After getting back from holidays, I was bitten my the scenery development bug real bad (on top of the fairly large BED BUGS in NYC..), getting desperate to finish off my Mordialloc scenery for FSX (and yes, I’ll see how easy it is to convert to XP). Now that it is pretty much finished, I had some spare time, so managed to construct a pretty major VFR Reporting Point for the Melbourne metro area, namely the Police Academy building that sits at the top of the hill at Mount Waverley. It’s in the bottom-left of the first picture in this post. In placing this building amongst the terrain and autogen of Orbx’s scenery, I was quite chuffed to see how well it blends with the scenery and adds to the local ‘feel’. I’ll be slowly adding a few other major points of interest as time goes by, eg. Doncaster shopping centre. An example of the look is below, with Orbx’s Moorabbin to the right, my Southland building in the foreground and the Academy in the far distance. It all starts to come together so nicely. Most of the work is already done by Orbx though. A few of my friends have been reminding me of how they are still in love with Xplane and that the scenery is getting more varied as each month goes by, so I fired up the Xplane 10 icon and updated to the latest 10.21 version. Below are some screenshots that include the same Academy building nestled in amongst the ludicrous medium-rise buildings scattered everywhere. So, young readers, there you have it. Scan the images from both sims. Compare the regional feels. Guess why I still don’t fly Xplane that often? Those who live locally in Melbourne should agree that the Xplane version does not resemble Melbourne at all, well pre-Z-apocalypse anyway. Did I mention that my FPS started tanking by the end of the xp flight, down to teens in the Seneca? It did improve intermittently, before producing this: Grrrrrr. It would take a company as large and devoted as Orbx to turn Xplane’s wasteland into something I’d be proud to support and use. The sad story is that Orbx will not be developing for XP, and I fear the sim is still so niche that few would be brave enough to undertake the large development exercise involved in replacing all the regional looks to the sim. Hopefully my post pisses off a few Xplane developers and gets them working on such a project. One can dream. Until I see improvements that could take years to happen, I’ll keep enjoying my Prepar3d install and the fantastic sceneries produced by the Orbx team and other talented companies like FSDT and Flightbeam. And who knows what P3V2 will bring us, that’s due sometime this year. As an amateur scenery developer and fan, I just have to celebrate the latest achievement of Russ White of Orbx, whose Elstree, UK scenery is just a tour de force of texture perfection and grubbiness. I don’t care what you think, any sim that has Russ’s work demands attention. Check out his video at the end, it shows the work involved in dirtying up a perfectly good building – great stuff! Enough of this back from Holidays rant. I really am a happy camper, just keep your blinkers clear and be aware of what’s out there, and enjoy your sims.
Click here to see my latest post re. this.
Check out Toms Hardware’s review of Intel’s newest CPU released just a day or so ago.
Unfortunately my reading of the non-graphics part of the CPU, the bit that is crucial for our sims’ performance, shows only a minor, 5-10-15% improvement over the Ivy Bridge chip, the one I bought guiltily last year.
Looks like intel are ignoring us desktop jockeys in order to concentrate on such useless things as battery life and laptop graphics performance. PAH!!
So thankfully my PC has a couple more years of relevance left in it. But if you are thinking of replacing your 3 or 8 year old pc, go for it, these i7 chips are great!
I notice that Nvidia have also released new 770 GPUs, but again they’re only 10% faster than my 670. Hopefully an 870 next year will be a decent leap to justify a new card.
My rule of thumb is to only upgrade a component if its replacement is over 25% faster. This seems to happen for GPUs in around 18 months. Thank god, says my bank account!
Speaking of bleeding bank accounts, I’m almost finished my USA holiday with Chip. On return I’ll raid my broken piggybank to buy another 6 gigs of RAM (can you believe I only had 6??!!) and more scarily, get an Asus VG278H monitor to enjoy all my sims (except for Xplane, it’s not compatible) in full colour, crisp 3D. I earlier flew MS Flight in anaglyph 3D, horrible red/blue graphics, but I found the depth effects compelling, adding a huge extra feel of being there. I’ll report on my experiences of course.
Stop press! Here’s a chap who’s working on an Xplane plugin for the Oculus Rift, no definite promises of 3D but hopefully he and Ben might sort something out. I’ve said it before- Xplane NEEDS to be 3D Oculus compatible.
Oh, and Alabeo have released their gorgeous looking Staggerwing for FSX/P3D. Corr, look at those curves!
We saw this interesting and revealing interview with Jan Vogel, the volunteer pilot/advisor to the IXEG X-plane team, posted over at the xplane.cz site.
A highly recommended read, for background to a very highly anticipated plane in development, the 737-300.
Carenado have announced some substantial free updates to their C172II for Xplane, as well as another four of the first planes converted to Xplane:
Carenado is pleased to announce the free update of its C172II to version 2.0. This version is compatible with X-Plane 9.7, X-Plane 10.21 32-bit, and X-Plane 10.21 64-bit on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.
Overhauled plugin-enhanced sound and lighting, enhanced user interface, X-Plane 10 optimizations, and many further improvements make this a major update, recommended for all current C172II owners. (Full release notes are included in aircraft’s “Documentation” folder).
In addition, Carenado is releasing a further update to v2.1 of the first four planes it has ported to full X-Plane 10 and 64-bit compliance. These updates are also recommended for all current owners of these planes, as they contain the newest SASL build and numerous enhancements and optimizations. The following planes have been updated to v2.1 and are available for download:
-Carenado Mooney M20J v2.1
-Carenado PA32 Saratoga SP v2.1
-Carenado ArcherII v2.1
-Carenado C152II v2.1
New effects demo video for X-Plane just posted, looks very special!
