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CanadaOne

Environmental upgrade needed

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Howdy,My stable of planes is nice and full, and I have the FZ01 and FZ02 sceneries along with some good freeware scenery, now I'm looking for an environmental upgrade. In short, I want more eye-candy.Is ActiveSky 6 the way to go? Is the difference very noticeable? This is one area of the add-on market I know very little about.Also, what about mass-coverage scenery packages? I have the MegaScenery PNW, it's nice but is there something that gives a general improvement across the board, something that tightens up the code and makes the whole sim look better? Anything like that out there? I've got the horsepower and a bit of cash, I want to bring FS9 to it's eye-candy max.Thanks.

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AS6.5 is essential for FS as far as I am concerned. The difference is like night and day.Other essentials for your eye-candy pleasure:Ultimate Terrain - USA, Canada, EuropeGround EnvironmentFlight EnvironmentAll available from Flight1.comRegards,Glenn

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Thanks for the response. I'm looking at all the products you mentioned.A question, if I may. You're suggesting Active Sky and Flight environment together, one layered on top of the other? Also, are you suggesting the same with Ground Environment and Ultimate terrain? Do you know how these will mesh with the FZ01 and FZ02 sceneries?If I can only afford one program for a better looking sky, would you suggest Active Sky or Flight Environment?Thanks again.**I've been reading the reviews and Ground Environment looks very good. Also, it appears that Flight Environment is for the eye candy crowd and ActiveSky more for the hardcore crowd. Is this accurate?

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I'm one of the many people who use ActiveSky and Flight Environment together.If you have both, you can use ActiveSky's weather engine to generate the weather, but use Flight Environment's graphics to display it.Unbeatable combo IMHO.GG

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Sounds good. Expensive, but good.I was just looking at the Ground Environment Pro package. It's mighty expensive at $50, but what price fun, eh? I might be able to get the Ground and Flight Environment and maybe ActiveSky later. I have a few bucks, but this could get out of hand pretty quick. All I know is I want the best possible representation of flight I can afford. (If my wife ever finds out, I'm doomed... )

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Exactly,But if you are looking to save a bit of money, AS comes with ActiveSky Graphics which is very similar to FE anyway. I just prefer the FE graphics (plus it has much improved water textures and effects)Ultimate Terrain and GE do two different things.UT provides accurate coastline and water 'data'. Think of this as the canvas.GE provides more realistic textures. Think of this as the oil paintOne thing which I did forget, which I also think is essential (especially with UT) is FSGenesis terrain mesh. This adds the correct topography to the FS world.Hope this helps,Glenn

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I dont have GE Pro.I bought it when it first came out before the pro version was available.You can still buy it now as GE2006If you like it, you can always upgrade to Pro later for $20 via a Flight 1 coupon.Glenn

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It does, thank you.I think I'm going to get the Ground Environment Pro. I want that oil painting you speak of. UT will have to wait.I'm still undecided between AS and FE. I'll keep reading the reviews. FE is a good deal less expensive so maybe I'll get it first. Just GE and FE is going to put me back a chunk o' change.I'll check out the FSGenesis terrain mesh as well. I've heard a lot about it but never really looked into it.Guess if I get the GE & FE programs this aft, I'm better off doing a whole new install.Thanks for the info. @-@

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I would get AS6.5 over FE if I had to choose.AS 'generates' real world weather downloaded from servers. It comes with it's own texture program (sky, clouds, sun etc) called ActiveSky Graphics.FE does not 'generate' any weather, it only replaces textures.So in this regard, AS gives more bang for the buck.Glenn

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If someone told me I could only keep one of my addon's, it would, without the SLIGHTEST doubt, be Activesky. I don't believe you can quantify the change it makes to FS. Whenever I load up FS, my excitment is mainly to see what beautiful skyscapes Activesky is going to present me with!Of course its important to have the right settings! But its easy to find instructions for the best setup in Activesky options on the forums here!Get it, you won't be disappointed!Regards,Al.

