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First post, by sndwv

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I recently discovered a couple of DOS-based mini-flight sims made with Flight Sim Toolkit on Maris Multimedia's 'Warplanes' and 'Wings' series. Ten sims total spread over 5 discs. Very basic, but kind of charming. Does anyone know if there are more of these out there?

This also made me think of a game I had as a child, which I now realize was also made with FST. I had it on a copied diskette from a friend, not sure if it was a demo, shareware or something home made, but it featured an A-10 Warthog. I think it was called something like 'Avenger' or a similar title, but I can't find any reference to it. Any idea what this might have been?

Reply 1 of 70, by ragefury32

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It might be one of the demos Simis bundled with the WinDOS port of FST, unless you are referring to a version that was meant for the Acorn Archimedes version of FST. That one is on one of the RISC world CD archives. The small FST community is long dead since around 2005 (not sure if Adrian Brown is still around since he ran flightsimtoolkit.co.uk), and I am pretty sure that the source code for fly.exe (used to be on Simis.com as it was released) is lost to the mists of time. There were some good sims for FST that should’ve been cached....

There was an
- Avro Arrow simulator
- A JAS39 Gripen sim
- A SHADO UFO interceptor sim
- A Blade Runner spinner sim (well, at least 2 of them, actually)

BR2025.png
Filename
BR2025.png
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114.14 KiB
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1117 views
File comment
Blade Runner 2025 Prototype 1
File license
Public domain

- An Aussie Sabre MK. 6 sim

From what I remember the DOS demo for Domark’s Absolute Zero was based on the FST engine.

Last edited by ragefury32 on 2021-02-18, 04:33. Edited 3 times in total.

Reply 2 of 70, by sf78

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Here's something:

https://planetmic.com/fstdp/fstdp03.htm

This is also one of the "official" releases I never knew about:

ww2.jpg
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ww2.jpg
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289.72 KiB
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1155 views
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CC-BY-4.0

Reply 3 of 70, by ragefury32

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sf78 wrote on 2021-02-15, 09:41:
Here's something: […]
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Here's something:

https://planetmic.com/fstdp/fstdp03.htm

This is also one of the "official" releases I never knew about:

ww2.jpg

Yeah, it's basically 2 FSD art sets combined with an early Flash-like app that kicks off a bunch of batch files to swap things around for implementing a bunch of flying missions. If you want a copy the Blobby10 ISO on archive.org has it - the only pain is to write it to a pair of disks so it can be installed. I had to use a Gotek for that one. If you ever played with Domark's Out Of The Sun, the artwork is essentially the same.

Bryan McNett did a fly.exe clone that works with 3dfx voodoo cards..which is cached here:
http://ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au/~gjo/

It's really too bad Mcnett.org wasn't well archived. Most of the sims and artwork done by various people are pretty much history.
Supposedly Ron Walker's sims (referenced on that website) are on the CD for PC Pilot Volume 1 Issue 12...but good luck finding a copy.

http://web.archive.org/web/20000815223552/htt … mcnett.org/fst/

I found out that I still have a copy of the fly.exe source from when Simis/Kuju open sourced the game engine (but not the FST tools) back in the early 2000s...Man, looking through the old alt.games.fst archives sure brings back memories. I only wish that those assets were somehow cached...

Attachments

  • Filename
    fstsrc.zip
    File size
    1.46 MiB
    Downloads
    26 downloads
    File comment
    Simis Open Source for fly.exe
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

Reply 4 of 70, by MrFlibble

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As serendipity would have it, I've known about Great Air Battles by Charles B. Law for quite some time after having found two early demos at cd.textfiles.com, but only recently started researching the topic of FST games more after fstumbling upon the Wings of Thunder entry at MobyGames. As a mater of fact, I was going to start a thread with my findings here but you guys spared me the effort 😀

So here's what I have found so far, mostly via the Wayback Machine:

Full/Shareware games

Additionally, I found shareware versions of several Viper Software games at archive.org, download links here (file names not original). The full list of Viper Software titles is available here, however without file names or places where these used to be found. A German shareware CD preserved what appears to be original file names for three of the games: Private Pilot Simulation (PPILT145.ZIP), BERLIN 1955 (BERLIN10.ZIP) and F-16 OPERATION BLACK DIAMOND (BDIAMON1.ZIP). I'm also tentatively assuming that EUROFIGHTER 2005 (not mentioned on the Wayback Machine Viper page) file was called EF2005.ZIP based on the folder name with the unzipped game that was indexed on a French magazine coverdisk.

