Flying games

Discussion in 'Mac and PC Games' started by mcmacmcmac, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. mcmacmcmac macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    #1
    So I was in a store today and spotted some crazy looking flying controllers, and I thought man that must be fun..

    So basically I'd like to give it a go and would like some advice here. I have a MBP 2.2 2gb ram XP installed that I connect to a 22" external - is that enough to run a flying simulator game?

    Which simulator/controller would you recommend?

    any advice appreciated thanks
     
  2. patseguin macrumors 65816

    patseguin

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    Aug 28, 2003
    #2
    I think X-Plane is the best. I don't even know of any others.
     
  3. sil3nc3 macrumors regular

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    Oct 14, 2007
    #3
    Google Earth comes with a flight simulator. Albeit, not bad for a free download.
     
  4. Shaduu macrumors 6502a

    Shaduu

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    Southsea
    #4
    Microsoft Flight Simulator X is pretty darn good. There's a decent amount of planes that you can easily add to and all look graphically stunning. Scenery is live updating, meaning the in-game weather changes and adapts to what's happening in reality, along with hundreds of airports to choose from.

    I'd suggest you try the X-Plane demo first, though.
     
  5. WildPalms macrumors 6502a

    WildPalms

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    Location:
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    #5
    X-Plane is definitely the best flight sim, and its one of the few with official approval for use in training pilots and accrediting hours to logged hours. X-Plane comes on 7 dual layer DVD's with photorealistic terrain and city/airport imagery. X-Plane runs very smoothly and has none of the shenanigans that plague MS Flight Sim which is a welcome relief.

    Microsoft's Flight Simulator does not have this and is lacking in a lot of areas, most notably a realistic flight model, however, Microsoft Flight Simulator is not a real sim and is intended as a game or toy.

    I've run both on a 5 display setup using foot pedal+true yoke controls and throttle systems. I sold this equipment to a friend who took it further and built a semi cockpit and added a projection system. He has used both systems and will not touch MS Flight Sim and swears by X-Plane.

    He is currently a certified commercial pilot.

    Hope this helps avoid the lesser, immature software products out there to gain a better experience.
     
  6. 23am macrumors regular

    23am

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    Oct 7, 2007
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    #6
    X-plane is the best I've ever used. :)
    At http://x-plane.org you can download third party aircraft, sceneries, and so on. :)
     
  7. WildPalms macrumors 6502a

    WildPalms

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    #7
    I found my favorite 747-400 cockpit interior on another site (I'll see if I can find it later) - its photorealistic and just adds so much to the overall feeling.
     
  8. synth3tik macrumors 68040

    synth3tik

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    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #8
    Acid + the iTunes visuals.:D

    Thats all the flight simulator you need.
     
  9. RichardI macrumors 6502a

    RichardI

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    Feb 21, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Ontario, Canada
    #9
    Your best bet if you have Windows installed is FS2004 (FS9). TONS of add-on aircraft (most very cheap now because of FSX) and lots and lots of freeware. And, it will run very nicely on mid-range hardware. Hardly any difference between FS9 and FSX, and I have run both.
    I purchased X-Plane and was very disappointed.

    Rich :cool:
     
  10. 23am macrumors regular

    23am

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  11. mcmacmcmac thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 2, 2007
    #11
    thanks all, I will try the x plane demo tonight... I'm assuming I could just use a mouse for now while i try to get a feel for it..

    but if i wanted something other than a mouse for this.. basically something that's not too crazy but i can have good fun with, what would you suggest
     
  12. 23am macrumors regular

    23am

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  13. pianos101 macrumors regular

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    Jun 11, 2006
    Location:
    Philly Area
    #13
    Bottom Line

    As for hardware, you can go as cheap or as expensive as you want... I use (at home) the basic Logitech joystick (no force-feedback) and it works perfectly with both FSX and X-Plane. Here it is: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826102204

    If you want to go a bit more intense (well, more than a bit) go for the CH Products equipment: http://chproducts.com/retail/index.html A little expensive, but they will definitely give you the best flight experience using either program (I use these controllers at work).

    As for software... I have quite a bit of experience in both the more recent FS products (2004/X) and the latest X-Plane releases. There are MANY differences between the two, including visual models of aircraft and environment, down to the method that is used to calculate the actual flight dynamics.

