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FS 2004 to buy or to wait

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I have been anxiously waiting for 2004 just like everyone else, the reason I don't yet have it is that it's not available in my area. However, I have been reading lots and lots of posts here, and I'm begining to get the feeling I shouldn't be in too much of a hurry. All I read about are problems after problems. Of course it could be that those that are really happy with their installations are not posting. Wish there was some sort of a Yea / Nay poll to guide those who have'nt bought yet. Sure would be nice to hear from Microsoft.(Yes, I also believe in Santa Claus).

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I have FS2004, and after installing it and playing it I can honestly say that I find myself flying with FS2002 more.I like the cloud effects and the lighting effects (Dawn, Dusk, etc..) and some of the new ground textures but overall I'm just not to impressed.:(

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A few "improvements":A new weather system with different cloud formations modelledSubtle sky, lighting, and water effects-new lightening, rain, and visible in vc'sProfessional flight trainerImproved flight models and turbulenceTaxiway signs at all airportssmarter ai traffic/labellingpre made weather scenerios and ability to download automatically live weather every 15 minuteskneeboard that records atc during flightBetter ATC with every approach-precision and non precision for every airport in the world with vectors or do it on your ownBetter road and river flattening codingBumpmapped waterMore dynamic sceneryMore static modelsBetter modelled airportsClickable VCsNew gps alla garmin 530Twice the density of Autogen-new buildings customized to geographic areaNewly added autogen models, hydro, road signs, power plants etcUpdated ground texturesImproved and comprehensive flight lessonsYeah-not much difference at all-NOT!http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/Geofdog2.jpg

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>A few "improvements":>A new weather system with different cloud formations modelled>Subtle sky, lighting, and water effects-new lightening, rain,>and visible in vc's>Professional flight trainer>Improved flight models and turbulence>Taxiway signs at all airports>smarter ai traffic/labelling>pre made weather scenerios and ability to download>automatically live weather every 15 minutes>kneeboard that records atc during flight>Better ATC with every approach-precision and non precision for>every airport in the world with vectors or do it on your own>Better road and river flattening coding>Bumpmapped water>More dynamic scenery>More static models>Better modelled airports>Clickable VCs>New gps alla garmin 530>Twice the density of Autogen-new buildings customized to>geographic area>Newly added autogen models, hydro, road signs, power plants>etc>Updated ground textures>Improved and comprehensive flight lessons>>Yeah-not much difference at all-NOT!>>http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/Geofdog2.jpgAnd yet I am still not to impressed.I would be more impressed if you could actually use all that stuff above without having to buy a ........oh wait, there isn't a computer fast enough to use all this stuff with acceptable frame rates. By acceptable I mean mid to high 20's at least.....none of that , "I find 15FPS completely flyable" nonsense. Just to break it down:>A new weather system with different cloud formations modelled>Subtle sky, lighting, and water effects-new lightening, rain,>and visible in vc'sGreat......but at how many FPS..not many on my machine!......>Professional flight trainerNever used it. Had flying lessons a while back and have owned FS2002 for a long time. A new Traning program? Not much use to veteren flight simmers...or real pilots.......>Improved flight models and turbulenceThese are better then FS2002 but most of my add-ons have issues and since I use those most..............>Taxiway signs at all airportsAvaialble as freeware for FS2002 (for airports that actually need them. LOL). Already had these........>smarter ai traffic/labellingNot really. I still get over-taken on final by AI traffic........>pre made weather scenerios and ability to downloadHow hard is it to make your own? lol.......>automatically live weather every 15 minutesGreat, if your computer can run the weather your downloading and still get acceptable performance. Other then that it is more like, "downloading lower FPS". lol.......>kneeboard that records atc during flightHaven't used it. Can't comment........>Better ATC with every approach-precision and non precision for>every airport in the world with vectors or do it on your ownTrue. ATC is a lot better........>Better road and river flattening codingBetter flattening coding but they look like *insert colorful metaphor here*. River edges are not anti-aliased, neither are roads IIRC..........>Bumpmapped waterLooks cool. Taht's pretty much it. I **think** there was a freeware version for FS2002 that looked very similar but was actually a realistic color.........>More dynamic sceneryLooks good, but nothing that couldn't have been done by a freeware scenery author..........>More static modelsTrue. Unfortuantely I never really paid much attention to it before unless I'm taking screenshots.........>Clickable VCsThese are pretty good. makes it more realistic, especially if you like VCs like me :9........>Better modelled airportsTrue. But still nothing that can't be re-produced (or hasn't already been re-produced) by freeweare scenery authors for FS2002.........>New gps alla garmin 530The new GPS is a LOT BETTER then that old POS we used to have in FS2002. lol.........>Twice the density of Autogen-new buildings customized to>geographic areaYep! and 2x lower FPS! weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! :-lol.......>Newly added autogen models, hydro, road signs, power plantsLooks good but not to noticable once you start flying....unless your fly down roads at 25 feet. lol........>Updated ground texturesI do like these. But they seem to be kind of low res. in some areas. They have already trashed the game performance wise with the weather, why not put one more nail in the coffin and put in high res. ground texture/scenery mesh?........>Improved and comprehensive flight lessonsLike above, I have never really used them before. Have enough experience in flying sims to know that "pushing forward doesn't make you go up"..........FS2004 is surely an improvement in many areas....but at what cost? What good is 200% more scenery objects if taxing around looks like a slideshow? Some say, "you just have to tweak your settings" which roughly breaks down to knowing which graphics advancements you can turn down and still be happy with the game. IMO, having to turn down a bunch of graphics settings to produce acceptable performance completely contradicts the point of having the "advancements" in the first place.If it is a driver issue, great! But it seems more like a, "lets sell this...it'll keep them upgrading for the next few years...".FS2004 looks great and I have a lot of fun with it (had a lot more fun with it when I got it a few days ago...now not as much since the newness is waring off and the *issues" are rearing thier ugly heads)....but the annoying parts equal, and in many times, out number the good parts (now nayways) :(But if you want, go ahead and get it, you may love it! :) The above is just my current opinion. ;)P.S. The above is just MY OPINION. So if anyone wants to flame me for my comments, think of that first. :-lol