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I also forgot to mention that UT comes with accurate road data and accurate urban landclass, meanining that towns and cities are where they are supposed to be as in the real world. The 3D night lights are fantastic also.So all in all, these are my 'must haves' for FS9:1) Active Sky2) FSGenesis Terrain Mesh3) Ground Environment4) UT Europe5) UT USA6) UT Canada / Alaska7) Flight Environment (if you prefer it to ActiveSky Graphics)And for later (if you like slow and low flying)Tongass FjordsVancouver+

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I DL'd GE and FE. You pay when you install, but I haven't installed either yet. Pretty sure I'll scratch FE and go with AS. When everyone and every review says it's great, well, it probably is. Few products I've seen have received such overwhelming support as AS has.Just killed my FS9 installation. It was at 9Gigs. Going to do a nice clean re-install just with the good stuff all packed together after a good defrag.Once the install dance is all done, should be some good flying tonight. :-kewl

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There is some freeware mesh from FSGenesis here in the library. You should try it out and see if you like it. It covers all of USA and some of Canada at 38m resolution. (default FS is ~750m)Search by author for 'Justin Tyme'It's old now and has no support, but if you like it you can buy the latest version from the FSGenesis website.Glenn

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Hey Can1! I just did what you're looking to do. I already have FZ01 and 2, plus UT_Can/Alaska, and ASv6.First I purchased Justin's NA Mesh:- North America FS2004 Terrain 2 DVD Set - Code:DVD-NAthen: (after I rcv'd and installed the mesh):- US National Landclass Project - Code:LCUS.This was followed by d/l'ing and installing:- UT USA from Flight1 + plus the FZ02 patch and the FSG "sandwich" patch. I also discovered a new site, which seems to cover all patch issues with UT:- http://scenerysolutions.com/Compatibility/. . . and then d/l'ing and installing:- Ground Environment Pro - also from Flight1.The full install and configuration takes a few hours, but the results are breath-taking. I had no idea "the States" was so populous!! There's MILLIONS of houses and buildings - and hills! Mountains! Roads!I got my hardware a coupla months ago - for FS ten - and it works, but I need my addons - and they're not there (yet?), so I got right back into 9 with a vengeance. 40-60 fps, I had ASv6 already, so that's anywere, any weather, any traffic, anytime. It's fantastic!Regards,

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Howdy Paul,I ended up getting Ground Environment Pro and Flight Environment. (Bit of a shot in the wallet.) Everyone suggested ActiveSky, and I probably will get it in a month or two, but I read a few reviews about its complicated nature. And me... I'm just not a complicated guy. I wanted some quick Hageen-Dazs for the eyes and FE has it.I've only got about an hour under my belt with my fresh FS9 install with GE Pro and FE, but so far I like what I see. Some of the airport concrete textures are pretty bland looking, a la, FSX, but I love the country textures. And at night, with the better night lighting and sky colours, the rural areas look fantastic! Patience is required with GE Pro at times, as a custom terrain texture, once created, can take twenty minutes to load itself into the GE Pro memory. But once there, it can be installed whenever you want into FS9 very quickly pre-flight.Still lots to discover with GE & FE, but that's part of the fun. Mind you, just had my first CTD when loading up a flight in Montreal. I'll have to see if that persists. Also having some small graphics issues with some flashing textures, but it's not enough to really detract from the flight.Haven't looked into that mesh scene yet. How much of a difference does it make?

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C1,GE doesn't alter any airport concrete textures, thats why it looks bland. It only changes the texture tiles for countryside, farm fields, cities etc. Airports are seperate beings that sit 'ontop' of these base texture tiles.FE on it's own provides some fantastic textures, but I can promise you that those new textures will only really shine with a good weather generator like AS6.5I used to use AS4.5 and thought that it couldn't be that much different to AS6.5.....boy I was wrong!AS4.5 in itself was a siginficant upgrade to the standard FS9 weather engine, but AS6.5 just blows me away!Save some $$ up as soon as you can and get it. I don't know why anybody would find it complicated though...just run it and start FS. Thats all there is to it. You can even leave the options at default if you really want to...Oh and yes, FSGenesis mesh does make a HUGE difference.Anyway, enjoy your new sim experience

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You may want to look at Weather Maker Pro. It is only $8.99 (previously $24.99) and does a much better job with real time weather then the default. You also get several different radar fuctions and use of FSUIPC features that you would not normally have access to without a registered version of that program. I found it to be a great deal for the price.It makes a great combo with Flight Environment textures. This combination gives you lots of the features of Active Sky but it is not nearly as complicated.Check @ www.weather-maker.com or right here at the AVSIM Weathermaker forum.Hope this helps- Blake

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gjharrall,Hey there. I didn't want you to think I ignored your advice. You set me straight on a few things and I do appreciate it. I decided on FE over AS because it was cheaper and less complicated to use. Like I said, I'm a simple guy and I get frustrated quickly when things are too codeified. I'm sure I will get AS, maybe soon, but I am happy with the eye candy I'm getting out of FE.GE Pro is turning out to be very nice. I just had a hop from Heathrow into France and the scenery was top notch. You hit a visual sweet spot at about 5K' and if I keep the FPS locked at 25, the auto-gen pretty much keeps up with me. Unless I'm in my F-104.... Then nothing keeps up with me. :-bigangel GE Pro lets you "paint" the terrain as you see fit. It's trial and error, though easy to use, but you can really get a nice look to things. Match the GE and FE colours and styles and it's a beauty of a ride, no doubt about it. Lots of atmosphere. I'm going to look into the weather-maker mentioned above (thanks) and will certainly get AS. Maybe before Christmas. Depends on how rich I feel. (Probably not very.)

