Bruce Nicholson KMFR

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About Bruce Nicholson KMFR

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  1. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    FSElite Exclusive: P3D v4.4 Releasing November 28th

    That is one long list of fixes and improvements. The folks at LM have been very busy. I am wondering how the new option to enable and disable add-ons without restarting the sim is going to work. Some of us with lots of add-ons have to deal with the 10+ minute start up of the sim. I'm hoping I can keep v4.4 in a basic start-up mode resulting in a minimalistic start of less than a minute, then selectively enable and disable add-on airports as I need them. If that works, then I'm going to be jumping for joy with this new P3D version. I'm also happy to see those conical-beam airport beacons are finally gone and replaced with a DL version. Lots of great items in this release and I'm really looking forward to it.
  2. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    The Southern Cascades

    Nice description and very accurate. I can attest to this since I live in the area. One additional tidbit of information that is interesting. Siskiyou Summit Pass is the highest point of I-5 along it's route between the Mexican and Canadian borders at 4,310 feet.
  3. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    ATC handoff back and forth...

    It's been this way since ATC was first introduced before FSX. There has been little to no improvement to the ATC dlls since their creation. As mentioned above, there are pros and cons to using default ATC versus an add-on ATC program. I agree that the default ATC is still the best when using AI traffic and makes it worthwhile to consider some small changes in how you use ATC to avoid the annoyances. The simplest avoidance of switching back and forth between controllers is to delay the switch. Similarly, the easiest way to avoid ATC constantly revectoring you for a crosswind is to ignore the vector and compensate for the crosswind.
  4. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    P3Dv4 Addon Rant:-)

    I definitely prefer the XML method and I reduce the number of groups to avoid issues. Here is my rant on this subject... My big problem with developers that don't follow the XML specification is that it puts a burden on me to do the work that they should be doing before they release a P3D4 product. I have to pre-install to a separate folder just to ensure the product is not going to overwrite my LM files. I then construct the necessary folders and build the XML (thank you Oliver for your fantastic Organizer product). Why should I pay the developer and then have to do this on behalf of the developer? Of course I have the option to use the installer as is, but why should I risk my nice, clean setup just because some developers won't get onboard with the specification? With the exception of Orbx, which makes it impossible to install via the XML method, all of my aircraft, scenery, and AI Traffic are setup external to the simulator and automatically recognized when I start P3D. A reinstall or upgrade is a non-issue with this method (except for Orbx, of course). If a hobbyist can make use of the XML method, there is no excuse for a professional developer not to use it. As for why LM doesn't shutdown the scenery library, Vic was right in that LM has to consider legacy software that won't run without it. Take the makerunways utility as an example. It doesn't know how to collect airport data via the XML method. Oliver and Peter worked out a solution, but it requires legacy code to work with a scenery table converter. LM must consider this, even if the path is leading toward an XML process. Just because the scenery library is there, doesn't make it right for developers to ignore the SDK specification and continue to install to it.
  5. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    Rant: Developers, wake up!

    I do the same as Henry and some of the others posting here. All of my add-ons other than the few that require it, are located outside the main sim. The problem with the developers that choose not to use the XML method and/or install outside of the sim (Orbx & Milviz excluded) is that I must "test" every installation before I actually install it. I then build the XML with Lorby's fantastic AO product and move the product files to where I want. I'm paying money for a product and having to manually override the installation process just to protect that product during a future P3D4 upgrade or reinstall. I agree with Simbol's rant in this topic. Developers, wake up! There are very few reasons why the files need to go into the sim folders. Even the World/Scenery files and Generic texture files can go into external folders and still work properly, when properly set up with the XML method.
  6. Bruce Nicholson KMFR


