About us

From Commodore 64 to ProSim Pioneer

The ProSim software was originally created by Marty Bochane, who now, after many years and in a team of over twenty people, is still one of the main architects.

Read Marty’s story below:

This story starts when I was 12 years old. Computers were very uncommon. I was fascinated by technology and anything electronic, but the thought of having access to a computer was mind boggling to me. When I was 12 years old my parents bought me a Commodore 64. 

My father got me some software for it and I found a copy of sublogic FS2. I didn’t really know anything about aircraft, but the idea that the computer contained an entire world that I could explore was something that drew me in. I spent most of my time trying out programming and I was drawn more to learning assembly language. I was mostly interested in computer technology. I never was really much into aircraft or thinking of becoming a pilot. 

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Exploring Flight Simulation and the Birth of VATSIM

In 1990 we got our first PC. It came with a monochrome display. I quickly learned that it was a lot more capable than the C64 and I got into more complex software design. I also got more serious into flight simming, since FS3 on the PC was a lot more usable than FS2 on the C64. 

As a kid I was always fascinated by machinery and complex devices. In the real world, I was never really able to interact with a lot of complex devices. The PC however, contained software that simulated these complex devices, and allowed me to freely interact with them. Aircraft are complex devices and I assume this is what drew me into flight simulation.

Around 1990 was also the first time that I started programming specific simulation software. I created a program that could present possible flight routes to extend the flight simming experience. This would bring a bit more purpose to flying from A to B. 

Around this time I also got into contact with other flight sim enthusiasts and went to various flight sim exhibitions and events. 

Around this time I also tried my luck at actual flight and joined a gliding club. I had tried it for three years, but the social aspect put me off. For me it was too little flying for too much time. I’d rather spend my time behind a computer.

The natural career path for me would be computer science so that’s what I did and after 1992, I transitioned into the Unix world. I was fascinated by network technology and the concept of connecting software over a network. I got a degree in computer science and started my first company.

I was still heavily into flight simming and around 1997, when the internet became more mainstream, I noticed on the flight sim forums that people were trying to build a pilot/controller like infrastructure. I contacted these people and told them my vision of sitting at home with a simulator and connecting to a local server online and having some air traffic controller somewhere on the other side of the world see me. The internet was not as fast and reliable as it is today, so this was quite a complex problem. Multiplayer gaming existed, but online air traffic control would require a global network of servers that would exchange messages and allow a virtually unlimited amount of local pilots to connect.

I worked on this concept and this is how SATCO and later on VATSIM came into existence.


Revolutionizing Flight Simulation: The Journey from FSEconomy to ProSim

A few years later I revived the idea of giving purpose to flight simming by creating FSEconomy. The idea here is to select jobs from an online server and get paid virtual money for flights. I extended the idea to flight groups so people could work together to buy their own planes, rent them out to others and fly jobs together.

In my early years I was always dreaming of the idea of having a full size cockpit that would react like a real aircraft, but this was always out of reach. The cost was simply inhibitive and I had no idea about what software would be needed to run this. In the early 2000s I was contacted by Peter Visser, who was also a flight simmer. He got the opportunity to purchase half of a Boeing 737 cockpit. This was a home cockpit that was not finished, but his idea would be to make it work and rent it out so flight simmers could experience a full cockpit setup. I jumped into that and found out that the software was still an issue. I was still very much obsessed with complex machinery and systems and this cockpit project would only satisfy me if I could use it to interact with virtual components that could break and give me some challenges. For me, the best achievable experience would be if the virtual aircraft would be a complex machine built up from virtual components that all mimicked their real world counterparts. For example, if the output temperature from a cabin vent was 25 degrees, I don’t want that to come from a table that says 25, I want the air to come from the outside, then being compressed by the engine and heating up, then cooling down through a precooler, then being further compressed in a pack and cooled down, and then being uncompressed to cool down further and finally mixed with hot air, where everywhere in the path, valves would be software controlled to do the various mixing. This idea was always very strong for me, because for me it can’t feel alive until it really mimics the real world.

This idea is not always followed by the more expensive big simulators, since these devices are built as training tools and need to offer a fixed set of training experiences. 

So to achieve this I started building up a software toolbox of components that I stuck together to build up the virtual aircraft. This is what later became ProSim and it was a systems simulator at first. I gradually added more components like the FMS and display system and after a while I had a full 737 suite.

By 2006 I had also met Hanne Koole who was an employee in my first company. It was never my intention to sell ProSim as a commercial product, but having the complete package I figured it was the best way forward. Hanne and me together founded ProSim as a company in 2010.

I have dealt with a lot of hardware and software related to cockpits and I’ve learned that issues usually arise from finicky drivers or other interfacing problems. Home cockpits are usually built up from a much wider range of (often low grade) components than professional simulators are. Linking all that stuff together and maintaining stability can be a nightmare. From the very start I’ve tried whenever possible to include hardware drivers for as many components on the market as possible. I try to handle any kind of connection issue and make configuration as clear as possible. Most components can therefore be hot plugged in and out while the simulator is running.

For the home market, I feel that we can improve in the area of immersion. Just like when I created FSEconomy, I think more can be explored in the area of flight immersion. We are working on bringing a better EFB to the home simulator market and in the future adding more components to bring purpose to flights.