When Bruce Artwick established his subLOGIC corporation in 1977, his new
firm offered a “3D microcomputer graphics package” that allow engineers,
architects, designers, pilots and anyone else interested in 3D wire
frame drawings to generate what they wanted on a TV screen. The first
version of 3D Graphics was available in BASIC and M6800 assembly
language already in August 1977.
presented his programs in Kilobaud magazine, issue 10, in October 1977.
In this time they were preparing other 3D Graphics packages for 8080,
6502 and Z80 processors.I
must mention also the second main person in subLOGIC Company. His name
is Stuart Moment (the first name is mostly use as Stu). He was a co-owner of subLOGIC and a pilot instructor. His
knowledge about flying was used for development of Flight Simulator. By
the way, he is still president of subLOGIC, but it is other story.
In August 1979 was released 6502 processor version of
3D Graphics package (it hit markets in October 1979). It means the
version for Apple II computers. The program was marked as program number
A2-3D1 (assembly language version) or AB-3D1 (BASIC language version).
It was usual using code names for subLOGIC's products. The assembly language version was distributed with 32 pages
user’s manual called
Load and Go manual and 84 pages technical manual.
The BASIC version was distributed with 22 pages Load and Go manual and 60
pages BASIC 3D Graphics manual.
Here are shown the covers of the assembly language manuals:
The programs were distributed on one cassette or one floppy disk. What
is interesting and the most important regarding to our interest, there
was included a special demonstration program. We can consider the
demonstration program as the first public demo of the following
worldwide famous Microsoft Flight Simulator. In fact the demo shows
possibilities of 3D Graphics package.
Graphics package - demonstration for Apple II
is an ancestor of the first ever released subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1
for Apple II (code name A2-FS1). The demo is depicting 14 still monochromatic pictures of the
flying area with six mountains and the airport location which is more
detailed than the similar airport in A2-FS1. Only one airport is
included. The flying area is 5 x 6 grids instead of 6 x 6 grids in
Flight Simulator 1. An instrument panel is not presented. It must be
highlight that it is not playable demo; you can not take control of the
plane. The pictures are repeatedly depicting. I made an animated picture
which shows the view of all 14 demo pictures in right sequence and
timing as you can see in the demo on a real Apple II computer.
There is very often mentioned 1979 as the year of the first release of
subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II. You can find the information
on Internet, it is written in later Flight Simulator II version manuals and it is
on a subLOGIC
10th anniversary poster
as well. This is a difference from
1980 year which is presented in
an original manual to
Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II. It is exactly – January
1980, in the manual first release, first printing. Where is the truth?
I always believed that the program was
made in 1979 but I was not sure about the year when it got in public.
I can quote Stu Moment (I got his statement). "The program was really done later in 1979
and it was ready for distribution during a week after Christmas 1979".
“product status sheet” presents exactly
December 31, 1979. Stu
remembers that he had to write few apologetic letters to users who
wanted to have Flight Simulator 1 as a Christmas gift. So, for real
their product did not hit markets until 1980.
I have a manual to the very first edition, first printing. It includes
“release information sheet”
which is exactly dated January 1,
1980. The information confirmed everything mentioned above. The manual
is interesting by a blue colour of its soft cover because all following
A2-FS1 covers have usual yellow colour. There even exist exactly the same
manuals the first printing with yellow cover. Why other colour? Stu
Moment gave an answer. “There may have been blue covers for FS1 in the
beginnings. All FS1 printing was done at local printers. Color decisions
were often made depending on the printer’s stock. After we grew, we’d warn
printers before reprints and they’d get the correct paper or cover stock.”
According to Ken Graham, who is
one of the very first subLOGIC customers, there also were green covers
for the same A2-FS1 release. He saw the manuals at the Chicago show
below represent covers of manuals for subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II. Here are
actually the very first editions (blue, green and yellow cover) and the following edition
(with Apple II computer on the cover).
All the editions were distributed on a MG cassette.
next edition, released on
a 5.25” floppy disc, contained the same manual as
the MG cassette version (with Apple II computer on the cover), but it also included an
yellow card describing the use of
the disc version and a green front paper sheet.
The package was stored in
a plastic bag. Then there were not paper box covers.
Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II are sometimes monochromatic (white or
green - it depends on a monitor color), but even the first variant comprised four colours, so the
picture was in single colour only when a monochromatic monitor was used
with Apple II. Flight control data for the Sopwith F.1 Camel were
digital on the instrument panel, only altitude and speed were indicated
in analogue way in two octagonal instruments. The oldest scenery was
composed of 6 x 6 squares with a flat (not 3D) mountainous panorama in the north.
In addition, there were three airfields one of which was enemy and
another one civilian. The scenery also sported an enemy fuel depot.
The scenery map
from A2-FS1 original manual
The vital part of the game was “British Ace” 3D Aerial Battle Game mode
in which you encountered a few enemy aircraft represented only by hardly
recognizable spots. In this combat mode the mutual position of aircraft
was indicated on a square radar screen in the right section of the
Simulator 1 for Apple II
As I mentioned, there were few editions of Flight Simulator 1 for Apple
II. We can recognize at least three different modifications. They are all
marked as version 1. The first and the second sub-version are
represented by the above animated picture. They seem almost the same.
The second sub-version contrary the first subversion has a "CRASH" message
and a low altitude counter (when your altitude is less than 1000 feet).
The second sub-version was distributed on 5,25 inch floppy disk. The
first one was distributed on MG cassette.
There exists third sub-version
as well but it has a mysterious origin. Why? Stu Moment does not remember any
sub-version with enlarged scenery. The sub-version has
enlarged scenery comprising 12 x 12 squares, a river in the middle which flows from
west to east and few 3D objects - a bridge and a hill (in the shape of
pyramid) near the main base. The river position is similar to the river
in subLOGIC Flight Simulator II. So it is possible that the sub-version
is originally made by
subLOGIC. But there is not any notice about the enlarged scenery within
any manual. Who knows? Stu Moment thought it was probably made by some
other programmer. Unfortunately I have not a statement from Bruce
Simulator 1 for Apple II - sub-version with 12x12 square scenery
Do you remember
your first take off with A2-FS1? Did you start flying with much newer
version of Flight Simulator? I have a suggestion for both of you.
Try to take control of Sopwith
F.1 Camel in subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II, smell the ancient
time of the first ever subLOGIC/Microsoft Flight Simulator. Just use my
which allows playing on current PC
computers with Windows.
It only supports Windows, not other operating
systems like Linux. Windows comes preloaded on most consumer
laptops, like the many
HP laptop deals that most people purchase. Flight
Simulator 1 control system is described on the page 10 in