Just when you thought there wasn’t going to be a Fanboy Friday…

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:

Alaskan Facelift

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!

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10 responses to “Just when you thought there wasn’t going to be a Fanboy Friday…

  1. Hey Bill,
    Thanks for the bump! I hope you’re enjoying Aviator90. Looks like you are.

    I’ve been flying around Twin Oaks a lot (I was allowed an early copy to film Aviator90) and I must say, it is AWESOME. I’m always amazed at all the many details you have in your sceneries.

    For example, I was sitting at the BP gaspump, thinking, ‘man, I need to go grab a drink from the fridge’. I look ahead an what do I see next to the building in Bill’s scenery? A Pepsi machine. Very cool!

    I need to try out the Tiger Moth. That looks like an awesome bird.

    Thanks for getting the Fanboy out otday!

  2. Yeah the Tiger Moth is so much fun. Remembers me on the good old one from Bill Lyons.
    Can’t wait to fly around with it in NA Blue.

  3. Aidan "acezboy561"

    Can’t wait for 7S3 will bee a must have!!

  4. Bill Thanks for the Twin Oaks update,I’ve watched the FTX video dozens of times and the detail is Superb!! I can only imagine trying to match the terrain for all the seasons and night time! INSANE!!

    Chris,I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying your new series! Fantastic,very well done! Really pleasing to watch aswell as very informative.We in FS Nation are very lucky to have people like you and Bill!

  5. Thanks for the kind words about the Tiger Bill. Although I think your comments about FSDS are a bit inaccurate. Using FSDS is more like trying to model with both arms tied behind your back while a small monkey tries to poke out your eyes with a blunt stick. Oh what I wouldn’t give for a zoom function that actually zooms!

  6. That’s a great looking Tiger Moth you’ve created from the looks of it, Anthony. I’m downloading it now.

    I haven’t had a chance to watch the first few Aviator 90 episodes yet, but I’m pretty excited about it. I’m especially interested in seeing what is done with the emergency procedures episodes.

  7. Yeah Ultimate Terrain Alaska is really awesome Bill! I got Tongass also running and eagerlly awaiting PNW to add to it. I started retracing the flight into Misty Fjords that I took this past summer and thought I was back in the real plane. Running GEX and REX with it too. Anyone thinking FSX is dead is wrong! Taking words from Patrick we are lucky to have the developers like You, Holger, Allen,etc around make us enjoy the FS Nation alot more.

  8. Bill, Where exactly will Emma Field be located?

    • I’ve put it where it was in FS8 and FS9, in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, between the shores of the Hood Canal on the east and Lake Cushman on the west.

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