FSX Steam Edition
FSX Steam the grandad of all flight simulators maybe? Started as Microsoft Flight Simulator and went through a few various version, Microsoft no longer sell this but its in the hands of Dovetail games, famous for the Train Simulator Series.
In fact work origins of MicrosoftFlight Simulator started as far back as 1976! Lockheed Martin purchased the intellectual property for yhr ESP platform which is the commercial version of Flight Simulator X SP2. Based upon this ESP SOurce code Prepar3d or P3D was born and released in April 2011. A lot of FSX addons have compatibility with P3D as well making the transition from FSX to P3D very easy.
In 2014 Dovetail Games announced that Microsoft had granted them the rights to develop the next flight simulator. FSX now is available on Steam by dovetail games and makes use of Steam functionality in installation of add ons and now uses steam’s multiplayer facility instead of the Gamespy.
A good source for the various aircraft in FSX can be found in this PC Simulators video here.
Default FSX helicopters are tobe frank – not very realistic. The FSX flight model for helicopters is not accurate and does not model the Vortex Ring State (VRS) in helicopters at all. Fear not however as there is a payware addon which holds its own agains DCS and X-Plane helicopters called teh DODOSIM Bell 206. This is a highly realistic helicopter for FSX , if not the only realistic helicopter for FSX. It has varying diffculty levels from 1 to 5 so beginners can get started with helicopters. The other option to improve the helicopters in FSX is to use helicopter total realism to improve the physics of othe FSX helicopters. To found out more about this great utility for FSX and helicopter flight check out the hovercontrol.com link here.
Scenery can be downloaded or puchased from a huge variety of sources. FSX probably has the largest amount of various scenery avaiable of any simulator. 3rd Party developers as well as freeware developers have being developing scenery for use with FSX for decades. Some of the outstanding scenry makes include FTX OrbX Series which contain highly detailed scenery of various parts of the world. You are spoilt for choice with FSX when it comes to scenery available to purchase or download.
The below screenshots (used with permission from orbx) are a sample of the amazing scenery that can be added to FSX and P3D.
above : FTX global Scenery FSX
There are literally so many scenery addons that its impossible to list them all here but the ones we have looked at and used are
Ok the graphics can be awesome and realistic but FSX runs mainly on older DX9 technology, a DX10 preview was included and DX 10 can be used. FSX is greatly reliant on CPU and memory, therfore if you have a dual SLI or stateof the art graphics card is doesnt mean you will get awesome framerates. A Beefy CPU and lots of memory is a must for the Ultra Resolutions and even then on our mighty i7, 32GB Ram system with Nvidia GTX 980 SLI framerates could reach as low as 14 fps near highly detailed airports!.
There is also a utility called Steve;s DX 10 fixer which makes better use of DX technology,
this utility the majority of the issues in the FSX “DX10 Preview mode” and has allowed flight simmers to switch to DX10 and fly with shadows in the virtual cockpit.
Airports sceneries that use the FS9 SDK no longer appear as grey and untextured at night. Similarly legacy aircraft built with older SDKs no longer appear grey. This is shown in the composite picture above where the left hand side has DX10SF enabled. Aircraft shadows are both more accurate in placement and improved in quality. This utility is payware but for more information on this utility click here to find out more.
This depends on the aircraftm default aircraft have a good standard of cockpit functionality but for extreme realism the payware aircraft have it all. Good examples of accurate cockpit modelling and functionality include PMDG’s aircraft , Aerosoft and Captain Sim aircraft. In our tests we used the PMDG 737 and Aerosoft Airbus A320. A lot of the modernday aircraft for FSX Steam have 3D virtual cockpits which are compatible with TrackIR as well.
Again FSX probably has more weather options than any other sim. You can input realtime weather into the sim from a variety of various software. Weather components such as realistic clouds, sun and water textures make it hard to distinguish real life photos from computer generated imagery. Of all the products out ther we used REX Essentials plus Overdrive, whcih includes amazingly realistic looking clouds, a weather engine and a multitude of options to configure the weather, from the turbulence, size of clouds , strenght of winds and more. In our opinion a weather app is essential to make the sim more realistic, you will never go back to default weather once you try one of the commercially available weather genrating tools. For more information about weather engines see the following links:
FSX has plenty of single missions but again no lack of any career mode as such by default. However various 3rd parties provide products that allow you to have some sort of career mode. We havent tested these as yet at PC Simulators, a review may be released in the near future so we cannot really comment on how good or bad they are. You can find more information about heseaddons by clicking the links below:
Hundreds of various addons available, too numerous to mention but again probably the leading simulator for addons. One of our favorite addons is the FS DreamTeam’s Ground Services which features Fuel Trucks, Pushback vehicles to push the planes back from the gates. Another noteworthy addon is the FREE world of AI addon which adds various AI aircraft tflying around in your simulator world. This excellent addon is free and more info can be found here. EZDOK camera is another popular addon which allows you to create custom cameras, you can configure and create camers in the passenger compartment, cockpit , outside the aircraft and add camera shake to simulae vibrations etc. Its a great tool but we found that it can cause problems if you want to remove it as it writes to a lot of config files meaning your views can be messed up so this is not an addon for the casual flight simmer. Great when it works but difficult to remove cleanly.
Replay mode is available in FSX, but there is no option to save to a file format like MP4 or upload to youtube. If you have an NVIDIA card you can use shadowplay to record the replay into a movie format.
Legacy platform. FSX is 32 bit and made in 2006 when single core CPU optimization was all the rage.
Can be bought from Steam for a great price.
Beginner friendly. There is a flight school to help new simmers learn the ropes of flight.
Wide variety of freeware and payware of varying quality.
Prone to OOM or out of memory errors when using extensive amounts of 3rd party scenery or on long-haul flights.
FSX:SE has been optimized to work a little better with newer hardware and Windows 7/8.1/10. You do not need a super computer to run it well.
It is the most well-known flight simulator, and can be bought cheaply on Steam.
Any addon or modded plane in the boxed FSX version works in FSX:SE (the steam edition).
FSX use tables or approximated values to calculate and simulate aerodynamics.