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>FS2004 is surely an improvement in many areas....but at what>cost? What good is 200% more scenery objects if taxing around>looks like a slideshow? Some say, "you just have to tweak your>settings" which roughly breaks down to knowing which graphics>advancements you can turn down and still be happy with the>game. IMO, having to turn down a bunch of graphics settings to>produce acceptable performance completely contradicts the>point of having the "advancements" in the first place.>I must know what to set them at.............Actually I do, since I've had renditions of this sim for a long time; but never the less, the performance of FS2004 usually always exceeds the performance of FS2002 on my machine, along with better terrain, graphics, and auto-gen. If you read the forums, I'm by far not the only one to experience this phenomenon!If it wasn't the case,----------- I'd simply go back to FS2002, since that's where most of my add-ons reside. As far as very detailed airports are concerned, FS2004 is no different than FS2002. Depending on machine & videocard, you'll probably have to make tradeoffs. At the moment, I have no intentions of up-grading my Athlon 1900XP/Geforce3Ti500 which was purchased for FS2002.L.Adamson

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>The above is just my current opinion. ;)>>P.S. The above is just MY OPINION. So if anyone wants to flame>me for my comments, think of that first. :-lolWell, you know what is said about opinions... :)There's nothing wrong with having an opinion; it's up to the reader to determine whether it is an informed opinion or not.BillAVSIM OmbudsmanFounder and Director,Creative Recycling of Aircraft Partshttp://catholic-hymns.com/frbill/FS2002/images/fartslogo.jpg

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I guess every time a new release comes out we will get these kinds of observations, but it seems to me the poor developers just can't win. On the one hand if too little features are added, no one will bother buying it, but if too many features are added, people complain because their machines can't run it. As far as I am concerned, MS appears to have got it exactly right. There are more than enough adjustments in FS2004 to get the sim to run as well as FS2002. In fact, I have seen far more scability adjustments in FS2004 than I have seen in any PC computer game ever written. For example, you can turn off the 3D clouds in FS2004 and just run 2D clouds. I for one, didn't even expect this sort of flexibility. People can still buy FS2004 now and gradually turn up the features and eye candy as they upgrade over the next couple of years. And if people don't upgrade that's fine as well. When FS2002 came out, people were happy to report 10 fps on what were then state of the art machines with everything maxed out. It doesn't seem any different this time around either - the status quo remains. Try to max everything out on a current rig and of course the sim will cough and chug. But then what happens when you upgrade and triple your machine's horsepower before FS2006 comes out? You'd have power to burn. Then the complaints would start about this feature or that feature not working, not enough eye candy, dumb AI, stupid ATC, adinfinitum. I'd certainly much rather have software that employs incredible scalability so as to work on a huge range of machines instead of software tailored to a very narrow hardware market. Afterall, considering the hardware market doesn't stand still for more than ten seconds, any software written consistent with that sort of philosophy would have a very short shelf life indeed. So the bottom line is if you stick with FS2002, you will have reached the limits of the software long before you would with FS2004.

