New GPU and a new era

Apologies for not many posts lately, too busy with life etc, you know how it goes. So a lot to catch up on!

New GPU

Sadly my old GTX 780 OC died on me recently. Well actually, I suspect it was always faulty, ever since I installed it, I experienced intermittent PC freezes. But recently the freezing made my PC unusable, happening far too often. I should have (a) kept the receipt and (b) returned it far earlier. Oh well, a very expensive lesson learnt. At least I got a good 15 months’ use out of it.

So to replace it, a bit of research sadly showed that my old card was a very good purchase, still being up there in performance. But the new GTX 780 OC Ti appeared to be the logical successor, being around 30% faster than the old card but a steep $800 in Oz. Right now it’s the second fastest single card in the world, after the fabled Titan.

So what the heck, you only live once I always say. Who needs to eat EVERY day eh?

The card is amazing, showing significant improvement in FPS and stability in all games and sims. It’s fairly quiet, rarely having to rev up to keep the temps reasonable. In short, a highly recommended purchase, if you can afford it.

Returning to X-Plane

The new card, combined with the new release of 10.30b7 is a stunning combination, I’m able to run very high settings and finally, after all this time, able to see and feel fluid performance that reminds me why I loved xp9 so much. I’m flying xp more and more, still frustrated with the sameness of the scenery a bit, but it’s offset as usual by the stellar performance and world lighting.

I’ve returned to xplane more to also get back into scenery development. I just love how much easier it is to develop for than fsx! FSX is insanely arcane and awkward to work with.

I’ve decided to start a stupidly huge, complex payware scenery project! It’s very ambitious, but should be epic once completed. It’ll change the way you experience xplane, I promise you that. Be very, very patient, as it is a large project. I’ve spent 9 hours part time, just preparing the workflow and some base art assets. No more info, no point getting people too excited over a project that might take a year to finish. Or finish at all, as it is brain-numbingly tedious work, getting quicker as time goes on, but the reality is that it’s so time consuming and fairly difficult to do more than an hr a day before the brain turns to mush.

It’s just a fun distraction for me to fill in some of my spare time in between looking for work (yes I’m much better and determined to get back to work to stop myself going stir crazy..)

Another payware project that Chip and I are planning is a high quality scenery for Steamboat Springs airfield in Colorado. We have access to high rez photos of the facility, so it should be a great project. Again, no promises of a timeline, just know that it’s in the works!

Speaking of Chip, feel free to send your prayers and messages of support for him, he’s having a very tough battle with Cancer, fighting off multiple issues. Yet more test this week, I reckon he must look like a sieve he’s had so many needles. I admire his bravery and determination, such an inspiration.

It’s amazing the developments that have occured over the last year or two for xp. I’m most impressed with World2xplane, the OSM scenery generator, a great example of community effort.

But I still have my disappointments after all this time. Where is Norcal? Is XPJets dead? The clouds still need improvement..

Oculus Rift – Xplane 11? 

One reason I’m taking more interest in XP is Laminar’s work on getting it to be compatible with the Rift. I’ve heard the reports of impressions of the combo, they sound amazing. I think flying in 3D with all the autogen and lighting will be incredible and will give XP a whole new lease of life. Legions of new fans will come over once they experience it, I hope.

I’ve had a recent email notification that my Developer’s Kit V2 is being shipped, should come within a week I hope. So rest assured, I’ll post my own impressions and videos as soon as I can! Like many, I have really high expectations for the Rift and VR in general, it should be an incredible, historic journey. Historic? I’m not kidding, don’t underestimate its pervasiveness once it takes off . Totally immersive films, no longer requiring you to go to the cinema, with multiple events happening all around you, meaning no single viewing session will be the same. Just one application.

Prepar3d V2.3

Sadly, at the same time as I returned to xplane, I was yet again distracted by that damned P3D, with a very successful upgrade to version 2.3. The sim is running extremely stable and performs flawlessly on my new GPU, showing 25fps in my torture test area of Orbx Essendon and YMML.

