YSFlight is a free-to-play flight simulator created by Soji Yamakawa in 1999. It's main creation purpose was for the development of a stable game engine fast enough to run on early laptops. YSFlight has developed over the years from a simple game engine for a laptop to a full-fledged flight simulator, through user-created content known as mods. It is now played by a only a few tight-knit international communities, but it has retained more loyal players than some commercial games have been able to keep over its lifespan.
About The EngineEdit
While the game engine of YSFlight will always remain simple, the game's simple variable system and ease of content creation and addition will always make it fun to play. Modders constantly find new and ingenious ways to take advantage of the simplicity of the game's addons, and often are able to recreate and simulate things that are otherwise impossible to simulate in other flight simulators, including giant robots, dragons, and even flying pirate ships.
The YSFlight rendering engine is based upon 3 different renderers - CPU Rendered, OpenGL, and Direct3D. Each of these three executables use a different DirectDraw method, and each of them have their own merits and faults. Since about 2007, the norm for most YSFlight players is either Direct3D or OpenGL, as Soji Yamakawa has stopped development of the CPU Rendered YSFlight due to it being obsolete.
The CPU version only has flat shading and is thus used by basically very few people. If you're playing on a very old computer from the 1980's CPU rendering is for you, otherwise go with OpenGL or Direct3D. (FSMaino and FSMaindx, respectively.) OpenGL has arguably the better graphics, however Direct3D offers much better framerates, particularly on windows machines.
On download, YSFlight comes with 71 different aircraft (88 different models), from World War II era to civilian to modern fighter aircraft, and spanning several countries (notably USA, Russia, and Japan). These are known as the stock aircraft, and are used as a baseline for flight performance and detail level. In addition to stock, player-made addons (from fansites such as YSFHQ and YSP) can increase the number of flyable aircraft infinitely, seasoned players frequently having many thousands.
Each aircraft has a .dat file (which sets performance); a .dnm visual file; a coarse, or low detail visual .dnm; a colision file (.srf); and a cockpit .srf (visible only from an inside-aircraft viewpoint).
YSFlight recognizes 11 categories, and allows users to preferentially fly aircraft of a specific type by selecting or deselecting one or more categories.
On download, YSFlight comes with 16 maps ranging from real life areas, such as London, England, or the Hawaiian islands, to completely fictitious maps, such as the appropriately named Slapstick.
Full map listEdit
- Atsugi Airbase
- Crescent Island
- Island Gourd
- Matsushima Airbase
- Naha Airport
- Newta Airbase
- Pacific Atoll
- Small Map
- North Kyusyu
- Airstrike Challenge
Modes Of PlayEdit
Single player mode in YS is extremely loose and completely up to you as to what you want to do with it. You can fly a Free-Flight with a few wingmen, or you can engage a hostile bomber formation playing Intercept Mission. Almost anything is possible once you're in flight - YSFlight is very much a sandbox game.
YSFlight has some preset game modes for the first-time player. These modes can engage the player in a variety of missions and scenarios. Landing Practice, Endurance Mode, Air Combat, and even Close Air Support is available for a user with no outside addons, allowing you to choose between a variety of aircraft to get the job done without any outside help.
You can also view, change, save and load the Replay Files that you gather from flights in offline mode.
Multiplayer is advanced, thanks to many built-in features of YS itself. All versions of YSFlight can run a server in-game. There is also a seperate application that allows users to load a console server . For online play to be possible, the client and server must have the same version of YS Flight Simulator, the client needs to have the scenery that the server is using and if the server uses aircraft the client doesn't have it will appear (to the client exclusivly) a grey box aircraft.
In client mode, prior to joining the game, the server will send the client packets that load the aircraft installed on the server for the client. These aircraft are only aircraft that both the server and the client have. The length of this process may vary by the number of aircraft and connectivity issues. By default all connections are made though port: 7915 In addition Fariiniq' Server uses a multiserver solution where you can connect to port 7914 for weather conditions.
A list of online YS Flight servers can be found here
General Types Of PlayEdit
Combat flights fall into two main categories: air to air, and ground attack.
Air to air combat can be set up via Air Combat, Endurance Mode, or an Intercept Mission. Online, informal dogfights can be arranged at the discretion of the pilots, often with the F-16C Fighting Falcon, which is considered the dogfighting standard in the english speaking community.
Ground attack can technically be performed on any ground object, friendly or otherwise, online or offline. There are, however, specified enemy ground targets on several maps (notably Airstrike Challenge), and the user (offline) or the server administrator (online) can choose to start a Close Air Support mission.
A branch of flying distinct from combat or aerobatic flight, civilian flights attempt to simulate real-world flight. This can be either private flights in light aircraft, or large commercial airline or air cargo flights.
Further, virtual airlines, or VAs, have been set up within the online world of YSFlight to simulate not just commercial flight, but to simulate the operation of an entire airline, including a corporate structure, pilot training and scheduling.
If done incorrectly, civilian flying will seem uninteresting or boring, as it lacks the instant-action feel of combat/aerobatic flight. However, there are a lot of factors that make civilian flight not only interesting, but very challenging. These include:
- Planning Planning out a civilian flight, especially an airline flight, can help build up the realism of the game. Questions like which runways to use for take-off and landing, are they long enough for the type of plane? What altitude and airspeed to fly at? How soon does a descent have to start to avoid heart-attacks in the passenger cabin?
- Precision Trying to acheive precision enhances not only the realism, but also player skill. Pilots can seek precision in all phases of flight. At the airport, aircraft should take off from the runway. No really, it might seem easier to take off directly from gate #3, but it detracts from the experience of the game, and it will become boring more quickly this way. Takeoffs and landings should be done down the centreline of the runway. Cruise should look like a straight line, and not "the wave". And, for the passengers' sake, an airliner should not normally be in a very nose up or down angle, or should they be pulling steep turns with high G-forces.
- Procedure If the first two factors aren't enought to keep you busy, there is an entire world of precedures for real world flying to learn. It starts with learning some basic things, to reading materials used in real world pilot training, such as Air Law. For example, there is a pattern for landing called a circuit, which helps a pilot to line up for landing visually, and also helps organize multiple airplanes trying to land at the same airfield.
- Use of Instruments in Flight The instrument panel in YSFlight in simple, yet powerful. There are some features that can transform the YSFlight experience completely. All you have to do is not be afraid of learning to use them. The "virtual horizon" is the single most powerful tool in flight. This instrument is front and centre in the cockpit. In other planes without an instrument panel, it completely dominates the HUD view mode, with other instruments pushed to the side. (you might already be using it and not know it). NAV 1 is the second-most useful. If you don't use these, you are truly missing out. But if you are wondering how another pilot managed to land from 60 miles out, in the dark of night, when you can't even see the nose of your plane, it is just an example of how effective the instruments are.