Jump to content

My Life And Other Sims

My Life And Other Sims

By Nick Garlic

Nick here, and I'm back after freezingmy unmentionables in theGrand Arcticfor the X-Plane platform from HSimulations.

As you read this, you find me with my feet resting in a bowl of hotwater with a wee dram (whisky/scotch) in hand as I thaw out from thatfreezing but enjoyable adventure. As I do, I thought now would be anideal time to share my opinion on a flight sim that recently landed onmy desktop, that being the new Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Before I do though, I think it's important for you to know that Iclass myself as a casual flight simmer. The reason being...because Ijust want to have brilliant fun!

In other words, I just wing it; flying what I like and where Ilike!

/images/op-eds/othersim/t/ga.jpg   /images/op-eds/othersim/t/f16.jpg

I like to fly everything; fast military jets, low and slow GAaircraft and even large tubeliners. Why, even helicopters interest me,with the X-Plane Chinook being one of my favourite models. Thenthere's the hybrids, such as the V22 Osprey, shown below with my veryown fictional livery.


As you can see, I pretty much enjoy all aspects of flightsimulation, and most importantly of all (for myself anyway), I don'ttake things too seriously in any of my flight simulation worlds.

Why? Well, for me it's all just a game, whatever guise it happensto be in. It doesn't matter if it's FSX, X-Plane or DCS, at the endof the day, you're just sitting on your bottom pushing pixels around ascreen in a highly enjoyable way.

This doesn't mean that they aren't capable of reproducing certainaspects of flight, they are all highly capable virtual demonstrators,it's just that you're never actually flying.

Now, I know mentioning the word "game" when referencing flightsimulation, is probably not the most diplomatic approach, so if itdoes upset you, just remember it's my opinion, and not yours.

What we can hopefully agree on though, is that flight simulators,no matter which one you use, deliver an immense level of enjoyment andrelaxation, which is something we should all value in these testingand difficult times.

So, with all this enjoyment using multiple platforms, do I have afavourite...am I a "fanboy" of a particular one? Well, whilst it'strue that they all give me an incredible amount of enjoyment, I wouldhave to say that X-Plane is my "go-to" sim and has been for quite sometime.

The reason being, X-Plane simply delivers, for me anyway, prettymuch all that I could want from a flight sim game. It's an incrediblystable platform with fantastic community support. Out of the box, thevisuals (with the right hardware), can look stunning, and the flightmodel is one of the most impressive out there.


/images/op-eds/othersim/t/xp1.jpg   /images/op-eds/othersim/t/xp3.jpg

Strangely though, for all its virtues, X-Plane is often malignedwhich I feel is unworthy, especially when you consider the above. Andgoing by the video previews available, the platform is only ever goingto get better.

For example, have you seen the latest updates from Laminar Researchand what they have planned for the next generation of X-Plane?

In a word...wow! As you can see, we will finally have seasons(without the need for a 3rd party plugin), plus other graphicenhancements in the shape of vastly improved textures, enhanced treesand more, much more! Personally, I cannot wait for these updates toarrive.

Speaking of updates, I must mention Sim Update 5 for MicrosoftFlight Simulator (the latest update at time of writing).

What is it with these mandatory updates? Is it just me or is thishappening more and more in our gaming world? Why do I need todownload a huge update just so I can continue to fly? If this is whatthey call progress, then leave me out of it.

If that wasn't bad enough, you then have to deal with yet anotherissue...stability. As many MSFS users will know, load times andsetting up a flight is quite a laborious task...especially whencompared to the likes of X-Plane, and previous versions of FlightSimulator for that matter. So, when you are suddenly treated to a CTD(crash to desktop), it only adds insult to injury. Oh, how I loveprogress!

However, CTD's aside, there is no mistaking the sheer beauty whichMSFS can offer. For me personally, MFSF looks simply incredible andfrom a purely eye candy standpoint, it's set the bar for other sims tofollow.


/images/op-eds/othersim/t/fs2.jpg   /images/op-eds/othersim/t/fs3.jpg

To put that into perspective, to get my X-Plane install to lookonly half as good out of the box, I would have to spend a smallfortune on it. We're talking cloud and weather enhancements,photographic scenery of the entire world, detailed autogen such ascities...the list goes on. With MSFS, it's all there by default.

Simply put...I don't need to really buy anything for it as thedefault scenery is better than any other out of the box flight sim.Of course, I can purchase additional content to enhance theexperience, but like I mentioned, you don't really need to.

With X-Plane, you're flying in a plausible world, but withMSFS...it's a very real "global" world.

When it all works, it reminds me of the conversation between Royand his maker (Dr Tyrel) in Blade Runner:

"The light that burns twice as bright lasts half as long and Royyou have shined so very brightly."

I feel this is where I am now with MSFS. Every development updateseems to upset the balance of the program, and as such, my flying timejust stops!

Yes, I can get it all back up and running, but these constantupdates seem to be taking away from the brilliance they are attemptingto create. It's a classic case of one step forward, two steps back,and as such it's a constant case of catchup.

I can understand it in a way. MSFS is trying to be all things toall men all at once: the simple "gamer", the "dedicated flightsimulator pilot", the 21st century console man or women. This I fearis its weakest link, and I think Asobo are trying to run before theycan walk. I'm sure with time, and with a patient userbase, it willcome right for them eventually. However, until that time, MSFS will(unfortunately) sit on my shelf, while X-Plane gets to flap itswings.


Whilst writing this short article, I tried to come up with my owndefinition of what flight simulation means to me, and I came up withthe following:

A complex and finely balanced environment which strives tocreate a constantly changing world whilst mimicking the illusion offlight.

That is...until it breaks!

That's my take on flight simulation, what's yours?

See you next time!

Nick Garlic

User Feedback

Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...