N405GJ

Sky Simulations DC-9 v2

Recommended Posts

Hello, I was just browsing the store over at simmarket and found what looks to be an amazing aircraft, from a company I have never heard of. Version 2 has only been out a couple of weeks, and I am really surprised I have not heard of this here. Does anyone own this, or know where I can find a review? If its decent I would purchase this one quickly as the DC-9 is one of my favorite old school birds. Here is a link to their website.

 

http://www.skysimulations.com/index.php?frame=cHJvZHVjdHM=&area=products&code=TWMgRG9ubmVsbCBEb3VnbGFz&cat=TWMgRG9ubmVsbCBEb3VnbGFzIERDOSBWMg==&prod_id=9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

It's been around for quite some time in v1...v2 has been on the avsim front page for 2 weeks now:

http://forum.avsim.net/page/index.html/_/pr-ann/sky-simulations-dc-9-version-20-r2969

 

...and here's an old review from '09:

http://www.simflight.com/2009/11/29/review-sky-simulations-mcdonnell-douglas-dc-9-for-fs2004fsx/

 

Videos of V1 are over at Youtube of course...if you'd like to see it in action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guess that tells you how often I go to the front page. :) I usually come straight to the forums.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends what level of Sim you are after, you may also want to consider the Coolsky DC9, I own it and from the comparison reviews (I don't own the SkySim bird) it is worth considering.

 

Coolsky only gives you the -30 version of the DC9 but very in depth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought v1 in October 2012, about a week after I bought the CoolSky DC-9. I wanted to compare them.

 

I had continuous trouble in trying to download and install the Sky Simulations' product. After 2 months of exchanges of emails not resulting in any success, Sky Simulations said in a joint email (to me and eight others, disclosing to all of us our individual email addresses even though we were strangers to each other) that there had been a batch of bad serial keys. Despite trying the new key, I still had problems. I eventually got the aircraft installed but I can't remember whether I ever bothered to fly it. My focus was then solely on the CoolSky model which I was very impressed with.

 

When v2 was released recently, I bought it because of the discounted price as an upgrade and to see how it compares with the CoolSky. I have not tried to install v2 yet so I can't comment on its looks and performance. Hopefully, the Sky Simulations customer service may have improved as well because, at about the time I was having the service-related problems, so were others, as reflected in this Forum thread: http://forum.avsim.net/topic/392405-sky-simulations-anybody-there/?hl=+simulations%20+dc#82089=

 

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you owned the original and bought the upgrade at the discounted price be aware that the any changes are sublte at best. I bought the update and frankly have been disappointed with little to tell from the original. also cannot get many switches working that where working on the V1 series. still the VC Cockpit, looks a bit better with sharper gauges  - but still blurry photoreal background. The Overhead panel wording is still blurry and hard to read - although better than v1.

 

However, if you have not purchased this before - it is a good buy - with most systems simulated (not all) and all models of the DC 9  10 thru to the DC9 -50  plus cargo version - the externals are quite good, but the cockpit (which has had an overhaul) is still not up to current standards IMHO with blurry backgrounds still visible. (Still, FPS is very reasonable)

 

Having stated the above - It generated a renewed interest to fly DC-9's again and I find myself going back to the Coolsky DC9-30 instead. A model of far greater professionalism in every way - a real delight to fly. So unless you want the lower cost - full range partially simulated model with a reasonable flight model - then I would opt for Espen's Coolsky DC 9  which is more expensive but worth every penny

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone ever seen the DC-9s on sale somewhere?

I'd probably have a weak moment if the price was 15€ or so, because I get the entire range of -9s and not just the -30 as in the CoolSky offering.

 

Until then, the models remain on my "DIY" list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just spend the money on the Coolsky. You will get hours of enjoyment learning how to fly and navigate it properly.  It is one of my absolute favorite add on aircraft. 

 

Colin 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone know if the cool sky dc-9 will work in P3D? The company website says no, but someone else may have got it working. It certainly looks nice from what I see. Can anyone attest to the quality of the VC? I have become spoiled as of late and don't particularly like using 2D pop up's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone know if the cool sky dc-9 will work in P3D? The company website says no, but someone else may have got it working. It certainly looks nice from what I see. Can anyone attest to the quality of the VC? I have become spoiled as of late and don't particularly like using 2D pop up's.

Glad you asked this coz, I too am keen to see if it'll work in P3D v2.5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would just go with the coolsky version, very pleased with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the DC-9 is on sale at Justflight until tomorrow, I ran with it since I basically wanted these birds from their v1 release in 2009.
 
Purchase via Paypal, download and installation to a temporary folder was very straightforward and without hiccups for me. I don't know if it's important, but during activation, I've entered my first and last name without spaces and the installer did not complain. Maybe that's a cause for some installer hiccups, maybe not.
The configuration option for the panel color and aspect ratio basically only changes the content of the texture.cfg and the "panel=" line of the aircraft.cfg, so you're able to mix'n'match to whatever you need for a particular paint.
 
The folder structure appears to be clean and efficient with good use of panel and texture.cfg files. The cockpit sound environment seems to contain sounds for the knobs and switches which does save me the hassle of having to set one up myself.
 
