Since late December I’ve really been enjoying playing the early access release of Cattle and Crops (v. 0.1.0.1). If you haven’t visited my YouTube Channel, please do so and watch my Cattle and Crops video series showcasing the available missions in the game.
While my level of enjoyment has been high, it hasn’t been without frustration. I’m a really picky simulation gamer and practically refuse to play simulation based games (especially driving type games) without my trusty Logitech G27 steering wheel, pedals and shifter console. Unfortunately, Cattle and Crops is yet another simulation based game which is available where controller support appears to be somewhat of an after-thought.
After several hours of some trial and a whole lot of error, I have determined the best configuration settings I need to configure my Logitech G27 hardware with Cattle and Crops. While it’s not exactly the way I would like to have things, it will work until such time that hopefully the CnC Devs will better enhance their controller support for the game.
I’m not sure if these steps will work with older or newer Logitech controllers. I only own the G27 and only have that model to test with. In addition, I’m not sure if these steps will work with non-Logitech branded hardware. But my hope is that you might get an idea from this video which may work with these other setups. Good luck!
If you have questions regarding any of the steps I’ve outlined in the video, please leave a comment on the video or alternatively you are free to join my Discord server and contact me there.
Just before Christmas I wrote a blog article discussing my holiday video release schedule on the GBS YouTube channel and also discussed my early opinions on Farmer’s Dynasty and also briefly touched on an older blog article I wrote in late 2016 regarding my outlook on 2017 being the year for farming. After writing that article, two things happened.
First, a reader of my blog contacted me via email informing me of an update to Cattle and Crops which he felt I should look into. Second, Wonko (the owner of PC-SG) also posted his review of his experiences with the new update. After reading Wonko’s posting and also looking into the changes made to CnC, I decided to reinstall CnC with the updates and check it out. I’m really…REALLY glad I did.
Looking back to the early stages of 2017, most (including myself) was really excited about the release of Cattle and Crops (CnC). Initially we believed the early access version which many of us had helped to support in the CnC Crowdfunding campaign would occur in early Spring of 2017 with the official release of the game to be in the late Fall. Unfortunately this time schedule began to slip and the actual “Tech Demo” of CnC wasn’t made available until early summer. As Spring turned into Summer, I was still excited for the release, but that excitement quickly turned to disappointment once I downloaded the Tech Demo and spent a few hours with the game. During much of this time I was trying to get my Logitech G27 working. If you are a frequent reader of my blog and watch my videos, you’ll know that I make every attempt for full immersion with the simulation based games I play. In addition, I’m a firm believer if you are a game developer and wish to create a simulation based game, you MUST include support for 3rd party hardware such as steering wheels and pedals. Without this support, the game is just that. A Game!
For full disclosure, the few hours I spent with the Tech Demo (during the early summer) resulted in me forming a less than positive opinion which I’ve expressed in previous articles and during discussions on my videos. I uninstalled CnC and figured not much would ever come from the game.
Things change and so must opinions, since reinstalling CnC (v 0.1.0.1) my opinion has changed and my level of excitement has also changed. While the current version of Cattle and Crops is most certainly not ready to be considered a complete release, much has changed over the past 5-6 months and I truly must credit the development team for their hard work.
Of course, I’m not going to go out on any limbs and say that CnC will become the simulation game we may once thought it would be. Also, I’m not going to say CnC will become a Giants killer (at least not yet), but I do believe things are on the right path. Yes there are lots of wonderful things about the current state of the game and equally there are also many annoying things as well.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I plan to record my game play and commentary as I re-experience Cattle and Crops. To start, I plan to play the missions (I believe there are 12) and get a feel for the current state of the game. In addition, I’ll spend more time researching the current and future plans.
But for now, here’s what I’m calling episode 0 which I recorded recently. During this episode I discuss some of the challenges I’ve experienced in getting my wheel and pedals setup. But persistence did eventually pay off and things are looking up. Thank you for watching!
