Bruce Artwick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Bruce Artwick
Born 1953 (age 61–62)
Norridge, Illinois, United States
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Illinois

Bruce Artwick was the creator of the first consumer flight simulator software. His original Apple II software was purchased by Microsoft and eventually became Microsoft Flight Simulator.[1] He founded the company SubLogic after graduating at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1977, which released the first version of Flight Simulator the following year. It was named SubLogic after the logic circuits he built for the PDP 11 in the University of Illinois' Digital Computer Laboratory (DCL). Before being able to find his first company, Artwick worked for Hughes Aircraft in Culver City, California. It was there that he realized he could create his own 3-D dynamic graphics on 6800-based machines. After SubLogic, Bruce founded the Bruce Artwick Organization which continued development of flight simulator products which was eventually bought out by Microsoft.


Artwick was born and raised in Norridge, Illinois and attended Triton Junior college before going to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to study computer engineering in 1973. When he got there, Artwick switched his focus at first to electrical engineering because he believed that the degree would be more acceptable to the public eye. As a student at U of I, Artwick expressed his enthusiasm for aviation by doing research at the Aviation Research Lab holding a technician position in DCL. Between 1975-1976 Artwick and his graphic group in the University designed graphic terminals for DCL. During this time, Artwick found himself the time to become a pilot. The amount of hours spent doing graphics accumulated to a rich understanding for the topic which according to Bruce, he said, "I learned more working in the basement of DCL than in classes."[2] Artwick graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1975 and obtained a Master’s Degree in electrical Engineering in the following year.

Flight Simulator[edit]

In his thesis of May 1975, called “A versatile computer generated dynamic light display” he displayed a model of the flight of an aircraft on a computer screen.[3] With this, Artwick proved that it was possible to use the 6800 processor which was the first available microcomputer to handle the graphics and calculations of the specifications needed to produce real-time flight simulation. After creating the SubLogic Company, Artwick took his thesis one step further by developing the first flight simulator program for the Apple II which was based on the 6502 processor. Shortly after, he followed up his product with a Radio Shack TRS-80 version that each was coded in their own machine language. By the year 1981, Flight Simulator became so popular that it was reportedly the best-selling title for Apple.

Shortly after, Microsoft decided to enter the fray to obtain a license for Flight Simulator. Microsoft obtained a joint license and by November 1982, Microsoft’s version of Flight Simulator hit the stores as a PC entertainment program. As years passed, computer graphics continued to improve and Flight Simulator software also changed along with it.


SubLogic’s business strategy was to sell software through the mail. The company found itself growing a substantial amount in just two years’ time and Artwick decided to move part of his operation back to Champaign-Urbana. SubLogic continued to grow and developed various versions of the flight simulator program as well as other entertainment programs. At the beginning of the year 1982, Flight Simulator became a top selling product for Apple who purchased the Flight Simulator product. Microsoft realized his expertise in the field of flight simulation and asked Artwick to partake in a project that will change the simulator industry. Instead of flight purposes, Microsoft wanted to showcase the machine’s graphics capabilities. By the late 1980s, the SubLogic business started to decline because the 8-bit market shifted to a 16-bit market so Artwick decided to pursue other things and left SubLogic.

BAO Ltd.[edit]

In 1988, he left SubLogic and found BAO Ltd. (Bruce Artwick Organization), retaining the copyright to Flight Simulator, which he continued to develop. BAO started off with six employees and grew to well over 30 by 1995. BAO continued to grow and oversaw development of many aviation products in many different versions on various computing platforms. The market by this time expanded to include flight simulator products for the Federal Aviation Administration. It was there that BAO produced aviation-related software that would be implemented into things like tower control simulation to train air traffic controllers. In 1994, BAO released Microsoft Space Simulator, which took flight simulation all the way out into space. In 1995, they released Tower, an air traffic control simulator. In January 1995, BAO and the copyright to Flight Simulator were acquired by Microsoft.[4] Artwick remained with the company as a consultant.


  1. ^ "Bruce Artwick is still flying:". Retrieved WED May 23.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ "Bruce Artwick is still flying:". Retrieved WED May 23.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ "The Story of Flight Simulator". 03-04-05. Retrieved WED May 23.  Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  4. ^ "Microsoft Acquires Bruce Artwick Organization Ltd". Farlex. Retrieved WED May 23.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]