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X-Plane v. Microsoft FS


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What Dom says. I used to fly FS9 then moved to FSX.

Watched a few vids on YT then thought I would give XP a try, now I'm on it all the time.

I admit there are some things I wish they had in XP that is in FS, I've noticed lately there seems to be a lot more interest and addons happening.

It has some bugs true, but the guys with more brains than me are working hard to rectify, more models coming all the time, great paint jobs being done, more airports and scenery being made.

If you go on X-plane.org and take a look, you will see what I mean. Also a lot of XP-10 aircraft will work in XP-11, having said that from time to time someone will convert and early model to work in XP-11 as well.



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  • 1 month later...
I, too, was beguiled by the X-Plane 11 videos and ended up buying it. Although I'd judge the aircraft rendering internally and externally to be far more realistic than in FSX, the scenery in X-Plane has been disappointing. The general terrain is bland and the "cityscapes" not much better. Sure, the default FSX scenery is cartoonish but if you've invested in OrbX or Just Flight's VFR Real Scenery, you'll find X-Plane's visuals a jolt. I guess that, in time, I'll dress X-Plane up like I have FSX and probably switch but until then I'll more than likely spend most of my time on FSX.
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I have used MS 2004 and FSX for several years, but now I have got X-plane and a new PC, and I have been fully occupied with designing a small aircraft. I have not even installed FSX on the new PC yet. The manuals for X-plane are a goldmine, and it is pretty easy to design something. For FSX it is too difficult due to documentation missing.


So now I am a fan of X-plane. Test the demo! The Plane Maker is there, so you can test that also.

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Just grabbed 11.x during the sale and I'm very impressed especially around how the UI works now, starting flight, changing settings, the planes and cockpits (default), loading times, love the Python tools, freeware camera and productivity tools. The joystick assignment page alone is one of the best I've seen anywhere. Leaving some old bought add ons in fsx behind and look forward to move on.
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I have also used MSFS for a long time - from FS2002 on. I never really got on with FSX, but spent so much money one way or another on FS2004 that I thought it would be my flightsim for life. (Not just a question of finance of course! I still love FS9).


But,as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating: since I bought XP11 in August I have hardly touched FS9. I have run XP11 pretty much every day since then, and have still hardly scraped the surface of all the possibilities. I have installed a huge amount of photoscenery now (IMHO MUCH better here than in MSFS) and the overlays have realistic road and sea traffic everywhere I fly (just one example), good 3D autogen (my home town is very authentic - I recognise a lot of it from 3000'). The detail is wonderful in XP11 - just 'little' things, such as taxi lights illuminating buildings and other objects as you turn, to name but one.


Like anything this complex, it took me a while to get into it, how to tweak things and so on. (I became fairly expert in FS9 at this and still feel a bit clumsy in XP, but each day I learn something new, how to add/remove buildings etc., for example). I would say that no one should be put off by this; don't hesitate buying this amazing product - so much more of its time technologically than the venerable FS9. Ride through the frustrations (there will be some) as you get used to it and you will surely, as I have, come to use it in preference to any other flight programme. I feel a bit guilty re. FS9 - it's like an old friend, but what can you do??


(Don't forget to install the freeware Ortho4XP and get some photoscenery installed, once you are OK with the sim basics!!).


Oh, and do check the minimum specs - you need a pretty kick-ass PC to run this sim properly. (I wouldn't have less than 16GB RAM, a CPU running at 4GHz and definitely a 4GB GPU).

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I did the demo download and I am not able to understand or do all the different key selections on X-Plane as they are so differtent....I am a P3D V4.1 simmer now and also been doing this for over 20 years


It's funny you should say that because I just installed P3D v4 and am trying like crazy to get my key bindings to match X-Plane! lol

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have been a MS Flight simmer for over 20 years, starting with FS95, then FS2000, FS9 and of course FSX. Just got X-Plane 11 several weeks ago and I am working with it constantly, trying to learn the software. I find XP a bit frustrating since I don't have enough instructions for all of the controls and commands. It's also a bit confusing trying to learn the differences between FSX and XP.


There are things about XP that I absolutely don't like because it is missing important features that FSX has. The ATC in XP is horrendous. Too robotic sounding and you're unable to change the voices. The ATC text is unreadable, with the many ridiculous colors used for each reply against a bad background color. Again, I do like the graphics that XP offers and the instruments panels are close to being truly realistic but many times I find the 2D panels are not usable or missing. I still have plenty to learn and I am being very patient using XP. hopefully over time I will really start enjoying it as much as my reliable FSX.