It’s been over a month since my last blog posting. The busy travel schedule has ended and as I write this, I’m down to the last two work days left in 2017. I’m hoping they both go by as smoothly as possible. As a matter of fact, at the present time I’m enjoying a big cup of coffee while watching it snow from my 4th floor office window. So I guess this should tell you I’m pretty bored and really just marking time until I can walk out and not have to return until next year.
2017 The Year of Farming
As we were closing out 2016, I wrote a blog posting where I predicted that 2017 might go down as the year of farming. After all, Giants had just released Farming Simulator 17 and we were all salivating over the news about titles such as Cattle and Crops, Pure Farming 17, Farm Expert 17 and others who all were saying their products would be released in 2017. Of course, we all know not all these things ended up coming to fruition. Cattle and Crops delayed their “early access” release by several months and what they released in the early summer was simply not ready even for EA. Pure Farming 17 ended up changing their name to Pure Farming 18 and a release date of 13 March 2018 is now being advertised. Farm Expert 17 appears to be anything BUT an expert as reviews are quite poor for this title.
While we may have been left disappointed by those other titles, I’ve got to say that Giants really helped make up for it this year with the release of their Kuhn, Big Bud and Platinum paid DLC packs along with the unexpected bonus free Horsch Packs. Giants single-handedly saved 2017 and placed themselves squarely in the drivers seat for 2018 and beyond.
I only began hearing about Farmer’s Dynasty a few months ago. Most likely with my busy work/travel schedule (which kept me away from just about everything related to simulation based gaming), I began seeing information popping up on forum sites like PC-SG and began seeing some preview videos on YouTube. I honestly wasn’t planning on involving myself with another “Early Access” game title (especially in the agricultural simulation genre) and had pretty much convinced myself to just wait and see what happens. Especially after learning the developers initially hadn’t planned to add support for wheel/pedal type controllers. (more about this in a minute)
But my dear, dear friend Eustace Pharmer pulled the trigger and through a most convincing preview video featuring Creepy Oliver, the bait had been set and I took it “hook, line and sinker”. According to Steam stats, I’ve spent approx. 1.3 hours in the game and all-in-all I’m not disappointed in my purchase. Is Farmer’s Dynasty the Giant(s) killer? NO! At least not now and certainly not from anything I’ve seen in my short history of playing the game. But, the 1.3 hours I’ve spent playing Farmer’s Dynasty does have me wanting more.
As previously mentioned, Farmer’s Dynasty is an early access release. There are bugs, there could be more bugs coming and obviously the game will most likely change for the best over time. Again, in my 1.3 hours of game play, I’ve not experienced any game crashes, errors and performance has been fantastic running on my high-end gaming machine.
I would best describe Farmer’s Dynasty as a mix between Farming Simulator 17, The Sims and perhaps the upcoming House Flipper. Essentially Farmer’s Dynasty allows you to do some farming, interact with other characters and make repairs to your old, run down farm which you’ve inherited from the death of your grandfather.
In the 1.3 hours I’ve spent playing, I’ve taken the time to repair Oliver’s barn. In return, he gave me his old run down tractor and I’ve spent just a bit of time repairing a few things on my farm. I probably have more questions than answers at this point. While I’m enjoying grinding away in these early hours to build up my equipment, repair my farm and gain social status points. I’m curious just what the future holds. For example, will other maps make their way into the game? Will we be required to grind away each and every time we might choose to start a new map?
Controller Support – Including Wheels/Pedals in Simulation based games
One of the biggest disappointments I’ve seen with Cattle and Crops and also Farmer’s Dynasty has been the lack of support for external hardware controllers and specifically wheels and pedals. While I’m not a software developer, I wish the first line of code that would get built into these types of simulation based games would be for 3rd party controller (wheel/pedal support). Game titles which I’ve previously mentioned all involve some form of driving. While much of the work we’ll do in the early hours of Farmer’s Dynasty won’t involve much driving, eventually more and more will. After all, we’ll be driving a tractor to plow, fertilize, seed, harvest and sell the crops we grow. While not everyone will use a wheel and pedal setup, many do. And from reading comments, many have decided not to support the EA release until such time wheel and pedal support has been added. So gaming developers, if you are going to build a simulation based game that has any sort of driving involved, YOU MUST add support for wheels/pedals.
