capt_blackwood

FSX and FSX:SE

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Hey guys (and girls),

I don't think I've posted in these forums before, but If I have, this is an attempt to get into (and stay in) a community that keeps captivating my dreams.

I'm trying to get into FSX:SE on a serious level. I've got a couple of free aircraft that I try to fly with a Saitek X52. I want to improve on this. I've done some research and I know what I want. I want to enjoy GA Flying while preparing myself for having the money one day to actually get a PPL. 

The Proposed setup I have is this: I already have FSX:SE installed with it backed up in a .7z should something hit the fan.

Sceneries: 
US Cities X - Las Vegas (I live in and love Las Vegas, so this is top on my list for scenery)
ORBX FTX Global Base 
ORBX FTX Vector
ORBX FTX OpenLC
Active Sky Next
REX 4 Texture Direct

Traffic:
MyTraffic 6. (From what I've read, I'm thinking this is my best All in One Traffic Solution)

Aircraft:
A2A Simulations: Accu-Sim Cessna 182T (It is one of my life goals to either fly OR Own one of these before I die)
A2A Simulations: Wings of Silver Piper J3 Cub (With Accu-Sim Expansion Pack)
Carenado Cessna 182RG (Why not?)
Aerosoft Diamond DA-20 Katana 4X
Skysim Labs Concorde X (Just in case I decide to go around the world) :)

 

HARDWARE:
1) Saitek Pro Flight Rudder Pedals (I've got the stick and throttle, so...)
2) Saitek Pro Flight Cessna Yoke System
3) Track IR 5 (Maybe?)
4-x) The Add on panels (Radios, switches...as needed)
 

I'd like to know what you think of this proposed setup. I know it may be expensive, but if there's something better or cheaper (but just as good), let me know. I do know I'm not shifting from that A2A Cessna 180 though. That's in stone :) I'm also going to start up a go fund me for this (Well, I'm considering it)

Thanks guys! See you in the Skies!

Edited by capt_blackwood
Title Tweaking and Tag additions

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Well, you can live with the Saitek Flight Stick you have for a while for a while, but obviously if you want enhanced realism for all the aeroplanes you are after, then a yoke will be something to add, however, it is worth noting that the stick you already have suits flying the Diamond DA-20 Katana and the Piper Cub, since both the real aircraft have a stick rather than a yoke. Obviously the others have a yoke, but since you don't have to buy everything all at once, that would mean you could get the DA-20 and the Cub and be fairly realistic control-wise with what you already have. However, unless your stick has a rudder control, or you use the simulation's auto-rudder function, then those Saitek rudder pedals would be worth getting hold of, particularly if you want to eventually get a PPL, since those pedals will get you used to using the proper controls of a real aeroplane There are other rudder pedals available, but I have some of those Saitek ones myself and I think they are pretty good, although keep in mind that you need quite a bit of room under your computer desk to fit them as they are not small. Similarly, the Saitek yoke is one of many available, but it is about the cheapest decent one you can get and it does replicate the controls of a typical GA aeroplane fairly well although it does feature a centre detent, which although found on some real aeroplanes, is not that common, however, the yoke can be modified to remove that feature and make it a bit more like the real thing.

Scenery-wise, that's kind of up to you, but certainly any of the versions of Active Sky are excellent for weather depiction and Rex textures are nice as well.

Track-IR is kind of fun and worth having, it is certainly worth having if you are intending to practice for real flying, since Track-IR requires you to turn your head to pan the view, and that does engender a good habit, because in real GA aeroplanes you should always be looking about for other traffic. And on the subject of traffic, there are plenty of add-ons for FSX which are good, but even the default traffic in FSX is okay if you are not too bothered about it depicting real-world airlines.

With regard to the choices of aeroplanes, again much of that is down to personal preferences, but all the ones you've named are pretty good choices. A2A almost certainly make the best GA aeroplanes you can get for FSX, so you've chosen well with those in particular.

I would go at it slowly in terms of spending money if I were you. Hang around Avsim and check out some of the forum threads and you will fairly quickly determine what the best choices are, and there are indeed many of them.

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9 hours ago, capt_blackwood said:

3) Track IR 5 (Maybe?)

