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if not FS2004, then what?

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I know this forum is bias to fs2004 but my question is, if one had a choice of a PC based flight simulator program, and money was not a concern, what else is out there? I use to be a big FS2002 fan and then stopped flying for 6 months or so do to time constraints. Now I'm looking to get back in but am weiry of buying 2004 because of all the negative comments on this forum. So my question is, what other software is out there. I'm looking for the most realistic flight experience, and by realistic I mean a good combination of flight dynamics and scenery. I like flying commercial airliners around the globe and my current fav is PIC767 w/fs2002, so if not FS2004 then what? morph

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There's nothing wrong with FS2004. it had some issues initially and still have some on my system, but they are related to bugs in ATI's videocard drivers. I have contacted ATI and they confirmed that they are working on a solution to these problems and they will hopefully implement those fixes in the next set of drivers (no more than a couple of weeks away).If you have a lot of FS2002 addons you want to use in FS2004, you'll probably have some problems with some of those.Apart from FS, I also play FU3 a lot. However, it is more suited for GA, because of the small terrain areas, though there is available a Learjet, Boeing 747 and a Dash8 for it. The biggest seamless scenery for FU3 is the UK-South scenery which covers, well, southern UK.I know a lot of members here also play Fly2. I don't have it so I can't comment on it but it looks good judging from screenshots.

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If you like 767PIC and FS2002 why not stay with it, at least until FS9 settles down and add-ons are produced?I have FS9 and the weather effects are great, as are the other improvements, but they do have an impact on frame rates, at least on my system.I also prefer to fly add-on airliners which are not available yet for FS9,and fly with Vatsim, so I am keeping FS2002 and will use that for most of my flights until I can upgrade to fly FS9 with the details I like and the add-on aircraft are available.So, why not keep FS2002 ;-)

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I guess I will stay with FS2002 and PIC767 until PIC is compatible with 2004, I just thought that with all the interest in simulated flight that there would be more competition for MSFT then FLY, or at least some kind of professional software out there?

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PIC will NEVER be compatible with anything newer than FS2002 for the very simple reason that Wilco stopped supporting it several months ago.The product is end of lifecycle, end of support, end of maintenance, dead.The entertainment Flightsim market (and especially the civilian one) is actually extremely small.There is a worldwide core of maybe 20000 people (about half of them active in some way here and at the other portal sites), and a total userbase of maybe a million installed copies.The "professional" market is even smaller, consisting of flightschools and extremely dedicated students alone buying packages like Propilot or Elite costing thousands of Euros while offering nothing the average PC simmer wants (i.e. graphics and options to enhance and add aircraft and scenery).At the high end of this are of course the full motion sims operated by airlines which cost millions.

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Interesting reply JW.From that very expert (as always) analysis I assume we can forget about any future 'advanced' aircraft from the various add-on producers as the market is so small. Wonder why PMDG bothered?Still your analysis does perhaps show why the default aircraft in MS Flight Sim are the way they are.

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What we can do to make sure we continue to get great addons for FS is to encourage developers.I know some people are angry with the payware developers because they ask for money, but you should still support them by buying their products. It's better to pay a little for addons than to have no addons, and $10-50 isn't the end of the world. Don't insult or otherwise disrespect freeware developers either, this will only either make them go payware, or stop development alltogether.;)

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Hi folks,Let's assume that there is 3% of the flight simmer community which has an appetite for sophisticated flight decks and also has the financial means to afford a well developed product. Then we are talking about roughly 1500 potential users/buyers. I am taking the pessimistic approach here.A further assumption is that for market reasons Microsoft is going "visual" rather than "real simulation". Nothing against it but it does not serve the purpose of those guys who are more interested in flying an aircraft rather than enjoying the clouds outside and the toilets inside. It is clear that MSFS has demonstrated with FS2004 which way they have choosen. Another fact is more and more freewares are getting so time consuming to develop and update that there is no other alternative for the developers than to go shareware.If you add the cost of FS2004, three to four reasonably good addon aircrafts (Boeing, Airbus and one GA aircraft) half a dozen addon utilities for weather rendition, flight planning purpose etc. Then you quickly arrive to a price bracket of $300 - $500. This exercise must be repeated in average every two years or at each new version of MSFS. I will assume in the following ideas that at least 1500 flight simmers are willing to spend $500 every two years for good products.OK here are some of the fact. The list may be more exaustive but let's assume this is the base for now. So what can be a good alternative for those of us who use flight simulation to as pilots rather than as passengers enjoying the outside views. Can we imagine aircrafts developed the way PS1.3 from Aerowinx was developed? that is stand alone programs which can, if so desired, be linked to MSFS for better "visuals" but whose primary functiona are to reproduce accurate flight desks? how many aircrafts are needed? 2 or 3 Boeings, a couple of Airbuses, 1 or 2 commuters and 1 or 2 GA aircrafts. This would satisfy most users. Is it a viable solution for the developers? I do not know. But certainly it would appeal to the group of flight simulation enthusiasts I was trying to define at the beginning.One last thought, if developers are concerned about piracy which is the cancer of this hobby can we imagine the high quality flight decks be accessed and flown via internet only by accessing the cockpit from the developer's site instead of the developers selling their products. Kind of pay-per-use solution.What do you guys think about it? a pure dream or can we convince developers to look at this non negligeable minority of simmers? which seem to be more and more ignored by Microsoft.Michael

