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GCBraun

2017 was the best year in FS history - some considerations of current market trends (P3D, XP11, FSX, etc)

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14 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Mr.X HD Trees are a nice freeware but not as good as Turbulent or Orbx HD Trees (payware) on FSX/P3D side ... and that's key element, payware bring about more polish and most importantly support.

Besides MisterX "HD forests" and simheaven's "Forests", there are other HD trees projects for X-Plane that are currently under development and that I am aware of on good authority. Turbulent Designs is also rumored to be working on a Terraflora version for XP:
https://flightdeckx.com/turbulent-designs-terraflora-coming-to-x-plane/
If confirmed, that would be another great addition.

x-Camera (registered) is another tool (payware if registered) that could be improved on when compared to FSFX Packages ChasePlane ... the payware ChasePlane is far easier to manage and assign views/cameras with a clean UI ... and if you want additional camera effects like you find in ChasePlane then on the XP11 side XPRealistic (payware $20) which will integrate with x-camera (for $30 total for both).  Chaseplane is also more aircraft aware to avoid conflicts with any existing aircraft effects.


The registered X-Camera version only costs $12 compared to Chaseplane (which costs $39 and is  still a beta). XPRealistic is simply supported. There is no need to add it unless you really want. Maybe X-Camera will integrate HiFi weather effects one day, as soon as HiFi will come to X-Plane, just as Ezdok did with version 2 for FSX and P3D. As it is, though, X-Camera already offers a huge amount of features that, in all honestly, greatly surpass anything I have ever seen in many years on the ESP side. There is a wide variety of chase view, target following, tracking, auto-advance options, adjustable controls for X, Y, Z, heading and pitch, not less than 5 or 6 different fully customizable transition types, tons of external view capabilities, including AI perspective, zoom and FOV settings, walk mode, free mode etc. In terms of user friendliness, X-Camera allows to create up to 2000 cameras per airport automatically. All you need to do is clicking twice with your mouse to instantly get 5 categories of airport views (starting locations, runways, signs etc.), obviously each single view being fully customizable. The same applies to orbit and fly-by views, which can be created automatically with no more than 2 clicks and then adjusted as you like. Creating an aircraft-specific cockpit or external cinematic sequence is a breeze. One video tutorial is normally enough to learn the basics. Obviously, for people who do not make videos and do not bother with advanced camera features, the freeware version is more than enough. Not to mention that the default camera system in X-Plane is itself much more advanced and efficient than the equivalent on the ESP side (in fact, even the the most experienced X-Planers tend to use the default camera system, based on my experience on YouTube).

Moving onto AI traffic and ground services, we have World Traffic 3 (payware) and JARDesign Ground handling/deluxe (payware 16e) ... but compared to P3D/FSX equivalents like UTLive or GSX, these XP11 equivalents require considerable work to implement on an airport by airport basis.  On the P3D side you can pretty much install UTLive and GSX and be done with it (there are a wealth of customization options but they are NOT required to enjoy the full experience).  It's not that XP11 can't do these things, it can, it just needs more refinement and frankly more payware because to implement AI traffic and ground services on a global level in XP11 is going to take A LOT of development time.


WT3 fully supports Navigraph since version 2, supports SID/STARS and real traffic, offers a great variety of options, can be fully customized (gate assignments, amount of traffic, amount of GA aircraft etc.) and also provides a simple but efficient traffic radar feature, which includes a camera to track each single AI aircraft in the area. If an airport comes with taxi routes already compiled in WED, WT3 auto-generates flights and taxi routes with one single click in no more than 5 minutes for the bigger airport and few seconds for the smaller ones. Otherwise, you can create taxi routes yourself in WED (the logic is no different than AFCAD for the ESP counterpart). For people who are unable to make edits in WED or simply do not want to bother with this, a long list of free customized ground routes is available on the org for most major airports (created by users). Newer scenery releases like KAWO by airfoillabs already offer an install option with static aircraft and another option without static aircraft and pre-compiled ground routes for people who prefer WT3 to automatically populate gates. For the records, most of us keep WT3 traffic to 70% with a negligible impact on frames. Besides WT3, there are several other ground handling products, there is a very nice freeware for pushback, there are at least two airport navigator tools (one payware by Flight Factor for advanced users, one freeware, but extremely efficient). None of them require more time for setting than any other counterpart for ESP, at least based on my personal experience.

