Publisher: FSFX Packages
For years now, I've been looking for an alternative to the default contrails, as to me, the default method of creating a flat trail behind the aircraft to represent a contrail, never really looked very good. FSFX Packages new PrecipitFX add-on hopes to improve on this. In this review, I will go through what this product includes, and each individual effect that it adds to the simulator.
PrecipitFX is an effects package which really modernises the effects within Microsoft Flight Simulator and Prepar3D. It includes brand new rain and snow textures during damp and cold weather, wing-tip vortices which appear when water condenses in the core of the vortex, wheel water effects where ground water from a wet taxiway is kicked up, engine jet wash where water is shot from behind the engine at a high throttle settings, brake smoke from brakes locking up, touchdown effects which change depending on the size of the aircraft and the type of landing that occurs, and finally the biggest selling point of the product (to me anyway) are the new contrails effects.
VFX Central (the mod loader) will install these effects into each aircraft individually, meaning that each aircraft will have the correct type of effect added. These effects are not limited to your flyable aircraft either, as AI aircraft also get the full treatment. The result is that your entire simulator world is revamped.
The number of effects included in the package is quite substantial; with all of them being created and modelled from images and videos of real aircraft. They all have a volumetric and 3D feel to them, which adds greatly to the realism of each effect included.
Download & Install
This was quite an interesting one to install and differed slightly from the norm. When purchasing this product from any online store, you are given an activation key and a link so as to install VFX Central. This is a mod manager created by OldProp Solutions, the parent company of FSFX Packages. Before you can install the product, though, you also have to create an account with OldProp Solutions where you are given the option to activate your key within the launcher. With this done, you can install the product.
Unlike the installation process, using VFX Central is really easy and efficient! All the options for PrecipitFX can be done within this program. This includes enabling and disabling different features of the package, updates to the program and also management. Personally, I liked this system immensely, as it suits the add-on very well; it's the central hub to all of FSFX Packages which makes things extremely manageable.
No documentation is provided with this package or installer, but a 'User Manual' is downloadable via their web site once you log in with your account details. As well as this feature, there is also the option to view the manual online (much like their other products).