Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020: How is it?

UPDATED 9/24/20

September 16th came and went and we have another game patch (1.8.3.0). The game has been playing better, no crashes while flying and I’m closing in on 50 hours. However, I did have one crash using the fps counter from the in-game developer mode while in the main menu. Odd. For full patch details visit here. Another one is right around the corner.

UPDATED 9/18/20

After more than 30 hours of actual flying time in the game, I can officially report that this sim is both beautiful and exasperating. The game is beautiful because it does contain eye candy and stunningly realistic visuals. And this game has its exasperating moments when it decides to close/crash to desktop in mid-flight while looking at the eye candy. And why does it crash to desktop? In my experience the crashes are occurring randomly so their root cause hasn’t been easy to pin down. I will update this further if/when I find a permanent fix. (Note: The game was running flawless for about one week of off and on flying without any game crashes that is after I uninstalled MSI Afterburner. And so I thought I had figured out the root cause. But as of 9/16/20 the crashes have returned without MSI Afterburner anywhere in sight.)


ORIGINAL POST AND SOME UPDATED CONTENT CONTINUES BELOW

Microsoft Flight Simulator is the successor to FSX the other popular Microsoft Flight Simulator released in 2006. I have been able to spend a few hours in the latest rendition of the simulator and will offer some thoughts and insights on my experience so far with the sim and whether or not it’s even worth your time.

First, I will start off by saying Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is not without it’s faults, graphical glitches and bugs but overall one word describes it for me. Wow. (and I don’t mean “wow”, that sure took a long time to download because it certainly does. Additionally that long download will contribute to inaccurate gameplay hours on the Steam version. I currently show over 110 hours but have only been in game for around 50hrs)

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 or MFS2020 has three tiers of pricing available depending on the package you get. I won’t go into many details of each (as you can find them here) but there are Standard ($60), Deluxe ($90) and Premium ($120) versions. Depending on the version you choose, there are five additional aircraft included along with five highly detailed major airports.

Getting started

Downloading MFS2020 can be a daunting task as the sim is between 90gb- 150gb (depending on the version). I purchased the premium edition from Steam and left it to download overnight. It took at least 5 hours for me but many people have said it can take 9 hours depending on internet speed. (Note for Steam users: After small initial file download of are 1gb, the actual game content downloads within the simulator itself, not Steam)

How well does it run?

Performance wise this game will depend on the power of your system. I have a GTX 1070ti (8gb), i7-8700k (overclocked to 4.7), 16gb ram and on 1920×1080 the game runs quite well on higher settings. I would ignore the system requirements as listed for the simulator because I believe they are too low. Of course, each of our ideals for how a simulator should run will be as different as we are but in my opinion running a smooth a game on low and not being able to see quality scenery is not an option. On my system, the visuals are quite stunning while running near 60 fps in most places and 35-50 fps in larger cities. Certainly there is always room for improvement on performance so a better GPU, CPU and at least 32GB ram is probably recommended. I do not think I could run the sim satisfactory on higher settings using a 4k monitor for example.

Don’t forget one setting

Besides the general graphical options, there is one setting slider that is really important to have the ability to crank up. That setting is the Terrain slider. Everything else should be set to mostly high (if not all) with Terrain at 200%. There is a settings option for buildings but I don’t think this means how many of the buildings or their quality are rendered in the Sim. More on that in a minute.

Best way to fly

I would suggest you use at least a joystick and/or flight yoke to fly in MFS (more expensive). Straight out of the box, I wasn’t able to successfully use a keyboard or mouse for flying an aircraft. However, the keyboard is great for flight systems (gear, lights, trim, flaps, views) and the mouse also works okay for panning the view. A usb Xbox controller works best when using the external drone camera.

The Cloud Connection and Limitations

MFS2020 uses the internet, a lot. In fact, in order to get the graphical map details and live weather data for the location you are flying around, it uses Bing maps as part Microsoft’s cloud server (Azure) and it is used with this sim. This sounds like it should make all the visuals and systems amazing and realistic but sometimes the things in simulator don’t look (or work) right. Sometimes textures flicker under the modeled objects where there shouldn’t be any texture at all. And sometimes rivers and waterways are hundreds of feet off the ground and traffic runs through it. And sometimes the airports and buildings are either nonexistent or misplaced. For example, I was visiting a small town in South Dakota and took off from the grass landing strip as it is rendered in the simulator. The town should have been on the left. I couldn’t find it anywhere near the landing strip. I checked the airport map and found the simulator had placed the runway at least 35 miles south east of where it should have been. This brings to me to buildings and how they are displayed in the game.

