Weekend Update

Heya,

It’s another weekend for me. Currently in the middle of a 3 hour flight from Seattle to Juneau in a 737-900.

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The hard part is the anticipation for many of these flights. I can’t afford to do a 3 hour flight during the week when I have so many other things I’d like to do. Even a one hour GA flight still takes up some time.

With that I’ve been bouncing back and forth from P3D and X-Plane 11 with this Seattle to Anchorage flight. On one hand, if I want to do the flight in P3D, I feel somewhat obligated to purchase the airport addon because it looks really good and it’s a nice destination for some of my local GA flights. On the other hand, I get a very good representation in X-Plane 11 for free.

Both sims feature very good 737 representations. P3D has the PMDG which is the best 737 simulation in the market. X-Plane on the other hand has a really good one (the Zibo 737) that comes in close second.

I think what got me to stick with P3D the expandability of the simulation. With the current addons I have, I get:

  • PMDG 737: Accurate 737 representation
  • Active Sky Next + ASCA: A very good weather and clouds model
  • ProATC: Good ATC system with vectoring and SID/STAR support
  • Ultimate Traffic: Real-world air traffic according to real flight plans
  • Envshade + Envtex: Great Shaders and airport textures
  • Orbx Global, Vector, Pacific Northwest Region, Alaska Region: Great scenery textures and vector information, along with custom objects and autogen.
  • DD Seattle X + Airports: Seattle scenery and local airports
  • Aerosoft Anchorage: Anchorage airport
  • Chaseplane: A very good camera system!

It’s expensive, but it looks great and makes it one of the best simulations in the market.

With X-Plane, on the other hand, I have this:

  • Zibo 737: The second best 737 (for free), with arguably more realistic flight dynamics.
  • HDMesh v4: Accurate mountains, roads, rivers, lakes, etc.
  • DD Seattle X + Airports: The same addon as P3D, takes longer to load though with frame rate issues.
  • xCamera: A decent camera system, not as good as Chaseplane
  • FSGRW: Updated weather generator.
  • Up-to-date airports and navaids
  • Great looking graphics and night lighting out of the box.

That’s about it. The weather texturing and cloud detail I’ve used xEnviro, Skymaxx Pro, and Ultimate Weather XP with mixed results. I’m sticking to default for now.

Orthos is another thing that everyone raves about…satellite scenery that comes at a price of blurry ground textures and massive disk space usage.

No ATC or Traffic coverage (the current options are substandard). There’s also not many landmarks out of the box…so if you want to fly around and see the Hollywood sign, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the Statue of Liberty…you’re out of luck.

Along with that there are no decent long range aircraft, aside from the Zibo 737 and the FFA320, which aren’t as good as the P3D counterparts. There’s no top-line 747, 777, 787, etc…

Don’t get me wrong, out of the box and with free addons, I really like X-Plane in many ways over P3D, and I feel over time the base engine be even better. As far as expandability though, I just don’t think it’s there yet…

Other than that, this week has been mostly productive as far as keeping up with entertainment and such. I’m playing a lot of Yakuza 0, on one hand to “get it over with” and on the other hand to prove to myself that I can at least finish a game, even if it takes me over a year to complete. It’s a very good and compelling story…not sure what I’ll play after this (Yakuza Kiwami? Yakuza 6? Some other game?) but in the meantime I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

Also got Two Point Hospital. I have fond memories of Theme Hospital as a kid, and this is somewhat of a spiritual successor to it. It’ll be a nice change of pace from simulators and story-based games.

I’d like to do some truck simming this weekend. The new Promods update is out and it looks great. I’m going to stick with Promods and the previous version of Truck Simulator for a while. I just don’t really like Vanilla despite the recent improvements, so I see no reason to drop my current profile.

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Yesterday

This week I’m determined to play through Yakuza 0. I’ve put in so many hours into it and it feels like I’m getting close to the ending. I don’t know what I’ll play after it though: Yakuza Kiwami? Yakuza 6? Nier Automata?

Ran another flight yesterday from San Francisco to San Diego in X-Plane 11. Ran into some keybinding issues with reverse thrust on landing and a warning about an incompatible airport, but despite that it turned out to be a pretty good flight.

