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LAdamson

FSCOF? ...do I need it? My thoughts (long)

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I was very very excited as almost all of us are about the pending release of FSCF. However, after pondering for a while now I am beginning to rethink my stance. I have reviewed the comments from others, seen screenshots, read articles, etc. But I am starting to ask some simple and basic questions that relate to ME and how I utilize FS. I think of the addons I have, no not in terms of compatibility, but more so in terms of what usage they provide. I have come to ask myself this very simple question:'What will MSCF provide me that I don't have already?'here are my thoughts, maybe you can provide you own as you ask yourself the same question.AIRCRAFThistoricI dot fly much anything older than about 1975, just don't get into it. Plus I seem to only fly well received payware or the top few freeware.vcThese are included in most quality payware now and a few of the defaults. Even if they are included in the remaining defaults, no matter. Again since I only fly extremely high quality complete packages.interactive vcI don't know exactly what this mean, neither do any of us non-beta testers. I must assume that this is NOT the ability to adjust, for instance, the altimeter barometric setting while in the vc. It is probably more like clicking a general 'area' and having a sub panel pop up. I would not find this particularly attractive and probably disruptive.qualityThird party items of high quality have consistently proven themselves much much better than the defaults - as it should be.gpsThis appears like it is a nice item. But again, this is available now in both freeware and payware with, I am sure (according to the MS descriptions) of much greater depth and detail. I should note that there has been no mention of FMS units in the larger aircraft.WEATHERclouds 2d vs 3dThis is don't get. With the use of the great freeware cloud manipulation programs and their associated bit maps, we currently have fantastic clouds. Now, I understand about the 2D issue, but honestly I don't know exactly how one sees this 'paper thin' aspect? I don't think I have experienced much of it while in the cockpit. I do appreciate the new clouds in terms of the Thunderstorm heads that should be possible with vertical components and other cloud types. But, we know this will be also be a frame rate issue of large proportions (via Tom A.). dynamic movementGreat, but again let me remind you that there is currently freeware items that simulate frontal systems passage and other aspects of wx. I suspect that one may be able to see an approaching systems in the distance and this could be great. Lets see where it goes in terms of frame rate hits and usability.real timeNo such thing actually (unless your standing outside). Lets get this straight, all FS wx comes from METARS - these are normally updated once every 60 minutes. In FS (utilizing its real weather function), wx MAY change from metar station to metar station. This is currently available in FS, no news on this front. Now - there is absolutely NO way, and I mean NO way that FS or any add-on will be able to do a wx analysis utilizing metar information to predict movement or other wx dynamics in the near future.turbulence/gustingMS has made no mention of this and I am sure that this will remain untouched. Too bad, as the current implementation is wholly lacking. In fact, it has required FSUIPC to actually try to manipulate this aspect of the sim to represent something even close to reality. At some point MS will realize that the effect is totally dependent on the mass of the aircraft you are in. It seems like and easy fix to me but has been an issue since, well... it was first introduced. This is why in the real world aircraft type is required to be transmitted during a pirep and again during notification.wind shearAnother great wx effect that you will experience in real life EVERY time you fly and the wind is above 5 knots. Again, since there has been no statement about its implementation in FSCF (while others have been explained), it is reasonable to assume it has, again been left out.wx preset scenariosNice idea but don't we have this now? or least something very similar? Set up your flight with heavy rains, thunderstorm clouds and minimum visibility - save your flight as 'Thunderstorm' and voila! Think about this for a minute - is this a critical, needed or even wanted item?ATCThis should be a great boon to those who utilize default ATC. Me, I have Radar Contact which currently provides all the 'new' items plus much much more. If you really look forward to this improvement, you have been wasting time while a better alternative has been in place for months. SCENERYmeshI have not seen any statement for MS indicating this has been improved. Again, think of the mass of freeware and payware components currently available.taxiwaysAgain, no statement from MS. I have read about the taxiway signs - but to what extent? We have to assume that these are at least at the 'improved high res' airports but what about the remaining? I am sure we have all heard of the freeware signage available. This aspect could be a very good thing, I am very much looking to hear more after release.texturesYes, this has been addressed, to what extent no one knows (possibly not even the beta folks). Please, don't try to judge this from the screen shots, you cant tell anything. It will require a side by side comparison of a before and after shot consisting of many many photos.airport qualityNo statement again. Autogen has been 'improved' - what does that mean? anyone? It most likely refers to more objects. All that means to me is that I will have to adjust my slider down even a bit more as I currently don't run with a 'full' setting anyway.airport quantityYes they have added some more. Will this effect us? not really unless your home airport is not in FS2k2. Maybe at last I can find that 1000' dirt strip in Mongolia that my cousins friend's sister read about when she was in elementary school. Let me say this, I have never NOT found an airport I was looking for.PROGRAMspeedFair to assume that this new release will require more horsepower - yes! Is it fair to have new releases require more horsepower - yes! Should I sacrifice well tweaked FPS to gain the few new items? - I will let you know.user interfaceNo change here except for the few new items introduced and that's OK