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A question about UT. What happens when it runs alongside GE Pro? Does it simply improve the coastlines, as I read in a post, or does it put another layer of general terrain eye candy goodness on top of the GE Pro and you get the best of both? Having both would seem to be redundant but many people here suggest having both is a good thing.The FSGenesis mesh simply fixes the terrain elevation, is that right? If that is the case, is it worth getting terrain mesh for a flat area? Also, is there a min res that is worth getting?Thanks.

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Correct - FSG fixes the terrain elevation, as you suggest.Minimum res? - depends where you want to fly and what Justin has available for that area.GE Pro will improve the look and feel of the texture around you - in hundreds of different subtle ways - dependent on the number of configurations you choose. You really need to study the product, C1, in order to grasp its concept. FSG's landclass will make an improvement: UT USA will supply and fix all the roads and make an improvement to some of the texture, and GE Pro will "make it real", if I can put it that way. There's some tinkering to do because of small incompatibilities with some other softwares - like FZ01 and 2, but this stuff is all well documented by the two or three sites. Also there's a few pointers like - UT USA's "Enhanced Roads" function will kill the autogen in its immediate vicinity - so you turn that off, for eg. It's a bit of reading and a trail to follow, but it's worth it and it's not that hard. The end result - for me - has revolutionized fs9. again! I thought I'd reached Nirvana after FTampa's Seattle, with Holger's "stuff" - and then came Rhode Island - then came Portland! Now this! It's all good.Regards,

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Great topic for information on some of the more popular payware add-ons. I see most who have replied have some smokin' rigs to run this stuff - anyone car to comment whether my setup might be up to the task with any or all of these? I've been having problems again simply climbing out through heavy cumbulus and was hoping AS6 might help aleviate that issue somewhat, while offering a much better weather engine. What is the FR impact on running all of these add-ons together? Thanks.Regards, KendallDell 8400 3.2 GHZ H.T.800 FSB/2MB L22 GB 533 DDR2X800XT 256MB/Catalyst driver - 6.9's6x Adaptive AA/16x HQ A/FIntegrated SoundDual Monitor: Dell 2405/1905CH Yoke/Pedals

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Hey Kendall,Just FYI, my AMD64-3000/2GigRam/7800GS runs GE Pro and FE at 1280x1024 with all sliders maxed, including traffic, in a Shockwave P-51 at a solid 25FPS, which is where I have it locked so the auto-gen will keep up with my flight. Looks great.With the Portland FZ02 scenery + GE Pro + FE + custom plane, all sliders maxed, it drops a few FPS, but still a great flight.I read that intergrated sound cards might not handle some of the add-ons very well (I know I read it, but can't remember where right now). Good sound cards are pretty cheap these days, might be worth looking into.

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One of the best addons I think I've got is "Diskeeper". I did a full defrag as part of pc optimization just after getting FSX, and found it made a huge difference. It runs in the background, automatically defragging.I think you might be able to up your proc to a 3.6 gig unit (or overclock it, I don't know how it is to overclock). The 800XT is also a good card, but it might be a little "pushed" in running two monitors. This can be overclocked a bit, too.Other than that, it's a pretty good machine. I had ASv6, UT Canada/Alaska, Flight Environment, both FZ01 &2, all FlyTampa, running on a similar (but homebuilt w X1600XT card) machine to yours, and it was quite adequate: you certainly can't run 100% traffic and expect good fps around KSEA, and you may not have Dawn/Dusk blending on, or Extendad Terrain Textures on, and some of the other sliders will be down a hair, - but traffic is really the only big stopper. ASv6 should work ok, too, but it does create better clouds, better overcast, etc., and the tendency is to use them! The difference with the high-end machines is the incredible jump with FS9. Frames are wherever you want to set them, and just to be clear - I NEED my addons for FS Ten; so until they're created or updated, then I'll still do most of my flying with 9. I didn't expect this bonus.

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