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Thread: Just Plane Confused

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
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    Montgomery County, TX
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    Question Just Plane Confused

    I know this type of question has been asked on here ad nauseum but I need to ask it from my dumbed-down perspective anyway so please either choose to ignore or indulge me at your whim. I'm not a licensed pilot....I'm a sales manager and a pilot wannabe. I grew up in an aviation family however, took some flying lessons as a young man but got sidetracked and never followed up on my private ticket (college in the 1970s....what can I say??).

    Anyway, as a rank amateur, over time I have developed into a damned good FSX pilot if I do say so myself. I have the Gold Edition FSX package with Acceleration. I was anxiously awaiting the release of FSW but, after reading some of the initial reviews, I don't think my computer will run it adequately (i5-6400 2.70 GHz 8 GB RAM with an Nvidia GTX-745 4GB video card). Since it runs FSX beautifully (I typically get frame rates in the 40s), I have decided to wait and consider other options for the time being.

    My dilemma is what type of "must have" add-ons I should now bolt on to FSX to optimize the reality of the experience (not getting FSX-SE since it limits you to online access and I have zero interest in multi-player). From what I can discern, except for perhaps creating a placebo effect for some, the graphics or other amenities for FSX-SE are no better than the original FSX. I have added many freeware aircraft (some really good and others not so good) and I have also enhanced my scenery capabilities with Gottfried Razek's freeware from Blue Sky (not sure how it compares with payware options but it is a vast improvement over the default FSX scenery) as well as adding FreeMesh X, a freeware airport ground texture add-on that enhances jetway, runway and airport parking graphics and a freeware water-effects enhancement add-on. I also added the trial version of GSX but I don't do a lot of airliner flying (I'm much more GA oriented) so I'm not sure if I will buy the whole payware package or not (but probably will). Despite the geographical limitations of the Blue Sky scenery (it currently covers only a few western USA states) I am impressed with the improvement over the default FSX scenery but am not certain how it compares with other add-ons like FTX Global or the GEX/UTX combo. I do not have a weather engine, ATC or cloud texture add-on at present but would love to get them.

    So, after doing just enough research to get myself completely baffled as to what I should do to tweak my FSX to optimal levels, I decided to run to y'all for some answers. Questions would therefore be as follows:

    - I have the freeware version of FSUIPC. What are the advantages of the payware version and is it worth spending the extra money?

    - I am told that I cannot use Simconnect unless I upgrade to FSX-SE. True? This would be critical for any weather engine or VATSIM addition as well, yes?

    - Regarding ATC, is Pro ATC X the way to go or is there a reasonable alternative I should consider? I really get frustrated with the limitations of the default ATC with FSX. I tried using VoxAtc but couldn't get it to recognize my microphone. Do you need Simconnect for it as well?

    - When it comes to scenery/texture options, I am thinking that Orbx has more to offer than going with a GEX/UTX combo. Agree or not? What about FS Global Ultimate? Regarding Orbx, I guess it would be critical to get both FTX Global Base & FTX Global Vector at the very least. Am I correct or is Base all I really need? Don't the two go hand-in-hand? Additionally, they have an option to purchase only the North American components (I do 90% of my flying in the USA, Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean) but I am not sure I understand the advantage (especially from a monetary standpoint) of going that route since you have to buy separate components for the various regions. Does buying the North American components negate the need to buy FTX Base and Vector? Do you get the same quality of scenery by purchasing either one or is one better than the other? If so, I don't understand why anyone would buy anything other than Base & Vector. I see where they also offer FTC openLC and FTX Global Trees as well. Would it be necessary or advisable to get these components as well? Color me dense if you will but I am thoroughly confused about Orbx's product offering and what combinations would be best for me (or anybody for that matter).

    - Once I decide on a scenery/texture and ATC package, should I add REX or Active Sky as a cloud enhancer? What about a traffic add-on like My Traffic X (I like to have a busy airport and sky environment with which to deal)? Do any of these add-ons conflict or have issues interfacing with each other? Are some better than others?

    - Are there other options not mentioned that are worthy of consideration that I should add to the list of add-ons, either free or payware, that I should get for FSX?