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Very well thought out and written! However, I would withold final judgement until the program's actually released. My opinion is the marginal price of $54.99 is worth the added features for me. As I've said before, it's going to get harder and harder to improve upon MSFS as technology and the basic program increases. There'll likely be a day (in the not to distant future) that MSFS will become so advanced another new version won't be necessary for 90% of the population.

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>interactive vc>I don't know exactly what this mean, neither do any of us>non-beta testers. I must assume that this is NOT the ability>to adjust, for instance, the altimeter barometric setting>while in the vc. It is probably more like clicking a general>'area' and having a sub panel pop up. I would not find this>particularly attractive and probably disruptive.>And why would you assume, it's NOT the ability to adjust altimeters, etc. From my understanding, "interactive" does mean you can do this.L.Adamson

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Hi,-I found the total weather engine in fs2002 very limited no matter whats add-ons you have and still many limited capacity in fs2002 with many non fixable bugs and limited two type clouds and can't get real weather situation.-I found the x, y,z rendering on clouds is non acceptable.-I Found the sky color in fs2002 non realistic.-I Found the snow and rain non acceptable in fs2002-I Found the fs2002 weather capability very limitedOnly these 2 feature, I will buy COF, weather/environement is essential and VERY important to a sim to be implemented that's Msfs 2000 and 2002 never had no matter what's addons you have.-I found the most complain and never fixed in fs2000/fs2002 was the overall Weather capability and rendering.You can paid up to 1000$ of 3rd party add-on, and still never had the real wanted feature from simmers.I always found the latest 3rd party-addon from the latest Msfs released are always better than the previous version because of the new capability not available in previous version. And I found all commercial add-ons follow the latest version released, and freeware bombarde 3rd party addons files to the latest version.ThanksChris Willis[link:fsw.simflight.com/FSWMenuFsSim.html]Clouds And Addons For MsFs

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I am always surprised how people resond to each release of FS considering it is same cost as a couple Simflyers airports or a couple of the latest addon aircraft. IMHO you get far more from each new FS than you do from a few addon aircraft yet people aggonize over this decision and make it so imcredibly complicated. Considering how much time and money many of us have invested in in addons, hardware, etc, the jump to each version is not even a question in my mind. Even subtle changes make a huge difference in my flight sim experience and the price is fairly nominal considering. Just seems many do not put the whole thing into perspective. Brew

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Do I need it? Nope Do I want it? You bet!This is, after all, a hobby.

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We will see more posts like this as the COF release date nears. Almost identical posts. It will be a standard fare on this forum. People beating on their chests declaring they don't need new version. But as life shows 99% of them will be first in line to upgrade since in majority of cases the new software (unless a complete flop) does offer some key improvements that everyone wants sooner or later.So what's new ? yawn ....Michael J.

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"We will see more posts like this as the COF release date nears. Almost identical posts. It will be a standard fare on this forum. People beating on their chests declaring they don't need new version. But as life shows 99% of them will be first in line to upgrade since in majority of cases the new software (unless a complete flop) does offer some key improvements that everyone wants sooner or later.So what's new ? yawn ...."Boy Michael--lately you've been positioning yourself as an antagonist in almost every thread. If it's red, you say it's white. If it's white, you say it's red. In this case, your remark is way out of line. Why does someone like you have to butt into every discussion with snide comments like this? I think the thread has interesting points, and if anything, the author seemed to be playing devil's advocate. And you are quite right maybe he'll most likely be first in line to upgrade. Still, it'd be nice to have a discussion without someone being the target of such comments, as you've shown a penchant for making lately. The sim, and the hobby, is not molded in your image alone....

