doesn't stop piracy and is just annoying.

    • You seem to have made an error in your statement, please allow me to correct you.

      Hopefully they'll spend their spare time contributing to FlightGear -- a much better simulator if actual flight simulation is important to you.

      Seriously, FlightGear > X-Plane on so many levels.

    • I tend to agree.. The flight models on X-plane tend to be a lot better, but unfortunately, its plugin list is quite limited, and so is its graphics capabilities apparently :(

      Also, in Australia at least, X-plane unfortunately doesn't seem to have anything to compete against Orbx's "Full Terrain X" except Auspak (which doesn't go far enough in my opinion for VFR flight). Its a pity, but I hope X-plane eventually does get a lot better, because it not only runs a lot smoother then FSX, but if you buy a copy,
  • Contract it out (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kaos07 (1113443) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:09AM (#26586713)
    They'll probably contract out the development of the next Flight Sim, if they choose to develop it. Firing the dev team helps their balance sheet in the short term and when they choose to develop it they might lease the license or hire an external company to develop the game.
    • For better or worse, that will mean basically starting from scratch. Doing that with a new team would mean a huge step backwards and/or really buggy for some time.

      I tend to think that this effectively ends Microsoft Flight Simulator.

      Even if they sell the sim to another company, without the people familiar with the code and why things were done the way they were, it's again like starting over.

      If MS does decide to resurrect Flight Simulator at some time in the future, it would most likely have few ne
    • by Cyberax (705495)

      I know for a fact that some versions of Flight Simulator were developed by external company.

      Actually, I'm curious when they brought development back in-house.

  • by Drinking Bleach (975757) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:11AM (#26586717)

    I've been feeling for a while now that Microsoft should probably just drop everything and become solely a games developer (with a possible exception of MS Office, their only real successful product, put that on the Xbox or something).

    • I've been feeling for a while now that Microsoft should probably just drop everything and become solely a games developer (with a possible exception of MS Office, their only real successful product, put that on the Xbox or something).

      You give up on that idea of selling an OS?

      • Yeah when you have a total market dominance and put your product on 90% of all computers sold you know it's time to quit before you make too much money.

        • Yeah when you have a total market dominance and put your product on 90% of all computers sold you know it's time to quit before you make too much money.

          Look out for that chair, talking like that.

    • I've been feeling for a while now that Microsoft should probably just drop everything and ...

      I feel so too. In fact, I pray everyday for it to happen.

      Unforturnately, the company's marketing machine is too good, from a small-business point of view.

      They look really innovative.

      • Windows NT (when workers used floppies)
      • Active Directory (when workers rarely set passwords)
      • SharePoint (when workers never even heard of blogs)
      • VoIP (when full-functionality PABXs are not so common in small businesses)

      Unless we can deliver hitmen to their business, legal and marketing departments...

    • by El Lobo (994537)
      Are you mad? You know which product is the one that gives MS more money, do you? It's NOT office, not the OS, not games, not XBox: its name is (repeat after me): MS SQL Server. Ask anyone with little internal knowledge in MS and you will see. Of course, being a server product, it's not a product Charlie and his brother even remotely know about.
      • Last time I heard of MS SQL (about a year ago), it was called by the person I was speaking to "As an utter waste of money, just go for Oracle for something good"; paraphrased, but the enthusiasm for MS SQL was lacking obviously.

        • by El Lobo (994537)
          Funny, last time I talked with the person responsible for the FC databases at my university, the guy was speaking lyrically about MSSQL and didn't care about the Cambro DB running on Oracle at all.... I guess opinions are like noses.
    • I've been feeling for a while now that Microsoft should probably just drop everything and become solely a games developer

      Indeed. Minesweeper always was more on their level.

  • Google Earth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vuo (156163) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:11AM (#26586719) Homepage
    Right now Google has a VERY good opportunity to hire and release a Google Earth-based flight simulator.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:18AM (#26586741)

    FS doesn't really push any game sales. Someone playing FS doesn't necessarily buy any other game, I know a few FS enthusiasts and they're anything but gamers. They're living room pilots. You have people that turned one of their rooms into a cockpit for "total immersion". They don't play any FPS or RTS games, and they certainly don't buy consoles.

