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Christopher Low

What makes FU3 so special ?

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I am interested in all of those features that you consider to be either unique to FU3, or else superior to those in other flight simulators.This is not an attempt to start a flame war. I would simply like to know why FU3 is so special, since this will form the basis of an article that I would like to pitch to a games magazine.Chris Low.

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It all started since FU1 with - the scenery! :-)Then, of course, FU1/2/3 had the most believable flight models from day one. All said without comparing it in full detail to any other simulator. But, it's showing its age regarding the latest VGA card technology, clearly seen by the resolution of the gauges in the cockpit.Pieter

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Hi there!Well, I would agree with Pieter,- saying it started with FU made for win.95.I did find myself standing in a softwareshop downtown Milan-Italylate summer-98, bying FU2 for my son.(with italian handbook??!!)Safe back in Norway we loaded it, and there it was.The most stunning simulator you would imagine at those days.I was hooked up from day one, and I could never understand people saying that MS.fs98 was a great simulator.I tried ms.98, and uninstalled it the next day.Later,- the clever people like Tomi Lehto,- Dan Cowan,and others made A lot of exiting adventures for this sim,- even Looking Glass studiosmade support for this sim, and everything was like heaven for thoseeager flightsimmers of those days.Including photorealistic scenery, and activ ATC,-this sim was lightyears ahead of any other publisher of sims.Then the FU3 arrived late 99, made on the same platform as FU2,-with modifications.It still had the same surprices of flying.Making A flight from A to B was never the same thing.The weather would change again when you did not expect to, and the AI traffic was changed again from last flight.This is one of the important things with this sim that is unique.other things that is special is the weather engine made soooo goodfor gliders using the weather itself as a challenge.This kind of realistic behavior I have not seen on any other sims,and for Floatplanes-pilots,- It speaks for itself.Thats what I like with the FU series.Last thing,- and very important is the entusiasm of freeware developers to make advanced addons like new aircrafts, scenery, panels, sounds, etc-et.A summary of all things makes this for me a unique software to keep alive on my harddrive,- even if if does not support the new tecknologymade for DX.9Take care.Lars Peter.

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I'll second the above. Still, unlike most of you guys I had been using FS98 for a couple of years when I discovered FU3. FU3 provided photo-realistic terrain for a limited area. This looked awesome compared to what I was used to seeing.Equally important, the aircraft handled convincingly. While it may be hard to judge each aircraft's flight dynamics objectively any FU3 aircraft conveys the experience of real flight. I believe this is due to the flight model being based on flow dynamics. The ground handling is way more realistic than in FS.Then there's weather. First of all, there's always some amount of weather in FU3 since a static dead calm doesn't exist. There are little bumps in the air wherever you fly and the weather varies. Rain and haze look stunning, even by today's standards. Further, FU3 has slope lift -- the wind interacts with the terrain just as in real life.The main disadvantages are lack of "tweakability" and the limited terrain area. Due to a very closed architecture it's hard to create different types of aircraft. While we have a piston engine model and a jet model there's no turboprop model. Hence, our turboprops entail inherent compromises since they're really piston engine aircraft. The main shortcomings are the lack of feathering and reverse prop pitch. Then, for some reason the FU3 piston engine model doesn't work properly as mixture (leaning) is concerned. To me FU3 really shines when it comes to piston engine GA aircraft and gliders. It captures the feeling of "riding the relative wind" extremely well :-)Hans Petter

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I would add the Beechjet to that "realism" list. Peter James indicated that this was simulated to within one per cent of the real aircraft....and he should know :-)Chris Low.

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I rarely fire up FU3 anymore; but when I do, it's because of the emersive environment. By that I mean the combination of "real" feeling flight, great scenery/lighting, and realistic weather dynamics, "wind over terrain" effects.

