Progress

In some ways, I think the last few months, I’ve been discontented. I spent a lot of time on games, but I feel in some ways that I wasn’t quite happy. I’m back to simming and I’m enjoying it a lot. Here’s what’s new since my last post:

Flew from Dusseldorf to Koblenz, Germany, right over Cologne. Then I flew from Koblenz to Frankfurt, then Frankfurt to Nuremberg, then Nuremberg to Munich, then Munich to Innsbruck, and from Innsbruck I landed at a small airfield in Trento, Italy. Next stop: Verona.

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It’s been quite fun, and really relaxing. I’ve been playing around with a lot of airliners lately, and while they are fun…they take so long to set up and can be quite stressful at times. I can spend an hour or more just getting set up before I even take off (which is usually reserved for the weekends). Sometimes I just want to jump in and fly. I’m in a C182 which is essentially a more powerful, longer range C172.

Next I’ve just picked up the new update to Euro Truck Simulator 2, and the new Promods addon just came out late yesterday. There’s been some internal debate over whether I should include Promods or stick with vanilla (for events and such). I prefer realism over events, so I’m going to stick with Promods. I’ll at least get rid of some of the other mods I have as it was getting too difficult to manager.

I also picked up a new expansion to the Soldier Summit line for Train Simulator, but at the moment I’m running a few German routes in Quick Drive mode. Focusing mostly around the Munich area.

Not much else to talk about today. Just excited to get back into things. I’m also happy that my focus has been narrowed down instead of being so broad as it was last month.

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Hello world!

I believe I have my schedule now set for the European tour my mom and I are taking next year.

First we’ll be travelling from Seattle to Amsterdam, we’ll stay in Amsterdam for a day before taking the train to Cologne. Then I’ll travel from Cologne to Frankfurt, Nuremberg, then Munich. Then I’ll go down to Innsbruck, Verona, maybe go east to Venice before heading back down to Florence, Rome, then back up to Milan, Lyon, Paris, Brussels, then back to Amsterdam for the flight back. Visiting each city for a few hours to a whole day depending on our mood.

So basically we’ll be travelling in a giant circle. It’ll be a lot of fun!

In the meantime I’m using my simulator to fly the areas and look at the sites, maybe spot any cool landmarks or buildings from the air that I can visit. One of the advantages of P3D and the Orbx scenery is that it accurately reflects what real world cities look like and I can see accurate landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, etc, as opposed to the generic autogen buildings that X-Plane renders.

On the flip side, X-Plane with Ortho scenery is as real as it gets. Basically it uses real satellite scenery to render the area, so I’m looking at the ground as it would in real life. It doesn’t replace buildings, obviously, but it makes the world stand out and look alive, especially in mountainous regions. The airports stand out as well, and are not low resolution like P3D’s default airports are.

I’m a sucker for landmarks, so I’m flying P3D right now, I flew from Amsterdam to Rotterdam in a C182, then flew from Rotterdam to Eindhoven. Later I plan from travelling from Eindhoven to Dusseldorf.

Other than that, just transferred a lot of data from my HDD to my SSD for P3D (using symbolic link). Unlike X-Plane, which load times typically are about 5 minutes, P3D can take at least 10-15 minutes to load. That’s insane. I’m hoping the SSD might speed up the process but I doubt it, I might have to remove scenery to make this work.

Also got Envtex and Envshade to enhance the graphics. The differences are subtle but worth it. It makes the world look less grey and dull.

That’s it for now. Have a good day.

So now is the time I begin cutting back on a lot of things in life.

For the most part, the last couple months have been me trying to find my place. In the process I’ve spent a bit of money on things that I suppose are unnecessary. If I want to take a trip to Europe next year, it’s now that I need to start turning things around.

So what’s the first thing to cut back on? Gaming. As much as I enjoy games, I simply can’t draw my attention to them for a long time. Maybe it’s my ADHD or something else, but with the exception of a few, they simply don’t interest me that much. It’s often hard enough trying to get into a television series, but to convince me to play a 60 hour game is too much.

I think I’ll be focusing on simulators for now. I’m deeply interested in aviation particularly, and while it feels like I don’t quite accomplish much with virtual flying, I find enjoyment in it. With that, I’ll still be making cutbacks. After the big Orbx scenery sale. I’m limiting myself to one or two addons per week.

