Will MSFS ever be more than a toy?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Jim K, Jan 4, 2021.

  1. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I've been avoiding MSFS for a while. I bought it on release, realized it wasn't useful for instrument training, and went back to xplane. I didn't do much sim flying when I was able to fly real ifr, then I bought my plane and was busy with all that. With the onset of winter weather, I've been doing more sim flying in an attempt to keep my skills up.

    I decided that after 9 months they probably had improved things, so I downloaded the 15 or so GB of updates and was disappointed to say the least. Live weather always produces blue skies, even though it's been 200ovc and <1mi vis here the last two days. I tried setting a solid overcast right down to ground level, and could still see the ground at 2000'. No way to set it up to fly approaches.

    I flew around for a bit and realized that its a game, not a sim. Its a potemkin village. I'm losing hope that it will ever be more than that.
     
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  2. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    Why should it be more?
     
  3. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Previous version of MSFS was the basis (with lots of improvements) for the Redbird software. XPlane, the pro version with high-end controls, is certified for training with certified equipment.

    https://www.x-plane.com/pro/certified/
     
  4. flyer770

    flyer770 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    After Microsoft sold the code for the original MSFS to Lockheed Martin to make P3D, and XPlane started, it took years for them to get the programs tweaked and the aftermarket big enough to really make those programs worthwhile for serious simulation. MSFS 2020 isn’t going to be much faster even with the Microsoft juggernaut behind the product.
     
  5. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    It is still a game. There are some interesting pieces to it, but they have quite a bit of development to go yet.

    I am enjoying the Alaska bush trip, it’s an interesting pilotage challenge.

    Otherwise my biggest gripe is all the “challenges” that involve turbine airplanes. And the stupid phrasing on the ATC, would it have hurt them to have read a book or listened to live ATC?

    I’d like to see radios implemented and something like pilotedge running them. But that’s probably a pipe dream, they will be abused.
     
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  6. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    That's my point... right now FSX is a more useful training tool, and it's a dinosaur in software terms. What other 15 year old software do you use? Especially when there's a newer version. My frustration is that all the updates seem to be ignoring core issues that make it worthless for training, and improving the game aspects.

    I had high hopes when all the marketing referenced the heritage products, talked up the developers learning to fly in GA airplanes, and actively recruiting pilots for the beta testing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2021
  7. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Don't get me wrong - it is amazing. Early on I flew an exploration flight from JFK around the Statue of LIberty, up the Hudson river and landed at Teterboro. There were glitches with buildings drawing and some other things going on that soured it, but coming into land - I realized that the (vfr) approach was right. I could actually see that I was on the glide path, I could see the ground passing under me. I had a stable approach and could do a landing...actually better than some of the my real life landings, which isn't very hard. That's a first for me in flight simulators, being able to believe that I was actually flying.

    From a pure VFR standpoint, FS2020 is pretty amazing. But that's where it ends. In the world of aviation, VFR is awesome, but it just scratches the surface and that's where FS2020 is too.
     
  8. Rein Hart

    Rein Hart Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wait for xplane 12.
     
  9. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    I used whatever version of MSFS was out in the late 90's to train for my instrument rating. It really helped me with my scan and with procedures. By the time I started my actual training, it already felt natural to fly without visual reference to the ground. I would think the modern version of the game could provide the same benefits to someone.
     
  10. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

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    I use xp 11 for fun when I can't fly. Tons of orthophotos, some ok weather add-ons for IMC-like flying and a VR headset that does a half-descent job of tricking me into thinking I'm in the Arrow. And it all runs pretty good and looks nice. What is coming in XP12? I haven't heard much on that front.
     
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  11. k9medic

    k9medic Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Bill Gates taught me to fly instruments. Between MSFS and the FAR AIM, I took the written and passed the tests.

    In the early 2000's ran a certified a part 141 simulator that had MSFS as the base.
     
  12. AKiss20

    AKiss20 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I used FS2004 (aka FS9) a ton to practice instrument flying with add-ons and VATSIM. By the time I went for my IFR rating, most of it was very familiar. I did the near minimum instruction and built hood time with my dad in his C152. Saved a ton of money.
     
  13. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    I wish we could upvote posts beyond just clicking "like". +5 for using the phrase "Potemkin village" (appropriately) to describe a flight simulator.
     
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  14. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    And no, given that Microsoft never improved the flight models in FSX and earlier in any serious way (they always focused just on visuals), I doubt the company will discover a corporate culture of realistic physics modeling out of the blue now.

    BTW, you can also fly over your house in X-Plane. On Christmas Day, simHeaven released version 1.0 of their free X-America scenery, with every f[reak]ing building and road included for North and South America (from crowdsourced OpenStreetMap data). I'd been using the beta scenery before, and this is a significant improvement:

    https://simheaven.com/simdownloads/x-america/

    They also have scenery for Europe (the original), Africa, and Oceania. I guess Asia's a bigger challenge, but I won't be surprised to see that soon as well.
     
