ford_friendly

Advice for returning simmer?

Recommended Posts

Okay, it's been quite a while since I've posted here... years, probably. Part of that is life occurred, part is I lost my sim, computer and old files. Literally. Fire, flood and other water-damage. It's all gone.

So, I'm starting over from scratch. I haven't been on this site for so long, the site has been re-designed and I can't find the "tutorials" section of advice area/threads for beginners.

There are a few Steam-related files I have "recovered" from there, including FSX-SE itself, but basically, I don't have anything else, no non-default mesh, scenery, weather addons, etc. I hadn't bought, loaded or installed anything in at least 5 years, limiting my few flying hours each month to a very few, very localized couple of areas. So, I'll even have to read back up on how to do basic installs. Hopefully, I won't need to get back into tweaking things.

I'm looking for advice on what to buy, download and install as I'm sure things have advanced and changed since I last did that and I certainly don't remember half of the software enhancements I used to have (and there were gigs and gigs of it). My preferred flying is dual engine GA tooling around North America on cross-country flights or flying up around a triangular area from Vegas to Denver to Seattle

Equipment-wise, my setup is probably mid-range: a Lenovo K450, i7-4790, 16Gig Ram, 250GB SSD primary, 2TB HDD secondary, both Saitek x-52 joystick/throttle setup (for when I feel the need for military speed) and a Saitek yoke/3-lever throttle setup for GA as well as a set of pedals. Nothing fancy. I'm flying with a 32" monitor view using a GeForce GTX 745 right now but am considering experimenting with a Vizix iWear Video headphone.

Like I said, I'm looking for advice on where to start in re-building my FSX environment.

 

Thanks in advance.

Share this post


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

Welcome back! :biggrin:  Are you going to be looking at payware aircraft and scenery or trying to keep the costs down with freeware?  There is a lot to choose from on both sides of the aisle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Okay, I'm sure you've probably been around the usual suspect's websites and logged in on them to find your old accounts and anything you bought in the past. Most of them will still hold your details so it shouldn't be too much of a problem to get stuff back, but if you have not done that yet, it'd be a good place to start, so have a look around simmarket, A2A, Just Flight, Aerosoft, Orbx etc.

Most of the usual suspects in terms of scenery and add-on aeroplanes are still as you will remember them in terms of what is good and what is bad, i.e A2A, Aerosoft, Milviz are typically good ports of call for decent GA add-ons. Carenado/Alabeo are still knocking out cheaper and cheerful (but occasionally problematic) GA aeroplanes at a prolific rate, and even the occasional small prop airliner now too. One surprise with GA aeroplanes you might notice though, is Just Flight, whose in-house development team have really seriously upped their game in terms of quality GA add-ons, take a look at their many Piper PA28 add-ons, their new Cessna 152 and their Socata TB10/TB20 Trinidad and Tobagos, all of which come highly recommended. But it is probably still fair to say that A2A remain the best developer there is, and certainly the best developer when it comes to study sim GA aeroplanes. Scenery-wise, Orbx is always worth a look unless you prefer photorealistic terrain, in which case that would depend on where you wanted to have photo terrain and what is available too of course.

It's worth bearing in mind that with the increasing popularity of P3D, the trend is for more detailed stuff in terms of add-on airports and sceneries, and indeed aeroplanes, since its 64 Bit architecture is able to load all that stuff in, but if you are staying with FSX-SE and its 32 Bit architecture, it is as well to be aware that some add-ons which are made to work in both FSX and P3D may well crash FSX out whereas they might only slow P3D down as it is able to address much more memory space than FSX which is stuck on a limit of 4Gb owing to its 32 Bit base, and there is no way around that. More on that evolution...

What you have missed in the interim break you took from things, is the advent of a lot of 64 Bit development, including the rise and subsequent demise of Dovetail's attempt to develop a 64 Bit  successor to FSX-SE, which they'd called Flight Sim World (FSW), It was pretty promising actually, and even made it to an early access beta release with a few developers making add-ons for it including Orbx, Carenado, Just Flight, UK2000 amongst others. Sadly, the purchase numbers were not there and so Dovetail dropped it. Its birth was not helped by some big developers not really wanting to jump on board with a sales method which relied to a large extent (although not exclusively as some of them claimed) on Steam. Alongside the birth of that however, we've seen a 64 Bit version of Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D (P3D) emerge, along with a 64 Bit version of XPlane (XP11) and AeroFly FS2, which is also 64 Bit. All of those 64 Bit sims are able to load in massive amounts of data without running into the out of memory problems which plague 32 Bit sims such as FSX and FSX-SE when you start using too many high end add-ons, so the advent of those 64 Bit sims has seen quite a lot of simmers who are into high end sceneries and fancy study sim airliners switch over to using P3D, since that is the sim which at present best lends itself to those kinds of things.

