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The "new" wonderfull world of MS Flightsimming

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Hi guys and girls. I've been playing combat simulators since the C-64 and have tried MS FS 98, 2002 and 2004 (borrowed from a friend).But this time I'm going to take the big step and buy my own copy. But looking through this wonderfull site makes me a little confused about all the utillities, tools and add-ons. Like FSUIPC, Repaints, Gauges, S-Combo, Active Sky etc... the list go one.So would some of you give a MS FS 2004 noob some guidelines to what is needed and what is nice to have please.CheersMark

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I'll second that request. There seems to be a low signal-to-noise ratio with FS addons. It's hard to work out what is a good addon and what is a rip-off, what is very useful and what is just for the perfectionists, etc.A "Top 10 things to add to your FS setup" from experienced users would be a great start.Bottle

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Hi!I would start with...1> FSNAV (fsnavigtor.com)Not working with 2004 just yet but will be soon.2> MyTraffic 2004 (search this site for info)3> FSUIPC You will need this module sooner or later best get it now.4> Caranedo Cessna 210 Centurion (the best payware Cessna yet IMVHO)5> Flight1 Cessna 152 trainer (a wonderful aircraft for learning the ropes in)

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>4> Caranedo Cessna 210 Centurion (the best payware Cessna yet>IMVHO)>>5> Flight1 Cessna 152 trainer (a wonderful aircraft for>learning the ropes in)Well... That's personal preference if they like these aircraft.But FSUIPC is essential. This one is needed for hundreds if not thousands of other add ons.

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Thanx for your reply it is really nice to get a starting point.Do you have links to the two planes? I will check'em out.And could you give an example of the use of FSUIPC. I really have no idea ;-)Mark

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>But FSUIPC is essential. This one is needed for hundreds if>not thousands of other add ons.I still havn't used it as a seperate program, and have many add-ons. L.Adamson

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Also the addition of a second monitor, with any old cheap PCI video card (on Windows 98 SE, or later), makes the game immensely more fun since everything "undocks".Then with FSNAvigator, you've got a really great system. And yes, IMHO FSnavigator is still very desirable with FS2004, even with the Garmin's.Bob (Lecanto, Fl)AMD, Athlon XP, 1800+MSI, K7T266 XP ProPC 2100 DDR, 1024 MBXP, Home Edition Elsa GLadiac 920, GF3/64Mb andPNY, Verto nVidia TNT 2-M64/32WD, 100 MB, 7200, Ultra 100Sound Blaster, Audigy MP3+CH Prod, VPP Yoke - Sound CardCH Prod, Pedals - Sound Card

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>>4> Caranedo Cessna 210 Centurion (the best payware Cessna>yet>>IMVHO)>>>>5> Flight1 Cessna 152 trainer (a wonderful aircraft for>>learning the ropes in)>>Well... That's personal preference if they like these>aircraft.>>But FSUIPC is essential. This one is needed for hundreds if>not thousands of other add ons.Do you have links to these two planes?CheersMark

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>Do you have links to these two planes?>>>Cheers>>MarkHere ya are Mark...http://www.dreamfleet2000.com/http://www.carenado.com/ecommerce/index.php3But really for the best MSFS third party aircraft I would check out these guys...http://www.fsd-international.com/Have a wonderful time in this hobby,Chris Porter:-outtaPerthWestern AustraliaIntel Pentium IV 3.0GHz (800FSB) Socket 478 pins CPU w/Hyper-Thread Technology MSI 875P NEO FIS2R, AGP 8X, i875P ICH5R Chipset with Gigiabit LanKingmax 512MB PC3200 Double Data Rate (DDR) RAM CAS-2.5- 400MHz Rated x 2BUILT By ATI (Original) Radeon 9800PRO w/TV Out & DVI 128Meg DDRTEAC DV-W50E, 4x DVD-R/ 2x RW, 16xCD-R, 8xCD-RW, 16xDVD, 32x CD-ROM Internal Drive Only Western Digital Raptor 36.0GB HDD IDE, 8MB Cache, 5.2ms, 10,000rpm , S-ATA, w/DataLifeguard WD 40Gig HD for dataATX 470W Pentium IV Power Supply CESkyhawk Jupiter Aluminum CaseHyundai -ImageQuest P910 , 19" Multi-Scan Digital MonitorHercules Game Theater XP, 6.1 speakers Dolby

