The new year is just around the corner. 2017 was a great year for flight simulation and, right now, 2018 seems to be a bigger and better year for our hobby and our community.
DCS 2.5, which is also known as “the big merge” is coming in January. This will bring all scenery together as well as a better graphics engine. New helicopters are coming (Miltech-5 is working on the Bo-105 and Polychop announced the OH-58 — although it’s not guaranteed it will see the light of day in DCS, unfortunately).
AeroFly FS2 was just released as “final” and new scenery’s coming up. Hopefully, we will see the first helicopter there as well.
X-Plane, which hit version 11 — the best and most amazing version yet (the opposite would be odd, really). Like I mentioned, support for VR just came out and we are also very exciting and waiting for the Vulkan version, which promises to bring a nice increase on frame rate and performance. New scenery developers are moving in (such as iBlueYonder and ORBX, among others) which means more and better addons are coming our way for this sim.
Flight Sim World (FSW) keeps on growing and, fingers crossed, perhaps we’ll see the first helicopter hitting this sim this year as well? DoveTail Games seems to be doing an impressive job so far, so we are keeping an eye on it.
FlightGear, although not a sim we actively cover, is also growing its virtual hangar and, thanks to FGUK, more helicopters are being added. It’s still not at the same level as, say, the DCS or X-Plane helicopters, but those folks are pushing it forth.
Prepar3D is seeing the Nemeth Brothers returning to action and working on the Bell 407 for this sim. The helicopter physics are still flawed, though, even in the newest version but, thankfully, those that use P3D can still get their hands on HTR.
On another note, me and my virtual brothers Bel Geode and Novawing24 started our own crazy adventure as the Three Grumpy Simmers, which we absolutely LOVE to do and we will keep on doing throughout 2018 (sorry, folks, not everything is good news, right?).
Oh, there were also a couple of interviews out there, which shows that helicopter flight simulation is starting to spread in the flight simulation niche.
Finally, the helicopter flight simulation community is growing. I am not going to say we have a number X of followers here and there. That’s not what I call the “community”. Yes we are part of it but we are not it. We are part of a much bigger, living entity made out of amazing people that are as passionate about flight simulation and, especially, helicopters as we are.
Over the last few months we’ve seen more and more people entering this space, trying helicopters, asking questions, getting helicopter-specific gear and talking about this newly discovered sub-genre inside flight simulation. And that’s just cool! It’s good that our community is growing and more people is getting into helicopters.
This will turn heads and raise awareness with both software and hardware developers, eventually leading to more helicopters being developed, better flight dynamics being added to sims and perhaps even the decrease on hardware as there’s more people buying this kind of gear.
2017 was a great year and 2018 promises to be even better for us, our hobby and our community. I am VERY excited about the year that comes and what it will bring us.
What about you? What is it that’s getting you all pumped up for 2018 in our hobby? Let me know in the comments section below!