The flap and gear callouts come with a heavy accent since, as far as I know, the devs are from the spanish speaking part of the globe. Not much of a suprise,but to be honest, not really my cup of tea when flying in other parts of the world. But since we're talking about maybe a dozen mere .wav files here, it wouldn't be too hard to get kind of a "co-pilot" exchange pool going. I'd definitely contribute my vocal efforts and write a short "how to".
 
One minor gripe regarding the folder structure is the missed opportunity to further reduce duplication since both texture folders for the blue and grey panels contain <strong>all </strong>shared textures each instead of just those that are actually different (i.e. those for the panel and any cockpit parts in grey or blue). A third folder containing textures shared across each and every model variation, regerdless of panel color, would be much more efficient and easily save 300 MB of disk space.
 
The effects files contain a "_SKY_" declaration, which makes finding them in the "Effects" folder much easier.
The default FSX fx_recog.fx effect will be overwritten during installation, but the file delivered with the DC-9's installer is exactly the same as the default file, save for the file creation date.
 
The model files themselves have around 58000 polies for the exteriors and about 100000 polies for the interiors. Drawcall counters show slightly more than 400 for the exterior and 290 for the interior. The count for the exterior appears to be a bit steep, but considering a lot of animated parts and ground support equipment, as well as being modeled and textured for both FS9 and FSX, it kind of makes sense. Keep in mind that the texture size limit for FS9 is 1024 pixel, so you're not going to see any larger textures. The drawcall count for the interior is due to the same design philosophy. I don't have many models installed to make extensive comparisons, but this weighs in below the default FSXA Hornet (~350) and way below the RAZBAM Metro 3 (~950!). If you can run either, you probably won't have much trouble running the DC-9 at good frame rates. VAS usage is undetermined so far since I did not run it in FSX yet, but if I remember my "efficient VC design 101" rules right, it's best to use a smaller ( < 1024 px) texture for animated elements instead of a larger (>2048 px) one. Since all animated elements use the same material - and thus, the same texture - VAS usage might not be an issue.
 
Not sure what to make of the sound set yet sicne all models share the same engine sound. On one hand, I can perfectly understand this decision since it's basically a single engine model, but on the other, I'd appreciate a bit of variety, especially since the JT8D did evolve over time. Not to mention the hush kits installed in their later life.
But that's not much of an issue since Skyhigh Audio did an excellent soundset for the entire JT8D range. I'll just use that one then, adapted to any peculiarities the SkySimulations DC-9 may have.
 
So far, I am fairly pleased with what I got for 21€ but the actual use in FSX is what counts, not any boring technicalities. Trying to see if any copyright protection interferes with a custom FSX setup (external airplane folder) and livery installation will be the next step.,

 

 

- Edit:
 
I've put the aircraft folders into my external folder and started FSX. No complaints except for the "do you want to run gauge xy" prompts. The models seem to work just fine. Goody!
 
The auto-playing "flaps up" and "gear down" sounds when (re)loading the aircraft have a bit of an annoyance potential.
 
The ground support equipment and its looping animations are a nice touch. Especially the head scratching ramp rat near the cockpit made me laugh a bit. Yep, I usually feel the same way, buddy.
 
Other than that, I've played around in the VC a bit. Not all switches are clickable, especially on the rear overhead, but I can live with that as there's enough other stuff (electric, hydraulic, bleed) to play with and those elements that don't work are not relevant in the context of MSFS' inner workings.
Minor drawbacks I could identify so far are missing sounds for some knobs and levers (needs some modding work from my side), a very long animation for the captain's window (especially when closing) and some blurry textures in non-panel areas and unfortunate texture mapping, e.g. on the yoke. Panels and instruments are legible though and that's what counts. Always keep in mind that this model was cross-developed for use in FS9 (see a few paragraphs above).
The draggable seats and galley area as well as the adjustable speed bugs are nice touches though.
 
A quick performance tests confirms my suspoicion about model efficiency. The scenerio is the usual KJFK at noon on 31L, from the VC at a zoom level of 0.7 and FPS locked at 31. Tons of AI from the NYC area airports and the default, custom scenery objects make this a tough one for every model, default or add-on.
I've pitted the DC-9 against RAZBAM's Metro 3, Tom Ruth's 727, the default 737-800, Dave Maltby's 1-11 (FSX native conversion by yours truly) and the default A321.
Results (aircraft - average FPS over 60 seconds - FPS variance):
Metro 3 - 12.3 - 3.4%
727 - 13.3 - 4.0%
DC-9 - 13.3 - 3.8%
737 - 12.3 - 3.4%
1-11 - 13.1 - 2.2%
A321 - 13.8 - 4.4%
 
As you can see, the benchmarks indicate that the DC-9 will not let you down in busy situations. (I can't really explain why the default 737 copes that badly, especially since the A321 comes out on top. Both are about the same in terms of model complexity and details. Then again, my test methodology isn't the most robust one.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just tried to install some paints. As mentioned in the other thread, the repaint installers from the DC-9's site* are broken and install to "C:\Sims\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\SimObjects\Airplanes\SKYSIM DC9-NN" without any way to change the target.

