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!

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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!

Above the Hurdle

Today’s one of those rare days I finally find myself breaking through the mid-day exhaustion. Perhaps it was due to a nap I took earlier, or just that I have a lot of energy at the moment. Here’s my life update.

First, had a hard time dealing with contacts the last few weeks with America’s Best. Between the eye doctor saying “We’ll order your new contacts, just use these temporary in the meantime” to three weeks later “Oh no…you’re supposed to come in for a follow-up, we never ordered your new contacts” really got frustrating. Then coming in today I was told there was about a 5 minute wait for my follow-up, 30 minutes later I ask them what’s going on, and somebody somehow dropped the ball and forgot about me.

I ended up just saying no to contacts, that it wasn’t worth the effort to do this every six months, and bought myself a set of prescription Ray-Ban sunglasses that costed only $50 more. I figure the main reason I use contacts is to wear sunglasses when I’m driving, and that the sore eyes, removal/insertion, etc isn’t worth it.

In other news, I cancelled my iRacing subscription. It’s not bad, and quite fun actually. Yesterday I had another session where I placed last, but I enjoyed every minute of it. My main issue (and the issue I have with MMO’s) is that I don’t want to feel obligated to play a game due to the subscription costs. My interests change from week to week, and spending $15/month on something that I may play a few days a month for is not worth it.

In the meantime I’m sticking to Assetto Corsa. I also have Project Cars 2, and F1 2018 (coming in a few weeks), Forza 7, and Forza Horizons 3 to satisfy my racing needs.

In other news, I played through Kingdom New Lands yesterday. Beat the game after a few hours. It’s a lot of fun but it does get easy once you figure it out.

Next week I plan to focus on games. I’m not going to focus on any one in particular (my ADHD doesn’t work like that, I lose interest quickly), but just play whatever my mood is in for. I just played Titan Quest, for example…and plan on playing maybe Train Sim or Prepar3d. Who knows? *Shrugs* I’ll post updates as I go.

Weekly Plan

With last week the focus on Racing, what is this week’s focus on?

I’d love to do some more flying, I still have a stretch in my European tour I’d like to explore in some general aviation aircraft. I’d also like to do some 737 or A320 flying in Prepar3D.

I also have DCS which has been mostly untouched for months. I have the F/A-18 Hornet which I would love to fly around with. Unfortunately it takes a while to learn the systems and I haven’t had the time to learn a brand new and complex aircraft from scratch.

I’ll probably focus a bit more on iRacing and Assetto Corsa though. They are quick and easy to setup compared running to a 2 hour flight (which I’ll probably save for the weekend), and I feel a level of accomplishment with running through tracks, getting good lap times, and racing with other people…especially in VR.