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FTD1949

No problem, I just need wise advice -- yours!

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Greetings My son (18) and I are about to become new members of the flight Sim community this week. I just ordered FSX , and already downloaded SP1 -- and know to install it immediately.I'm about to install Windows Vista on a dedicated hard drive, since I want to keep my XP hard drive and programs intact just as they are. (I will select drives when I boot) I am a minister/college professor, and I believe in researching, and doing things right the first time. This is where you come in. I have four questions. Whether you are a flight Sim ace, or a newbie who just learned something the hard way, please help if you can.1. The demo is virtually useless to me because I do not know how to fly yet. I'm going flying with a friend next weekend, to learn some things. What are the best tutorials, and where can I find them?2. I built my own system (gaming specs -- see below). What are the best scenery packs, if PC power is no object. What

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"I just ordered FSX , and already downloaded SP1 -- and know to install it immediately."Hi FALCON and welcome. I'm not into add-ons as much as others on this forum, so I'll leave those questions for others, but I believe that I recall reading that you should install FSX and run it at least once before you install SP1. As I recall, certain config files needed by SP1 don't exist until FSX runs the first time and exits properly.I hope that this is helpful to you.R-

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"What are the best tutorials, and where can I find them?"The Aces Team put together a very nice Learning Center which also includes Lessons. That's where I would start...."What are the best scenery packs, if PC power is no object."My personal preferences are Ultimate Terrain (http://www.flight1.com/products.asp?product=utxusa)and Active Sky X and X Graphics (http://www.hifisim.com/index.php). I really like the photo scenery from MegaScenery too (http://www.megascenery.com/). Military Jet Fighters --I would highly recommend AlphaSim for all your military aircraft needs: http://www.alphasim.co.uk/No suggestions for really great addon's. Best regards,Jim

