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CaptainAdlai

Why Freeware Is and Isn't Dead

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 Since the beginning of time, freeware was a huge part in the FS community. Recently though, this has seemed to change. There seems to be a general consensus among the community here that freeware is dead. Here we will explore why it is, and, more importantly, why it isn't.

 

 The dead side of freeware.

 

 Over the past few years, freeware has gotten significantly less popular than it used to be. This is for a number of reasons. First and foremost is a raise in expectations. Unfortunately, many people have the misconception that freeware is of a lower quality then payware. Is some payware better than freeware? Absolutely. On the other hand, plenty of freeware is of equal or higher quality when compared to payware. Many users stopped using freeware because of other people pressing them to "Forget anything else, just get the NGX!" Precision Manuals' representation of the 737NG is, without question, superb, but should not be a substitute for every other FSX aircraft available. Expand your hangar; just because you have one nice plane, doesn't mean you can't have another. Another common reason people go without freeware is because of the native-vs-FS9 model debate. The vast majority of users here don't use DX10, and the frame-rate loss using FS9 models is usually negligible. Thus, this reason is nulled (except for our DX10 friends). There is, of course, a gain in eye-candy by using native models, which leads into another big reason people don't use freeware. Graphics. This is always a sticky subject, and generally comes down to "every man/woman them self". Do you think graphics are more important, or the usability of the aircraft? There are many aircraft, both payware and freeware, which focus in just one of these areas, rather than both. On the contrary, many aircraft, again, both freeware and payware, do deliver both, but most of those freeware aircraft are looked past. Many simply assume that because the author isn't charging for it, it must  not be worth anything, and so don't give it a second look. Finally, the last reason freeware is "dead" is because a lot of people don't think freeware is being released anymore. This is not at all true. In fact, it's just an illusion caused by the individual's not searching. Plenty of freeware is still released, much of it of amazing quality.

 

 Freeware; the living.

 

 Much freeware is still being given to us, the community. And, if you don't mind slightly outdated graphics, the Freeware of Olde isn't a bad choice either.

 

 How many people here knew about this freeware Challenger 600? http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/showthread.php?t=404789&page=7 It really is a beautiful model, though I won't be downloading it until he adds a VC (scheduled for next year).

 

 While we're talking about business aircraft, we have a great Piaggio P180 and Piaggio PD808, both by Mario Noriega. They both have all the systems simulated, with the exception of the FMS on the 180. http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?CatID=fsx&Name=Piaggio&FileName=&Author=Mario+Noriega&DLID=&Sort=Added&ScanMode=0&Go=Change+View

 

 My two favorite freeware aircraft are the HS.748 by Rick Piper, and the DHC-7 (Dash-7) by Milton Shupe. Both have accurate systems, nice models, and great texture sets. Both also have fantastic flight models, with the Dash-7's being done by two real Dash pilots. The HS.748 is available here. http://www.cbfsim.co.uk/cbfs_lib/thumbnails.php?album=18 The DHC-7 can be downloaded here. http://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/fslib.php?searchid=12222989

 

 If you're into classic jets, it might be worth taking a look at David Maltby's site. http://dmflightsim.co.uk/ He has a DH Comet, BAC-111, VC-10, and HS-121. They all have fully accurate systems that mimic the real world, and look and fly great. They are, however, designed with FS9 in mind, though he has instructions available detailing how you go about getting them into FSX. My favorite is the BAC-111, especially since I know a guy who flew them with Florida Express, and later, Braniff.

 

 What's that you say?  VOR's are for old people? Well don't worry, we've got freeware aircraft with fancy FMC's simulated too. Namely the reasonably well known iFly 747, and the JB 777 Panel. Both are great if you're into long-hauls or highly automated flying. It's worth noting that the 777 is simply a panel and must be merged with a 777 model. I recommend the POSKY VC model, which the panel is pre-configured to cooperate with. Both feature a full FMS, with LNAV, VNAV and everything else you'd want (except WX radar of course, an extreme rarity). The iFly 747 is here. http://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/fslib.php?searchid=12223267 The JB panel can be downloaded here. http://library.avsim.net/esearch.php?DLID=&Name=777+FMC&FileName=&Author=JB+Panels&CatID=fsxpan

 

