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Opinion Pieces

Opinion Pieces by FSElite

FSElite Original: Does it Hold Up – FSBuild

Does It Hold Up Fsbuild

Huh.  It’s been a long time. Following up on Integrated Simavionics heels, we have another addon from Ernie Alston. This one has been around even longer than ISG. It released in 2006 though versions of it existed long before that. It’s a flight planning add-on designed to convert route strings into a file usable by the sim or other add-ons. It’s notably good a taking a long route string and converting it to PLN format for use in FSX or P3D, even if the waypoints or airways don’t exist in the sim. An updatable navigation database, multiple performance files for time and fuel calculations, custom or automatic route building – it has everything you’d want from a good flight planner. Though it does not really stack up against its competition anymore, I still believe it has a purpose. Let’s take a deeper look.

Type:

 Flight Planning

Release Date:

 October 26, 2006

(10 years)

Current Price:

 $30.05

Developer:

 Ernie Alston

Flight planning add-ons are things I find interesting. Interesting in that each one does the same thing, but somehow does it differently enough that it’s kind of hard to say for sure which one to go with. And when you consider that the sims these add-ons are for generally have decent flight planners included – combined with the fact the most popular add-on aircraft don’t really require a flight planner (just a route for you to program into its FMS) – it becomes increasingly difficult to say “go with this one.”

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Orbx is Hosting a Massive Sale – But What Should I Buy?

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If you don’t know already, Orbx is throwing a massive sale. Products that were released before July 1st 2017 are getting a huge 48% off of the usual price until August 22nd AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time). The question is: what product do you buy? With the huge catalogue of products on offer, we figured this would be a great opportunity to look back on some of our past reviews, as well as recommend the must-haves to really boost your flight sim experience.

FTX Global

Without a doubt, this is the first purchase you should make if you don’t own it already. FTX Global is a world-wide texture replacement tool that generates beautiful looking replacement textures for the entire globe. It may be the most expensive item on the list, but when you consider it’s the base package for the majority of FTX airports, it really is a must. Even if you don’t buy any of the airports on offer, FTX Global breathes a new lease of life into the sim. Furthermore, you get a bunch of freeware airports included to make the product even more appealing.

 

FTX OpenLC (Europe or North America).

Whilst FTX OpenLC South America has just come out, for me either Europe or the North America packages are your best value for money – mostly due to the number of airports in these regions that are available. OpenLC SA is a great product, but either of these two will add plenty of new land class data to make your flying more realistic. Similar to the FTX Global package, it is a great package to buy to cover a large number of area amongst the regions.

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Understanding What Flight Sim World Is and Will Be

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Dovetail Games released their fully fledged flight simulator, Flight Sim World, just over a month ago. The announcement trailer highlighted some key aspects of the sim including the rain-windshield effects, the use of third party applications to enhance the sim and of course, being 64-bit ready. The launch of the sim was also before Lockheed Martin finally revealed their entry into a 64-bit era with version 4 of Prepar3D, so many flight simmers were excited to see the full ESP engine running with more advance coding. It didn’t take long for some of the community heavy weights to have their say on what they believe the product should be and the impact it will have on them. Whether this be from the development community, publishing partners or long-term flight sim personalities – there was a feeling that this wasn’t going to be the next-generation sim everyone wanted it to be.

With the launch of early access on Steam, reception of the sim was lukewarm to say the least. There were still plenty of questions surrounding third party support, how people will buy products in the future and also what features the sim will roll out next. If I’m being honest, FSElite really had no opinion at this time as many of us were too busy to be able to try out the simulator to form a valid opinion. I’m pleased to say that during Flight Sim Con 2017, I was able to get my hands on it as well as talk to a few of the core team who helped bring the sim to life. It’s by talking to the developers that I’ve been able to really dig deep into what the sim is, what it wants to be and where it’s heading. This is why I finally know the direction Dovetail Games are looking to take Flight Sim World.

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Have You Made The Jump to P3D Version 4

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On May 30th 2017, Lockheed Martin finally released the long anticipated version 4 of Prepar3D. With multiple aircraft, scenery and utilities now available for the 64-bit sim, I want to see how many people have started the transition from a 32-bit era to the 64-bit one.

I know that this poll may seem a bit premature considering that some big products have yet to be converted and that we’re in the infancy of this new sim, but I wanted to form some kind of basis for an article I’m writing.

I’m not expecting any long comments below, but simply just answering a simple question.

Have you made the jump from FSX (any version), P3D V1, V2 or V3 to V4?

Click either box below to register your vote. I’m going to run this for a few days and see what response we get. Please be honest, don’t try and spam as it won’t achieve what I want it to do. Furthermore, this isn’t about future purchases, but whether you have migrated NOW or not.

And to clarify, this is a complete jump – not using another version in conjunction with V4.

If the below doesn’t work, head to the link here.

