GWJ FBO: Flight Simulation Catch-all

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Q8Pilot who is a very good and well respected flight sim youtuber did mention something about a tool called modmanFX that sounds like its used in DCS but can also work with MSFS.

Also, it sounds like the latest patch fixed the simconnect issues so VATSIM is working better... how do I know? because the VATSIM FB page is filled with angry people complaining about newbs not knowing how to fly

Not sure what the VATSIM community was expecting from the pilots in a flight sim marketed to have more general gamer appeal.

kergguz wrote:

Not sure what the VATSIM community was expecting from the pilots in a flight sim marketed to have more general gamer appeal.

I think everyone expected it. Unfortunately in any game-centered community (despite flight simmers insisting they are not gamers) you are going to get gatekeeping and stupid people who just think they're better than everyone else.

That being said, the more complex problem is that in a sim its actually easier to fly IFR than VFR assuming the pilot is familiar with charted procedures and understand how to control your aircraft which is the opposite of how any private pilot (at least in the US) learns. Unfortunately, the airliners in MSFS are quite poor with regards to procedures and autopilot command. So when ATC is trying to separate and control the airspace for airlines and someone isn't sure of what they are doing or are too afraid to ask (very common for new VATSIM users regardless of sim) it causes issues.

Flying VFR is what MSFS is all about, however flying VFR has a completely different and interesting phraseology and the pilot needs a very good understanding of the airspace being flown. If you look at San Francisco or LA airspace, it is extremely complex and if you're flying VFR, you need to be able to understand how it all works. Busting bravo/charlie airspace is a big deal. VATSIM isn't real life so it shouldn't be taken as seriously, but if a cessna is about to bust bravo airspace in VATSIM and fly right into the path of a landing 737, ATC can say "stay clear of the Bravo" and pilots need to comply, or at least ask what that means or something.

As long as new users are willing to learn and ask questions, VATSIM has made it clear that they are willing to teach. There will always be grumpy know-it-alls who will criticize, but that is also to be expected. As someone who tries to frequently fly on VATSIM I've rolled my eyes before but as long as someone is making the effort to learn, I'm fine just being patient and waiting to see what happens. If my 737 needs to be vectored around to give way to the Cessna, so be it. It's good practice for me too.

Carlbear95 wrote:

Unfortunately, the airliners in MSFS are quite poor with regards to procedures and autopilot command.

Would you be willing to elaborate on this? What's the deficit? Is it A/P ability to control the aircraft, buttons on the MCP or A/P modes not doing what they should, or more of a checklist deficiency?

Asking cos I'm interested in using MSFS to better learn how to drive a 787 so I can be more proficient in the lab at work. Eventually, I'd like to be able to program and execute autolands (which may require use of FMC(?), which as a propulsion guy, is a Dark Art).

Jonman wrote:
Carlbear95 wrote:

Unfortunately, the airliners in MSFS are quite poor with regards to procedures and autopilot command.

Would you be willing to elaborate on this? What's the deficit? Is it A/P ability to control the aircraft, buttons on the MCP or A/P modes not doing what they should, or more of a checklist deficiency?

Asking cos I'm interested in using MSFS to better learn how to drive a 787 so I can be more proficient in the lab at work. Eventually, I'd like to be able to program and execute autolands (which may require use of FMC(?), which as a propulsion guy, is a Dark Art).

I don't know too much about the 787 in MSFS as most of what I've read/watched is on the Airbus or GA aircraft. If you just want to do an autoland I'm pretty sure it will do it, but the systems/procedures won't mimic real life. For example in the Airbus (boeing too) an autoland requires both AP1 and AP2 being activated simultaneously. That is not possible in the default airbus, as AP1 and AP2 buttons just toggle one or the other (haven't checked the community modded one). Doing an autoland in an Airbus has a whole bunch of annunciators on the displays which are necessary since autoland is normally done with very limited visibility and they don't show up either in the default A320. All that being said, it certainly gets you onto the ground. So you can land but the procedures/checklists won't be consistent with how to do it IRL.