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As a fellow college instructor (Economics), and since my dad is a pastor as well (ever since I have been alive), I think I could offer you some useless advice concerning your questions. Hopefully it helps a little.The advice that was already giving about starting FSX up at least once before installing the SP1 patch is great advice. In fact, I have made it a habit to always start up a program at least once before installing the next upgrade patch just to avoid any problems that may occur. "Just in case" kind of thing. Furthermore, don't be afraid to run FSX in XP for now. Many people are reporting slightly better performance in XP than they are getting in Vista. Much of this may be related to driver issues associated with your 8800GTX card, but this is way over my head to even discuss since I don't even have Vista yet. FSX won't really be needed to be ran in Vista until after the DX10 patch is out later this year. Then you may want to run FSX in Vista if you want DX10 graphics. You may want to ask around more about this in the computer specs forum below this one.Now onto your questions:1) As far as tutorials: You will find that there are some pretty good "default" tutorials within FSX's "Learning Center" that you can fly. These tutorial are delivered in a way that makes you feel like you are going to pilot school. There will be an instructor telling what you to do, and you do it. Get ready for "TONS" of reading within the "Learning Center" as well. I find myself reading just as much for this flight simulator as I do prep'ing for a Microconomics class. There is just so much to learn, and reading is really the only way to learn it. The tutorials give you a chance to try out what you have read. There are also a few books available that you can get such as "Flight Simulator as a Training Guide" and so forth. Maybe somebody else can jump in here and tell him what to expect in some of those books. I don't own any of them.2) As far as scenery packs are concerned, they are just now starting to surface. There are different types of scenery. You have Mesh, which is a wire like diagram that goes across the entire earth that is used to show typography of the earth. All of the elevation differences and such are defined by Mesh. Some Mesh developers are FSGenesis, Cloud9, FS Global 2008, and some freeware out there. Do a Google search about Mesh for all the specifics, and you should also find any developers that I may have left out by accident.Then you have Landclass, which defines what types of textures should go where. FSX default kind of puts trees where they don't belong, and deserts where they don't belong, and so forth. A good Landclass program will be more realistic creating landclass based on satelite imagery. The landclass simply tells FSX what terrain textures to put where, and it will be more realistic than FSX's default landclass. Again, do a google search and it should help. The only good Landclass program I currently know about is FSGenesis. Other people may know more.Then you have textures. This is what you will actually see when flying. There will be lots of texture packs available for certain areas, both freeware (available here at AVSIM for nothing) and payware (you have to buy it from a developer). To many to even discuss. I have not bought any yet because I am waiting on software known as GEX that is due out later this year that will probably cover the whole earth. Maybe somebody else can jump in here and give him some experiences about what they own in as far as texture packs.You will also have texture packs concerning skies and water. Does the same thing as ground texture programs, but it will be for the sky and water (clouds, sky colors, sunsets, sunrises, sun itself, and water). The only two I know of that do this are Active Sky's latest Graphic X package, and an upcoming product that should be out anytime now titled FEX. I am waiting on FEX myself, because the guy who does this made absolutely stunning cloud textures for the last version of Flight Simulator. 3) Can't really add anything here since I do no Military flying in FSX. I will say that the F14 Tomcat is no longer used by the Navy in case that matters to you. It was retired less than a year ago. Other people can jump in here to tell you about military stuff.4) The "Add-On" community is amazing for FSX. It is the most active Add-On industry I have ever seen for any game. There is just tons and tons of stuff available, and most of it is rather affordable (<$60). There will be people tell you that this add-on is a must, and that add-on is a must, and by the time everybody is done, you will find that every add-on available is a must. It can get quite expensive. I usually have at least $500 into my flight game before it is time to jump to the next version after paying for all my add-ons, including things like Yokes and foot pedals as well as software.My advice would be to build up slowly. For example, I you may want to buy add on Mesh, Landclass, Terrain packages, weather programs, flight planners, airplane traffic programs, planes, and stuff I don't even really know much about yet to even mention. It all adds up. As for me, I have already bought some planes (both jets and GA). I intend on buying some Mesh (FSGenesis), Landclass (FSGenesis), and Terrain Packages (FEX/GEX) in the near future. I also want to buy a good flight planner (FSCommander), and a good Airline Traffic program (Ultimate Traffic) after I upgrade my computer. Wow, I am starting to overwhelm and probably you too. That is the point, there are just so many things you can add-on to this simulator it leaves your head spinning. I actually created a spreadsheet to organize all of my thoughts as to what direction I want to go as far as add-ons are concerned. I know this will sound incredibly geeky to many who read this post, but since you are a college professor you will understand totally. Again, lots of research, and tons of reading, and you will begin to get your hands around the add-on's that are available. As far as aircraft add-ops, I will say that you also have some absolutely amazing jets and General Aircraft (GA) available as payware and freeware. The best is payware. Jets such as the 767 (LevelD), 747 (PMDG), 737 (PMDG and Wilco), and many others. Some of these jets aren't available yet, but they should be very soon. Again, just search around some of the purchase sites and you will find all you need. Some are more realistic than others meaning you will have to put much more time into them to learn to fly them. I love sitting down with a well written flight manual from LevelD or PMDG and reading about all the aircraft systems. It is a complete challenge to me that I love undertaking. My wife just shakes her head in disbelief that I would put so much time into learning a "Game". And then she laughs when I tell her that I truly believe that I could sit down in the pilots seat of a 767 and get it off the ground. I think I could do it though.You should look under the "REVIEWS" section here at this sight at some of the more popular add-ons that are available. Not all of them are there, but many are. Other than, just Google any phrase you can come up with about FSX and you will find more and more stuff that will lead you to Google more and more stuff, that will lead you to Google,.... Well, you get the point.Hope this helps a little. Ask anything else, and I will be glad to get more specific with you. I am off from teaching all summer long if you know what I mean.

