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Found 18 results

  1. Here is the accompanying video for the revised upcoming Avsim review which includes P3D V4.1 as well as FSX and FSX SE for the Just Flight Hawker Hunter, which I did today and uploaded:
  2. This is a low res test version of a video I made to accompany the Avsim review of the Just Flight Hawker Hunter, with some music by me too!
  3. Hi PMDG/All, I have had the 747 since release day and I wanted to provide some constrictive feedback which I hope will generate healthy discussion. It is appropriate to note here that I am overall impressed and the quality is consistent with previous releases (to which I have thousands of hours logged). I wanted to focus this post on the parts I would like to be improved/future features. I think it was good for the community as a whole to have the release co-incide with the FSL A320. I do not want to go into the comparative release issues with that product but I feel like I wanted to start by highlighting parts of that product I am extremely impressed with and wonder if we can have it included in the PMDG product line. 1) Comparatives to the FSL A320. - FSL comes with a functioning remote MCDU/FMS that is accessible through chrome on a remote device (iPad for example). This adds to the immersion massively and saves having to purchase 3rd part apps. Could we include this? - GSX integration, I feel that FSL has gone beyond the norm here with GSX integration. For example, one puts the fuel required into the init B (INIT REF) part of the MCDU and GSX, through the refuel function, will refuel the aircraft in real time, same with the boarding. This is incredible immersive and lacks in the 747. - Clouds, in darkness with landing lights on, the lights bounce and reflect off the clouds in overcast conditions, again, incredibly immersive that would be nice on the PMDG. - Flight dynamics, general question, I massively notice that the FSL flight dynamics are taken out of the sim, is this the same with the PMDG? As I feel it still behaves similar to the p3d/fsx flight dynamics engine. 2) General feedback - The visual external model is fantastic and the most notable 'step up' from previous PMDG lines, - The sounds are great - Performance and VAS usage for release candidate is very impressive and not easily achieved in our environment, bravo. - Systems are great, in my opinion, further can be done to general wear and tare (service based failures across all fleets, (i have noticed the engine oil quantity feature) 3) Room for improvement a) - See comparatives section b) - Overall, I was expecting more innovation from this product comparing to how long it's been since the 777 release. Maybe these will come in future service packs. I know this is a vague sentence but hopefully some of my first section highlights some of my thoughts. c) - FIX page FPS drop - I've historically talked to the TECH team about this known issue where FIX page range rings bring FPS down significantly, I hoped this would be fixed for the 747 release but have noticed it here. d) - Ground friction, speaking to current flight crew, they all consistently mention that brakes need to be regularly auctioned when taxiing in (and sometimes taxiing out) (riding the brakes)) on idle thrust. I removed the dynamic-friction FSUIPC mod as Ryan suggested but find that there is too much ground friction compared to real life. e) *EDIT - The animations are notriously jerky (refresh rate), really noticeable and takes a lot of immersion away (ref# 'warbirds' comment) 4) Comments that may be out of my knowledge (possible bugs?) a) why is there no 250/10,000ft speed restriction in the fmc by default? Thanks guys, I may notice further comments later and will but a *EDIT by the comment. Really interested in your thoughts. Cheers,
  4. I am writing this review for several reasons a. I absolutely love this aircraft b. I found too many inaccurate assumptions regarding performance/systems c. I found several negative reviews regarding this product which I don't believe are accurate d. ***within the limits of FSX I find this aircraft to be modeled extremely well*** My background I am in no way affiliated with carenado or any fsx developer I have over 500 hours as captain in the pa31 Navajo and chieftain combined operated single pilot mostly night IMC This is my first ever review so bare with me if its not in the traditional format (constructive criticism is appreciated) Lets start with sounds, that's easy enough. Exterior sounds as compared to the real aircraft are very very well re-created. A lot of people are complaining about the 3D sound cone that carenado produced having very minimal differences on this aircraft. You must keep in mind this is a PISTON engine, the variance of tones from standing in front, on the side, and to the rear of the aircraft are extremely minimal especially when compared to a turbine engine(which we all love those sounds.) After several years of watching these aircraft start up and taxi right beside me on the ramps the only difference I can take away is when the aircraft turns from