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DC Gamer Club / Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator - Free!
« on: March 31, 2012, 12:12 PM »
PS: I have MS FlighstSim X and am just downloading Free MS Flight.

I have now discovered why they haven't gone for a new packaged version!

The base game is free but lots of stuff that was in X now has to be bought as an addon - and they are not cheap at all.
-Carol Haynes (March 31, 2012, 11:30 AM)

True, and it's been a common complaint. Then again, the same can be said about third-party add-ons to FSX, without which the sim environment is rather bland.

The Hawaiian Adventure Pack gives you all the major Hawaiian islands and one (only one!) new plane - a small, fast, single-prop RV-6. Even that doesn't allow you to fly all the missions in the game though. To fly cargo and passengers you need the larger Maule, which is a separate paid add-on (but a very satisfying plane to fly, unless your main joy is in aerobatics).

I've actually gone and bought the pack and the Maule and I love them and I am seriously hooked, even though I don't like how MS is selling them at all. But, the sim experience is really cool; it's just bound to become very expensive in the long run. Ask me if there's anything I can help with. (If I can find the time, I may write a detailed review of MS Flight.)

In short, MS Flight cannot be seriously considered free, since the free package is extremely limited. It's no more than a demo.

A couple of those 'addon' packs would probably cost more than the complete MS FS X (which by the way still runs fine on Windows 7, including 64 bit).

Yeah, but barely :-) It's another story. I bought FSX and MS Flight within days from each other. MS FLight, with all the detailed terrain, weather, lighting and shadows, runs fine at max quality settings on my system. In FSX, by contrast, I have to pull the terrain, weather and all other sliders almost to minimum just to get a frame rate that's usable but still not smooth. FSX really shows its age; I've read that it doesn't offload any graphics rendering to the GPU, so the CPU has way too much to do. Does it even use multiple cores? It feels as if it's running on one! In fact, with the generic airports, default terrain both ugly (water!) and boring (same everywhere), I am seriously underwhelmed. MS Flight only gives you Hawaii, but in an amazing detail and quality. I fly just to look around, and it's awesome. (And the airports and other landmarks check out against Google Maps in satellite view - there's a lot of actual terrain, not generic textures).

DC Gamer Club / Re: Microsoft Flight Simulator - Free!
« on: March 31, 2012, 10:55 AM »
I eventually found a config file for my joystick (there was a specific file supplied as part of the install but it didn't work properly - unless you like to spin on the spot) but then I found if you did any sort of aerobatics the artificial horizon was way out afterwards.
-Carol Haynes (March 08, 2012, 09:56 AM)

Haven't tried it, but from what I've read around MS flight sims, this is how the actual thing behaves IRL. The gyro goes out of whack when you pull too many Gs, and it may take up to 30 mins or so for it to stabilize. What I am not sure about is whether flight sims "for the rest of us" should simulate such detail, as it makes the whole thing quite frustrating.

(It's like the oil temp indicator in the cockpit: what am I supposed to do if it goes too high? Call MS support? The sim doesn't include airport mechanics, after all. Why simulate something that I have no control over and is entirely irrelevant to the gameplay? In a real pilot training sim, sure, but in a general audience product that's going overboard IMO.)

I tried Oribiter too - I am sure is very clever but it looked like too steep a learning curve for me!

Aargh. Orbiter won't play sound for me, and there's no solution to be found. Too bad, since it looks very neat. I'm sure it works on the devs' machines though :-) Reminds me of when I tried Red Hat Linux more than a decade ago. With a sound card, you were on your own. (Sad to say, but sometimes I do prefer corporate products, because they can be expected to actually work across all hardware. I don't have anything unusual, either. Orbiter apparently doesn't talk to my chip.)

seems very expensive to me, especially in the context of the pro version being demeaned.

It's extremely expensive, and now those who shelled out for the Pro version are left hanging, as new features will go into the Ultimate version mostly. In a three-tier scheme like this, the top version is usually geared toward enterprise environments (multi-user database, security, advanced connectivity or various data exchange options, etc). But to add a spell-checker module (most likely just a third-party component) and some icons and call it "ultimate" is quite... wrong IMO.

I had a quick look, but couldn't see that it (any edition) did anything that AbstractSpoon's ToDoList doesn't do. There probably is something, and the cloud links aren't in ToDoList yet, but the advantages of free, open source and still rapidly developing are substantial.

I suppose it's a matter of preference. One big difference is that ToDoList is a single-pane UI, perhaps more akin to MLO than Swift To-Do List. If you need a strong separation between your task categories (because they have nothing to do with each other), this particular interface may not be suitable.

To me though, this screenshot explains why I personally find ToDoList inconvenient:

Too many columns and fields I don't need, and the one truly important piece of data is obscured behind the horizontal scrollbar. It needs a screen that's half a mile wide. Horizontal scrolling is evil I say and should be banished. It can make the best apps unusable.

You can probably tame the columns and get the UI to where you can see more of the actual items, but the principle remains. And this is not the only example of the developers' inattention to detail. Here's another:

Lowest priorities at the top, highest at bottom. A pure WTF moment. As a work of art, it would make an unsubtle ironic statement, but as a practical everyday tool, it only makes me laugh sadly :-)

because of its agonizingly slow startup and general sluggishness while editing notes (.Net again!)

No.  Developer issues.  This is not a general .NET problem.

I will not swallow the bait... I will not swallow the bait.. I will not... :-)

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