GBS Holiday YouTube Schedule
I’ve been working hard the past couple of weeks in creating a small backlog of videos to cover the Christmas and New Year Holiday period. My wife has a rather long list of “Honey Do” projects lined up and while I do plan to spend time playing simulation based games over the next 10+ days, I most likely won’t have time to edit, render and upload anything new until after the new year. But don’t worry….here’s my release schedule which covers from now through 1 January.
Wednesday – 20 December – MidtownUSA Ep 3
Thursday – 21 December – MidtownUSA Ep 4
Friday – 22 December – Thornton Farm Ep 13
Sunday – 24 December – GBS Christmas Message
Tuesday – 26 December – Thornton Farm Ep 14
Wednesday – 27 December – MidtownUSA Ep 5
Thursday – 28 December – MidtownUSA Ep 6
Friday – 29 December – Thornton Farm Ep 15
Monday – 1 January – Thornton Farm Ep 16
Well….I need to seek out another cup of coffee and take a stroll through the data center. I hope you’ll tune into my channel for my FS17 videos and a special Christmas Message on the 24th. Thank you all for your support and friendship.
Until next time….
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you next year!
I’ve often commented on how much I enjoy the Steam gaming platform update process. Of the Steam games I enjoy (Farm Sim, Truck Sim etc.) when a patch or update becomes available, the Steam client seamlessly (for the most part) installs that update and I don’t need to worry about anything. Likewise, both ATS and ETS2 have even simplified a portion of their mod update abilities via the Stream Workshop. While some gamers might not understand just how wonderful this concept is (for Steam games), it’s only recently made it’s way into the flight sim world.
Historically speaking, anytime we’ve needed to update something in the flight sim arena (FSX and early versions of P3D) it’s been somewhat of an arduous task. Many times applying a service pack or updating scenery would/could lead to issues downstream. I would often forgo taking updates until such time I felt I really either had no choice or perhaps it was time to do a complete and full re-install of everything including Microsoft Windows. But as the title suggests, things have become much, much easier with regards to updating certain elements within Prepar3D v4 and yes….it’s the way it should be.
The P3D update process really couldn’t be any easier than how Lockheed Martin have made it for us. Unless you are absolutely brand new to P3D and only purchased v4 AFTER the latest update (4.1) became available then you probably already know just how easy it is to apply updates. By the way, this same update process existed within v3 (perhaps earlier but I just can’t remember). Essentially you can update P3D by uninstalling only the component you desire to update, then simply install the new updated component. Typically this would be the “Client” component. Complete and easy to follow instructions are available on the P3D website and YouTube also offers dozens (if not more) tutorials on how to safely update the P3D platform.
How we did things yesterday, is not always how we’ll do things tomorrow
Change can be a really good thing! And this is really why I decided to write this article. Upon initial release of P3D v4 some folks began to lose their mind regarding how developers began to change the way add-ons would get installed. Since the dawn of time (as it relates to flight sim) add-ons would get installed in the same directory structure of the sim. This concept worked fine (I suppose), but did present its own set of challenges when it came time to applying updates to the sim. Starting with P3D v4, add-on developers began to utilize the “Documents” method of installing add-ons.
For years the philosophy behind how to build the perfect sim PC consisted of at the very least two hard drives. One HDD which contained the Windows operating system and other applications not related to flight sim. Then a second HDD (preferably SSD) for the sim software. The idea behind this was one could get away with a smaller HDD for Windows and invest their money on a larger/faster and preferably SSD drive to contain the sim and all things related to the sim (scenery, aircraft etc.)
