One of the things I’ve missed about P3D is AI traffic. While flying on PilotEdge fills the skies with aircraft (drones and those piloted by real people), the default AI system in X-Plane simply is not very good and is a CPU hog to boot. So I’ve followed the release of Classic Jet Simulations’ World Traffic 3 with interest. I was finally able to download it yesterday and begin working with it. It has a small learning curve, which is no problem, but my initial impression was that it was too hard on frame rates – I felt I was losing 5-10 FPS. But after some more time with it today I was able to enjoy KTPA filled with taxing, departing, and arriving aircraft and Tampa-area skies full of aircraft en-route, while holding to my usual 30 FPS. I’ll try to post a video tomorrow, but it seems like a winner so far.
First-person view videos are not everyone’s cup of tea. Some love them, and others find they make them nauseous. I like them, and try to make one every six months or so. Here’s the latest, a short hop from Santa Barbara to San Louis Obispo. We make this flight on PilotEdge, and with few interruptions I recorded the entire flight. It also highlights the latest xEnviro release, and the modified lights.txt configuration I posted about earlier. Finally, this is X-Plane 11.1beta4.
There’s a modified lights.txt file in the XP11 forum at x-plane.org, and I must say it produces some stunning results with no performance hit so far as I can tell. Thanks to Dave for pointing me to the file, and here’s the link (the file is about half-way down on the first page).
I shot this quick and dirty with my iPhone last night, so there’s no audio and about 20 seconds of the 4:21 are out of focus. But you’ll get the gist. It really transforms the already spectacular X-Plane night environment, so much so that when I first looked I said, “Wow.”
As I’ve mentioned, we moved to Tampa about two months ago, so we have spent the past two weeks dealing with Hurricane Irma. Several readers had wished us well in the comments and via email, and we appreciated it very much. We did have to evacuate, and ended up on the go from Panama City to Raleigh to Savannah, but we returned Wednesday afternoon and finally had power restored last night. Our home, and the sim, survived unscathed. We’ve had a lot of cleanup to do, but we count ourselves very fortunate. Thank you again for the good thoughts.
That’s what I did today – finally went flying, settling in to a new CFI, new airspace, and new aircraft. Here’s the new bird, a Piper Archer II:
More horsepower, and I could tell. Also slightly different avionics and a Garmin 430 GPS, which is new to me as well. Today was a get-to-know you ride, and once in the air I wasn’t as rusty as I had feared with the exception of steep turns and ground reference maneuvers, but the landing was very comfortable. The new CFI is a stickler, which I like, and I learned a few things along the way as well.
Perhaps most exciting is the airspace:
KSPG Albert Whitted is a radar-equipped Class Delta, so I’m talking to ground and tower. It sits under the Tampa Bravo, and is close to the MacDill AFB and St. Petersburg-Clearwater Deltas as well. Lots of traffic in the area, including the occasional Airbus or C-17 passing through. Combine that with the field being directly next to the St. Pete skyline and the bay / gulf overwater flying, and it’s a whole new type of flying altogether. And I really enjoyed it, including keeping visual contact with the Army UH-60 Blackhawk departing KSPG as I was on downwind. Overall it was a really cool flight, and I can’t wait to get re-soloed and continue my real world training.
The next step is to get a solid Archer II profile running in the sim. That will be tonight’s project, time permitting.
First startup in the new room …