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Falcon;Welcome to our "magnificent obsession".Generally, I echo the suggestions and advice of previous respondents. Patience will likely avoid the need for repairs and reinstalls. Do establish a routine for making backups before making changes.Document changes as best you can (requires lots of determination!)Never, never, never change anything when tired or in a hurry!Learning curve: XP comes on 1 CD. FSX comes on 2 DVD's...The "College of Flight Sim" doesn't have have a degree program - we all just keep learning.Nothing improves performance so much as practice - get comfortable with 1 aircraft at time.Keep it fun.Satisfactory performance appears a hard-to-come-by commodity for most us. I do not expect or get good performance when the AC download is in the 20-80Mb size. That's a lot of polygons and a lot of textures and a lot of gauges and my single processor can only do so much... Even with multiple processors, you just top out at a little higher level. I do fly Steve Hinson's freeware Tomcat, and the CORAL F-15v2 but I have to give up some of the eye-candy to do so. I'm more into VFR touring of the western US. I use/recommend Ultimate Terrain for FSX and also Flight Environments/Ground environments when available. The freeware FSMMoving Map is an excellent adjunct for VFR flight and jpg flight chart images are available for the entire US airspace. I almost never fly without it. FSNav, when available for FSX, is also to be highly recommended.You will find an answer to most any FS question here at the forums.We're here to help. And learn.Loyd

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Here's my 2 cents...The first add on aircraft you should buy is the Marchetti SF260, referenced above. This plane is a joy to fly and has whats commonly known to be the most authentic flight model out there. As to military aircraft, my only experience with IRIS is their F-15, and I can say I will not be buying another product from them, as I felt the F-15 was crap, frankly. I much prefer military aircraft from Alphasim, though even Alphasim makes budget aircraft that are not up to the standard you find in many add ons. Personally I prefer only to buy the very best products, which is why I am waiting for the Aerosoft F-16, as well as the VRSim F/A-18, which looks to be the best military aircraft ever created for MS flight sim. http://www.vrsimulations.com/product_FA18E.htm

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Well, my wife is a college professor and I know a minister or two. Besides, I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express so I will add my two cents.Actually, I am retired USAF and I flew fighters as well as GA aircraft. My advice is not to buy much of any additional software, for the moment. If you have to, buy the T-37 Tweet. It is a good plane to learn how to fly and it is military. Or the Real air SF-260 that someone else recommended. It is a very good add on plane. Instead I would buy a good joystick, throttle and, rudder pedals. Here is why I am against buying add ons:1. FSX is darn good as it is. Unless, your home is on a lake front and FSX shows it on a mountain you will find FSX to be a wonderful visual experience. If you have never flown before, how will you know if the cloud you see or the hill you fly over is as perfect and real as it should be? Fly for the fun, experience and enjoyment. As you get experience you will began to see the short comings of FSX and look to improve the program.Someone mentioned, mesh, landcast and textures. The three of them paint the ground we fly over. FSX is much better than FS9 in this category. I happen to use FSGenesis mesh and landcast. However, there are others that are just as good. I know what the ground is suppose to look like from the air. So I bought them to improve my visuals. I use the stock textures from FSX, with the exception of Ultimate USA for FSX.Again, I would recommend that you fly for a while and read reviews on products and these forums before you spend money.Now the airplanes. I spent a year learning to fly airplanes and another six months learning to fly the F-4 Phantom. No one would use FSX, if it took that long to learn. Luckily, you don

