Quick Review: X-Plane 11 (Should You Buy It?)

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Cessna 172SP X-plane 11 over Arcata, CA

This post is a quick review of my experience using X-Plane 11.

X-plane 11 is an advanced flight simulator by Laminar Research which utilizes modern 64-bit architecture found in today’s computers along with the latest GPU’s and CPU’s.    I will list the pros and cons I found in using the X-Plane 11 Demo and ultimately purchasing the complete X-plane 11 simulator on Steam.

This quick review represents my experience after running X-plane 11 on an older computer.

My Computer Specs: CPU- AMD Phenom II 945 Quad Core, MEMORY- 8 gb ram, GPU- GTX  750ti OC 4gb memory, HARD DRIVES- Two 500 gb, One 250 gb

Cessna_172_Hum

Pros/What I do like

User Interface (UI): 

Pleasing to the eyes.  The UI in X-plane 11 has been given a complete and welcome overhaul from past versions of the sim. Old and new users will find the settings easier to navigate and understand. Whether configuring a joystick, flight yoke or tweaking the sim’s graphics, the simple sliders, added search function and visuals make configuring X-plane 11 to your liking fun and intelligent.  I personally enjoy the new layout and views for displaying aircraft, airports, weather and the visual representations of various flight yokes and joysticks simply wonderful.

Lighting: 

Impressive. The lighting in X-plane 11 is amazing and in my opinion, more realistic than ever.  I have been using X-plane 10 global the past few years and after first running the X-Plane 11 Demo, I immediately noticed a vast daylight improvement over the previous version of the sim.  The sun is more dynamic and bright, with better rendered shadows as one would expect on a bright sunny day.  At night, HDR lighting adds more realistic vibrant lights on cars, buildings, aircraft and runways.  (Need a good graphics card for this at least 4 gb of ram)

Sound:

Good. Aside from ATC audio, general environment and aircraft sounds are quite realistic and pleasing.  Audio for default X-plane 11 aircraft is generally acceptable.  I have found aircraft audio mostly depends on the aircraft you fly and the original quality whether payware or free.  (As expected payware aircraft tend to be more realistic both visually and audio-wise)

Clouds: 

Clouds appear to be softer and whiter in X-plane 11 but my FPS did take at least a 10 point frame rate drop when flying in heavier fog/cloud layers.  Clear skies it is.

Frame-rates (FPS):  

I have been pleasantly surprised by the improvement in frame-rates in X-plane 11 over X-plane 10.  (Settings for my machine are 4x anti-aliasing, HDR High,  Shadows on,  Scenery Options Medium -Low,  Reflections off. ) My system is quite old but even with my older processor and the GTX 750 ti 4gb I was able to hover around 30fps when flying in my hometown  (KEKA, KACV)*.   At these settings within the Demo Area I was able to get around 22-23 fps, clear day and even better FPS at night. )

Graphics/Autogen: 

Overall the default textures for terrain, buildings, road-networks, airports etc. are fantastic in X-plane 11.  Days (and nights) are more realistic  than ever in X-plane 11 with the new haze (particle system?)  that has been added to the atmosphere.   As mentioned before, HDR lighting makes street lights, runways, and aircraft lighting look real.  Yes I enjoy lights. With a decent graphics card (the more memory the better)  visual settings and lights will look great in your sim.  The trains/traffic have even been updated in X-plane 11 too!

Addons and Tweaking

If you like tweaking,  modding and using addons you will love X-plane 11 because adding custom content is a breeze in X-plane11.

Note for new users:  Some default airports in X-plane 11 will not include buildings but updated airports which include buildings, hangers and terminals are being added to X-plane via updates.  Find out about the airport gateway hereBuild/improve airports with World Editor (WED)


Cons/What I don’t like

 

User Interface (UI): 

While completely enjoy and welcome to new easier to navigate and appealing layout of the UI, I still find myself wishing I could control certain settings.  For example I would like to be able to disable birds, deer and boats. I see no options to disable those.  And if fire and balloons still exist within the game (haven’t seen them yet in X-plane 11) a disable option for those too.  I would also like to be able to control the number of cars on the road separate from the number of buildings.  For me this for cosmetic and a realistic stand-point.  (My town has many roads, but very few cars.)