Edited by Chock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies.

As with most everyone, the budget has llimits so I'm not anxious to throw money away. So, probably not going to drop $199 on P3D though that may be the future (or a good part of it). Despite the "32bit address space disadvantage", I guess I'll be sticking with FSX as I already own it and am semi-familiar (in the vast, dank, OLD space that is my memory) with it.

The idea of contacting developers/resellers to see if my account details are still valid/sufficient to get a replacement for a couple aircraft and sceneries wasn't something I'd thought about. I'll have to check into it - if I can remember what I had. I don't have any documentation (it's surprising & depressing what gets damaged or destroyed by water after a fire). Seriously, I'd spent quite a bit "tricking out" and populating my environment, some might say "over-loaded" - to the extent that I used the batch-file switch scenery cfg method for a while....then just quit flying all around the world (and $ went down the drain accordingly as I wasn't using what I'd bought and paid for - ex., I bought Orbx stuff, flew down under for about 6 months and never went back despite it being great scenery).

 I guess I'll spend some time browsing through the Avsim FSX Scenery library a page at a time to see what is available now, though I don't remember freeware mesh or "global" ground, tree or building texture packs favorably competing with the payware stuff I'd bought. And I wasted money on multiple payware texture environments but don't remember which I I finally decided to go with.

Sigh... Getting "senile" I guess.

Decisions, decisions....and time....ugh... time involved in rebuilding... depressing in a way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quick update... yay.

2 Major "your account is still valid.. download away" results. I'd bought the Lifetime Galaxy Membership from Toposim...Mesh! Huge download though...

And Flight 1 had my account info... Ultimate Terrain FSX-USA V2!

Go me...

Thanks for reminding me guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don’t forget a good weather addon. I didn’t bother using one until a few years ago which was a big mistake as the additional degree of immersion it added to the whole flightsim experience was immense!

I can recommend the Active Sky or Rex products from personal experience.

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/17/2018 at 12:44 PM, scianoir said:

Don’t forget a good weather addon. I didn’t bother using one until a few years ago which was a big mistake as the additional degree of immersion it added to the whole flightsim experience was immense!

I can recommend the Active Sky or Rex products from personal experience.

Bill

I second Bill's recommendation. I used to fly with the built in weather and then decided to purchcase Active Sky Next. It was a complete game changer and could not fly with without a weather add on. Have upgraded to Active Sky 16 and highly recommend it.

Daz

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got Rex off Steam. Had it before and like it.

I've read about  Active Sky, seen screenshots, but I decided to go with the familiar.

     ------ ----------- -----------

I hate to say it, but I'm rethinking my "stick with FSX/FSXSE" decision. I've been watching YouTube videos semi-continuously as I've been re-learning FSX, flight procedures and the environment/add-ons "world". More often than I expected, P3D videos keep popping up in the "recommended" list and I've more than occasionally watched a few. One in particular has made me start re-thinking sticking with FSX/FSXSE.

It was showing Orbx products in P3D. Of course, the guy had everything "maxed out", that is, he had ALL the Orbx/FTX stuff for North America (Global Base, Vector, lcNorthamerica/USA(?) and Trees) and was flying in GA aircraft ~4-8000'. I was "gobsmacked", as the Bris say. My FSX never even approached that "fidelity" before I lost my previous setup.

So, though the same products are available for FSX, I'm kinda wondering whether I ought to just drop the big bucks on P3D and then scrimp/save for the P3D versions of the OrbX sceneries. Adding up the costs though.. whew. ~$260 for all of that. Not to mention the initial cost of P3D itself.

Any thoughts on that?
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi John, 

I’ve been following your thread,I didn’t want to post a comment here previously as it’s your money that’s at stake and not mine, however...

I was in a very similar situation to yourself, I stopped flight simming about 9 years ago, I used to be heavily into it but the family came along so ran out of spare time. I came back into it in January this year for various reasons.

I’ve got three big cardboard boxes stuffed full of fsx aircraft and scenery that I brought down from storage. My initial plan was exactly the same as yourself, reload my new machine with all my old FSX add ons that I loved, but also install x-plane 11 as that had a couple of aircraft I needed to look at in real life that weren’t available on FSX. 

I soon realised that things had moved on , and I really liked x-plane but was still craving the familiarity I guess of the Microsoft platform that I’d used for years,since sub-logic in fact. The thought of going back to FSX though , at least in its default state sort of made me uneasy, as it was something I’d probably had way too much of in years gone by. A little how I now think about cider having made myself ill on it as a teenager if that makes sense. So inevitably I started doing the same as you and looked at videos and reviews of P3D and it’s add ons, and so took the plunge and bought it.