head on to a rear view is the smell of avgas, and the feeling of being pelted by very little bits of rock and dirt from the ramp, the actual tone varies ever so slightly. Interior, I do find these sounds to be a little on the quiet side below 25" MP and or when starting/taxiing. This may have to do with the fact that my aircraft door was a "cut-out" of the left side window right over the wing, and when starting or taxiing I usually left this door open. However the engine rapid light off and increase in RPM is very accurate. Often starting this aircraft was a delicate balance of timing the mixture increase and throttle decrease simultaneously. Within the confines of FSX the start up sequence is excellently modeled, however I do wish the volume was a bit louder and maybe the old screeching of the starter engaging the fly-wheel would be a nice addition in the future. My reaction to systems- Well its a twin piston aircraft, how many systems can we talk about that can be modeled in FSX? the extremely over-engineered landing gear and hydraulic system? not really relevant for fsx (however I have yet to attempted to try an alternate gear extension so I can not speak to if it works or not, would be great if it did) In the chieftain there was a 3 position gear selector, up, neutral, and down. You could perform a hydraulic gear test with this system by turning on the battery switch and placing the gear handle to the down position, it should pop back to neutral within 7-10 seconds. Could be a fun addition if they ever do model a Chieftain or wish to update this Navajo. Lights- why is everyone complaining about these? They are modeled like someone put brand new bulbs in and their range is extremely accurate. In the real aircraft, if anything they are far more dim, making it challenging to land on a dark runway at night. In my opinion these do not need to be changed. However a beacon rocker switch would be nice, or at least a 3 position rocker switch for anti-collision (ie beacon-off-beacon&strobe) Most of the aircraft either had both beacons and strobes or some just had strobes, which this overhead panel seems to model however the beacon light is activated when the anti-collision light is turned on...maybe some faulty wiring on carenados part, but still an extremely small detail I can live with for now. Panel lighting, this is limited to their famous 1 switch for all lights deal but with that said it does not bother me one bit, here's why. Most of my aircraft either had several deferred instrument lights, or the backlighting was deferred totally, or the overhead flood was deferred (for those who don't know what deferred means, all it means is does not work. usually to save money on maintenance most companies, especially where I flew these aircraft will skip the small stuff until it was mandatory for it to be replaced) that's why having a flashlight was a mandatory item for the pilot. The simple dim lighting works for me and brings me back to those dark cold nights flying high over snow capped mountain tops. Also, the light pegs for each instrument are shaped like an upside down L, this shape creates its own shadow and is typical to black out an area of the gauge where the light peg is placed, most often its in the most important spot of the instrument IE MP or RPM! This is modeled by carenado, and why some may find it frustrating it is 100% realistic, and I think a great attention to detail by the developer. Pitot heats, heater, de-ice boots, vent blower, etc etc all the switches work, but don't expect more than the typical depth of systems carenado is known to produce. I will not elaborate on this section just to the fact that I think we all know what to expect from them as systems go. But I will be happy to answer any specific questions regarding them. I still have yet to fully test everything out, only have about 20 hours sim time with the aircraft as of this writing. Autopilot- this is one thing I see several topics on the forums people are complaining about. Lets put them to rest. I have flown almost every style of autopilot installed in a Navajo chieftain from S-tec systems 30 (integreated in turn coordinator), S-Tec systems 50 (mounted on lower right captains panel) KFC 200 FD/AP, Piper Altimatic V/FD (FCS810), Piper Altimatic IIIC, Piper Altimatic X and several others, those were most common however, but most where always deferred anyway! Now for the sake of me I cannot remember the name of this particular one installed but I do know this, we had 3 or 4 aircraft in the fleet with this exact model and it was my favorite. If your unfamiliar with the APs listed above, they were mostly controlled via turn coordinator integration, or a separate panel with confusing rotary knobs and buttons. The autopilot installed in this aircraft is done extremely well. The proper procedure to acquire an accurate level off, one must ease the FD pitch below 800FPM prior to 500' from level off, then engage the ALT button 50' from desired altitude. Most every real world aircraft was different, some would level off too abruptly, some not abrupt enough and others would