Head tracking definitely improves the realism of the sim and TrackIR is a good product but there are much less expensive options which are equally as good (better, in some ways and less than half price). Posting links seems to be a bit of a hot topic here at the moment so Google OpenTrack. It's freeware but requires an LED point source which you can make yourself or buy from the likes of DelanClip or TrackHat - both companies can supply everything you need, including an adapted webcam, as a package (TrackHat also supply a customised version of OpenTrack).

Once you have things running smoothly, another thing to consider if you want more immersion/realism is to use the built-in DX10 mode. By default it can produce a lot of graphical glitches as Microsoft didn't fully implement it. However, with a commercial piece of software called Steve's DX10 Scenery Fixer it makes FSX come alive. One of the biggest features, apart from slightly better performance, is that you get cockpit shadows which aren't available in the normal DX9 mode. Steve also produces a small add-on to his fixer which gives you cloud shadows on the ground. Both are highly recommended.

9 hours ago, capt_blackwood said:

Carenado Cessna 182RG (Why not?)

I've tried a number of Carenado products over the years and, whilst they always look great, they don't have the most accurate flight models or the same depth of detail as aircraft from the likes of A2A. If you want an add-on which most closely simulates the real aircraft (as much as you can on a PC) I'd personally give Carenado a miss. As Alan said above, A2A really is the gold standard when it comes to GA aircraft.

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It all sounds great, but I saw no mention of your computer.  You will need a stout and hardy one to

handle what you are attempting to throw at it! :cool:  I agree with Chock about keeping the expenditures

down until you get use to flying most of the aircraft provided with the Sim.  I highly suggest going

into the Learning Center and going through the lessons and earning your Flightsim PPL.  Let's

see how many new swear words you can invent and break my record of several many thousands.:laugh:

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If you are truly planning to go for your PPL I would consider photoreal scenery instead for VFR training.  There are some good options for the Las Vegas area.  FSDT has a real nice version of KLAS and FlyTampa is working on a version too.

I would also recommend the book ' Microsoft Flight Simulator for Pilots Real World Training' by Jeff Van West and Kevin Lane-Cummings.

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16 hours ago, charliearon said:

It all sounds great, but I saw no mention of your computer.  You will need a stout and hardy one to

handle what you are attempting to throw at it! :cool:  I agree with Chock about keeping the expenditures

down until you get use to flying most of the aircraft provided with the Sim.  I highly suggest going

into the Learning Center and going through the lessons and earning your Flightsim PPL.  Let's

see how many new swear words you can invent and break my record of several many thousands.:laugh:

 

Flying the aircraft with the sim I can refamilirize myself with starting ASAP.

My current computer (may make you cry)
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K @ 3.40Ghz (4 Core Hyperthreaded to 8)
RAM16 GB DDR3 Ram
OS: Windows 10 Pro x64 (It was free...and I'm happy with it) 
GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 560 TI 1GB RAM <<< This may be updated first.
SOUND: Creative Labs SoundBlaster (May enable onboard audio for Voice some time in the future)
Disk Space (Here we go): 1X 120 GB SSD, 2x 500GB HDDs (2.5inch from laptops), 2x 2TB HDDs (3.5inch)

 

13 hours ago, Clutch Cargo said:

If you are truly planning to go for your PPL I would consider photoreal scenery instead for VFR training.  There are some good options for the Las Vegas area.  FSDT has a real nice version of KLAS and FlyTampa is working on a version too.

I would also recommend the book ' Microsoft Flight Simulator for Pilots Real World Training' by Jeff Van West and Kevin Lane-Cummings.

Personally, I'm not too certain about photo-real, it looked flat when I tried some stuff. As for the book. That was the first thing I got within weeks of getting FSX:SE

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6 hours ago, capt_blackwood said:

My current computer (may make you cry)
CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K @ 3.40Ghz (4 Core Hyperthreaded to 8)
RAM16 GB DDR3 Ram
OS: Windows 10 Pro x64 (It was free...and I'm happy with it) 
GPU: nVidia GeForce GTX 560 TI 1GB RAM <<< This may be updated first.

FSX is very much a CPU/single core dependent program. As such, upgrading just your GPU now will not really help anything performance-wise. A new GPU will allow you to enable more exotic antialiasing settings like sparse grid supersampling but the CPU is what really determines how well FSX runs. That said, your current graphics card is likely to struggle with the textures in some of the add-ons you're proposing to get.

