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John F

Another holiday sale...this time at FFS

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While checking the Flight Factory Simulation site yesterday, I noticed that their Saab 340 is being sold at a reduced price until January 1. I've been considering this plane (though it doesn't look as accurately modeled as Erick's Embraer EMB-120). Maybe now I'll buy.John

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I took advantage of the sale and bought it. I regret buying this and will be deleting it shortly from my harddrive. Where do I even begin?1) The original sounds seem to be default King Air sounds. You'll want to replace them with a freeware sound package. Just so make sure you understand: you have to replace the stuff you PAID for with FREEware. 2) 2d panel graphics are abysmal. The panel has zero atmosphere and sublety. Looks like something out of FS2000.3) Ditto for the virtual cockpit. Completely substandard. You never get the sense of actually being in a cockpit (say, compared to Flight 1's ATR).4) Maneuvering around the different panels is a pain in the rear. It's exactly like the avsim review says: clunky and completely unintuitive. 5) You can barely read the lettering on the panels, especially the autopilot mode panel. You'll have to "mouse them over" to actually see what they are.6) You'll tear your hair out in frustration trying to follow the tutorial flight to get this plane going. (again, the avsim review is right on the money with this).7) No ear candy such as pnf callouts. 8) At this price point, I would expect a repaint manager. You have to manually edit each entry in the aircraft's cfg.9) The included poh is quite thorough, but fails to thoroughly explain crucial system parts. 10) For reasons only known to the developers, you can't simultaneously select a virtual cockpit and a virtual cabin. 11) Loading of textures in the virtual cockpit takes a very long time. Frequently, the textures won't load at all, or you'll see your ground textures disappearing while the vc textures load. Other simmers have reported this also (both ati and nvidia users). I suspect there is a memory leak somewhere. 11) Promises have been made to fix some of the issues mentioned, but I haven't seen any evidence of substantial progress.My feelings about this aircraft are well summarized by this quote from avsim's review:"I have to say that I was disappointed with the FFS Saab 340...this aircraft just doesn't match up to its peers."Keep in mind also that, without the currently being offered discount, this plane is about in the same price range as Flight 1's ATR.ricardo

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I'm also disappointed in the FFS Saab 340. I have a few hours in the jumpseat of the real aircraft, so I was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, my ATI 9800 Pro video card does not seem to agree with the virtual cockpit, and my frame rates are in the single digits (Note that I can fly the Aeroworx B200 in VC with good fps).I can only fly this one in 2d, which is awkward, because I need to access various windows just to make simple adjustments on the autopilot. The IFR 2d panel fills most of the screen. The VFR 2d panel gives a larger view, but you can't raise or lower the seat from this view. Some of the data is in really small text (like the course on the HSI). You can increase the size of the HSI, but then need to go to one of the console windows to change course.On the plus side, there are lots of liveries and the sutopilot has a climb mode which holds the correct IAS and adjusts rate of climb very smoothly. The flight model seems accurate enough. There's promise of an update, but no progress reports from FFS. At this point, I wish I would have bought the ATR.Dale

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Ricardo, Dale,After struggling with the VC textures for months, and nothing but promises from FFS, I decided to tackle the problem myself.Now this is not the ideal way to do it, but it does work.Ricardo, I agree 100% with your assessment. Complete lack of support which has resulted in fixes such as mine as well as much improved sounds from another user with absolutely no comment in the forums from FFS, and no fixes posted on the FFS site.Here's the VC fix.http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...sg_id=592&page=

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Ricardo/Dale,Having flown the SAAB340 for a while, I can only say that you should try and persevere with it for a while - I've grown to love this airplane,and the system modelling and flight model(not the eye candy, I have to admit) is brilliant, and better than the Flight One ATR IMO. It flies really well out of the VC, although frame rates are not at all fantastic. But it did take me a few hours of flying to get the hang of navigating round the VC, and the manual made it a frustrating experience. I am "checked out" on this aircraft now though.Yes, you do need to download SAABMiller's really outstanding sound package for the SAAB, as the one supplied doesn't cut the mustard - not even close IMO.And...FFS support is extremely poor - John's VC texture fix has been brilliant for me, and together with Benny's (SAABMiller) sound package, this is now my favourite add-on aircraft in FS9, by a mile - I prefer it to my Flight One ATR, which after substantial flight time on the SAAB, isn't as realistic to fly. But all this is subjective, isn't it? And without the likes of Benny and John, this add-on would be somewhat disappointing - and they are really doing FFS' job for them...FFS should at least come out and give them a big "thank you" for all the work they've done for 340 owners.

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John,Thanks for the tip, I know this helped a lot of folks. Unfortunately, it didn't help my frame rate problems. What's weird, is that when I first load the 340B VC model, it comes up with the 2d panel with fps of 21.5 avg at KDAY. The problem starts when I switch to VC view - fps drops to 12.4. Once airborne, fps rises to 15.3 avg. When I switch back to 2d view, the fps actually drops to 8.4 to 9! Remember, this is over Dayton, Ohio, not exactly the scenery capital of the VC world.If I load the 2d only model, fps stays at 21-22. Since my tolerance for low frame rates is 15 or so, the 2d only model is my only choice. I could reduce my settings and perhaps find a way of getting the vc rates to an acceptable level, but all my other aircraft have good frame rates with my current settings, so it's easier to just park the Saab and fly something else.BTW, an excellent alternative to the Saab is Rick Piper's HS748. The cockpit is a bit old fashioned, but has a very good VC and an excellent flight model. Best of all, it's freeware!Dale

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