Archive for the ‘Flight Sim’ Category

KLAX to KSFO

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

just a short hop from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Add-ons Used:
Wilco 737 PIC
Ground Environment X
Ultimate Terrain X
Active Sky X
X Graphics
XPax
Traffic 2005

WARNING: this is the “high quality” version of the youtube video, so it may take a bit longer to load.

Dreamfleet Piper Dakota

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

i just got the Piper Dakota from Dreamfleet the other day and it is an absolute joy to fly. in this video, i do some flying around my hometown in new jersey, ride up the coast of atlantic city, and land at ocean city.

Add-ons Used:
Dreamfleet Piper Dakota
Ground Environment X
Ultimate Terrain X
Active Sky X
X Graphics

WARNING: this is the “high quality” version of the youtube video, so it may take a bit longer to load.

Random Screenshots

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Aerosoft Mega Airport Budapest X
Aerosoft Mega Airport Frankfurt X
Aerosoft Mega Airport London Heathrow X
Flight 1 Ground Environment X
HiFi Sim Active Sky X
HiFi Sim X Graphics
Level-D 767-300 ER
Wilco/Feelthere 737 Pilot in Command

Van Nuys / KLAX

 

Frankfurt

 

Innsbruck

 

London Heathrow

 

Budapest

FSX & Blurries

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

i tried my hand at overclocking again. it seemed to be stable at both 2.6GHz and 2.7GHz. anything higher and the system would crash. so i thought, “great, everything’s looking good.” the next step was to overclock the graphics card. stock speeds are 600/900, which was easily increased to 700/1000. all of a sudden, the system crashed again. to make a long story short, i’m still running the CPU at 2.4GHz with the graphics card at 700/1000.

another problem i discovered was that nvidia’s nTune software is crap. it doesn’t hold any settings after reboot, and it doesn’t like loading profiles either. that’s when i decided to try RivaTuner. it’s a nifty little tool that allows you to overclock, set fan speeds, save profiles, and load them at the click of a button.

one thing that’s been bothering me about FSX is “the blurries.” this is a common occurence throughout the flight sim community. what happens is the ground textures become blurry, whether it be dependent on altitude, speed, etc. the proof is in the pictures…


there have been many tweaks that try to fix this problem, some of which even allocate more processor usage to render the ground textures. well, after a little bit of research, i discovered a tool called nHancer. it’s a much more in-depth tool that allows you to manipulate the 3D settings of an nvidia graphics card. for some reason, FSX likes to use it’s own internal anti-aliasing and filtering method. but nHancer optimizes this method by directing the in-game settings to the video driver, itself. so i gave it a whirl and wouldn’t you know… no more blurries. this is probably the most useful tool i’ve ever used, and FSX now looks the way it’s supposed to.

FSX Add-ons & Computer Woes

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

my collection of add-ons for FSX keeps growing. but most of them are free upgrades from previously purchased add-ons for FS2004. here’s what i have so far:

  • Aerosoft Mega Airport Brussels X
  • Aerosoft Mega Airport Budapest X
  • Aerosoft Mega Airport Frankfurt X
  • Aerosoft Mega Airport London Heathrow X
  • Aerosoft Piper Cheyenne X
  • Carenado Beechcraft Bonanza F33A
  • Carenado Beechcraft Bonanza V35B
  • Carenado Beechcraft Mentor T-34
  • Carenado Cessna 210M Centurion II
  • Carenado Cessna 182Q Skylane
  • Carenado Cessna 182 Skylane II
  • Carenado Cessna U206G Stationair 6 II
  • Carenado Piper Cherokee 180F
  • Dreamfleet Piper Dakota
  • Flight 1 ATR 72-500
  • Flight 1 Cessna 172R Skyhawk
  • Flight 1 Ground Environment X USA/Canada
  • Flight 1 Super 80
  • Flight 1 Ultimate Terrain X Canada/Alaska
  • Flight 1 Ultimate Terrain X Europe
  • Flight 1 Ultimate Terrain X USA
  • FlyTampa St. Maarten TNCM
  • HiFi Sim Active Sky X
  • HiFi Sim X Graphics
  • HiFi Sim XPax
  • ImagineSim KCLT
  • ImagineSim KCVG
  • ImagineSim KLGA
  • Just Flight Flying Club X
  • Just Flight Traffic 2005
  • Level-D 767-300 ER
  • MegaCity USA Atlanta
  • MegaScenery Mid-Atlantic
  • MegaScenery Northern California
  • MegaScenery Pacific Northwest
  • MegaScenery Southern California
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Acceleration
  • Wilco 737 Pilot In Command
  • Wilco 777-200 ER
  • Wilco Citation X