 Then there's the Russian liners. Someone will always want these, so here they are. First, there's Tim Conrad's An-32. It has a great VC, model, texture set, and flight model. It's system simulation is nothing special, but the gauges are in Russian.  It can be downloaded here. http://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/fslib.php?searchid=12223348 Then there's the very popular Tu-154 from Project Tupolev. This has every little switch simulated, a beautiful model, great sounds, a brilliant VC, and a well-translated English manual. It is available here. http://files.protu-154.net/pt-154b2_fsx.html There's also an IL-86 with the same quality as the Tu-154, but with not even remotely close popularity. Also note, it doesn't have an English manual. (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=Google+Translate) The IL-86 can be downloaded here. http://www.avsimrus.com/f/fsx-aircrafts-79/ilyushin-il-86-fsx-34990.html If you're into old Russian clunkers, you'll certainly like the IL-18. This has very good systems, a nice model, a VC and passenger cabin, and good sounds. It is here. http://www.rikoooo.com/en/downloads/viewdownload/51/529

 

 Of course, you might want to just fly into 7S5 to say "Hi" to me, which means you need a GA bird. Not to worry; there's plenty available. First, run over to Classic Wings. http://classicwings.net/ Their planes are great, and their recent Sop Camel is amazing. Sure I can barely fly it, but that doesn't mean it ain't pretty. After you've browsed over there, check out Piglet's planes here. http://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/fslib.php?searchid=12223721 If you still want more GA, simply pooter around Avsim, Flightsim, Simviation, and Google, and you'll be satisfied in no time.

 

 Pffff. Civil Aviation. I'm into military power! There are, indeed, plenty of military aircraft for FSX too. Most people will recognize Dino Cattaneo's name, as he is responsible for a top-of-the-line T-45, F-14, and F-35. He's also got an S-3 Viking in the works (I'm really looking forward to this). His aircraft are great in every sense of the word, especially if you're into fighter-jet type machines. His website is here. http://indiafoxtecho.blogspot.com/

 

 This team of French aviation enthusiasts also made a nice collection of French military aircraft such as the famous Mirage. They all feature a full VC and nice sound pack. The flight models also feel realistic. They can be downloaded here. http://restauravia.fr/html/creations_fsx.html

 

 Scenery - That stuff you see out the window.

 

 And to think that's just aircraft! Want some freeware scenery? Look no further than here. http://www.freewarescenery.com/fsx.html Most, not all, but very close to all freeware FSX scenery is linked by this site. A huge help if you're looking for a specific area, since they organize by country. One example of a missed airport on their site that you shouldn't pass is Saint Barths. A great rendition is available for download here. http://marcoh.gratisim.fr/stbarth_en.html

 

 Wrapping Up.

 

 This is just a small (small!) portion of the great freeware that is available on the World Wide Web, and you'll find a lot more by using your favorite FS site or Google. Also remember that just because it says it's for FS9 doesn't mean it won't work in FSX. Often times they work perfectly in FSX with just a few changes. I hope I've managed to enlighten someone with this, and to expand some hangars from just the NGX, or AXE, to include a wide variety of aircraft. Leave your feedback, and any ideas you have about the future of freeware, an amazing plane you know, or anything else you'd like to share with the community.

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Nice topic and, yes fully agree. This is the fantastic world of FSX, there is something for everybody. Not everyone likes flying against 100% RW procedures. Freeware planes can give me both, nice looking a/c and the system depth I want for my personal simulation feeling. To be honest I do simply not have the time to spend 30 minutes on pre flight setup. I have more or less one hour for the whole thing and I like flying so this is how I spend my time. Therefore Posky and PA give me what I need and still there are a lot of modifications available out there that improve the immersion. I'am not a serious simmer? Maybe. I do not care. This is how I like it. And thanx to all these freeware developers out there there is always something new to discover. However I do spend not few money on airports and scenery. I think it is the mix of both that makes FSX a unique experience.

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Great topic!

 

I'd like to add something, though: I think it's a misconception that freeware is dead - what may be dead is the freeware airliner "market", because we have been spoiled by addons such as the NGX, the AAX and so on in many regards. Just think about it, many of us want great visual models for both interior (no matter if VC only, or also a cabin) and exterior (including things like wingflex, when the wing isn't really flexible IRL, either :rolleyes:, every single screw being modelled and placed correctly etc) as well as convincing flight dynamics, and it should have at least reasonable system depth, most likely it should rather be able to simulate every single switch. Besides, most people in this hobby are willing to pay 50 USD or more for a PMDG quality addon, so why bother and build something to give away for free, if it isn't even appreciated anymore?