Using Hallfiry's magazine coverdisk catalogue, I also found a newer demo of Great Air Battles dated 24 March 1995 (see attachment), but this is not the latest release. In fact, the Wayback Machine preserved a later demo v1.5a dated 3 June 1995 (gab-d15a.arj), but the archive is damaged, so I was only able to extract FILE_ID.DIZ, README.NOW and ORDER.FRM. An even later version, 3.0 is known to exist and was available here (file nor archived).

Demo/WIP/incomplete projects

Not found in any form (yet)

Wayback Machine snapshots of mcnett.org actually contain a lot of preserved files (including some of those listed here), but unfortunately they were indexed in 2000 or roundabouts - and files from those dates are only preserved in the WM up to the first 1024 KiB, and everything above that is lost. I already downloaded a few ZIP files that were larger that this and now preserved in a broken/incomplete state. The best way is to list Wayback Machine contents for mcnett.org to retrieve them, but the downside is that you cannot tell which is a complete sim and which some kind of component (model, music, sound effect or even just screenshots), and also there are official FST patches released by Domark/Simis.

Some files appear to have been preserved here.

I also found a sub-site by Adrian Brown which had a very big collection of FST sims including files, but only lists of projects appear to have survived:
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/historical/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/fantasy/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/manga/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/military/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/miscellaneous/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/scifi/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/space/index.html

Since individual project pages are missing there is no telling what state was which project in, or who the author was etc. But at least it gives you some idea.

Attachments

  • Filename
    GAB.zip
    File size
    641.11 KiB
    Downloads
    18 downloads
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

DOS Games Archive | Free open source games | RGB Classic Games

Reply 5 of 70, by ragefury32

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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-02-17, 19:49:
As serendipity would have it, I've known about Great Air Battles by Charles B. Law for quite some time after having found two ea […]
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As serendipity would have it, I've known about Great Air Battles by Charles B. Law for quite some time after having found two early demos at cd.textfiles.com, but only recently started researching the topic of FST games more after fstumbling upon the Wings of Thunder entry at MobyGames. As a mater of fact, I was going to start a thread with my findings here but you guys spared me the effort 😀

So here's what I have found so far, mostly via the Wayback Machine:

Full/Shareware games

Additionally, I found shareware versions of several Viper Software games at archive.org, download links here (file names not original). The full list of Viper Software titles is available here, however without file names or places where these used to be found. A German shareware CD preserved what appears to be original file names for three of the games: Private Pilot Simulation (PPILT145.ZIP), BERLIN 1955 (BERLIN10.ZIP) and F-16 OPERATION BLACK DIAMOND (BDIAMON1.ZIP). I'm also tentatively assuming that EUROFIGHTER 2005 (not mentioned on the Wayback Machine Viper page) file was called EF2005.ZIP based on the folder name with the unzipped game that was indexed on a French magazine coverdisk.

Using Hallfiry's magazine coverdisk catalogue, I also found a newer demo of Great Air Battles dated 24 March 1995 (see attachment), but this is not the latest release. In fact, the Wayback Machine preserved a later demo v1.5a dated 3 June 1995 (gab-d15a.arj), but the archive is damaged, so I was only able to extract FILE_ID.DIZ, README.NOW and ORDER.FRM. An even later version, 3.0 is known to exist and was available here (file nor archived).

