• Active Camera Pro

    Active Camera Pro

    By Andy Beckett (11 March 2003)

    I felt compelled to write a review after stumbling upon this little gem of a utility. Over the past 15 years I have marvelled at the enormous progress made in P.C. based flight simulation and have spent many hours and much hard-earned cash feeding my addiction. I always feel indebted by the work of those noble souls, who burn the midnight oil to provide us with such wonderful freeware utilities that so enhance our hobby.

    Active Camera Pro v1.3 is a FS2002 freeware add-on module that I could not be without. For those of you that have already discovered its many charms and delights, you will understand my enthusiasm and, "how come I never got to hear of it before now?" To the uninitiated, slide your chairs a little closer and let me enlighten you.

    Firstly, please don't expect to see any eye candy pictures within this review because what ACP1.3 does is to create a sensation of motion and visual effects for FS2002 that cannot be defined in screen shots.

    Briefly, this is what it does:

    • It enables you to move freely around the virtual cockpit and virtual cabin where featured in FS2002 aircraft. You can easily move from the captain position to the pilot's seat and even walk down the aircraft aisle taking a seat in the cabin, "window or aisle sir?"
    • You can walk, yes walk around the outside of your aircraft to perform pre-flight checks or wander about the airfield exploring the scenery.
    • It provides a configurable 'flyby' feature allowing you adjust the spot view while your aircraft streaks by in true air show fashion.

    But the strength of this small but very significant utility lies in its ability to emulate 'head latency', the sensation of motion.

    One significant failing of any P.C. based flight simulator is its inability to generate any sensation of motion. Take a 'real' club aircraft up for a spin and throw it into a steep turn and pull back hard on the stick - your head tries to bury itself in your chest. The movement of the aircraft significantly alters your viewpoint. Likewise, 'real' takeoff and landings from grass strips are anything but smooth. It's a real shock the first time you bounce down the runway having only experienced it using a P.C. flight simulator.

    ACP1.3 addresses both of these points convincingly in two fully configurable features.

    With the head latency turned on your viewpoint will constantly change as the aircraft moves around its yaw, roll and pitch axis. On takeoff as the aircraft rotates your viewpoint drops with a slight increase in 'Gs' and the panel appears to raise slightly and then drop back down as a steady rate of climb is obtained. The more the aircraft moves and shakes around the more the sensation of motion with inside the cockpit. It is a difficult effect to describe only to say from a pilots point of view it feels very realistic.

    Another feature covers the effects of ground turbulence. Once enabled, takeoff and landings take on a whole new feel and require a lot more skill to pull off. The aircraft shakes and vibrates as it accelerates down the runway. As with the head latency the rate of ground turbulence can be configured.

    In addition, for those of us that fly solely from the virtual cockpit it is now possible to pan the view using just the mouse. As with all these utilities, this one takes a bit of getting used too but once perfected is an invaluable feature. It is useful to configure one of your joystick buttons to snap back to forward view.

    This utility hosts a wonderful suite of features that enhance FS2002 enormously and it won't cost you a penny - thanks to those clever chaps at Anticyclone.

    Andy 'Needles' Beckett
    needlesbeckett@hotmail.com

    Visit developer Anticyclone's web site.

    Download Active Camera Pro from the FlightSim.Com file library.