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>>What do you guys think about it? a pure dream or can we>convince developers to look at this non negligeable minority>of simmers? which seem to be more and more ignored by>Microsoft.>>Michael >>Michael,I agree 100% about your fine analysis of the present situation.When I first saw a little red plane with a panel and needles moving left to right and up and down, radios etc, I thought this was just a joke for a little game. This was more than 10 years ago.In fact, the little plane was already far more than just a repetitive game, like most of those games for PC at that time.I became more and more interested. There was hardly anything to look at outside. Of course, it was a "Flight Simulator" and not a Sightseeing program! I went through all the saga of the MSFS until this recent one FS9. Besides, I started about 3 years ago with Fly!1 2K and Fly!2. Thanks to a marvellous team, the ROTW, I have learned so much in 3 years about navigation that today, I feel more hungry to go for the real big thing. Thanks to your personal precious advices, I have now ordered PS1 1.3 which is on its way and should be installed perhaps no later than this coming Wednesday on my PC.I am a 57 years old, agronomist, and I want to have all the available matters for "Navigate" a plane. I can careless if there are cows in the fields, kids swimming in pools, car running on highways. Most of the times, when I fly in my area, I see the same farms than in the US. Strange for Indonesia, no? :-)And the trees are oak, apple and pine trees mixed with some palm trees.:-)Perhaps, somebody could tell me how to get ridd of all those fancy sightseeing buildings and vegetation.What am I looking at is indeed just few very sophisticated planes, most of airports on the program with taxiways and their full indications to find my way around. A very precise flightplanner with most SID&STARS(please), very realistic weather, and few more things very essentials to learn that GREAT JOB of yours, Captains!Best RegardsRakham

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I really wish that there was more competition in the civilian flight simulation market. To be honest, we could do with it. A lot of people love Microsoft Flight Simulator, but there are quite a few of us that don't. That isn't because we dislike Microsoft. It's simply because there are numerous aspects of the product that don't meet our requirements. I personally love Flight Unlimited 3, and would therefore like to see an expansive flight simulation that is based on everything that is good about the FU series (detailed, uninterrupted satellite mapped terrain textures, high resolution mesh, easy to use interface, single keys for different viewpoints (rather than the daft method used in MSFS), VFR panel views for great visibility, superb simulation of turbulence, and more convincing flight models....in my opinion).I don't have anything against MSFS, except perhaps the monopoly that it has on the civilian flight simulation market. It's about time that flight simmers who don't particularly like the product were provided with several different alternatives. Maybe the flight simulation market isn't big enough for this, but I would still like to see them all the same :-)Chris Low,ENGLAND.

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FS2004 has a few problems, but for me they are not life threatening. I find the program much smoother at 20 fps than the previous version ever was and the new skies are really beautiful. A lot of folks have said that the add on clouds in FS2002 are just as good - they are not. Visually, the new sim is an improvement - especially at 10,000 feet. Colours are sharper and more vivid, roads and rivers follow their valleys much better, the new night textures are outstanding - really outstanding and the new detailed airports are nice. I've been flying the Frontier Airline DC3 route over the Monarch pass - and there are areas there that look a lot like the real mountains. For you, it may not be a good choice. PIC will not work and neither will the Dreamfleet 734. I think that Phoenix is going to update their A320, but I'm not sure. So, the only FMC equiped airliner available is the PMDG 736, which is also going through its own teething pains and efforts to curb its hunger for framerates. Right now, FS2002 is your best bet if you have to fly the heavy metal - not because FS2002 is better, it's just that there are many more options. I can't comment on flight models because I've never flown a jetliner in real life. I do know that the smoothness in FS2004 makes all flying seem much more lifelike and real. Your only other option is X-plane, or an old copy of the 744 PF1 simulator. Xplane also is extremely fluid and the planes in it feel "right" (again, I don't fly in real life so I can only compare them to a few "discovery flights"). The second gives you system fidelity second to none - but not much to look out the windows. Hope this helps. Colin

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Hmm well i guess i dont fall in the 3% bracket at all. Quite far from it. I dont do payware with the exception of Fsnavigator and while i do fly the heavies and highly value realism id rather stick with payware quality freeware (kinda far and few but it does exist)and the realisim in fs is looking to be somewhat a subjective discourse nowadays with everyone having a diff opinion. Also, i dont know about you but if i paid for the use of software id like to have my own copy to use whenever i please and not have the inconvenience of having to connect to someon elses server to get to use it. sounds a bit too drastic to me. I avoid sofware designed like that.