    I am sorry to make such a long post and to appear so ignorant but I am obviously conflicted and confused and need some help from my FlightSim.com brethren before I can move forward so any comments, advice or input are very much appreciated so thanks in advance to any and all who take the time and effort to respond.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    You know, you don't appear ignorant at all, because you ask some very intelligent questions.

    As for being a beginner, we have all been there.

    I don't have much payware on my system, but I do have the GEX/UTX complete works, and am happy with it. Flight One offer very good support. I also have the AS16 weather package from HiFi Simulations, works just fine, and also good support.

    I have downloaded and installed the UK2000 demo airport sceneries, but the questions I have asked of their support before buying have gone unanswered so far, so I think my business goes elsewhere.

    It takes a long time to assemble sceneries from freeware, but it can be done, and you learn a lot about your system and FSX in the process. It is difficult to advise you about what freeware/payware you should get, because that would depend a lot on your particular interests. But there is a LOT of good freeware out there, scenery, aircraft and just about whatever else you could desire. Try to search the FSX scenery area in the download area on this site, just for fun.

    Have fun -

    Jorgen

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Germany
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    FSUIPC:
    The full version will allow you to easily map multiple controllers, for example when you are using a joystick for one type of aircraft and a yoke for another. It has a more features, but this is IMHO the major one.

    SimConnect:
    This is the FSX programmatic API and it is present in the sim from FSX SP2 and up. You have it already in your Gold&Accel package. Just be aware that every version of FSX and P3D has its own version of SimConnect, and every addon using it can (has to be) compiled with that specific version. These are mostly backwards compatible, but not the other way around. So you won't be able to run a SimConnect based addon that was compiled for P3D V3 for example. Some addons are provided/sold in multiple incarnations, one for each sim - make sure that you buy/get/download/install the FSX Acceleration version.

    -ORBX/FTX
    What differentiates these products is the level of detail. Some rely on FTX Global Base to be present, some don't. If you only fly in the ORBX "regions", you won't need anything else except the basic prerequisites (check the product description).
    Other than that it is a matter of taste - and performance. ORBX Vector will have quite the FPS impact - but generally speaking, everything that you add to your sim will.

    - ATC
    You could try good old RC4 or newer PF3 too. Combined with the MultiCrewExperience voice recognition they are OK too. Even default ATC is, when you actually talk to them instead of pressing buttons, which MCE will allow you to do - apart from providing an interactive copilot whom you can talk to as well.

    - Weather: detailed weather engines also have a performance impact. Try the freeware offerings first - if it has to be payware, I would go with ActiveSky Next or 16 + ASCA. Rex4 Texture direct is a nice addition to ASN (Rex4T has only the textures, it is not a weather generator - that is ASNs job) but you probably don't want Rex4 with AS16&ASCA (ASCA has sky and cloud textures too - but you may prefer Rex's - or their water).

    - AI: I would recommend WOAI (freeware). Takes a while to download, but it is still pretty good. Commercial AI addons tend to have quite the performance impact (I know, I keep repeating this - but it is really disheartening if you buy a nice addon and it reduces your sim to a crawl)
    Last edited by evm; 05-19-2017 at 05:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Those North American Regions (PNW, SoCal, etc.) are complete, in and of themselves, and are not enhanced by FTX Global stuff (though individual airport purchases do help in the immediate vicinity). But the FTX Global stuff is great (IMHO -- not everyone agrees) for the rest of the world.

    The FTX Base, Vector and OpenLC (for your area -- NA, EUR, etc.) help everywhere that you don't have a region. Global Trees (once you have another ORBX product) will affect trees everywhere, and is pretty much independent, except for the library need.

    Global Base and Vector won't affect your system's performance appreciably (but it'll be hit hard in big cities, just as in the default scenery). Just as in default scenery you can affect performance by the various slider settings, especially water and the autogen stuff.

    Hope this helps...

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Montgomery County, TX
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    Thanks to all for the input. Love WOAI and some of the terrific scenery texture and cloud upgrades from REX and others.

  6. #6

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    To see more info about FSUIPC, just read the docs in their installed folder within the sim. It also allows far more button assignments & much better control calibration.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by zswobbie1 View Post
    To see more info about FSUIPC, just read the docs in their installed folder within the sim. It also allows far more button assignments & much better control calibration.
    +1!! If you're trying to get away from using the mouse and use add-on controllers instead, I think a registered FSUIPC is the best way to go.

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