Fanboy Friday Lives!
Hey, it’s been a while! How’re things?
Life sprung up and swallowed a whole bunch of my time these past few months, but there’s just too much happening in the FS world right now not to blog about it. And what day better than good old Friday, the gateway to the weekend. In no particular order, here are some recent FSX developments that have lit my fires:
Real Air’s Lancair
Rob Young and Sean Moloney have done it again. I got my copy of their freshly-minted Lancair Legacy last night and only had time for a quick squizz, but what I saw knocked me out. Not that it’s any surprise, of course. Those two don’t release anything unless they’ve designed, modeled, textured, and engineered the hell out of it. Every project feels like a labor of love, and none more so than this little bird.
On the outside, this plane just screams speed. Those smooth, flowing lines, so aerodynamic and slick. You can tell with a single glance that it’s going to cut through the air and go, go, go. The innards carry through the thoroughbred sports car motif as well. This is classic RealAir VC modeling, and if you’ve used any of their other products, you know what I mean. It’s clean to the point of spotless, and beautifully rendered down to the screw heads on the instrument panel. They like the showroom-fresh look, which is fine by me. If I had one of these babies in real life, I’d spend all my non-flying hours wiping it down and polishing everything, too.
Rob did the flight dynamics, so you know it’ll be a blast to fly. In my quick test, I got it up to 10,000 feet in a 1500fpm jiffy, and managed 160KIAS with ease once up there. It’s a far cry from the 172 I trained in, that’s for sure. I like that it’s got some horses under the hood. At those speeds, you can get in some serious sightseeing in short order.
Wing over to the RealAir website and pick up a copy – especially if you want to lose this whole weekend to virtual flight.
I’m a sucker for visuals, always on the lookout for the best representation of the virtual world I can get my hands on. As of this week, the state of the art when it comes to the flight environment−clouds, haze, and weather−belongs to Real Environment Extreme’s new Essential version. I’ve been a fan of REX’s work for as long as they’ve been around, but have always used other add-ons for actual weather generation. With Essential, we now have a fully functional real-world weather generator embedded into the always stunning REX texture sets. Not only that, they’ve added some other cool features like downloadable real-world flight plans via FlightAware, which looks very interesting.
If you’re looking for in-depth reviews of deep products like this one, I’m going to make you nuts. Honestly, I don’t get a lot of sim time just for fun, and when I do I tend to spend it blasting around the sky, not reading manuals. A quick perusal of REX Essential’s docs makes it clear that there are a ton of options in the program – more than enough to keep a sim tweaker occupied for ages. All I know after an initial flight is that the visibility looked dramatically more realistic to me, ditto for the clouds. Maybe I’ll get a chance to write up something more comprehensive on it once I’ve had a chance to get to know the product better. Maybe.
For now, I can say it looks dynamite. Also, it’s free for REX2 users (and soon there’ll be a version available for REX2 Overdrive users as well), so if you’ve already bought in, there’s zero reason to hold off on this one. If you haven’t tried REX yet, this might be just the push you need to get you there. Head over to the REX website for the details.
Four New Orbx Airports!
My co-workers at Orbx have been cranking it up to eleven recently. This past month saw the release of not one or two, but four new airports: CZST Stewart BC, 77S Creswell, W16 Monroe, and KJAC Jackson Hole. There’s just too much cool stuff packed into this foursome to even begin to cover in this short post. Here are a few highlights:
This is Russ White’s baby – the guy who brought you Fall City and Ketchikan Int’l. Russ is a master at texturing, and he’s been devoting a lot of time to pushing FSX’s limits as far as ground resolution goes. CZST is billed as the first 2cm/pixel airport, and the resolution really shows in his grotty gravel taxiways and weather-beaten tarmac.
Creswell, Oregon (77S)
Creswell (and its companion airport, Walker – OR57) were done up in intense detail by Greg Jones and Ken Hall. Their efforts are really outstanding, but one of my favorite aspects of this project is that I finally have more Oregon airports than just Stark’s Twin Oaks! Just in time, too, as development for PNW has been suspended with the exception of a couple of projects still in the pipeline.
Monroe FirstAir (W16)
If you’ve been around the FS world for a while, you might remember Bob Bernstein’s rendition of this Washington airport in FS9. Bob lent his experience with this field to Orbx veterans Andreas Hegi and Heiko Glatthorn for this hyper-detailed rendition. I think my favorite part (besides the awesome new PeopleFlow2 peeps) is the racetrack nearby, complete with ongoing races. Looks like another PNW winner to me…
Jackson Hole, Wyoming (KJAC)
The last one out the gate is also a ground-breaker in several ways. Jarrad Marshall’s KJAC is the first high-detail airport released for the Central Rockies region pack. It’s also the largest airport scenery (I believe), clocking in at over 4GB. What you get for that is not only an incredible job of airport modeling, but a huge swatch of photoreal terrain as well, covering all of the resort town of Jackson Hole, and the Teton mountains nearby. If that weren’t enough, it’s also one of the largest US airports we’ve created, which means jet jockeys will finally have a place to call home in the lower 48 states. Check it out!