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Falcon,Firstly, welcome to this board and all the best with this "Magnificient Obsession" as someone else above called it.A good set of control devices will be important if you are going to get into this hobby with some serious intent. A joystick with a built in rudder function at a minimum, or a set of rudder pedals with a joystick or yoke for greater sense of realism.For the above, an extremely popular solution is the CH Brand available from... http://www.chproducts.com/retail/index.htmlNext I would look at the underlying scenery and terrain detail. Justin Tyme at FSGenesis IMHO provides some brilliant stuff to enhance the already excellent default FSX offerings... http://portal.fsgenesis.net/To enhance the above ground environment, I use Active Sky X from HIFISim at... http://www.hifisim.com/ This is something that polarises people and as there are a number of these type of products either developed or under development, do your own research.Finally for aircraft, I agree with most of the above, Realair would be an excellent place to start with their SF260. However I also believe that the Dornier DO-27 from Digital Aviation ( http://www.digital-aviation.de/crjsite/l_html/main.html ) will teach one a lot when it comes to realism and systems modelling.In the same vein, any of the light singles from Carenado such as the Beech T34B Mentor are invaluable for basic training. See... http://www.carenado.com/ecommerce/index.php3And finally, have fun, and please ask more questions. There are a great bunch of folks here who in the main are only too willing to help.Cheers,Chris Porter:-outtaPerthWestern AustraliaIntel Core 2 Duo E6700ASUS P5N32-E SLI Deluxe Motherboard4GB Corsair VS DDR2 667Mhz RAMInno3D 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 590MHz VideoASUS MW221u 21" Wide Screen LCD2 x 320Gb WD SATA DrivesCreative X-Fi Platinum Sound Lian Li PC-B20B Aluminium Black CaseMS Vista Ultimate OEMCH FlightSim Yoke USBCH Pro Pedals USBTrackIR 4 Pro and Track ClipMSFS FSX Deluxe Edition Full install at 1400x960x32Check out my 5th Around the World flight with MS FSX at http://members.iinet.com.au/~portercbp/fly...W_05/index.html

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WowThis is a great forum, and I want to thank all of you who responded for the warm welcome and good advice. It is interesting to see how much agreement is out there, and yet each person added their own personal preferences. I also hope more of you seasoned fliers will add your 2 cents worth.I will take the cumulative advice here. I will invest in some good hardware. BTW I need some more input on the hardware. Do you need a throttle and a good joy stick, or does a joystick like the ones by CH take care of everything? If you get a throttle and joy stick do you need rudders? Any other good brands? I will check the hardware thread too.I appreciate the plane suggestions and will follow through on them.I would still like some more feedback on the military planes and the Mesh/Landscape/Texture add ons for FSX. Who makes the FEX and GEX sets? If I get some of these sets, do you still use the programs that utilize Google Earth? Thanks again ;)

