Revisiting a Flight Simulator: Jet Fighter II

jf2_ext
1992 JetFighter II

Back in the day–the year 1992 to be exact– was a time when I was getting into flight simulators among other games for the computer.  If you had an early computer such as a Commodore 64, IBM 386 PC, Apple computer or other vintage machine you remember those days.  I remember playing one game in particular called Jetfighter II: Advanced Tactical Fighter.   At the time, I loved the smooth controls and clean ability to pilot the F-23.  Recently I have been able to relive the memory of flying this “great” sim using a DOS emulator called Dos Box.  With an emulator one has the ability to play old pc games, arcade games and games from older game consoles directly on a  Windows or OSX machine.  Who could imagine it, a game made for a 1992 or even 1982 computer all ready to go again on a current Windows 10 desktop!

jf2_cockpit

I remember playing old games such as Jetfighter II  and thinking it was a great game although there was always the lingering question about when the graphics might improve to near photo-real.

Today in the age of PrePar3D and X-plane 10,  I think we can agree the graphics are finally getting better.

cessna_172sp_2
X-plane 10

Related interest:

http://www.old-games.com/download/7769/jetfighter-ii-advanced-tactical-fighter

Favorite Game Emulator sites:

http://www.freeroms.com/nes_roms_B.htm

http://fantasyanime.com/emulators#arcade

http://coolrom.com/

http://www.dosbox.com/

Advertisements

Windows 10 Store, In-App Purchases: A Dream Gone Bad

win10_appstore
Windows 10 App Store

If you are familiar with Windows 8 and now Windows 10, you may be familiar with the Windows Marketplace or Store (as it’s called in Windows 10).  Windows Store, as with other app stores ( such as Google’s Play Store or the itunes Apple App store found on smart phones, ipads and tablets) usually include within the App itself what is referred to as in-app purchases.

In-app purchases are those little nuggets of extra secret game levels you can buy and unlock from within a free game app or it’s the in-app purchases that make “unlocking” all the features of your favorite text editing app possible.   Many in-app purchases hover around the $2-$5 range which isn’t much considering the price of a mac computer these days but I digress.  Two dollars can quickly grow to $4 and even more than $4 dollars if you were to make the purchase, let’s say, over and over and over and over for example to unlock all the features of a particular game.  This in-app purchasing may be dandy and nice in a world where in-app purchases can be disabled so no harm can be done to the bank account.   But what if these little subtly hidden nuggets of App developer’s gold cannot be disabled or you learn (the hard way) the in-app purchase option (if there is one) hasn’t been disabled at all and after financial damage has been done?   For example, take that one time when your child or grandchild wants to play a game or two or three on your smart phone or ipad.   A quick disable of in-app purchases and there’s no need to worry yourself to sleep about unauthorized in-game purchases, right?  Well, sort of.

I found out a little something different is happening or could be happening within the Windows 10 App store on desktop home computers, laptop computers, your computer and my computer all across this fine planet.  Now don’t get me wrong, thus far I have enjoyed using Windows 10– all except for this one little hiccup I recently discovered in the App store.  The hiccup was partly user error (meaning my fault) but it still cost real money and about $240 of it.   And all over what, you ask?  First, it was heartache and then it became a huge headache but for what else in material value I may never exactly know because the game where the deed was done has since been uninstalled (removed).  But I did hear something about virtual shoes and $99 virtual coins or maybe the virtual shoes cost $99?

No matter, the story goes something like this.   My daughter found a dress-up doll game to play.  And as her parent I foolishly approved of her playing it and even watched as she played it for a short time.  She was having fun and all seemed to be going well.   Then I made my second mistake.  I left the room.  (The first mistake being my giving her my Windows 10 login pin number.)  A few minutes later (ok maybe 30 minutes later) I came back to check my email and I saw I had received a purchase alert from the Microsoft store for $1.99.  Then I saw another alert for $1.99, and another one for $49, another one for $99, one for $24.99 (probably the virtual shoes) and another for $49…..well you get the idea.   Now to make the matter worse was there was barely enough money in the source bank account to cover even one purchase over $30!  Can we all say, overdraft charge? Correction, overdraft charges.