Sounds: 

ATC in X-plane 11 make work more realistically than in it did in previous versions of X-plane but I wouldn’t know because I haven’t tried it yet.  I find the synthesized voice that is used completely unbearable to listen to.   Some default aircraft such as the helicopter produces some wonky rotor sounds which sound more mechanical than realistic.  Screeching tires sounds are better but still exist in the default Cessna 172 which I don’t like.

Steering/ Controls: 

It might be just me, but I find the steering/rudder controls of the default Cessna 172 and helicopter erratic and difficult to control on take-off.  New users may have some difficulty at first.

Clouds

While generally clouds and fog in X-plane 11 are good we know they could be improved visually in terms of their shape, definition and overall appearance.  Thunderheads and storm clouds should appear like tall menacing thunderheads (cumulus cloud) rather than layers of stratus.   Contrails in X-plane 11 need fixing (see my comments in graphics section below).

Graphics:

Of course the visuals can always be improved and I know the X-plane developers are working hard on so many awesome aspects and improvements for X-plane 11, including realistic clouds and autogen.  However, aside from unrealistic ATC audio, two areas that really distract my flying is the terrible rendition of airline contrails when viewed at a distance and the deer/birds.  Right now X-plane 11 is showing black/grey contrails which are hardly realistic.  The first time I saw it I thought the plane was on fire.  I will be looking forward to new longer and actual white aircraft contrails (as seen in FSX) which would improve the visuals greatly in X-plane 11.  Being able to disable unrealistic looking deer and birds on the runway would be fantastic.  Thank you Laminar Research.

 


Final Verdict/Should You Buy X-plane 11?

If you love flight sims such as FSX, than yes of course you should buy X-plane 11.  X-plane 11 runs better and the atmospheric visuals are impressive.  In addition, the improved UI  and the realistic lighting is enough to give this simulator an emphatic positive recommendation from me.  However, I also recommend first trying out the Demo for X-plane 11 before you spend the money on the full version (either on Steam or via X-plane.com).   With the demo version you will be able to see how well (or poorly) the sim runs on your particular machine while you experience the new user interface, flight controls, included aircraft and weather and lighting systems this great flight simulator provides.

Final note:  X-plane 11 is always being updated and improved.  Users can opt in or out of beta’s releases of the simulator if that is something that interests you.

 

*KEKA/KACV –  as of this posting these default airports did not feature airport buildings/hangers but I did add custom created content in my game.

 


Disclaimer:  The opinions and information expressed in this review are my own and are based on my own experience only.  These views or opinions are not intended to represent Laminar Research nor any of the developers of X-plane 11 in any way.

 


X-plane 11 Official website

X-plane 11 community

X-plane 11 on Steam

Movies everyone should watch before they die

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Find me on Steam


Images are my in-game screenshots from default X-plane 11.05

 

 

 

 

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One Good Thing About Hurricane Irma

Irma_track


No, this isn’t a joke. Granted, there isn’t much good about a Hurricane when it hits the mainland but believe it or not I have found at least one good thing about Hurricane Irma.  The good news is this: the news media which includes but is not limited to CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft won’t be leading their news cycles with fabricated fake news reports about Donald Trump, Russia or a rigged election.  Instead, as we saw with Hurricane Harvey, we will now be hearing and reading news about Hurricane Irma as it makes its way on to the mainland in Florida and up the west-coast.

Unfortunately, the media has sunk so low and has become so bankrupt in its quest for complete honesty and truthfulness in their reporting it has to take a Hurricane to interrupt the daily onslaught of misinformation and lies that spew from their left-wing media outlet centers. Nevertheless, a break in such reporting has occurred and it’s a welcome pause for truth lovers everywhere.

 

 


Hurricane Irma Latest

Scared about what the future holds? Get true hope

Movies that explain true hope

How do Christians view gays? Watch Audacity

What does Hitler have in common with Abortion? Watch 180

 


 

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Repost: One Good Thing About Hurricane Harvey

hurricaneh


No, this isn’t a joke. Generally there isn’t much good about a Hurricane hitting the mainland but believe it or not I have found at least one good thing about Hurricane Harvey.  The good news is this: the news media which includes but is not limited to CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft won’t be leading their news cycles with fabricated fake news reports about Donald Trump, Russia or a rigged election.  Instead, for at least a couple of days we will be hearing and reading news about Hurricane Harvey as it makes its way on to the mainland.

Unfortunately, the media has sunk so low and has become so bankrupt in its quest for complete honesty and truthfulness in their reporting it has to take a Hurricane to interrupt the daily onslaught of misinformation and lies that spew from their left-wing media outlet centers. Nevertheless, a break in such reporting may have occurred and it’s a welcome pause for truth lovers everywhere.