just ignore your command and just blow through your desired altitude :o The most common practice was to hand fly the aircraft to cruise then engage the autopilot when it was properly manually trimmed. Coupled autopilot approaches were prohibited due to the erratic nature of the autopilot. So I wont even attempt them in FSX, this is not a Boeing, don't expect it to fly like one. Hand fly! Also when tracking a radial with the autopilot, if NAV was selected, most every aircraft I flew would oscillate about the course, our fix was to just fly in heading mode making small changes along the way. Carenado seems to have modeled the NAV function quite well and I have had no problems with that. On a separate note I will add after 3 flights I did notice a precession in my HSI even though it was slaved. This was also common in the aircraft but to a degree far less than what happened to me in FSX so I'm thinking this is a glitch that should be addressed. Even when placed in "free" mode the rotation switch will not re align your gyro to the mag compass :blush: not cool. Carenado does need to fix this. Ground handling- Very well done again, the pa31 nose wheel steering allows for up to 20 degrees on each side of center for steering. However the linkage can disengage and allow "free castoring" for an additional 20 degrees on each side of center allowing up to 80 degrees of movement. This can whip your aircraft violently and is modeled perfectly. The use of differential or asymmetrical thrust is extremely apparent in the real world aircraft and is as well in FSX. another very well modeled feature of the PA31 Moving on to the last section of my review, and the MOST important (to me) FLIGHT DYNAMICS Simply put, the performance, the aircraft handling, the excessive yaw rate in turbulence, are modeled so well I honestly can tell you I feel like I am flying the actual aircraft. Carenado absolutely positively blew this out of the park. I saw threads about people complaining they weren't getting max performance at max weight....hello! this aircraft is one hellacious machine you load it up to MTOW and expect to get 1500FPM in the climb you are going to be a smoking hole in the side of a mountain. Using my real world checklists and references for power settings I got almost exactly what I got in the real aircraft. I've tried it over and over with several weights and field elevations, Carenado you did a fantastic job. ----However fuel flow is off a bit, but who cares that much, your not paying for gas anyway, plus I actually got less GPH in the sim compared to the real world counterpart so maybe they modeled a brand new engine that's super efficient B) If it bothers you that much, run several tests making a chart of your fuel flows at different altitudes and power settings to use for planning purposes. But lets face it, the pa31 is not a long haul aircraft anyway, if you plan adequately fuel wont be a problem. The dynamics are modeled so well in this aircraft, that the (very few) glitches I've found are completely thrown to the side just based on the pure joy of the aircrafts handling and performance. Miscellaneous Those who were talking about the MP being off and your supposed to get 46 or something are incorrect. The density controller on the J2 Turbocharger will prevent you from over-boosting above 40MP. Unless you blew a valve your MP should remain below red line at all times. The TIO-540 (chieftain engine) is slightly larger and you will have slightly different pressures, you may be confusing internet web searches with this, but as far as the Navajo goes, it is modeled correctly. Some people complained that an "aircraft with a GTN 750 should have a much better working autopilot" -first thing, why are you putting a 750 in a pa31, that's disgraceful. I actually wish they had an all steam gauge version with no gps. Secondly the type of GPS installed has no effect on autopilot performance. So all said and done, I highly recommend this aircraft if you are looking for a little more rustic version of the duke b60 or maybe your first GA twin for your hangar. Not super fast but not slow either, this pa31 add-on is great for low level short-medium haul flights. Good luck! And I hope I have helped those of you in question or on the fence about this aircraft. P.S. Don't forget to stage cool on descent! 2" MP every 2 minutes until 18"mp, or below 300CHT or below 120 kts! stay safe and keep the silver side up! Happy flying
  5. https://youtu.be/qydPriJJiT0
  6. Hello, I just realized that Angelique van Campen has published Part 1 of a very intensive review of the new PMDG DC-6 Cloudmaster. I'll be working on reading this in the next few days, but wanted to post the link so everyone else can enjoy it too. It looks like it will be very interesting. http://www.x-plained...-6-cloudmaster/ Enjoy! Bob Angelique van Campen
  7. I made a short video to demonstrate the new navigraph extension pack for the Carenado Citation II, hope it's useful!
  8. I've had this scenery for over a week now and have created this review to help anyone thinking about buying this scenery. Hope it helps!