I don’t think so

How do the buildings look?

It would seem that there are at least two different ways the simulator renders buildings. There are generic autogen buildings which can be found in many rural towns like my own (see KACV and KEKA areas). And in more accurately detailed areas, such as in the larger airports (such as KSFO, KLAX or even Redding near KRDD) the simulator looks like a work of art as long as your above 3,000ft. The buildings appear to be extruded models of the underlining satellite image. Modeling in this way doesn’t make for the best visuals at low altitudes but up in the air couple thousand feet everything can look fantastic and recognizable!

Trump Tower in Las Vegas

Something isn’t quite right with ATC

ATC in MFS has been a little bit disappointing for me. Compared to FSX, I actually think this simulator has gone back a step or two. FSX had multiple voices to choose from and more than one voice could be heard from other pilots communicating with the towers. UPDATE: A patch has added three more voices to the mix! This is a good sign the sim is headed in the right direction. Although for whatever reason, the person speaking cannot pronounce the number three or five correctly. As far as I know, my call sign doesn’t have a tree in it.

Should you get this simulator?

Apparently MFS2020 is part of long process in continued development. So there are bugs, audio, graphical and data glitches to be expected. And sometimes you can’t tell if your experiencing a game bug or user error. But the question remains. Should you get this sim? If you were a fan of FSX or even X-plane you probably will love this simulator straight out of the box. There are patches being release every few weeks and the development team appear dedicated to improving the sim based on user feedback. Overall, despite some frustrating moments, I certainly have been enjoying it. Additionally if you are a fan of flying, I would not suggest purchasing any version less the Premium Edition because let’s face it, you will most likely want the extra airports that are included. These airports are more detailed than their standard counterpart and you will be glad you have the additional planes that can only be found in the Premium Edition.

If you are on the fence or new to PC flight simulators then I highly recommend watching some videos of people using the simulator to get a taste of it visually speaking. But keep in mind that most of the videos on YouTube feature the simulator running on a high-end computer system. (Higher than what I currently own)

Dodger Stadium and Los Angeles

So if you have the money, a little patience, like flight simulation, and have at least a mid to high-end computer, you will probably have a ball exploring and tweaking Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.


Microsoft Flight Simulator Official

MFS2020 on Steam

Microsoft Flight Forums

Other recommended MFS2020 Forums – AVSIM

Get the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator Patch release

What what hope looks like (FullyFreeFilms.com)

Do Christians hate gays? Watch this movie to find out


Images source: All images are screenshots from my own MFS2020

September 11, 2001 – Not Forgotten

wtc-2004-memorial

A simple reminder.  There is evil in the world and there are people trying to destroy this country and our freedoms. But there is hope. We will never forget the tragedy and the innocent victims who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.


But there still is Hope

Hope

Connect with me on USA.LIFE

Have you seen it?  Watch Audacity movie today

180movie is a must see

Watch what hope looks like – FullyFreeFilms.com

Main image source

Did I just experience Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?

UPDATED 9/18/20

After more than 30 hours of actual flying time in the game, I can officially report that this sim is both beautiful and exasperating. The game is beautiful because it does contain eye candy and stunningly realistic visuals. And this game has its exasperating moments when it decides to close/crash to desktop in mid-flight while looking at the eye candy. And why does it crash to desktop? In my experience the crashes are occurring randomly so their root cause hasn’t been easy to pin down. I will update this further if/when I find a permanent fix. (Note: The game was running flawless for about one week of off and on flying without any game crashes that is after I uninstalled MSI Afterburner. And so I thought I had figured out the root cause. But as of 9/16/20 the crashes have returned without MSI Afterburner anywhere in sight.)


Microsoft Flight Simulator is the successor to FSX the other popular Microsoft Flight Simulator released in 2006. I have been able to spend a few hours in the latest rendition of the simulator and will offer some thoughts and insights on my experience so far with the sim and whether or not it’s even worth your time.

First, I will start off by saying Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is not without it’s faults, graphical glitches and bugs but overall one word describes it for me. Wow. (and I don’t mean “wow”, that sure took a long time to download because it certainly does. Additionally that long download will contribute to inaccurate gameplay hours on the Steam version. I currently show over 110 hours but have only been in game for around 40hrs)

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 or MFS2020 has three tiers of pricing available depending on the package you get. I won’t go into many details of each (as you can find them here) but there are Standard ($60), Deluxe ($90) and Premium ($120) versions. Depending on the version you choose, there are five additional aircraft included along with five highly detailed major airports.

