by Guest Writer Richard “Gramps” Kaminski
Almost everyone in the Flight Sim Community has heard of Strike Fighters: Project 1, developed by Tsuyoshi Kawahito (or simply TK – of EAW fame) and his company Third Wire. Unfortunately, due to a very rocky start, many people have a low opinion of this sim. Hopefully this article will show that not only has SF survived its traumatic birth, but has evolved into one of the best sims, of any genre, on the market today — and consistently in the top three for popularity here at SimHQ.
So, for the uninitiated, what is Strike Fighters: Project 1? Released in October 2002, it’s first and foremost an “open” and “lite” sim, originally set in the 1950’s/60’s period — to many the Golden Age of jets before the computers took over! It’s an “open” sim, meaning almost every aspect of the sim is (and has been, but we’ll get to that!) moddable by the end user. And “lite” in that the accent is on fun: no complex engine start or weapon launching procedures, as in the Falcon series, but simplified aircraft controls that allow you to quickly master the basic aspects of the sim and get into what you want to do: blow away the bad guys!
Although SF has a multiplay aspect, it is mainly streamed towards the single player “offline” experience, and this is where we will concentrate. There are well over 1000 mods for SF (including well over 300 new aircraft, and NOT including 1000‘s more skins), so we can only touch on a few. A list of links will be shown at the end of this feature.
The start SF’s evolution actually predates it official birth. SF’s birth was not only traumatic, but premature — the so-called “Wallyworld Release”.
The Wal-Mart Release
Rumors abound regarding this fiasco, but the accepted view is that in the summer of 2002 a press release beta version was rushed into production by the original publisher, Strategy First, and shipped for sale to Wal-Mart. This, unfortunately, was the introduction to SF for many people, who sadly are only now taking another look at the sim, three years later. These early versions are worse than useless, and you can still find them for sale on E-Bay. Buyer Beware! Current official versions of SF are available in retail stores (such as Circuit City) for $5-$10 — a bargain indeed.