  9. fsx-ms

    I've spent the last week writing and recording this review, I hope you find it informative and helpful should you wish to purchase this plane
  10. NOTE: this is not really a review, and does not fit the member review template, which is why you are finding it here. I hope you enjoy it! Dogfight: Coolsky Flight One DC-9 vs. Captain Sim 737-100/200 & 200ADV The DC-9 first flew in 1965 on short to medium routes. The 737-100 competed for the same market, and entered service in 1968, followed that same year by the 200, and the ADV in 1971. Both were hugely successful products for their makers, and lasted well into the age of glass cockpits. In the end, it was the 737 that turned out to be the most popular jetliner of them all, but that outcome was not always obvious. These classics were rivals in real life, so how do they compare in FSX? Let's put them head to head and find out. Each category will be ranked 1 to 5 (best), except where there's something exceptional. ROUND ONE: PURCHASE AND DOWNLOADING -- EVEN 737 The Captain has the best system in the business. You buy the product, get a link and an install code, and you're ready to install. Later, as long as you remember your email address and at least one product code, you can access your account for updates and re-downloads. Aerosoft has a similarly friendly system, and anything more complicated than this is likely to get marked down. (There are still some vendors doing weird stuff out there, and this does affect my purchasing habits.) Fortunately, it doesn't get more consumer-friendly than Captain Sim's method. SCORE: 5. DC-9 Flight One has its wrapper, and it's license key, and, yes, it all works, but it's just shy of the intuitive ease of Captain Sim and some other companies. That said, it doesn't warrant a mark-down. SCORE: 5 ROUND TWO: Documentation -- ADVANTAGE: DC-9 737 Captain Sim's documentation is one of their strengths. While I would like to see some systems covered more in depth (like the PDCS, although... you'll see) it is decent. The lack of a tutorial, however, brings it down. Captain Sim, for some reason, stubbornly refuses to include tutorials in their products. SCORE: 4. DC-9 You not only get good conventional documentation, but a whole in-sim interactive instruction system that points to relevant elements of your panel while displaying explanatory text. The tutorial is linked to this system, which is less than ideal in my opinion (unless you enjoy flying from the 2-D panel) but, that's not much of a complaint. This is a complex airplane, and it looks like the developers really want you to know how to fly it properly. Since it lacks an FMC, we're talking radio navigation here for both contestants. The DC-9 gives you a "Nav Sim," however, which both helps and instructs you in this arcane art. The beauty of it is that it doesn't just take away the challenge of radio navigation. It actually teaches you along the way. The upshot is you needn't be afraid to buy the DC-9 because you don't know how to use radio navigation. You will learn, and until then, you've got training wheels. While not really documentation, the DC-9 also provides in-sim loading and fueling, and an "auto-configure" function to set up your airplane in different states: cold and dark, ready for taxi, ready for takeoff, and even in-flight configurations. Captain Sim, in comparison, has it's familiar ACE, which loads your airplane and... well, that's all it does. No, it's not broken, but when you see what other developers are doing with the DC-9, or Aerosoft's A318/319, people are getting a lot more elsewhere. SCORE: 6! ROUND THREE: LOOKS -- ADVANTAGE 737 737 This is where Captain Sim can be expected to shine, and it does. When you look at the hand-painted, subtle gradation of lighting on the bezel of an instrument, you know you are looking at sheer artistry. Nodoby can beat Captain Sim on visuals, and this is possibly their best. Be advised it features Captain Sim's trademark "distressed" look, so if you enjoy that new jetliner smell, you might