When I built my current gaming machine, I took it one step further and even included a third SSD drive for my Steam games to run on so I could truly keep flight sim separate on its own SSD drive. But with more and more developers moving to the “Documents” method of installing software, things started to get a little tight on my main HDD. Thankfully, if you are also experiencing (or starting to experience) congestion on your main HDD due to more and more add-ons being installed into the “Documents” folder, there is hope for you. You can simply relocate the Documents folder to another drive. As I’m a fan of giving credit where credit is due, I’ll just simply direct you to an already existing YouTube Video which discusses just how to safely accomplish this task.
Now back to the update process discussion….
But it truly gets better…
Oh yes it does! I can’t remember who did it first…perhaps it was PMDG or perhaps it was Orbx, but these were the first two I noticed including a control panel update process for installing incremental updates to their products. Since that time, other developers such as FSDreamTeam and FlightBeam have also moved to this concept and it’s truly amazing.
Specifically speaking about Orbx, I own a lot of Orbx scenery. When I say a lot, I mean….A LOT! Thankfully, Orbx has never charged a fee to upgrade any of their scenery from FSX up to P3D (including P3D v4). Because Orbx has a really large catalog of wonderful scenery, it was somewhat of a daunting task to constantly venture out to their forum site to check when a particular scenery title had made its way to being updated. But through their updated FTX Central client, it knows every piece of Orbx software I own and tells me when that particular title has been updated for V4 or includes an incremental update. As you might have guessed, it really is just as simple as point and click to install scenery or scenery updates.
As I mentioned, both FSDreamTeam and FlightBeam have also developed a similar control panel and it couldn’t be easier to keep everything updated. Thank you to all who have moved to this process.
One can only hope…
that others will follow. I’d love to see developers like Carenado, FlyTampa and others follow suit. Maybe they will….maybe they won’t, but I do feel the developers who have moved in this direction have set the bar which others will be measured against.
Hello to all. Life has been quite busy for me the past few months. I must apologize to my readers as in typical fashion, my busy schedule has had an impact on my blogging. It’s been several months since I posted an article to my blog and for that I must apologize. I had the best intentions of writing more and of course writing about flight simulation. After all, it was flight sim which caused me to create this blog site over 10 years ago.
As I write this, I’m sitting in my hotel room in Orlando, Florida where I’m on my third business trip in the past five weeks. I just got back from dinner (I’m stuffed), turned on the TV (boring) and decided to check my email. One of my long time readers messaged me asking if I had spent any time with the newly released QualityWings 787 Dreamliner and what my impressions were. Well…unfortunately, I had to answer his question with a short answer of no, followed by some additional comments I’m going to share here.
I believe the last time I wrote about the QualityWings 787 was back in June of this year. At that time I had read a Facebook message stating the aircraft was expected to be released in the Summer of 2017. Unfortunately, QualityWings missed their mark slightly. The season of summer came to an end on Friday, September 22nd and the QW Dreamliner was released in early October. Now I realize I’m being a bit cheeky with pointing this out….but details matter right? OK….perhaps not. The good news is the much anticipated QualityWings 787 Dreamliner is available, but the bad news…it’s only available for FSX!
Of course, we knew this would be the case and I even touched on that in my previously mentioned June blog post. QW explains this decision is due to the fact the 787 has been in development longer than Prepar3D v4 (or even v3 or v2) had been in existence. While I understand this fact, I must also mention that I’m of the opinion that QualityWings really have never fully embraced the Prepar3d P3D platform. While it is true they did FINALLY update their Boeing 757 for P3D v2.5…but their treatment of P3D could be likened to that of a “red headed step-child”.
While I fully realize many flight sim enthusiasts still fly FSX and FSX Steam Edition, surprisingly there appears to still be a large number of FS9 users….but I’m of the opinion that FSX (in all forms) is just simply dead. But I must again say that I don’t blame or fault QualityWings for releasing the Dreamliner for FSX. But I’m curious how long it will take them to bring this wonderful aircraft to P3D v4?