So what do I plan for next week? I’m thinking of picking up either the Beechcraft F33A plus REP upgrade pack for XP11, or the Magestic Dash Q400 for P3D…or maybe the PMDG 737…or maybe a Piper Cub?

Not sure yet. Either way I’m sure I’ll find something to enjoy.

A Tale of Two Flight Simulators

Going back into P3D, I find myself enjoying this new sim quite a lot, much more than I expected.

I don’t anticipate it replacing X-Plane 11, but it might be my preferred VFR sim of choice.

The problem with X-Plane 11 is the lack of variety in scenery. Flying through southern England looks no different than flying through South Florida. There’s no landmarks, nothing to say “Wow, I’m really flying in England”.

The last couple of days, I loaded up a flight through Southern England in P3D using Orbx sceneries and ran the same flight I flew last month in XP11. I was blown away by the results. The airport felt more alive…with people standing about. The scenery was incredibly varied, with hedges between fields, castles, suspension bridges, wind farms, etc. It totally blew away anything I’ve seen in X-Plane 11.

The weather was something great too. I’ve tried several different weather engines in X-Plane 11 with negative results. xEnviro has too many issues with conflicting with different aircraft, incorrect ATIS reports, incorrect wind speeds, rain not tapping over windshields, not working with weather radars, etc. Skymaxx looks crappy, Ultra Weather XP looks crappy, and I have a flickering problem with FS Enhancer.

I’m using ActiveSky with ASCA and the difference is night and day. I’ll fly through wisps of clouds and it feels, wispy. I’ll match weather with outside and it looks identical to what it is outside. The rain feels like rain, etc.

The only problem I have is P3D feels too “dark” due to the limitations of the engine. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s a bit annoying.

I think ultimately the difference between P3D and XP11 is in regards to getting what you pay for. As most people know, a niche such as flight simulation can be expensive. XP11 out of the box looks fantastic but it doesn’t have a lot of the third party support, at least for scenery, as you would expect. There are great airports, yes…but I’m looking for regions. Arguably, you can create regions with Ortho4XP, but I’m not keen on spending dozens of hours rendering areas at ZL16 texture, which takes up a lot of HDD space.

Still, both are great simulators. I’m just happy to have the choice between both for whatever purpose I need, whether VFR/IFR flying or for specific planes (such as the C182 or the DH8D).

With that, there’s one more thing. I’ll be doing a real life trip to Europe next year. I’m thinking starting from Amsterdam and going down through Germany and Switzerland to Rome. Sounds good? I’m planning on virtually flying that route too. Should be a lot of fun!Capture.JPG

The Cost of Choice

I couldn’t think much the last few days. I’ve been too preoccupied with the thought of adding another sim to my collection: Prepar3d (P3D).

Basically, I’ve been flight simming for years, since I was about 13. I started off with Flight Simulator 98, then 2000, then 2004, then FSX, and now I’m simming with X-Plane 11.

I stopped flying with FSX mainly due to the low frame rates I was receiving (11-15 FPS on a system with a GTX 1080!) and the graphics weren’t something to brag about.

There became two new sims out in the market utilizing the same FSX engine: Flight Sim World and Prepar3d. I picked up Flight Sim World thinking it would be the next best thing…it wasn’t. The developers as of last week pulled the plug on the sim, ceasing all further development and removing it from the Steam store.

That left me with just X-Plane. It’s a great sim, and I consider it my primary sim. But there’s a few things that I’d like to see that I couldn’t get with FSX.

  • High Fidelity 737
  • Accurate C172
  • Custom Pacific Northwest Scenery
  • Accurate Dash Q400

So a few days ago someone brought up that there are some sales going on with some addons I’ve been eying. I gave it a few days…only thing holding me back is the cost of all the addons to bring it up to par with X-Plane 11.

I decided to cancel all my game preorders (I had a lot!) and just go ahead and get it.

This does mean I’ll be cutting back on gaming, which is a good thing. I want to work on tackling my backlog.

The biggest problem I think is the problem of choice. When you want to fly, say…from Port Angeles to Shelton, WA. Which simulator do I chose? X-Plane looks gorgeous at times, but P3D can also look equally as good. The C-172 I have in X-Plane is great, but the one in P3D is better.