In the first instance I would look at overclocking your 2600k processor - you should be able to comfortably get it to over 4GHz. See: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/sandy-bridge-overclocking-efficiency,review-32107.html. Overclocking tends to give you a proportional improvement in performance in FSX - a 20% overclock should give a similar improvement in FPS. Best of all, it may cost you nothing to achieve this. You'll need a decent CPU cooler but, even if you have to buy a new one, these are not very expensive.

What screen resolution are you using (this will really determine which graphics card will work best)?

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4 hours ago, vortex681 said:

FSX is very much a CPU/single core dependent program. As such, upgrading just your GPU now will not really help anything performance-wise. A new GPU will allow you to enable more exotic antialiasing settings like sparse grid supersampling but the CPU is what really determines how well FSX runs. That said, your current graphics card is likely to struggle with the textures in some of the add-ons you're proposing to get.

In the first instance I would look at overclocking your 2600k processor - you should be able to comfortably get it to over 4GHz. See: http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/sandy-bridge-overclocking-efficiency,review-32107.html. Overclocking tends to give you a proportional improvement in performance in FSX - a 20% overclock should give a similar improvement in FPS. Best of all, it may cost you nothing to achieve this. You'll need a decent CPU cooler but, even if you have to buy a new one, these are not very expensive.

What screen resolution are you using (this will really determine which graphics card will work best)?

I'll take a look at overclocking. But, like you said I'll need a better cooler..I'll take care of that eventually.

The Resolution I'm using is 1920x1080 <<< I'd like to stay at that resolution if possible. I know the 560's gonna struggle...I'm considering one of two options here a 1050 ti or a 1060 (I'm not willing to go for the 1080s as they are more expensive than my rent) 

This morning I just reactivated my VATSIM account. I know it's a little early. But I'm thinking once a week I can pop in and do a flight. It does look rather intimidating, for now. I do know I'll need printouts of the base airport I've selected North Las Vegas KVGT (I think) Either that or set FSX into windowed mode and load the printouts onto Screen 2 (which operates at 1280x1024)

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15 minutes ago, capt_blackwood said:

I'm considering one of two options here a 1050 ti or a 1060 (I'm not willing to go for the 1080s as they are more expensive than my rent) 

I would go for the 1060 (specifically the 6GB version) which would give you more headroom for future add-ons and should run really well at 1920x1080. The 1050 Ti only has 4GB of VRAM which might be a limitation in some situations.  With regards to a cooler, most modern coolers come with adapters for a wide variety of CPU/socket combinations so should also be usable for any future updates (check before you buy).

It's so easy spending someone else's money!

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Right. So I've been digging around and discovered something called MegaSceneryEarth.

This caught my eye: http://www.megasceneryearth.com/store/cart.php?target=product&product_id=1034&category_id=140

It looks bloody beautiful. It's more expensive than US Cities X: Las Vegas: https://www.aerosoft.com/us/fsxp3d/flight-simulator-x-steam/sceneries/436/us-cities-x-las-vegas

I love both...granted I can't buy any of this yet...just paid all my bills :( LOL

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49 minutes ago, capt_blackwood said:

Right. So I've been digging around and discovered something called MegaSceneryEarth.

This caught my eye: http://www.megasceneryearth.com/store/cart.php?target=product&product_id=1034&category_id=140

It looks bloody beautiful. It's more expensive than US Cities X: Las Vegas: https://www.aerosoft.com/us/fsxp3d/flight-simulator-x-steam/sceneries/436/us-cities-x-las-vegas

I love both...granted I can't buy any of this yet...just paid all my bills :( LOL

I have Megascenery California for P3dV4 and I love it.  It is a challenging install, not everything worked and I had to manually edit my scenery.cfg to add the sceneries in the end, but it worked and it was much better than me trying to use FSEarthtiles to create the scenery myself.  They are currently in the midst of updating their products from version 2 to version 3.  I couldn't wait so I went with California version 2.  It is such a great enhancement to the VFR flying experience.  Expensive if you want to cover the world.  I use FSEarthtiles for inland areas and I purchase MSE for coastal areas.  It's a fair mix of doing it on my own and supporting payware.  If you want to try FSEarthtiles I have an .ini file and the steps needed to create your own inland scenery.  I am not good with working on coastal areas with it however.