I know some might say, “but the QW development team is small” and “these things take time”. I get all that. But I will remind everyone that PMDG was able to update their older Boeing 737 NGX which was released in the 2011 timeframe (if I’m not mistaken). So in theory, the same can be said of PMDG that they began development on an aircraft prior to Prepar3D, but was still able to update/release the NGX for P3D v4 within a few weeks of release.
So….to answer my readers question. Unfortunately, when Prepar3D v4 was released earlier this year I made the decision to embrace it as my flight sim platform and I’ve not looked back to earlier P3D versions or FSX since and I don’t plan to.
But having said that. Just as soon as this beautiful aircraft is released for P3D v4.x, I will purchase it and I’m sure I’ll have more than a few things to say about it here.
I’m exhausted after a long day and ready to turn in. I’ll post this sometime on Wednesday or Thursday. So until next time….Happy Simming!
The wait is over my friends, Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 (CMS18) has been released to the masses in almost all it’s glory. I say “almost” only because there are still a few bugs (some small and some large) which have yet to be squashed. But the devs behind CMS18 are hard at work and making every effort to fix bugs and bring about all the new features promised in this version of their popular simulation based game. I quite enjoyed CMS15 and I’m looking forward to the newest version.
Beginning Tuesday, 8 August…I’m bringing Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 to the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel in a new feature segment I’m calling “The Grind”. Episodes of “The Grind” will feature my CMS18 game play as I progress through the various levels on my career profile. Essentially starting at the very beginning and working my way through the various levels by earning $$$ (hopefully lots of $$$$$$) and XP points (experience points). No Cheating!!!
The first episode will find me about 3 hours or so into my game play. Yes, I’m doing my best to save you from watching me fumble around with the new controls and features of the CMS18 game play. Yes, there are some major differences between both the look and feel, but also functionality with the updated game. But I’ll discuss some of these, point out a few tips I’ve learned along the way and hopefully deliver episodes in the 30-45 minute range once or twice per week.
As I progress through the game play and open up the auction and the brand new features of barn finds and junk yard, I will create a new playlist for these complete restoration projects. I must admit that I really enjoy stripping an auction purchase all the way down, rebuilding with 100% new or rebuilt parts and selling for profit. These special projects videos will include all the steps from initial purchase all the way through the rebuild process.
Now as I stated at the top of the article, there are some bugs in the game. From what I understand, the dev teams are working hard to eliminate these bugs and also bring about some of the promised functionality. In addition, the devs are also hard at work on optimizing the game for performance reasons. I’ve owned the game for approx. a week and in this span of time much progress has been made in correcting bugs and improving the overall performance of the game. More still needs to be done, but the devs are committed and making excellent progress.
Geez…sometimes you have to wonder if all this is really worth it……
It’s been brought to my attention that someone using the name or handle of GrizzlyMan has been doing some pretty despicable things with various Farming Simulator mods (including maps) and re-uploading them to various mod hosting sites including modhub. One specific example has to do with the Hobbs Farm map. Grizzlyman made some edits, created lots of errors and then re-uploaded Hobbs Farm (calling it Texas Dedication of Hobbs Farm) to modhub.
One of my viewers contacted me about this and wanted to bring it to my attention. Note: My viewer DID NOT accuse me (GrizzlyBearSims) and GrizzlyMan as being one in the same person. He was simply bringing this to my attention and simply mentioned some could get confused. Especially since I’m originally from Texas and proud of it.
My internet persona or identity is GrizzlyBearSims. With exception to just a few forums where where I may go by FarmingSimJT, my YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, PC-SG, 3DudesGN and of course my own website/blog site are all branded as GrizzlyBearSims. While I’m not opposed to having my real identity revealed…I prefer to just do everything related to my simulation gaming hobby handled under my branded name of GrizzlyBearSims.
Of course, those who know me…know that I rarely do any modding and again….those who really know the real me, also know that I would never sink to the levels of those who steal from our modding community and violate their wishes by uploading to these dreadful websites. In addition, while I’ve heard about the Hobbs Farm map, I’ve never downloaded it, never installed it and have never played it. The only connection I have with the Hobbs Farm map is to be a member of the Hobbs Farm Facebook community.
