Introducing Fanboy Fridays

Well that’s about par for the course, isn’t it? This was supposed to be posted yesterday, but life nosed ahead of it in line, and here it is Saturday afternoon. I like the alliteration so much, I’m going with it anyway…

Something evil is afoot. I’m sure you’ve seen it lately on your favorite FS forums—the bar-room brawls, pointless bickering, product-bashing, and just plain old grumpiness. I don’t know who slipped the mickey into our collective water supply, but it’s sucking the fun out of the hobby. That’s a damn shame too, ’cause there is a whole lot of really great stuff happening in the virtual aviation world, and we should be enjoying ourselves more than ever.

Rather than grumbling, I’ve decided it’s time for a party. That’s why I’m happy to announce Fanboy Fridays, a (hopefully) weekly love-fest where I blather on about the cool, the awesome, and the amazing new additions to flightsimming. All I ask is that you let me know what’s brought a smile to your face in FS this week, and that we all abide by the ONE RULE: enjoy ourselves. This is a hobby. It ought to be fun!

Here we go…

Barbie Goes Flying

a2a_cub_05Stick? Check. Rudder? Check. Wings? Check. You don’t need anything else to get airborne, which is a good thing because that’s about all you get with a Piper Cub. A2A Simulations released their much-ballyhooed Cub this week, complete with Accusim advanced physics and engine management, and a little surprise: a Nicole Ritchie lookalike as your passenger. She shrieks, she panics, she giggles. She even calls out other traffic in the area! I knew they were working on a ground-breaking advancement for FS, I just had no idea that it would be a blond.

a2a_cub_01This isn’t a full-fledged review (not by a long shot) but suffice it to say I’m having a blast flying this little kite. If you’ve been spending a lot of time pressing FMC buttons lately, give this plane a go. It’ll take you right back to the basics. I mean, c’mon, you can hand-prop it! That’s just cool.

Another Airport from Down Under

Clearly, it’s always daytime in the southern hemisphere. That’s all I can figure, because the blokes at ORBX never seem to sleep—they just keep churning out eye-popping scenery at an alarming rate. Put in a quarter, and out pops another gorgeous little Australian airport. This week’s flavor is Tamworth (YSTW), one of the larger of the small fields they’ve released lately. a2a_cub_04What’s that little smudge on the pavement? It might be a five-cent piece someone dropped while hurrying to fly. In addition to having a load of well-modeled buildings and vegetation, Tamworth has the highest resolution ground textures of any airport I’ve seen yet – a whopping 7cm per pixel. That’s quite nearly a fine enough resolution to spot coins. Nice job!

Albatros! Albatros!

Okay, this one isn’t new for the week. In fact, it’s been around for a while. Thing is, since it was released, I’ve flown little else (until the Cub showed up).

l39_review_05 l39_review_20 l39_review_07

Unless you’ve been living in an abandoned coal mine, you of course know that I’m talking about Lotus Sim’s fabulous L-39C Albatros. The superlatives have been gushing from all quarters about this delightful little jet. It looks fantastic, flies like a dream (or a nightmare, depending on whether you R’d the FM), and does it all without shredding your frame rates. I’ve been a fan of the Czech-built Albatros since Captain Sim’s version back in FS2002, but this one takes the cake. Bravo, Lotus!

A Button-Pusher’s Dream

pmdg_j41_departure_madeiraIf you’re more into complex systems than seat-of-the-pants flying, check this out: this week saw the release of PMDG’s latest opus, the BAe Jetstream 4100. For a relatively small plane, it’s got some serious complexity going on up in the front office. pmdg_j41_flight_deck_overviewCheck out that VC! It’s a work of art. I don’t have it yet (no time to learn complex systems these days), but I’m going to have to get it soon just to enjoy the gorgeous detailing and fine cockpit texturing. It’d be just the ticket for blasting around the Hawaiian islands or some Euro-hopping.

The Big (Virtual) Easy

neworleans_17If you ask anyone who’s traveled in the USA what the most unique cities in the country are, chances are two of the top contenders are San Francisco and New Orleans. Coincidentally, these are two of Aerosoft’s most recent “U.S. Cities X” releases. Close in the heels of their San Francisco scenery comes U.S. Cities X – New Orleans, covering the Crescent City in glorious detail. neworleans_24It’s aerial photo-based, with the downtown buildings re-created in astonishing volume. As a scenery modeler, it blows my mind to think of the work that must have gone into a product like this. No night or seasonal textures are included, but as one ‘simmer pointed out, it’s not safe there at night anyway, and the weather doesn’t change that much. 😉 Grab your Cera Bell 412 and chopper into Jackson Square, then hot-foot it over to Cafe Du Monde for chickory coffee and beignets.

That’s about it for now. If you like what you see here, pick up one (or all) of the addon’s I’ve mentioned and go enjoy yourself. And please, let me know what I’ve missed. Huge thanks to Nick Churchill for his Cub, Tamworth, and New Orleans screenshots, by the way.


3 responses to “Introducing Fanboy Fridays

  1. Bill,
    I really like this new idea you have going here! Also, I agree with your sentiments about something being slipped into the water supply. Truth of the matter is, we as FS developers have to hold ourselves and others to a higher standard, and in addition have a set of ground rules, company by company, that people either participate by or don’t participate at all.

    I’ve been thinking about this particular issue a lot lately, but it still feels as though most people are missing the mark.

    Just recently have I returned to just doing some FS stuff for fun. I believe that is vitally important for a developer to do as it keeps us close to those who end up purchasing products.

    My new focus is to be part of the community, rather than just add new material to an already muddied pool.

    Just one quick suggestion: Can you get something like Feedburner or MailChimp setup so people can subscribe to your blog via email? I know that is the medium I like to receive new blog posts.

    Thanks! Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks, Chris. Anything positive any of us has to say about the hobby can only help. As for using Feedburner for the subscriptions, I’m not sure if it’s doable on a WordPress-hosted blog. If I had my own server for it, it’d be no sweat. I’m considering doing just that at some point soon, but haven’t made a decision.

  3. Bill,
    This is a neat spot to just chill and see some neat stuff. I noticed as well (glad it’s not just me) all the that a word? in the forums.
    It seems like something is in the water.
    There is a lot of really neat stuff coming out for FS, especially very recently.
    I am glad there is a place like this to come to and hopefully a refuge from the gnashing of teeth elsewhere.
    Love your work.

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