Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Still Here...

I made some upgrades to my main FSX rig this summer, and things did not go exactly according to plan.  It took me a while to get everything sorted out, but I am pretty happy with the result now.  I finally got around to upgrading the OS from Windows Vista to Windows 7, and although the difference isn't terribly dramatic, flying in Win 7 generally seems a bit smoother to me.  I also upgraded from 4 GB to 20 GB of memory, by adding two 8 GB memory sticks to the existing two 2 GB sticks.  In my view, I think this has made the greatest impact on FSX performance for me now.  I realize FSX is a 32-bit application, but with all the external add-ons and such running on my system alongside FSX, it barely slows down anymore.

QualityWings recently released their Ultimate 146 Collection for FSX, and I picked it up last week.  It's not perfect, but I have enjoyed tooling around in it here and there so far.  I will post a mini-review soon.

In other news, I visited the Museum of Flight in Seattle again this past weekend - one of my all-time favorite museums, up there with the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  Definitely a must-see for any airplane geek in the Seattle area.

Elsewhere, Coolsky looks like they are getting achingly close to pushing their DC-9 out the door.  I am really excited about this one - it looks beautiful, and will be a fun plane to learn.

PMDG head honcho Robert Randazzo relocated from Nevada to Virginia over the summer, and took PMDG's operations with him.  Some previews of the 777 trickled out about a month ago, and things are looking good.  Sure would love to fly this one soon, although my gut tells me not to expect anything until 2013.  That's OK, though, as the NGX has sealed itself firmly in position now as my all-time favorite FSX airliner ever.  I'm sure the 777 will eventually displace or share that distinction when it is released, but the NGX will tide me over nicely until then.

Speaking of the 777, the Captain Sim guys have also been busily working away on their 777 Captain product.  It is already out as a work-in-progress, but still lacking a lot of functionality.  I will be interested to see how it stacks up when it is fully released.  Which reminds me, I need to go check out their 737 Captain ("Baby Boeing") series sometime soon...after seeing a 737-200 cockpit up close and personal inside the Museum of Flight, I definitely want to try it out.

The FlightSimLabs guys also apparently continue to make progress on their Airbus A320 series as well.  I am really excited about this one, too!  This one seems to offer the most promise of delivering a PMDG-level simulation of the Airbus series...which admittedly, is a tough bird to model in a simulation like FSX.

I don't know that I have seen as many new product announcements from the usual suspects this year - I know a lot of this has to do with the maturing of FSX (and FS9) as a simulation platform.  High-quality examples of most popular aircraft now (or will in the near future) exist for FSX.  There are still plenty of exciting projects coming down the pipe - PMDG is apparently working on a Dash-8, DC-6, and a rewrite of the 747-400, in addition to ongoing work with the NGX expansions and the 777.  I would still love to see a high-quality CRJ - the Digital Aviation one seems to have stalled for a while, although work apparently is slowly proceeding.  There are still lots of classic airliners out there yet to be fully modelled in FSX, such as the L-1011.  X-Plane also seems to be gathering some interest from popular FSX developers, although it is too soon to tell yet whether it will fully emerge as a viable successor to FSX, which is now going on six years old.  All in all, it remains an interesting time to be involved in this little hobby of ours...