|Flight Simulator X (FSX) the dust settles|
| ||July 25, 2007|
|Flight Simulator X was released in October of last year. Many people anxious for its release rushed to the stores to get their copy. The initial impact was dismay. Personally I don't know why. Microsoft had already given a preview for the users to run and look at and see what they would be getting.
The biggest complaint was the performance on the most common machines currently out.
I'm sure the people with the most complaints had forgotten that FSX was being developed to last a long time and allow the users having more hardware to fuller appreciate the potential of their hardware. It's designed to use the resources we can come up with now as well as in the new future.
FSX will run on today's computers as well as a lot of yesterday's computers. The key is, and always has been adjusting the sliders. Personally I would prefer to have to move the sliders to the left to have better performance with my current computer, knowing that I have always upgraded my computer at least once every year. Most of the time more than a few times each year. If Microsoft had only put the potential in the system that I could use today, three would be something missing when the performance of my machine increased as it always does a few times a year.
I believe it to be good judgment on their part to have taken this into consideration and built an application that can run on today's computer, but has resources that you can upgrade to just by moving the sliders as you get better performing computers. It's better than waiting a few years after we get the computing power for them to develop a program that can benefit from it.
Yes, the dust is settling. More and more people are coming to realize and appreciate this fact. A number of people have bought new computers and found they are comfortable with the performance. Others have turned down the sliders and found they can deal with the performance they have also.
Microsoft has delivers another great product and so far delivered what they promised.
There's another element of wait, and it's the DX10 support. This new technology is still being developed, both hardware and software. I'm sure in the next few months a new dimension (as promised by Microsoft) will be added to the experience with the support for DX10. That's another discussion.
I installed and tested FSX on a very old machine, far below the recommended specs and it worked perfectly. The computer was a 1.6 Ghz machine with 256 megs of ram. It installed and it works. Of course the sliders were mostly all the way to the left. But I was able to do the missions and practice flying.
The key to Flight Simulator X is recognizing the potential of your machine and adjusting the settings to match. In my regular machine (which is about average for today), 3.6 ghz 2 gigs ram, with a GeForce 7600 256 meg video card, the sliders are sufficient to have good scenery and a good visual experience with the sessions. I'll be surprised if the cpu power of my machine didn't double within 18 months. I'm sure I'll soon upgrade to dual core, and be able to pay half of what I paid for the GeForce 7600 card, and a video card that would be double the performance. That's the way it has always been for computers. Again, I'll be glad to be able to just turn up sliders rather than waiting another few years for a new Flight Simulator release.
FSX is an excellent upgrade for the flight community. However, it does have some flaws. Microsoft left the bug in it that causes it to restart when you have a crash landing. They could have fixed it. The missions don't restart when you crash. They give a message that you have crashed. With that you can decide whether to do the mission again or any other direction you might want to go. However, in free flight, it arbitrarily restarts, making you have to wait for the reloading, and then deciding what you want to do. That's a serious annoyance since it really takes a long time to load. It also removes from the user being able to analyze his flight and what went wrong.
Microsoft will be releases more patches (as they have already released their first SP1). Hopefully they will fix this in an upcoming patch.
There's also another flaw in that, there's an option to host a flight session for a copilot to join. There's a field to choose where you will start at the airport. However, they obviously forgot to include that field when morphing to the airport, because it puts the user on the active runway instead. This causes problems in the multiplyer environment because you suddenly spawn on the active runway, when others might be about to take off, or coming in for a landing.
In spite of those two major flaws, Flight Simulator X is a winner.
| ||by L. D. James|