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Flight Sim World | The Numbers are in

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Flight Sim World released in early access on May 18th 2017. As I did with Xplane 11 before it, I will take a peek into publicly available data to see how well the game is doing a month after its release. Now it’s only fair to remind everyone we are talking about a game in early access. So these numbers are subject to change even more dramatically than normal full released game. Some may even say it’s not fair to do this yet since the game is still in Early Access. Well my response to that is the same stance I have on reviewing Early Access games. Whats out now is all your guaranteed to get. Times change and shit happens so the future is never guaranteed. Plus I firmly believe once you start charging money for something, you are officially selling a product. You will be judged as such! And I don’t show mercy with this so let’s take a look.

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Setting our Expectations for the Upcoming Prepar3D V4

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Update: Changed the title a little to better reflect the article.

Without delving into speculation too much, we’re fairly confident official information from Lockheed Martin is just days away. We’re reported on rumours, facts, insider knowledge and even some accidental leaks over the past few months – giving as much information as we can to you from Lockheed Martin’s worst kept secret. But what should simmers expect when the announcement is made? I’m hoping to set some expectations here based on my knowledge, some fact-finding and other key pieces of information from various developers and resources around the web.

I would also like to point out, this article is based purely on the speculation of a 64-bit platform. If you don’t believe this will be the case for the next sim, I suggest you close the article now.

There, with that out of the way, let’s continue.

So 64-bit is certainly a bit of a marketing buzz-word for the flight sim community right now. X-Plane has been in the 64-bit era for some time now, and Dovetail have released their full-fledged sim, Flight Sim World, with a heavy emphasis on the fact it’s using 64-bit architecture. But what is 64-bit and why does the flight sim community care so much?

In the simplest of terms, a 64-bit application can use much more memory allocation than a 32-bit program can. In fact, 64-bit applications can in theory use 16 exabytes, which completely destroys the 4gb limit of a 32-bit piece of software. Of course, this is also limited by physical memory available. So if you have 16gb of RAM, your application won’t be able to exceed this limit. So yes, you would have “unlimited” memory space available, you’ll all always be limited by your hardware. Additionally, if a developer doesn’t optimise their software or has bugs which leads to memory leakage, then you’ll still eventually hit your “OOM” limit.

64-bit won’t fix all OOM issues, but it will certainly give a LOT more breathing space than a 32-bit program will.

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Flight Sim World! And everything that Entails.

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Dovetail announced Flight Sim World. In a move surprising no one, yet still garnering a lot of attention. I want to talk about the trailer and some observations I had from it. As well as some theories. We will be mentioning the other sims that will be coming out, or have already. For the sake of clarity go watch the trailer here if you haven’t. Alternatively if you don’t want to watch the trailer, Christian Thomsen wrote a brief summary on it here. With that out the way continue reading this if you so wish. Also know that I will be making comparisons to Dovetail’s other game Train Sim World; And possibly comparisons to other games not centered around Flight Simulation. I also emailed some questions to the brand manager for Flight Simulation at Dovetail Games, Aimee Sanjari. Hopefully her answers can put to rest some of the rumors that have started since the release of the Trailer.

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The new X Plane numbers are in…

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So X Plane 11 came out on the 30th of March to mostly positive reviews. Good for it, It deserves it. But in this hobby you can never talk about X Plane without comparing it to FSX. Throughout its history X Plane has always been the footnote of Flight Simulation. It was always kind of there with its small following of users. However with X Plane 11 it was clear the Laminar Research wanted to change that. And for seemingly the first time ever they put some actual effort into game design and marketing. But the question remains; How well did they do? Now that some time has passed since release we can look at the numbers generated by X Plane 11 and compare them to those of FSX and X Plane 10.

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Our Favourite and Cool Aviation Everyday Objects

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On our private channel, Patrick shared an image of a cool beer dispenser which used a Boeing throttle quadrant to pull the delicious drink into your glass. It was really cool and I spent some time then looking through the internet to find some cool aviation everyday objects.

The definition of cool is subjective, but hopefully you’ll agree on most of these in here.

Boeing Beer

Who doesn’t enjoy a good beer after a long day of flying? Even better, they’re designed using Boeing’s throttle handles. What we can’t tell is if the more ‘thrust’ you use, the more powerful the pump. Sadly, I don’t think reverse thrust will suck the beer back up for the tank.

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Ultimate Traffic Live – First Impressions

Ultimate Traffic Live

Ultimate Traffic Live came out the other day as a “soft launch”. Many of you have been asking our thoughts on it as part of a review. Right now, we have around 20 product reviews currently on-going, so this one will fall behind until an official ‘full’ launch has been released. Of course, we didn’t want to leave the community in the dark. As a result, I’ve put together a list of stray thoughts from the product.

This isn’t a review, it’s simply a collection of first impressions for the product.

  • “What the hell is a ‘soft launch?'”

  • “Oh, it’s just beta software. Grrr!”
  • Installation was a bit difficult as Avira thought it was a virus. Ended up having to reinstall a few times to get it to work. Also, when you start the sim, Avira’s real time protection will also identify it as a false positive. Bit annoying really.
  • Main user interface looks good and instantly recognised I use P3D V3.
  • Delving around into the menus a bit more, you’re able to view a ‘live’ map of traffic being populated by the software. Over 14,000 populated and 7000 displayed!
  • Plenty of options to adjust for the sim to get a nice smooth experience. Complete with short cut keys!

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