the MegaCity and MegaScenery add-ons are direct ports of the FS2004 versions. they don’t look quite as crisp in FSX, but i was surprised at how easy it was to install them. i haven’t had much luck flying in and out of some of the airport sceneries, as the level of detail brings the FPS to slideshow status. i’m still working on tweaking FSX to find that “sweet spot.” so far, i’ve been most impressed with the combination of Active Sky X, X Graphics, and Ground Environment X. those are definitely worth the price of admission.

in trying to get that extra bit of performance out of my new computer, i’ve tried several times to overclock the CPU with no luck. overclocking the old Pentium 4 with the ASUS P4P800-SE motherboard was a piece of cake. i went with another ASUS board strictly because of their overclocking abilities, but this one is proving to be a hassle. after doing a little research, the P5N-E SLI board is crap when it comes to overclocking Intel’s quad-core processors. however, it’s a champ when it comes to the Core 2 Duo CPU’s. i’m still gonna try to get what i can out of it. i may have been too agressive trying to achieve 3.0GHz right off the bat. although, that seemed like a reasonable goal, as the Q6600 is easily capable of reaching 3.2GHz or higher. based on what i’ve seen, i may not be able to surpass 2.7GHz, maybe even 2.6GHz.

Plane Spotting

Friday, June 13th, 2008

i haven’t made an actual video in a while, so here goes…

i flew one of my favorite routes from Boston to Philadelphia (with a terrible landing). i was mostly just messing around with some different camera views in FSX and found some interesting ways to manipulate them. first of all, TrackIR gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to moving around the cockpit and cabin, as well as panning around in the exterior views. i used to use Active Camera and DBS Walk and Follow in FS2004, but i’m not about to put up the cash to buy another camera utility for FSX. admittedly, one of the features i loved most about Active Camera was the approach/landing camera that you could set up. but i seem to have found a workaround using some freeware and payware that i already own (FS Recorder and Traffic 2005). here is the result…

WARNING: this is the “high quality” version of the youtube video, so it may take a bit longer to load.

New Computer

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

well, it’s finally time to say goodbye to my tried and trusty ol’ pentium 4 computer. it has served its purpose well, but i’ve decided to get a bit more with the times and update my hardware technology. i’ve failed to keep up with all the latest and greatest, save for reading a few computer magazines here and there. so i did quite a bit of research before tackling this build. here is the list of parts:

  • Intel Q6600 2.4GHz Quad-Core CPU
  • ASUS P5N-E SLI Motherboard
  • 4GB WINTEC AmpX DDR2800 RAM
  • EVGA GeForce 8800GT 512MB Video Card
  • Seagate 500GB SATA Hard Drive
  • Western Digital 320GB SATA Hard Drive
  • LITE-ON SATA 20x DVD±R DVD Burner
  • Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 CPU Heatsink/Fan
  • Cooler Master Centurion 5 Case
  • BFG Tech 650W Power Supply
  • Antec 120mm Exhaust Fan
  • Antec 80mm Intake Fan

i used a pre-built gaming pc that i saw for sale as a template. most of the parts are the same, but i upped the RAM, added another hard drive, improved the cooling, and used a higher rated PSU. even with these changes, it still turned out to be cheaper to build than buying it pre-built. can’t complain about that.

i also picked up a copy of Windows Vista Home Premium. not wanting to lose my familiarity and the stability of Windows XP, i decided to create a dual boot system. it was a piece of cake to do this, although a tedious process having to install drivers and software under each OS.

