Saturday, December 10, 2011

Microsoft Flight Simulator X

Microsoft Flight Simulator X. First title in my mini review series. It's my favorite title from all flight sims available today.

First, FSX is not a game. It's a sandbox. It's an ultimate sandbox for aviation enthusiasts. Do you want to fly heavy metal? Boeing 747 for example? Do you want to learn to navigate? Do you want to fly high performance racing plane and try famous Reno air racing? Or maybe just relax yourself and soar through the sky in a sailplane? Try to land on an aircraft carrier? At night? It's all there. And even more. Microsoft did one wonderful thing, they've made FSX as open as possible.

Anyone can grab the SDK, and start making new missions, sceneries, aircrafts. What is most important in the world of draconian DRMs, EULAs FSX licence allows selling 3rd party DLC.

The community responded in a way that no one could believe. They've expanded FSX in various directions, there are addons that changes weather, adds ridge lift. Other improves graphics, changes textures, shaders.

I'll focus on the certain features soon, starting from my favorite two - helicopters and carrier ops.

Few screenshots:

Bell 206 (helicopter from base FSX package) over ORBX scenery.

Vertical Reality F/A-18E on the Edwards AFB runway, just before take off. Scenery is included in Acceleration expansion pack.

A2A Simulations Boeing 337 Stratocruiser parked on the Ketchikan International Airport. Scenery by ORBX.

EH-101 Merlin over Mount St. Helens. This is one of the rescue missions included in Acceleration expansion pack.

A2A Simulations Piper Cub just after take off from Bowerman Airport, freeware ORBX scenery.

T-45C Goshawk landing on the USS Nimitz. T-45C is a freeware aircraft made by Dino Cattaneo, the carrier is a part of USS Nimitz & USS Eisenhower package made by Javier Fernandez.

Even with just released X-Plane 10 and upcoming Microsoft Flight, FSX thanks to 3rd party developers has bright and long future.

Few essential links:

These are the main libraries of additional content for Flight Simulator series. All of them hosts forums and are the sources of reviews and news from the community.