    MS might have decided they're not interested in this kind of market. It does not push any sales of any other products of their line. It certainly won't push sales for any consoles, since FS enthusiasts wouldn't be caught dead with a console controller in their hands. And unless they manage to publish a full scale cockpit addon for their console, they certainly won't move from the one they have already. FS might have been a seller for new OSs, when the new FS didn't work out with the earlier model anymore, but the number of dedicated FS customers isn't really a customer base for MS. FS customers also don't really need any of their office products or their server line products.

    So MS might just have decided that this is a dead end, nothing that sells any other products of theirs.

    • by dltaylor (7510)

      I would love to have a console flight sim on the Wii. Let me use a decent USB flight stick and include a control pad for the other controls (flaps, throttles, gear, ...).

      I do NOT have "Flight Simulator", because it only runs on M$-Windows, and I use Linux (with a touch of OpenBSD).

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      MS might have decided they're not interested in this kind of market. It does not push any sales of any other products of their line. It certainly won't push sales for any consoles, since FS enthusiasts wouldn't be caught dead with a console controller in their hands. And unless they manage to publish a full scale cockpit addon for their console, they certainly won't move from the one they have already.

      Do you realize how far back in time you have to go to find a console that doesn't have USB? Two generations, now! In video game time, that might as well be eternity. They all have networking options for generations now, too. You could have a cluster of consoles, and USB hubs. They don't do this now because they don't want you to know the console is just a computer. But there's room for it in the market. I for one would be pleased as punch to dropkick PC gaming forever. And then, to dropkick PCs forever. Jus

      • All nice and fine, but that's not going to work either.

        Now, I'm hardly an expert when it comes to flightsims, but I know a few people who are. Judging from their hardware, I'd say they invested enough to already buy their own little real plane, do you really think they would do it again, buy all the new hardware and throw their old junk out? Why should they? Or why should they rework their whole setup, often with anything but standard hardware (there are actually dedicated PCI cards for some of the hardware

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Now, I'm hardly an expert when it comes to flightsims, but I know a few people who are. Judging from their hardware, I'd say they invested enough to already buy their own little real plane, do you really think they would do it again, buy all the new hardware and throw their old junk out? Why should they?

          It's going to happen sooner or later. I personally :D think that most of these people are kind of crazy for spending so much on some of that stuff when their time and money would have been better spent learning how to make it themselves out of old scrap aircraft parts etc. I've seen what some people have done for next to nothing and it can be awe-inspiring. Actually, it's car-inspiring to me; I really want to make a rear-projection driving simulator with a piece of a car. I'm still working on too many other

    • by mrfrostee (30198)

      MS might have decided they're not interested in this kind of market. It does not push any sales of any other products of their line.

      Traditionally, it has pushed DirectX, and their operating systems. It doesn't work well under Wine or in a virtual machine, so you need a "real" Windows install to run it.

      Like some other people here have said, without MSFS, I have no longer have any need to boot into Windows.

  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:19AM (#26586749)

    MS already sold off the Train Simulator long ago, judging by the amount of shelf space stores allocate to addons for it and the flight sim there's probably a pretty big market for stuff like that.

    Then again from what I heard the Train Simulator was a flop in the US...

  • Now if we can just get people interested in Flight Gear...

    "What you mean Microsoft didn't write the only flight simulator ever in existence?"

    --Innocent Uninformed User

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      X-Plane is on shelves right next to MSFS so they probably knew that MSFS isn't the only one out there :P.

  • by Anonymous Coward
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  • Good memories... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Lode (1290856) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @05:44AM (#26586871)
    I've got nothing but good memories of FS version 5.0, played on a 386 computer. I've seen Flight Simulator X in action recently and it looked fantastic. This is one of the things of MS that are actually good, what a shame to see it go. If they contract FS out, that's not the same...
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by El Lobo (994537)
      This is one of the many things of MS that are actually good.

      There. Fixed that for ya.

      • by jamesh (87723)

        This is one of the many things of MS that are actually good.

        There. Fixed that for ya.

        Yes. Many people forget that some of their mice are actually pretty nice little devices. And their implementation of Solitaire is world class!

        • Their implementation of Solitaire was world class. Have you seen the butchered version of it in Vista?

    • by Nimey (114278)

      I remember that FS5 was crashy and this wasn't really fixed with 5.0a. Then they came out with 5.1 and wanted you to buy it all over again. :-(

      That said, I had good times with Flight Simulator 2 on my Apple //c back when, and 2004 is pretty neat too.

