JNS

New to X-Plane, Add-Ons question

Recommended Posts

Hi.  I just bought XP-11 to try it.  I've been using FSX and P3D.  Could someone please tell me what are considered the "must-have" add-ons for this sim?  I'm not so concerned with aircraft, but more about functional utilites, i.e. weather, traffic, scenery, ATC, etc..

Thanks.

Jeff Smith

Share this post


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

The nice thing about XPlane is that a lot of good stuff is free. Here is a fairly comprehensive list:

https://www.reddit.com/r/flightsim/comments/4iof0b/xplane_freeware_primer/

As for payware:

Weather

There's two main options at this point: Xenviro and SkyMaxx Pro. I personally prefer xEnviro because it looks much better visually to me, especially in terms of how it represents scale, distance, and smoothness in clouds. SkyMaxx Pro looks a bit nicer close up, but clouds generally stay in a relatively small area around your plane. At airliner altitudes it looks like you're flying over a bowl of mashed potatoes.... The new update released today purportedly fixes this somewhat, but from screenshots I've seen xEnviro is still better in this regard. Be warned, though, xE uses 2D clouds that generally look OK but can sometimes look a little billboard-y. Also, you can't set custom weather, while in SMP you can (although this is on the xE roadmap). xE also has rather infamously delayed their 1.07 update for a long time, but this is because they're working on a totally new particle-based cloud system. According to an update made to their facebook page a few days ago, it'll be released "Soon". All this being said, the default weather generation in XP might be to your liking. Try out the freeware options before settling on payware.

Traffic

Two options again, neither are good. X-Life from JAR Designs is free, but creates 'random' flights so you'll see US Airways Embraers at Jakarta or Air New Zealand 777s in Duluth... There's a somewhat passable ATC addon for it for $10. The other option is World Traffic. That program allows you to set flights on a per-airport basis. You put in how many flights each airline should fly daily into the airport and what general equipment (Widebody/Narrowbody/Turboprop, etc) and then schedules are randomly generated. Unfortunately, there isn't any way to get the ultra-precise AI Traffic like we see in MSFS right now. 

Scenery

MisterX6, who has created detailed renditions of many big airports in the US like KSFO and KLAX for free, recently released a payware KSLC. It's beautiful and definitely worth the money. If you peruse the x-plane.org store you'll find lots of airport scenery addons. Drzewiecki Design has converted most of their FSX/P3D airports and cities to XPlane. My personal favorite payware airports are KSLC by MisterX, EHAM by Aerosoft, and CYBD Bella Coola by Beti-X (the latter is Orbx quality IMO).

ATC

Vatsim or Pilotedge. Seriously. It irks me to see so many people list the terrible ATC as a valid reason to give XP a pass, when the default FSX/P3D ATC is only marginally better. You simply can't simulate a realistic ATC environment automatically using current computing methods, especially for a home simulator. Maybe in 50 years, but until then real people are the way to go. If you are super adverse to making a fool of yourself over the radio (like me), 124th ATC is a freeware plugin that refines XPlane's default ATC to make it generally logical and usable. 

 

If I had to highlight two addons as a 'must haves', they're xEnviro and Ortho4XP. It really adds a lot to the XPlane environment and looks very realistic in my eyes. The high pice of $70 is more than offset by the fact that you'll use it each and every time you fire up the sim. And Ortho4XP is totally free and takes everything to the next level. It's really easy to set up and having crisp orthos with realistic autogen on top looks stunning in the sim. 

 

Finally, I'd recommend taking some time to brows the files section of forums.x-plane.org. There's so much useful freeware out there, and generally everything made for XP10 should work well in XP11 (except for some aircraft)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, Hamoody, thanks for the very comprehensive answer!  I do appreciate it.  I will start going over it all and figure out what I should do next.

Thanks again.

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, hamoody said:

The nice thing about XPlane is that a lot of good stuff is free. Here is a fairly comprehensive list:

https://www.reddit.com/r/flightsim/comments/4iof0b/xplane_freeware_primer/

As for payware:

Weather

There's two main options at this point: Xenviro and SkyMaxx Pro. I personally prefer xEnviro because it looks much better visually to me, especially in terms of how it represents scale, distance, and smoothness in clouds. SkyMaxx Pro looks a bit nicer close up, but clouds generally stay in a relatively small area around your plane. At airliner altitudes it looks like you're flying over a bowl of mashed potatoes.... The new update released today purportedly fixes this somewhat, but from screenshots I've seen xEnviro is still better in this regard. Be warned, though, xE uses 2D clouds that generally look OK but can sometimes look a little billboard-y. Also, you can't set custom weather, while in SMP you can (although this is on the xE roadmap). xE also has rather infamously delayed their 1.07 update for a long time, but this is because they're working on a totally new particle-based cloud system. According to an update made to their facebook page a few days ago, it'll be released "Soon". All this being said, the default weather generation in XP might be to your liking. Try out the freeware options before settling on payware.