I say sadly, as I was looking forward to going almost full time with xplane, but with the new fluidity of P3D, combined with some of the amazing sceneries available, further combined with REX4 cloud textures, the package is compelling. It’s like a new sim, a leap in performance and lighting. Hence the heading for this post. I think we are seeing a whole new era in flightsimming, with the raw power of our GPUs and innovation of developers combining to make our lives darned sweet at the minute! I just wish more fsx related devs heard my message that xplane is sooo easy to develop for. It does my head in….

The best scenery I’ve ever seen. EVER!

A strong statement, no? I don’t care what you think, watch the below videos. It’s freaking amazing! superbly crisp photoscenery, with such realistic colouring, all combined with amazing autogen. I’m in flying heaven right now. Watch out for my review of the scenery to come up at Flightsim.com . Please support the devs over at Earth Simulations to ensure the region is covered in their glorious artistry! The scenery isn’t the cheapest, but it’s deservedly the BEST you’ll ever fly over.

 

 

 

Enough for now, it just feels good to get a post out finally after a huge break.  See you in the skies!

 

Simon

 

 

 

 

Elite Dangerous!

Is a very, very impressive space based game. Produced by the same genius behind everyone’s beloved ’80s Elite (I became obsessed with my version on the mighty Commodore Amiga 500), David Braben, it seems to closely follow the original formula, except with cutting edge graphics and excellent FPS performance.

It’s pretty pricey, at 50 British Pounds or around $93 Aussie Pesos. But well worth the entry price, even at this early Beta stage of development.

This game is also one of the best showcases for the DK2 version of the Oculus Rift, so once I receive my kit expect a full report of the experience.

After flying this for a few minutes I immediately realised that this is a monumental game, a major shift in direction, I was seeing the early stages of what I think will become genre busting! The speel sounds impressive, a galaxy of 400 billion stars to explore. There are only 50 such stars able to be explored so far, so I’m not sure how they will go populating the balance!! But braben is well known for his procedural approach to randomly generating such huge quantities of content.

I imagine that this initial game will form the backbone of an incredible and beautiful galaxy filled with wonders to explore. It’ll be great to see the game and future expansions develop.

Enough talking, enjoy the videos!

Here’s one of me flying through the space station and ‘landing’, if you can call it that.

 

New John Venema interview out

Chris Palmer’s AviatorCast has just released a new episode, with quite a lengthy interview with JV.

Can’t say we learned much new from the discussion, though any nOObs to FTX sceneries may learn more.

In the interview, John repeats his commitment that they won’t develop for xplane, due to its small user base and expense of gearing up the team for a different sim. He does voice admiration for xplane and its small team of developers though, a nice touch.

And like me, he’s pretty excited about P3D and its future. Can’t wait for the Norway region to be released, that sounds special!

 

 

 

Crazy ‘Flying’

Just have to share a couple of videos of my latest exploits in the new alpha update of ‘Next Car Game‘. Talk about a super update, with finally a useful replay function and a few new tracks.

Watch these vids to see how often you end up flying in the air! And check out the insane levels of damage modelling, particles and debris that remain in the arena.

Who says you can be too old to have fun eh?

We live here!

Yes kiddies, the famed Xsimreviews team has packed up the internet site and moved on over to this WordPress hosted blog home, so stick around for the odd, but ‘odd’ post!

Those of you who follow our twitter feed will see that I’ve ordered a V2 Oculus Rift. Not due for distribution until (at least, I reckon) July this year. But when it does come, expect some thorough coverage from me, especially how it works with flight sims! I am particularly looking forward to trying it with War Thunder, as its graphics are so beautiful and smooth. Not exactly looking forward to P3D if it ends up halving the framerate.

Speaking of War Thunder – where is their long-promised Mac version??!! Gawd, it’s taking almost as long as X-Aviation’s Norcal! I also note that the superhero of the flightsimming world, Frooglesim, has finally discovered War Thunder. About time sir! We’ve covered it ages ago, it’s well worth a look, although the flight model is still fairly arcadey. Graphics to die for though.

And what’s all the hype and disappointment about Facebook taking over Oculus? Frankly, who cares? All it’ll do is make VR even more mainstream. I have to admit though, I’m wondering how on earth they’ll integrate FB and the Rift?! Will liking someone now be as simple as nodding your head in agreement? Unliking someone  = shaking your head left to right, no, no, no?!

Enuf for now, I have another 600 USA pictures to review and edit…