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MS Flight Simulator X on Steam

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MS Flight Simulator X on Steam

Postby Zancarius » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:39 pm

FSX has been on Steam for quite some time, but I'm only posting now because they've finally fixed (within the last month or two) some game-related crashes and Windows 8.x compatibility issues. Unfortunately, it still crashes periodically...

One of the solutions I've run across is to use Bojote's Tweak/Tuning Tool: Upload a copy of your fsx.cfg (actually fsx_se.cfg, for the Steam Edition located under %AppData%/Microsoft/FSX-SE), pick the appropriate options for your hardware, follow the instructions for further changes you might like to make, and you're done. Apparently FSX doesn't do too well on modern multicore CPUs unless you substantially tweak the configuration. Once you do, the framerate more than doubles and the crashes disappear. Bojote also suggests disabling the built-in frame rate limiter.

Although I've come to appreciate X-Plane's realism somewhat more because of its advanced flight model, it's difficult to beat the shear number of addons available for FSX. FSX also comes with more aircraft out of the box that work fairly well versus X-Plane's Cessna 172 being about the only packaged aircraft that feels finished. Here's some addons I use or have run across that might be of interest (be aware that most of these are commercial addons):

Real Environment Extreme - Updates FSX's weather model using real time data and cloud simulation, including icing conditions and turbulence. Also provides a large number of additional texture packs for updating things like cloud appearance, airport textures, water, and terrain.

Active Sky - Originally started as an addon for real time weather, Active Sky is quickly approaching feature parity with REX for texture appearance and other improvements. Active Sky's weather model is better than REX's but its texture support has historically been lacking--but that's changing. It also includes weather radar integration with some 3rd party aircraft (REX does not).

Plan-G flight planner - (Donation-ware; free for use) Excellent flight planner software that uses Open Street Maps for texture support. This is indispensable if you want to look up airport information without having to purchase sectional charts. It can be painful to get working with FSX and may require additional software to enable all features (FSUIPC; SimConnect doesn't appear to support remotely configuring the radio stack, but that might be my configuration and/or the Steam Edition).

MegaSceneryEarth - Using satellite photography, MSE provides real world textures superimposed on FSX's terrain data. Be advised of two things 1) MSE is a HUGE download, per state, and 2) each purchase is per-state only (or region/country). They also send out a crap ton of email helpfully informing you of special "deals" if you're not careful. Also, there are no special weather-related texture with MSE enabled: When the pictures were taken, that's the season you get, unlike stock FSX's seasonal textures in some parts of the country.

OpusFSI - Opus does a lot of things, but most people buy it for the camera improvements. Supposedly its live weather engine is pretty good, but most people seem to combine it with Active Sky or REX. It also includes TrackIR and ButtKicker support.

There's also a ton more addons, but these are the major ones that improve the look and feel of FSX. You can check some of the dozen or so online stores for various aircraft, but I'd suggest starting off with the Carenado, Alabeo or Captain Sim planes, which have the best overall support.

Of the ones I've listed above, I currently use REX and Plan-G. If I had to purchase a weather engine, I'd probably opt for Opus or Active Sky instead of REX. I'm also not sure MegaSceneryEarth is particularly interesting beyond being a novelty item. It's handy if you want to add a Google Earth-like feel to your flight simulator, but I wouldn't purchase it unless it's on sale (I did).
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