I don’t know who GrizzlyMan is (also goes by Grandpa Grizzly) and truth be known, I don’t care to know him. I (Jerry) do not have any sort of trademark or exclusive use to the word “Grizzly”, but I could see where someone might confuse the two of us.
Anyway….I just wanted to write something stating my case and placing it into the interwebz so hopefully there will no confusion going forward.
So I return to work on Monday morning (10 July) after having spent 10 wonderful, relaxing days on vacation. Over half of this time off was spent near Estes Park, Colorado and the beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park. This was a much needed, highly anticipated and just honestly what any doctor could have ordered break for both my wife and I. The last few months have been tough on both of us and I honestly think we began counting the days down to this get-away back in the early spring timeframe.
Between meetings on Monday morning, I decided to catch up on a few of my fellow YouTube friends and the videos they released while I was on vacation. My friend Farmer Klein was the first name that popped up in my list of video recommendations and I noticed the video title was “Old Guy Farmers Single Player Challenge”. Challenge??? What’s this about seemed to be thoughts that entered in my mind. Obviously I know who Old Guy Farmer is…that’s Mr. Jerry Ott who created the wonderful Mountain Valley Farm map which I’m currently running a “Let’s Play” series on. If interested, you can follow my progress on my Mountain Valley Farm series on YouTube.
Anyway…back to this challenge. I watched with excitement as Farmer Klein started game day 1, episode 1 of the special Goldcrest Valley Edit map which Jerry Ott had designed specific for the challenge. As more minutes passed, I began thinking…I want to do this. I want to play this map and I want to participate in the challenge. I quickly read through the rules/guidelines of the challenge….”Must Use Seasons Mod” Ok…that’s good as I just simply can’t play (nor am I interested in playing FS17 without the Seasons Mod. “Game mode must be set on Hard”. OK..that is also OK as I’m playing on MVF set to Hard mode. “Game play time must be set to x15 speed and can only skip time from 9pm to 6am” That’s also just fine. “Game play must be streamed on YouTube or Twitch” This is also great because I’ve really been wanting to stream my FS17 game play more. Etc. etc. I’ll let you read the rules/guidelines at your own discretion.
While I did say several months ago I had no interest in playing another GCV edit map, on Monday afternoon I downloaded the GCV edit challenge map and fired up OBS and kicked off episode one (of 72 total episodes) of this challenge series. Yes…you did read that correct. This series will consist of 72 episodes as each episode will be precisely one game day (6 AM ish to 9 PM ish). 72 days is what 3 Seasons Mod years, set to 6 game days per season calculates to. Yes, this is a major undertaking…but I have until 1 November. There’s a lot of time between now and 1 November! Right? Right????
I’ll admit, my game play during episode 1 certainly was not my finest hour. I must have appeared as if I was a nube to Farming Simulator 17 or perhaps even a nube to simulation based gaming altogether. I really do have over 500 hours of game play recorded in FS17 (and over 700 in FS15) and I’ve been using the Seasons mod since early January.
The truth is, I completely underestimated the stress in knowing that from the moment you enter the game, time is ticking away at a fairly fast pace (game play set to x15). An entire game day (6 AM to 9 PM) passes by at near light speed in just over an hour. As most of my viewers know, I farm at a fairly relaxed pace and I may spend a few minutes painstakingly comparing tractor specs before making a decision (or no decision at all). In this challenge, TIME is definitely of the essence.
Long Story Short….so yes…GrizzlyBearSims took the challenge and I’ll do my level best to not only survive the challenge, but also complete it and also try equally hard to win it. While the rules are clearly defined, I’ve made the decision to follow my own guideline of “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right” way of doing things. Meaning even though time is quickly speeding by, I won’t take shortcuts…I’m not going to drive through my crops etc. I’m plowing fields, applying fertilizer, cultivating, seeding and then fertilizing again. Regardless of the outcome, FUN is the absolute number one priority for each episode.
