Thursday, December 10, 2009

Adventures in FSX

Around this time last year, I was grousing about the fact that FS 2004: A Century of Flight was no longer good enough after I had caught a glimpse of the screen shots of Flight Simulator X. This is despite the fact that I had only been playing said FS 2004 for about two months at the time and had deemed it a "major upgrade." What I did not say last December, was that I had gone to Best Buy to see exactly how much FSX would set me back. Well, if you know me at all, you would also now know that it must have been a poop load of money because I am usually quite tempted when it comes to the purchase airplane and airplane accessories.

Turns out I was at the old shopping mall the other day on different business and I decided to meander on over to Best Buy and lo and behold, FSX was available at a significantly reduced price. So I bought it.

Problem: the graphics on this game are very much as amazing as I expected them to be. Why is this a problem, you might be asking yourself? Well, my laptop is not quite able to handle all of this airplane goodness very well.

Result: sometimes choppy action on the computer and a failure to be able to run multiple flights due to my computer giving up.

It's not all bad, though. About the same time I purchased FSX, I also started using a little thing called YouTube. You may have heard of this. Well, it turns out that people out there that are in fact dorkier than me have made videos of how to use the Instrument Landing System (ILS) on FSX. This is huge actually for two reasons: (1) it allows me to use the larger jetliners because I have a greater probability of landing them and (2) I can fly anywhere I want. As I have said before, one of my handicaps with the earlier versions of FS was that I only was able to use airports that I could locate with visual clues. That really limited my options. Now I can fly virtually anywhere and the ILS will guide me down to my destination.

You can bet that I have already put all the new features of FSX to good use. Here are two screenshots of a successful landing at ALB with an A321. Check out the detail on the wing - you can literally see runway between the ailerons and flaps.Another great feature of FSX is the new and improved airline options. The plane I was using above is Pacifica Airlines. It's so good that were it real and a flag-carrier, it would have a decent shot in the best color scheme among flag-carriers tournament.

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