Not only do I blog to help others, but I also tend to write content for my own benefit so I can find things when I need them. The wonderful folks behind AirDailyX.net started compiling a Prepar3D v3.x Compatibility spreadsheet in Google Docs some time ago. The spreadsheet is still updated as new information is confirmed and made available.
While I’m on the subject of AirDailyX.net. I highly recommend you visit their website, bookmark it and return often. AirDailyX.net was started one month after I started my flight sim blog, Position and Hold. Of course, Position and Hold is just an extension of my flight sim hobby and I write when I can. But AirDailyX.net (as the name implies) has fresh new content each and every day. D’Andre Newman has done an outstanding job with AirDailyX.net and our hobby is stronger for his contributions.
Until next time…
In just a couple of weeks, flight sim enthusiasts from across the country (and perhaps around the world) will gather for the annual FlightSimCon 2016 event held at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT. You may remember I wrote about the panel discussion from the 2015 FlightSimCon here and here. The 2015 event was a huge hit and 2016 promises to be just as spectacular. Unfortunately, my work/life schedule will not allow me to travel to FlightSimCon 2016…but I will await all the wonderful news which I hope will flow out in the days and weeks following the event.
The speakers for the FlightSimCon 2015 event were rather impressive and I very much enjoyed the panel discussion which you can view here. The discussion was moderated by Evan Reiter (from Boston Virtual ATC) and included D’Andre Newman (Owner and Managing Editor, AirDailyX), Winfried Diekmann (CEO, Aerosoft), Robert Randazzo (CEO, PMDG), Pete Wright (Frooglesim) Nels Anderson (Founder, FlightSim.com) and Tom Gilmore (Training Coordinator, US Division, IVAO). I wrote a review of this panel discussion with some of my own opinions regarding both the questions asked and the answers given. I truly hope something similar takes place for this years event.
From the looks of both the list of sponsors and exhibitors, I believe FlightSimCon 2016 will be a huge hit. The list of exhibitors include Orbx, Jetline Systems, A2A Simulations, FSFX Packages, QualityWings, IVAO, VATSIM, HiFi Simulations, GoFlight and JustFlight. The list of sponsor attendees is also rather impressive including Aerosoft, REX Game Studios, Dovetail Games, FlightBeam, FlightSim.com, AirDailyX.net, PC Pilot Magazine and LiveATC.net.
While the list of sponsors and exhibitors is rather impressive, the full schedule of events is what has my attention. On Saturday, Austin Meyer, President of Laminar Research (X-Plane) will present and the panel discussion will focus on the benefits of Flying Online. But Sunday….Sunday is the big day when Stephen Hood, Creative Director of Dovetail Games will discuss “Dovetail Games Flight Simulator – My Vision”. Perhaps we’ll finally know what Dovetail Games plans are with regards to the future of flight simulation beyond FSX.
It’s all unclear what BIG news will come out of FlightSimCon 2016. I’m confident the folks covering it will ask all the right questions and relay those answers to us all. Until then…we just have to wait patiently.
Until next time…
The highly anticipated Dovetail Games Flight School arrived on Tuesday via Steam just in time for summer. If you are new to the world of flight simulation, during the summer of 2014 Dovetail Games obtained the rights from Microsoft to distribute Microsoft Flight Simulator X and more importantly develop the next flight simulator in the series. Dovetail Games released Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition in December of that same year.
During the lead-up to the release of FSX Steam Edition, we had been hearing about the plans Dovetail Games had for the future of flight simulation. In a press release Dovetail Games stated they were investigating new concepts in the area of flight simulation and expected to bring a new release to market sometime in 2015. Well…the ball dropped in Times Square and no “new concept” in the area of flight simulation from Dovetail was produced. But we all know that software developers often make plans and then delays occur.
Anyway, the Dovetail Games Flight School is actually a good sign (and a good thing for our hobby). First, it proves that Dovetail Games is capable of developing something of their own related to flight simulation and Second, I’m hopeful the success of this product will further convince them of the popularity of our hobby.
I’m traveling on business at the moment and won’t be home until this weekend. But I have purchased Dovetail Games Flight School and will spend time with it in the coming days/weeks and will further review it. From what I’ve seen on various Twitch live streams is the product is good for the price. Dovetail Games Flight School is available from Steam for $14.99 USD.