    Briefly, here's the difference. It really won't affect how you play the "games" but this is why there's such a disparity in opinions you hear about the two. Since the birth of MSFS, Microsoft has used what's called the "table lookup method" for calculating flight dynamics. All properties (lift/drag/moment coefficients, engine power, speeds, engine specs) are listed in tables as a function of speed/mach, altitude, etc. These "supertables" use interpolation (and sometimes extrapolation) to calculate the total force on the aircraft at a certain position. Since mass is know, and F=ma, acceleration (and velocity and position via integration) is also know. The problem with this method is that you need to have these HUGE tables for all aircraft properties, and some interpolations/extrapolations are simply incorrect.

    Now X-Plane uses what's called blade-element theory. This was developed for the analysis of rotorcraft, but is easily applied to fixed-wing aircraft. The bases of the flight model in X-Plane is NOT huge tables of data; it is, in fact, a very accurate visual model of the aircraft (dimensions, wing shape, engine position/size, etc). The X-Plane engine then breaks this visual model up into very very small "slices" and finds the force on these individual slices. The slices are then summed up and the total force (and then position via integration) is found on the aircraft. This results in a much more accurate calculation of flight dynamics; this is why the FAA certified X-Plane's engine to obtain simulator hours.

    Now the bottom line (well, as I see it): at work I need to use something that is reliable and is very accurate, without much regard to the visual model, environment, and "funness" of using the simulator. This is why I use X-Plane. It does what I need it to do for work, and it does it great.

    In my "spare" time when I go flying on the computer I will ALWAYS use FS2004 or FSX (depending on my mood). The Microsoft products undoubtedly will give you a better "flying experience." Yeah, the model might be off, but for those of us who are not pilots or aerospace engineers, it's not such a big deal. The scenery and environment is SO much better than X-Plane's, and it's pretty obvious too. The ATC (although it still stinks in MSFS) is much better than X-Plane's. MSFS will simply give a better "flying experience," not to mention the great add-ons (for the very best, see www.precisionmanuals.com).

    Anyway, sorry for the rant, but I've seen this topic before and I had to stick my 2 cents in...
     
  14. 23am macrumors regular

    23am

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  15. QuantumLo0p macrumors 6502a

    QuantumLo0p

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    Apr 28, 2006
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    #15
    X-Plane: Most realistic consumer flight sim physics available. Graphics look so-so. Check out the customer list and you will be surprised. Some of them include: U.S. military, Lockheed, Carter Copter and many more. There is a special version that qualifies as a sim for FAA transport certificate. You can interact with other flyers and instructors remotely via internet. If you want to have a surround cockpit you can use multiple computers to drive more screens so you can have a screen any way you look.

    MS FSX: Semi-simulator at best but looks fabulous. Not as realistic physics as X-Plane. That I am aware, there are no big time customers using FSX for serious simulation.

    My hardware is all CH Products: Stick, Yoke, Pedals. There is also a throttle quadrant available.

    Watch out for X-Plane airplanes. Anybody can create anything in the plane modeler and the planes are only as accurate as they are designed in the modeler. There are great planes, average planes and poor planes. A good place to go for tip, tricks and reviews is the X-Plane forums.
     
  16. Nugget macrumors 65816

    Nugget

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    Nov 24, 2002
    Location:
    Houston Texas USA
    #16
    X-Plane is by far the more accurate simulation. As a pilot I appreciate X-Planes physics model. That said, I think that for a lot of uses Microsoft Flight Simulator is more fun.

    If I want to practice crosswind landings then X-Plane is the only real option. If I just want to fool around then I'll boot to Windows and run MSFS. X-Plane's UI is sort of clunky, and the air traffic communications system is cumbersome and not very realistic. The more polished MSFS environment is just more pleasant to deal with if I'm not planning to do anything that would really exercise the flight model.

    It is really great not having to boot into Windows for X-Plane, though. That's for sure.
     
  17. mcmacmcmac thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 2, 2007
    #17
    Very informative thanks!
     
  18. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

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    Location:
    "No escape from Reality..."
    #18
    I've always preferred the X-Plane program to the MS ones. I find the X-Plane physics to be more accurate. I've only flown the C172 though...
     
  19. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Location:
    Yahooville S.C.
    #19
    Not one mention of the IL2 series??? You guys are missing out. IL2 1946 gives you the whole series. Almost every WWII Bird ,very sweet simulator.
     

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