It's great that XP11 has a lot of free products, so does P3D and FSX, and I can understand the willing desire to use these products and take the time to make it happen in XP11 with the rewards that brings.  BUT, there are equally more users that want payware solutions where they can just hit an Install Button and be done ... it's certainly doable for XP11 and we're slowly starting to see that with newer payware developers for XP11.  Can't really have any expectations for "Freeware" ... but we can for payware.


Sorry, but I have to disagree again. X-Plane is no longer "the flight sim with freeware addons". I understand there is a kind of consensus within the community about this, I was also misled for long time as an FSX user. There is only one problem: this is simply not true anymore. Things are changing and very rapidly. A great number of 3rd party developers already came or are coming to X-Plane and the quality bar is raising dramatically. The times of Lego blocks and homemade addon aircraft created by passionate simmers "after dinner" are gone forever. Only in the last few months a long list of high quality payware aircraft have been released, from liners to GA aircraft, not to mention updates of aircraft originally developed for XP10 that now fully support XP11 features like PBR, G1000 and much more. On the scenery side the payware offer is even greater. Every day a new scenery is announced for 2018. The same will hopefully apply soon also to HiFi, REX and other developers, if we believe some rumors. There are also rumors about ATC addons under development, although, in all honestly, I am pretty skeptical about this specific kind of products based on my ESP experience. I am afraid that the PilotEdge concept is the way to go in the future for people who require an advanced ATC environment.

Just like FSUIPC add-on is freeware and used by other add-on developers on the P3D/FSX side, we have FlyWithLua and Gizmo64 freeware plugins on the XP11 side.  Many similarities between these platforms, but some of the missing elements of XP11 is going to require payware just because of the scope of the projects to get to that polished stage of payware.


FSUIPC is a great tool, but if you want to use it with some 3rd party products, a payware registered version is required. FlyWithLua is a scripting language that allows users and developers to add custom behavior and scripts to the sim. It's completely free. Gizmo is a commercial programming environment/SDK for payware aircraft. It is not needed for the average user, unless you buy certain aircraft, in which case it simply comes built-in.  

Honestly, I think there is still a lot of misinformation surrounding X-Plane. On the other side, though, it is true that the sim itself is still unpolished. Despite its great potential (the Vulkan addition sounds very promising), it still has several annoying issues that definitely spoil the user's experience. While night lighting, G1000 and more recently VR support were great additions in XP11, daytime lighting is far from being convincing and is definitely worse than XP10 (especially the backlight effect on trees in really awful). Mesh handling is still very primitive and this is a major limitation for scenery developers. Default clouds and sky textures are poor and only an expensive addon like x-Enviro makes things a little better, at least as long as HiFi will not fill this gap (hopefully). Unquestionably, there is still a lot of work ahead for Laminar and I definitely agree that a "blind eye" is still required in many cases. However, I don't think that lack of 3rd party support is a problem anymore. Quite the contrary, x-planers are now facing the serious problem of the increasing price of newer addons. After all, we can't have the cake and eat it.

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Present day reminds of the early days of computing when I had stacks of flight "simulators" on the shelves, from "Chuck Yeager's Advanced Flight Trainer" to "Flight Assignment: A.T.P.". Looking at my Windows desktop I now have 12 simulators installed (FS9, FSX, FSX-SE, P3Dv2, P3Dv3, P3Dv4, Aerofly FS2, XP10, XP11, FSW, DCS, Il-2), and can't wait for number 13 to hit the shelves: Deadstick (http://deadsticksimulator.com/).