I’d like to try more similar flights in P3D in the future, but I’m probably going to have to deal without ATC or AI Traffic as it’s a bit of an annoyance due to the buggy nature of it.

I think one of the biggest issues I have with P3D is the fact that the best Airbus A320’s available attaches Malware to your PC. On XP11, I have a very good comparable Airbus so I don’t need to install the malware ridden Airbus.

At the same time P3D has a wider selection of aircraft to chose from, a good mix of both short and long haul aircraft. XP11 only has short and medium haul aircraft to chose from.

Lastly, flying through parts of Socal in default X-Plane 11 looks terrible unless I use orthos, since there is no equivalent of Orbx texturing, and weather leaves a lot to be desired (disappearing clouds for example). Yet, despite the engine looks quite impressive and there’s always improvement in future releases.

I’m using both simulators in the meantime, but I wish I could just stick with just one. The main problem lies not so much in aircraft (I’m a Boeing fan anyway and I would rather just keep studying Boeing aircraft.), but in getting addons for particular airports. If I want to fly to KSAN for example, I have a great freeware addon scenery for it. I’d have to pay for a comparable P3D airport or stick with the default which looks absolutely terrible.

Frustrations about Flight Sims

Yesterday put me in a bit of a sour mood as far as flight simming goes.

Flew in P3D using a new ATC mod on a flight from KSFO to KSAN. I’m not really impressed by it.

First, it directed me to the wrong taxiways (or rather, it skipped a crucial one). I had to self-navigate myself using the airport diagram to figure out how to get to the runway. The biggest problem I have is that it wouldn’t direct me to the right STAR. I was expecting COMIX2 to the RWY27 RNAV approach according to the charts and real-world data. Instead I got SHAMU2, which is an approach for RWY 9 LOC. When I was vectored back to the correct runway, I was so confused and flying way too fast that I overshot the runway and well…it didn’t turn out too well…

I do like that it sets up the co-pilot to do some of the tedious tasks (setting up autopilot, putting gear up, etc), and I’m happy that I no longer need to vector myself. but I expected something a bit more realistic.

The other issue I had was the AI traffic is still pretty much abysmal. Perhaps it’s the addon airport I have using wrong data, but I shouldn’t see aircraft crisscrossing the wrong runways, “colliding” into each other.

I’m planning on doing the same flight in X-Plane 11. It’s been a few months since I’ve touched the sim. In many aspects (weather, AI traffic, scenery detail, etc) it’s not as good as Prepar3D, but I get better framerates, better controls, some decent scenery addons, the Zibo 737 mod, and the FF A320, along with a bunch of other good mods. So it should be a bit of fun getting back in the air.

I’ll post some updates later!

Good Week

It’s been a pretty decent week. What have I been up to? What do I plan on doing over the weekend?

Gaming

I’ve just started getting back into Ace Attorney: Justice for All. It’s good so far, though I miss the soundtrack of the first game. Just started Chapter 2 and looking forward to playing more of it.

I tried a bit of Shenmue. I enjoy the world immersion it gives me. Just spending half an hour going through drawers in my own house…that level of detail is unprecedented. I haven’t even left my house yet, which I plan on doing soon. The only downside is that the graphics and audio are dated, and the controls just feel weird compared to modern game controls.

I’m planning on playing more Yakuza 0. One of these days I’ll eventually finish it, then I can move on to Yakuza Kiwami or Yakuza 6 (or finish 5 even?). I love this series and it’s always on my top games to play.

I’d love to try to get into Monster Hunter World, but Monster Hunter Generations is coming out for the Switch next week. Having a portable MH game, especially one with better graphics than the 3DS version, and more features is definitely something I’m looking forward to.

Listened to some soundtracks this week, mostly Final Fantasy and Nier Automata. Which reminds me how much I need to continue Nier Automata…it’s such a good game and one definitely worthy of attention, if only my time wasn’t taken with Yakuza 0.

Hobbies

Finishing up on the MG Jesta (Gundam) model kit. I have to finish up the backpack, the weapons, and the decals. I won’t be painting it or adding finish to it, for now at least. I’m trying to wrap it up so I can work on a new Voltron LEGO set I picked up. Over 2300 pieces…this is going to be a massive project!