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thanks for the advice, that's my opinion as well, stick with FS2002 and PIC until more FMC capable airliners are developed for FS2004, I personally couldn't imagine flying a heavy plane around the globe without an FMC, it just wouldn't be as fun for me.

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"thanks for the advice, that's my opinion as well, stick withFS2002 and PIC until more FMC capable airliners are developedfor FS2004, I personally couldn't imagine flying a heavy planearound the globe without an FMC, it just wouldn't be as funfor me."I can't imagine flying a heavy with an FMC fun in the first place, LOLBut to each his own! I fly GA and helicopters and usually VFR or IMC if it dictates. I think FS9 is a VFR dream. I feel there are some very complicated and realistic setups for FS out there, any more and you might as well fly for real.i for one am happy with the complexity of FS9, can't wait to see what the future holds.Regards, Michaelhttp://mysite.verizon.net/res052cd/mybannercva1.jpgCalVirAir International VAwww.calvirair.comCougar Mountain Helicopters & Aviationwww.cgrmtnhelos.com

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I go through cycles. Right now I'm having a lot of fun flying the old DC-3 that came with the sim. There are other times I like having the FMC so I can focus on controlling the aircraft and trying to make it do what I want it. I don't fly with AP a lot = I get bored. So, when I am flying PIC, I tend to hand fly it to altitude as well as the complete descent and approach. I also enjoy the challenge of flying a 60's era jetliner like the IK DC-9 on high altitude airways with nothing more than a watch, charts, two VOR radios and one NBD. That for me is a real sense of accomplishment.Best, Colin

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Hi,I think you guys made my point!. There is a need for an alternative to MSFS. Flight decks which run as a stand alone applications but can be connected to FS2004 to enhance some features such as outside views. In the way PS1.3 of Aerowinx can be connected to FS. I think we are a sufficient number of flight simmers who are willing to spend the money to get real good flight decks. When I see some extremely talented developers going out of the sim business because the ratio time spent/earnings is not adequate I only want to say: don't go away! even if we are small in number we can pay more than we pay for average addons for something which meets high standards. Michael

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Good point. I think we would be much more willing to fly the default heavies if they had an accurate FMC. I have been flying the DF 734 and loved the accuracy of the FMC. Although the new Garmin GPS is a great improvement over the FS02 GPS, I think the next big improvement MS should work on developing is a good FMC for the default heavies.

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I agree, the addition of a FMC on the MSFT default heavy aircraft would be a great improvement, that's how the real planes do it, so let's get as real as it gets..

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Hi,morpheus, I agree with JimmyG, let the world know what you want by supporting the developers who make the products you want. FS2004(FS9) is a really nice evolution of the MSFS series. I think it has a few bugs that it would be nice of MS to fix, but I doubt we'll see a patch. Nevertheless, it's worth it.A great product that has been patched and work is continuing on it to(hopefully) bring it to perfection, is the PMDG 737TNG. The first patch fixed a LOT of the things wrong with it, from my understanding. I never flew the unpatched version. The support by the developers for it is very close to top notch. I think you want this baby and just don't know it yet, lol. I'm a little surprised I haven't seen you askl about this aircraft since a few people mentioned it, but maybe I missed something. Anyway, I don't know my way around the FMC yet really. I'm working on it. But from all the people who use it, they say the work on it shows it will be the PIC767 in terms of quality and functionality for FS2004 when everything is ironed out. And like I said, the recent patch already fixed a lot of problems. The aircraft is quite complex. There are no 'dummy' switches or knobs. Starting it from a cold and dark is complicated, but very rewarding. The sounds are excellent. As for frame rates, I don't have any problem with it, but I do have a fairly high end system. My understanding is if you're used to the PIC767 you will pretty much be right at home with this aircraft's FMC. May I suggest you poke around in their forum and read some posts, and/or maybe ask some questions? I think that'd give you a good idea if it's what you are looking for, and therefore ready to move on up to FS2004. Whatever you do, best of luck and have fun. :)Sincerely,One Tin SoldierP.S. In case you didn't know, their forum is here...http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=136Check out my screenshots of it if you want to here...http://forums.simflight.com/viewtopic.php?t=10259http://forums.simflight.com/viewtopic.php?t=10260

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you know I've seen that plane before and thought it looked interesting, I didn't know it was compatible with 2004. I guess I'll buy both and try it out, thanks for the suggestion.

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Cool beans morpheous. I don't think you'll regret it. I highly recommend visiting the PMDG forum. There's an incredible amount of information and conversation going on there. A lot of stuff way over my head at this point, but maybe not yours. :-lol Let me know what you think of FS2004 and the 737TNG if you are going ahead and getting them! I hope you end up really liking them.Take Care,One Tin Soldier

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