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Hi,Here's some of my favorites. Note - My other favorites have already been mentioned by previous responses.WeatherCenter - http://www.simulationwidgets.comThe best Weather Generation program. Highly recommended! Not updated for FS2004 yet, but it will be soon. Weather Radar screen included.PMDG 737TNG - http://www.precisionmanuals.comVery complex aircraft. But also the most realistic. An absolutely incredible plane.VMAX Captain... We're Ready for Pushback 747-200 Classic - http://www.ralph-tofflemire.com/One of the best 747's you can buy. But a little complex. Not yet updated for FS2004 but soon will be.simTECH Beechcraft 17D/S Staggerwing - http://www.simtechflightdesign.com/Colorful easy to fly airplanes with an excellent flight model. Not updated yet for FS2004 but the current version works fine in FS2004. I fly them in FS2004 now. The update is in the works. You get 2 models, retractable gear and floatmodel, with of few liveries for each. I recommend purchasing it at http://secure.simmarket.com ,as they currently have a special on it.MyTraffic - http://secure.simmarket.comBrings Flight Simulator to life in single player! An incredible amount of liveries, including some military. MyTraffic 2004 is good to go. A must have! You can also check out their competitor if you want, Ultimate Traffic, which I hear is excellent also. I don't have a URL for it.Legendary MiG-21 and 727 - http://www.captainsim.comGreat planes. The MiG-21 is a marvel. The 727 is photorealistic inside and out, but complex.Garmin 530XP - http://www.reality-xp.comFor FS2002 this was an incredible add-on! Now that FS2004 comes with a couple Garmins itself, it may not be quite as attractive of an add-on. But it still beats the default FS2004 GPS's and I highly recommend it. Not updated for FS2004 yet but will be soon.Want a good F-16? Go to http://www.lagoonline.com/They have some utilites too. They have a lot to choose from in the way of scenery. And a good scenery utility for FS2002. I don't know if it'll be updated for FS2004 or not. But I would certainly think so. Think it was called FSSE. And don't forget about that F-16(FS Falcon).For more good aircraft, look at http://www.flight1.comFor a look at more good utlities(and aircraft, inluding the Beechcraft 17D/S Staggerwing) look around on http://secure.simmarket.comFor good news go to http://www.avsim.com (of course, lol) and http://www.simflight.com (part of simmarket).Another good forum that I hang out at a lot(and is part of simflight and simmarket) is at http://forums.simflight.comHope that gives you some pointers to sme stuff that you find useful and enjoyable!Bye for now, :-waveJimmy RIchardsOne Tin Soldier

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Mark,None of what you have mentioned is "needed". All are addons which add to or enhance the features of the product out of the box. Some people swear by them, others don't even know they exist, both are happy. Don't feel you "need" any of them to enjoy the simulator.However, brief comments on those you have mentioned.FSUIPC : This was primarily designed as an interface module, allowing certain parts of the internal workings of the simulator to be available to other programs. Its friend, WideView, allows any machine on a network to see these internal workings. It now sports many useful additions, particularly in the area of input devices. I only ever used it to get weather into the sim, traffic info out and to extend my battery life and not reposition the aircraft on GPS plan load. Extremely useful but, from what I understand, if a 3rd party program requires it, you will be able to use a cut down version just for that program.Repaints : New texture files that can be copied to an aircraft so the aircraft look different from the outside. Often if you have a nice 767 (say) and want a United, AA, BA (42653 different paint jobs!), etc, etc you only need to add the new texture files for each aircraft and not the whole aircraft itself each time.Gauges : These go hand in hand with panels. A panel is what you see when you are "inside" the aircraft. A panel is made up of a background bitmap and a collection of gauges. These gauges are the moving parts of the panel, eg. the altimeter, airspeed indicator. The panel is defined by a text file (panel.cfg) which describes (amongst other things) which bitmap to use and which gauge (and where to put it and how to scale it). Gauges are compiled code and cannot be edited easily, hence, the availabiliy of downloadable ones. Gauges have an almost unlimited amount of flexibility, there are gauges to play MP3's talk to external programs as well as the more standard displays of height and speed.S-Combo : I've never used this one but I've heard it's great. S-Combo adds sounds as you fly. As certain events occur (as detected via an FSUIPC interface I think) the program plays certain sound files. This allows the simmer to simulate passengers getting on and off, cabin crew making announcements and the co-pilot reading various checklists. That's all I know about that one, sorry if I've done it an injustice.ActiveSky : This is an external weather program, it's competitor is FSMeteo, both do essentially the same thing but have slightly different selling points. Both download real life weather from the internet (usually just an hour or so old) and recreate that weather in the simulator.Others : There are a number of different companys/individuals who write and maintain a vast array of products doing different things. A few, off the top of my head, please don't shoot me for not mentioning your favourite, FSBuild (IFR/airline flight planning), FSNavigator (navigation), a variety of load editors (for manipulating the aircraft.cfg file and changing the weight of aircraft), scenery (your favourite airport, city, hill, lake, whatever), aircraft (often with a realistic panel {PIC767} and sounds and many many weather programs.To decide what is "nice to have" depends very much on what you want. I personally am a closet airline pilot, I like Wilco's PIC 767, PSS's A3xx, B777 and B747 and the Dreamfleet 737-400. I'm also using FSMeteo, and FSSky (for nicer, more varied cloud bitmaps) and a selection of SimFlyers and UK2000 airport scenerys. However, there are many different ways to enjoy the simulator, General Aviation (see Flight1, Dreamfleet, FSD, Carendo), bush flying, vintage aircraft, military aircraft, aerobatics, it flys? you can simulate it. Whatever you want, just look for it, search here and flightsim.com and you'll cover most of the freeware files. The Avsim shop and simmarket will cover many payware products. Keep reading the forums and the Avsim front page to get a feel for the products/files that are out there.I'm deliberately not going to say what you "should" buy or be so presumptious to tell you what you will enjoy, however, I will tell you that whatever part of aviation you wish to simulate, you can. There are many great products out there, the community here will help and answer any questions you have (but don't forget to search the forums first, we've been around for a long time and have addressed many issues). Mainly, having played with, tweaked, bought and downloaded ... don't forget to fly about and have fun.Hope this helps,Ian

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