It’s questions like that I will have to tackle, but at least I have choice now.

New Shift

Start of a new week. Start of a new shift. I’ll be working more hours each day, but I’ll get three days off during the week. This is good and bad.

The bad news is that I’ll have less time in the evening to do what I’d like to do. This means I’ll have to cut back drastically on gaming. If I try to tackle a 40 hour RPG with one hour a night, it would take me over a month to play just one game. I just don’t have that sort of patience.

So I’ll devote some hours each night during the week to catching up with anime/TV. I think that’s a good idea since I have so many shows I’d like to watch: DBZ, Darling in the Franxx, Persona 4 (the anime), Stranger Things, Narcos, Westworld, etc.

I plan on spending my free time during the 3 days off with simulators and gaming. Perhaps with simulators set as a higher priority?

Simulators are another thing I’ve been struggling with balancing with gaming. On one hand, I really like truck/train/flight simulators and can spend hours on them. On the other hand, at the end of the day I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much. When I have my plane in autopilot in the middle of a 3 hour flight…it’s like “Okay, now what?”. I could stare at the screen for 3 hours, or I could play a game on my PS4 or watch something on Netflix.

I don’t know, I guess I’m not the best at multitasking. The hyperfocus of my ADHD keeps me entranced into one activity at a time…the more I try to break that, the more stressed out I get, and I fall hard on my face :(.

Anyways, with gaming, my list this week is this:

Switch: Super Mario Odyssey
PS4: Yakuza 6
PC:
Nekopara
3DS:
Ace Attorney Trilogy: Phoenix Wright
Vita:
Danganronpa

With Simulators, my plans this week is this:
X-Plane 11: Fly a 737 for my Virtual Airline. Perhaps from KSEA to KORD. I’d also like to plan a cross-country GA flight from Amsterdam to Rome to replicate my real life travel plans; I want to fly in the beautiful DA-62 for this journey.
Euro Truck Simulator 2: Play just a little bit of it. Hopefully try to match the same travel plans.
Train Simulator: Nothing really. I might travel through the UK or something.
DCS World: No big plans. Probably do some practice in the Mirage 2000 or the A-10C Warthog.

That’s it for now. Might do some more blogging during my downtime here at work. Have a good week!

Hi world. Happy Friday.

It’s going to be a busy weekend. I’m going to see if I can get out of the city and drive around a different part of WA tomorrow. Just don’t want to be cooped inside the house the entire day. No guarantees though, it depends on what the rest of my family wants to do.

But before that, I have some games I’d like to play. Where do I start?I picked up Disgaea 5 for the Switch. It’s enjoyable so far, I just love the art style and the humor. I’ll try to play some more of that tonight.

I’ve got some big plans for flight simming. Flying at the moment, even with FSEconomy, is starting to become stale and lonely. So I’m going to try to fly on VATSIM (online). I’m a bit nervous since talking online isn’t my strong suit…especially when it comes to procedures. But being nervous just makes me worse when it comes to certain situations. I’m just going to fly, enjoy it, and not let anything get to me.

I’m stuck when it comes to Train Simulator. I’m conflicted because I don’t like DTG’s practices regarding DLC. But the simulation aspect is enjoyable (when it works). They are a terrible company, but I buy their products because there’s not much else in the train world. I’ve considered Run8, which looks like a great simulator (with multiplayer). But it looks frighteningly complex. With that said, I’d love to run some more US scenarios in TS/TSW. Maybe I’ll do that this weekend.

Also planning on running Euro Truck Simulator 2 this weekend. My wheel has been collecting dust the last few weeks and I’d love to get into some driving. Maybe I’ll play some Forza or Project Cars 2. Just want to do something other than flying.

Gotten into wrestling. There’s WWE Backlash this weekend that I’m looking forward to. It’s a bit difficult to get into since I don’t know many of the wrestlers, their motivations, or their stories. But it’s a nice “sport” that I can just sit back and watch. I’m also planning on watching more Sounders matches in the coming future…maybe some F1 stuff as well?

I guess what I really want to say is that I don’t want my life to consist of just games, simulators, and anime. I want to experience much more of it. I want to add more variety. Variety is the spice of life!

That’s it for today. Have a good weekend.