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  15. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    I gave up on MSFS around the late 1990s because the instruments were so unrealistic (things didn't improve at all until FSX, and even then, barely). There were no lags, the mag compass stayed rock solid in a bank, etc. etc. That's when I started contributing to the open source FlightGear sim, and made sure all the instruments actually behaved like real instruments, instead of just direct digital readouts of the software's internal values.
     
  16. Sierra_Hotel

    Sierra_Hotel Line Up and Wait

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    How long are we going to be waiting? At the rate it's moving Star Citizen will be out before XP12 :D
     
  17. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    You know, I really thought I would too. I like computer games, and I love flying, but for some reason the simulator just isn't fun for me. I force myself to do it for practice, but it's a chore.

    I think my main problem is when the physics break and it takes me out of the immersion. I wish i had the knowledge and patience to tweak the settings. In x plane I ground loop every other landing... in tricycle gear aircraft. It's like every runway is a sheet of ice. Did it on takeoff the other day.... no wind, just a twitchy flight model with apparently no tire friction.
     
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  18. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ground handling is a weak spot in all consumer sims, and it's especially bad for the bundled Stinson L5 in XP11. Fortunately, there's an unofficial patch available that improves it considerably:

    https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/49700-stinson-l5-update/
     
  19. Geosync

    Geosync Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It’s a game. A good game, even a VR world. But don’t expect to get a 777 type rating and 3000 legal hours with it. Once you come to terms with that, it’s all good.
     
  20. OkieAviator

    OkieAviator Pattern Altitude

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    All about expectation, anyone that truly believes their $50 consumer product is going to be on the same level of a D sim is going to be sadly mistaken. I don’t care which version of flying game you play, they all fly like video games. That said I used P3D to practice IFR procedures, I probably could have done it just sitting in a chair but having graphics and yokes and things was way more entertaining. However at no time playing these do I ever feel as if I’m actually flying an airplane.

    So no XP, P3D, MSFS, and Star Wars Squadrons will always be video games.
     
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  21. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

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    David, I downloaded this last night to see how it would look... the forests look much better, but there must be something wrong with the OSM data. There are fewer houses and buildings on top of my orhtophoto scenery than with the stock autogen. Did you do anything special besides unzip and put the folders in your custom scenery?
     
  22. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Pattern Altitude

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    This just in!!

    Due to extraordinary demand, CAE, the world's leading flight sim manufacturer, has announced special pricing on it's all new Level D Full Flight Simulators!!

    That's right, you too can now enjoy the thrill of flight right at home! (simulator enclosure building not included).

    Call right now for availability! Easy Payments! Free Setup! Be the envy of your local aviation community!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  23. kayoh190

    kayoh190 Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    ^^^ pretty cool that Jerry got to fly a real 737 simulator!
     
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  24. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Going inverted in an airliner! That looks like fun.

    It makes me wonder ... how would a full-motion simulator move about, during a barrel roll? After all, it can't flip upside down, so I wonder at what point in the barrel roll would quit trying.
     
  25. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes, you have to get the priority order correct. There are instructions on the website.

    It will also depend on your scenery density. To get all the buildings, you'll have to be set to high density. If you're set to low/medium density (e.g. because you have a slow graphics card), you'll get just a selection of the buildings, as in MSFS.
     
  26. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    woodchucker and NoHeat like this.
  27. ColoPilot

    ColoPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Motion systems for commercial aircraft only have 25 to 30 deg of excursion in roll/pitch/yaw, but the motion system operation can be a little counter-intuitive. It's not replicating that actual roll angle, but trying to replicate the G-force, so in the case of an 1-G barrel roll, the motion system would stay level and the G force for the pilot would be down through the seat. Similar when the simulated aircraft is braking hard on the runway, the motion system pitches nose down to replicate the deceleration feeling -- being pulled forward against the seat belts.
     
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  28. RickH

    RickH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I downloaded and installed that, but the instructions just say to start X-Plane and adjust the positions of the 7 new entries, but I can't figure out how to do that. What's the trick there?
     
  29. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    Just don’t try holding that glass of water upside down during the maneuver.
     
  30. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think it's still fair to hope for reasonable physics models (even if you're doing control inputs through a joystick rather than sitting in a full-motion sim). The physics model is orders of magnitude less demanding on your computer than the scenery, so even the most underspec'd modern computer could do a good job of it.

    FlightGear and X-Plane have made decent efforts in that direction (though the exact quality will vary from aircraft to aircraft, depending on how well the designer nailed down the coefficents or whatever the model uses). They're not class D sims, but they're not arcade games, either.