    As softrest says, Las Vegas is one of the least expensive metro markets in the United States, unless you go there with the intention of spending lots of money. Of all the cities I can fly to from my local airport non-stop, Las Vegas is the least expensive by far. An airport shuttle running from baggage claim 7 to the strip hotels is only $7 one way, a fraction of the cost of a taxi. Even Uber and Lyft save $10-$15 over taking a taxi. Restaurants and buffets compete aggressively with each other in Las Vegas. There are plenty of upscale, expensive restaurants in Las Vegas, but there are many many more economical ways to get very nice meals. The same with alcoholic beverages... way too many "specials" to even mention. To say someone must budget $1000 before getting off the plane is an overstatement, unless they are going specifically to spend that much money. I also have to question the use of "poaching" in Chuck's statement above. In the financial business world, where protection of client lists is vitally important, there are strict ethical rules for credentialed professionals on the use of client lists, especially when they leave a firm. If the individual is limited by a legal agreement or can't replicate the client list by using public domain information, then it is considered "poaching" and if reported, may result in severe financial penalties, as well as revocation of financial credentials. My understanding from the FSElite article is that Evan and Phil had a contract that expired immediate following the 2017 event with no restriction on competing in the same type of business.The emails by Evan and Phil cited by Chuck above occurred after the contracts expired. There are a limited number of FS vendors and it would be quite easy to develop a FlightSimCon vendor list by simply going to the internet and looking up FS vendors. It may even be possible to create a more extensive list than FlightSimCon had using this method. So how exactly is this considered "poaching?" Is it the right thing to do? That depends on many factors, especially if Even and Phil are considered friends, but none of the known ethical business definitions consider it poaching. I'm sorry Nicole trusted these contract employees, but perhaps that is a lesson learned the hard way. I wish Chuck & Nicole success in Dallas, but it appears to be an upstream swim with two organizers working in the same arena with such a limited audience. Perhaps it would be better to spread the conferences out a bit and make them semi-annual - one in the summer and one in the winter. Maybe agree not to hurt each other by saturating the conference space with conferences only weeks apart.
  7. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    REX Sky Force - Cloud Model Sync Explanation

    Are you using SSAA or MSAA and what level? Most people without performance issues are using 2xMSAA or 4xMSAA. SSAA is very hard on GPUs, even the high-end ones.
  8. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    Really, who uses dynamic lighting?

    I agree with Aaron. Using a 4K or 2K monitor with a higher end graphics card allows for low to medium MSAA settings and this makes all the difference in graphics performance. I have dynamic lighting on day & night and don't see a big fps hit. Most of the P3Dv4 performance issues reported on AVSIM have to do with using SSAA. The investment I made in my monitor and graphics card is well worth avoiding the headaches of SSAA and achieves a similar graphics experience.
  9. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    Any intel on a potential new Active Sky (AS18) ?

    Another feature that I've wanted for quite some time is for someone to develop a weather profile view of the flight plan that is zoomable. We have the top down map view available and it shows the clouds/precip/wind/visibility, but there is no way to see the clouds/precip/wind/visibility in a profile view. Basically once you enter your flight plan, the system would generate a slice of the sky along your route and show it to you as a vertical layer. One could quickly see where the clouds are, their tops and bottoms, how the wind shifts with altitude. where turbulence and icing occur, etc. The best visual example I could find is available from the Aerovie Electronic Flight Bag (just the bottom half of the image: The same idea on limited basis (only shows winds) is already available from simbrief,com: It would be great if a combination of these two projections could be produced, with an interface that allows the user to select which elements are displayed, thereby limiting clutter and only showing what the user wants to see. The data is already available in the Activesky database and the weather engine already knows where the clouds are located and their vertical positions, why not enhance the product with an all-in-one vertical profile?
  10. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    Any intel on a potential new Active Sky (AS18) ?

    I think the next big step for activeSky is releasing a version for X-Plane. I haven't used that platform, but watching videos on YouTube reminds me of the early days in flight sim before ActiveSky was developed. The ActiveSky P3D platform is very mature at this stage. I agree that a method for searching for historical weather in a location would be a good enhancement. The radio echoes are way overstated compared to real world echoes. One thing I'd like to see that doesn't exist is visibility averaging between reporting stations within a certain radius. Currently AS places a visibility zone around a station. As soon as you travel outside the zone, it's clear, then 20 miles later the visibility lowers again at the next station. It seems the visibility should be consistent the entire way, just as the temperature and winds are averaged between stations. When stations are hundreds of miles apart, it's not reasonable to average over that distance, but the closer stations should be averaged. The altitude of thunderstorm tops are limited in AS. What really kills the reality for me in all sim weather products is the repeating grid pattern of clouds. Maybe it's a limitation of the SDK, but even SkyForce has a repetitive pattern to it's clouds. Stratus exists to a grid boundary, and then there is a line along the grid boundary where it stops. ???? If a developer can get past that hurdle, it's a step toward more realistic clouds, not just by using better textures. I am confident Damian and crew with come out with improvements and maybe something more. They have a track record of consistent improvements and surprising new developments.
  11. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    REX Sky Force Very First look