We're living in the second golden era of flight simming ladies and gentlemen - be happy! I wouldn't be surprised if I've played some 100 flight related game titles over the years, but nothing comes close to the realism and immersive expereience I'm now having with Prepar3D v4.1. It's a great time to be involved in this hobby. There are moment of greatness to be had in XP11 and AFS2 as well, and I see great potential in FSW. Let's just hope one or all three of these can catch up to P3D in terms of features before it's too late.

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Simmerhead - Making the virtual skies unsafe since 1987! 

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 some things i read in this thread makes me laugh.

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Around here there's an old saying: 

"Quem o feio ama, bonito lhe parece...."


Use your flight simulators with a well defined purpose...

Don't expect them to be "perfect" or to fully cover all aspects of simulated flight...

Try to enjoy it instead of stressing... ( in few words - don't be like me ... )

 

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Or what they say here...

"Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder."

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I stopped reading the post at the top of page four. To the OP, I feel 2017 was the year of the platforms and 2018 is shaping up to be the year of the addons. Seeing developers enter into different platforms and starting to offer cross platform support is a huge win for the community. All the while the platforms are all full steam ahead on developing new features, patches and any bug fixes to the current versions.  Instead of the old days of create a release, fix major bugs and then wait two plus years for a whole new sim which usually resulted in many addons being broke.

I feel like the move of simmers is gravitating towards having multiple sims on their computer. While they might have a dominate sim of choice, there are others that are just too good to not also have ready to use. It seems it would be easy to say that PMDG and A2A have a very loyal and strong user base and for that reason P3D/FSX have a solid user base that have no options on the other platforms. Of all the addon companies, I feel those two are the ones to have the biggest demand to offer cross platform support seeing Orbx has already moved in that direction.

2018 will be all about the addons and how they enhance the platforms. There seems to be little indication that something huge will change in the sim platforms this years. If any it would seem to be more in FSW and AFS2 as those two are still maturing and have many areas they still could create features for.

I know I certainly look forward to 2018 and what goodies it will bring.  

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3 hours ago, barrel_owl said:

X-Camera already offers a huge amount of features that, in all honestly, greatly surpass anything I have ever seen in many years on the ESP side.

We'll disagree, certainly does NOT surpass Chaseplane (especially on the UI perspective ... binding of events/axis happens directly in CP not via another feature area within XP11) and P3D camera system is very similar and slightly more powerful when it comes mapping to controller axis ... but since we're on the topic of X-camera, perhaps you can help me get it setup for an XBox controller ... as of right now if I use the axis for camera and view and x-camera the motion will continue to float in a direction (calibration doesn't seem to resolve this).  At first I thought it was some interaction issue with XPRealistic, but disable that and problem persists.  I attempted to setup "null" zones in XP11 for the XBox controller but it appears as if the sensitives are global for all controllers not specific to a single controller so that option wouldn't work, I couldn't find any place to setup Null zones to stop the X-camera/xbox controller drift ... any suggestions?

4 hours ago, barrel_owl said:

If an airport comes with taxi routes already compiled in WED, WT3 auto-generates flights and taxi routes with one single click in no more than 5 minutes for the bigger airport and few seconds for the smaller ones.

And many airports do NOT come with Taxi routes, the process to generate/compile the files at more complex airports can take 20-30 minutes even on high end hardware.  And you need to repeat this process for every airport that doesn't have taxi routes.  And then there are the operations files that are needed to prevent aircraft from doing crazy stuff like flying into mountains ... NONE of this is required on the P3D side with a product like UTLive.

4 hours ago, barrel_owl said:

Sorry, but I have to disagree again. X-Plane is no longer "the flight sim with freeware addons".

Three KEY "freeware" products needed are FlyWithLua, Gizmo64, HD Mesh V4, and water Lua to remove the rather nasty looking XP11 water patterns.  WT3 (payware) requires that you go download additional "freeware" as part of it's installation process.  But I do tend to agree with you that there is now more quality payware products being released for XP11. 

4 hours ago, barrel_owl said:

FSUIPC is a great tool, but if you want to use it with some 3rd party products, a payware registered version is required.

