Create a Sim!

hello, I'm currently thinking how a flight simulator would be made and I have a lot of friends and myself capable to make one. What would be the process or making a simulator like "P3D" or even "X-Plane"? What steps would have to be taken to create a sim like one of the bigs?

Thank you!


Resource contributor
You know not what you ask: Microsoft's ACES team was up to a hundred or so full-time professional developers who took years of work to bring Flight Simulator up to the level of FSX. The X-Plane team (don't know how many) have also been at it for years and Lockheed Martin (very professional) "only" took a couple of years to migrate P3D from 32-bit to 64-bit. We could direct you to a failed project to build a new simulator but all that need be said is they didn't really know what they were doing either so it didn't get off the ground.

This forum is aimed at people who build stuff for existing flight simulators. You might learn more about developing a new simulator by getting involved with the FlightGear people - FlightGear is Open Source so you can (in theory) examine what and how they have done so far.

You're going to need some proper programming skills as well as modelling and painting: if you're really serious then use that spare time you have to learn to really use an industrial-strength programming language.
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I'm with Tom here, the amount of programming skill required to simulate just the physics of flight is something that takes a team of professionals many years. Most of us just take existing simulators and improve them.


Resource contributor
Hello Nicholas,
1 - Like Tom already mentioned, creating a brand-new flight-simulator from the hanger isn't an easy task, BUT! , if you have enough (very-long-term) motivation, people, skills and knowledge you can get started.
I had the same idea once (about 3 decades ago) and found a C++ coding book to get started, named "Flights of Fantasy"

2 - Besides that it is worth your (development-team's) time to:
- Investigate other "open source" simulator projects like Flightgear (
- Visit (gaming development) forums to get in touch with people who are already building one.
- Learn about 3D modeling, (in-flight)physics, aerodynamics.

3 - It is also fun (for research) and worthwhile taking a serious look how the flightsim-technology has been evolved over the years oevr here
3a - Microsoft Flightsimulator history:


3b - Old Microsoft Flightsimulator versions - download locations:
Here you can download older versions of MSFS for free, to it evaluate and play with.
Get a feeling of a(n older) flightsim and get and get an idea wether you (too) will be able to re-create something likewise (or even better).

3c - Learning to fly: IGN overview of flight-sim history:

Good luck with your project!