Traffic

Two options again, neither are good. X-Life from JAR Designs is free, but creates 'random' flights so you'll see US Airways Embraers at Jakarta or Air New Zealand 777s in Duluth... There's a somewhat passable ATC addon for it for $10. The other option is World Traffic. That program allows you to set flights on a per-airport basis. You put in how many flights each airline should fly daily into the airport and what general equipment (Widebody/Narrowbody/Turboprop, etc) and then schedules are randomly generated. Unfortunately, there isn't any way to get the ultra-precise AI Traffic like we see in MSFS right now. 

Scenery

MisterX6, who has created detailed renditions of many big airports in the US like KSFO and KLAX for free, recently released a payware KSLC. It's beautiful and definitely worth the money. If you peruse the x-plane.org store you'll find lots of airport scenery addons. Drzewiecki Design has converted most of their FSX/P3D airports and cities to XPlane. My personal favorite payware airports are KSLC by MisterX, EHAM by Aerosoft, and CYBD Bella Coola by Beti-X (the latter is Orbx quality IMO).

ATC

Vatsim or Pilotedge. Seriously. It irks me to see so many people list the terrible ATC as a valid reason to give XP a pass, when the default FSX/P3D ATC is only marginally better. You simply can't simulate a realistic ATC environment automatically using current computing methods, especially for a home simulator. Maybe in 50 years, but until then real people are the way to go. If you are super adverse to making a fool of yourself over the radio (like me), 124th ATC is a freeware plugin that refines XPlane's default ATC to make it generally logical and usable. 

 

If I had to highlight two addons as a 'must haves', they're xEnviro and Ortho4XP. It really adds a lot to the XPlane environment and looks very realistic in my eyes. The high pice of $70 is more than offset by the fact that you'll use it each and every time you fire up the sim. And Ortho4XP is totally free and takes everything to the next level. It's really easy to set up and having crisp orthos with realistic autogen on top looks stunning in the sim. 

 

Finally, I'd recommend taking some time to brows the files section of forums.x-plane.org. There's so much useful freeware out there, and generally everything made for XP10 should work well in XP11 (except for some aircraft)

That comprehensive list is long in tooth ! RTH doesn't even work anymore, etc....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, JNS said:

Wow, Hamoody, thanks for the very comprehensive answer!  I do appreciate it.  I will start going over it all and figure out what I should do next.

Thanks again.

Jeff

Xplane.org is your friend ! Get familiar with the download section and the various forums sections there !

Austin is working on a ATC update !

World traffic 3.0(AI) is on the horizon, keep an eye out for that.

Exenviro is working on a update, should be out soon !

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As has been said, there really are no "must-have" (i.e. without them the sim is ugly and without purpose) addons: Just take flight (I'd choose the great default C172, the 737 or the MD-80) and then evaluate what you think could be improved and look it up on the .org. There are lots of great options for airports (MisterX, other freeware, payware), scenery (world2XP, simheaven, ortho4xp), tools (124th ATC, X-RAAS, X-Enviro/SkyMaxx for weather). If you want to know more about expansive addons before purchasing, read the reviews which are linked at the .org store or watch some videos on YouTube (Q8Pilot or catstrator for instance I found to be helpful). 

Always pay attention if the addons are ready for XP11! Just don't get too many things at once, take your time and do it step by step so you can really evaluate which plugins are good and which ones you maybe dont need. Also make sure you pay attention to things like scenery order if you go the w2xp or ortho4xp route. Read the read-mes! (In general, XP is much more easy to use and mod than FSX was, but you still shouldn't just throw everything at it without familiarizing yourself with it, because that inevitably leads to problems at some point.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Domae001, thanks for the advice.  I'm starting to see the pattern here of certain plugin names that are popular (with their pros and cons) and it is this kind of information that I was looking for.  Hopefully, I will be taking my first flight in XP today and then make some decisions.  I appreciate everyone's help with this.

