I’m a little late today, but better that than missing altogether, I figure. Here are some sim bits and pieces that flew across my desk this week:
No, Sarah Palin didn’t get Botox. The guys at Scenery Solutions, in conjunction with Flight1, have released Ultimate Alaska X. To call this add-on eagerly awaited would be a massive understatement. From what I’ve read, it seems to cover the entire state of Alaska, which is an enormous land area.
I get questions a lot about the difference between products like Ultimate Terrain and, say, REX. Here’s the quick view: Ultimate Terrain primarily covers things like shorelines, roads, rivers, glaciers, etc., whereas REX and Flight Environment X, among others, address things like sky color, clouds, you know… the environment. And neither of these are to be confused with ground texture addons like Ground Environment X (GEX) or photo-scenery like MegaScenery Earth. For my money, addons like Ultimate Terrain are essential for enjoying VFR flight, especially if the default FSX scenery is based on really coarse data, as Alaska was. I wouldn’t fly in the conterminous US without UT.
Oh yeah, and Holger Sandmann worked with Scenery Solutions to make sure Tongass Fjords X was fully compatible, so you TF lovers should have no worries there.
Speaking of UT…
Aagh, it’s acronym bingo. Yes, UT can and usually does refer to Ultimate Terrain. But it can also stand for one of my other favorite add-ons right now, which is Ultimate Traffic 2. Okay, technically that’s known as UT2. Anyhoo, Flight1 also released a service pack for UT2 that’s supposed to fix some issues and add some features. I downloaded it using my UT2 control panel, but I’ve been so busy finishing up Twin Oaks that I haven’t had a chance to check out the fixes yet. I know it’s in there, and supposedly doing its job. For now, that’ll have to do me. Interested? You can check it out here.
I friggin’ LOVE this Tiger Moth
In addition to tearing around FTX NA Blue in my Carenado 185, I’ve done some winging around in Anthony Lynch’s DH Tiger Moth, too. I know I mentioned it last week, but this birdie deserves another shout-out. He really did a fine job on the modeling and texturing, and it’s just a blast to fly. Plus, now the repaints are starting to flow, which only makes things sweeter. It’s hard to imagine that he put this out for free, and even harder (snark alert!) to grasp that he made this gorgeous model in FSDS. That’s like trying to model with one hand tied behind your back. Let the angry rants from FSDS lovers begin.
Back to School with Aviator 90
The week was kicked off by the official launch of Angle of Attack’s Aviator 90 series. This is good, solid basic flight training, done through a series of quick, well-illustrated videos. So far, they’ve released the first three of 45 planned lessons, which are supposed to roll out every other day for 90 days. We’ve covered, lift (lesson 1), Weight, Thrust, and Drag (lesson 2), and the Primary Flight Controls (lesson three). Even if you’re well acquainted with flight, these vids are a good refresher. Plus they’re fun to watch!
What about my own projects?
Well you might ask. The two big time-suckers for me right now are Twin Oaks, which is undergoing its final touch-ups, and Emma Field X. As things wrap up with Twin Oaks, I’ve been quickly ramping up modeling for Emma. It’s going very well, aside from some freak-outs by Emma loyalists who are loathe to see any changes to their beloved field. Sorry guys, but all things must pass… or at least change. You’re going to dig the new version, I promise.
Just last night, I was fretting to myself: what is taking so damn long with Twin Oaks? I made Plum Island in a little over a month, but this scenery has been in the works for nearly a year now. In fairness, I did knock off during last summer, when it became apparent that FTX NA Blue had a long way to go before being finished. But even at that, I’ve been pumping pretty hard on the project since September, and it’s only now nearing completion. One example of what hangs me up: I received the final mild winter and fall textures for NA Blue a couple of days ago, so I was able to create seasonal variants of the Twin Oaks photoreal to match. I already had fully annotated the summer version with autogen trees and buildings, but once I painted in the fall tree colors on the texture, it occurred to me that I’d need to revisit the autogen and align it better so the deciduous trees were positioned over the colored forest, and the evergreens were over the green patches. Details, details. I swear it’s nearly done now. Probably. Here’s an “official” pic that I just got from Nick Churchill:
Thanks for all the comments recently. It really makes blogging a lot more fun to have the give and take. Have a great flying weekend!