Historic simulations

We loved this book: scans from the 1984 publication Creative Computer Graphics, by Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton (via Coudal). Jankel and Morton created Max Headroom, inspiration for the still mysterious Max Headroom pirate TV incident, recently solved by redid (allegedly). The book featured plenty of stills from simulators built be the likes of Evans & Sutherland (now reduced to making planetariums, but a short overview of the company history here). We never actually saw these sims in motion – YouTube can solve that today, such as this short extract of the CT5 flight simulator in action from 1981 – but when the real world equivalent was Fighter Pilot (from 1983), it was hard not to feel short-changed.

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We also like the original, pre-CGI simulators that used terrain boards, ‘scale models of terrain, over which moved a television camera that was connected to controls on the flight simulator. The trainee saw an image in the simulator that corresponded to what he or she would see if flying a real airplane over that terrain’. The Smithsonian also has one for a helicopter simulation, while this Ilyushin IL-18 Simulator uses conveyor belts to give the impression of movement. Visit Vintage Computer Graphics for more visual ephemera, including this proto version of Google Earth. Related, inside Industrial Light and Magic in the 1980s. Also related, Cockpit View Landing London City Airport At Night.

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