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MartijnPleines

FS9 - My first impressions

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Well, I've been flying in MSFS COF for the better part of a day now. I feel like I can share some of my first impressions.The good:- Visually the sim is excellent - a clear improvement over FS2002. The ground textures have more depth and colour, the sky is finally not that washed out blue but graduated as you look up, the clouds are great (if they are 2D, they sure don't look it) and the new taxiway and runway textures are really nice, you really get a much better sense of speed as you accelerate on your take-off run. - The new weather system is also terrific - also a clear improvement. I didn't have the patience to watch a front build up, but I put a thunderstorm over my home airport and I can say that flying the circuit was definintely interesting and wet. A nice change also, is that you there is no longer the band of clear sky between the clouds and the horizon in the distance. - I am really enjoying some of the default aircraft. The Lear virual cockpit is terrific, and the plane is finally flyable. Landing give you a nice sense of peripheral vision off to your left which really enhances the sense of motion. I also just finished flying the DC-3 from Seattle to Portland and can now understand why one pilot who drove the plane in the late 1930s said "it's a good thing we put a picture of the grand canyon on the vomit bags - that way everyone can say they saw it..." The plane is a blast to fly, and you will be two-hands on the yoke and working the rudder pedals to keep the plane straight and level. - The new turbulence is also a welcome improvement. No longer is it the simple "move the nose to the left three degrees and snap it back..." It is now both more "cinematic" and more persistant. Fly thd DC-3 at 8,000 feet on a hot day just about anywhere. The plane will be all over the sky just like the real one. - The new interactive virual cockpits are also great. I think this is the version where the VC finally comes into its own. I spent almost no time in the 2-d panels on any of the planes I've flown. I like the panning ability in the VC, the up and down, the ability to check instruments with a quick pan to the right. I think people will really have their minds changed about VCs with this release. I sure have and I have about five hours in the sim. - The new detailed airports look great from the air. KDEN looks a lot like it really does if you fly over it heading from Chicago to San Francisco. Up close they are pretty good too, but don't reach the standards of the Fly Tampa scenery I bought for FS2002. - I flew mostly VFR so I can't say much about the new ATC. One good thing is that you can finally contact an airport more than three miles from your position, which is very handy when you want to know what the actives are. This will make approach work a bit easier than in the old sim. - Other than when you are passing through broken and complicated clouds (see "the bad" below), frames are surprisingly fast and very smooth. This sim has a real sense of smoothness and "cinema," especially close to the ground on short final that is really terrific. You really feel it in the Lear. And the folks at MS have improved the landing experience both sound wise and visually - so the "arrival feels much more real. The bad:- MS dropped the ball on multi monitor support. You have to be in windowed mode to undock a window and move it to another monitor. Then you have to switch back to full screen if you like to fly that way (I do). Real pain in the neck, and with my Radeon 9700 pro, the sim really does not like switching between full and windowed mode. Initially, the sim was hanging up on the switch back to full-screen. A re-install cured that, but every time you do it, it's an adventure. Hope there is a work around that works better or a fix in the future. I like putting my com stack and the engine gauges on my second monitor while I fly in VC with the primary flight controls dead center. My favorite cure for the jump seat view so common in MSFS planes. Wasn't this release supposed to offer "enhanced" multi-monitor support?- Radeon 9700 Pro folks will find the violent jerks and flashing images in full screen mode during the initial program loading cycle, the flight loading cycle, every time they hit "alt" and when they switch views in the 2D panels both stomach churning and possibly siezure causing. I'm really surprised at this as the 9700 and 9800 are both very popular cards. I just can't see how this slipped through the net during testing. It is highly annoying. The ugly:- If you want to fly with real weather, into busy airports, and the clouds are fairly close to the ground (I live in Portland OR, so it's like that a lot around here), you will need a 4 to 5 gig machine to run with smooth framerates in the high 20s in those conditions. Approaching PDX, passing through scattered clouds about 3,000 to 5,000 feet above the ground in the default DC-3, I was in single digits. And my rig, while not cutting edge, is no slouch. I shudder to think about flying a complex plane like PMDG's 736 in the same, or worse conditions. You might just see three or four frames per second...Add-on updates:- FS Genesis: Just copy the bgl files from FS2002 scenery/world/scenery file to the FS9 world,scenery file and you are good to go. The newest release of the FS Genesis' FSLandclass installs directly into FS2004 as an option in the installer. Also worked flawlessly. The sim looks wonderful with the FS Genesis mesh. - FSUIPC: Downloaded it, copied the file into modules, fired up the sim and there it was. Registration was easy. - Dreamfleet C310 has an FS2004 installation option and it both installed and flew flawlessly. Great airplane, wonderful VC - can't say enough about how much I'm enjoying flying it. - IK DC-9 installed flawlessly as well, though I have not flown it much. All the gauges are there, the VC shows up though its not clickable, and it flies like it did in the 2002 release. - I could not get Briefing Time to load. Error message about the MAAM B25 gau file that pretty much froze the sim in its tracks. Had to control/alt/delete to exit. - I could not get the Commander C115 to install and load either - also a guage issue and a sound dll that the new sim didn't like. - I got the Falcon 50 to work in 2D mode, but not the virual cockpit. Pilot was in the way, gauges were not working etc. This sim has a lot of promise. Visually its terrific though it really bogs down where you would expect it to. The default planes are a pleasant surprise. The weather and turbulence are a big step forward. It just seems smoother and more real than 2002. My impressions. Colin WareSorry, forgot my system specs:Dell Dimension 8100Upgraded to P4 2.6/400 fsb using Powerleap socket adapter764 mgs RAMBUS memoryRadeon 9700 Pro 128/latest drivers Audigy Gamer sound card

