Gaming for Entertainment vs. Simulations for Education

Gaming for Entertainment vs. Simulations for Education

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The Evolution of Gaming Apps to Educational Simulations

Microsoft Flight Simulator: Planting a Seed for Aviation Enthusiasts

The consumer product launch of the Microsoft Flight Simulator in 1982 could be viewed as the beginning of the evolution of PC games for entertainment to full featured simulations used today for general aviation education and pilot training programs.

Simulation vs. Game: What's the Difference?

A computer simulation involves interaction with a user interface or input device – such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion sensing device, and engages mathematical modelling to predict the behavior and outcomes of real-world physical systems. The reliability of some mathematical models can be determined by comparing their results to the real-world outcomes they aim to predict.

A computer game involves interaction with a user interface or input device – such as a joystick, controller, keyboard, or motion sensing device – to generate visual feedback. Game results are designed to maximize entertainment and not necessarily model real-world characteristics or outcomes of actions.

The distinction between a flight simulation and a flight game is significant. If entertainment is desired, a flight simulation game application will be best to fulfill a user's need for entertainment. If flight instruction and education is the goal, a flight simulation application will be best suited to meet the educational and training expectations of both the student and instructor.

There are flight simulator games that provide added realism by modeling some aspects of flight, without burdening a user with the necessary investment of time and education required to pilot an aircraft modeled in a flight simulator program.

Microsoft Wows Aviation Simulation Community with 2020 Release

When Microsoft announced the release of Flight Simulator 2020, this event marked forty years of development of a product that started as an entertaining aviation game and evolved into today's fully featured educational flight simulation and aviation educational application.

In December 2020, Microsoft added support for Virtual Reality headsets, significantly increasing the degree of realism and immersion when engaged in a flight.

It's a safe bet that Microsoft's Flight Simulator application is responsible for generating interest in aviation that's led to military, commercial and general aviation career pursuits.

General Aviation Glider Pilot Education and Condor2 Simulator App

In the summer of 2015, I enrolled in a Colorado-based general aviation flight school program that taught students how to pilot fixed-wing gliders, like the Schleicher ASK 21 glider.

During the course of the week, when I needed to practice what I learned in flight school over the weekend, I used the Condor2 flight simulator PC application.

Condor 2 Flight Simulator (Courtesy: Condor Soaring)

The following week, it was remarkable how much of my learning and simulator practice transitioned over to the real-world cockpit during my training flights with my instructor.

The quality of the simulation experience well-orients new students to the dynamics of flight and flight operations, which results in students that are well-prepared for their first real-world flight experience with their flight instructor.

Experienced glider pilots use Condor2 in VR to augment their flight training, simulate a flight just for fun, or put their knowledge and skills to a test in VR flight competitions featuring experienced pilots from all over the world.

Microsoft introducing Fixed-Wing Gliders for Flight Simulator in 2022

Recently, I heard a report about Microsoft's Flight Simulator development team working on a redesign of the flight model used to simulate aircraft flight behavior.

Weather forecasting and simulation is important to fixed wing glider pilots, which is the one reason glider pilots continue to choose the Condor2 flightsim app over MSFS 2020

As fixed wing gliders become available for MSFS 2020, and the development team continues to improve real-time weather modeling, more glider pilots will use MSFS for practice flights and aviation education and training applications.


Thanks to the evolution of aviation gaming applications into modern day education simulation applications, enthusiasts, aviation students, and general aviation pilots have an affordable, realistic flight simulation platform that they can use to augment their classroom and in-flight training experience.

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