The First Day…
Unsure of what I’d see, I rose early Saturday morning to get in before the crowds. I was greeted by bustling activity, and it had been going on long before my wake-up call. Somewhere in the middle of the night, NaturalPoint’s crew had arrived and their booth had just magically appeared, finished. Alex and Martin were putting in some minor finishing touches on Just Flight’s setup and the guys from eDimensional had a nice-sized booth-full of goodies for every simulation fan.
Through all this, Mark Silcock appeared calm and collected, getting the IFC staff ready for the steadily gathering crowds of conventioneers. It was a bit like checking into a real flight. Each person was given a boarding pass and a small bag of IFC goodies. Whether or not they would have TSA employees asking attendees to remove their shoes and go rifling through their luggage, I didn’t have the heart to ask.
Once the crowds were let in, the room filled up fast. I was able to get a glance at the Matrox TripleHead2Go in action as eDimensional’s team had put together a demonstration setup and were inviting attendees to give it a shot. What surprised me was the number of people who’d never heard of some of these products. In addition to the other products they had for sale, eDimensional, which is based out of West Palm Beach, Florida, had also brought along their AudioFX Force Feedback headsets and the E-D Wireless 3D Glasses for customers to see and hear.
I got to shoot a few day traps with Abacus’ Flight Deck 4 add-on, proving to myself that my career as a naval aviator would have been a short one. Thankfully, Arnie Lee was on hand to talk shop. Given the improvements of Microsoft’s FSX, you can bet you’re going to see the ultimate in carrier operations and naval aircraft familiarization, but Flight Deck 4’’s realism and detail alone were mind-blowing. The Hornet cockpit I was in was phenomenal, so for those looking forward to the release, I can only advise you to add this to your collection.
Peter Cos of Flight Deck Solutions was on hand with a Boeing glass cockpit setup. Cos makes everything from cockpits for the enthusiast to movie props and it was the first time I’d gotten to see how Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 can put the instrumentation displays on separate screens to create working, interactive flight information on a cockpit MFD, taking flight simulation from just being on a computer to feeling of being on a real flight deck.