YS Flight Simulator

When you have a lot of competing interests, as I do, it helps when something lets you participate in a casual way.  Take Flight Simulators for instance.  I’ve always fancied the chance to play em, but just never had the time to really invest.  They are, after all, an entire hobby unto themselves.  Wouldn’t you know there’s a semi-casual Flight Simulator out there for wannabe virtual pilots just like me…that also happens to be completely Free.  YS Flight Simulator by Captain YS fills a niche by offering a nice balance between hard-core simulation and good ol pick-up-and-play fun.  Without even knowing it, this was exactly the kind of game I’d been looking for when I discovered it a year ago.  Before I dive into the review I’d like to point out that this is fully playable right out of the box.  That is, you can download, install, and jump right in with pre-configured keyboard controls.  Or, hook up a Flight Stick and get to configuring.  Ok…

Freeware games are a special type of gaming.  They often lack some of the polish and perks we’re used to, such as brainless installers, fully fleshed out menus, and fancy graphics.  But often they offer something else in return, such as unique gameplay or game design, a beautifully compact package, or simply being a work of passion that’s given freely for the rest of us to enjoy.  YS Flight Simulator is an excellent example of this freeware paradigm (By the way, this particular freeware happens to come with a traditional Installer).  The reason I say this is there are some rough edges here and some aspects of the game that take a little getting used to.  But…if you’re willing to spend a little time with it you’ll also discover there’s a whole lot of game here waiting to be explored and enjoyed.  My job today is hopefully to help you get past some of these hurdles in order that you’ll appreciate this game in the manner it deserves.

Now, I’m guessing here but if there’s one thing that might be putting people off from trying this game it’s the homepage on which it resides.  Being somewhat of a poster child for web 1.0 it might be a bit overwhelming at first.  My advice is locate the correct link (for Windows -> Download from Vector) and just focus on obtaining the installer for now.  Once you have the game installed, let’s focus on one of the other obstacles…the interface.  The word “interface” isn’t so much a reference to the in-game graphics as it is the menus used for doing things like setting up missions and so forth.  In other words, it takes a bit of getting used to.  The key thing to keep in mind is that you don’t really select missions as you might with a commercial game.  Instead everything is about setting up “Flights” and saving them as files, or opening previously saved Flight files.  Once you see things in this light (and spend some time with the interface) you begin to realize the immense possibilities.  And, to help get things moving the game comes bundled with a handful of pre-built Flights as well.  If you’re anxious to jump right in select File > Open Flight and then double-click on one of the files.  Think of these as just a tiny sample of the kinds of Flights you can build using the Simulation menu.  If you’re the curious sort who enjoys digging around, or are finally ready to create a Flight of your own, select Simulation > Create New Flight.  From there you’ll choose everything from your aircraft, loadout, map, number of wingmen and even starting position.  Whatever you do, the main thing to remember is to save your Flight as a file on your hard drive.  In other words, once your Flight is created (but before you fly it) select File > Save Flight.  Then you don’t lose all that setup work by accidentally closing it without actually saving it.  In a way it’s like working with Office software only with more excitement and bigger explosions.

Other Features:  As I’ve been saying there’s really so much here to explore and discover.  The main thing is understanding how the game interface works.  Once you’re tooling around like a pro you’ll soon uncover other features like Controller Configuration, Realism Settings, Landing Practice, Graphics Settings…there’s even a Network feature, which I haven’t tested myself.   One of the things I love about the Graphics settings are the buttons that easily let you choose between Best Detail and Draw Fast (for slower computers).  Also, the game runs always in a window but can be resized however you please (look under Option > Config Option).  One of my favorite features by far is the Flight Recorder.  You don’t even have to set it – all flights are recorded automatically.  After exiting a Flight select Flight Record Utility > Edit Flight Record and your flight comes back in edit mode.  You can pause, rewind, fast forward, crop out segments and (most importantly) save it.  This is a great feature and a lot of fun, especially after a particularly spectacular crash or landing.

As for the flight models and game itself, well…I’m no expert.  But for me the graphics are sufficient and the aircraft control is well done.  From taking off and landing civilian planes to engaging in fierce dogfights with vintage or modern fighters nothing feels too loose or arcade-like.  You can feel the differences between different types of aircraft with everything from handling to weight and performance.  And believe me there are a lot of aircraft to choose from (be sure to use the NEXT and PREVIOUS PAGE buttons when choosing one).  The fact that this entire game comes in a package smaller than 10 MB is simply incredible.  Not only is that amazing but qualifies YS Flight Simulator in my book as a true work of art.  Clearly Captain YS has put a tremendous amount of love into his creation and it really shows.

Naturally, Flights Sims aren’t for everyone.  But here’s a game that’s well made, works great, runs well even on older computers and doesn’t require a pilot’s license in order to play.  A genuine tribute to Freeware gaming.

Designer: Soji Yamakawa
Type: Original
Genre: Flight Sim
Format: Installer
File Size: 9.8 MB
Control Scheme: Mouse, Keyboard, Flight Stick, Gamepad
Portable: No
Version Played: 20080220

Visit the Official Homepage

Published in: on March 17, 2009 at 11:10 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , ,

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. :) Thanks for promoting YSFlight Simulation System!

    In my opinion, an outstanding feature is the Network mode. It’s really easy to set up your own server, or there are many public YSFlight servers online. But you often have to install specific aircraft or map addons in order to fly on them.

    • Neat. I didn’t even know there was a Network mode.

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