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>It all started since FU1 with - the scenery! :-)>>Then, of course, FU1/2/3 had the most believable flight>models from day one. Don't tell anyone, but the twin Baron (was it a Baron?) in FUII, was much too under-powered. I was flying a Piper Seminole at the time for multi-instruction, and it was easily outdoing the simulated twin. And real life Seminole's are not high powered performers............. although they still do okay. And the Lake amphibian (spell?)acted like a high aspect ratio glider. It could just glide & glide & glide with it's engine out. Very impressive, but I doubt the real one is that way! :)L.Adamson

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Larry,Where do I start regarding poor representations of flight dynamics in MSFS ? ;-)Sorry, I couldn't resist.Chris Low.

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I can't point to any specific feature, other than maybe the wind / turbulence modelling which still leaves FS2004 in the dust.In the past, there were many other areas where FU3 surpassed FS and other sims. FU2 introduced AI traffic and ATC back in...1997? The first version of FS to feature this was FS2002 several years later. Up until FS2004, FU3 also featured superior terrain visuals and graphics. Dynamic weather was introduced in FU3, where as FS2004 only partially supports this.What I still like about FU3 is the immersive "feel". The combination of the realistic, sometimes humourous ATC, the flight modelling (including buffeting and turbulence), sky/haze modelling and more make the sim challenging and gives each flight a purpose. The world of FU3 seems more lively, The world of FS2004, even with higher resolution textures and more detailed models, seems clinical and sterile by comparison.

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Jimmi,I will always rate satellite (or aerial) mapped textures above generic ones, irrespective of how high the resolution is for the latter.Chris Low.

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>Larry,>>Where do I start regarding poor representations of flight>dynamics in MSFS ? ;-)>>Sorry, I couldn't resist.>Chris,At the moment, some 3rd party aircraft additions to MSFS, beat all flight dynamics everywhere for home P/C's. Including IL-2 (which is great) and even those from X-Plane. I know, as I have all these simulations.........including all three versions of Flight Unlimited.L.Adamson

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>The world of FU3 seems more lively, The>world of FS2004, even with higher resolution textures and more>detailed models, seems clinical and sterile by comparison.FUII/III, had it's fun moments. But much too phoney to me. And that started with most of the panels to ATC.I don't find FS2004 sterile by any means. When I'm sitting at some desert airport as the sun comes up, the wind sock is blowing, and a twin starts it's engines in the background............. I find it quite gratifying!L.Adamson

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>Jimmi,>>I will always rate satellite (or aerial) mapped textures above>generic ones, irrespective of how high the resolution is for>the latter.>>Chris Low.Don't we all? Like I previously said................ FLYII's photo-real scenery is the best I've ever seen from altitude. It has the "crispness" that the panels had.But at the moment, to duplicate real life flying, we have a very limited data-base of photo-real textures. And besides, they look pitiful at lower altitudes......................which is why it's all a compromise at the moment.L.Adamson

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Larry,Whilst I admire the achievements of many of these aircraft designers, I find it hard to believe that flight models that are not based on the physics of airflow over the wings can be as good as those that are. What types of plane are you referring to here ?Chris Low.

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>Larry,>>Whilst I admire the achievements of many of these aircraft>designers, I find it hard to believe that flight models that>are not based on the physics of airflow over the wings can be>as good as those that are. What types of plane are you>referring to here ?>Chris,Even the X-Plane boys (and girls?) admit that MSFS can duplicate known flying qualities by the numbers better than X-Plane can. That's the advantage of look up tables. You take a flying airplane & program the known values into the sim.X-Plane & it's flight modeling system works well for approximations, but requires tweaking to hit the numbers, and even thats tough or impossible at times. For instance, since this is based on actual fact.....Say you own an aircraft & wish to use the sim for IFR practice, which includes specific speed reductions, and descent rate when gear, flaps, or both are deployed at a specific point in time, such as an outer or middle marker.You build the model within X-Planes "plane maker", but the numbers just don't hit anything close to your real airplane. Then you fudge with hidden wings, drag factors, and so on.............but never hit the correct airspeeds,etc.And this is where the look up tables have an advantage. You can program in the "exact" airspeeds, vertical descent, etc. because you know what the real numbers are. And MSFS will duplicate it.And now...................... as to specific 3rd party aircraft, I'll discuss three that I've flown in real life. The Piper Archer II by Dreamfleet, the Marchetti SF260 by RealAir Simulations, and the Van's RV7 by Flight Factory Simulations (I've actually flown the RV6's which are close enough).All three of these, and many more, duplicate the real airplane in many ways. From hitting the numbers, to a sense of mass, proper dampening, power to weight ratios, so on & so on. Considering it's just a P/C simulation on a monitor, the effect of flying these products seem quite real..........................if you know what the real one feels like, which many here, don't BTW....L.Adamson