Demo/WIP/incomplete projects

Not found in any form (yet)

Wayback Machine snapshots of mcnett.org actually contain a lot of preserved files (including some of those listed here), but unfortunately they were indexed in 2000 or roundabouts - and files from those dates are only preserved in the WM up to the first 1024 KiB, and everything above that is lost. I already downloaded a few ZIP files that were larger that this and now preserved in a broken/incomplete state. The best way is to list Wayback Machine contents for mcnett.org to retrieve them, but the downside is that you cannot tell which is a complete sim and which some kind of component (model, music, sound effect or even just screenshots), and also there are official FST patches released by Domark/Simis.

Some files appear to have been preserved here.

I also found a sub-site by Adrian Brown which had a very big collection of FST sims including files, but only lists of projects appear to have survived:
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/historical/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/fantasy/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/manga/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/military/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/miscellaneous/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/scifi/index.html
http://www.mcnett.org/fst/abrown/archive/simulations/space/index.html

Since individual project pages are missing there is no telling what state was which project in, or who the author was etc. But at least it gives you some idea.

Oh, ask someone who posted some of that stuff on McNett (i.e....me). I could tell you the following:

a) Most of the sims referenced by Adrian Brown did exist at one point - some were in that incoming directory, others were his cached copy of the stuff that we were working on. Just assume that anything over, say, 240k is an archive containing sims (potentially). Some of the stuff mentioned were dead ends or only existed as artwork + ideas. The carrier landing demo for example is the same as Cavanugh....which was kinda weird because I originally named it Cavendish (after the banana). What was it? A really tricked out flight model (FMD file) attached to an Su-33 shape which is being flung onto a carrier deck. You'll have to land it (and I made the brakes ridiculously overpowered it simulates an arrestor hook. The same trick was used to implement STOVL flight models like the Harrier). It was quite a bit of fun to play (but twitchy as hell with a joystick), but given the time and resources, it can be easily duplicated.

How would you tell what is what? FSDs are polygon meshes/3D object files. PCX are likely cockpit backgrounds with an alpha channel, there are some artwork (often references in discussions) and there were some archives (anything over 1MByte is a lost cause). Jans B converted a few of his ridiculously high polygon shapes into VRML, and there were code to convert Quake MDL 3D models into FSDs, FSDs into VRMLs, and vice versa. You might see some snapshots of sims and 3D objects that were released or were mentioned in passing

b) The Blade Runner stuff was originally DUO (Lucas Olestri)'s idea.

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1-fstbrmi.jpg
File size
37.62 KiB
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1049 views
File comment
BR Revolution
File license
Public domain

Some new art assets were added by others. It's a fun one - flying a Blade Runner spinner in a cityscape even if there were no purpose...makes for a rather relaxing experience. The original version was nb.zip (which was unfortunately truncated by archive.org) with many of the assets borrowed from his SHADO UFO sim (which thank goodness was cached). The assets from the BR Revolution "patch" were retained, which was small comfort.

mibr5.jpg
Filename
mibr5.jpg
File size
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Views
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File comment
Imperial Shuttle Train?
File license
Public domain

Heh. That train in the Blade Runner Demo were based on the Tyderium Shuttle (trn.fsd) from one of the Star Wars sims (Coruscant Sweep?). Luckily for McNett the IP holders still believed in the principle of fair use back in 2000.

BR2.png
Filename
BR2.png
File size
114.02 KiB
Views
1049 views
File comment
BR2 Demo
File license
Public domain

BladeRunner 2 was more of a dense cityscape demo...

BR2025-2.png
Filename
BR2025-2.png
File size
112.43 KiB
Views
1047 views
File comment
BR2025 Demo
File license
Public domain

and BR2025 (see RAR below) was supposed to be a more modern version of the demo with a different art direction.

c) Most of the star wars sims don't/can't run because they use the later 1.4x version of fly.exe, and those require DOS4GW (not bundled). FST is terrible emulating a space sim (they had a "brick" flight model that ignores the usual physics calculations, but the sim still subject the projectiles to gravitational pull, so firing simulated "lasers" don't really work here. There were supposed to be builds of fly.exe (after the sourcecode release) where new features were implemented...like no-drop bullets and rockets (lasers and particle cannons)?

