[jhb_airlines] Re: FSX Demo

  • From: "Bones" <bones@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2006 17:43:41 +0100

The whole worry of FSX as far as I am concerned is just what is really new
in it? OK, a few things have been tweaked to be better - textures, MDL's and
environment - but  do the aircraft fly better, is the terrain mesh of higher
resolution and does it have sloping runways yet? I'm worried that all the
press coverage so far has been on inconsequentials and that the core
functions of the sim may not have changed at all.


-----Original Message-----
From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gerry Winskill
Sent: 11 August 2006 17:12
To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: FSX Demo

I've just tried it again; previous posting is correct in that it time
expires, after about ten minutes.

One FS9 feature has been carried over; the blurries. The Antilles
scenery didn't look too demandind, plus I was flying my usual FS9
Farmstrip aircraft, minus gauges etc. Despite this the Default textures
eventually went into blur mode.

 I don't know whether it was because I was flying an FS9 ac but, seen
from spot view, in Replay, the whole scene shuddered constantly.

I probably sound biased against FX but I'm not. Just underwhelmed by
what this, presumably Sales oriented, Demo offers. The real thing has to
be dramatically better than this Demo, or else why would anyone but
gamers be tempted to buy?

Gerry Winskill

Bones wrote:

>On my system the default XP firewall recognises that I have a third
>party application running and lets it assume control. Windows firewall
>automatically cuts in if the default firewall crashes (not a regular
>thing but it glitches from time to time).
>Agree about the Baron. In fact I spent more time looking inside the
>guts of FSX rather than flying it and I've noted several  changes in
>the system. My worry now is that it is going the same way as CFS3 did
>which resulted in many users sticking with CFS2 or giving up on the sim
>altogether. CFS2 was very similar to FS98 but with combat ability - and
>it got very good reviews. The long awaited CFS3 was a great
>disappointment - better visuals but VC mode only and only a basic
>flight dynamics engine. My worry is that FSX is going the same way with
>it Missions and Rewards system.
>A quick look at the structure in FSX shows some changes. Maybe the most
>significant is that aircraft MDL files seem to have leapt from an
>average 1Mb in size to a huge 13Mb. This is big - more than four times
>the size of the most complex creations in FS2004 (PMDG737 is only
>2.9Mb). What the extra
>10+Mb is going into I haven't the foggiest idea but it certainly
>show on the exterior. If it is all internal cockpit work (essential for
>operation) then why does MS need 13Mb for a trike when PMDG only use 5Mb
>their 747?
>Second change is that the aircraft.cfg file has changed yet again and
>it now contains much more data from the .air file - but not all. The
>.air file is still there with a significant number of tables in it for
>primary dynamics. Unfortunately AirEd only opens known tables and my
>guess is that some new FSX tables may be lurking in it which I cannot
>see. Yet again to confuse aerodynamicists there is duplication in
>parameters across the cfg and .air files so it will take a while for
>the gurus to sort out which is essential data and which is dormant.
>A lot remains identical to FS2004. There is no significant change to
>Autogen, Effects, Flights or Sound. Gauges are now strictly XML design
>so this folder is full of CAB files. More worryingly it also contains
>some DLL's too and I can't see why.
>A new folder called Missions has appeared but the old Flights folder is
>still present. The only difference I can see is that Missions contain
>added blurb about the preset flights - HTML files for charts and,
>oddly, specific sounds files for the flight. To me this is moving back
>to the Adventures in FS5 with such add-ons as Flight911.
>Scenery seems of similar structure to FS2004 except that the naming
>convention has changed yet again. The folder still has BGL's in the
>Scenery folder and bitmaps and AGN files in Textures. However, creeping
>into this are new DDS textures. There are a few in the Scenery folder,
>lots in the Texture folder and aircraft textures are almost 100% DDS.
>The new DDS files cannot be opened in ImageTool so it is unlikely they
>are DXT1 or DXT3. The files WILL open in DXTBmp but it doesn't
>recognise the Alpha channel and only opens the basic bitmap image. My
>guess is that these files have a more complex Alpha mapping to make use
>of the improved lighting engine in FSX.
>And, in fact, I have just cracked this puzzle. The new DDS bitmaps are
>in fact DXT5 images with a full 8 bit Alpha channel set for
>transparency. The main image is full 24bit with not a mipmap in sight