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>No, I'd better not respond. Tom wouldn't appreciate it ;-)>>Chris Low.Go ahead................ I see you're exactly 100 postings behind me.. Then you'll only be 99! :)L.Adamson

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LAdamson, I agree that the exact numbers are something I miss in FU3. In FS sims anything from fuel flow to wing area can be entered as real life parameters. FU and X-plane use flow dynamics equations rather than numbers -- the shape of the (flight dynamics) model rides the relative wind and produces the effect. These are two totally different approaches and both have their advantages and disadvantages. While it's much easier to nail the exact specs in FS it's easier to simulate surface versus air interactions with a flow dynamics model. Do you see a way to combine these two approaches to simulated flight modeling?Hans Petter

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I loaded FU2 from a demo disk, flew it once, couldn't control it because my plane didn't start in the proper place, lined up on the runway (I knew this was the proper place because FS95 taught me so). Not only that, but the engines weren't switched on! Everything that I could see out the plane windows was grey blurry textures, and one little building in the far distance (Half-Moon Bay). After a few minutes I worked out how to start the motors, gunned the throttle and crashed. I threw the disk back in the cupboard in disgust and went back to playing Ultima VIII.About a year later I found the demo disk and tried again. I got it in the air and looked out the window ....OH NOOOOOOO!!! A WHOLE YEAR WASTED !!! arrggghhhhhhh!!! SCREAM!!!! PANIC !!!!!!!!! Crunch (sound of FS98 hitting the wastepaper basket).I flew that demo so many times, and then bought FU3/FU2 soon after.I think I got my money's worth.(to the tune of "Land of Hope and Glory", and in a deep voice): Never, in the history of flight simulation, has so much been achieved by so few.RobD.

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* I have it. This is important, as I've returned every other sim...* I enjoy 'just' flying it and looking around.* I eventually discovered the joys of flying at dawn/dusk. It's still my favourite time!* I can spend even more time just tinkering with it. * It feels 'alive'compared to many wooden sims. You can feel every 'lump' of air, as you fly through it. In many cases, especially bad weather, you just cannot fly it, except in something huge (and even then, you'd be careful...). This seems to be missing from many sims. Those of you lucky enough to do some real flying will know what I mean here - just because you want to fly today doesn't mean that conditions are suitable. At least we can reset the weather :-lol* Support is free, so are all the upgrades ;) You don't have to decide which part to spruce-up to save money. * The people. Really. Regards,**************Jonathan Point**************"I'd rather be down here wishing I was up there than up there wishing I was down here"

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Larry, I think you missed my point ;-) I said not in comparison!I was only thinking totally about the "feel" of the thing. FU3 models, regardless of being on the numbers are not, has that feel of an aircraft in the air. No the "bubble" effect of X-Plane or the "fly by wire stick to the rails feel" one gets in general with FS. I had the same experience with the Arrow, nothing like the one at our flight school..., but it still adhered to the excellent weather phenomena of FU. And we must remember that even now neither X-Plane nor FS has such ATC, not even thinking at the time of release of FU3!>And the LakeI just liked it (and the FU2 Beaver) for the tranquility of landing in a remote area on the water, listening to the water gurgling over the floats and the bird sounds (sound files supplied by an enthusiastic user). At the FU release date FS didn't even had a glimpse of landable water in sight without downloading megs of BGL's and aircraft with adapted "landing gear for water". I have X-Plane and FS aircraft that when left alone in a bank they just keep on turning until I come back from my tea break.BUT Scenery, aircraft weather and ATC make (made) FU greatPieterPS Did I mention that FU shows its age ;-)