So I think if you were flying a standard offline route from SFO to SEA and assuming all the procedures are actually in MSFS you should be able to program and execute an autoland. In the original context of VATSIM though, if you're going to get vectors or DirectTo, or holds or "Cross XXXXX at 5000 feet" instructions, that's when I think the systems in MSFS start to fall apart.

Xplane 11's Vulkan/Metal update is final and now live. I must say its quite a performance upgrade. I've been able to increase my video settings to max objects and better anti aliasing and FPS stays a consistent 30-40 even while trying to quickly pan around in dense scenery. I'll probably start pushing other video settings to see how far I can push it, but this is really great.

From a pure visual fidelity standpoint does it match MSFS? Definitely not, but the gap has certainly closed, and at least IMO, the better aircraft in Xplane more than make up for that.

On MSFS I was able to get into the Navigraph beta so I now have fully up to date navdata matching current global charts. I haven't had a chance to putz around with it, but now all procedures (SIDS, STARS, and Approaches) for all airports are included, and all missing major airports (the notes indicate Stuttgart (EDDS) and Beijing Capital (ZBAD)). Given how MS touted its relationship with NavBlue its a bit surprising how way off the navdata was from current or even recent.

7,760 VHF Navaids have been updated
3,327 NDB Navaids have been updated
70,944 Enroute Waypoints have been updated
1,303 Markers have been updated
13,166 Airports have been updated (including COM frequencies, runways, ILS, terminal waypoints, terminal NDBs, and terminal procedures)

Not sure how much of that is real or just hype (ie. moving a waypoint +1" longitudinally constitutes an "Update").

Welp contrary to my previous comment about waiting until someone made more of "my" kind of planes,* I caved and bought FS2020 today. I was initially mystified when Steam only downloaded ~1GB of files. Then I realized I had basically only installed a launcher and it was going to download the entire rest of the game as "recommended" content. Thank God for Google Fiber is all I have to say on that.

All I have to say with the sim itself is that I'm delighted. No, I'll say more. It's one thing to read about what they did with satellite mapping for the scenery, it's another to take off here in KC and find that not only are the tall buildings downtown actually recognizable rather than just being the generic gray towers everywhere except places like New York City got in the old days, but even "ordinary" buildings around town look like themselves too if you know what you're looking at. I was gobsmacked when my wife was looking over my shoulder and pointed out that I was about to fly over my old office building and the hotel next door to it.

I'm also totally satisfied with performance, getting 50-60fps consistently at "high-end" settings, 1440p, with my Ryzen 7 3700X, RTX 2080, and 16GB of RAM. This game does tax the 2080 harder than any other game I've tried though, it's an Asus STRIX three-fan model and it's hitting 80 C with the fans going full tilt (although the "looks > airflow" vertical mount in my case isn't helping matters).

As pleased as I was with my first few circling hops, though, my enjoyment has climbed to a new altitude since I got opentrack and SmoothTrack set up tonight. Basically what this does is use your smartphone's selfie cam to track your head movements and allow you to look around the cockpit of the plane with inexpressibly greater smoothness and freedom than using a mouse or hat switch. It's the same concept as TrackIR, which you may have heard of, except TrackIR costs $150 and requires you to wear a hat or headset with sensors on it, whereas this solution costs $10 and you don't need anything but your phone and a place to prop it up in front of you. I'm sure it's not as good as TrackIR but I already can't imagine flying without it. If you've never tried any kind of head-tracking technology for sim games before, I IMPLORE you, spend the ten bucks to take a chance on this. The setup was even surprisingly easy; it took five minutes to make an exception in the Windows firewall to allow the smartphone app to connect and whatnot, and then there's 0 setup required in FS2020 at all. I got into the plane with the phone in front of me and the app running and it "just worked."

*I do really want more vintage and general aviation aircraft, though. Alabeo has a catalog for FSX/X-Plane/P3D which is right up my alley, hopefully they will port some of their stuff.

Big patch (16GB) is out. Steam will only give you a small patch, the real patching occurs in-game (similar to how the initial download worked).

Details here: https://www.flightsimulator.com/patc...