>(I may be wrong here though as I haven't looked at all the DDS files).
>So far so good. Aircraft designers will have a headache unless they
>built a VC for the aircraft, learn the new DDS texture format and get
>to grips with the new aerodynamics. They should already know how to
>build the XML gauges. They will have to create a second sound set
>though as aircraft now sport a separate SoundAI folder.
>The added advantage with FSX is that designers are no longer limited to
>making just aircraft as the sim now has a specific folder for moving
>objects. Skills can now be turned to ships, vehicles and possibly
>trains. These objects have a similar folder structure to aircraft with
>model, panel, sound and textures but the aircraft.cfg and aircraft.air
>files are replaced with a simple Sim.cfg file. This records only a few
>parameters - max speed, acceleration and contact points. As far as I
>can see they cannot be driven but are designed to be added to the AI
>system. We'll have to wait for TTools 3 or similar to see how they
>work. My guess is that the structure may be similar to flightplans but
>with Lat/Long points instead of airfield codes for routes - which would
>suggest a very similar system to the old dynamic aircraft in FS98 using
>DOD and Dynkit.
>A new section called ShadersHLSL has appeared. The structure of the
>included FX files suggests that they are Effects files specifically
>dealing with lighting and reflection. At the moment I can't work out
>the code but the SDK should explain this.
>Just to test the new sim I dragged the prototype Spitfire folder into
>it - and the associated gauge files - and it worked.
>I won't describe any actual use of the sim here as you no doubt have
>already tried it yourselves and formed your own opinion. I will try it
>over the next few days but paying a lot of attention to the
>aerodynamics to see if they have altered. We already know that dynamics
>were much lower quality in FS2004 to FS2002 so I am hoping they are not
>being taken a step further in this direction.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gerry Winskill
>Sent: 11 August 2006 12:06
>To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: FSX Demo
>Well, that's one way of spending the morning, installing SP2.  Which
>leads me to the first question; do I disable ZoneAlarm or the MS
>firewall? At the moment ZA seems to sidelined by XP.
>With SP2 installed, the FSX Demo could be installed. What a shock. It's
>like going back to the dark ages. I just managed to do a circuit in the
>Baron. This despite the fact that it only runs in VC and the views
>outside make the Vulcan's look like a conservatory. If the final
>version only has VC then I'll definitely not be buying it. The
>available options, warnings about uncompleted features, all make me
>wonder why they took the risk of issuing the Demo, in its present
>state. Even the exterior views of the Baron don't seem to be up to FS9
>standards. I think the Default ground textures look better than FS9 but
>I could see so little that I can't be sure. What an anticlimax. Or am I
>overlooking significant goodies?
>Gerry Winskill
>Bones wrote:
>>It more than likely is. I think you might have to bite the bullet and
>>install XP2 - not the least because many programs are now seeming to
>>need it. I've grabbed a few in the last few months that ask for your
>>OS version and XP2 is listed separately from XP.
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>[mailto:jhb_airlines-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Gerry Winskill
>>Sent: 10 August 2006 22:48
>>To: jhb_airlines@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>Subject: [jhb_airlines] Re: FSX Demo
>>My past has caught up with me. A second instal stops with the message
>>it needs XP SP2. Is that the XP upgrade I shied away from installing
>>because people were experiencing problems?
>>Gerry Winskill
>>Gerry Winskill wrote:
>>>I've downloaded and run the installation programme and rebooted. No
>>>ikon to be seen. How do I find and run the demo?
>>>Gerry Winskill
>>>FrankTurley@xxxxxxx wrote:
>>>>Downloaded and installed, some differences -
>>>>No 2D Panel, its all VC
>>>>When in Spot View, hold down the number keys to move around the view
>>>>point. Also in VC mode, hold down the + or - keys to zoom.
>>>>Control+S doesn't give you the top down view, which I often use on
>>>>the ground to navigate taxiways.
>>>>Seems to be time limited, I managed a circuit in the Baron, rather
>>>>extended as I got lost and resorted to using the map view from the
>>>>world menu, and got back on the ground. I was experimenting with the
>>>>views, then got a time expired message.
>>>>Worth the download time, also allow another 20 minutes or so for
>>>>Frank T.

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