Although it’s not cheap I have to say it’s the best thing I could have done starting afresh with P3D rather than going back to FSX. Yes, it still needs Orbx and a weather engine to make it work properly, really, but I timed it right and stocked up on global,vector, 10 regions and loads of airports during their 50% off anniversary sale. I’m lead to believe Orbx  sales happen perhaps a couple of times a year if you keep a look out.

As I mentioned I’ve also got x-plane and DCS installed and they just blows me away every time I use them , just how far sims have come in the last decade.

Out of curiosity though my three boxes of FSX add ons have been staring at me for the last few months so last week I bought a copy of FSX steam and installed a couple of old favourites just to compare. And while it’s great to see and fly things like the Real Air duke again it soon becomes really apparent that P3D is the way to go, it’s advanced so much.

I’ve invested in a very high end machine which runs P3D anywhere from 40 to 150 FPS obviously depending on aircraft and scenery combinations, so when I loaded FSX I was expecting it to run even faster. The truth is it doesn’t, my machine runs FSX slower than P3D using a similar scenario, but P3D looks so much better. I guess P3D is just much better optimised for today’s machines.

The other thing to consider is P3D has only recently gone 64 bit and developers are only just scratching the surface so far. Once they discover just how far it can really go there’ll be some amazing things happening.

So as a fellow returning simmer my wholehearted advice would be to bite the bullet and go 64 bit P3D, you won’t regret it.

 

Good luck, and all the best.

Jon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jon b - Really appreciate the perspective. 

I think I need to just win the lottery and then go spend money without thinking about the total cost..... if only! Lol.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Be very careful of youtube videos as most of the time ones labelled "ultimate realism" employ tricks like recording at half speed and playing back at double speed and adding effects using adobe premier to give that real life look.

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dakent...good point. I was familiar with that point, but it's good to be reminded.

Anyway, here's what I decided to do.

1. Stick with FSX:SE for now. Already bought and paid for.
2. Stick with my current video card as long as it "works for me", adjusting detail levels until "it no longer works for me". (But troll CL, eBay and elsewhere looking for a deal to upgrade it.)
3. Purchase Orbx/FTX Global Base, Global Vector, lcNorthAmericaUSA and Trees. Apparently, these can later be "transfered" to P3Dv4 if I wind up there.

Downloaded, installed and am testing now. Initial impression - very good, not perfect, but very good where I began flying. FWIW, I'm not one of those absolutely enamored of Pacific NW - it's just not me.

As I'm a military retiree on a fixed income, that's about as far as I can go for now. Going to start looking for freeware to support flying with Air Hauler v2 (Early Access), general aviation in the SE USA and the occasional Rocky Mountains/Alaska flight.

Thanks for the support, suggestions and differing perspectives. I figure I haven't gone too far wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for your post.  I have exactly the same problems that you have.  I've been away about five years.

I'm 81 years old and started with flight sims before Windows came along.  All you had was numbers on the screen to show altitude, speed and a few other things.  You had to use your imagination.  I have used every version of Microsoft Flight simulator since the floppy disk days.  I was a big fan of FLY!.  Also tried ProPilot, Flight Unlimited, X-Plane.  I waited patiently for Microsoft to release a later version after FSX and it never came so I gave up.

Now I'm using FSX. I still have a lot of planes and some MegaScenery Earth files.  But, I have totally forgotten how to fly.  Now I want to get into it again. 

So thanks for posting this and thanks for all the replies which I can use to guide me. 

Roy

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome back Roy. 😎
My advice, for what little it's worth, is go all the way back to basics - takeoffs, landings, flying simple "circuits". Then, after becoming over-confident enough to screw it up completely a few times, and only then, move on to the more advanced yet necessary stuff - autopilot, ATC and navigation stuff.

It's funny how things I used to take for granted as far as FSX/flying went are now difficult to remember at best and difficult to execute at worst. And for some reason, my rudder pedals aren't working properly... ah, the joys of troubleshooting! 

Just flying around boring holes in the sky doesn't help me bring skills/knowledge back. But a "semi-structured", somewhat deliberate, program of flights seems to be helping (at least a little).

Again, welcome back and best of luck to you.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I surely know that $199 for P3d sounds like a lot; however you need to know that 64 bit simulation IS THE FUTURE.  I migrated from FSX to P3d and although is was an initial expense, the reward far outweighed me spending tons of money on a simulator that was dying.  The crispness of scenery as far as the eye can see, the lack of OOMs that plagued me in FSX, and the beauty of the P3d sim ( and NOW the latest release of 4.3), and the knowledge of seeing the P3d sim moving toward the future were enough for me.