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I trust those like Geoffa, L.Adamson & Clouds Chris,who have been proved right over many years.Peter Sydney Australia

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http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/Geofdog2.jpg"there isn't a computer fast enough to use all this stuff with acceptable frame rates."Absolutely true-there probably is not a machine today that can run it well with everything maxed out. Same applied to fs2002. Same thing applied to fuIII when it came out. I am not sure what the point is-I do have everything turned up about 90% on my machine, an athlon 2.1 and get as good if not better performance than in fs2002. Since there are tons of additions, graphics, fms, etc. that is quite an accomplishment.If you are getting poorer performance and unable to use real weather-you either need to adjust your sliders or figure out what is wrong with your machine.---------------------------------------------------------------------"Professional flight trainerNever used it. Had flying lessons a while back and have owned FS2002 for a long time. A new Traning program? Not much use to veteren flight simmers...or real pilots."You must be joking-this is aa interface that gives the "instructor"the same power as those used by real flight sims at places like Flight Safety-the ability for the instructor to control weather, system failures, etc. while communicating with the student in real time. Useless-hardly! Just wait till people start discovering this one.---------------------------------------------------------------------"Improved flight models and turbulenceThese are better then FS2002 but most of my add-ons have issues and since I use those most........"True-and they will all have patches very soon-and will fly better--------------------------------------------------------------------"Taxiway signs at all airportsAvaialble as freeware for FS2002 (for airports that actually need them. LOL). Already had these."For airports that actually need them? All airports need them!-------------------------------------------------------------------->smarter ai traffic/labellingNot really. I still get over-taken on final by AI traffic"I do to-in real life. I have even been the over taker.--------------------------------------------------------------------"pre made weather scenerios and ability to downloadHow hard is it to make your own? "About as hard as anything else worthwile. Don't worry-someone else will do the work and have them uploaded for free soon.--------------------------------------------------------------------"automatically live weather every 15 minutesGreat, if your computer can run the weather your downloading and still get acceptable performance. Other then that it is more like, "downloading lower FPS". "Check your sliders and reduce to where you can get descent performance--------------------------------------------------------------------"kneeboard that records atc during flightHaven't used it. Can't comment."There are all kinds of "gems" like this that will appear after you use it a while-----------------------------------------------------------------"Better ATC with every approach-precision and non precision forevery airport in the world with vectors or do it on your ownTrue. ATC is a lot better."and I repeat-every approach precision and no precision in the world. I would have paid a lot for an add in that did this in fs2002...---------------------------------------------------------------"Better road and river flattening codingBetter flattening coding but they look like *insert colorful metaphor here*. River edges are not anti-aliased, neither are roads IIRC."Subjective-I like roads that don't pop out of the scenery better."Bumpmapped water"Looks cool. Taht's pretty much it. I **think** there was a freeware version for FS2002 that looked very similar but was actually a realistic color."I had it-not as good.------------------------------------------------------------------"More dynamic scenery -Looks good, but nothing that couldn't have been done by a freeware scenery author."Except you would have had to download it for every airport and city in the world-------------------------------------------------------------------->More static models.True. Unfortuantely I never really paid much attention to it before unless I'm taking screenshots.Probably because there wasn't as much------------------------------------------------------------------>Clickable VCs. These are pretty good. makes it more realistic, especially if you like VCs like me :9"Yes-fairly revolutionary-and add in aircraft such as mine just automatically "click"-------------------------------------------------------------------->Better modelled airports.True. But still nothing that can't be re-produced (or hasn't already been re-produced) by freeweare scenery authors for FS2002."I don't know about you-but I don't really have time to download every one in the world!-------------------------------------------------------------------"New gps alla garmin 530.The new GPS is a LOT BETTER then that old POS we used to have in FS2002. lol"Yep.-------------------------------------------------------------------"Twice the density of Autogen-new buildings customized to>geographic area>Newly added autogen models, hydro, road signs, power plants"Looks good but not to noticable once you start flying....unless your fly down roads at 25 feet. lol"I run my autogen maxed out-no problems with performance, looks great, and flying in the GA altitudes is noticed very much. It goes much higher than 25 ft.-that is simply not true"Updated ground texturesI do like these. But they seem to be kind of low res. in some areas. They have already trashed the game performance wise with the weather, why not put one more nail in the coffin and put in high res. ground texture/scenery mesh?"I'd check your drivers if they look low res. Then again-if you are maxing your sliders and your machine can't handle it you may be inviting the blurries of fs2002-which by the way-are rarely seen in fs2004------------------------------------------------------------------"Improved and comprehensive flight lessonsLike above, I have never really used them before. Have enough experience in flying sims to know that "pushing forward doesn't make you go up"."I haven't either-but what a wonderful tool for a serious student.------------------------------------------------------------------"FS2004 is surely an improvement in many areas....but at what cost?"A meal for two at a medium priced cafe.There are few bargains in life better than this one.

