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About Paraffin

Flight Sim Profile

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    Pacific Northwest USA
  • Interests
    Civilian and Combat flight sims.

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. I can sympathize with wanting a "black box" for running a flight sim. I did that for a while with DAW (digital audio workstation) software, back in the days when that was very CPU-hungry, and twitchy about being interrupted by other processes. But that only works if you keep it completely offline, which isn't practical if you're using any of the newer 64-bit flight sims that are constantly updated. Makes it kind of hard to download new aircraft and scenery too! If you block OS updates and still keep your computer connected to the Internet, then you might as well put out a big welcome mat online that says "please use my computer for a malware host or ransomware attack." The running updates for Windows aren't just about performance tweaks or driver updates, they're also security updates. And I don't think you can strip out the other stuff and only get the security updates. Remember the big ransomware attack on Hospitals in 2017? That was an attack on Windows 7 computers that hadn't been patched with the latest updates. Hackers don't care if you're not running the latest OS, as long as they can find enough older systems that haven't been updated. Just this morning when I got on my computer to check mail and news, I had a Windows Defender alert that it had found and quarantined a trojan file. This stuff is constantly trying to break into your computer, unless you run a completely "black box" setup that's never connecting to the Internet. Virus protection isn't enough. There are system-level hacks that go deeper, and that's why you need to keep your OS updated. You're not doing the rest of the flight sim community any favors, if you allow your computer to become a host bot for malware that affects everyone else.
  2. There are two types of plugins in X-Plane: The Resources\plugins folder is for plugins that operate on the entire system, like weather plugins or that pushback plugin. These will work with any aircraft you load. The plugins folder underneath each individual aircraft folder is only for that specific aircraft model. Usually this is set up for you, inside the download archive for free aircraft, or with the installer for payware aircraft. You shouldn't have to mess with this folder unless you're using an optional plugin for a specific aircraft (I'm not familiar with that Flight Factor A320). About the scenery files -- those four folders for "X-Plane Landmarks" are part of the default scenery in XP11 (a new addition). They should have been automatically installed with a new purchase of X-Plane, or with a recent patch, below any downloaded custom scenery. If you're using the free HD or UDH mesh files (zzz prefix), those go below the landmark files.
  3. Paraffin

    Could we ask for more ?

    Hah! I can relate. However, the problems arise when people less patient and understanding about software development start whining about the developer hyping their product, breaking promises, etc. It's just bad P.R. to promise and not deliver. More data to store (a little more), but maybe not a performance hit if it's burned into the mesh tiles. Anyway, I suppose we'll get this eventually, one way or another.
  4. Paraffin

    Could we ask for more ?

    The downside is disappointment in the user base if a feature ends up not working well enough. And even more disappointment if the feature gets pulled out of the final release. I assume that's one reason why there is a private beta and password-protected feature list in the first place. I still remember hearing about a feature -- maybe a year ago? -- where they had worked out a way to show more appropriate water colors in shallow areas and tropical regions, instead of that slate blue water color everywhere. It was expected to be in a current beta or final, but it never showed up. If it wasn't going to make the cut, I'd prefer not knowing about it. P.S. as a side note, I still hope they can figure out how to do that. We can install small custom airport and region files that use orthos or hand colored bitmaps for tropical water, but ideally this is something the sim should generate in the terrain engine, from whatever data sources are available.
  5. Other things it might be good for, are smoke effects from engines, especially dirty ones like old radials. Maybe an improvement in the rain mist effects from tires and prop wash on wet runways, and helicopter rotor wash effects over water or dirt. Those all look a bit cheesy now, with cycling bitmap puffs. Those effects shouldn't have more of a GPU hit than contrails. It's still just a bit of eye candy compared to other things we'd like to see (3D weather! seasons!), but every little bit helps make the sim look more realistic.
  6. If you ever fly around airports at night, I think it's probably no contest with X-Plane's night lighting and high number of individual light sources. Great moving car headlights and street lights on roads and urban areas near airports at night too. That's one of X-Plane's killer features. In daylight, there are many very good large airport add-ons in X-Plane, but the coverage isn't as wide (yet) as FSX/P3D so your favorite airport may or may not exist in a highly detailed version. Also, there aren't as many highly detailed small GA airports like the ones made by Orbx. Although there are a few very nice ones like the beti-x Bella Coola CYBD payware.. Another difference is that X-Plane doesn't do seasonal terrain changes. It's summer all the time. There is an add-on for winter textures, but it won't automatically create snow with add-on airports. Aside from that, I'll have to let others compare, because it's been a long time since I've looked at P3D airports.
  7. You can try downloading any of the free scenery files at (note: a separate site not directly affiliated with Laminar, the developers of X-Plane). Most of those scenery files should work okay unless, as noted above, they include new 3D objects introduced in XP11. There may be a mismatch with autogen roads here and there near airports, since XP11 uses updated OSM data to generate roads. You won't break anything by trying to load newer scenery, so it's worth a try. Planes are different. Any of the free models at the .org that specifically say XP11 or "updated for XP11" may not work. Especially turboprops and jets, since that's where most of the engine changes were made in the move to XP11. There are still many models at the .org that say "XP10 and XP11" where minimal work may have been done, and they may work okay. There are even plenty of models in the .org libraries that were never updated past XP9. Those should work if you load them into Planemaker and save out the .acf file, which updates the airfoils to XP10. You should really just update to XP11 though, it's a *lot* better than XP10. 🙂
  8. Paraffin

    Things I don't understand.................