ok, so first impressions… this thing flies. XP boots up at least twice as fast than on my old computer, and Vista loads just as quickly. i’ve heard lots of complaints about Vista, but after playing around with it for almost a week now, i have to say that i’m a fan. i understand that it’s more of a resource hog than XP, but it’s a lot easier to shutdown and disable any unnecessary background programs and services. the interface is pretty snazzy, but takes some getting used to. i’m sure people probably have gotten comfortable in their ways with XP, but i think it just takes time to get accustomed to Vista.

as far as games go (which is the primary reason why i built this), i don’t think i could ask for more. the Windows Experience Index is a rudimentary tool within Vista that attempts to measure the abilities of various components, and here’s what mine turned up:

Processor: 5.9
Memory (RAM): 5.2
Graphics: 5.9
Gaming Graphics: 5.9
Hard Drive: 5.7

at the moment, 5.9 is the highest score value that can be achieved. so i am more than pleased with the results i got. i plan on overclocking at some point, so hopefully that RAM score will increase.

i installed FSX, Rail Simulator, Crysis, and Unreal Tournament 3 under Vista. i finally have a machine that runs FSX decently, averaging about 25-30 FPS most of the time. that number tends to drop in the more densely populated areas, but i haven’t seen it go below 15 FPS yet. this seems to be more than acceptable. Rail Simulator isn’t really a demanding game, but it is DirectX 10 compatible. it runs with all settings completely maxed out, and without a hiccup. Crysis is the ultimate test for a gaming rig. i think this game really shines when played with DirectX 10. with the new rig, i am perfectly capable of playing with all settings maxed out at “Very High,” but some of the cutscenes bring the machine to its knees. after searching around the internet, this seems to be the general case. oh well, what can you do. lastly, Unreal Tournament 3 also runs with all settings maxed out. this was the case even with my old computer. i think this is more a testament to the newest Unreal engine, itself.

i have a Matrox TripleHead2Go (analog version) and three 19″ widescreen monitors. Matrox developed a tool under XP that offered more resolutions to accomodate the growing trend of widescreen monitors. the digital version of the TH2G has widescreen support built in. so far, my only complaint is that i cannot get these widescreen resolutions in Vista with my analog TH2G. but this is more an issue with Matrox, rather than Vista. after searching around, Matrox has indicated that they will not be developing this same tool for use under Vista, and that the only alternative is to purchase the digital version of the product. talk about poor product support. i refuse to shell out another $300, so i’ll just restrict my TH2G gaming to XP.

i’ve been messing around with Vista so much that i haven’t gotten around to getting the XP partition completely setup. i got as far as installing drivers and basic software, but have yet to install the rest of my game collection. FS2004 will take hours alone, given the number of add-ons that i need to install. but i’m looking forward to getting it up and running. if FS2004 ran that well on my old computer for that long, then i can only imagine what this new rig can do.

FSX: Sitka Approach

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

this is just a video of the “Sitka Approach” mission in FSX. it’s nothing really special. just kinda wanted to show off the new computer. i’ve installed a number of add-ons, but the only one that’s really shown here is X Graphics by HiFi Simulation, which includes a number of different textures, such as clouds, water, sun, lights, and runways. i’m also using TrackIR to pan around the cockpit.

WARNING: this is the “high quality” version of the youtube video, so it may take a bit longer to load.

Lufthansa, Flight 442

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

Lufthansa Airlines
Flight 442
EDDF to KJFK
BOEING 747-400

Aircraft:
PMDG 747-400

Scenery:
Aerosoft Mega Airport Frankfurt
SimFlyers John F. Kennedy International
Flight Environment
Ground Environment Pro
Real Environment

(click on thumbnail to open gallery…)

Random Screenshots

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Aircraft:
Level-D 767-300ER
PMDG 737NG (-700)

Scenery:
ImagineSim Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International (KCVG)
FlyTampa San Francisco International (KSFO)
FlyTampa Vienna-Schwechat International (LOWW)
Flight Environment
Ground Environment Pro
Real Environment

(click on thumbnail to open gallery…)