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  subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II

Bruce A. Artwick - 1988

        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. Bruce Artwick 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.Stu Moment 

           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 the 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.

          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.

           This demo 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.

Here are shown the covers of the assembly language manuals:

A2-3D1 technical manual A2-3D1 user’s manual

subLOGIC A2-3D1 Animation Package 3D Microcomputer Graphics for Apple II - the technical manual  (left)

subLOGIC A2-3D1 Animation Package 3D Microcomputer Graphics for Apple II - the user's manual (right)

subLOGIC 3D Graphics package - demonstration

subLOGIC 3D Graphics package - demonstration for Apple II

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". SubLOGIC “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 the “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 early 1980.

The pictures 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.

subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II, the first edition on a MG cassette subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II, the first edition on a MG cassette

The early issue of subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II (rare manuals with blue and green covers)

subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II, the first edition on a MG cassette subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II, next edition on a MG cassette

The early issue of subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II (the most common yellow cover of a cassette edition - left)

The later issue of subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II (disk edition - right)

           The 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.

subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II, a green front paper sheet of a disk edition subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II, a disk addendum card within an original plastic bag

The green card for the disk issue of subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II (left)

 The additional yellow instruction card for the disk issue in the original plastic bag (right)

           Pictures taken from 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 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 instrument panel.

subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II

subLOGIC Flight 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 Artwick (this case need to be solved).

subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II - sub-version with 12 x 12 square scenery

subLOGIC Flight 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 MESS download which allows playing on current PC computers with Windows. Flight Simulator 1 control system is described on the page 10 in the original manual.

 

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Individual pages:

subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 - Apple II

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