Times have been tough for Flight Simulator makers. The first noticeable disaster was the end of the excellent Flight Unlimited series from Looking Glass Studios in 2000, then, the best Air Combat simulator for jets (IL2 still rules for WWII fighters) that was Jane's USAF showed unusable under Windows 2000, XP and above.
With Microsoft closing the ACES studio, makers of FSX, and while there's still a big enough community of contributors to keep it going for some time, I could not help wondering if any decent modern alternative existed.
Well, there's still the multi-platform X-Plane (there's even an iPhone version!) whose development has proven very dynamic throughout the years.
But, what about freeware ?
Since developing Flight Simulators is so demanding in resources and heavy weight software companies don't have time for fun anymore, it's seems to be the end of such games...
Well, not entirely, in Armorica one village bravely resist the Romans, and with success...(*)A well advanced project exist (started around 1996) in the SourceForge community called FlightGear.
This ambitious open-source flight simulator wants to offer features comparable to the big ones: realistic flight dynamics, wide choice of civilian and military aircrafts, IFR, GPS support, advance weather rendering (like fog and dynamically configurable 3D clouds), various viewpoints, ATC, world scenery, aircraft carrier landing, ...
And did I say it is multi-platform ?
So start downloading it here and have fun!
There is also something nice cooking here: The Combat Simulator Project
Not to forget: Orbiter (space flight simulator)
Next big flying thing for game consoles: http://www.il2game.com/