Nice... hidden amongst everything

Pilot camera position can now be saved or reset.

This is a lifesaver with TrackIR.. Combining camera controls with TrackIR really seems to screw around the pilot position. A lot of times I just want to snap back to the "start" position and there hasn't been an easy way to do that. Hopefully this works as intended.

Low-key patch notes hall of fame candidate here

Optimized cockpit screen display when screens are not displayed on screen.
Carlbear95 wrote:

Nice... hidden amongst everything

Pilot camera position can now be saved or reset.

This is a lifesaver with TrackIR.. Combining camera controls with TrackIR really seems to screw around the pilot position. A lot of times I just want to snap back to the "start" position and there hasn't been an easy way to do that. Hopefully this works as intended.

Huh, I use TrackIR but never really had an issue with that. I've only flown small aircraft, though.

I have one HOTAS button set up to Center my TIR, one to Freeze my TIR (used when looking down at instruments), and one to the FS "Reset Cockpit View" command (CTRL-Space IIRC).

Middcore wrote:

Low-key patch notes hall of fame candidate here

Optimized cockpit screen display when screens are not displayed on screen.

Seems pretty clear.

They led off with that one, so they knew it was good.

Hrdina wrote:
Carlbear95 wrote:

Nice... hidden amongst everything

Pilot camera position can now be saved or reset.

This is a lifesaver with TrackIR.. Combining camera controls with TrackIR really seems to screw around the pilot position. A lot of times I just want to snap back to the "start" position and there hasn't been an easy way to do that. Hopefully this works as intended.

Huh, I use TrackIR but never really had an issue with that. I've only flown small aircraft, though.

I have one HOTAS button set up to Center my TIR, one to Freeze my TIR (used when looking down at instruments), and one to the FS "Reset Cockpit View" command (CTRL-Space IIRC).

Maybe I was doing something wrong.. everytime I tried to "Reset Cockpit View" it stuck my view too far left and high. I had to use arrow keys to get my camera back to where I wanted it.

does MS have the slowest CDN servers? this patch is taking forever to download.

Middcore wrote:

If you've never tried any kind of head-tracking technology for sim games before, I IMPLORE you, spend the ten bucks to take a chance on this.

Interesting. So, let me get this straight... I install opentrack on my desktop, smoothtrack on my phone and then... profit?

I can't bring myself to stump up for TrackIR so a cheap alternative is definitely worth a shot for me. Even when VR support is added, I'm worried about how far I will need to bump down my settings to get it to run.

kergguz wrote:
Middcore wrote:

If you've never tried any kind of head-tracking technology for sim games before, I IMPLORE you, spend the ten bucks to take a chance on this.

Interesting. So, let me get this straight... I install opentrack on my desktop, smoothtrack on my phone and then... profit?

Basically. Like I said, the most complex part of the setup is just letting the phone app through the firewall on your PC.

There are also head-tracking solutions that use regular webcams which are quite a bit cheaper than TrackIR (price of a webcam plus a few bucks) and don't require you to wear a hat/headset. And I think now that I'm sold on the immersion of head-tracking I'm probably going to try one of those if only because they seem a lot more robust in their ability to fine-tune and retain settings and so I can still use my phone for other stuff while playing. Only problem is "name brand" webcams are hard to find in stock right now and have been since the pandemic started, I may take a chance on a mystery $40 one from Amazon since I probably don't actually need it to have good image quality or anything for this purpose.

I agree that some sort of headtracking really is game changing for flight sim. I would argue that a non-full VR headset is actually preferred. I just feel that in a modern flightsim there are enough controls that require you to take your hands off your HOTAS/Yoke and either use a keyboard, mouse or whatever hand wavey things you use to activate controls (as you can tell I don't have a full VR headset ) that it seems impractical if you can't actually see your desk. Not to mention that as of right now there is no interface within MSFS to look at charts or a better moving map, which you can do with a 2nd screen or a tablet nearby.

I already have a logitech webcam I could use. It's cheap and cheerful but hopefully enough to do the trick. I'll look into some options to get that working.

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