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"....was very very excited as almost all of us are about the pending release of FSCF....."Good food for thought Mike...For what it's worth, I had the same feelings about FS2002--did I really need it. It was the feature set not mentioned in the reviews that sold me on it. Lakes that didn't appear out of thin air. Great shadowing around dawn/dusk, nice for the type of Bush flying I do. The ability to update landclass to your own tastes. Granted, we had to dig to get this feature, but what a feature it is.Even if 2k4 runs poorly on my system, I'll probably get it for those features which surface after the dust settles. Don't know what they are yet, but that is part of the joy of waiting before I pass judgement. Hearing people (well, some people) share the excitement of this hobby on the forums is what it's all about...-John

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99% of those who boast they will not get CoF (FS2004) will. As it was well stated already, this is our hobby and Microsoft is square in the middle of it, of COURSE we ALL will get FS2004, pocketbooks allowing of course. My interests are in ATC and ATC AI, having intelligent traffic sequencing. I have no interest in old airplanes, actually in no aircraft MS makes, only that they facilitate good add-ons. I also use Radar Contact, but in my mind it is not sufficient. It does not interact with FS2002 aircraft at all really, it only is one's "personal" ATC, which is of limited capacity. I enjoy it when I am a part of the air traffic, not separate from it. In recent weeks I've grown weary of the faux-environment provided by Radar Contact and gone back to native FS2002 ATC even as limited as it is. But as usual, we'll just all see what CoF brings, will we not!!!Randy Jura, KPDX

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Hi,Just a few of my thoughts about some of your points. Just to give an other perspective, I'm not saying you're right or wrong. To each his own.1. Flying historic aircraftI used to think flying jetliners was a lot of fun. Since I bought Briefing Time (no FMC or autopilot whatsoever), I'm beginning to find modern aviation somewhat boring.2. VC'sOnce you've tried them with stereo glasses and TrackIR, it's a whole new (and very immersive) world3. Interactive vcIf A320 PIC (which has the first ever interactive VC - every knob and lever is operated from the VC) is anything to go by: interactive VC's bring reality one step closer once again. There's still a lot of room for improvement, but it already feels much more immersive than the classic 2D/3D combination.4. WeatherI have FS Skyworld, FS Meteo and ActiveSky, and while they do a great job overcoming the limitations of FS2002, weather modeling is still very limited. Fronts? Never really saw them. Instead I see clouds only in the immediate vicinity, suddenly popping in and out of view. When flying up to a cloud, it slides away like a curtain. I've flown through Fly! clouds, and that's a whole different world. After all, clouds and the weather are the environment we live in, it's THE most important element of real world representation for a flight sim, more important even than airports and scenery. I would buy FSCOF for the weather improvements alone.5. ATCI bought Radar Contact, but quicky got irritated by the robot-like staccato voices. FSCOF ATC promises to have most of the functionality of RC, but more versatile (certainly when editable with EditVoicePack) and more naturally sounding than RC.You might have good arguments for not wanting to upgrade when you have a rather low-end system. But if your system is up to date, I see no reason whatsoever for not buying FSCOF.Paul

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>Do I need it? Nope Do I want it? You bet!ROFL!

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>WEATHER>clouds 2d vs 3d>This is don't get. With the use of the great freeware cloud>manipulation programs and their associated bit maps, we>currently have fantastic clouds. Now, I understand about the>2D issue, but honestly I don't know exactly how one sees this>'paper thin' aspect? I don't think I have experienced much of>it while in the cockpit. I do appreciate the new clouds in>terms of the Thunderstorm heads that should be possible with>vertical components and other cloud types. But, we know this>will be also be a frame rate issue of large proportions (via>Tom A.). Hi. The limitation of the FS 2002 cloud system was one of the main drawbacks of the program for me: You point your plane at some cumulus clouds, and just as you're about to reach them they part and one swivels over the top of the cockpit, and two others swing around the sides of the plane and suddenly there are no more clouds in front of you. True, if you stay well away from the clouds and they exist primarily as a backdrop for your flying in FS 2002 they probably work well enough for you, but for those of us who like to fly through them the mechanism was very flawed (it's understood that it had to be flawed due to the limitations of the hardware, but still, it was flawed).>wx preset scenarios>Nice idea but don't we have this now? or least something very>similar? Set up your flight with heavy rains, thunderstorm>clouds and minimum visibility - save your flight as>'Thunderstorm' and voila! Think about this for a minute - is>this a critical, needed or even wanted item?I definitely want the scenarios feature; I even suggested it in one of those "What do you want in 2004" threads. I got tired of specifying all the different cloud layers and thicknesses, and wished the program had something easier to use to set up the atmospheric conditions. And I hope they expand on it for 2006, incorporating "Fair Weather Cumulus" for example.On the other notion in this thread that FS might ever reach a point where future editions are not necessary, I would certainly doubt that and hope not. For me the real progress towards a realistic world of aviation didn't even start until FS 2002. What looks like it will be a first step towards a realistic atmosphere is set to debut this summer, and it's likely to be a good first step requiring lots of additions and refinements in the next couple of versions of the product, just as ATC and AI have needed since 2002. I have little doubt that with some ingenuity and better graphics and artwork FS can be made very realistic over the next ten to twenty years. For me--especially when I see a product such as LOMAC--the fun is really just getting started. I think simulation has no end of benefits and possibilities, and that the desktop versions are just starting a steep climb in the growth of their potential, with an end nowhere near in sight.