d) The one you really want to look for (in addition to the Avro Arrow sim or the updated Gripen sim) is the Nighthawks in Baghdad sim - it featured a very good Iraqi cityscape. I could tell you that Pearson's sim features Avro Arrows intercepting Tu-16s and Tu-95s traversing Churchill, Manitoba and ends with a pretty somber scene of the Arrows getting scrapped within some Flash-like menu thing. I only wish that someone kept a copy - It's a good one. If you try to play the J29 Congo sim, it'll fail due to a screw-up on the cockpit FGD file. The easiest way is to copy a good FGD (and its associated background PCX) from a working sim. If you pulled the Gripen sim, look inside for COCKPIT.FGD/TILLF.PCX, copy them to the Congo directory, then edit world.fst there. Look for the player object and swap J29.FGD for COCKPIT.FGD, save, and the sim will start to work.

So, was FST good? Eh, it was for a time. Out of the 5-and-a-half utilities (world.exe (for making the game arena map), model.exe (flight model generator), colours.exe (for working with the limited palettes supported by fly.exe - it has a limit of ~239 colors that were gourard shaded, and 10 or so that were not shaded (so they can act as "light panels", so to speak) and a few reserved for explosions and cockpit instruments, cockpit.exe (for putting instruments onto 256 color PCX files (with an alpha channel for simulating cockpit windows), shape.exe (a 3D shape designer/editor)+view.exe (the Windows GDI based 3D object viewer, very clunky by modern standards), it was shape.exe that as considered well designed. It actually worked quite well to design 3D meshes of objects for realtime 3D use, and with good planning and modularity you can design some excellent meshes for it that were more precise than, say, early versions of blender. It supports grouping, extrusion, and the usual rotate/mirror/skew functions that people take for granted...and this was made back in '93!

View.exe had the unfortunate distinction of being designed with a limit of 511 vertices per level-of-detail. If your 3D mesh has more than 511 vertices the shape will not render correctly. The game engine (fly) had some good attributes but it was limited in what modules were implemented. It does not have a radar module with selective targeting or lead calculations for gunsights, situational awareness aids used in popular flight sims (like the multi range radar in USNF or the 3D hemispheres in TIE fighter) do not exist, and the pathing/AI logic were rudimentary. The collision box implementation and damage modeling were...primitive. The polygon drawing routine implement the painter's algorithm, which means that overlapping polygonal segments do not get obscured correctly (no z-buffering)...which is a pain to design 3D shapes to work with. You almost always have to break long thin tubes (like fuselages) apart so the intersections with wings or intakes do not cause issues (you see some in early FST designs). The other issue is to be aware of non-coplanar polygons - FST Shape uses quads, so it's possible to create non-coplanar polygonal meshes which causes drawing errors. What's a good example? The Spinner cockpit surface in the BR2025 demo, or the nose on the Imperial shuttle. That's why the later FST shapes tends to use triangle strips to prevent this from happening (since triangles can never be non-coplanar)

Why did FST fall out of favor? I blame Simis for not investing further into FST. When people bought FST back in 94-96 most PCs were 486/early Pentium based, and you are lucky if you had an S3 to accelerate line drawing. So back then a 3D object with, say, 4-5 levels of detail, a max ~260 polygons per level (co-linear rectangles are allowed), flat shaded/gourard shaded polygons, limited color palettes and confetti damage/destruction model with less than 12000 vertexes total were perfectly acceptable. When people move to perspective corrected bitmapping in 256 color palettes (or 16/32 bit color later), this was never added to a marketed version (well, there was that experimental all-elbows FST2 utility that let you map 256 color textures to the mesh, which is supported in fly 2.x engines). The guys in the FST mailing lists spent hours ripping apart Simis' Absolute Zero demo (which was FST/fly 2.x engine based and had texture mapping) so they can figure out how to implement sims based on it, but in the end, just gave up. We knew how it works but putting in the effort to make new sims based on it was...simply too much work. Greg O and McNett got versions of Fly that takes advantage of Rendition RRedline for Greg's Verite 1000 (Redfly) and OpenGL targeting McNett's 3dfx Voodoo (Openfly), respectively. Those could support non-palette textures and ran on Windows...but you’ll need non-FST tools to author for it. It's really too bad that even after the fly.exe sourcecode was released that many features were not backported for it, nor were anything new besides eye candy. The fly.exe sourcecode was a masterclass for someone who wants to implement a retro flight sim, but lots of work is needed to make it fun. If I were to spend time on it today it would probably be going towards adding IK/modular components to the FSDs, better damage models, improve the current sim modules, like the radar functionality....and integrate LUA support for better scripting/AI capabilities. We kinda saw that in Simis’s Terracide (which still uses FSD files to define 3D objects)...but it’s too bad those features were not sold to us.