During a few of these live streams I saw comments from viewers complaining about the level of detail in the ground textures etc. Folks, this is a $15 piece of software. The purpose is to teach you the fundamentals of flight. You can’t expect Dovetail Games Flight School to include Orbx level of detail. Also, some were complaining that the airports featured in Dovetail Games Flight School were out of date. Well…most likely the airport textures are a copy/paste from FSX. Again, this IS NOT A BIG DEAL! Again, from what I’ve witnessed in several Twitch streams, Dovetail Games Flight School is value for money.
In closing, what are my expectations of Dovetail Games Flight School? After all, I’ve been flying computer based flight simulators since the early 1980’s. Well…I want to learn more. I want to further polish my skills to further enhance my realism through simulation efforts. I’ll be sure to provide an update, “First Look” type blog posting in due time.
Well…I must turn in now. I have an early start tomorrow. Remember, if you enjoy flight simulation and are interested in joining a mature and relaxed virtual airline, please visit virtual Air Logistics. virtual Air Logistics is a virtual airline I started back in 2013. virtual Air Logistics, a different kind of virtual airline for a different kind of virtual pilot.
Until next time…
Many Happy Landings!
The Eagle has landed…the good ole, and reliable United States Postal Service (USPS) “We Deliver” did their job just as the tracking number I received indicated and delivered my CSIO’s SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter on Saturday. You may remember from a piece I wrote in April that I backed their Kickstarter program and as part of being an official backer would receive a shifter sometime in May. I’ll admit, the wait has had elements of my childhood in the days leading up to Christmas and wondering what would be under the tree when I awoke on Christmas morning. Ahhhhhhh Ok…let me get back to reality now.
If you’ve had your head buried in the sand over the past several months AND not been paying attention to the recent ATS and ETS2 trucking news, then perhaps you’re completely out of the loop regarding what a CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter is, what it does, how you can get one and most importantly IF and WHY you should own one for yourself. Well…I’m going to break these things down for you in what I hope will be an easy to understand read. Here goes….
What is this thing?
The CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter started out as an idea (and a rather good one at that) by the CSIO Technologies team. These guys wanted to bring to market a piece of hardware which would truly place us behind the wheel, or better yet behind the gear shift of a semi truck. And remarkably they did just that! But trust in the fact they just didn’t crank out a replica shifter from a 3D printer. Oh heck no! These guys have used the genuine article. The shifter housing is 100% the real deal and what you would find if you crawled into the cab of a semi running an 18 speed Eaton Fuller transmission. Sounds easy right?
Unfortunately for us simmers, the real deal found in a semi truck uses pneumatic hoses and not electric cables. So the talented folks at CSIO Technologies designed a small USB interface which would be fully contained inside the shifter housing. Their goal was to provide us something we’d all be proud to own and use and they certainly got this right!
The CSIO SKRS shifter mounts snugly and securely onto a Logitech G25/G27/G29 or Thrustmaster TH8RS/TH8A shifter. One small USB cable (provided) then connects into an available USB port on your PC and after making a few changes in either ATS or ETS2, you’ll soon find yourself manually shifting gears in the big rig of your choice as you truck down the open highway.
My First Impressions
My style of simulation game play has always been to enhance it as much as possible. I have hundreds of dollars invested in hardware to enhance my flight simulation experience. When flying the PMDG 737 or 777, I almost rarely need to use the keyboard and mouse. I have hardware modules to control my NAV and COM radios, I have hardware modules to control the autopilot and flight navigation systems and of course I use a flight yoke and rudder pedals. Likewise, I have the Logitech G27 wheel, pedals and shifter to enhance my “Realism through Simulation” efforts with American Truck Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2 and Farming Simulator 15. Driving or flying using only mouse and keyboard is just simply not an option for me. Each of the games I play are SIMULATORS. So having said that, it’s no wonder I would find the CSIO SKRS shifter a must have for my setup.