False, there isn't a single 3rd party product that requires the "payware" version of FSUIPC.

But just so you are aware, I'm not "new" to XPlane ... have been using it on/off since version 7 (or was it version 8).  But honestly, you don't need to get defensive about XP11 and the information I provided IS accurate and NOT misinformation.  I'm certainly NOT bashing XP11.  XP11 has weak/strong points just as P3D does, think I was pretty clear about that and users will have to fly with a "blind eye" in either simulator or both.

4 hours ago, barrel_owl said:

However, I don't think that lack of 3rd party support is a problem anymore. Quite the contrary, x-planers are now facing the serious problem of the increasing price of newer addons. After all, we can't have the cake and eat it.

I don't consider increasing prices as a problem ... that usually (not always) means increased quality and most important includes support (updates and fixes) and will move the quality bar up for payware products ... this is a good thing.  Xplane still needs more 3rd party and more choices, and they're getting it in 2018, so this is good also ... competition within 3rd party benefits end users.

I do agree with you that there is a lot of misinformation being passed around and often sourced by users that have no actual experience in the product/platform in question ... but this thread was about NOT making walls and being open and receptive to all flight simulator platforms.  I'm seeing more users open to multi-platform (per OP), I think this is good, it establishes some diversity and gives users a real feel of what platform X is like vs platform Y vs. platform W ... etc.  

Cheers, Rob.

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XP is severely lagging in the "environmental" area: rain and snow and the related effects on ground, water visuals and regionalization, seasons, clouds visuals and dynamics (or rather, lack thereof). These are all features in which 15 years old FS9 is still better than XP11.

While on the roadmap, they've not been the priority until now. Maybe (hopefully?) they're postponing those improvements after the transition to Vulkan, given that it will require some rewrite of the rendering code anyway.

I personally think these features are the biggest deficiencies in XP right now, even more than AI or ATC.


"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." [Abraham Lincoln]

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throw all the other sims out the window let's play il2 

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Me.

caoYWW.gif

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A particle based FX system would be nice in XP11, so we could have a 3rd party product that is similar to FSFX packages ... but not sure how well (FPS wise) a particle systems would work with PBR/deferred rendering?  It would also be nice to see PBR (and HDR) in P3D V4/5.  Hopefully both new features show up in their respective platforms for the 2018 roadmap.

Cheers, Rob.

EDIT: on a side note, I should add replacement of skid_dry.wav and skid_wet.wav in XP11 is a must have ... tone the levels down.

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1 minute ago, Rob Ainscough said:

A particle based FX system would be nice in XP11, so we could have a 3rd party product that is similar to FSFX packages ... but not sure how well (FPS wise) a particle systems would work with PBR/deferred rendering?  It would also be nice to see PBR (and HDR) in P3D V4/5.  Hopefully both new features show up in their respective platforms for the 2018 roadmap.

Cheers, Rob.

EDIT: on a side note, I should add replacement of skid_dry.wav and skid_wet.wav in XP11 is a must have ... tone the levels down.

Know nothing about graphics , but I think during XP10 run I did read on the blog about this particle thing might be implemented. Probably we might see something when Vulkan gets active on the XP platform. Did see a video of rain effects on the windshield a week ago looked nice but what programming that was no idea.

Oh yeah that skidding audio should get a replacement probably how it might sound in real.

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4 hours ago, jcomm said:

Around here there's an old saying: 

"Quem o feio ama, bonito lhe parece...."

Or in Finnish, "Kuka ruma rakastaa, komea se tuntuu hänelle."


Fr. Bill    

AOPA Member: 07141481 AARP Member: 3209010556

Interests: Gauge Programming - 3d Modeling for Milviz

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My wife (she is part Portuguese) is most adamant her culture was/is the origin of such a saying ... warning she is very defensive/competitive :)

Personally I think "the blind eye" makes everyone/thing look beautiful and is the most essential add-on/plug-in.

Cheers, Rob.

 

 

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