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About Paraffin

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    Pacific Northwest USA
  • Interests
    Civilian and Combat flight sims.

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About Me

  • About Me
    I've been flying on virtual planes since the old SubLogic PC days, and was once a SysOp on the pre-Web Compuserve FS forums.

    Real-life flying experience -- never a pilot, but I spent many years as an aerial photographer in light planes and helicopters based out of Miami, FL, Central America, and South America. I know what it looks like up there, with the door off, even if I've never had the yoke in my hand.

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  1. Paraffin

    Flight Sim World assets scuttlebutt??

    Right, I should have said "community who were desperate to see a 64-bit version of FSX where you didn't have to deal with P3D." 🙂 Part of that wasn't just the license fee structure (and I know we're not supposed to talk about that here), but also something of a pie-in-the-sky wish for backwards compatibility. People were hoping at first -- before more of DTG's business model appeared -- that they wouldn't have to buy all their add-ons all over again. That never seemed like a realistic goal to me, but you can't blame people for hoping. The fact that this thread exists at all, indicates that there is a general hope in the community for something like "FSX in 64-bits, no OOMs and I can still use all my expensive add-ons." That's basically the only selling point any new developer could offer, if they picked up the legacy code yet again. Agreed, especially since Microsoft presumably can't sub-license the work DTG did in converting the 32-bit FSX code to 64-bits. And DTG can't license what they did, because it depends on the underlying IP from Microsoft. Kind of a double-whammy there. Given all the complications, I predict any new major civilian sim that shows up in the future will be a scratch product like AFS2, with only Lockheed-Martin carrying the MSFS legacy forward. They're in the best position to do it.
  2. Paraffin

    Flight Sim World assets scuttlebutt??

    Maybe we're remembering this differently, but what I remember was a great deal of constructive criticism, which was sometimes interpreted as "attacks" by the members of the community who were desperate to see a 64-bit version of FSX. It got to the point where any criticism at all was seen as an attack. And this wasn't the only place it happened. If anything, the Steam forums for FSW were even more negative overall. And frankly, I think DTG earned that response by over-promising and under-delivering.
  3. Paraffin

    Flight Sim World assets scuttlebutt??

    Or there is nothing to say because nobody is interested in acquiring those assets? Personally, I think it's the more likely situation. There have been three attempts now to continue moving the original FS code into the future. Two of the three attempts have failed spectacularly -- MS Flight and DTG's FSW. The only remaining effort -- P3D -- is healthy and moving forward, but it's massively underwritten by Lockheed Martin, a corporation that doesn't need the money from sales of the sim. LM is continuing with P3D for its own internal use, and the "outside" users are along for the ride. BTW, I'm not saying that's a bad thing, because it's similar to the situation with X-Plane. The desktop consumer sim is only one part of Laminar's aerospace simulation business and they also develop a mobile version. So desktop X-Plane is to a certain extent subsidized. Both P3D and XP benefit from not having to be successful in the usual commercial sense for consumer software. Anyway, given that background, what are the odds that anyone would want to try a fourth time to build something on the FS code base? Especially with the financial overhead and restrictions of having to deal with licensing fees? One reason AFS2 still seems to have a future, may be that they're not saddled with any of that.
  4. They're highly advanced, but they can't bend the laws of physics enough to eliminate the side effect of friction when they brake into the Earth's atmosphere.They just hope we won't notice that. By the way... you can tell the speed of a meteor from the color. Slower ones are yellow shading into the orange as they burn, especially the fragmenting bolides. The really fast ones leave a very long green ionization trail from the electrons stripped out and glowing in the atmosphere. If you ever see a blue meteor trail, that's an alien ship braking down from near lightspeed into the atmosphere from the Cherenkov effect. That's the cue to start digging a hole in your back yard for shelter.
  5. "Appeared to be multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory, and very bright where we were." "Banked over to the right and then climbed away at speed from our perspective." I'm an amateur astronomer (at least in a previous life when I lived under less cloudy skies!). That's a classic description of a "bolide," a meteor that breaks up on entry to the atmosphere. Sometimes they can skip off the atmosphere, which might explain that last report of change in flight path, but I think it's more likely just a trick of perspective. Maybe distortion through the cockpit windscreen. Bright meteors -- especially the more spectacular bright fragmenting bolides -- are far more common than most people realize, except for those living in dark sky areas of the planet. Or airline pilots.
  6. Paraffin

