• Review: FlightSoft Hong Kong Live

    Hong Kong FSX Live

    Publisher: FlightSoft

    Review Author:
    Tony Vallillo

    Suggested Price:

    Buy Here

    The Road to Hong Kong, or
    How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Windows 8.

    Sometimes things come in threes. Coins in fountains. Pigs. Strikes and outs. And sometimes things in threes create a perfect storm. Sandy was a combination of three elements, as was the earlier storm that inspired the book and movie. I, too, have encountered a perfect storm this month, as my old computer (an eight year old Dell XPS!) has finally gotten totally arthritic; due, no doubt, to an epidemic of viruses and other malware that seems to have become resistant to the antibiotic effects of such palliatives as Norton and AVG. That is the first element.

    Kowloon and what is left of Kai Tak. Photo:Wikimedia Commons, Lichungai

    The same view in Hong Kong FSX Live.

    Element two sits on the new Dell I bought a few weeks ago - Windows 8. I have been living in an XP world for so long that I have completely lost track of the many and sundry versions of Windows that have afflicted the computer owning public in the ensuing years (save for an occasional bit of chagrin with Vista, which came on a laptop I had originally bought for She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed). XP has, for the most part, been well behaved - so much so that in the eight years I have been using it, I have yet to do a clean reinstall! Clean reinstalls used to be a semi-annual ritual back in my Win ME days, but XP was like the Ever Ready bunny - it just kept going and going! Makes you wonder why MS would feel the need to "improve" upon a platform like that. Did someone say profit? Ah, yes indeed.

    I really had no choice about Windows 8. It came on the computer. Dell is like that, jumping to the latest and often lamest version of Windows the minute it comes out. Oh, if I had actually bought the computer direct from Dell I might have had some wiggle room on the OS. But remember that even as a retired airline pilot I am beholden to the canons of the profession, one of which is penury. Therefore, I bought the computer from my favorite warehouse store, and refurbished at that! Great computer, great price, and as for the operating system...well, the Romans had a saying: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi!

    Hong Kong circa 1988 looking across at Kai Taks runway. Wikimedia Commons picture

    FSX Live version, with the newer buildings

    Now I suppose that I must make clear at the outset, in the interest of journalistic fairness, that I myself have thus far had no real non-FS difficulties with Windows 8 save for my complete disgust with the touch-screen oriented interface. MS must have been aiming Windows 8 at a target audience of giggly teenage girls, if the appearance and terminology of this thing is to be believed. Application symbols are called "charms"! Who are they trying to sell this to? Fortunately, with the help of the outstanding Dell support (I cannot say enough about the great support Dell provides during the initial warranty period!) I was able to restore something of the appearance of earlier incarnations of Windows, including a start button. Once that was set up, the touchy feely interface can be banished behind the Windows key, to appear only when I want to feel very very young! (By the way, the Apple interface for the iPad and iPhone I have is worlds better and more appealing than Windows 8. If MS thinks that they need to be competing with Apple I-products, they are going to have to do a better job of it than this, in my opinion!)

    Now came the time to install FS2004 and FSX onto this new, and infinitely faster computer. I bravely plowed ahead and installed both sims, as well as X-Plane 9, which I had acquired at Oshkosh a few years ago and never installed. And this is where things went to hell in the proverbial hand basket! I immediately encountered problems with FSX, especially after I installed my sine-qua-non add on, the LDS 767. A quick trip to the FlightSim.Com forums (a journey I should have taken before I bought the computer, as it turns out!) showed that the list of lamentations about the flight sims and Windows 8 is, to quote Goose from Top Gun, "long and distinguished".

    Downtown from Victoria Peak Wikimedia Commons Photo by David Iliff. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

    Same scene in HKFSX Live. Memorex on steroids!

    Approach plate for the IGS 13 approach.

    To cut to the chase (this is, after all, a review and commentary centered upon Flightsoft's Hong Kong FSX Live, and not Windows 8), there was, thank goodness, a secret handshake technique for a better installation of FS. It turns out that as long as the sims are installed somewhere other than in the folder that Windows 8 wants to put them, you stand a decent chance of getting a stable installation. This appears to be true for both FSX and FS2004. So after uninstalling them completely, and reinstalling them in C:/, I was left with a stable but basic FSX and FS2004. The flies in the ointment lie with the add-ons that make FS what it is. And the two that I use more than any others both appear to have issues with Windows 8 regardless of where you install it. So I sat, for the moment, in front of a very basic FS installation - one that I had not seen in over a decade! Nothing but default airplanes and scenery, at least until Dreamfleet and LDS get the problems sorted out or perhaps until Windows 8.1 comes out later this summer!