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Quite correct.There is a small group of chronic complainers who will complain no matter what is done.Had Microsoft decided to not include any features that stretch the limit of what current hardware can do they'd complain that Microsoft should have stretched the limits more.Now Microsoft DOES go to the limit of what current hardware can provide and they complain about that.There were violent complaints when someone at some stage suggested to have heard from someone with contacts inside Microsoft that the current MDL and BGL formats would be dropped making all existing addons useless.Microsoft of course didn't do that, which led to complaints that Microsoft should abandon the existing (bad, they even call it...) scenery and aircraft engines.Maybe Microsoft should follow EA, Tri, Sierra and all the others and concentrate on first person shooters in the future and abandon flightsimulation.They just can't seem to please...

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Yes, and there is a group of users who imediately dump on anyone who does not follow the politicaly correct responses to what is released for flight simulation.I find these "moaning" posts revealing of what I might expect in a piece of new software. We cannot all go out and upgrade. Some of us have reached a point where new hardwear will have to wait for a long time. It's called an economic downturn or something.People who only post glowing reports and screenshots actually create expectations that might not be possible to individual systems. So a person who has a contary opinion gives pause for thought.So stop complaining about them and posting the same tired responses that we aready know about.BTW, just what is wrong with FS2002, for me nothing! UT, DF, FS Meteo, FS Skyworld and jgnore the ATC guys and you have a great sim. So if FS2004 is a little better then great. If not who cares? MS have made their money in spades over the years.Robert

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Opinions and observations: I accept these posts as helpful. These type posts accelerate our (my) learning curve. Good resource for sorting out the new version issues, and making a buy/no buy decision. Not all have 3ghz + machines, and many don't want to trash their 6 mth. old ATI cards, just yet. IMO, what seems to be getting "some" of us more concerned with recent releases, is the vast number of improvements presented in some areas, only to see partial (or limited) improvement in other (flight critical) areas. The AI "overtake" situation, ATC/TWR not properly vectoring to an alternate r/w selection, and the clouds unrealistically blending into terrain issues, are examples. For "serious" simmers, these "sample" issues are rather important. Scenery improvements, training sophistication, vintage aircraft, may be less important, to this same group of (experienced) simmers. We all like the new eye candy, accuarte gauges (GPS), and the efforts to improve realistic weather. However, as much as these improvements add to the sim, I'm speculating the incomplete enhancements in AI, ATC and other areas may be the cause of some frustration. Only another opinion, but I'm on hold until I read more about the improvements / solutions in ATC, AI & the Cloud issue. And, I'll be watching ATI for driver news, for my 9700, before I make the jump.Ron

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>And, I'll be watching ATI for driver news, for my 9700, before>I make the jump.>>RonOn flightsim someone posted they went back to Catylyst 3.2 and it fixed the problems. Gonna try it tonight to see how it works for me.Phill Roath

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Phill,Hope you post any results you discover.....Thks,Ron

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>So stop complaining about them and posting the same tired>responses that we aready know about.>RobertThat's a bit rich, someone telling us what we can and can't say and what types of post we can and can't respond to. I don't recall any Avsim members specifically asking users to refrain from bagging FS2004, so I don't see why people should be prevented from defending it either.

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Yep, because the anonimity of the net lets you say anything you want. No one knows you and no one can prove anything you say. Saying stop complaining about people complaining is just you getting your jollies trying to get a rise out of me. And it worked.

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i have removed fs2002 from my system (p4 3.06,1 gig ram, ti 4600).i have many wonderfull hours with fs2004 without the first glitch.with all the good stuff on i get the same or better fps as 2002 even my sons lowly p4 1.5, 768mgs ram, gf 5200, uses the good stuff with no probs.the improvements are too numerous to list and most are available to anyone with an average 'puter. you dont have to have a mega-monster to enjoy this version of fs.don