While I don’t believe it’s too late for others to take part in this challenge, if you are interested in participating…please visit this website for complete rules and information. But don’t wait too long as while on paper there are many days between now and 1 November…trust me, before you know it…summer will be over and just remember, time is of the essence.
For my wonderful friends/viewers of the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel, Are you interested in winning your very own copy of the Giants Farming Simulator 17 Platinum Expansion Pack DLC? I’m gifting a copy to three lucky winners of this expansion pack (via Steam) at the end of the challenge. All you need to do to enter, is watch my livestreams (either live or via YouTube recorded playback) and listen for me to provide the daily code word. Each episode will have a unique code word which I’ll verbally announce during the game play. Once you hear the code word, just follow the information I’ve outlined to enter. You can view these contest guidelines and how to submit the code word on the GrizzlyBearSims Discord Channel. You can enter up to 72 times, pending you watch (and listen) for the code word. Obviously, the more episodes you watch, the better odds you’ll have at winning. I’ll do the drawing and notify the winners on Sunday, 6 November.
Just for clarification, my blog articles are geared towards the new flight sim enthusiast. 2017 is “The Year of Flight Simulation”. With new and updated flight sim platforms from Lockheed Martin (Prepar3d v4), Laminar Research (X-Plane 11) and the new kid on the block Dovetail Games (Flight Sim World)…a lot of hype (very good hype) has been focused on our wonderful hobby. If you build it, they will come…is just as fitting on the flight sim scene today as it was years ago in that Iowa cornfield.
Today’s “How To” article is designed to help the new virtual pilot understand the differences of VFR and IFR flight rules as they relate to the flight simulation hobby. But before we get started and to satisfy the attorneys….allow me to post the fine print.
Fine Print: Unfortunately I feel the need to state for the record that my “How To” articles and tips are for flight simulation purposes only and should not be used for real world aviation.
Now that we have the legal stuff out of the way…let’s get started!
The Flight Rules
There are two sets of rules for flying and operating aircraft. VFR and IFR. The choice between these two sets of rules is generally determined based on weather conditions. However, other factors may come into play such as flight operations, type of aircraft and terrain/border considerations. But before we dive into these specific sets of circumstances, let’s clear the air on exactly what VFR and IFR means. Let’s start with IFR first.
IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules and is a set of rules that govern aircraft which fly in what is considered Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC). IMC, in general terms, just means flying in the clouds. More to the point, IMC weather conditions are defined as weather that is below the prescribed minimums for VFR flights.
Essentially, under IFR flight or IFR flight conditions, the pilot or pilots will operate and fly the aircraft by instruments without any outside visual guidance. In the real world, pilots who wish to fly IFR are required to possess an instrument rating and required to undergo additional training.
VFR stands for Visual Flight Rules. Just as the name implies, VFR flight rules require the aircraft must, at all times be clear of any weather situations which would prevent the pilot from maintaining visual separation with other aircraft, terrain, obstacles etc. While some VFR flights may be under radar coverage by ATC, under VFR the responsibility for traffic separation lies solely with the pilot in command.
While weather certainly plays a crucial part in determining whether one flies VFR or IFR, also the type of aircraft, the type of flight operations being conducted and also general terrain and border considerations must be factored in. Of course, the other really important factor is pilot rating/certifications. However, pilot rating/certifications are not applicable in the virtual flying environment.
Simply put, unless the pilot holds an instrument rating…if weather conditions are not VFR (meaning they are classified as IMC as discussed above) then the aircraft and the pilot will remain firmly in place on the ground.
The type of aircraft also carries an important factor in the decision. Something like a J-3 Cub with no lights and no radios will remain grounded under non-VFR conditions. At a minimum, (along with pilot certification) any aircraft filing for IFR flight must have two-way radio communication capabilities, a transponder and navigation equipment.
