This new joystick from Thrustmaster is really making waves and selling very well, I can now see why! It feels great and is very simple to configure, and an added bonus is its ability to be ambidextrous! The throttle feels responsive and smooth, and all 16 of the function buttons sit nicely ready for use. I’m particularly impressed with the POV view hat, making panoramic view sweeps easy. Build quality is strong and feels like it will last many hours of simulated combat. For those crosswind landings and ground maneuvers, the rudder is controllable by rotating the joystick, a great feature at this low price point. Highly Recommended!

Only $99 at FlightSim Shop New Zealand!

 

Thrustmaster t1600m joystick

A good interview is available here on FlightSim.com from a New Zealand based developer named Chris Norman. Chris become dissatisifed at the lack of scenery in NZ with the default X-Plane, so managed to learn how to use the World Editor to create some very nice airports and scenery for New Zealand’s south island. I have only seen screenshots but so far it looks great, and a very welcome addition to X-Plane 10. So far there has not been any commercial scenery packages available for our lovely country, so its great to see somebody taking the initiative. This newly developed scenery augments the existing mesh for New Zealand developed by Andras Fabian which greatly improves the realism of the existing mesh.

Milford Sound New Zealand

Milford Sound New Zealand

Its excellent, lets face it folks. I’ve drawn a line in the sand and got sick of FSX. Why?

cessna-city-day

1. It doesnt use my x64 PC properly, hence is
2. It doesnt make use of Nvidia Crossfire (correct me if I’m wrong)
3. It can only use 3-4Gbs of my RAM
4. Nobody is engineering the core product at all any more, we’re working with a relic, who’s owner gave up on her.

The more I read and see about other sims and their development efforts the more I was spurred to move on.

The visuals in FSX right now obviously smash X-Plane to bits, but give it time and some effort and X-Plane will look stunning. Even now there are great addon packages coming on stream. The freeware community in X-Plane also feels fresh and energised. Whereas FSX, perhaps a bit supersaturated now.

cessna-cockpit cessna-sunset

But when you take up a Cessna in X-Plane, it actually feels much closer to the real thing. Its bobs and bounces around in the air and trimming is a fine art in most weather. The physics in X-Plane are what is the difference, some good hard science.

The cockpits have a long way to catch up with FSX, but not for long. Developers both commercial and freeware are putting more resources into building nice products for X-Plane, there are interesting times ahead! FSX obviously holds massive market share, and will for a while to come. But nobody is at its helm any longer, and its now 6 year old code at its core. Speaking of cores, I want a simulator that uses all of my i7s! X-Plane.

 

Well I was the proud owner of one brand new daughter earlier this year and hence flight simulation, and this blog has taken a back burner to the world of nappies and formula. But the good news is my wonderful lady has granted permission for a new computer upgrade so I intend to get back behind the flight yoke as soon as possible and start writing about FS again on here.

The excellent Godzone packages of Wellington and Marlborough have been re-released as freeware by their creator, which is a nice Xmas gift for anyone with interest in flying over highly detailed and enjoyable scenery for both these areas. FS2004 users only, the FSX version remains payware. I highly recommend these packages, they’re accuracy is fantastic!

Go here for more info: http://www.windowlight.co.nz/store/index.php?main_page=page&id=8&chapter=2

Today CS have finally released a patch to fix the numerous issues with their 777, I was supposed to review this product some time ago but held off until this patch as it didnt seem fair to review what was in essence, an unfinished product. For those of you that own it jump over to http://www.captainsim.com/products/x777/sp1300.html do download the patch, for those of you considering purchasing I would say go ahead as its a great product with lots of nice features at a good price, the full review will feature here shortly.

I often get emailed questions about tweaking FSX and its something that often comes up on Forums. To get the best frame rates, especially on an older computer, some tweaking of FSX’s video settings and config will be needed. So, one of my favourite sites to point people towards is this great guide by Kosta http://kostasfsworld.wordpress.com/fsx-software-and-hardware-guide/ His blog is excellent and well worth a regular read.

I’ve really been enjoying the Majestic Q400 of late so I asked around and found an excellent repaint of it for flying within the lovely regional airports of New Zealand. So cheers to the folks at Aircraft Repaints of New Zealand, they’ve got a great selection of quality Microsoft flight simulator repaints for many aircraft.

Visit their site at http://www.flightsim.co.nz/

What they’ve also done is make a bloody awesome tutorial for the CaptainSim 777, great timing as I’ve been reviewing this product! So here’s a link to that also: https://arnzx.s3.amazonaws.com/OtherFSX/PART_ONE.pdf

Downloading as we speak, I’m really looking forward to this upgrade. Depending on how it performs it might tip me over the edge to buy a new PC, but don’t tell the misses, new baby on the way in January so should I really be blowing dollars on flight sim stuff? :)

Anyway, this product has been very well received, like most of Orbx’s stuff and I think it shows how far development of FSX has come in the years since it was released. We’ve not got incredile scenery, detailed land classes, very detailed aircraft with systems and cockpits that you could have only dreamt of 5-10 years ago, complex missions, online ATC, huge multi-player events etc etc…its really a great time for flight simulation! So watch this space for the upcoming reviews of this great scenery product from Orbx.

CaptainSim 777-200 First Look

I have been lucky enough to be given a review copy of the new updated 777-200 from Captain Sim. I will be releasing a full review in the coming days but here are some first thoughts. All in all, a nice effort from Captain Sim with some interesting new features like a working Electronic Flight Bag, Weather Radar, External Power modelling, basic FMC, hundreds of animations, virtual cabin, electronic checklists, new sound packs for GE, PW and RW engines…and many more features. Priced at e49.99 for the base pack, its good value for what you get and is quite comprehensive. It is still in its early days of the software release cycle so does have some more work to done to polish it up to the current standard expected from paid addons, so I will be watching with eager eyes to see how this product matures. Check back here in the coming days for the full review. Or go ahead and grab your own copy from Captain Sim here: http://captainsim.com/products/x777/200/index.html
CaptainSim 777-200