 

On the other hand, there are loads of freeware sceneries that are developed at a great level of detail and yet published for free, just think of things like KPHL or Max Krause's airports (or the freeware ORBX sceneries)! Let's also not forget to mention the great work of the people who allowed WOAI to use their models in those fantastic AI packages!

Also, do not forget the thousands of AI flightplans, aircraft liveries etc - all that is in fact freeware, so it is not at all dead! We just tend to forget about this when we talk about freeware/payware - so ask yourselves: What would we do if freeware really was dead? Would we still be into this hobby, if we had to either pay for every extra livery, updated AFCADs and the like? I know I wouldn't!

 

In fact I think that freeware is what kept me interested in FS when I started, and I think it is what makes this hobby special. A great Thank You to all freeware devlopers! Please keep on your great work!

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Freeware keeps payware developers in check in terms of Quality control. Don't diss freeware some is better qaulity than payware 15% of the time. Scenery freeware is needed as payware won't payware airport rural north dakota. Sometimes, you need freeware to develop things payware won't bother with it. People make freeware they took time out of their day to make something we can enjoy. PDMG careless about it as not all care for tubeliners flying at 35,000 ft.

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There are many, many interesting and desirable products produced by freeware contributors that would have little or no commercial viability for a payware developer. How long did it take to get a payware T-28 Trojan, for example? (Sidebar: Big thanks to both Tim Conrad and Anthony Lynch). The freeware contributors are a very vital part of the flightsim experience for me as MIL "pilot".

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The freeware contributors are a very vital part of the flightsim experience for me as MIL "pilot".

This. For vintage, warbird and military plane pilots many freeware authors offers beautiful pieces of work. Some date back to FS9 times, but are still good. New planes pop out every now and then, but they usually get very little attention here in Avsim.

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but they usually get very little attention here in Avsim.

 

I think that's key there - the different flight sim communities seem to have a fair bit of difference in their interests and focus, and I've noticed that the FSX community here at Avsim seems to have a higher percentage of pilots that like to fly airliners.

 

As someone who enjoys military planes almost as much as GA, with airliners coming in third place, I do know that my enjoyment of the hobby is hugely dependent on freeware.

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This. For vintage, warbird and military plane pilots many freeware authors offers beautiful pieces of work. Some date back to FS9 times, but are still good. New planes pop out every now and then, but they usually get very little attention here in Avsim.

 Yep, freeware makes up a large portion of military aircraft. Same with vintage. Manfred's L-749, anyone? It is unfortunate how little notice freeware often gets.

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Part of it is also many persons here and elsewhere have this thing/obsession with virtual cockpits...many consider a perfectly accurate and wonderful freeware aurcraft unflyable just because it doesn't feature a "ngx/aax-level" vc or any vc at all. Some freeware gems i've found (like afg's ys-11, all of Rick Pipers aircraft...anything from Fraser Mckay, Tom Gibson et al) reflect the real things a lot more accurately than some payware aircraft that visually appear superior (based on what I've read at least). And they all work in both fsx and 2004, most just having 2d panels only.

 

Xavier

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I would also like to put up this link of a plethora of aircraft from small GA aircraft to business jets and all the way to regional jets. These aircraft are available for both FSX and FS9 for those who'd like it. Their Twin Otter [which really can't be compared with aerosoft's new one] is a beauty!

http://premaircraft.com/

 

They no longer make new aircraft but continue to put up more paints and accept requests for them.

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The market development for FSX did not turn out in freeware's favor.

 

 

Still, so much to do, but so little motivation. *Sigh*

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The market development for FSX did not turn out in freeware's favor.

 

 

Still, so much to do, but so little motivation. *Sigh*

 It's good to know that people like you work despite a small user base. It really does mean a lot to those of us who do use freeware to the fullest. Thanks for your contributions!

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The BlueSky sceneries are the most impressive freeware IMO. I know they're just photos assembled from free sources, but still, creating the scenery from the photos and providing tens of gigabytes of downloads for free is really cool.
OrbX also have some great freeware, but they seem to release it mostly to promote their payware products. Nothing wrong with that, but it's more like "free samples" than actual freeware.

Really great freeware GA aircraft are hard to find, though. It takes a whole team working full time now to provide the kind of VC and exterior detail we expect. It's no longer something a single person can do in his spare time unless he pours his entire soul into the project, which only a few are able to do.

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 It's good to know that people like you work despite a small user base. It really does mean a lot to those of us who do use freeware to the fullest. Thanks for your contributions!

 

Thanks.

 

I just wish that more people got involved in making stuff for MSFS. The payware-induced consumerist attitude isn't very productive.