Simis talked about releasing FST2/FST98 back about 23 years ago, which never happened. Domark got bought out by Eidos, Eidos cancelled Confirmed Kill (later discussion), Simis left Eidos (Simis had a side business doing medical imaging and was not dependent on EIDOS to survive, so when EIDOS went south they did a management buyout and left) and then being hired by Microsoft to do Train Sim/TS2 were a big part of it. The game engine wasn’t entirely the issue (it could definitely use some work there though) - there were need to improve the authoring tools. I think some of the guys got sick and tired of waiting for a future that never came, and went onto other things.

Attachments

  • Filename
    br2025.rar
    File size
    390.11 KiB
    Downloads
    17 downloads
    File comment
    Blade Runner 2025 Prototype FST Demo
    File license
    GPL-2.0-or-later
Last edited by ragefury32 on 2021-04-14, 04:56. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 6 of 70, by sf78

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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 02:28:

So, was FST good?

The initial release? No, it was terrible. I think most people (like me) returned it as faulty, because of all the bugs. You couldn't really get anything done with it and it took some time for the 1.1 patch to come out, at which point nobody cared anymore.

Reply 7 of 70, by MrFlibble

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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 02:28:

Oh, ask someone who posted some of that stuff on McNett (i.e....me). I could tell you the following:

Thanks for all the valuable insider info! It's a pity that there was so much interest and effort invested into FST projects, and now everything is all but vanished, if it were not for the Wayback Machine. More so considering that now there's no problem to run any of the DOS sims in DOSBox, even in a browser.

ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 02:28:

How would you tell what is what? FSDs are polygon meshes/3D object files. PCX are likely cockpit backgrounds with an alpha channel, there are some artwork (often references in discussions) and there were some archives (anything over 1MByte is a lost cause).

I kinda figured out what most of the file formats are. I was wondering - is it possible to know the entire list of files that a project uses? I mean, in cases of broken archives that do not contain an SFX binary, we still have roughly somewhere between 60-80pc of the contents, with some of the missing models or other data files possibly preserved as separate uploads. If there is a way to know the resource file names a project uses, it would be possible to at least some reconstruct partially broken archives into completion. However, I took a brief look at the file contents of Wings of Thunder and the Barrels of Congo demo and could not find any data that would point to which files are being used. Is that encoded in the binary?

Of course if someone still has original intact files preserved that would be even better.

Here's a few more downloads:

DOS Games Archive | Free open source games | RGB Classic Games

Reply 8 of 70, by ragefury32

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sf78 wrote on 2021-02-18, 09:21:
ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 02:28:

So, was FST good?

The initial release? No, it was terrible. I think most people (like me) returned it as faulty, because of all the bugs. You couldn't really get anything done with it and it took some time for the 1.1 patch to come out, at which point nobody cared anymore.

By your standards, it's still terrible. The 1.1 patch is the one included with the WWII pack, and all it does is patch some issues with world.exe (which isn't all that great since it's a 2D tool for placing 3D objects, and it doesn't tell you if the orientation is sensical). The cockpit creator/gauge placement tool is (still) buggy, the flight model (FMD) editor can still easily trigger divide-by-zero errors and crash, and view.exe will not work if your model has more than 255 vertices. But yet somehow people made decent flight sims using it.