Next up, Hurricane Irma…..

 

 


Hurricane Harvey in the news

Scared about what the future holds? Get true hope

Movies that explain true hope

How do Christians view gays? Watch Audacity

What does Hitler have in common with Abortion? Watch 180

 


 

image source

One Good Thing About Hurricane Harvey

hurricaneh


No, this isn’t a joke. Generally there isn’t much good about a Hurricane hitting the mainland but believe it or not I have found at least one good thing about Hurricane Harvey.  The good news is this: the news media which includes but is not limited to CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft won’t be leading their news cycles with fabricated fake news reports about Donald Trump, Russia or a rigged election.  Instead, for at least a couple of days we will be hearing and reading news about Hurricane Harvey as it makes its way on to the mainland.

Unfortunately, the media has sunk so low and has become so bankrupt in its quest for complete honesty and truthfulness in their reporting it has to take a Hurricane to interrupt the daily onslaught of misinformation and lies that spew from their left-wing media outlet centers. Nevertheless, a break in such reporting may have occurred and it’s a welcome pause for truth lovers everywhere.

 

 


Hurricane Harvey in the news

Scared about what the future holds? Get true hope

Movies that explain true hope

How do Christians view gays? Watch Audacity

What does Hitler have in common with Abortion? Watch 180

 


 

image source

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part One

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part One (of Ten)

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

“You can’t go that way,” he said.

The man was tall with black bushy hair and a five o’clock shadow that appeared to cover the bottom portion of his face. He was wearing a midnight blue sweater, light gray pants and dark colored loafers. He was yelling to a man running ahead of him.

The second man who appeared to be of Middle Eastern decent, was much shorter and faster. His bronze colored hair was partially concealed but he was wearing a little brown fedora with a pink feather. He had on long lightly colored khaki pants and a rainbow vertically striped shirt that appeared to look similar to a woman’s silk blouse.

Then things turned strange.

“It’s raining, it’s pouring the old man is snoring!” The bushy haired man began to sing. “We got our tickets, we got our tickets!” He sang with a sense of pride in his voice. The taller man had nearly caught up to the shorter man now.

Suddenly I watched as the shorter colorfully dressed man, abruptly stopped running, began to spin around 180 degrees and then proceeded to do a back-flip in the middle of the room. The man then picked up what looked to be a metallic designer-style briefcase that had apparently been laying on the floor nearby. Than as mysteriously as both men had appeared, they quickly vanished.

I knew something about this story wasn’t making sense and then it hit me, it must be a crazy dream. It was becoming difficult to tell what was real and what wasn’t. I decided to yell to see if I was awake. I tried to yell something out loud but nothing—no voice.

As if this already odd situation couldn’t get any stranger, it did.

Suddenly I began feeling cold……and wet, really wet. Rain? Yep, that must be it—it was raining and I was outside somewhere in the cold wet rain. But where was I and why couldn’t I speak? I wasn’t sure but what was clear was that the black pants I had been wearing were now beginning to stick to my legs and the blue pullover I had on appeared to be glued to my back. I was drenched.

Then I felt something wrapped around my neck. It must have been the strap from the bag I was intending to carry on the plane.

That’s it! Then I remembered, I was at the airport! Maybe things were going to start making sense again. My flight! I’m going to miss my flight! I tried to run but I couldn’t. I seemed to be stuck.

Then I heard what sounded like a man yelling.

“Keep going this way….” I heard the voice trail off for a moment……then it returned.

“They’re gonna end up in hell!”

Although I couldn’t see anyone, I heard another male voice further in the distance.

“C’mon, we gotta hurry!”

I wished the man would notice my predicament. This time I tried to scream, hoping to get someone’s—anyone’s attention. I opened my mouth to utter the word, help! I was certain my lips were moving but I still couldn’t hear my voice. Was I deaf? Couldn’t be, since I thought I had just heard a man yelling.

Then I heard a female voice close by. The voice was one of gentleness and sorrow yet she commanded authority.

“I’m sorry sir,” the women said, “but this ticket won’t get you to heaven. I am truly sorry.”

I heard a man respond, sounding agitated.

“There’s no way we’re going to hell, if hell doesn’t exist!”

This time I wanted to respond aloud. But what if it does? I thought.

Then I heard another male voice yell, “We got a fire here! There’s a fire!” he yelled.