You simply have to move each livery and aircraft.cfg entry by hand from that folder to your proper DC-9 installation folders and aircraft.cfg to fix this.

 

 

 

*http://skysimulations.com/index.php?frame=cHJvZHVjdHM=&area=products&code=TWMgRG9ubmVsbCBEb3VnbGFz&cat=TWMgRG9ubmVsbCBEb3VnbGFzIERDOSBWMg==&prod_id=9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for chain posting, but editing posts is not allowed after a certain time.

 

Did the shared textures mod to reduce duplication which yields around 280 MB of saved disk space.

 

The camera for the first officer is a bit sluggish, so I've edited the entries in the aircraft.cfg.

 

Did a flight test and noticed that the wind loop produces an ugly popping sound. Two minutes of .wav file editing fixed this.

 

Engine spool behaviour is pretty much default. Meh. Will require a bit of .air file editing.

 

There's no autosave for the tons of custom variables used by the switches, so you have to reset them all after loading a flight. *Sigh* This is the Metroliner all over again...

 

Would have loved to have more information like numerical readouts in the instument tooltips, especially on the overhead as the gauges are a bit hard to read.

 

Does anyone have wiper sounds? They don't appear to work for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's very interesting Bjoern,

I just grabbed the DC-9 from JF (thanks to the offer) and surely would appreciate to make use of your cfg editing (to be available as download ?).

Keep on your excellent review, i'm looking forward to reading it !

Best regards,

Francois

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, once I'm done I'll upload everything. Haven't even started with the sounds yet though.

 

 

Anyway, I went into ultra nitpick mode and checked the exterior models against the DC-9 family guide from Airlinercafé*. I found out that the exterior models are basically a DC9-31/32 with varying fuselage length. There's no leading edge and horizontal stabilizer difference for the -10 and no new wing-body-fairing for the -33 to -51. Also no angled reversers for the -51. At least the -10 has the different wingtips and shorter span.

It would have been nice to have all this on the models, but on the other hand, it's understandable as these things really require a very trained eye.

 

Maybe I'll shoot the devs an e-mail at one point with a request for at least the angled reversers.

 

*http://www.airlinercafe.com/page.php?id=396

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still working on improving the aircraft.

 

  • So far, all of the cockpit sounds are in. With the exception of some C++ coded gauges, every interactive element in the cockpit now emits sound.
  • I've also finished the load/save system, which offers a variety of ways (auto load, timed saves, manual load and save, save with flight save) to save and load cockpit states. These states are specific to each livery, so that you can use multiple save files. There's also a "Cold and Dark" button.
  • The airspeed indicator was recoded in XML and made "smart". You won't have to manually handle the speed bugs anymore as this is now done automatically, depending on bug mode (takeoff or landing), aircraft weight and flap setting. Reference data came from the speed tables in the manual*.
  • More complete altitude callouts on landing**.

 

My next steps are testing everything in flight and working on crew and GPWS sounds.

One voice sample that is not going not make it so far, however, is the one for takeoff thrust. The EPR gauges used to trigger this call are written in C++ and thus, I can not access the variable used for them. Reverse-engineering the gauges and rewriting them in XML is a bit of a daunting task as the gauges surely use a custom mathematical model (since the FSX default one is junk).

At one point along the line, I'll also implement the slow spool-up for the engines.

 

 

Since I had to dig through the DC-9's XML code for the load/save system, I got a pretty good look at it and I can say that it's quite solid.

 

 

 

*These are missing data for the DC9-21. Does anybody have some tables? My workaround so far is simply taking the speeds for the 9-30 and subtracting 6 knots.

**Did the (later) DC-9s have "minimums" announcements or are these Boeing-specific?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First officer calls are in, spool curves are in and I've adapted an aircraft manager from another project to the DC-9. The manager allows you to set payload, fuel, door and panel state from within the cockpit and automatically distinguishes between models (with exception of the freighters).

 

Need to test all this on longer flights and finish up the readme now.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bjoern,

 

Thanks for all your hard work on this project (and your other projects as well)! I purchased the Sky Sim DC9 a few weeks ago when it was on sale. Haven't flown it much yet, looking forward to your tweaks for it.

 

Regards,

Scott

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone else having a bit of trouble with the autopilot?

 

I can live with the auto-adjusting vertical speed wheel, but the inability to hold altitude during turns, the rather slow autothrottle and - sometimes - missing the glide slope capture is a bit unfortunate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone else having a bit of trouble with the autopilot?

 

I can live with the auto-adjusting vertical speed wheel, but the inability to hold altitude during turns, the rather slow autothrottle and - sometimes - missing the glide slope capture is a bit unfortunate.

Your observations match mine too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good. Still a bit puzzled as the AP logic seems fairly solid. Might need to play with the aircraft.cfg values.

 

Just found out that the self-adjusting pitch wheel is a quirk of the real DC-9. Neat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Writing the manual for the aircraft manager at the moment. Here's a look at the fuel page.

 

ucqNJ12.jpg

 

The manager is semi-intelligent and will adapt itself to the currently selected model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now