AVSIM Commercial Utility Review

Add-on Converter X

Product Information

Publishers:  FlightSimTools

Description: Converter to allow you to use older add-ons in DX10 mode.

Download Size:
1.9 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX SP2
Reviewed by: Peter Clemenko III AVSIM Staff Reviewer - April 21, 2009

Introduction

When Microsoft released SP2, one key flaw was that you had to use a specific texture type to have your add-ons working in DX10 mode. Add-on Converter X’s primary focus is to allow you to fly those aircraft in FSX SP2 in DX 10 mode. Without them in that format they would just show up as white textures in the add-ons, which is the default non-skinned texture of a model.

Installation and Documentation

Test System

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 2.4ghz per core (4 64bit cores)
Video Card: BFG Nvidia Geforce GTX 280 OCX with 1 gig of VRAM
Motherboard: XFX nForce 680i lt SLI
Sound: Onboard Realtek HD integrated sound card
RAM: 4 gigs OCZ 800mhz SLI on 2 sticks
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit Service Pack 1
Joystick: Microsoft Sidewinder Precision Pro
Head Tracking: TrackIR 4 Pro

Flying Time:
20 hours

Version Reviewed:

1.0, 1.02, 1.03

Installation is straightforward. Just follow basic install procedures, as in turn off your anti-virus, firewall, and uac, and install in admin mode. Documentation is there and is good, but isn’t really needed because it automatically does everything for you.

How well it converts

Well, in this review I had to wait a while because of some major glitches with version 1.0. Some of these have been fixed in version 1.02 and 1.03. Overall, this would be a useful tool because when it works, it does convert the textures automatically and does it quicker than doing it by hand.

I should note that this only converts the textures, but that’s acceptable as converting gauges to my knowledge has to be done by hand due to coding stuff. I noticed that it automatically converted the scenery and aircraft, and it fully worked in DX10 mode. It was a very pleasant option to fly with POSKY aircraft in DX 10 mode. I should note however that I did have problems where it refused to convert some things on occasion.

This can be fixed by deleting the cache file for the conversion textures and rebooting your machine. Not a major issue, just annoying. For the cache location, it’s in C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\FlightSimTools.com\Addon Converter X (anyone who asks for the XP path is missing the point that XP doesn’t have DX10, which means this product is a moot point). This brings me to the BIGGEST problem I have ever seen in a payware product, which has to do with not having the functionality it is supposed to.

It doesn’t convert at night, dawn, or dusk in the virtual cockpit, which is something that I find to be, well, unacceptable. They advertise this as a product to convert the add-ons to work in DX10 mode, but they don’t appear to have implemented the complete functionality in the product.

It was even mentioned in their forum that they can’t promise implementing functionality for converting at night/dawn/dusk. In my opinion, I think that is something that should have been in there from version 1.0. That seems to me like pretty important functionality. Furthermore, anything already in DDS format, which is not in the correct DDS format, won’t be converted.

Some DDS formats work in DX10, others don’t. The key problem is that some things don’t convert properly because it won’t convert anything with DDS format. This can cause errors with some objects. I will say this, the external views convert fine, but internal VC views don’t work in dawn/dusk/night. That is a major problem to someone like me, as I live in the VC.

Is it worth it?

If FlightSimTools were to fix the issues, and have put in all the functionality advertised, I would say yes if you had Vista (or Win 7 beta) and wanted to use DX10. Since they don’t have the key functionality of converting at dusk/dawn/night, I have to say this, not yet.

iFly 747 cockpit dusk iFly 747 cockpit day iFly 747 cockpit dawn
iFly 747 cockpit night iFly 747 external dawn iFly 747 external day
iFly 747 external dusk iFly 747 external night unedited iFly 747 external night (edited in photoshop to even even out the contrast and brightness, making it more viewable by me)

Summary / Closing Remarks

Overall, this is a very good idea for a tool. The problem is that it doesn’t work as advertised in my opinion and since the time that I received this product to review, I have waited 8 months for FlightSimTools to fix it. They requested I wait for a patch, in the mean time they have been releasing new products, 2 patches and a key piece of functionality still isn’t there.

If it were just buggy, I could see saying that it might be worth it, but since it won’t convert dawn, dusk, or night time VC textures, I can’t give it a recommendation at all until it's fixed. Until then, I'd say skip this. I wish I could give this a better rating, but my integrity is what is most important to maintain in a review. I do everything I can to remain unbiased in my reviews, and as a reviewer I must point out that they seem to be more focused on releasing new products than fixing a major lack of key functionality.

I do give FlightSimTools credit for releasing 2 patches since the initial release, and they have focused on some of the annoying bugs, but not the worst one in my opinion. I actually got a response back from their support team saying that they can’t promise adding the functionality to convert at night or dawn or dusk (however they said they’d look into it).

I honestly find it ironic that the banner ad featured a Learjet flying into the sunset, when it won’t convert the VC at sunset. Honestly, I hope they fix the issues, but until they do, this receives a big NO GO. Convert by hand, yes it will take longer, but all you pretty much need is the FSX or the FS9 SDK and something like GIMP, both of which you can get online for free.

This product has a lot of potential, but it needs a major fix for the missing functionality and the occasional bug before I could say you should buy it.

 

What I Like About Add-on Converter X

  • It is automated and requires little to no effort to convert aircraft and scenery
  • It allows me to use FS 04 scenery and aircraft in DX10
  • Very simple to use and install

 

What I Don't Like About Add-on Converter X

  • It seems a little expensive for something I could do by hand, on the other hand, it is worth it if you have a lot of stuff to convert
  • You occasionally have to delete the cache folder and reboot to get it to convert…
  • The converter doesn’t seem to convert files in a way which you could use the converter to convert an aircraft and update it on a site like AVSIM with the DX10 compatible textures.
  • It doesn’t convert at night or dawn or dusk in the VC

 

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Add-on Converter X

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The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the product producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment as experienced by the reviewer. This disclaimer is posted here in order to provide you with background information on the reviewer and any presumed connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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