Any sort of scheduled passenger flight operations will require an IFR flight plan to be filed and the pilot/aircraft must fly under IFR flight rules at all times. The exception to this rule might include certain charter operators, but for insurance purposes even these may be required to always operate IFR. Obviously all large jet aircraft will generally file and operate IFR.
Finally, depending on terrain and altitude restrictions, these type of flights might be IFR type. Also, crossing of international borders will also most likely require an IFR flight plan.
Fine Print: Unfortunately I feel the need to state for the record that my “How To” articles and tips are for flight simulation purposes only and should not be used for real world aviation.
Again, while much of what I’ve discussed above comes directly from real-world aviation rules/guidelines, I just want to remind readers this information is not geared towards real world aviation.
Virtual Flying – IFR or VFR? What is most common?
In the virtual world, and specifically speaking about the virtual multi-player networks of VATSIM and IVAO, the most common type of flight operations are IFR. While both networks welcome and encourage VFR flying, the most common will be IFR.
Even yours truly, got started on VATSIM flying IFR and of the almost 2000 hours I’ve logged flying on the VATSIM network, I’d guess that 95% of those hours will be under IFR. As someone with over 17 years of VATSIM experience, if there is any regret I have today, it’s that I didn’t do more VFR General Aviation type of flying on the network to gain a better understanding of the key functional differences between the two.
This really is only scratching the surface and this article is really only providing the explanation and differences between IFR and VFR flight. In a future set of articles I’ll provide more clarification specific to IFR and VFR flying as it relates to virtual flying on the various online, multiplayer networks.
Until next time…happy flying!
Fine Print: Unfortunately I feel the need to state for the record that my “How To” articles and tips are for flight simulation purposes only and should not be used for real world aviation.
Much of these early “How To” blog articles are dedicated to understanding some of the basic knowledge required, as we progress I’ll include some additional and more advanced “How To” information. At this time I’m assuming you are still very much new to the hobby of flight simulation. If you have been following my “How To” articles, you may recall I’ve suggested on more than one occasion to start with the default Cessna (or some other single engine, light aircraft) and work your way up. In my opinion, this is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. As in the real world, an individual just doesn’t walk off the street and learns to fly a Boeing 747. They start off in a much, much smaller aircraft.
The principle of flight is the same regardless of aircraft type. Regardless if you are flying a Cessna 172 or a Boeing 747, you must taxi, takeoff, climb, cruise, descend and land the aircraft. Again, the process is much the same….but one major difference is in the speed at which you accomplish these tasks. It’s easier to learn the basics in a slower and more forgiving aircraft like the default Cessna 172. But certainly as you master these tasks in the Cessna it really is just a matter of applying the same principles as you progress to larger and more complex aircraft.
I know there are some (perhaps many) who have no desire to fly the heavy jets. Likewise, many of you once you get the hang of flying may never fly anything smaller than a Boeing 737. This is of course the beauty of our hobby. There truly is something for everyone.
At some point if you want to try to fly the heavy jet aircraft, I would suggest you start with the default Boeing 737. The Boeing 737 has been a featured default aircraft of Microsoft Flight Simulator since FS95 and is an easy aircraft to learn.
Tip – When starting to learn how to fly the heavies, stick with the default aircraft. While these default aircraft models may lack the sophistication of their real world counterpart, the up side in learning is that they lack the sophistication of their real world counterpart. Said another way, the default aircraft modeled in Flight Simulator are more forgiving and much easier to fly than the study-level, payware models such as PMDG.
Much as I did in the article titled “Your First Flight”, I suggest you load up the default Boeing 737 and head out to KEDW (Edwards Air Force Base). Our goal is to spend time getting to know the flight characteristics and differences of the Boeing 737 (compared to the Cessna). I highly suggest following the same steps of concentrating on taxi, takeoff, climb and cruise at first. As you’ll quickly get the hang of that (since you’ve been practicing and mastering the Cessna), then add the descent and landing phase. Just follow the pattern shown in the image below until you get it right.