not appreciate the effort. Score: 6! DC-9 Not as far from Captain Sim as you might expect, especially after the "functional" artwork on Coolsky's previous MD-80. Espen and the crew have really upped their game for this one, and it does not hurt that they have McPhat on board. The visuals are very well done. You can even buy ultra high definition panels and aircraft paints from McPhat if you prefer extra crispy visuals. SCORE: 5. ROUND FOUR: Systems -- ADVANTAGE DC-9 737 The industry was transitioning to greater automation in these 60s birds, but were still pretty primative compared to modern airplanes. Captain Sim has had trouble with systems in the past, and the 737 carries on that dubious tradition. The PDCS has a real CRT, with a keyboard to enter data so a computer can figure your EPR and do other things. The problem is, the thing gives you a crash to desktop half the time you try to use it. This seems to be a universal problem that Captain Sim is aware of, but has declined to address. If you can resist playing with the PDCS, you can certainly fly the airplane without it. Frankly, I don't think this was really intended to be flown by the numbers. The fan base has come up with V-speed cards and other tweaks if you like, but I don't use them. Autopilot works fine, and the control wheel steering also works nicely. In fact, the 737 is one of my favorites. Even so, you can't put in a system that not only doesn't work, but dumps you unceremoniously to the desktop if you try to use it. If the PDCS worked, I'd give it a 4. As it is... SCORE: 1 (ouch!) DC-9 Coolsky did a great job on this wacky bird. Sometimes I have imagined that Douglas perpetrated an elaborate practical joke on the industry by making things as counter-intuitive as possible. The autothrottle button is cleverly disguised as an ordinary panel light? Who knew? Still, that's on Douglas. Coolsky did a great job on the systems. They even have a live schematic! SCORE: 5 ROUND FIVE: FLYING -- ADVANTAGE 737 737 This is a very nice flying airplane. In fact, for touch and goes at RWY 34R KSEA it is my favorite. Its automation works like a charm. Most owners make an adjustment to a value in the aircraft config file to tone down the engines. Aside from the PDCS problem (which really doesn't affect practical operations), this is an airplane you can have fun with in the circuit, or flying routes. SCORE: 5 DC-9 This one just doesn't seem quite as easy to fly. Having never flown a real DC-9 (nor a 737, for that matter) I have no idea if this is realistic. Get distracted for a minute and your autopilot will cheerfully stall you. It is a real chore to break through those final ten feet to touchdown. Is ground effect really so pronounced in a DC-9, as compared to all my other airplanes? All I know is that the 737 just seems a little more fun to fly. SCORE: 4 THE FINAL RESULT Captain Sim 737: 21 Points Coolsky Flight One DC-9: 25 points THE WINNER! Note that without the botched PDCS (which you don't need to fly the airplane) we would almost have a tie. Truth to tell, these are both great representations of classic airliners, and both are a blast to fly. You can confidently use radio navigation with either (assuming you have that skill) and the DC-9 comes with the extra benefit of the Nav Sim. I'm glad I have both, and if I had could only keep one, it would be a hard choice. One that, fortunately, I don't have to make. One caveat: I have run into occasional Out Of Memory issues with the DC-9, something that also plagued their MD-80. There's no doubt there is a lot going on with this airplane. I never used to have them, but have recently added quite a few new airports, so I am learning to disable everything except what I'm likely to fly to during a session, to see if that helps. So there you have it! The Coolsky Flight One DC-9 wins this dogfight on account of Captain Sim botching the 737's PDCS. But either one or both are decent choices for classic airliner buffs, or anyone who just wants to find out if they have what it takes to be a real aviator.
