Farewell Eustace Pharmer

It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform those of you who regularly read my blog that our dear, dear friend….Eustace Pharmer aka Atomic67-Gaming recently passed away.  Like many of you, I met and got to know EP via his YouTube Farming Simulator Channel.  While EP was not responsible for me starting my own channel, he was truly the inspiration and mentor in which I continued to strive to be in my own efforts of developing online content.  While EP wasn’t actively producing content on his main channel, he had been actively working on a new project where he released daily YouTube Shorts featuring daily inspirational messages on his Percy Wyatt Relaxation channel

As we all know, EP was a perfectionist in all that he allowed us to see and often times we waited anxiously for his next installment of what ever he was producing.  But it was his shear talent and love for all of us that he put into each and every production he released on his channel. For me personally, each time I received a notification of new content from his channel, I knew it would be absolute gold.  However, his greatest love was in helping others.  Whether it was helping someone understand various elements with the games he played or helping someone start their own channel, he did it because he loved doing it.  This was his true passion and the legacy in which he leaves behind. 

While there are many content creators who were inspired through EP’s efforts, I’m lucky to have been able to call him a friend and was fortunate enough to be able to meet him face to face on one occasion about 5 years ago.  EP and his wife were flying through Denver on their way out to Las Vegas and we met up at the airport for lunch.

In the 8+ years I knew EP, I got to know the real man behind the YouTube personality and to be honest….there really wasn’t much of a difference.  EP was a loving husband and father and just an all-round good man.  Thank you for your friendship and all the kindness you shared with me over the years.  You will be dearly missed….but NEVER forgotten. 

Requiescat in pace amicus meus

Jerry

Why We Sim

A few weeks ago I was perusing through the various social media platforms and groups I belong to and discovered a discussion taking place regarding why simulation based games are so popular.  One individual in particular was (in my opinion) trolling the group and making various references that simulation based games are the absolute most boring titles he had ever witnessed and just couldn’t understand why people would spend countless hours playing these types of games.  He referenced two which I myself enjoy, Flight Simulator and Farming Simulator. 

One point he attempted to make was if you wanted to farm or fly, just go do it in real life.  He went on to compare the costs (specifically with flight sim) where one could easily pay for the lessons and time to obtain a PPL or Private Pilots License.  I attempted to follow the discussions for a few days but finally lost interest as it was pretty clear to me he really had no clue what he was talking about and most likely was a kid just trying to get a reaction from the group.  Anyway….

The gaming industry today is big and growing even larger.  If Google is correct, the total industry size includes 3.2 billion players and some $197 billion in revenue during the year 2021 and the forecast for 2022 was expected to hit $200bn.  Needless to say, there’s something for everyone when it comes to video game content. 

As for me personally, the reasons I enjoy simulation based games is most likely not unique.  While at one time in my life I had a dream of learning to fly and obtaining my PPL, this just simply isn’t possible any more.  However, through the awesome Microsoft Flight Simulator platform I can fly anywhere in the world from the comfort of my mancave and enjoy each and every minute while doing it.  I can role play anything from a bush pilot flying into the Alaskan wilderness all the way to a commercial airline captain flying into small or large international airports around the world.  And with the beauty of MSFS, I can fly into a large airport in my jetliner and then depart in a small single engine aircraft and spend time sightseeing around the region. 

I’ve known many fellow flight simmers who have used their virtual experience to propel them into various aviation careers such as private and commercial pilots and air traffic control.  Many pilots I’ve known through the years continue to use the various flight simulation platforms (in some degree) to brush up on their skills.  Likewise, I’ve read about individuals who have come of age with ATS or ETS2 and have used that experience to take up a career in trucking/transportation.  I also know of a few individuals who have started working on farms because of their interest and passion from Farming Simulator.