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Simming

I did some livestreaming last week and it ended up being pretty successful. Some of my family members watched me play Euro Truck 2 and I got to talk to a person about the German PZB train system during a Train Sim World session. I might do some more streaming again this Saturday, if I’m up for it.

I’m currently torn on Euro Truck Simulator 2 though. On one hand, if I want to play using a more detailed and expanded map using Promods, I have to downgrade to 1.31 and miss out on the new trailer ownership features, but I get the ability to travel through an updated UK, visit more cities in Spain, and I can travel all the way to Greece and Cyprus. On the other hand, sticking to vanilla I get an updated Germany, in-game events/external contracts, and trailer ownership.

I don’t have that problem with American Truck Simulator, fortunately. In fact, the next year looks bright for the sim. Oregon will be coming up soon, which goes into familiar territory for me…and rumor has it based off extraction of the in-game map files…Washington will be coming out next along with Utah and even parts of Texas. This is really good news!

In my flight sims, I’ve done a couple flights. One flight was in a PA-24 Comanche from Cologne to Trier, which the scenery over the Rhine and Moselle Rivers was jaw-dropping. I used a new GNS750 addon for the flight, which by far beats the default GPS system, and is compatible with all of my addon planes.

The other flight was from Juneau, AK to Seattle, WA in a 737-900. I ran into some minor issues, mainly graphics related due to the date being set wrong (which made the weather to be incorrectly displayed), and there was an issue with the gates not showing up at Seatac, which was an issue with SODE that I was able to fix after the flight.

One thing bothering me is the AI traffic and the ATC. When I tried to land at Seatac, there was already aircraft lining up on the runway. Since the default ATC doesn’t have SID/STAR support, I’m basically vectoring myself to the runway. Without ATC coordination I have to manually disable AI traffic in order to land without crashing into the AI.

The other issue with AI traffic is that the addon I’m using is utilizing old liveries for many airliners (such as Lufthansa and Alaska), travelling at KSEA and seeing a mix of new and old liveries is visually grating. Also if I add too much aircraft, it clogs up the gates, making it very difficult for me to find a place to “park” the plane. The floating red text is annoying too, but I can turn that off.

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Seattle + Seattle Airports for X-Plane 11 came out. I’ve been waiting months for this, and…I’m not going to get it…for now at least. It feels like I’ve invested so much into P3D addons at this point that X-Plane 11 just feels average at best. Everything from the weather, the scenery, the shaders, even the aforementioned AI traffic simply works with P3D. The only thing I’m lacking is professional quality international airports, which I’m picking up slowly throughout the weeks.

Not sure where my next flight will be. I’m thinking of picking between San Francisco, San Diego, and Palm Springs. I haven’t decided yet on any GA routes either, though I’d like to perhaps tour the West Coast, or do an East Coast to West Coast flight. I can also do some FSEconomy flights and visit some random airports.

Got plenty to do this weekend. Looking forward to my next update :).

Simulator Saturday

Just a quick update. I think I’m going to set up some livestreaming events with “Simulator Saturday”. It’s a good way to meet new people online and have fun travelling in my simulators.

Aside from that, I finished my flight from KSEA to KSFO yesterday. It took longer than expected, started at about 4:30, took off at 5, then landed around 7:30. It was a very smooth landing, especially since I hadn’t flown the 737 in a few months. I think the longer duration helped as it gave me some time to review my checklists and charts, and recall some important landing procedures.

Picked up a few Orbx airports and Frankfurt (EDDF). I’ll be taking off from Stuttgart and landing at Frankfurt for my next flight. I’d also love to fly from San Francisco to San Diego as there’s been a recent update to the airport there as well.

Along with that I plan on trying out some Euro Truck Simulator 2, although I’m a bit nervous that the latest beta update may have ruined my progress to Germany from Sweden…placing me back in Stockholm again. Argg!!! I wish I had made my HQ back in Germany, so I’m smack dab in the middle of Europe. I picked Stockholm since it was very nice scenery compared to the low quality Germany in ETS2, but now with the latest update they have fixed much of Germany by rebuilding most of the cities and some of the highway networks…so it’s really tempting to start a new save.