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Colin,After 3 days of FS2004, my experiences are similar to yours.Flying a lot of IFR, I found the ATC to be much improved. It doesn't measure up RC, but it's still pretty good. It's much more flexible (changing altitudes, alternate approaches, etc) . It does a great job of managing traffic with multiple runways and still keeping a good flow. I've flown several flights into busy airports (KLAS, KDFW, KDEN). It does a great job of setting up parallel approaches. I have yet to get the common "go around" that plauged FS2002. The new GPS is a vast improvement. It's easy to learn and contains most of the base functionality. It has a fairly good library of approaches. I've been a loyal FSNAV user since FS98. While I'll use the updated FSNAV as a reference tool/flight planner, I'll most likely use the Garmin GPS for navigation - it seems a litte more authentic than the FSNAV FMC. (IMVHO)You're absolutely right about the default flight models. The Lear can finally be hand flown. I'll probably replace the default panel and continue to use it.I think everyone's mileage will vary with graphics/FPS, but overall it would be very hard to ask for better performance out of the box. My system is slightly faster than yours. I've found a sweet spot with the setup and the only time I see less than a steady 24 FPS was flying the EagleSoft Beechjet 400XP into KLAS with lots of clouds and traffic. The frame rates were definately lower, but it was still very flyable. I think most users will find FS2004 gives them more "bang for their buck" in the visual department than FS2002. For many, the hard part is accepting "very dense" in FS2002 is probably equal to normal (or in many cases less) in FS2004.The ATI issue is disapointing. It's not the first time ATI isn't compatable or had a glitch a new release. Usually updated Catalyst drivers do the trick. I don't anticiapte this will be an issue for more than a few weeks.Overall I am very impressed. Even though I miss some of my favorite FS2002 addons (Ultimate Traffic, 767 PC, FSNAV), I have no desire to go back to FS2002.edP4 2.8 Ghz/800 FSB1 Gig of PC3200 DDRATI Radeon 9500 Pro

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Colin: Thanks for taking the time to give us your impressions of FS2K4; it was concise and well presented - the type of reviews I like to read! Now if I could only advance the calendar to Tuesday...-GeorgeM at 5B6

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Sounds promising guys, thanks. Just hang in there. it won't be long before those payware FS2002 favouris will also fly the COF skys.Erich :-)

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Hi Ed, (edrutl post)Very interesting. I'm sweating out utilizing FSNavigator with the new version and I'm confused with your comment in the second paragraph. You indicate that you are using your "updated FSNAV". Then in the last paragraph you include FSNAV in your list of addons you'll miss.I'd appreciate hearing from you to let me know if it does work and if so, how recently you udated it. I'm using ver 4.51.Thanx, John

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John,Actually I said I'll be using the updated FSNAV as a reference tool. I'm eagerly waiting for the update.The good news is that Helge and the FSNAV team have decoded the new BGL structure and seem confident it will be a quick upgrade. The upgrade will be free for registered users.You can get more info at www.fsnavigator.comBest Regards,Ed

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guess i 'm just lucky but i installed the commander 115c and it flys great in 2004.don

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>John,>>The good news is that Helge and the FSNAV team have decoded>the new BGL structure and seem confident it will be a quick>upgrade. The upgrade will be free for registered users.>This is good news. There is a lot of concern that the upgrade would be a difficult rewrite.

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<<- I could not get Briefing Time to load. Error message about the MAAM B25 gau file that pretty much froze the sim in its tracks. Had to control/alt/delete to exit. >>Best way to install this is to just copy the B-25 folder over from FS2002 and then copy the single gauge for the b25 (maam_B25.gau) over to the gauges directory. This will work fine. The B-25 is a joy in FS2004. You will also need to move the sound.dll file from the modules folder. Then open up your fs9.cfg file Under Documents and SettingsYOUR folder(whatever yours is named)Application DataMicrosoftFS2004 you will find the elusive FS2004.cfg file to which you must add this section.(MODULES) = note square brackets fssound.dll=1Thats it, then fly!regardsTimhttp://www.cambridgeflyingclub.com/images/timavatar2.jpg

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I have tried and tried and tried to get my framerates to drop below 15fps and I cannot.I set up the major thunderstorms theme and the worst that I have seen my fps drop to is 17fps, my system is in my sig. I have most sliders to the right (yes even all the clouds). Will do some screenies later.I guess it really is different from system to system.

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Colin,Thanks for a fine review. Good to see some well-balanced comments. Nice to see that turbulence has been improved, that's a new one to me. I'm still waiting for FS2004 to be released overhere (NL).The Ati situation has me worried, let's hope Ati will fix it in new drivers, although I think Microsoft should have caught this themselves earlier, unless the problem was introduced in the newer Cats.Commander C115:You can download a utility from the FSD website that will move the Commander into FS2004 (and also one for the Cheyenne, the one for the Seneca is on the way)http://www.fsd-international.com/Best,Martijn

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