Passing through from the boat to Montana, I stopped off at the casa in North Carolinaville and ran across a few things worth taking note of, so let’s do a quick run down…
First, the ever intrepid Steve Winslow offered a new take on the term “vaporware” over on the X-Pilot forums, a broadside which generated more than a few idiotic replies, but perhaps eschatological drivel would be a more apt phrasing? I guess “who cares” was the general attitude we heard expressed outside Chaos Manor, where apple-ginger cider appears to be the order of the day.
Next, frede announced that his upcoming revision to this Eglin AFB file will be his last outing in the XP scenery development arena. Fred advises he’s going to concentrate on writing, and we wish him all the best knowing full well that the XP scenery development scene will never be the same. Adios, amigo, and may your imagination never run dry.
Then we received a bit of news from Ramzzess concerning his (and Phillip’s) forthcoming 757 series, and while this isn’t exactly new gnews it might be worth repeating, just in case you’ve missed out on things of late:
In his note to us, Ramzzess advised: “As far as the systems are concernedyou can tell your readers they can expect everything they saw in the T7 and more. 2 FMS, 3 IRS and over 200 custom failures. All plane’s systems are completely modeled, including intercom and PA. Some failures will last between flights and will require maintenance operations. New rain, ice and more complex reflections effects are also there. We have all 757 variants, including the -200, -300, RF and each will be available with winglets or without. Four engine types will be available.”
You can follow the comings and going on FlightFactor.aero’s FaceBook page, located here.
ramzzess asked that we remind readers that this “new” company name, FlightFactor.aero, does indeed represent the work of ramzzess and Phillip, the original team behind the Trip7.
Also note that the program is deep in Beta-testing, and is scheduled for a June 2013 release.
A final note: neither Simon nor myself have been engaged in Beta testing this file, so we don’t have any pre-release insights to offer this time out. My impression after looking over the panel images Roman sent is that he’s further improved his already formidable modeling skills, and of course with Phillip onboard you know systems integrity is bound to be first class.
I would think that my feelings for this aircraft are pretty well known, and this is one of those files I’ve been waiting for…and waiting for! Anyway, when it’s released I’ll try to get a review out – if I’m anywhere near land, that is!
Another group tackling cracks in the scenery development dam is SceneryTechXP, and their latest package (after earlier work in Europe and N America) is Africa. This file aims to fill in the OSM data set for the entire continent, and you can see some of their work here, at the sales site. They’ve provided a copy to X+Sim+Reviews and we looked it over. Here’s the Cape Town, SA area with default XP10 OSM:
Now, here’s the area with the SceneryTechXP files added (large image, click to enlarge):
I’m not sure what’s been added, if anything, to the default autogen land-class textures, but here’s the area north of Cape Town from FL250 (large image):
Urban areas are more densely packed with structures, that much appears certain, but I’m not sure what’s been added to the land textures. Maybe the developers can chime in here in the comments and add a few insights?
At any rate, this is more a product announcement than a review. If and as we get a chance to look over more relevant urban areas we’ll get fresh images posted. Also note that XPFr has a ton of really good African airports available to fill out your African ramblings (not to mention a new file in France, LFIK + Ribérac Saint Allay, which we’ll look at soon).
And the MD11 Team has a new paint for the default 744! Pictures are worth a thousand words, aren’t they!
Anyway, signing off for now. Thanks for dropping by, and we’ll see you again soon. C
John Venema has posted some incredible previews of Orbx’s FTX Global, stop reading and view here
Oh, and more spectacular autogen images HERE.
This is due out at the middle of June, not too long to go. It’ll cost $99 for the entire planet, with another $20 for a very interesting OSM data addon that produces accurate looking streetscapes and land class usage, hmm, just like Xplane has been doing recently.
Carenado showed off its new manipulator tech:
Cool! No more barriers to using the Oculus Rift visor! Full 3d stereo and able to twiddle every actuator, I may never take off.
Just in case you’ve missed it, here’s a new recording of Rob Randazzo’s speech to FANCON where he talks about their excellent working relationship with Ben and Austin of Xplane and some similarly obliging, but very secretive developers of new simming platforms that are being worked on at this very minute. I think we are all gonna burst with anticipation! Could they be Aeroflyfs? MS Flight mkII? Who knows. Whatever they are, they must be capable or else Rob wouldn’t be teasing us. I told you 2013 would be a fun year!
Just took this pic on the way back to Herrington a minute ago, before we take a train up to NYC. Isn’t technology amazing?!
Check out this great interview with Robert Randazzo, PMDG’s CEO and all around very nice guy. He gives a charming account of his experiences working as a pilot and then working full time on his business.
In the video Robert confirms their continued working on an Xplane conversion of a secret plane. Skip to around 20:50 for where he starts to talk about this.
Even bigger news is his mentioning of a couple of secret flightsims being worked on that he seems to think will be a home sim for their products, very promising. And no, he’s not talking about P3D! 2013-14 could be a huge year folks. I personally hope someone has purchased the rights to MS Flight, that’d be a relatively smooth transition for many developers. That was an excellent sim with huge potential, nerfed by Ballmer and team.
Don’t forget to donate to Tony’s cause, severe medical costs are still a challenge. Great idea for the fly-in Mr Froogle.
Speaking of new sims, I see that Lockheed Martin has released a 64 bit SDK for P3D developers, removing the polygon limitations that used to limit P3D and FSX models. Could this be the first evidence of their imminent release of Version 2 of P3D?
Please place your bets as to the secret sims that Mr Randazzo refers to, he mentions ‘a couple of channels’. I’m busting to find out!
Here’s an excellent ground attack demonstration video by one of my favorite presenters, ‘Dslyecxi’. Can’t wait to get back and get this baby! Then the Mig-21 should be out this year as well, with the same level of extreme fidelity.