At that moment what Jesus says concerning hell began to flood my thoughts. What if these people were not part of a dream at all? What if there was a fire and people were truly going to die?! I felt the need to warn them and tell them what God says.

 

 

 

Suddenly a surge of pain ran up my arm. It felt like my left arm was being ripped from its socket. Then I felt the surge of pain again—this time it was even stronger. The pain began to ricochet around my shoulder and back through my arm again. Just then my whole body felt like it had hit a concrete wall—and hard. I opened my eyes to see the leg of a chair next to my head. I seemed to be lying on the floor in a pool of water. Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Ten

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Ten of Ten

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

Everything went black for a moment, as if we had entered a tunnel but suddenly the bi-level coach we were in began to shake. As if in the middle of a massive earthquake the coach started to tilt and rock violently back and forth! It felt worse being on the upper level of the coach—we were sure to come off the tracks! And then there was the familiar smell of smoke as it filled the inside of our passenger car. Looking outside, daylight was rapidly being replaced by an eerie smoky night as the smoke grew thicker and thicker. I heard various screams and cries for help then loud explosions as if someone had lit a few sticks of dynamite next to my chair. I heard people yelling, “Get out! Get out!” and “Save yourself if you can!”

Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Nine

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Nine

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

Once we arrived at police headquarters, Natalie and I were given a ride to the train station by an agent officer from the headquarters. As I got into the back seat of the four door sedan, I took a seat behind the driver and Natalie got into the seat next to him. The dark haired driver was wearing a black suit coat, black trousers and sunglasses. The car itself appeared to be a brand new high-end luxury car. Inside I noticed the distinct new-car smell of leather upholstery. Then the curious thought of whether this particular car had been used as a bait car for catching car thieves crossed my mind.

My curiosity got the best of me so I asked our driver that very question. He shot me a half grin which I could see in the rear view mirror. Then he said, “That’s classified information I’m afraid. If I told you then I’d have to….”

Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Eight

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Eight

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

I immediately recognized the man as he walked to the front and then it dawned on me where I had seen him before. Sure enough it was the man who had fallen on me in the hotel lobby and it appeared to be the same man I had apparently seen do a back-flip at the Minnesota airport!

“My name is Martin Kasam,” he said with a clear but thick middle eastern accent. “I have been the lead special agent for the Federal Anti-Terrorism Division here in the Minnesota region.”

Martin talked fast but he seemed to have the unique ability of enunciating every syllable in every word as he spoke.

“I want to welcome you all here but we have much to cover so I won’t waste your valuable time.” he said.

Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Seven

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Seven

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

We continued walking along side agent Da Voy as he led us to each of our rooms. We passed four elevator doors on both sides of us and then I noticed rows of doors lined one after another throughout the long hall. It looked as if we had arrived at another hotel but this time by helicopter. As we passed a few more doors I noticed each door had a curious white letter and number combination printed on the front. I was contemplating the meaning of the letters and numbers when agent Da Voy stopped in front of door 2COR 520-1249.  He told us that this would be Natalie’s room and the room directly across from her was to be mine. Jacob would be in the room next to Natalie’s. The agent then handed us each an electronic room access card and told us we would find changes of clothes that may or may not fit among other amenities inside our room. My room number was 2COR 520-1250.

Continue reading

Minnesota Undercover – A short story – Part Six

Stone_Arch_Bridge_-_Minneapolis

Minnesota Undercover – Part Six

Tim D. McConnaughy Jr.

 

 

Once inside the helicopter, the sound of the rotors were still nearly deafening so I was thankful for the headset I was given. As the helicopter slowly lifted off the ground, I reflected back to my seeing the multiple helicopters circling the skies around the city as we arrived at the hotel.  Who could have imagined this?  I was now flying in a law enforcement helicopter headed to who knows where during what appeared to be the worst attacks this country had seen since September 11, 2001. I glanced out the right side window to see us now moving away from the Ritz hotel. The parking area below appeared to shrink in size as we continued to gain altitude. The chopper pilot banked the helicopter slightly to the left and then we leveled out momentarily. Suddenly it felt as if we were beginning to tip forward and then we began to speed briskly away from the hotel. What was this all about? I wondered again. Sure, it was exciting riding along as we were in a law enforcement helicopter no less, even though I had no idea where we were headed. Yet whatever it was we were part of, it seemed pretty important to involve special agents and undercover law enforcement.

Continue reading