Reply 9 of 70, by ragefury32

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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-02-18, 11:59:

I was wondering - is it possible to know the entire list of files that a project uses? I mean, in cases of broken archives that do not contain an SFX binary, we still have roughly somewhere between 60-80pc of the contents, with some of the missing models or other data files possibly preserved as separate uploads. If there is a way to know the resource file names a project uses, it would be possible to at least some reconstruct partially broken archives into completion. However, I took a brief look at the file contents of Wings of Thunder and the Barrels of Congo demo and could not find any data that would point to which files are being used. Is that encoded in the binary?

Of course if someone still has original intact files preserved that would be even better.

Check world.fst - which is a checklist of the objects in a given game world

Basically, the "world" contains:
FTDs (Terrain files)
FGDs (cockpits - basically definitions of what instruments + where they are located) and its associated PCXs (backgrounds for cockpits)
FMDs (flight models which defines how the plane flies)
FSDs (3D meshes/objects)
and WAVs (which tells the game engine what sound effect is attached to which event)
Then you have the batch files or other stuff that were attached to act as a user interface

Then of course, you need fly.exe (the game engine). Any version over 1.1 will require DOS4GW.exe attached. Oh yeah, for a fun little easter egg some of the sims shipped with hview.exe, which is a DOS based 3D mesh viewer. It's essentially hview.exe NAMEOFFILE.FSD -v for VESA, -s for S3 SVGA, -a for ATI SVGA, etc.

hview-xwing.png
Filename
hview-xwing.png
File size
26.42 KiB
Views
995 views
File comment
X-Wing
File license
Public domain
hview-spinner.png
Filename
hview-spinner.png
File size
28.21 KiB
Views
995 views
File comment
BR2 Spinner
File license
Public domain

And yes. You can actually see the painter's algorithm messing with the visuals. Take a look at the landing gear doors cutting through the wing on the Saab fighter planes:

hview-J29.png
Filename
hview-J29.png
File size
28.42 KiB
Views
995 views
File comment
J29 Tunnan
File license
Public domain
hview-JAS39.png
Filename
hview-JAS39.png
File size
27.01 KiB
Views
995 views
File comment
JAS39C Gripen
File license
Public domain

BTW, I talked to Forest Pearson...unfortunately he does not have a copy of the Avro Arrow sim, so yeah, too bad.

Reply 10 of 70, by MrFlibble

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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 17:30:

Check world.fst - which is a checklist of the objects in a given game world

Thanks! Unfortunately it seems that PKZIP would mostly store files alphabetically by name and world.fst would end up in the lost part of the incomplete archives.

ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 17:30:

BTW, I talked to Forest Pearson...unfortunately he does not have a copy of the Avro Arrow sim, so yeah, too bad.

Pity, that. But I do understand that once interest in something has run out of steam even the original author might not really care that much. Hopefully someone else has the currently missing files preserved somewhere, and/or they ended up on magazine coverdisks or perhaps some yet undiscovered FTP or archived website.

I have to admit though, any kind of search in the FST direction is notably complicated by the fact that you get so many results related to MS Flight Simulator -- not only in Google/DuckDuckGo searches done now, but also past sites accessible via the Wayback Machine. I guess we're lucky to have what is already archived, it's quite a lot.

DOS Games Archive | Free open source games | RGB Classic Games

Reply 11 of 70, by ragefury32

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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-02-18, 19:33:
Thanks! Unfortunately it seems that PKZIP would mostly store files alphabetically by name and world.fst would end up in the lost […]
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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 17:30:

Check world.fst - which is a checklist of the objects in a given game world

Thanks! Unfortunately it seems that PKZIP would mostly store files alphabetically by name and world.fst would end up in the lost part of the incomplete archives.

ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 17:30:

BTW, I talked to Forest Pearson...unfortunately he does not have a copy of the Avro Arrow sim, so yeah, too bad.

Pity, that. But I do understand that once interest in something has run out of steam even the original author might not really care that much. Hopefully someone else has the currently missing files preserved somewhere, and/or they ended up on magazine coverdisks or perhaps some yet undiscovered FTP or archived website.