  • by darkeye (199616) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @07:09AM (#26587281) Homepage

    the MS Flight Simulator was initially the product of subLOGIC, and written by Bruce Artwick. It's just that MS chose to brand and market the product. After a while, they just 'took' the source code, and started to develop it in-house. subLOGIC struggled to release its own versions, but unfortunately they failed. (For this ugly business strategy, I chose not buy MS FS ever.)

    Anyway, they might just chose to outsource again.

    • by DingerX (847589) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @07:39AM (#26587437) Journal
      They also 'took' Bruce Artwick to develop it for them.
    • by dfranks (180507) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @01:26PM (#26589933) Homepage
      Your version of history is not quite correct. subLOGIC became an out of balance company with around 6 engineers and over 50 people on the "business" side. The two sides of the company were separated by a door, and there was an engineering staff member who (among other responsibilities) was guardian of the door. Bruce Artwick was the president of the engineering side, and Stu Moment was the president of the business side.
      Tensions rose, and one day Stu Moment basically fired the entire engineering department (I never heard what the precipitating event was).
      subLOGIC owned the rights to all products except Mac and PC flight simulator (this was pre-windows as I recall), but Bruce and/or MS owned the rights to MS Flight Simulator on the PC and MAC. Bruce then opened an office a few miles away (the creation of BAO) and since Stu had fired all of us, he hired us.
      subLOGIC tried to take the code base for the Amiga, Atari, MSX, etc etc and form a viable product for the PC with limited market success. BAO produced several versions of Flight Simulator (plus Scenery and Aircraft Designer, Tower Simulator and a few other products) before Microsoft decided to move the development in house (or closer anyway). I was no longer with the company at this point, but my understanding was that they initially did not bring over most of the staff as they issued a "move to Redmond or here is the door" edict. Most of the staff decided to leave, but once MS tried their hand at development several of the key engineers were rehired and allowed to work remotely. At that point, FS source was 100% x86 assembler. While it was a high quality piece of code, it was extreemly complex and required talented developers to work with it.
      I assume the original BAO people eventually left and went on to other projects, I have not heard from any of them in the last 10 years or so.
      So, in summary: MS did not "take" the Flight Simulator source, it never belonged to subLOGIC. I assume that Bruce sold the remaining rights to MS at the breakup of BAO.

      Dean

      I still remember a question from the BAO pre-interview screening test, amazingly enough only 5 candidates (out of a very large number) ever got this right:

      Write a small code fragment (language of your choice) to calculate the internal angle between adjacent sides given the number of sides of a regular polygon. As I recall, scenery and aircraft designed actually had code to do this calculation.

  • by vrmlguy (120854) <samwyse.gmail@com> on Saturday January 24, 2009 @10:00AM (#26588167) Homepage Journal

    I graduated from college in 1978 and moved to Silicon Valley. In a short time, I owned an Apple II, an Advent VideoBeam projection TV, and a copy of Bruce Artwick's original Flight Simulator. With a nominal 64" screen, it seemed as immersive as any commercial flight simulator of that time (even if it was low-res black-and-white wireframe). And when you bought it, you got a second floppy with the source code! I'm saddened to see the franchise end after 30+ years. Yes, I know that they'll probably farm it out, but it's lost its continuity.

    Hey, you kids, get off my tarmac!

  • must not be H-1B visa holders.
  • by Terje Mathisen (128806) on Saturday January 24, 2009 @11:44AM (#26588995)

    For the first 2-3 years of PC history, the original Microsoft Flight Simulator was _the_ PC compatibility test:

    If a machine could run MSFC, then it would also run retty much every other PcDos application on the market.

    The first stumble came in 1984 with the PCAT, since the 6 MHz 286 cpu in this box meant that all the carefully tuned sw timing loops ran too fast and the simulator ran about twice as fast as it should.

    Terje

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Yep the gold standard was back in the day.
      Could it run MFS and Lotus 123.
      If you ran those it was PC compatible.

  • The only fun parts are taking off and landing, everything in between is sheer tedium.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Not for the 9/11 hijackers. They used Microsoft Flight Simulator to practice navigating by landmarks and flying the jets to their targets.

      The hijackers didn't care about takeoffs or landings and instead cared only about the flying. It's what raised suspicions at The Airmen in Norman, OK and caused them to contact the FBI.

      If they could have only been put in contact with the CIA who knew that bin Laden was planning an attack using airliners, 9/11 could possibly have been prevented. But that's a complete
  • I guess that's what happens when you buy proprietary software - you're screwed if the vendor pulls the plug on you.

    /Mike

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern

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