  11. My first review, so go easy on me :unsure: Originally I was saving for the Majestic Dash 8 Q400, but being only a few pounds short and with payday a long way away, I picked up the 146 from Flight1, knowing their returns policy. After a bemusing purchasing system involving multiple online activations and many codes, I eventually got the order approved and installed the aircraft. In an effort to keep the file size down they only supplied the Quality Wings 'house colours', with many more available for download, a neat idea so as not to clutter the aircraft selection menu with unwanted liveries. The pack includes the Avro RJ-70, -85 and the -100 series aircraft, with the BAe 146-100, -200 and the -300 series being released later this year. After installing some liveries that looked rather nice, I decided to take her for a flight. This being my first airliner of any type, the flight deck was rather bemusing, after me being used to vintage birds. I spent a good half an hour fiddling with switches and knobs which all had a satisfying 'click' to them, rather nice. I was then searching for some sort of control panel, hitting as many keys as I could think of to no avail, then, accidentally, I clicked on a black lever to the far left of the panel, this brought up the control panel, hallelujah!! Opening up the main door and extending the air-stairs, all lavished with smooth animations, I selected 'QWPAS' having absolutely no clue as to what it does, suddenly, I can hear the passenger announcements!! A very slick and immersive feature if I say so :lol: After the short and logical start procedure, I decided to venture onto the taxiway, holding this beast on the centre line is a challenge in itself, having fixed the ground friction bug, she freely rolls of her own accord, some getting used to! Eventually, after extensive wondering left and right of the centre line, I managed to stumble across the active, setting the flaps with the rotation wheel on my X-52, I discovered my first bug, any movement of the axis activates the noise that should be for when the flap lever is moved position, so it creates a rapid clicking that is really quite annoying, but can be countered with some slight of hand when selecting the flaps. 18* down was the first selection, through to 33*, understandable once we consider the STOL capabilities of the 146, with the short Southampton INTL runway, MTOP was selected and I ran the engines up whilst holding the breaks. Whilst doing this I began to realize how spectacular the sound set is on this aircraft, truly something! Having only skim-read the manual, with a false belief in my own flying ability, I released the brakes and accelerated down the runway, around 110kts I rotated, only to almost stall in the heavy aircraft, as with the real 146, the QW 146 requires liberal amounts of forward trim to keep flying on the straight and level, something that is learned rather quickly with this aircraft. After a quick flight to Jersey, with a cruise at 20,000ft I decided to venture into the autopilot systems. Now, with this being my first modern 'tube-liner' the autopilot was quite puzzling to begin with, but actually turned out to be quite logical, and a very capable system when combined with the FMC. Whilst the FMC has nothing on the 737NGX, it is capable non-the-less, at that point not knowing too much about the operations, I selected the very useful feature that allows you to input the flight plan created by FSX's native flight planner, into the FMC. A rather clever and extremely useful system for us newbies :blush: VNAV and LNAV work as advertised, although altitude hold is utilized more often than VNAV for sheer ease of use. On the second flight I departed Boston to fly to Dulles, Washington. It was on this flight I attempted to use the ILS system. Having only vague guidance from the manual, as I neared I input the frequency into both VHF Nav radios as per the instruction from the manual, followed the default ATCs haphazard instructions and finally established on the localiser. Then hitting APP on the autopilot panel it proceeded to fly an automated, if a little low, approach into runway 19L. Then it stalled out. Unfortunately due to a combo of my incompetence and the less than ideal manual, I had failed to select auto-throttle and we stalled and crashed. Not my finest moment :unsure: Conclusion: A thoroughly enjoyable aircraft that has its own quirks, but once you know them, you can really fall in love. Whilst not having the complexity of Majestic software or PMDG, she has enough to be immersive and still feel like a full simulation. A versatile aircraft within FSX and in real life, she is a real treat to fly, and the enjoyment will increase with the addition of the BAe models, with older technology to make things a bit more challenging. Pros: -Fantastic sound set -Good flight model -Good balance of simplicity and realism to cater for all -Ideal starting platform for aspiring virtual airline pilots -Good range of liveries available for download -Good pricing for what you get -Immersive passenger announcements Cons: -Buggy flap lever sounds (can get quite annoying) -Not as complex as you would like in some areas -Can be a bit of a frame killer Price: $47.99 £31.57 (from Flight1.com) Get it here: http://www.flight1.com/products.asp?product=qw146
  12. A thought occured to me last week whilst answering some questions on the X-plane forum here regarding version 10 freeware and paware that it'd be cool to create a regular video review series for freeware & payware releases. There's so much fantastic add-ons being released it's hard to keep track at the best of times so here is my contribution. I also give the download locations for the addons. If you like it subscribe, I plan on doing a regular series of episodes. I hope the mods don't mind me putting this here in the general discussion forum seems it's about an idea rather than just the video. Hope it's useful! Cheers, Steve
