Archive: February, 2008

DirectX 10 in Microsoft Flight Simulator (FSX) – Amazing graphics or a load of hot air?




Recently there has been a lot of controversy surrounding FSX and its graphics (although these days it seems like any new Microsoft product leaves at least several user groups up in arms). Browse any FSX related forum and you’ll likely see third-party developers expressing their frustrations with the FSX team over a variety of compatibly issues including, among many others, the introduction of DirectX 10 (DX10) to the Flight Simulator package via the recently released Acceleration Pack or SP2.

Just as a reminder it’s worth mentioning that, at the moment, DX10 is only available in Vista. To use DX10, you also need a DX10 compatible graphics card.

What we once thought we were getting…
The gaming community’s response to the introduction of DX10 to FSX has been, to put it lightly, a bit rough. It all started prior to the release of DX10 for FSX with two images that quickly spread around the Internet and, not surprising, had the FS community drooling with anticipation. It was said that these two images (seen below) demonstrated what we could expect from DX10 in FSX.

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Video Update of Home Cockpit (Simpit) Progress

The build on my home cockpit has gone really well in the last few weeks. At this point, everything is now up and running and I’m tweaking some of the different systems and settings. I’ve produced a brief video (below) showing the setup and highlighting the major design features. The video is quite general and in the future I will be posting much more detailed segments on specific aspects of the system and any future expansions.

The text below after the video is a transcript of the descriptions in the video:

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Adding Altitude Callouts to FSX (pmSounds)

I’ll be posting a major update really soon regarding my desktop simulator (I just need to get some pictures lined up); however, today I just wanted to add a quick post regarding a nice bit of add-on software called pmSounds.

One minor annoyance with FSX is the lack of automatic radar altitude callouts during landing. This is where the cockpit computer calls out 100, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 feet off the ground. Not only does it sound cool, but it helps with flaring at the right moment and you to keep your eyes on the runway without having to glance down at the radar gauge.

On a quick side note, I was once asked what the difference between ‘radar altitude’ and ‘altitude’ is. In short, the normal altimeter is based purely on air pressure and is set relative to sea level. This is why, for example, when sitting on the ground the altimeter isn’t at zero (unless the airport you’re at is at sea level). The air pressure based altitude is very accurate, although as minor pressure changes will cause fluctuations in the readings during takeoff and landing it helps to have an accurate, pressure independent, reading of the aircraft’s actual altitude.
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