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Hi, "wished the program had something easier to use to set up the atmospheric conditions. And I hope they expand on it for 2006, incorporating "Fair Weather Cumulus" for example."It have already been said, This called weather themes.." For me--especially when I see a product such as LOMAC"When I saw it for the fisrt time, I was impressed, but more and more, Lomac looks good and less impressed, you will find "normal" feature in lomac also. I founnd some thing inside I don't like it, I have saw sreenshots, there is some good and "deja vue", on some month shots and ground texture, the resolution of the mesh is basic "triangle type". I am affraid, I am not impressed by the repetition of the texture and color, "they look basic" and I if you look closely you will find almost on all shot the blur on texture at far and even not far. Because of the limited area, I will not be surprise at all if you will see many repetitive ground texture, from all shots I have seen, I did not see major difference on ground texture, I am not expecting the same impact like IL2 sturmovic at the time.-What's I like is the water + 3d model object Repetitive green/white Texture and blur_www.lo-mac.com/screens.php?id=1055__www.lo-mac.com/screens.php?id=275__www.lo-mac.com/screens.php?id=1053__www.lo-mac.com/screens.php?id=1926__www.lo-mac.com/screens.php?id=404_In my concern, I am really looking for the weather engine in fs2004 with dynamic sky system/weather, the amount of clouds formation and clouds that's form and dissipate.ThanksChris Willis[link:fsw.simflight.com/FSWMenuFsSim.html]Clouds And Addons For MsFs

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Well, my own thoughts on this are that I *shouldn't* have to rush right out and buy a brand new cpu, video card, hard drive and more memory just to play a game that has possibly made some middling improvements from the last version, probably broke a few more things, and probably didn't fix anything, and will probably be frustrating for the first 6 months to a year it is out before 3rd-party fixes appear for MS-induced bugs.I would argue that MS (or *any* company that produces a product for sale) shouldn't be allowed to produce a product with known problems, ignore those problems, and then introduce a newer version for pay without fixing those problems.Think about it - would it be ok if Ford or Honda didn't issue TSBs or recall notices on the 2003 model with a known defect that allows the brake pedal to snap off? How about a toy company whose toys contain carcinogens? A company that sells meat products tainted with e. coli?Make no mistake - when a software company's product has a *bug* - it is really a *defect*. The list of problems that FS2002 fixed is small in comparison to the ones it added. Notice I didn't say *features* - I said problems. Sure, FS2002 has ATC, GMAX rendering and more airplanes than before. How about the fact that the time zones don't work right when they did on previous versions? How about the fact that there are navaids that are missing (not the ones that were fixed from previous versions, but new ones)? How about the fact that the reverser lights on the default 737-400 don't work when they did on previous versions? How about the fact that the ILSs are wrong at more than a few airports? How about the fact that even if the ILS is correct, the autopilot doesn't work as well to capture localizer and glideslope than in previous versions?While the visuals on FS2004 look good, they *don't* look any better than FS2002. What haven't they fixed? What *new* problems did they introduce that weren't problems in previous versions.All I am saying is that if a software developer introduces a new version of their product, it had better be an all-around improvement over previous versions.I have to say that until about November, I was still using FS98 before I got FS2002. I totally skipped FS2000. I didn't *agonize* over the decision, I simply waited until the product was mature (i.e. waited until third-party fixes to appear for MS bugs that should've been fixed but weren't). I suppose I'll do the same for FS2004 (or even skip it altogether).

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