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Been an MSFS guy for over 20 years. Dabbled in X-Plane 9 and 10, but wasn't really impressed. XP11 seems to have made a quantum leap over my previous dalliances with XP and I bought it a couple of weeks ago when it was on sale. My present PC doesn't have enough horsepower to run XP11 so I left it in my Steam account for the time being.


I mentioned to my wife that I wouldn't mind having a new gaming PC as both my desktop and laptop are 3 or 4 years old. Yesterday she sent me an add on a Dell computer sale and I found a laptop that won't break the bank for a semi-retired person like myself. It should arrive in about 10 days.


New computer specs are Intel i7-7700HQ @ 3.8GHz, 16GB of RAM, 250 GB SSD and 1TB hard drive, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB VRAM. I know I won't be able to max out any sliders with that configuration (especially since it is a laptop), but I think I can certainly get it to an enjoyable state of play.


I am looking forward to beginning the adventure of acclimating to XP11. I know it will take some time.




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After over twenty years with Microsoft FS, I am thinking of starting anew with X-Plane. How would you X-Plane guys compare your simulator with Microsoft FS?




I have or have had just about every decent sim since SubLogic FS1 on a TRS-80 Model I. I currently have FSX, FSW, and old version of Prepar3D, Aerofly FS2, X-Plane 11, and DCS.


I use two of those. I use the two that have VR: X-Plane and AFS2. DCS is also VR now, but I get 12 fps from my nVidia 1070.


The VR is the bomb - I have gotten to where I don't like to fly without it. If you are considering getting a VR system, X-Plane will run rings around FSX. If not, then it becomes a more difficult question. If, for example, you have invested in a lot of FSX payware, it becomes difficult to recommend X-Plane 11, although the quality of the default planes in X-Plane has gone way, way up from where they were in X-Plane 10. That said, there aren't a whole lot of them. You can get very good payware and some very good freeware for X-Plane, but nowhere near what's available for FSX.


If you like IFR, FSX ATC is still far superior to that in X-Plane, but Laminar recently said that ATC is the next thing they want to fix after they finish VR.


Really what it comes down to FSX being stuck in time (FSW and Prepar3D now own the code - FSW for consumer, P3D for professionals and people will to lie about being students) while X-Plane is not only still moving forward, but doing so at an increasingly fast pace. There is nothing wrong with staying with what you like, but the fact that you asked indicates that you might be starting to feel like you're being left behind. That's a legitimate feeling, because you are.


If I were to compare X-Plane with FSX, I would give a strong nod to X-Plane if only because it's 64-bit and doesn't seem to ever run into memory problems. For me, anyway - that may not be a universal truth. I would say, though, that FSW, which is also 64-bit, would be a smaller yet still important jump for you at less than half the cost of X-Plane ($80!!)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've just converted to X Plane after a couple of years with FSX. FSX can be good if you don't mind faffing around with add-ons, config files, scripts, registry entries etc. etc.and spending half your time altering the computer and investigating issues rather than just switching on and going. IMO X plane is an order of magnitude better and easier than FSX and has been far more enjoyable for me. It just works and there are lots of standard features that you have to buy as extras in FSX.



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I'm not a common voice around here since I'm more active in the MS Trainsim world, but I've been comfortable with FS9 and FSX for years. I've been interested in X-Plane for heaven knows how long; X-Plane 10 got me intrigued, but it still seemed too rough around the edges to spend money and, probably more importantly, time on. X-Plane 11 got me to install the demo -- which I've dabbled with off and on for about a year.


With XP11, it started out as nice but no-go. I prefer to fly GA aircraft and primarily VFR. The default C172's controls were way too twitchy, ground handling was horrible, and P-factor was absolutely out of control. Community consensus was that when XP11 debuted, GA light aircraft were all b0rked in various ways, and the default Cessna was among the worst of the bunch.


So I waited a bit. Unlike a lot of software, the demo gets updated right along with the full licensed version, so I was able to return and try it again as it was upgraded. As the bugs got squashed, the control settings (and there are a bunch!) started working better, so I could tame the default C172's handling into something more or less manageable and I could enjoy myself while flying around to get a feel for the rest of the sim. At that point, it was really noticeable that the improved graphics had a serious flaw -- the lighting is much too blue. Even in clear conditions there's a general UV-haze-ish blue cast to everything. At the time, there was no way to reach in and fiddle with the overall graphics processing and shading outside of ReShade -- which isn't really my thing. (Yes, I've seen gorgeous ReShade effects, but it's a whole realm of tinkering and framerate concerns I really don't want to get into.) So I put the demo aside for a few more months and waited to see what would happen.