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Hi Guys,I must express my frustration. I have had FS2004 since last Saturday, and the more time I spend on it, the more frustrated I become.I originally demoed this sim at the E3 where I already noticed the heavy loss of frame rates with the new weather system. I dismissed this issue since this was just a beta version, running on a PC that was under heavy use for 3 entire days. Well, in preparation for the new release, I went ahead and bought a new PC, which had cost me well over $2,000. I felt confident that I was going to be able to run FS2004 as smooth as silk. I thought wrong!Even with my higher-end PC, I still experience a major loss in frame rates. Yes, I have everything maxed out, but it just makes me so mad that I have to lower my standards/settings in order to run things at normal rates. I can't help but wonder what types of PC's Microsoft used to test and develop this sim. Maybe some Silicon Graphic Super Computer...Anyway, in my opinion, I feel ripped off! I spent a large sum of money just for this hobby, and now I find myself turning back to FS2002.Even though I'm mad right now, I'm hoping that Microsoft and maybe ATI are working on a solution because this is just ridiculous!(Even if this has something to do with the setup of my PC, it kills me that I have to spend a considerable amount of time having to research the issue and hunt for solutions.)I'm sorry for my rantings, but I just needed to add my input on this subject.Regards,NorbertDELL XPSP4 3GHz/800 MHz front side Bus with Hyper Threading1024 MB DDR SDRAM @400 MHzATI Radeon 9800120 GB Ultra HD

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No joy! :( Had to run an errand so took the rest of the day off, went home and installed the 3.2 with no change at all - same radeon problems.Just have to have patience. I did go the www.ati.com and left a note for the Catylyst team.But even with the "problems" I'm not at all sorry, this is one great sim! And ATI will update their drivers.Phill Roath

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May I ask a question? Why would anyone want anything more than 24 FPS considering that the human eye will not benefit on anything greater than this? I've heard it said that at 15 FPS you probably won't be seeing any differences.Stephen

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I really dont get it at all when you find it not possible to get high frame rates with your high end system. Microsoft did not design fs2k4 for it to be running at max settings on todays high end systems exclusively. If they did that the game wouldnt last 2 years unless youre buying addons to keep your interest up. Its a marketing and technology tactic .. and i dont mind it at all. If you dont want to spend to upgrade your hardware to get the full potential of the sim then you either use the lower settings or return your copy of fs2k4 of which someone else will glady purchase. I have a P4 1.3 with 384 megs of ram and a bottom of the line geforece FX (not even ultra) card and i can still get good scenery,weather & textures with no sliders below medium. Im getting 20 fps 95% of the time, Yes it may drop to 10 fps but its a solid 10 that wont crash you on the runway or stutter. If the frames annoy you that much .. then i would suggest you simply wait a year till the Pentium 5 or AMD 64 bit processor comes out instead of blasting the product for being more technologically demanding.

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>I really dont get it at all when you find it not possible to>get high frame rates with your high end system. Microsoft did>not design fs2k4 for it to be running at max settings on>todays high end systems exclusively. If they did that the game>wouldnt last 2 years unless youre buying addons to keep your>interest up. Its a marketing and technology tactic .. and i>dont mind it at all. If you dont want to spend to upgrade your>hardware to get the full potential of the sim then you either>use the lower settings or return your copy of fs2k4 of which>someone else will glady purchase. I have a P4 1.3 with 384>megs of ram and a bottom of the line geforece FX (not even>ultra) card and i can still get good scenery,weather &>textures with no sliders below medium. Im getting 20 fps 95%>of the time, Yes it may drop to 10 fps but its a solid 10 that>wont crash you on the runway or stutter. If the frames annoy>you that much .. then i would suggest you simply wait a year>till the Pentium 5 or AMD 64 bit processor comes out instead>of blasting the product for being more technologically>demanding.Sounds good then.. I have an AMD 1700XP, and 512Mb ram... I am hoping that this will be alright for me... Im happy with over 15 FPS and 10FPS when at airports...Whilst i would like to get better graphics than i do on FS2002 (I have most stuff maxed out), FS2002 has given me so much enjoyment, i would pay the money just for the improved things that go on behind the scenes like better ATC and traffic at all airports, taxiway signs and such... Its not that much of a sacrifice when you consider the hours enjoyment it brings...

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I don't buy that marketing and technology tactic theory of yours... (if anything, it would only hurt Microsoft using this strategy) If I have to lower my settings, than I'm left with a new FS2002, so what's the point?I strongly believe that this is either a video driver issue, or Microsoft just did some bad programming.And let's not forget the add-ons. Once everyone starts implementing their favorite aircraft/scenery, they will notice an even greater loss in frame rates!By the way, I did spend A LOT of MONEY on a NEW computer in order to get the full potential of the Sim, and that obviously did not work, so don't talk to me about upgrading!What's even stranger to me is that I am also using other advanced software (games/lightwave/maya) and they all seem to run beautifully on my PC. These examples all use greater graphics, so to speak.Anyway, there is no point in arguing over this because everyone here is getting different results, some more favorable than others.Regards,Norbert

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