    Xplane11 question

    I just use whatever spot on the instrument panel or visible nose happens to correlate to the center of the horizontal flight path, based on enough flying experience in each different model. On the Turbo Goose I used to fly a lot in FSE, it was a line of rivets on the nose. In the Pilatus PC-12 I fly most of the time now, it's the triangle marker at the top of the EADI instrument. It's easy to keep track of in the bottom of my visual field when I'm mainly focusing on the runway picture. It will be different for every aircraft model, so this method works best in planes you fly frequently and are very familiar with. You might also have to slightly adjust the horizontal camera viewpoint for the pilot's "head" to line up with a good reference point. That's easy with the quick view keys that are saved for every aircraft. Even if I'm using something like Track IR, the quick reset key always returns to the initial reference position.
  7. I use the free (donationware) Plan-G Flight Planner for all my flights in X-Plane, which are mostly in the FSEconomy game unless I'm just testing something. You set a flight plan, then export a .FMS file to X-Plane's flight plan subdirectory, load that into X-Plane's GPS and you're good to go. It does everything I need for VFR and IFR flights in light to medium GA planes and helicopters. It will also operate as a moving map display during flight with a link via XPUIPC. You can scroll around anywhere in the world to look at airports and navaids in the X-Plane database, which gets around some limitations in the default XP11 map that only shows the current area around the plane. By loading an outside (free) data source, it will show a MEF altitude for highest terrain near your flight path, so you can avoid smacking into mountains. You can even program user GPS waypoints for valley approaches. Very useful for the kind of bush flying I do. Those are the "Pros," and I only notice a few "Cons": * If you fly the heavies, it lacks SIDs and STARs. That doesn't affect how I fly, but some people need it. * It's a separate program running outside the sim, so you have to tab back and forth to see it as a moving map. * The map overlay showing topographic-style terrain used to be better. I think it was from Google Maps, but they started charging app developers for it, so the current options are a bit more sparse. I'm using the OpenCycleMap option in the program, which isn't bad but I miss the earlier map style. There are other flight planners out there, this is just the one I'm most familiar with and it works well.
  8. Paraffin

    Lion-Air 737Max Possible cause.

    The interesting question for me, is why the crew on the previous flight managed to deal with what was apparently the exact same problem, and get the plane on the ground safely. What was different about the flight that crashed? One suggestion over at pprune is that it might be the presence of a company engineer on board, apparently there to help debug the problems the plane was having. And that might have led to more cockpit confusion. Just pure speculation though. They need to find the CVR. Of course another question is why the aircraft was signed-off for revenue flight after having that much trouble on the previous leg. Placing an engineer on board the next leg to debug would be a test flight, not something paying passengers should ever have been exposed to.
  9. Paraffin


    Another nice thing about GPS navigation is the ability to add user-created waypoints. I do a lot of bush plane flying into small airstrips in the sim. I always start with a flight plan created in the free/donationware Plan-G Flight Planner. After entering the departure and destination airports, I'll use the "add user waypoint" feature for things like the start of a descent profile, then another one for a final approach fix and turn towards the runway. Then I export the flight plan to my sim, load it into the GPS, and I'm good to go. I could do the same thing by manually inputting custom waypoints in the aircraft GPS with Lat/Long coordinates, but it's so much easier with a good flight planning software. And of course you still have to stay on top of the autopilot when running those waypoints, making sure you know where you are, and what it's doing. It's not a bad idea to have a good grasp of VOR and NDB navigation for a cross-check. There are many places in the world where VORs may be starting to phase out, but there are still many NDBs around for navigation.
  10. Paraffin