So, here it is in 2018, after more updates and a lot more time for the community to tinker and bring customization scripts and add-on bits up-to-date for XP11. Laminar seems to have progressively gotten the GA planes' behavior under much better control. There are now freeware scripts to fix the graphics without resorting to ReShade if you don't want to. I finally decided to take the plunge and buy a license so I could start flying around my favorite areas.


I really do like the flight model. Now that the GA aircraft are responding as they should, it's a pleasure to fly in X-Plane 11. (Word of caution -- ground handling still isn't perfect -- a little twitchy but liveable. It'll probably get better still.) Cockpit modeling is excellent. TrackIR support is good, and even better when coupled with just the free version of the X-Camera plugin.


Out-of-the-box, though, there's a big difference for VFR pilots when comparing to FSX. X-Plane's eye candy is fantastic (particularly if you can tame the blue cast with a graphics shading/processing script). But depending on where you like to fly, you may find VFR landmarks severely lacking. That seems to be due to X-Plane using Open Street Maps as the basis for placing autogen and any VFR landmarks. OSM has excellent data to place buildings and autogen regions in some parts of the world and not so much in others. It's a bit biased to heavily urbanized ares. It's said that for European locations, X-Plane's default OSM-based autogen and VFR objects are much better than default FSX. But for me, flying in rural US New England and Great Lakes regions, it's pretty sparse and generic.


Example: I frequently fly out of my favorite "hometown" airports -- 3TR in Niles, MI near where I grew up, and KCON in Concord, NH near where I live now. Default FSX at least plunks down some generic hangars and service buildings at 3TR. X-Plane defaults to a bare-bones 2-D runway in the right place, but you can download a nice set of 3D runways and scenery from the officially-sanctioned scenery repository. Default KCON has just 3D runways and lights in XPlane, with a downloadable upgrade with very good, properly-placed approximations of buildings and ramp/parking areas. Default KCON in FSX has remarkably well-placed generic buildings and taxiways/parking for a generic representation, with a nicer freeware replacement in the file library here. Once you take off, the OSM-based region around 3TR looks passably like the real world, not as much so in FSX. On the other hand, up in the air, default FSX manages to place some choice generic autogen analogs of the Concord statehouse and an incernator with a tall smokestack to the north of the city limits. (These sorts of sparse but key VFR landmarks seem pretty common in FSX's default autogen scenery in the US, even in rural areas.) In X-Plane, the area surrounding KCON is basically unrecognizable aside from terrain and roads. It's essentially nothing but generic autogen houses.


So, in order to make my favorite places to fly a bit more VFR-friendly and familiar, I'm going to have to embark on upgrading the base XP11 scenery, at least for the US regions where I like to fly. Fortunately, there are improvements out there, like OpenSceneryX, scenery improvements based on World2XPlane, even higher-quality HD mesh which contains more references to place accurate VFR landmarks -- and all of it is freeware. Plus there are a growing number of detailed freeware airports and surrounding regions appearing in the x-plane.org repository. Payware developers seem to be taking up X-Plane more and more, especially with photoscenery. (Photoscenery, or "ortho" scenery as it's often called in X-Plane circles, isn't my thing, though -- I often fly "low and slow" and prefer more 3D, so mesh and key 3D VFR objects plus reasonable generic autogen are my focus.)


For those who prefer heavies and IFR flights, X-Plane certainly has good default airports, and some excellent payware and freeware ones to drop in. Ortho/photo scenery add-ons look beautiful in the XP11 graphics engine once you're up high.


I'd say VFR GA pilots like me will have to spend quite a bit of time tweaking XP11 to individual taste, but I think it can be done as more and more resources become available.


For everybody, X-Plane's graphics capabilities are going make its assets consume more disk space. Default X-plane textures and mesh take up a lot of room. Adding improved mesh and scenery objects will take up even more, so I can see it becoming disk-hungry very quickly.


X-Plane 11's ATC is still something of a work-in-progress. I'm OK with the default FSX ATC. (Especially since my simple flights don't tax its capabilities much...) X-Plane's ATC tries to use recorded voices, and comes out sounding like a bad, robotic mish-mash -- which makes it harder to understand, regardless of whether it's behaving correctly or not. For simple clearances, XPlane's ATC seems clunkier to me than the FSX default. FSX's ATC at least has reasonable synthesized voice phrasing and it's simplified rules work adequately. X-Plane's default ATC just isn't quite there for me. It's capabilities for IFR flights are subpar, so a lot of X-Plane users go out straight away and replace it with at least the freeware "124th ATC" plugin.