I have to admit though, any kind of search in the FST direction is notably complicated by the fact that you get so many results related to MS Flight Simulator -- not only in Google/DuckDuckGo searches done now, but also past sites accessible via the Wayback Machine. I guess we're lucky to have what is already archived, it's quite a lot.

Well, it’s not always world.fst - there are command line args on fly.exe that allows you to take alternate FST files, which is how certain flight sims implement multiple levels. However, it does prevent you from starting the default scenario using fly.exe directly (that’s the default name for the game world definition file). You might end up losing some artwork, or maybe some wav files for sound effects.

Yeah, MSFS was the major sim juggernaut back in the days, even if back when it was going up against FST it was MSFS4/5/95, which didn’t offer any combat flight sims. Of course, when FST98 was a no-show and MSCFS came out that year, even less interest was shown by the community...eh, although I have heard that some of the FST “bones” made it into Microsoft Train Simulator and eventually Railworks.

Reply 12 of 70, by MrFlibble

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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-17, 02:42:
Bryan McNett did a fly.exe clone that works with 3dfx voodoo cards..which is cached here: http://ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au/~gjo/ […]
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Bryan McNett did a fly.exe clone that works with 3dfx voodoo cards..which is cached here:
http://ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au/~gjo/
<...>
I found out that I still have a copy of the fly.exe source from when Simis/Kuju open sourced the game engine (but not the FST tools) back in the early 2000s...Man, looking through the old alt.games.fst archives sure brings back memories. I only wish that those assets were somehow cached...

Since the original fly.exe source code was made public and improved upon, what was the purpose of OpenFly apart from hardware acceleration support? Was it based on the original code to any extent, or written from scratch?

On another note I ran a couple of broken ZIPs through PKZIPFIX (before I just viewed their contents with 7-Zip File Manager), just in case there could be some improvement, but alas it seems that indeed the files were stored alphabetically and break off at around the letter S. The files I checked so were SU-27.ZIP and A-4.ZIP, which also curiously have Windows PIF files instead of BAT, apparently.

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Reply 13 of 70, by vetz

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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 02:28:

Greg O and McNett got released versions of Fly that takes advantage of Rendition RRedline for Greg's Verite 1000 (Redfly) and OpenGL targeting McNett's 3dfx Voodoo (Openfly), respectively. Those could support non-palette textures and ran on Windows...but you’ll need non-FST tools to author for it. It's really too bad that even after the fly.exe sourcecode was released that many features were not backported for it, nor were anything new besides eye candy.

Rendition Redline support (Redfly) is not on any list that I know of, where can this version be found?

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Reply 14 of 70, by ragefury32

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vetz wrote on 2021-02-19, 15:12:
ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-18, 02:28:

Greg O and McNett got released versions of Fly that takes advantage of Rendition RRedline for Greg's Verite 1000 (Redfly) and OpenGL targeting McNett's 3dfx Voodoo (Openfly), respectively. Those could support non-palette textures and ran on Windows...but you’ll need non-FST tools to author for it. It's really too bad that even after the fly.exe sourcecode was released that many features were not backported for it, nor were anything new besides eye candy.

Rendition Redline support (Redfly) is not on any list that I know of, where can this version be found?

It's probably lost to the ethers. There was a copy cached onto:

http://web.archive.org/web/20001216222000/htt … users/gosulliv/

I think the latest version up is redfly-31. There's a few earlier iterations but they might not be archived.
Since archive.org truncates anything over 1024kb, don't hold your breath for any usable binaries (maybe the sourcecode is there, who knows).

Reply 15 of 70, by vetz

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Thanks for the info. I'll try and see what I can find.

OpenFly seems to be available as well as other files here: http://ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au/~gjo/

3D Accelerated Games List (Proprietary APIs - No 3DFX/Direct3D)
3D Acceleration Comparison Episodes

Reply 16 of 70, by ragefury32

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vetz wrote on 2021-02-20, 00:58:

Thanks for the info. I'll try and see what I can find.

OpenFly seems to be available as well as other files here: http://ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au/~gjo/

Eh, yes. Thanks.