The level of immersion has always been a number one requirement for me in any simulation based gaming title.  I’ve discussed many times before that in my opinion the bar has been set fairly high by the flight simulation genre as what truly will define any other simulation gaming title.  I’ve discovered in the past where developers have labeled their titles as “Simulation”, but found many reasons why that misses the mark greatly.  Any simulation based title must provide an “As Real As It Gets” experience to truly immerse me into that virtual world.   

For the simulation based titles I play the most (Flight Sim, ATS/ETS2 and Farming Simulator) the level of immersion is high enough to allow me to completely escape the stresses of the real world for an hour or more as I simulate the life of a pilot, a trucker or a farmer in my own virtual world.  And it is for this very reason why I sim. 

Why do you sim? 

Thanks for taking the time to read.  Until next time…

Happy Simming!!!

Jerry

Reader Question–FPS Concerns

One of the most common questions I receive from readers of my blog is regarding FPS improvements in Flight Sim and in recent months (for obvious reasons) these questions are concerning MSFS or Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020).  Just in the past few days I’ve received three different emails asking for pointers on just how to squeeze out a few more FPS on the platform.  While I’ve provided a few tips/answers to these emails already, I’ve selected one of those email questions to feature for this article.  Let’s go!

Hello Jerry, I’m really struggling to achieve 60 FPS within MSFS when flying either the PMDG 737 or the Fenix A320.  My hardware setup is not that much different from what you are showing on your blog site and I’ve also attempted to match your MSFS settings.  The best I seem to be able to achieve is about 35-40FPS with mostly clear skies.  But this number drops down to 25-30 FPS in cloudy/stormy conditions and about the best I can achieve on the ground is in the mid 20’s.  I’m fairly new to flight sim with MSFS being my first introduction.  I don’t seem to have these issues when flying the default Cessna and my other games also seem to be fine with 60+ FPS.  What gives?  JP

Thank you JP for your email.  First, allow me to state for the record that I don’t get a consistent 60 FPS in MSFS with my posted settings.  I never have.  For many years I used to really stress over this fact until I finally realized that within flight sim a steady 60 FPS isn’t necessary and second to that, is really, really difficult to achieve especially when flying the more complex airliners like PMDG.  On my current hardware configuration, really the only way one could achieve a steady 60 FPS will require the graphics settings to be turned down really low and that’s just not something I’m willing to do, nor do I feel is necessary.

One of the best solutions I can provide to you is fairly simple.  Setup your sim the way you like it, which will provide you a smooth visual experience and simply forget about the actual FPS number.  I realize this is probably the advice you were not wanting to hear, but trust me….once you get MSFS dialed in where you have stable visuals and just simply ignore the FPS number, your overall enjoyment factor will increase. 

Over the past couple of decades I’ve used all flight sim platforms from FSX, P3D and now MSFS.  I’ve always been somewhat behind when it comes to hardware specs.  Today, my gaming machine is approaching 5 years old.  When it was built and for a few months I perhaps could have considered it the top of the line at that time, but that’s no longer the case.  Even after upgrading my GPU to the 12 GB 3080 Ti back in the late summer of 2022, I’m still running an older spec CPU which went into the machine in 2018.  These specs just aren’t capable of running MSFS at a steady 60 FPS or more with the desired visual settings I require in the sim. 

Having said all that, what I can say is based on my current hardware and my MSFS settings which I’ve posted, I have a steady sim with zero lag, zero stutter and all the beautiful eye-candy that I require in my sim when flying the PMDG or the Fenix.  Some may argue with me, but flight sim does not require a solid 60 FPS to be enjoyable. 

In closing, the Microsoft/Asobo team have made incredible progress with better maximizing the performance of the platform and I’m sure over time this will continue.  In addition, the Fenix team have done the same with even more work currently in progress.  The best advice I can give anyone reading this is to dial in your graphics settings to the point where you can achieve a stable experience with no lag and no stutter, then forget about the FPS number.  Once you’ve done this, I promise you can enjoy flight sim without the stress of chasing 60 FPS. 

Until next time…

Happy Flying!

Jerry

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