Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Captain Sim 757 Pro Pack

This one has been out for a few months now, but I figured I should give it a mention on my blog. Captain Sim came out with a major update to their 757 add-on a few months ago, known as the "Pro Pack." It was previously referred to as "Block F," and sometimes you see this mentioned on their site. Basically, Captain Sim decided to release the 757 in increments. "Block B" was basically the base model for the previous iteration released a year or two ago. It contained the 3D model, a 3D VC, a 2D panel, and several liveries. They also did a separate sound pack, which supposedly contained a faithful representation of the sound of the various versions of the 757's engines. The only thing missing was the FMS and related autopilot functions, i.e. VNAV and LNAV. This functionality was promised in the "Block F" update, which was finally released back in June. In the interim, Block B relied on the built-in GPS navigation system used by FSX to support LNAV navigation, just like FSX's built-in planes.

It's also worth mentioning that Block B only included the 757-200 model. The 757-300 and 757F (freighter) models were sold separately, although they required the base model.

Now with the release of the Pro Pack, Captain Sim has done away with the separate Sound Pack, Block B, and Block F packs, and replaced them all with a single product. (The 757-300 and 757F extensions are still separate, though relatively inexpensive.)

I bought Block B and the Sound Pack last December, when Captain Sim was running a holiday sale with all products significantly discounted. I liked it for the most part, although I thought the 3D model was a little rough compared to some smoother models I have seen from other vendors. I did happen to run into a few CTDs (crashes to desktop) while flying the 757 though, which were pretty annoying. I kind of put the 757 on the back burner for a while and decided to wait for Block F to come out.

Anyway, I think I have made up my mind to go ahead and pick up the 757 Pro Pack, especially since Captain Sim is offering reduced upgrade pricing for previous Block B owners. I don't think the Level-D 757 is going to be out anytime soon, and I am really itching to try a 757 on some of the ETOPS routes between the east coast of the U.S. and western Europe. So I'll probably bite the bullet this weekend, and maybe even pick up the 757-300 and 757F while I'm at it. My four-year old has a toy DHL plane and loves their yellow livery, so I may have to get one that he can "help" me fly! Thankfully the U.S. Dollar-Euro exchange rate is a little more favorable now than it was a few months ago.

Word on the street is that Captain Sim's navigation data for the FMS is incomplete and outdated, but Navigraph has expressed interest in supporting it with their updates. Let's hope they can work something out soon.

I'll post more on this soon.

P.S. Captain Sim has a free demo available if you want to try it out.

P.P.S. If somebody would prod Captain Sim into finishing their VC and 2D Panel for their 727, they would probably be successful in making my wallet even lighter.

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