Reply 17 of 70, by ragefury32

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MrFlibble wrote on 2021-02-19, 15:07:
ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-17, 02:42:
Bryan McNett did a fly.exe clone that works with 3dfx voodoo cards..which is cached here: http://ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au/~gjo/ […]
Show full quote

Bryan McNett did a fly.exe clone that works with 3dfx voodoo cards..which is cached here:
http://ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au/~gjo/
<...>
I found out that I still have a copy of the fly.exe source from when Simis/Kuju open sourced the game engine (but not the FST tools) back in the early 2000s...Man, looking through the old alt.games.fst archives sure brings back memories. I only wish that those assets were somehow cached...

Since the original fly.exe source code was made public and improved upon, what was the purpose of OpenFly apart from hardware acceleration support? Was it based on the original code to any extent, or written from scratch?

On another note I ran a couple of broken ZIPs through PKZIPFIX (before I just viewed their contents with 7-Zip File Manager), just in case there could be some improvement, but alas it seems that indeed the files were stored alphabetically and break off at around the letter S. The files I checked so were SU-27.ZIP and A-4.ZIP, which also curiously have Windows PIF files instead of BAT, apparently.

Those efforts were made before Simis released the source code to fly.exe, and they do represent original code.
Most of the file formats were well understood by 1996-7, and both Greg and Bryan wrote their code in 1997-1999 or so. In terms of functionality it's really more of a tech demo, really. None of the rudimentary AI and "cockpit" modules made it into their *fly engines.

There used to be a multiplayer online combat flight sim called Confirmed Kill which was made via a partnership between ICI and Domark - some of the early versions were based on the FST engine...that is, until ICI terminated the relationship. Greg was supposed to be one of the CK flyboys who got sick and tired of shelling out for flight time and came to us in the FST community.

Since Domark (later Eidos) was an investor and owned the name ICI rebranded it to Warbirds and then switched out the engine. Eidos continued Confirmed Kill on a more advanced FST engine but it was killed off in late 2000 or so (FST2/98 was supposed to be marketed as a modding tool for that CK iteration) - there were supposed to be a multi-player demo out but I have yet to find it. Ah, Eidos. Such good bones, such terrible results. If they stuck to their guns they could’ve been War Thunder before War Thunder.

If I remember correctly Simis bought themselves out of Eidos in '99 or so after Eidos bought Domark and then started Kuju. They decided to open source FST around 2000-2001 (possibly later. I don't remember seeing any sourcecode until after 9/11 - I didn't remember porting the C code from using Watcom libs to DJGPP libs until at least 2002). By that time McNett pretty much gave up on FST.

Huh. The Su-27 sim sounds familiar. Trying to remember if that was Jans Boehner (sp?)'s work. He did some amazing stuff back in the days.

Reply 18 of 70, by MrFlibble

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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-02-20, 05:15:

Those efforts were made before Simis released the source code to fly.exe, and they do represent original code.
Most of the file formats were well understood by 1996-7, and both Greg and Bryan wrote their code in 1997-1999 or so. In terms of functionality it's really more of a tech demo, really. None of the rudimentary AI and "cockpit" modules made it into their *fly engines.

There used to be a multiplayer online combat flight sim called Confirmed Kill which was made via a partnership between ICI and Domark - some of the early versions were based on the FST engine...that is, until ICI terminated the relationship. Greg was supposed to be one of the CK flyboys who got sick and tired of shelling out for flight time and came to us in the FST community.

If you have any other interesting memories from that time, please share them with us!

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Reply 19 of 70, by MrFlibble

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I took another brief shot at the broken files that the Wayback Machine has from mcnett.org/fst, and it looks like my previous assumption about WORLD.FST being always missing was wrong.

I ran this copy of Gripen.zip through PKZIPFIX that comes with PKZIP 2.04g shareware, and the only broken file in the archive turned out to be FLY.EXE. I replaced it with an intact copy and tried to run in DOSBox, but it looks like some data files are missing as well. Maybe they can be identified via WORLD.FST and supplied from elsewhere.

gripen_000.png
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gripen_000.png
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Fair use/fair dealing exception

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