Nevertheless, after a stressful evening spent trying to contact the correct Microsoft department to reverse the purchases (get a refund), I am happy to report the financial dam, I mean damage may be finally getting repaired minus the overdraft charges.   But back to my main point.  What about disabling those Windows 10 store in-app purchases?  As it turns out–as of this writing–there seems to be no direct option for disabling in-app purchases in Windows 10 App Store except to completely remove all payment options associated and connected to a Microsoft account.   Another method is to consider avoiding logging into Windows using a Microsoft account entirely, without proper parental monitoring of course.  This means never give your login pin number or password to your child.

The method of completely removing a payment option may be the best answer, until you find the need to actually make a legitimate purchase from the App Store.  Just remember that after you reconnect a payment option to make a purchase, not to forget to remove the payment option once again.   This would be especially true if you are not the only one logging into your computer or you plan on allowing your child to play games from the home computer using your Microsoft Account.

Of course a more drastic approach to keep Windows 10 in-app purchases from being executed would be to avoid giving your child or grand-kid your Windows login pin number altogether.   Under a Microsoft Account in Windows 10, without the pin they won’t even be able to login to your computer in the first place!  (Just remember a Microsoft Account is necessary to use the App Store)  Whatever you decide,  keep in mind that free games are fun but unauthorized in-app purchase fees are not and can quickly become a dream gone bad.

Related interest:  http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps-and-games

Why are you cast down my soul?

Today I woke up like most days, but today is a day of deeper inexplicable sadness.  It seems like God is gone right now.  I have been crying out unto Him because I know the Bible speaks of Him watching me and caring for me (He sees and knows everything) but today doesn’t seem like that.   Yes, my soul is cast down.  Pray for me.
Related interest: Psalm 43:5

X-Plane 10 and Windows 10: How Do They Get Along?

x-plane10
Humboldt Bay in X-plane 10 (without HD Scenery Mesh)

So I made the plunge and installed Windows 10….four times.   Why four times?  Because I am a tinkerer and the OS didn’t exactly go on my machine (AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 945 Processor, 3000 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 gb ram, gts 250 graphics)  without trouble but that’s a story for another day and another blog.  So what does this have to do with X-plane 10 you ask?  It is related as I hope becomes apparent in a moment.   See, I had been dual-booting with windows 8.1 and windows 7.  And more recently had been dual booting Windows 7 with Windows 10 technical preview until it would no longer update on my computer.  Nevertheless, it has been my experience that X-plane 10 seemed to run more stable for me in Windows 7 so that is where I usually launched the sim from.   (In Windows 8 the game had randomly closed or the OS would bump me back to the infamous metro start menu screen. )

So here comes Windows 10 and because I like to tinker with computer software, I took my time deciding whether I wanted to install over windows 7 (home premium) and get Windows 10 home or Windows 8.1 pro making the OS windows 10 pro.  I have since tried both and have decided to stick with Windows 10 pro.    Now X-plane 10 was previously installed on my computer so when Windows 10 was completed I attempted to launch X-plane straight up.  You guessed it—it crashed.  Naturally I figured there was a conflict with the new OS.   However, I rightly decided to reinstall X-plane 10 and complete the beta updates.  Now my machine is not a beast (probably more comparable to a domestic house cat) but I am happy to report X-plane 10.40b10 has run quite well so far!  I definitely believe the guys behind the code of X-plane 10 are making X-plane 10 better and better with each new update.

x-planerender
X-Plane 10 Render Settings Window

Related Interest:

Developer’s Blog: http://developer.x-plane.com/2015/08/major-os-upgrade-what-could-go-wrong/

FlyWithLua plugin: http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=17468

Real Terra Haze script: http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?app=downloads&showfile=22387