It’s been a hell of a week. I mean that in the original bad sense, as in I’m damn glad it’s nearly over. The details aren’t appropriate for a flightsim blog, but suffice it to say that I’m all too happy to leave the “real world” behind for a while and dig into FS instead. Here’s a grab bag of fun stuff that helped me cope during the past few days…
A2A B-17 with Accusim? Da Bomb!
Dear A2A Simulations: I finally managed to get all four engines on my new B-17 started. Can I have my pilot’s license now, please?
Seriously, the new Accusim-enhanced Flying Fortress may not have done much for my piloting skills yet, but already I feel like an engineer. This is one of the first times I’ve ever loaded up a flight and been content to fiddle with switches without actually moving an inch. I did a “flight” last night, the point of which was simply to get all four engines turning – a feat more complicated than it sounds. Those old radials didn’t exactly spring to life; there was a lot of finger-crossing and muttering as I waited for the belch of smoke and the attendant deafening rumble.
Thankfully, they added in a feature that I really appreciate; the crew can be ordered to take over many of the operations, freeing the pilot to steer the plane. Just once, I auto-started the engines and performed a full crew-assisted takeoff, just to see how it felt. The result was the closest thing to convincing I’ve ever felt in a simulated aircraft. The engines drone, vibrations wrack the cockpit, there’s a symphony of squeaks and groans from the airframe as the speed builds. The impression is of flying a large collection of parts, all loosely held together and threatening to spin apart at any moment. Coupled with the expertly crafted flight model, the overall experience is a real hair-raiser that left me wanting more.
A quick glance at the detailed, 159-page manual tells me that I could spend weeks if not months getting to know this plane. For around 60 bucks US ($32 for the B-17 and $29 for the Accusim pack), you get software that’s guaranteed to make you feel like a real-world bomber pilot. That, my friends, is a deal. My advice: get it!
Yet Another Miracle (Tweak) from Jesus
Let’s shift gears for a moment, and discuss the sim’s guts. I ran across a thread on the Avsim forums this week that caught my attention. It seems that a simmer named Jesus Altuve has been digging around in the FSX code, and found another switch for the fsx.cfg file that is very promising. This particular fix addresses the problem that some people have of FSX occasionally not rendering certain parts of aircraft from the external view, leading to the famed “Wonder Woman” transparent plane problem.
I’ve had this problem in spades, so I was really interested to read of the potential solution. Having worked my way through the explanation of the problem and how this fix works, I’m still scratching head about what it all means. Luckily, the actual implementation is simple, so you can try it out for yourself.
First, locate your fsx.cfg file and open it in Notepad or Wordpad. Find the section marked [Graphics] and insert the following line:
Additionally, you can also add this below the highmemfix:
What do these entries mean? Don’t ask me, I’m but a simple scenery artist. What I do know is that since implementing these changes, I haven’t had a single instance of disappearing plane parts.
Bear in mind that nobody is saying this is a performance improvement. If you’re experiencing poor frame rates, this isn’t likely to improve that. All it does is fix the graphical anomalies that some systems experience. I encourage you to read this thread for more information. There are several other config file entries discussed in it that might help you as well, but it’s all way above my pay grade.
I see from the Sim-Outhouse forums that VRS have released their long-awaited F-18 “Superbug”, so that should make some jet jockeys smile. Personally, I’ve got my hands full just managing my B-17’s quirks.
I’m nearly done with a repaint of Carenado’s C185 amphibian in the “Spirit of ’76” colors, so that should make Bob happy. Hey Bob, at least the repaint is free, buddy! In the process of doing the paint, I uncovered a mapping problem and reported it to Carenado. Happily, they fixed the issue, so look for an update from them on that.
Also, Emma Field X work continues. I posted some screenshots of the environment around the airport a couple of days ago, in case you missed them. Right now, I’m working on flattening the areas around Emma and Bear Gulch, the two included airports. There’s a new technique that I’ve been using that softens the flattened area and blends it better into the terrain mesh, and it’s much nicer than the straight-walled plateaus you get with standard flattens. The runway at Stark’s Twin Oaks was the first time I used this method, and it turned out pretty well if I do say so.
That’s all I can think of right now. Let’s all try to have some fun this weekend, what do you say?