While it’s been a long time since I held a Class A CDL (issued in the Great State of Texas), the CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter felt comfortable in my hand. Of course it should. As previously stated…this is the real deal! But I must almost admit that I pretty much drove my ATS and ETS2 trucks with automatic transmissions. The reason for this was because I just found the process of shifting gears (especially simulating an 18 speed transmission) to be un-natural. I tried setting up buttons on my G27 shifter to emulate the high/low and splitter functionality. But it just didn’t feel right. So I gave up and returned my truck to an automatic transmission.
In the coming weeks (perhaps month or so) the initial setup will be much easier and actually almost plug and play. SCS has officially backed the shifter and have plans to add the necessary adaptions to make the setup easier. Until this happens, you will need to make a few edits to the profile controls.sii files. But everything is explained in the very well produced CSIO YouTube videos found here. The changes required on my system mirrored 100% of what was discussed in the video and everything functioned as described.
As you can see from the image below, I’ve installed the shifter onto my Logitech G27 shifter as described. I spent about two hours over the weekend driving in ATS multiplayer both learning the correct shifting methods and having a lot of fun. As those of us who already use a wheel, pedals and shifter setup know just how much these items immerse us into the simulation….this shifter knob takes it even higher. Yes absolutely, you can enjoy ATS or even ETS2 just using a mouse and keyboard. You can improve on that slightly by using a game controller such as an XBox type controller. But throw this CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter onto a Logitech shifter (with wheel and pedals) and just about the only thing missing is that sweet smell of diesel exhaust. In other words, this setup takes ATS from being a video game into a hard core American Truck SIMULATOR.
Unfortunately, I realized I would need to change my setup just slightly in time. I’ve got to get rid of the rolling chair I currently use or place a carpet under it. Trying to stay coordinated while using clutch, brake, accelerator (plus shifting gears) all while trying to keep my chair from rolling backwards is a real pain. Not to mention it seriously breaks my sense of realism. The other thing is I plan to mount the Logitech shifter on a lower table or platform of some kind so my shifter is a little lower than it currently is. Mounting this at the same height as the steering wheel makes the overall height of the knob much higher than the default shifter knob and I’d rather it be just a little lower.
Am I satisfied?
Do you need the CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter?
Heck yea…Especially if you already have either the Logitech or Thrustmaster hardware. This will allow you to take the simulation to the next level. This is truly an awesome hardware addition and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to back such an amazing product. I can’t wait to learn what other items the CSIO team will come up with next. As a matter of fact, the CSIO.tech team posted a new YouTube video showing an EasyJake addon for the SKRS. Yes Please!!!!!
Want to learn more about the CSIO SKRS Eaton Fuller Style USB Shifter? Just visit the CSIO.Tech website.
As always thank you for reading my blog. You can follow me on Twitter and also check out my mature virtual trucking company, Grizzly Bear Trucking. We pride ourselves in realistic simulation operations on multiplayer and single player. We are a relaxed group of enthusiasts who enjoy following the rules of the open road and would welcome others who share this same desire.
Until next time…
What does 940551169900056091xxxx mean? No, it’s not an international telephone number. No, it’s not the winning lottery numbers (close) and no, it’s not my IQ. That number is the United States Parcel Service Priority Mail tracking number for my Eaton Fuller style USB shift knob which I backed in the CSIO Kickstarter campaign last month. The reason why this number is close to being a winning lottery number is the fact that the package is due to arrive at my residence tomorrow (Saturday, 21 May). Woohoo….
I received the shipping notice and the CSIO folks posted the above picture on Twitter with the tweet reading “Last of the @Kickstarter s going out right now!” Yep, one of those USPS Priority Mail packages will find its way to my home in Denver on Saturday (hopefully).
I’ve see a few of the famous (and some not so famous) YouTube folks demo and showcase their shifter knob in recent days. From what I’ve seen, the shifter will most certainly live up to my expectation. You can expect a full review of the shifter sometime next week right here on GrizzlyBearSims Planes, Trains and Automobiles (and Farming Too!) Realism through Simulation blog.
Until next time…
If you can’t find it, grind it!
Yes…you are reading this correctly and NO it’s not a delayed blog posting which should have been uploaded on April 1st (April Fools Day). I’m actually starting to consider purchasing X-Plane version 10.