    Thanks for your report. It confirms what I was asking in my previous post. The clouds are generated in a large grid pattern just like ActiveSky. You can clearly see the linear edge of the overcast, especially in the first photo above where the overcast makes a 90 degree turn at the intersection of the grid in the distance. The closest grid section showing a scattered stratus layer, but still bounded by the grid boundary. Another confirmation would be to show CB cells and if they are all placed equally distant from each other.
  12. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    REX Sky Force Very First look

    Steve, there is more to this than just patches to AS16/ASP4 to be able to make a fair comparison. What SkyForce is demonstrating with their IWX is very similar to ActiveSky wxRE v1, the first version of ActiveSky (release back in 2002). It had radical wind shifts and cloud updates every time the new weather was read into the engine. It had weather that didn't match the local METAR. There was no weather smoothing between stations, so one would experience drastic changes in the weather just flying between two adjacent airports. ActiveSky made incremental improvements with each version to what we have today, 15 years later. I think some people that have been around from the beginning with ActiveSky suspected that IWX may also have the same "teething pains" that ActiveSky had at the beginning. I was prepare to be amazed if SkyForce was going to work well out of the starting line. After all, they had 15 years of ActiveSky to show them what needed to be done to produce a current-level weather engine. However, REX remaining silent when asked about some of the features of SkyForce was also foretelling. In the end, it seems REX realized they had a better graphics product than ASCA (no surprise there) and it was going to take much longer to produce an ActiveSky equivalent WX engine, so they released the product with the hooks to work with other WX engines as a compromise. It's not about how many patches are needed to improve SKyForce as REX is saying their WeatherForce (in development) is the solution to the issues we are seeing. I take this to mean this is REX's opportunity to continue working on an ActiveSky equivalent while SkyForce brings in the revenue to fund the development of WeatherForce. Lastly, what better way to create WeatherForce than to take in all of the comments about SkyForce in what could be described as a public beta of the IWX. I suspect IWX is the engine of WeatherForce that will be tweaked and improved during development.
  13. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    REX Sky Force Very First look

    I realize the SF map function is not functional at this time, but can anyone say whether the cloud positioning in SF is non-repeating as REX claims in their manual and advertising? As an example, ActiveSky places a grid of data points around the world similar to SF's claim of 70,000 data points (so nothing revolutionary with that). AS then interpolates the weather between the data points providing a smooth transition. However, AS cannot provide a gradient of clouds between data points and one can see a "grid" of cloud types on the AS map and in the sim. A great example of this are the equidistant placement of CB clouds in AS within the grid. Also apparent is the transitions between an overcast and broken/scattered layer where one can see the straight line along the edge of the overcast as it meets the grid boundary. Does SF show a bit more of a gradient to the cloud positioning or is it also placing clouds in a grid among the 70,000 data points? This pertains to the IWX of SF as I would expect AS's engine to place the SF cloud models in the same method it places ASCA clouds. The other thing I'd like to know is do the anvils of CBs point in the correct direction (downwind of the CB) or are the CB models the same as other products where the anvil is simply shown without regard to the upper winds?
  14. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    REX Sky Force Very First look

    I think the video request was for a continuous, unedited video showing SF3D in action. The product video from REX is more of a "highlights reel" showing the best parts of SF3D. As of right now, there are 3 videos posted on YouTube, The two posted by Nico are over a hour long, but because he is shooting the video from inside his cockpit, the out of the window view is very washed out and it difficult to see what is happening until he moves to the evening and night views.
  15. Bruce Nicholson KMFR

    REX Sky Force Very First look

    I posted twice to the REX forums and no one would provide an answer as to whether SF3D can work in a network environment. Is there anyone using SF3D on a second networked computer? Can one see the maps and other information on a second computer while flying on the server computer? This is how I have my ActiveSky set up. The manual makes no mention of any networking, except for a single general setting on page 60 and most of the comments so far are from users running the sim and SF3D on a single computer. Obviously I can use AS as my weather engine and use a network, but I'm trying to get an idea of the SF3D features compared to AS, beyond the great looking cloud models and textures.