Category Archives: Flight Simulator 2004

Laugh in a Cracker’s Face!

The Avsim forums are up and running again, and even seem to be largely intact from before. That’s an astounding effort from all involved. Good job, fellas.

Oh, and take THAT, whichever lowlife scuzzball thought it’d be fun to wipe them out. Now let’s show our team spirit and go make or comment on a forum posting today.

Con: The Aftermath

Whew, I just got back into Portland after 5 jam-packed days of ‘simming madness, and boy are my arms tired…

It’s true—what an amazing week of meeting my favorite fellow FS designers, developers, and publishers. Being able to rap with the Aces staff was a huge benefit of the DevCon. I think I learned more from a ten-minue discussion with Adrian Woods about modeling than I have from over a year of pondering the SDK. Due to NDA restrictions, I can’t discuss what we talked about, but you can be sure that the benefit will bubble through to my upcoming projects.

Among the famous FS faces that I got to meet up close and personal, several stand out. Finally, at long last, I got to shake hands with Francois Dumas, the venerable Fritz himself. And this after only a few years of working alongside him to build products! Arno Gerretsen was another of my favorite devs who showed up. We had a great time taking in the DevCon, and later Avsim’s FanCon, together. Misho Katulic (of Terrabuilder fame) was on hand, showing his latest effort which transforms the FS world into the lunar surface. Folks, this product has to be seen to be believed. Misho has clearly put heart and soul into its development, and it shows. And he’s a great guy as well!

Allen Kriesmann and Jeff (better known on the forums as “quantumleap”) from Scenery Solutions, makers of the Ultimate Terrain series, flew in, as did John Venema (“koorby”) from Orbx. Together with Nigel Grant and my pals Holger Sandmann and Justin (FSGenesis) Tyme, we all took to the town on Friday night, inundating the Rock Bottom brewery with no doubt more FS scenery designers than they’d seen in one spot in a long time. It’s great to get to meet all these guys in person after knowing them for so long in the virtual world.

I’ve got some ideas for a set of FSX materials tutorials to post on the FSDeveloper Wiki soon, based on the talk I gave earlier today at the Avsim FanCon on that topic. More on that as it develops. In the meantime, here are a few pics to give you the feel for what was there. Pardon the couple of extremely “artistic” shots. I forgot my regular camera the night we all went to the Red Hook brewery, and my silly cell phone camera had to pinch-hit. It’s not very agreeable to low lighting.

Arno Gerretsen Fritz and Bill get blurry Nigel Grant and Justin Tyme Arno and Holger are tired. Virtual head-tracking glasses… hot stuff. Motions sims ruled the exhibition floor. This one particularly caught my eye. Admit it, you want this. James “Crashaz” Smith (left) and his fellow ’simmers enjoying the FSX stations.

Eaglesoft Twin Commanche Takes Off!

It’s all over the news sites, but I want to make sure everyone gets the news… the Eaglesoft Piper Twin Commanche is available for purchase. I’ve watched this plane being developed, and I can honestly say you won’t find a nicer twin anywhere. My buddy Owen Hewitt was the principal modeler, and his expert touch definitely shows in this wonderful little bird. The initial release is for FS9, which ought to please anyone who hasn’t made the switch to FSX yet. They’ll be following up with an FSX-specific version later. Check the Eaglesoft website for more details.

If you’re fence-sitting (or just like great screenshots), check out Nick Churchill’s galleries of Twin Commanche pics on his site.

Eaglesoft Twin Commanche

With that tail, it must be a Comet…

Although many new freeware add-ons for Microsoft Flight Simulator hit the Web every week, I seldom have the chance to explore the latest offerings because of how little time I have for flying these days. Occasionally, a new airplane will come to my attention that’s so detailed, so clearly a labor of love, and so downright satisfying to fly that I have to drop everything and try it out. I’m happy to say that one such shining example of virtual aircraft design is David Maltby’s new DeHavilland Comet.

I find the Comet one of the more interesting of the early jetliners. It stands at the crossroads between the old propeller-driven airliners and the modern jet age, incorporating design principles of both. The tail and wings are pure propliner, but the faired-in engine nacelles are poetry, sleek with the promise of the coming age of speed. Inside, the cockpit is not only detailed, but oozes with character. As someone on a forum message aptly put it, you can practically smell the cracked leather and stale cigar smoke.

Although it was designed for FS2004, I’ve tried it in FSX and it works quite nicely. David mentions one or two smallish compatibility problems with the new sim, but I was too blown away by the gorgeous visuals, visceral sound, and excellent flight dynamics to pay them much mind. I’m a virtual cockpit (VC) flyer, exclusively. When I loaded up the Comet, I knew David and I must be kindred spirits. Check out the pics below and you’ll see what I mean.

DH Comet Exterior CH Comet VC, from the back seat DH Comet, from the left seat

Bravo, David! Thank you so much for the obvious effort you put into this creation. And thank you for making it available to everyone free of charge. I only hope that the outpouring of oohs and ahhs I’ve already seen over this lovely bird will make it all worth while for you.