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Pieter,Just how good is the ATC system in FS2004 ? Despite what Larry says, the ATC in FU3 is superb, even today.Yes, the simulation of floatplanes in FU3 is light years ahead of that in FS2002. Has this been improved in FS2004 ?What about weather ? Does FU3 still do this better than any other flight simulator ?Chris Low.

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>Just how good is the ATC system in FS2004 ?Not too bad, but not too good either. FU3 ATC is strict and must be used at all controlled airports. If you don't announce yourself, FS ATC ignores you completely and lets you take off from any major airport without saying a word. However, if one starts with the typical procedures it keeps track and hands one down through the levels as good as it can get ;-). On some flights it tends to "over react" and doesn't allow for a wider circuit for real fast aircraft. Accordingly it then shunts one from one frequency to another (tower/approach/tower/approach, etc.) - real confusing. It also lack some intellegence as it doesn't really give correct instructions for flight level transfers. However again, I did find quite a few times with FU3 that ATC has lost me, even close to landing after announcing me as number one it then out of the blue gives another aircraft the runway for takeoff seconds before I touch down so that we meet on the numbers too late for evasive actions...>...floatplanes...Yes - it's much better now, more "real" water areas and nice bush flying areas.>What about weather ?It does have on-line access to real weather as you fly, but the clouds still hit me hard on frame rates even on my 2.4gHz P4 rendering the effect and model smoothness fairly useless. One can now really set the weather manually close to the way I'm used to with FU. The FU3 rain drops are the winner!PieterPS I would say that MSFS gives one quite value for the money invested. But it would always remain a personal preference. The only thing I hate is the slow reacting gauges. FS is not smooth, except perhaps to lay down yet another

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*** However again, I did find quite a few times with FU3 that ATC has lost me, even close to landing after announcing me as number one it then out of the blue gives another aircraft the runway for takeoff seconds before I touch down so that we meet on the numbers too late for evasive actions... ***I have never experienced a waiting plane being given clearance for departure BEFORE the controller has asked me to "go around". However, I have been on final approach to an empty runway numerous times (with a plane waiting to depart), only to be told to "....go around, traffic on the runway....", followed by "(waiting plane), cleared for take off......." :-fumeChris Low.

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Now I can't stop. JP is spot on of course. The sim itself feels right, and is immersive, creating a wonderful environment where just flying is thrilling. Reducing it to numbers doesn't explain that effect.But I chose it initially because of the numbers and that good FU2 demo, and also because I wanted proper scenery out of the plane window, and after some careful research, FU3 had the best numbers. These were:1) 4 m per pixel ground scenery data2) competent ATC (not as good as ATP, but competent)3) photographic scenery over a 30m mesh4) weather. Weather. and Weather. FU2's was just beyond believability, the feel of sitting in my wood and canvas Beaver with rain hammering on the roof, wind dropping and throwing me around, lightning crashing etc. Volumetric clouds. Vertical drafts. Raindrops. Sunset, mist, cloud layers, sun/moon/stars, ... FU3's was even more realistic.Of these, scenery was and is the most important to me - which is why Sky Harbour is my favourite airport (sorry Hans!) - you take off past a few cows, the runway throwing you violently sideways, thru some trees, over the town and river, and next moment you have these amazing mountains with their inviting (and very deep) valleys all minutes away. That is why FU3 is unforgettable.Then a while later I discovered scenery models. How good is it flying around St Pauls or Guys' Hptl and knowing I built them. Not Chris Wren, the LPA or anyone else. Me. With my little text editor. I think many of us here have had that joy of making something for FU3 - a new airport, or a package, or some little bit that has helped others enjoy the sim. Its a great feeling.RobD.

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