For the sake of bringing everyone up to speed, I’ve been flying computer simulations since the early to mid 1980’s. Yes…I said 1980’s. It all started with the Commodore 64. As I moved into the world of PC’s in the early 1990’s, I began playing the Microsoft Flight Simulator version and owned each version up to FSX.
A few years ago when Lockheed Martin came onto the scene with P3D v1.0 I passed on it. I didn’t actually take the plunge into P3D until version 2.3. I moved up to version 2.4 and finally version 2.5 as they were each released. During this timeframe, I was mostly using P3D, but still had FSX installed and would occasionally fire it up.
When P3D launched version 3, that was around the time that I also decided to move from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and in doing so I decided to do a complete rebuild of my gaming system. When Windows 10 came online, I installed P3D version 3.0 and never touched the FSX disks. They still sit in my bookcase to this day.
More than just an investment
My history with FSX and P3D is more than just a financial investment. While it is true I probably have several thousand dollars invested in hardware and software (add-on aircraft, airport scenery, weather etc. etc.) it is also about what I’m truly used to. Since P3D for the most part is just a enhanced version of FSX, the functional aspects of the application (and my experience) goes back a long time (almost 10 years). Making the move from FSX/P3D to X-Plane is (in my opinion) would be a financial sacrifice, it also will very much be a mental sacrifice. But why would I even want to consider this move?
Looking for stability
While it is true LM has made significant advances in controlling the memory beast that comes with a complex 32 bit application like P3D. Especially when factoring in some of the beautiful add-on scenery and complex aircraft systems, but P3D just remains so darn fickle. After you spend hours and hours and even more hours installing P3D, all the add-on airports, add-on airports etc. there just are no guarantees that some future Microsoft Windows update won’t cause everything to explode. Ok…perhaps not literally. But you understand what I’m saying.
Many (even including myself) were disappointed to learn that P3D v. 3 was not 64 bit and even more upsetting to learn that Lockheed Martin may not even have any plans at all to develop a 64 bit version of P3D. But is 64 bit the end-all, be all? No, but it does go a long way. But as I stated last year, IF Lockheed Martin developed a 64 bit version of P3D…this will cause a ripple effect throughout the flight sim community and would most certainly require all 3rd party add-ons to also be re-developed into 64 bit versions. As there is no magic 32 to 64 bit conversion process…the simple fact that I purchased (as an example) an Orbx scenery 5 years ago for FSX and have since enjoyed a P3D v2.x AND a P3D 3.x version (with no additional cost) would most certainly be a thing of the past. Said in another way, the day a 64 bit version of P3D releases…that is when we all start over.
800 Pound Gorilla
Yes…there is an 800 pound gorilla in the room which we all just tend to ignore. If we don’t look at it, then it really isn’t there. Right? What am I talking about? Well…I’m talking about those four letters that make up that very nasty word. NO….not that word. I’m talking about EULA. The vast majority of P3D users are breaking the EULA each and every day. Most of the “famous” YouTubers and Twitch streamers are doing it in plain sight. Yes….even yours truly is breaking the law according to those four letters EULA. By the way, EULA stands for End User License Agreement. It basically is a legally binding document which tells us just how we can use the P3D software.
It should come as no surprise that I would bring this up. I’ve been talking about the P3D EULA since the days of v1.x. It was the EULA which kept me from purchasing P3D until version 2.3 and then I knew I was in the wrong, but there was nothing stopping me. With version 2.x I only owned the academic license. With version 3, I did plop down the $199 and went with the professional license. But as I’ve said over and over and over. I don’t fit into any of the license categories and as previously stated, most don’t either. The EULA clearly states that Prepar3D is not to be used, offered, sold or distributed through markets or channels for use as a personal/consumer entertainment product.
We’ve been fortunate. At this very moment you can visit the Prepar3d.com website and you can purchase P3D v3 (or even v2.x) without the need to prove you are a student, professional or developer. Try to do this with any other form of software which offers discounts for students? Yea…I think you are starting to get my point.