    It's all about the lubrication and mouth feel, don't 'ya know. Besides, as descendant of family from the USA Appalachian mountains (and the UK before that), mayonnaise is the National Food of My People. Don't go knockin' it.
  9. What megiess said above about the folder location. Just point your app there. Within that one folder, I name flight plans generated and exported from the Plan-G flight planner with file names like this, so I know what aircraft they're for. Current Aero Commander.fms Current Bell 412.fms Current DHC-6 Twin Otter.fms Current Pilatus PC-12.fms And so on. You could get more sophisticated with file naming schemes by date or route. I don't think X-Plane supports sub-folders under this "/FMS plans" folder, so you have to use the file names to ID the flight plan.
  10. Paraffin

    X-Enviro 1.10 progress....

    It's only an advantage server side if the resulting weather in the flight sim is a better match to real conditions than other plugins can create, using different (and less proprietary) data sources. I bought XEnviro when it first came out and ran it for a while. I finally removed it because it had some odd visual artifacts, too many server drop-outs leading to sudden weather jumps, and because the real-weather injection was all or nothing. It can't be manually adjusted to suit the type of aircraft and areas I fly in. During that time I was testing it, I never got the impression that it was doing a better job of representing the real weather outside my window or in airport webcams than default XP11 weather, or the NOAA plugin, or SkyMaxx Pro. I saw no apparent advantage in server side processing other than convenient DRM for the developer. That said, X-Plane itself is a major limitation here, until Laminar gets off their collective etc. to improve the internal weather engine. Right now, all weather add-ons suffer from having to cram whatever data they're using into a few horizontal layers for winds and clouds, not a full 3D matrix. There is no point in having more sophisticated server modeling than will fit into the sim.
  11. Paraffin

    X-Enviro 1.10 progress....

    I doubt any load is being taken off your CPU with XEnviro's server-based method. It's not downloading graphics, just their equivalent of METAR text data. That kind of data is incredibly efficient to download, especially if it's compressed. Then the plugin on your computer takes that data and does the heavy lifting with CPU/GPU to render the weather graphics, same as with any other weather plugin. The impact on frame rate will depend on how efficient that client-side rendering process is. For example, the first (current?) version of XEnviro took some shortcuts by rendering clouds as 2D billboards. The frame rates are a little better with that method than using 3D "volumetric" clouds like SkyMaxx Pro. The XEnviro method might actually work your CPU a little more than other plugins, if the data is encrypted. There are probably also some handshaking protocols involved with authorizing each contact with the server, compared to the way other plugins grab METAR data from an open, public source. So in some respects, XEnviro may actually work your CPU a little harder than other weather plugins or the default XP11 weather. Although with any modern computer capable of running XP11 at a decent frame rate, that kind of processing should be well hidden in the background so you don't notice it.
  12. There is a generic Autopilot panel on the "A" tab at the left side of the screen, but why not use the instrument panel autopilot instead? That's the one on the real aircraft, and you can easily access it by moving the cockpit camera to a close view of whatever switches and displays you need, then program that to a view key (Ctrl + Numpad). I program views like that for autopilot and other main controls on all my Carenado models in X-Plane. I never use the Carenado pop-up autopilot because the ones in the panel are more realistic, and usually have more features. I understand if you're temporarily frustrated, but if you avoid Carenado models in X-Plane, then you won't have access to many of the best GA aircraft models currently available. Carenado has had a reputation for prioritizing eye candy over systems modeling, but the recently developed (HD) models are pretty good, and we're not exactly spoiled for choices in X-Plane.
  13. Paraffin

    Switching to xplane?

    That wasn't my experience outside the USA. Most of the flights I chartered in Brazil started out in a very basic airfield, with nothing but fuel drums and a basic support staff. There is an entire world of aviation out there in third world countries and remote areas, that has nothing to do with ATC interaction. Not all helicopter company bases are located at big airports either. Especially the ones operating "scenic" tourist flights.
  14. Paraffin

    Switching to xplane?

    I quoted the whole statement, and it had no other context. Since this this is a flight sim forum, I think it's fair to assume that was the context. 🙂 Even in real life flying, there are plenty of situations devoid of ATC contact. I spent a whole career doing aerial photography as part of the job, and there were places in the Central and South American bush country where my pilot never touched the microphone. Instead of contacting approach control, you make a low pass before landing to make sure cows or pigs aren't on the grass "runway." Even back in the USA doing real estate and cruise ship gigs, I don't recall my helicopter pilots contacting ATC except for basic tower notifications on takeoff and landing. We were always at very low altitudes under VFR rules. The radio traffic was either with the company base, or coordination with our crew on the water for boat shoots. To be clear, this isn't an argument or excuse for the poor state of ATC in XP11. Just a comment on the idea that ATC is somehow the make-or-break feature for all sim pilots. It just depends on what aspect of aviation you're trying to simulate, and they don't all include a full-featured ATC simulation.
  15. Paraffin

    Switching to xplane?

    Uh... right. So, If I want to use the sim to fly bush planes and helicopters in the mountainous areas of the PNW, Alaska, New Zealand, New Guinea, and South America, where there is no ATC coverage, I should just stay on the ground and not bother to fly? I understand why ATC is important to a segment of the flight sim community, and I'm glad that Laminar is working on improving it. But it's ridiculous to assume that ATC is something that everyone *must* use, before cranking up a flight sim. We all fly in different areas, for different reasons. Some of those areas and reasons have nothing at all to do with ATC proficiency.