Hello again people, and yet again it appears that I have failed to add anything to here for an absolute age (almost 2 months!) So, I think you people may want to see a bit of what I’ve been up to!
Firstly, this post is almost, if not entirely, all about X-Plane 10, and there isn’t much surprise there. I was one of the first people to download the demo, some time in late November (see why you haven’t heard from me since then?) and I pre-ordered it late that very same day, as soon I was confident that it could run on my computer.
I almost instantaneously fell in love with the default 747, with it’s amazing interior and 3d ‘pit, and that was before I looked outside! My views on it just got better and better the more I explored the small area around KSEA (the default airport and only area included in the 10 – minute demo). However, I soon realised that just having the default United livery wasn’t good enough for when I wanted to fly around the world. After talking to several different people, I contacted the brilliant Jrollon (creator of the 744) and soon after, a paint-kit was added to the next update of v10.
So then, I immediately began work on a Qantas livery. At this point, I had still not received v10, so I got very little testing / screenshot-taking time, however it came out pretty good, if a little dirty (something I didn’t get a chance to fix until quite a while later). Unbelievably, I also discovered that the registration I chose happened to be of a 747 I had actually been on while returning from Australia!
You can take a peek at the livery below (note the screenshot is of the dirty version) and get it here: http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=15297
Oh yeah, click on any screenshot to enlarge, they’re big!
By some miracle, I then managed to get my second 744 livery completed the day after! That time, I made a South African Airways (SAA) livery, and although SAA no longer fly 744s, I really like their livery and so I thought I may as well have a good crack at it! I was hoping to update this livery to make it cleaner too, but I somehow lost all the work files for it and so can’t clean it up, which is a shame. Again, there is a screenshot below, and you can find the file here: http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=15302
After the previous two liveries, I went for the most requested livery, which was a bit trickier that my other efforts so far, but was not something I saw as being too tricky. That livery was, of course, Virgin Atlantic’s (VA) newest livery. While creating this livery, I also got round to finally clearing out the dirt, making this livery become (apparently) a favourite to many! Here it is: http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=15346
And a screenshot:
Now a (not-so) little digression (there is more on liveries to come). As I was designing the VA livery, my copy of X-Plane 10 finally arrived! I also got some nice payware MSFS Heathrow scenery, which is unbelievable. Here are some great screenshots I took:
looking over terminal 5C and B
and the view towards London from the tower, with T3 at the bottom, T1 in the middle and maintenance hangars in the background.
While I’m at it, here are a couple of screens of the VA 747 taking off from Heathrow. Both of these I utterly adore, by the way.
Now, back to liveries (however there is more Heathrow later!)
As the VA livery was a bit of a pain, and also rather a strain on the eyes, I got going with the very simple Air France (AF) livery. This was probably the easiest livery I’ve made for the 747 by a long way. As usual, screenshot below and you can get it here: http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=15355
Oh, and this may look like a good landing at St. Maarten, but to the (now decapitated) beachgoers it probably wasn’t.
Now my most recent was a bit more complicated, this being a Lufthansa livery. I was pretty happy with this one too, in fact I’d happily put it second, if not tied, behind my VA livery [note from the future: This is my most popular (and controversial) creation ever!]. Y’all probably know the drill by now, so here it is: http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=15375
You can also see a bit more of the northern extremity of Heathrow T3 in this screenshot, along with the control tower.
Oh, and while on the topic, I might as well share this screenshot I took for a fellow developer while testing their paint.
Right, well that’s that for liveries so far. For the last week or so I’ve been enjoying flying and actually using X-plane more than just making liveries on it. Firstly, I decided to get some practice flying in a more realistic / proper fashion. My first flight was from Heathrow (EGLL) to Manchester (EGCC) in a Virgin 787 (my excuse for such a short flight in this plane was that it was a placement flight). I made some, er, interesting discoveries on that flight about the behaviour of the 787 in v10, the main one being that the FD (autopilot) seems to go a little mental… Otherwise, it was a relatively uneventful flight. The landing was a bit odd as I touched down halfway along the runway, fortunately I only had 5 people on board and only a tiny amount of fuel so my stopping distance was tiny! Here are some screens of the approach and landing.
The last image is me towing the 787 away from the terminal, if you were wondering they are all in chronological order.
After arriving at Manchester, I took off the next day in my Piper Saratoga (with custom personal livery) to Liverpool, to check out some scenery I got for the airport there. It was a mostly uneventful flight again, it seems that the Saratoga works almost perfectly in v10, the only problems being that the GPS doesn’t work (which is fortunate as I don’t know how to use it), and that heading indicators other than the magnetic compass stay put at 0, which is annoying. Other than getting ever so slightly lost due to previously mentioned heading bug, the flight went without a hitch, and I got a great picture of my landing, in which I pretty much touched down in exactly the right place, bang on the centreline (although it was a bit of a rough touchdown).
Speaking of the Saratoga, when I first got X-Plane 10 I had a quick peek around Sheffield ([with]the buildings I
got converted from MSFS), which I have to say looks pretty cool with all the real roads; I found home in no time!
Now after all of that, I noticed that tree were some AI-optimised aircraft on x-plane.org, which had little to no hit on fps. having not used the AI thanks to the huge drops in fps before, I eagerly downloaded the 727 and 747 packs (and also later the A320 pack). I’m really pleased as the things actually work, now I have 4 747s, 4 A320s, and a 727 flying merrily(ish) around. First I tried them in Heathrow, but due to the way my scenery for Heathrow is in the sim I got some… interesting results. To those of you who understand, the apt.dat only has runways and ramp starts marked out; to those who don’t (ahem, Christian) then the file which tells X-Plane about the airport only tells it where the runways and ‘parking spots’ are. Because of this, no taxiways are defined and thus AI aircraft go straight from the parking space they start at to the runway along the most direct route, then taxi along to the end, turn around and take off. However, if you have several planes along the runway at once, this happens:
In that last image, there are 2 aircraft already in the air which took off less than 30 seconds apart… total insanity!
I also discovered that AI planes love pointless go-arounds; both of these did ’em!
So then, after that minor disappointment, I took my search for proper AI to Dubai (I also had some WIP, untextured Dubai buildings including the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world) to try out), and got exactly the same results there… And when I took off from a seemingly empty runway, I apparently did so the wrong way, and didn’t even notice this guy until I pulled back on the stick! He was coming into land, and fortunately was still not too near the runway, so I managed to climb away. Just. The blob you can see in front of my plane (the Emirates 787) is another AI plane doing a go-around…
Fortunately, the Dubai buildings turned out alright, but the same can’t be said for the terminal windows which, instead of being transparent, came out an odd blue colour… I’ll have to cope.
So then, After the last two disappointments I decided to do one thing I had been trying to avoid; go to the default airport, Seattle-Tacoma International (KSEA). Now I knew this place would work as it had been set up for AI already (it is the default scenery that came in the box remember!), but I was amazed at how this place looked with HDR lighting at night. As an added bonus, the AI worked brilliantly! Now then, just look at these screenshots.
I still don’t know how to place light sources into scenery, but as soon as I do Heathrow, Dubai, Manchester, and generally all my UK airports are getting them! Talking about Manchester, I’ll be trying AI there soon too! keep an eye out for that, it’ll be undoubtably chaotic!
I think that’s all for now, and hopefully I’ll keep up the posts on here better! That is if my broken wrist doesn’t hinder things too much…
Merry Christmas and a happy new year,