  13. Is there a Review for this product? Having been away from Avsim for a bit, I may have missed it if there is one.
  14. Tried to post a review on Avsim about this product, I was unsuccessful. Made a video demo of some of the features.Works with ALL FSX airports, payware or defaultWill work "for free" on any FSDreamteam payware airport (and they offer several for puchase) so you can try before you buyAdds another layer to your cockpit experienceFollow-me truck can work with FSX ATC to lead you to your gate (instead of the yellow arrows)Mashaller guides you to your parking spot and signals you to cut engines (included with program)I would give it about an 8.See what you think.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSgOCdRlLSc
  15. The new Microsoft Flight is less of a simulator and more of a game. That being said, I will review it as a game. I have been a gamer since I first laid my hands on an Atari joystick. Since then I have been into gaming. I have owned every major gaming console since the Nintendo Entertainment System and have played more games than what is most likely healthy. From a gaming standpoint, this is how I see Flight stacking up. The menu layout is par for most games and the setup is strait forward. Key assignments could have been done better, however it is not terrible. After starting the game for the first time, I quickly realized that the opening mission the game forces you into in unnecessary, I felt as though I was being treated like a child; I Flew around the balloons and then landed (Not before intentionally hitting one, the results were less-than-spectacular). After that was completed, I had a few more options that opened up; missions, challenges and free flight. As well as the other menu options for viewing owned aircraft, records and general navigational menus. For a game Flight may seem a bit dull; there are no guns, no bombs and no damage model for the planes (This effectively takes the fun out of crashing as I found out). You can fly, collect trinkets, unlock content and gain levels; this seems very familiar to another flying game called Pilot Wings. Graphically, Flight is adequate, it is not going to blow anyone away, but it works. The aircraft that the free game gives you is nicely modeled, and the interior is pleasant (You can get an extra plane by signing in with a Windows Live account, or buy more via Microsoft points…more on that later). The landscapes are ok, again not great but they work. Special effects, such as water spray, vortices, weather and the like are where the game really fails, they are rather subpar; this category of graphics could use an overhaul in the eye-candy department. The weather is visible but graphically there is no visible sign of it on the aircraft, the plane does not seem to interact with the environment very realistically or impressively. Content wise, I have not bought any of the available DLC, but the game does give you one island and two planes (you have to unlock one of them). As far as DLC, Currently there is the rest of the Hawaiian chain, two more planes and some extra missions. They are priced in terms of Microsoft points, but when converted will cost you roughly $15-$30 each depending on what you choose. The point system is a console port over to the PC, and in many ways is a pain in the rear. The online “mall” concept has been around for a while now, and while mostly successful, Microsoft would do good to make extra payment options available. Overall, Microsoft has made a game that may or may not appeal to the gaming majority or the simulation community alike; they seemed to taken a middle road. While I do not, in my opinion, think Flight will truly catch on with the gamers, not unless they can add some explosions or make it fun somehow, and even then, it has limited replay value (really, how many times can you watch a plane blow up before you lose interest?). I do give Microsoft credit for attempting something new (not completely new there is Pilot Wings), however I am not sure that it was the correct course of action. Only time will tell what direction Microsoft will go with Flight.Purely From a gaming standpoint:Learning curve, about 20 minutes.INTERFACE: 8/10CONTENT: 3/10 (DOES NOT INCLUDE DLC)GRAPHICS: 5/10SOUNDS: 6/10REPLAY VALUE: 6/10OVERALL : 5.6/10