Every time you BUY an addon or whatever in FSX will be money wasted IMHO.  Making the switch makes great financial sense.

Sometimes you have to spend money to make the right moves for the future of simulation.

Think about it!

 

Stan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 7/2/2018 at 1:28 AM, spilok said:

I surely know that $199 for P3d sounds like a lot; however you need to know that 64 bit simulation IS THE FUTURE.  I migrated from FSX to P3d and although is was an initial expense, the reward far outweighed me spending tons of money on a simulator that was dying.  The crispness of scenery as far as the eye can see, the lack of OOMs that plagued me in FSX, and the beauty of the P3d sim ( and NOW the latest release of 4.3), and the knowledge of seeing the P3d sim moving toward the future were enough for me.

Every time you BUY an addon or whatever in FSX will be money wasted IMHO.  Making the switch makes great financial sense.

Sometimes you have to spend money to make the right moves for the future of simulation.

Think about it!

 

Stan

More than this, FSX is becoming obsolete, day by day. There are no updates from steam. So any problems for example, caused from a  Windows update(it happened before) will be a stopper for FSX. I paid a lot for FSX addons 😭 which I have to re buy for P3d but it is something i can't avoid. The sooner you move to P3d the less money you 'll spend. And i have the feeling that Flight Sim companies are silently stopping updates for their FSX related products. It is just a feeling i have. If you own a PC with good specs you must go for P3D.

Regards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I decided to stay with "what I know/remember" for the near future though the responses advising moving to P3D make a lot of sense. I bought some Orbx stuff that will transfer over if/when I make the move and will stick with freeware a/c and scenery otherwise until I DO make the move.

Appreciate all the inputs though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are on a budget, there is no better option than XP11. Just buy the sim and you can get TONS of top-quality freeware, from scenery to aircraft. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, GCBraun said:

If you are on a budget, there is no better option than XP11. Just buy the sim and you can get TONS of top-quality freeware, from scenery to aircraft. 

I decided the best option for me was to stick with FSX, actually FSX:SE.

Specifically addressing your point, though, more freeware is available in all categories for FSX than any other flight sim available today (except FS2004 which wasn't under consideration by me). If you have verifiable numbers supporting a counter argument that XP-11 has more freeware available, please point me to the reference source. I'm willing to be disabused of my position, though I don't think it's likely. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ford_friendly said:

I decided the best option for me was to stick with FSX, actually FSX:SE.

Specifically addressing your point, though, more freeware is available in all categories for FSX than any other flight sim available today (except FS2004 which wasn't under consideration by me). If you have verifiable numbers supporting a counter argument that XP-11 has more freeware available, please point me to the reference source. I'm willing to be disabused of my position, though I don't think it's likely. 

Even though it is dead, FSX is 12 years old at this point. Of course it may have MORE freeware content. I am talking about QUALITY here, not QUANTITY. XP11 is a current-gen platform that comes out of the box with great GA aircraft and the very, very capable G1000 navigation suite with VNAV, Airport Maps, Terrain and SID/STARS. You can add a very good 737NG and photo-scenery texture for basically the whole world for free. And I did not even mention the thousands of airports and great plugins available for the platform. Please remember that the Hub for all things XP is not AVSIM, but X-plane.org.

Just check the download section for some minutes and you`ll see what I mean...

Look, you were the one saying that you have been out of the loop for a while. If you still think FSX is the best option in 2018, have fun.

Edited by GCBraun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello,

I am also a long time simmer. I personally liked 9.1 the most. I waited very long to switch over to FSX. And I knew it would be a hard one. Now having a powerful system I can enjoy simming. It took me more than a year to find out, I think longer..., to find the "right settings".  I don't have every week time to test almost a day, because when I test it takes that long. Sometimes I still change little things to see the effects. I am with FSX not Steam. The decision to change to SE wasn't a question. It's not worth it from what I saw. My FSX runs the same. P3D is a bit better, but for me no question. Reading the terms of use stopped my interest. X-Plane is very nice, but I think a bit too bumpy. I will keep an eye on that!  Maybe other sims are coming, but it will take a lot of time to convince me. Because: The fight for money goes on and on and on. If there is a real brakethrough we will know! If not, I will not spend any cent more in simming. Buying over and over for almost the same problems is a nogo! FSX is not a beauty comparing it newer sims, but for me it works quite good. I can fly (with vas control) anywhere I want.

My final words to this: we don't need half way ok sims. We are desperately waiting for a full working product with all options FSX has and more to come without developers who are killing almost the hobby just for money or beeing the finest of their own.

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