The key is to put the SDK tools in the FSET folder so it can see them, then having the .ini file set up properly for your photoreal sources and scenery layout.  Photoreal scenery does have a flat appearance below 1000 ft AGL, that's the only downside to it.  But higher than that, it compares well to real life flying as perspectives change for the pilot.  It is fun to search for an airport amidst photoreal scenery, just as in real life the airports can be sometimes hard to spot in urban areas.

I helped Microsoft way back when, I created a tool called Landclass Assistant that allowed simmers to update landclass to mimic real life.  It still works today, even in P3d, although I don't use it anymore since I switched to photoreal scenery.

John

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As I'm going around looking for sceneries, aircraft and a few others. I'm noticing that not all of the add-ons have FSX:SE listed as a compatible game. I've been wondering. Is there any difference between the simulators? A good example, some people say that WoAI works in FSX but not FSX:SE. 

So, what's the difference? I do know that SE is considerably newer. 

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FSX Steam Edition is the one to have, it is considerably expanded in comparison to the original boxed/download version of FSX, in that the Steam version includes all of the expansion disks and patches which were available for the original, plus the common tweaks people did to fix errors in it, and it was recompiled to run a bit better on more modern systems. It's also pretty cheap to buy, being normally 19.99, but it often goes on sale for 7.99 on Steam if you keep an eye open for such sales, usually things like Labor Day, Black Friday, Bank holidays, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas etc, so you never have to wait too long to get it for less.

As far as add-ons go, there is literally only one of the many add-ons I've got for the original FSX which did not like installing into FSX-SE, and that was Ultimate Terrain, everything else I've ever bought for FSX installed into FSX SE no problem, and to be honest, I bet I could have got UT to install in it if I'd have been bothered to faff about with it a bit.

So yeah, you really want FSX-SE, it runs better in terms of frame rates, it crashes less with out of memory VAS errors, has better online multiplayer stuff and is far less hassle to install too.

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Essentially, FSX:SE is just FSX Gold with a few internal tweaks. As such, anything which worked with the boxed version should work with SE. Any problems tend to be caused by SE installing into a different location than the boxed version and some (very few, and mostly older) add-ons seem to be hard-coded to look in the original location for FSX and fail as a result. I don't have WoAI but everything I do have works normally with FSX:SE.

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One thing you should be aware of, is that despite the fact that you can buy a lot of add-ons with little hassle directly from Steam, which makes the installation process for those add-ons a no brainer, it is nevertheless sometimes still worth buying them from another place and installing them manually.

Why? Because quite a few Steam versions of products are chopped down in comparison to the full versions bought directly from the developer. A good example of this is many of the add-on aeroplanes. You will find a few of them come with less varied liveries in their Steam DLC version than they have in a version bought from another source. This is presumably to do with licensing of logos in liveries etc, and whilst it's not an insurmountable problem, since repaints can be added manually, it is nevertheless the case.

Also, you can cut yourself off from loyalty discounts from developers when buying through Steam, as the registration process via Steam bypasses you having to deal with the developer when installing Steam DLC. A good example of this would be: buy an add on Cessna from Just Flight and you'd gain about 140 points in their reward scheme, which is worth a discount of about a Dollar or so off future purchases from them, but buy the same thing from Steam directly and you'd miss out on those points, but what is also true, is that if they subsequently added an expansion to that product or a V2 version, they might offer a discount for previous buyers of the original, but you'd miss out on that too going through Steam to buy it because there would be no detailed personal record of your purchase in the developer's database. 

Another thing is that some TPDs can be slow to update their Steam versions of products with a patch, whereas their direct sales versions generally get patched pretty quickly. So whilst FSX-SE is worth having for sure, buying DLC from Steam for it is not always the best option since these will usually install without problems even when not sourced directly from Steam, thus it's worth shopping around for stuff. On the upside however, Steam DLC for FSX-SE is very often subject to Flash Sales which makes the stuff so cheap that'd you'd be mental not to buy it at that price, for example, I think I got the Virtavia Rockwell B2 Bomber for FSX-SE the other week for about three quid or some such, and there was no way I wasn't going to buy it at that price. If I'd had the original boxed FSX instead of the Steam version, I'd not have been able to take advantage of that, so there's another reason to have the Steam version of FSX too.

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