    1. dbauder's Avatar
      dbauder -
      Thanks for the review. I always enjoy your articles. Since I retired off the 767, I, too, had to get my Level D '76 on my new computer ASAP when I bought a new one last year. (Windows 7) However, it took half a day, fumbling around with "keys", "licenses", "registrations", "wrappers", etc. Then I found the PMDG 747, which I do my Kai Tak flying in nowadays. I flew into Kai Tak as passenger once and this scenery looks to be "spot on".
    1. judeb's Avatar
      judeb -
      I find it helps a lot better,if you buy the registered version of FSUIPC, set the Joysticks to run in the program,as 'Direct to FSUIPC' rather than FSX.
      I've had good success with this method.
    1. avallillo's Avatar
      avallillo -
      Thanks! I'll give that a try!

    1. bigmack's Avatar
      bigmack -
      Sorry to hear about your problems. I run Win7 x64 pro, and I install everything in the default program files x86 folder. (Except photo scenery).
      I run LDS, PMDG, and pretty much everything else without issue.
      With Win8 and Win7 your have to manage your folder permissions and security properly. Once that's done, all is good.
      Don't waste your time with Dell. If you don't want to spend time learning your new OS, then since your system is new, call Microsoft support direct. They'll instruct you on setting up Win7 or 8 properly. And if you get a really good support person they'll take over your computer remotely and set it up for you.
    1. Speedbird ATC's Avatar
      Speedbird ATC -
      FlyTampa is MUCH better in my opinion...
    1. airicch's Avatar
      airicch -
      Quote Originally Posted by Speedbird ATC View Post
      FlyTampa is MUCH better in my opinion...
      I live in Hong Kong.
      I think among Flightsoft, Fly Tempa and freeware 9 Dragon airport, the freeware 9 Dragon airport is the best.
    1. airicch's Avatar
      airicch -
      I live in Hong Kong.
      The freeware version called 9 Dragon airport is better than Fly Tampa and Flightsoft.
    1. Speedbird ATC's Avatar
      Speedbird ATC -
      9dragons does not work with fsx though and I assume you mean the city and not the airport
    1. airicch's Avatar
      airicch -
      Yes, 9 dragons airport does not work with FSX.
      9 Dragons airport takes care of the whole area of Hong Kong and Kai Tak and the look down view is quite realistic. I would say it is better than Flightsoft's latest FSX version. For Flytempa, its slight advantage is only around the Kowloon peninsula, but once fly outside the peninsula, it is not that good.
    1. ukguybry's Avatar
      ukguybry -
      Edit - Hah, guess Dell pretty much already gave you this advice in one form or another.

      All this hate for Windows 8.
      Do yourself a massive favour, Tony.
      Have a google search for "Start8".
      A couple of bucks and you need never see the Metro interface ever again.
      You'll boot straight to your desktop and have a start button again.

      At it's core, Windows 8 is just an improved version of the already pretty damn good Windows 7.
      You don't actually have to use the touch-screen optimised Metro interface at all.

      I would also not recommend ever installing games to "program files x86 folder"
      Instead, make a new folder on the HDD just for games.
    1. patrix's Avatar
      patrix -
      Quote Originally Posted by avallillo View Post
      Thanks! I'll give that a try!


      Maaaan, just install Win XP and live the gamers (and simmers dream. Everybody knows it's the only really good operating system Microsoft ever produced, compatible with everything everywhere every time. And never again jump to anything Microsoft tries to envelop in shiny paper just to sell it. (Buy computer without operating system next time
    1. surearrow's Avatar
      surearrow -
      IMHO, this payware Hong Kong FSX Live add-on I saw in your images do not look very impressive to me it all. Is it just me? - am I missing something here? - is the King wearing clothes? Those images remind me of FS2004 back in 2006, maybe with hair tonic added. I would not install that dated looking software on my system. I have higher standards. Sorry to be so blunt. It would have been nice to spend time comparing his version of Hong Kong to the 'Fly Tampa' version. That would have been a great review! As far as Windows 8 is concerned - remove it and install Windows 7! Yes, trust me, the Win8's "guts" part will be like Windows Millennium version was - skipped over and forgotten. The slow cooking revised 8 version will still be called Win8 (to save face), but with new (Win7) type programming. It's already started to happen, until then, I'll use 7.
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