Actually…while I’m not lawyer (and I didn’t sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night either), Lockheed Martin is actually in violation of their agreement with Microsoft by even allowing a non-student, non-professional and non-developer to purchase the software. I suppose there may be some small gray area where Lockheed Martin isn’t actually marketing P3D for personal use. Also, the reason why I purchased the professional version of P3D v3 was based on the following “Acceptable uses for Prepar3D include Simulation, Learning and Training. While I’m not using P3D to train, I do firmly believe that flight simulation is “not just a video game”, so I’m simulating the activities of a professional pilot and I’m learning the proper and correct procedures required to simulate the aircraft I enjoy flying. But this is a HUGE play on words. Does the glove fit????
Bottom line….while I have a huge investment in FSX/P3D which I’m utilizing in P3D v.3.x. There are no guarantees I’ll continue to enjoy this. What scares me the most? While Microsoft could have forced Lockheed to tighten down their selling practices, it is Dovetail which makes me more nervous. After all, Dovetail purchased the rights to redistribute FSX via Steam AND what ever Dovetails “New” entry into the Flight Sim world will be, could suffer a financial impact due to P3D.
Change is Good????
Finally, I suppose I’m intrigued by the element of change. Some suggest that X-Plane has a much more realistic flight dynamics as compared to FSX or P3D. For me, this is not really as important. While I appreciate the “As Real As It Gets” experience with FSX/P3D, the fact it may lack slightly to X-Plane isn’t enough reason to make the change. But having access to different aircraft types which may not be available for P3D v3.x could interest me enough to make the move. While I absolutely love my PMDG 737NGX, I also very much miss flying my MD80, Boeing 727 just to name a few. From what I’ve found in my initial research, X-Plane has a very serious following of aircraft developers who are doing their part to keep these old birds flying in the virtual skies.
At this point in time I’m giving X-Plane some really serious thought. I more than likely will purchase via Steam so I have the option to apply for a refund if I find it doesn’t live up to my expectations. I’ll be certain to keep you all posted on my decision and my progress should I decide to pull the trigger. If anything, it will be good for me to try X-Plane for the sake of my simulation blogging efforts. After all, X-Plane (for Windows) has been around for as long as FSX and it is very much still in active development.
Until next time…
I’ve had my head buried in American Truck Simulator (ATS) and Farming Simulator 15 (FS15) the past week and completely missed the release of the new Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 Performance DLC and game update to 22.214.171.124. While I new it was coming, the release date I saw a few weeks ago did come and go. But we all know that is just how it goes. I would much prefer game developers take their time and even delay launch/release to ensure a much more stable release.
The Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 Performance DLC is available via the Steam website for $4.99 US and includes several new features including new cars, supercharged engines, new shop with performance parts, dyno with chip tuning, engine swaps and the somewhat anticipated 1/4 mile track.
What I like
I actually love this game. It’s a great relaxing game and I also enjoying streaming my game play on Twitch. I prefer streaming this over ATS/ETS2 or FS15 simply because I can better keep an eye on my chat stream. So making the $5 investment to help keep this game alive was a no-brainer. I like the fact we received several new cars, new parts and new shop features.
What I dislike
As I’ve mentioned a few times when I’ve talked about CMS15, I was rather late showing up to the CMS15 party. I’ve only owned CMS15 for a few months, but since those first days I’ve been hearing about the 1/4 mile track features. To be honest with my readers, from those early days I’ve asked myself “Why”? Why does this game need a 1/4 mile track? The short answer is….it doesn’t!
Car Mechanic Simulator 15 is…..yep…you guessed it. It is a car mechanic simulator. Now I know some will say that the two go hand in hand. Yes, you can stretch your imagination to make it so…but in the present state of the game, I just feel the 1/4 mile track is just a gimmick. Part of the reason I feel this way is because CMS15 has no support for controllers such as the awesome Logitech G27. But this is understandable considering this is a MECHANIC Simulator.
Anyway…have you tried the new Performance DLC? What do you think?
Until next time…
I know I’ve been extremely critical of Bus Simulator 16 since it was released over two months ago. Since that time (2nd March), I’ve only accumulated 20 hours in the game. If you so desire, you can read the content I’ve written about BS16. However, I would like to direct your attention to the last entry from 7 April which discussed a previous update. Today, I’m actually very pleased to say that StillAlive Studios finally….fixed an issue which should have never been an issue at all in an update which they released on 26 April. You can read all about that here.