Again with Germany (okay I really want to visit there), there’s a new DLC for Train Sim World containing a new German line that I want to check out sometime. It’s a longer route that takes about an hour to go through, so I’ll have to set aside some time for that. I’d also like to check out Bus Simulator as I have not played it yet (though I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos on it). I’ll have to check it out later.

No plans on playing Assetto Corsa today. That can wait for another week.

I’m also going to play through Yakuza 0 for PS4 and Destiny 2 for PC. I might even livestream those, but we’ll see.

Balancing Life

Good afternoon.

This morning, I spent about an hour in Prepar3D setting up a flight from Seattle to San Francisco. After waiting in a lot of traffic (is it normal for there to be a lot of airport traffic at 7AM?), I finally took off. Somewhere up around Oregon I got bored of just watching a screen for two hours, and exited the sim.

To be fair, I was tired as I had just woken up at 6AM and wanted to go back to bed. But I felt defeated, like I wasn’t able to accomplish what I had wanted to do in favor of more sleep. At the same time I felt like I was wasting time that could have been put elsewhere (sleep?). Even now, I still can’t get myself to get into the flight sim again because of how long it takes to set up.

Even worse, I can’t get myself to play a simple game…it just seems too much of a hassle when I want to do some more flying. Nor do I feel like working on any other hobbies, such as building a Gundam.

How do I balance the time spent on my day-to-day routine? How do I prioritize what’s important and what’s not?

It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time now. When I focus on games, I have no interest in simulators or other hobbies. When I focus on hobbies, I lose track of time, gaming and other forms of entertainment are just “boring”.

I’ve developed a priority system last month and have been sticking close to it for the most part. It goes like this: Work, Home, Hobbies, Gaming, Entertainment. So far it’s been working out pretty well during the weekdays.

I think the hardest part is the weekend. The first thing I do when I wake up at 6AM (I’m an early riser), I’m typically not going to start sorting out my closet or work on my car. Likewise, I’m also not going to spend 10 hours of my day on flight sims or video games. There has to be some balance…and I haven’t quite figured it out yet. I end up just sitting around doing…nothing?

I hope that can change soon. In the meantime I’m going to try to fill my time with something to do, and hopefully have a good time at it.

Gaming Week

This week’s been mostly about gaming. After having a racing-focused week, it’s somewhat relaxing to get back into games after a few weeks of simulator stuff.

So what to do this weekend?

I’ve been playing a lot of Destiny 2, for the first time since I purchased it. It’s not as bad as people made it out to be. Sure, it makes some mistakes as the first game, but overall the story is good. How end-game plays out on the other hand is another story.

I played a bit of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The game sounds great in my headset, and it feels creepy and weird. The graphics are gorgeous as well. The only issue I have so far is that some of the puzzles are repetitive, but overall it’s a good game.

Got back to Elder Scrolls Online, just briefly played it yesterday. Such a massive world, but it’s nice to be in an environment with other players enjoying a world that’s totally playable in single-player.

There’s a new update to Euro Truck Simulator 2 that I’m eager to check out. It updates much of Germany (so no need for Promods in that area of the world) and adds trailer ownership. I’m very excited to take my truck for a spin this weekend.

To put all my games back, I emptied out all the ortho scenery for X-Plane 11. While I think the scenery looks gorgeous, there are some problems I have with it. The space it takes (over 1TB!) is insane for just a few regions. There are also some scenery discrepancies as well as graphical glitches that vary between different areas of coverage. In the end, I rather just stick to my HDMesh scenery as it looks decent enough for flying, and it only takes about 150GB.

I definitely want to do some flying this weekend. Just not sure where to go exactly since I’ve completed my Germany tour. I could probably move out from Rome to Milan, then move north towards Zurich and then back to Frankfurt? At the same time, I’d like to do a 737 flight since I’ve put practically no hours into the PMDG 737 since I got it. Not sure where to fly there either (KSEA-KPDX?). It takes a lot of time to prepare a 737 flight compared to a small Cessna, so I’ve been holding it off.

I’d like to do some train simming as well. I have a scenario that I’ve been wanting to do: Portsmouth to London. There are also some German scenarios I’d like to play around with too.

Lastly, I’d like to play God of War when I get the chance today. That should be a lot of fun. Busy weekend!