Thanks.

Jeff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are like me and dislike flying on Vatsim because all the controllers with the exception of 2 sound like they have 2 cent microphones shoved down their throats (may be the codex they use for voice compression) there is a VERY viable offline payware ATC solution for XP11;  PILOT2ATC is very powerful and does both IFR and VFR flights with full speech recognition.  It uses TTS voices for its speech which means you can buy realistic voices and plug them in directly into windows and Pilot2ATC will use those voices.   It understands FULL SID/STAR procedures including altitude restrictions and speed restrictions.   The only thing it can't do with XP is AI Traffic handling but that is because the AI traffic engine in XP11 is a little.. dismal to be honest.   There are add-ons for that mentioned above that can make it much better but those add-ons cannot talk to P2A yet.   Dave, the creator, has it on his radar for consideration.   I have zero complaints about P2A.    Some say the price tag is too high and I say they are wrong for what you get.    Flight planning, flight tracking, moving maps, speech recognition, SID/STARS, VFR and IFR simulation, etc.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pilot2ATC is fantastic. In my opinion it is the very best ATC for X-Plane. 

 

Mark

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great summary, can you do the same for aircraft? With Ortho and all the talk of X plane lighting it is a very interesting sim to consider. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/4/2017 at 6:25 PM, MarkW said:

Great summary, can you do the same for aircraft? With Ortho and all the talk of X plane lighting it is a very interesting sim to consider. 

Here is what I have and my feedback...

FlightFactor 757 v2 - excellent aircraft and one of my favorite. Good for someone just looking to jump in and fly or the more experienced study-sim user who wants to follow flows and procedures. Just works and always follows route in FMC etc. One issue I have is that the fuel calculations in the FMC do not quite add-up. I put in a route and it says "insufficient fuel". So I add more fuel. When I finish the flight I have half a tank of fuel left! Note the 767 is essentially the same and just as good.

IXEG 737-300 - amazing immersion. Just released update 1.1, although says not XP11 compatible, it works just fine for me in XP11 with no issues thus far. You just have to go into plane-maker and check the APU box when you first install it, otherwise you can not start the APU. Sounds are amazing, Although I am into more modern planes, this is my number 1 airliner to fly in any sim.

JAR A330 - I only just got this on the recent Memorial Day sale. It looks great to the eye, but I have only flown it once and it would not follow the flight plan. I need to spend more time with it.

SG 747-8i and 8F - very underrated. It looks great and flies well. You really get the feeling of flying a heavy aircraft. I have tried a couple of long-hauls (London to Boston) and it did well with accurate fuel consumption etc. Systems are modeled well, but not to the PMDG 747 level.

FlightFactor A350 - another eye-candy add-on which looks great with nice reflections on the fuselage. Needs a major update due to some bugs so I do not fly it. It works well for short-hops, but not sure if I would trust it for a long distance. I did try a Hong Kong to London with it and the sim crashed an hour before arrival! Although it may be a scenery and not aircraft related issue. Before that it performed well, with accurate fuel burn and time in the 10+ hours of flight time. The FMC does not support SIDS/STARS, but there is a work around. You can download for free X-FMC and do the route on there and import into the aircraft. Q8 Pilot has a Youtube tutorial video on this. I would only recommend this if you pick it up in a sale for $35. They are supposedly bringing out an updated "professional" version in a year or two.

Others... I do not have the CRJ-200, but I hear it is solid and a new version is coming out later this year which should be very good. I would pass on the JAR A320 and wait for the FlightFactor one later this year. Also the Rotate MD-80 looks solid and seems to be well received with the latest 1.3 update. ATS are meant to be releasing a MD-88 too which is study level with deep systems, but they have had some major bugs and have failed to release it for several months now, with constant delays.

Overall, I now fly about 90% in XP11, 10% P3D. I find the aircraft much easier to fly and better handling than in P3D. I don't know why, I just consistently produce better landings in XP11. When I go back to P3D, the flying seems clunky.

The Scenery with Orthos is amazing. The only thing holding me back is the weather/ clouds, seasons and the washed out colors. xEnviro is still no AS16. But hopefully they get better in the future. Also note that there is a ton of quality community scenery for free. You can get into XP11 for little money, compared to P3D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bag another one for X-Plane... (the Steam sale had something to do with it:) Thanks to the OP for starting this thread since I was sort of wondering about a similar premise as X-Plane downloads (hour and half @ 11MB/s).

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