  16. Well, having reached level 9, having bought Hawaii and most of the available planes, and having logged a few hours in the virtual air, I think it's time to give my perspective.There's a particular cry that goes out on gaming forums whenever any sort of sequel is released. The cry can be reduced to the phrase "They dumbed it down!" Deconstructing this, what it really means is "They changed some difficult or unforgiving aspect of the game such that more people will want to play it." It's the gamer version of "Oh, that band was really awesome until they sold out." In the music context, "sold out" means "has made music that more people want to listen to."With Flight, Microsoft has made a flight simulator that more people are going to want to play. They've made a flight simulator that more people are going to be able to play. I think this is a great thing.From a high level, here's what Microsoft has done with Flight compared to Flight Simulator X.The graphic engine is completely new. Usually this sort of change is evolutionary, but in Flight's case, it's revolutionary. Specifically, rendering has moved into the 21st century by being moved primarily onto the PC's GPU instead of being CPU-bound. This has a huge number of effects, beginning with "It looks generally better," continuing through "and runs at higher resolutions on the same hardware" and moving on to "with extremely high frame rates compared to FSX.Second, where FSX gave you the entire world, with comparatively low detail, to fly around in, Flight has taken another tack: they've started with the Big Island of Hawaii for free, and made the entire Hawaiian island chain available for download as a purchase. But the positive side of this tradeoff is that the islands exist in a comparatively fleshed out form. Even flying at extremely low altitudes, the scenery is detailed enough that it feels much better than FSX, to my eyes at least.LIkewise, where FSX gave you approximately 7,142,528 different models of aircraft to choose from, Flight gives you two (for free), and makes 3 more (at present) available for purchase.Flight is structured in a very game-like, as compared to sim-like fashion. Yes, you can fly around on your own with no restrictions, or you can run 'missions'. Some missions require particular aircraft (this, by the way, is what some people complaining about the aircraft choice might not have noticed. The Maule, for example, has a price tag not because of the bitmap of the plane, but because it's effectively selling access to the cargo missions.) The missions I've run so far have run the gamut and have been fun and engaging - I particularly enjoyed a coast guard Search & Rescue mission to find a lost kayaker, for example.Furthermore, taking a page from Grand Theft Auto, Flight has a large number of 'aerocaches' hidden throughout the islands; finding them awards you with experience points, the occasional achievement, and bragging rights. The aerocaches are a good way to engage in some virtual tourism, since many of them are located at interesting sites around Hawaii.In what's an interesting decision for a flight simulator, you can get out of your plane and walk around. The world - at least so far - is fairly sterile, so this is more of a curiosity than a major selling point. But it suggests obvious areas for further expansion if Flight takes off.The user interface is quite streamlined, working best with a flightstick but also being perhaps the first Microsoft sim to be plausible with a mouse and keyboard. This will no doubt infuriate purists. But they can get off my lawn. Flight also bravely steals the best ideas from non-flightsim games. For example, there is a "Fly to next waypoint" shortcut that jumps you straight to the next interesting thing in a flight. This is not something one would want to use all the time, but it's nice to have it available when you need it. (Compare this, from a user-interface perspective, with FSX's pretty-much-unusable time compression feature, and you can see how much more thought went into usability).Obviously, this usability comes at a price: I seriously doubt that anyone is going to be learning to fly a real airplane by playing Microsoft Flight. But that's clearly not the market they're trying to sell to, and as a kibbitzer I can't say I disagree with their decision. In the long term, I don't want to be confined to just Hawaii, and for me personally the success or failure of Flight as a platform will hinge upon the extent to which new areas to explore are rolled out.To those who feel that the existence of Flight is somehow a personal affront, all I can say is Microsoft is in the business of selling software. The existence of Flight doesn't take away your functioning Flight Simulator X Microsoft doesn't "owe" you FS XI, XII, or MCMVII. No one is forcing you to buy Flight.
  17. Ray, I hope you don't feel offended but you've easily broken the word and picture count benchmark set by Alan. I never thought that was possible though. Seriously, a big 'wow!' to the all the work going into the review. It may take me all week to read it in full and I'm sure that the emotions on the huge detail may differ from person to person. But count me in on the ones appreciating it.Those sceneries are nice stuff and they sometimes may get lost when the small flight sim world focuses on the big names in the low'n slow business only.So thanks for bringing them to attention and surely another thanks for looking at them in that detail.
  18. Hey guys :) So, after finally getting my FSX to work properly and not lagging to badly, I completed my flight from London Gatwick to Amsterdam in the PMDG liveries. Awesome, HUGS is still new to me but fun. Just landed and can't get the jetway to attach so just used the airstairs :D Anyone keen for a flight back to the UK?