Fly!

If you’ve been searching for a Mac flight sim, you’ve probably found just one – Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. Until now, that is. Terminal Reality’s Fly! has just landed on the shelves and appears to be the business. Perhaps not surprisingly, Terminal Reality’s president, Mark Randel, was part of the team that designed and programmed Flight Simulator. You get to choose from five aircraft – including the dual-propeller Piper Navajo and the plush Cessna Citation X jet. You can also visit five US cities – shown in ultra-high detail, courtesy of satellite data – including Los Angeles and New York. The programmers have gone to extraordinary lengths to model the world with absolute accuracy – three CDs-worth to be precise. You could try to fly around the world, though you’d end up in the drink sooner or later, through lack of fuel – detail like this takes a serious amount of data. The attention to detail doesn’t end here. Inside each cockpit, you find every button, switch, lever and control from the real thing – and all are fully functional. As the cursor moves over an item, a pop-up box tells you what it is. In a similar vein, the physics model used in flight is extremely realistic. Fortunately, beginners can limit the level of realism – for instance, deactivating Detect Collisions allows you to fly straight through buildings. Learning to fly
Fly Now is a great starting point for novices – just select from the list of 24 scenarios and you’re there, flying. A swift press of the C key brings up the external camera, from where you can watch the plane react to your joystick – or cursor keys, if you’re a true masochist. Once comfortable in flight, you can move on to Flight Planner, where aircraft and weather settings can be significantly customized, and you literally ‘plan’ your journey from departure to arrival. Then there’s the multi-player option, where you can cruise on a network, or over the Internet. Publisher's site: www.take2games.com

OUR VERDICT

Fly! is a stunner graphically, though there is a problem with the Rage Pro chip-set that prevents the horizon fogging from showing correctly – a real shame, as this certainly spoils the effect. Terminal Reality is working on a fix for this, and is releasing a series of beta patches that also increase Fly!’s features. They are freely available from its Web site. With add-on maps to follow – hopefully some of cities outside the US – Fly! could well end up being known as the ultimate flight sim.

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