 

 

 

 

It takes a whole team working full time now to provide the kind of VC and exterior detail we expect.

 

Lower your expectations then. Or at least don't use the same expectations as you do for payware. Or don't expect anything at all and just take what you get. It's free, after all.

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OrbX also have some great freeware, but they seem to release it mostly to promote their payware products. Nothing wrong with that, but it's more like "free samples" than actual freeware.

 

Worse yet, Orbx is very freeware intolerant. Some of the scenery I have developed for Orbx PNW requires changing the coastline to make it more accurate. With the current policy I can't distribute this scenery as it references the Orbx coastline textures. To clarify, even though I don't want (or need) to supply the textures themselves, I can't even reference them!

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The market development for FSX did not turn out in freeware's favor.

Freeware people can build airports and aircrafts where profit margin not a concern.

Payware only follows where most $$$ can be made and demand sufficent to justify it.

 

Still, so much to do, but so little motivation. *Sigh*

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Thanks. I just loaded up on some freeware airports with custom buildings to replace those I was currently just running updated AFCADS.

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Here's another link of various GA, Biz Jets, and legacy aircraft. There are a few still in service today of the airliners, but not many! Built by Alejandro Rojas Lucena! These even feature a working lite FMC!

 

http://simviation.com//fsnd/Downloads.htm

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Freeware development isn't dead as long as someone is still doing it. As long as there are people who likes doing it and people who likes to use freeware add-ons everything's fine.

 

Me, I don't touch freeware unless I have to. As far as I'm concerned it could just as well be dead. Nothing I've seen comes close to the quality produced by A2A, RealAir and PMDG to mention a few, and why should I put up with less than what floats my boat when a good payware plane costs roughly as much as a couple of nights at the pub?

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The lack of detailed and accurate systems is what keeps me drawn to 99% payware, aside the JB stuff (which I might look into as a fill in until PMDG comes out) and Project Tupolev there are not many detailed planes in terms of functionality.

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The lack of detailed and accurate systems is what keeps me drawn to 99% payware, aside the JB stuff (which I might look into as a fill in until PMDG comes out) and Project Tupolev there are not many detailed planes in terms of functionality.

 There's actually a lot of freeware with good systems, such as the ones I included in my original post, among many others. Another example is the great Embraer 110, which, aside from WX Radar, has all systems simulated. You can download it here. http://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/fslib.php?searchid=12316966 It ports into FSX without issue.

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Freeware people can build airports and aircrafts where profit margin not a concern.

Payware only follows where most $$$ can be made and demand sufficent to justify it.

 

Sure, freeware is allowed to do anything.

 

 

As far as I'm concerned it could just as well be dead. Nothing I've seen comes close to the quality produced by A2A, RealAir and PMDG to mention a few, and why should I put up with less than what floats my boat when a good payware plane costs roughly as much as a couple of nights at the pub?

 

Pay my bills, food and socialization cost and I'll produce stuff just as good as that from the aforementioned companies. Oh, wait...that principle sounds familiar...

 

 

 

The lack of detailed and accurate systems is what keeps me drawn to 99% payware, aside the JB stuff (which I might look into as a fill in until PMDG comes out) and Project Tupolev there are not many detailed planes in terms of functionality.

 

Well, there's a very good reason for this as freeware is, in the majority of cases, a one-man show.

 

If anyone has ever experienced how much effin' effort it takes just to make, say, an untextured model of something, apprectiation for freeware might just be a bit higher.

 

 

 There's actually a lot of freeware with good systems, such as the ones I included in my original post, among many others. Another example is the great Embraer 110, which, aside from WX Radar, has all systems simulated. You can download it here. http://www.flightsim.com/vbfs/fslib.php?searchid=12316966 It ports into FSX without issue.

 

And is not easy to repaint by default. I've made a crude paintkit, mainly by adding part outlines to the textures.

Anyone interested?

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Bjoern, on 11 Jul 2013 - 7:51 PM, said:

Pay my bills, food and socialization cost and I'll produce stuff just as good as that from the aforementioned companies. Oh, wait...that principle sounds familiar...

No thanks. I have my own bills to pay. You have to start by producing something first and put it on the market. If it's good enough for me I'll buy it. If not I'm sure there are plenty of others who aren't as picky.

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If anyone has ever experienced how much effin' effort it takes just to make, say, an untextured model of something, apprectiation for freeware might just be a bit higher.

 

 

 

 

+1

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To be blunt it's that very pickiness that's driving the hobby into the gutter....

 

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