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F/A-18 Hornet: History of a classic

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This post will be taking a look at the history of F.A-18 Hornet, the first game in the F/A-18 Hornet series from GraphSim. It will discuss the various versions that have existed and the changes that have been introduced over time.

Most of this post is based on updates and utilities I've encountered as I've looked into Hornet. Some of this information may not be correct, so if you can expand on or correct anything, please feel free to get in touch.

Version 1.0

Initial version. Released in 1993, probably in the second half of the year as reviews and updates started appearing in Jan 1994. Also known as version 1.0.0 when GraphSim started using 1.x.x version numbers.

Version 1.0.1

I believe this may have been a bug fix patch for v1.0 although it's not known what the changes in this version were. This was the last 1.0 version. It looks to have been created/released prior to Jan 1994. An updater application exists to update v1.0.1 to v1.1 confirming the existence of this version.

Version 1.1

Also known as version 1.1.0. Released Jan 1994, registered users would later receive update disks from GraphSim. This was a major update to Hornet, introducing a large number of new features, and a new flight model. Two separate applications existed to update v1.0 to v1.1 and update v1.0.1 to v1.1.

Download TXT • 10KB

Version 1.1.1

Released Feb1994. A minor update to version 1.1 which introduced a few new features. Only one updater application has been found that updates v1.0.0 to v1.1.1 so it's not known if a fresh install of Hornet was needed to apply this patch. The readme below covers the changes in version 1.1 and version 1.1.1.

Readme 1.1.1
Download TXT • 9KB

Version 1.1.2

Released Apr 1994. Another minor update which introduced bug fixes and tweaked the flight characteristics of some aircraft. The updater application would update any earlier v1.1.x version to v1.1.2.

ReadMe Hornet 1.12
Download TXT • 1KB

Version 1.1.3b1

Released Apr 1994. A beta patch (hence the b1 in the version number) to fix bugs in the flight model for lower memory Macs and changes the roll rate in the flight model. An updater application would update v1.1.2 to v1.1.3b1. The patch is incompatible with the Classic version.

Readme 1.13b1
Download TXT • 2KB

Version 1.1.3b2

Released Apr 1994. A second beta patch. There is no readme so the contents of the patch aren't known. After applying the patch the hornet version is listed as 1.1.3 in the 'File Info' dialog box. An updater application would update v1.1.2 to v1.1.3b2. This patch is incompatible with the Classic version.

PowerPC Hack Version

An unofficial fan made patch to add PowerPC code to the Hornet application converting it to a fat binary compatible with both m68k and PPC architectures, optimising the performance on PowerPC Macs. Released in Sep 1994. It can be used to patch versions 1.1.0, 1.1.1, 1.1.2 and 1.1.3b1. This patch pre-dates the Classic version. It's not known if this version is compatible with the v1.1.3b2 patch.

FA-18 PPC Hack 1.0 Read Me
Download TXT • 3KB

Classic Version

An official GraphSim release around Oct 1995, the classic version according to the 'about' information, is based on version 1.1.2. I believe it is released as a fat binary containing both m68k and PowerPC code as it runs under the SheepShaver emulator. It included an electronic version of the manual.

This version is the most common found today. It has the characteristics of a re-release, combining a history of changes until v1.1.2. It's not known if either of the v1.1.3 beta patches made it into this release. The updater application to update Hornet 1.x to Hornet 2.0 doesn't seem to be compatible with this version.


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