It's no secret things have been a little slow around here lately. Since starting this blog at the end of June, I've been away for a much needed long vacation and on my return in early August, I found myself inundated with other Flight sim work. From a complete rebuild of my PC for an article to a month that has seen quite a few highly anticipated product releases, I've found little time to fly. And that sucks. So I think its time for a change.
Ok, so change it is. My original idea for this blog was to delve into XPX and learn as much as I could, which I could then tell you guys about. The problem is that all this tinkering is kind of boring. For example, I'm still working on the XPX tuning guide. To do this, I have set everything in the rendering options to minimum. It's not pretty, believe me. With everything set to minimum, I then adjust one item, check the frame rate and move on. This involves a shut down and restart of XPX each time to ensure a clean result. It's slow, tedious work. It's the same tinkering with the weather engine, or looking at any of the other different aspects of the sim. Whist the end result may make a few say 'wow' the truth is, that taken in isolation, these cool features mean nothing. If XPX is going to appeal to a new audience then having me explain how great the weather engine isn't necessarily sell the sim. There's just no sizzle. The best way to Sell XPX is fly.
Off into the Wild Blue Yonder
So with flying now top of the agenda, I've come up with an idea to help showcase XPX to the full. We're taking XPX on a world tour. That's right, it's time to fly around the world. At least that's the plan. Here's how it'll work. Starting on Saturday the 28th of September 2013, I'll be taking off from my home airport and flying counter clockwise around the globe. After all XPX comes with 60+gb of data, the vast majority of which I've never seen. I'll be using real world weather supplied by XPX's weather engine and hoping for a bit of fun along the way. After the flight, I'll type up a trip report complete with route details, weather and a shed load of pictures all help show off XPX. Along the way, I'll be taking in some of the best default, freeware and if funds allow, payware scenery around. This will happen every two weeks.
Journey consists of 63 different flight plans grouped together in just three legs. The first leg takes me from Cardiff to Anchorage. Leg two goes on from Anchorage to the orient and into New Delhi. Leg three is the run from New Delhi into Europe and home. For now I'll publish the Leg one routes below, with more to follow
Leg 1 - Cardiff to Anchorage.
1. Cardiff to Wick
2. Wick to Keflavik
3. Keflavik to Narsarsuaq
4. Narsarsuaq to Schefferville
5. Schefferville to Baie Comeau
6. Baie Comeau to Toronto City Centre
7. Toronto City Centre to Detroit Metro
8. Detroit Metro to Hausmann
9. Hausmann to Eppley airfield
10. Eppley Airfield to Denver Int
11. Denver Int to Salt lake int
12. Salt lake int to Boise
13. Boise to Pearson airfield
14. Pearson airfield to boundary Bay
15. Boundary bay to Bella coola
16. Bella coola to Ketchikan Int
17. Ketchiken Int to skagway
18. Skagway to Beaver creek
19. Beaver creek to Lake hood Strip.
It's going to take me awhile to get to Anchorage but considering this will be over winter, I expect it to be a lot of fun.
The choice of aircraft isn't that obvious, and it won't be from any of XPX's included aircraft. Instead I've narrowed the choice down to just two made by Carenado. It's a straight shootout between the Fun and Freaky looking Cessna C337 or the more refined Cessna C340. Both are twins so I have a contingency should an engine fail over the north Atlantic. Both have pluses. THe C337 has that great high wing making scenic flying a pleasure whist the C340 offers dual GPS and a stormoscope whick could be really handy Mid Atlantic. Either way one of these great aircraft is going to be my new friend.
I mentioned GPS above but that will only be my back up for the trip. Being primarily a tube liner flyer, my nav skills are a little rusty. I can cope with VOR nav but in parts of the world I'm flying to, NDB's are the order of the day. I've never flown with NDB's active so I'll be hitting the books and doing a few training flights to brush up on a skill I should have learned along time ago.
Watch this Space.
So there you have it. It's time to XPX though its paces and see if the Sim is all it's cracked up to be. It'll also test me as I plan to hand fly as much as possible. So stay tuned and see how good XPX can be.