I'm frugal with payware purchases, and so far everything I want for tweaking X-Plane has been freeware-based, which is a plus. Perhaps I'll find aircraft or a few airports/scenery in payware that will be must-haves, but for now, there's perfectly suitable freeware available. Perhaps a benefit of the Open Street Map -based geography is that it encourages freeware and open source additions.


For now, FSX is still my flightsim "home", but XP11 is now an interesting and fun alternative, probably more so once I can get it tweaked to my liking.


Edit: I initially thought the downloadable 3TR airport was only a minor improvement; turns out it was a parent/child folder issue on my part. With that sorted, it's a very nice upgrade.

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I've flown flightsims for longer than I care to remember, starting with Molimerx's Jumbo for the BBC micro.


For the last 3 months I've not completed a single flight even though I have FS9, FSX and X-plane all on separate PCs.



Because so many eulogise about X-Plane, I've been trying to make it work. For weeks. Perhaps it is because I am trying to run it in Linux, but whatever the reason, it is one glitch after another.


For pure enjoyment, I find it hard to beat GA planes in FS9 with Ground Environment Pro - a vastly under-appreciated addon. Fiddling around with X-Plane is getting in the way of flying. I might not delete it but I'm heading for the blue yonder now.



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  • 3 months later...
An addendum: Now that I've found and pretty much got the hang of Ortho4XP, I've been able to set up my favourite areas with really enjoyable VFR scenery. It's a bit of a hard disk hog but once I worked out how to put the scenery onto my 1TB hard drive, separate from the SSD that X-Plane sits in, it's all singing sweetly; to the point that I hardly remember when I last ran FSX. Aahhhh, fickle heart!
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Hi everyone.

It's a huge disappointment to have to admit that after all the time, and effort, I spent trying to get XP11 to perform as a useful tool, specifically the C172, I cannot get it to behave in a way that is acceptable / feels like / behaves close to, a real acft.

I've tried all the addons, flight mods, ortho... and the best I can get is something that may look, visually acceptable, then I try to use it in a environment that simulates real life, like Xwind taxiing, TOs and Landings and reality sets in, it is just Not going to make it.

In addition, there were changes made to the basic engine, like the layering of the Instrument panel.. that renders many of the legacy acft useless.

To add to the frustration the documentation available is very cryptic, old, and may not describe the new procedures necessary to be able to modify the old acft to look presentable. Some of the instruments that displayed properly in previous versions, including the ver 10 do not work in XP11.

In about 3 weeks I was able to create a C182RG in FS9, including having to learn GMax, but I am having all kinds of problems trying to modify a legacy panel, and have it display properly. The only solution that I can see is to start from the beginning and redo the entire cockpit.

I apparently am not the only one having these issues, I spoke with a designer that decided to move on and no longer create anything for the XP. Every new version creates new problems requiring major modifications/ having to redo the model.

One gets a distinct impression that the main team does not know what they are doing / want to have as a final product. No real planning ahead involved, just let's try this, next we try something else, as if they do not have a good understanding of what they want to do / accomplish?

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The civilian flightsims on my new computer are all vanilla FSX-SE, FSW and XP-11. I have been flightsimming for about 25 years. I purchased XP-11 to update my technology and see what is possible.



An important feature for me is to fly all over the world and see scenery that gives me at least some indication of what the scenery looks like in the real world. In that respect XP-11 is a disappointment, although it has good qualities otherwise. However crude they may be, FSX and FSW do provide recognizable features in their scenery, while FX-11 provides only generic scenery - I was shocked to find that Washington, DC, was UNRECOGNIZABLE! I understand that there is much good scenery available for XP-11, but hate to face huge amounts of downloading/installation required to cover the world.



On a previous computer I had the FSX world covered with Orbx sceneries as well as world mesh, and I was happy with believable impressions of the world scenery. I am hoping Orbx will provide similar coverage for XP-11 in a not too distant future, which leads me to one question: Does vanilla P3D4.2 world scenery look better than vanilla FSX scenery?




Intel Core i7-7700K @ 4.5GHz; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti 11GB GDDR5X; ASRock Z270 K6 Gaming MB, 16GB DDR4-3000 RAM; 500GB SSD + 2TB HDD; Windows 10 Pro 64-bit; 34" 21:9 curved 4K Monitor

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