    I can't remember a time when running a flight sim wasn't the heaviest load on every computer I ever owned, back to my first computer -- A Sanyo MBC550, the first IBM clone. I don't know why it should be different now. Computer games, even impressive AAA productions like the latest Assassin's Creed game (which is visually stunning even on my current rig with a GTX970) play all sorts of tricks to get high frame rates that wouldn't work in a flight sim, like limiting detail in the distance. Every time a game shows a brief black screen as a transition, it's an admission that it isn't great at continuous simulation. It's doing something you'd never accept in a flight sim, which has to continuously and smoothly model both the aircraft and its systems, the weather, and the world outside. I've never felt that games were a reasonable comparison for frame rates in a flight sim. Not unless you want your sim stripped down to the point where FPS is the main priority over everything else. We do have one flight sim like that now in AFS2, and it will be interesting to see if the FPS holds up as they add more features. Or if they go down that road at all. One other big difference is that games are designed to exist in a very narrow window of time, just a year or two, and then the developer brings out the next one. Flight sims usually have much longer periods between major versions. It was four years between XP10 and XP11, and we may not see XP12 until 2020. The developer has to build in some capacity to take advantage of hardware that doesn't exist yet, but will come on the market during the long period before the next version comes out. As long as the sim can run at 30 FPS or better on most current user's hardware, that's probably considered a "good enough" target. You get gradually better FPS as you upgrade your computer system during the current cycle, and then it shifts down again when the new version comes out. 'Twas ever thus. And of course, all of this is exacerbated by the way monitor resolution keeps creeping up. We have no "standard monitor" now, like we did in the early days of computer flight sims. Is it any wonder people are still griping about frame rates when they're trying to run flight sims on their fancy new 4k monitors? And then planning on buying an 8K monitor next year? 🙂 And then there's VR to consider. It's the Wild West out there for monitor resolution, these days.
  11. Paraffin

    Dual boot?

    If you absolutely must have Windows 7 for certain applications, I'd put it on a separate computer, maybe an old laptop. Dual boot with the same OS version can be good for running a stripped-down version for gaming and flight sims alongside a more general-purpose setup. And maybe if you want something like Linux on the same machine. But running current and older versions of the same OS isn't a great idea. Too much potential for confusion trying to keep both updated and virus/malware free. Speaking of which... Microsoft will stop official support for Windows 7 on Jan. 14, 2020. It's not that far away now, just a little over a year, and that means no more security patch updates. If you really need to run Windows 7 and want to continue after 1/2020, I'd recommend a "black box" approach where you're using a separate computer, never connected to the Internet. After that date, Win7 will become even more vulnerable to malware attacks, like the recent ransomware that targeted un-patched Windows XP systems in hospitals.
  12. Paraffin

    MilViz T310R

    FYI, the Reality GTN750 is offered as an option on several other X-Plane aircraft, integrated into the cockpit if you own it. So if you do eventually pick it up, you can use it for more than just the Milviz plane.
  13. Paraffin

    MilViz T310R

    Great news about the MD530, I'm looking forward to it. I have some real-life time as a commercial aerial photographer (non-pilot) in Hughes 500's, although it was years ago. The Jet Rangers my company hired were usually more stable platforms for aerial gigs, but I always had fun flying in the 500's when that was the local option. More of a sports car than a truck, and a very good FOV with the door off.
  14. Paraffin

    10 Most Anticipated SPACE Games of 2018 & 2019

    I dunno... that particular developer is famous for working in a complete vacuum without any reality checks from the users. Which led to the disastrous release of Rebirth. They're also famous for tons of bugs on release. It looks like they might have learned something from Rebirth, but there's still a lot of "walking around space stations with poor animation" in that clip, and I don't buy games like that to walk around space stations. I'm semi-interested, but will wait to see reviews and user feedback. I just wish someone would do a new version of Independence War 2. Or Tie Fighter. I'd settle for either one.