• Interview With Bruce Fitzgerald


    When did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?

    My flight sim experience started way back with Combat Flight Simulator.

    I really enjoyed it a lot, not only the combat with my old squadron (the 303rd bomb group) and the bomb runs we used to sponsor, but also with folks just island hopping around. It was where I learned the basics about .air files, config files, paints and sounds. It started with repaints and then moved on to modding. The game was dead with rampant modders by that point and I just wanted to out-mod the modders!

    I soon gave it up and moved on to FS2000 where I did a few repaints for myself and tweaked a few FDE's but never uploaded anything. Then came FS2002 and Gmax. There were a lot of good freeware downloads at the time and I still think of it as the Golden Era of freeware. I finally got Gmax installed and did the P-38 tutorial, trying to make something that looked like an airplane. The next few years were spent learning what was involved in that. It was a lot of fun and by the time FS2004 came along I was getting fairly decent at it, but in my opinion, still wasn't great. I spent a lot of time tweaking. Back then it was all about speed for me and with speed came altitude. Unfortunately, the ceiling was a mere 100k but I really wanted to get into space, preferably in a spaceship.


    Then came FSX and it looked like the dream of spaceflight would come to fruition. Experimenting with fast FDE's and whipping out a few spaceship models I had managed to get from other gaming sites, I found that the best you could get was a fast cruise around 200k. While tweaking FDE's, I found all kinds of interesting side effects and that is where I began to build things just to see how far I could push the game engine.

    Tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?

    I guess you can say I have made everything for flight sim that wasn't an airplane: helicopters, hot air balloons, skydivers, vehicles, ships and boats, submarines, hovercraft, lunar landers, flying aircraft carriers and of course... spaceships.

    I just love science fiction! I have also made a few sceneries out of these models and even posted a mission file or two, but my one true love has always been trying to get into space. Space has been achievable but only with a ballistic trajectory. What was needed was some sort of gauge to allow control above 400k...


    What do you consider your best or most popular work?

    That would have to be the Shuttle Atlantis. A lot of love went into that one, with the booster and tank animations, plus the flight dynamics. My vision was to make a movie using it in FSX so as to celebrate, and also mourn, the shuttle space program and its eventual passing due to budget cuts. My main upload site is actually Simviation, and I believe it has had over 70,000 downloads to date, just at that one site.

    What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?

    I always have trouble with the virtual cockpits, as when I fly it's usually from the outside. Being in the VC doesn't matter too much to me when I make something I want. I must admit that I build primarily for myself and usually end up sharing my work, but if I'm honest, my VC's aren't really that good, just functional.


    What have been your favorite projects?

    My personal favorite is the HALO YSS-1000 Sabre Starfighter. It includes THE space gauge and represents the attainment of the space flight goal, it also hovers, cruises at mach 2 and, with boost, accelerates to FSX max speed of 2666 kts (mach 4.6).

    The HALO YSS-1000 will cruise at 350,000 ft and punch through into space, and keep going all the way to FSX's max ceiling of 10,000,000 feet. As well as all these features, it has a nice shiny paint job, plus custom effects and sounds...and it's cool.

    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Great interview Bruce!!!

      I'm a big Star Wars and Star Trek fan, so many of your creations now have quite a few light years on them

      Many thanks for your wonderful contributions.

    1. rcbarend's Avatar
      rcbarend -
      Hi Bruce,

      Great reading ....!
      Nice to read some background on the man who got me "hooked" on Spaceflight ...

      Best, Rob
    1. SLKVP's Avatar
      SLKVP -
      Bruce, I always wanted to say "Thank you" for your Battle Star GALACTICA Models.

    1. hendrik357's Avatar
      hendrik357 -
      Great interview! I am an amauter developer so it is always interesting to hear from a pro. I haven't yet begun to created flying machines. I would love to see an ICBM missile in flight. Iam going to have to give the Space Shuttle a try as i too would like to travel into space in FSX.
      Folks like Bruce are an inspiration, keep up the good work!!

    1. maxxx2008's Avatar
      maxxx2008 -
      hello friend, I would like to know if you have the Raptor Armed? Battlestar Galactica
    1. b747fe1's Avatar
      b747fe1 -
      Where is the TEXTURE folder for the T54AC4???????????
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