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(...a college prof. also among many hats I wear...)When you get experienced give Tileproxy(free) a try. Nothing more real texture wise than reality based on the Google earth or other servers like it. Areas like the Grand Canyon, Glacier Park etc. will take your breath away.I agree and was quite moved with everything in John's post(for John-my son has gone to Lsu the last 2 years-many trips in my Baron down to Kbtr)..get some good controls-it is amazing how the reality factor will increase. I have the ch pro yoke,pedals, throttle quad-and then a fellow simmer sent me a real Baron quad which I connected to the chthrottle quad-talk about a reality increase ! I'd love to get some of the higher end controls but for the money the ch do a pretty good job vs. ones that are great but cost almost the same as a partnership in a real plane.I also 2nd,3rd etc. the Real Air Marchetti-it is the closest I have come across to reality in the fs world.http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpgForum Moderatorhttp://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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As far as your throttle/joystick/rudder questions, I personally use CH Products "Flight Sim Yoke" which provides you with a Yoke that would be similar to most general aviation aircraft. Here is a link to their website, http://www.chproducts.com/retail/index.html.That Yoke will provide with you with a built in throttle, and several buttons and switches that you can assign certain functions to within FSX (such as a flap switch, landing gear switch, a button to use to change your view, or whatever else you want). This is very popular for people flying General Aircraft or Boeing Jets. Many people also buy rudder pedals that go along with their Yoke mentioned above. CH Products offers a set of rudder pedals, and so do several other places. They will usually cost around $130 or so. Another option is to not have rudder pedals and just run FSX without Rudders enabled. This is what I do currently. I must say though that this is pretty unrealistic, and I need to break down and invest in some rudder pedals soon. They really are important for landings.Other people prefer using Joysticks to fly. If your main attraction is military jets then a joystick may be what you want. There is quite a bit more variety of joysticks out there. I own Microsofts "Sidewinder" that I bought back in 2001 for less than $80 I believe. This would give you a built in throttle, hat switch, and several other programmable buttons. It also has force feedback built into it.I also own a Thrustmaster "Cougar" HOTAS system that consists of a completely modeled F16 HOTAS setup. It comes with the stick and a separate Throttle that you would find on F16's. It is made of entirely of medal, is very big, is used in F16 real-world training courses by the USAF (at least the last time I checked it was), and has software that you can use to assign 4 hat switches and several other buttons to do specific tasks. This would be about as top of the line as you can get, and will cost more than $200. It cost me about $300 back in 2003 so no complaining. Ha!!!!Ha!!!!!My planes on Mesh and Landclass is to buy FSGenesis Mesh and Landclass. I do not own either of these products, but they seem to be very highly rated by the community, and I am going to give them a try. He offers a really good membership program where you can buy a 3-year membership for $100 and this will allow you to download everything he releases for free over the next three years. This just interests me, so I will try it.Peter Wilding makes the FEX and GEX products. This stands for "Flight Environment X" (the cloud/sky texture package) and "Ground Environment X" (the ground texture package). He made a similar product for the last edition of Flight Simulator that he called "Flight Environment" and "Ground Environment". They were excellent texture packages for FS9, and many people used them with great results according to the forums. Word has it that FEX should be out very soon (a matter of weeks). I am choosing to wait for FEX to come out before buying a cloud/sky texture package since the FE product was so good in FS2004. He is also working on GEX, but there has not been much talk about that as of late.There is also another program titled "Ultimate Terrain" that seems very popular as well. I intend on buying it soon based on what people are saying in the forums. Just Google it and you will find out more about it.Hope this helps.

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If you like military aviation, I highly suggest a HOTAS (hands on throttle and stick) of some sort. The 2 best on the market (IMHO) are the Saitek X52, and my personal favorite, the Thrustmaster Cougar.The Cougar is an F-16 replica. Made out of metal, not only does it look cool, it feels good. I personally like the feel of it much more than the X52. You can mod a cougar like none other. Anywhere from pressure detection mods (rather than detecting movement of the joystick, it detects pressure applied to the stick as in a real F-16), to leather skirts for the stick. The cougar costs about $200-$250, and you can put another $200-$600 into improvements for it if you ever feel like enhancing it. Stock, it's a great HOTAS, I've had mine for a year now, stock, and have never had problems with exception of one knob breaking, which is covered by a 2 year warranty. It'll be replaced as soon as I can find my receipt... lolHad I seen this deal a year ago, I'd have jumped on it instantly: http://www.amazon.com/Thrustmaster-Cougar-...m/dp/B000062SSBCougar + CH Pedals for $300. I dont think that's a beatable price considering last I checked the Cougar itself runs about $200-$250 and the CH Pedals alone cost around $100-$150. Of course, that was a year ago, I have not looked at recent pricing other than that deal.http://www.thrustmaster.com/product.aspx?P...11&PlatformID=5for more info directly from Thrustmaster.Other hardware I'd highly recommend other than a HOTAS and Pedals:TrackIR. TrackIR (ie TIR) is a program that tracks your head movements and allows your head movements to change your view in the game. In the 3D cockpit, it's like looking around as you would in real life, except for having to keep your eyes on the screen as you shift your head. I haven't used one yet, but will be getting one this year. I've heard only one person that hasn't liked using it, other than that, never heard anything bad about it.Note: if you do end up getting a Cougar, go to http://cougar.frugalsworld.com/ for setup information as it can be a complex process, or just email me and I can help you get it set up...EDIT: another nice set of pedals are Simpeds... I'm still trying to find info on those... will probably have info on them tomorrow... I believe the simpeds are modeled after F-16 pedals. Perhaps someone else here has more info on them or personal experience with them... I hear they cost a fortune though.

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