You know….I can (and often) overlook little bugs and quirks in a piece of software. As I’ve stated before, I actually work for a large software company. I understand some of the challenges development and support teams face in keeping customers happy and providing some balance between what can and can’t be done technically through software. However, the main reason why I only have 20 hours of time invested in this game is because of one issue which I viewed as a complete showstopper in my ability to balance realism through simulation. Of course, I’m talking about the broken GPS functionality that StillAlive Studios FINALLY fixed with this update.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll go ahead and repeat myself now. The issue with the GPS should have never made it to production. There is no GPS on the face of the planet (that I’m aware of) that doesn’t auto-rotate the map and show the arrow always pointing up. My Garmin, my Magellan and even my smartphone all feature an auto-rotating map so the arrow points up. While SCS Software (the folks behind ATS and ETS2) certainly have some small bugs and quirks with their software…both ATS and ETS2 feature rotating maps. So therefore, Bus Simulator 16 should have never been released. But after two months, on what I believe is the third software update made available to BS16, this issue has been resolved. Finally!
More about the Update
This update (again released on 26 April) is the 3rd update made available to Bus Simulator 16 since it was released on March 2nd. This new update includes the following changes:
New Content: 5 brand new missions and decals
Increase angle limits of in-cockpit camera
Adjustable sitting positions
Assign camera centering to button
GPS auto map rotation
Sensitivity adjustments for keyboard steering
Changes for Nvidia graphic cards in laptops
Ability to rename bus routes (name and number)
Turn signal indicator adjustments
Curve Look (camera moves and follows as you turn into a curve)
Option to disable cashier
Of course, I’m truly most happy about the GPS fix. This being either broken or poorly designed really had a significant impact on my realism through simulation. But the other item I’m almost equally excited about is the option to disable the cashier. I’ve disabled the cashier option and my bus company now requires either exact change, pre-paid bus passes or you can stand on the sidewalk. I really grew bored with making change.
Right now I’m really spending most of my gaming time playing American Truck Simulator (I’ve opened a virtual trucking company) and Farming Simulator 15. But I will (now that the GPS is fixed) spend a little more time with BS16. What about you?
Until next time…
Since the release of American Truck Sim, I’ve been driving the default or in-game trucks. Like many others, I’ve added sound mods to get a better and more true-to-life sound from these trucks. It was quite disappointing the first day I played ATS to sound the horn on my brand new Peterbilt and it sounds like beep-beep instead of the HONK-HONK that it should have. I still tend to switch between my Peterbilt 579 and the Kenworth W900. However, I was out looking at a few of the mod websites and I saw this Freightliner Classic which had been re-worked and had pretty positive feedback in the comment section. So I decided to try it out.
Like the Kenworth W900, it has that classic truck look. The pictures below show the base truck as it comes from the dealership (it can be purchased from any Kenworth dealership). I upgraded the engine and transmission to better suit my needs (more power).
The interior is nice and clean. It features an on-dash SatNav and digital gear indicator just below.
I hauled a load of pipe from Los Angeles, CA to Ely, NV and she handled well.
What is the Featured Mod and what does it do?
This mod is the Freightliner Classic Truck mod for American Truck Simulator. The mod adds this truck to your list of purchasable trucks and can be found at any Kenworth dealership.
How can I get this mod?
The Freightliner Classic Truck mod mod for American Truck Simulator is available here.
How do I install this mod?
Please see my blog post “How to Install Mods in American Truck Simulator” for complete instructions.
Until next time…
You’ve probably heard of virtual airlines, have you heard about virtual trucking companies? With the increasing popularity of American Truck Simulator (ATS) and Euro Truck Simulator 2 (ETS2), groups of likeminded enthusiasts are getting together and forming virtual trucking companies to further enhance the simulation game play.
I’ve formed Grizzly Bear Trucking to provide the virtual trucking experience to those who desire a mature and friendly atmosphere. If you are interested in enhancing your ATS and ETS2 simulation game play and would like to do that as a Grizzly Bear Trucking owner/operator…then please read more about the requirements and submit an application.
Thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing you on the open road.