Getting started

Downloading MFS2020 can be a daunting task as the sim is between 90gb- 150gb (depending on the version). I purchased the premium edition from Steam and left it to download overnight. It took at least 5 hours for me but many people have said it can take 9 hours depending on internet speed. (Note for Steam users: After small initial file download of are 1gb, the actual game content downloads within the simulator itself, not Steam)

How well does it run?

Performance wise this game will depend on the power of your system. I have a GTX 1070ti (8gb), i7-8700k (overclocked to 4.7), 16gb ram and on 1920×1080 the game runs quite well on higher settings. I would ignore the system requirements as listed for the simulator because I believe they are too low. Of course, each of our ideals for how a simulator should run will be as different as we are but in my opinion running a smooth a game on low and not being able to see quality scenery is not an option. On my system, the visuals are quite stunning while running near 60 fps in most places and 35-50 fps in larger cities. Certainly there is always room for improvement on performance so a better GPU, CPU and at least 32GB ram is probably recommended. I do not think I could run the sim satisfactory on higher settings using a 4k monitor for example.

Don’t forget one setting

Besides the general graphical options, there is one setting slider that is really important to have the ability to crank up. That setting is the Terrain slider. Everything else should be set to mostly high (if not all) with Terrain at 200%. There is a settings option for buildings but I don’t think this means how many of the buildings or their quality are rendered in the Sim. More on that in a minute.

Best way to fly

I would suggest you use at least a joystick and/or flight yoke (more expensive) to fly in MFS. Straight out of the box, I wasn’t able to successful use a keyboard or mouse for flying an aircraft. However, the keyboard is great for flight systems (gear, lights, trim, flaps, views) and the mouse also works okay for changing views. A usb Xbox controller works best when using the external drone camera.

The Cloud Connection and Limitations

MFS2020 uses the internet, a lot. In fact, in order to get the graphical map details and live weather data for the location you are flying around, it uses Bing maps as part Microsoft’s cloud server (Azure) and it is used with this sim. This sounds like it should make all the visuals and systems amazing and realistic but sometimes the things in simulator don’t look (or work) right. Sometimes textures flicker under the modeled objects where there shouldn’t be any texture at all. And sometimes rivers and waterways are hundreds of feet off the ground and traffic runs through it. And sometimes the airports and buildings are either nonexistent or misplaced. For example, I was visiting a small town in South Dakota and took off from the grass landing strip as it is rendered in the simulator. The town should have been on the left. I couldn’t find it anywhere near the landing strip. I checked the airport map and found the simulator had placed the runway at least 35 miles south east of where it should have been. This brings to me to buildings and how they are displayed in the game.

I don’t think so

How do the buildings look?

It would seem that there are at least two different ways the simulator renders buildings. There are generic autogen buildings which can be found in many rural towns like my own (see KACV and KEKA areas). And in more accurately detailed areas, such as in the larger airports (such as KSFO, KLAX or even Redding near KRDD) the simulator looks like a work of art as long as your above 3,000ft. The buildings appear to be extruded models of the underlining satellite image. Modeling in this way doesn’t make for the best visuals at low altitudes but up in the air couple thousand feet everything can look fantastic and recognizable!

Trump Tower in Las Vegas

Something isn’t quite right with ATC

ATC in MFS has been a little bit disappointing for me. Compared to FSX, I actually think this simulator has gone back a step or two. FSX had multiple voices to choose from and more than one voice could be heard from other pilots communicating with the towers. However, I have only heard one voice used so far no matter the airport or location. And for whatever reason, the person speaking cannot pronounce the number three or five correctly. As far as I know, my call sign doesn’t have a tree in it.

Should you get this simulator?

Apparently MFS2020 is part of long process in continued development. So there are bugs, audio, graphical and data glitches to be expected. Should you get this sim? If you were a fan of FSX or even X-plane you probably will love this simulator. Overall, I certainly have been enjoying it. And if you are a fan of flying I would not suggest a version less the the Premium edition because let’s face it, you will most likely want the extra airports that are more detailed than their standard counterpart and you will be glad you have the additional planes that can only be found in the premium edition. If you are on the fence or new to PC flight simulators then you will want to watch some videos of people using the simulator. And keep in mind most of the videos on YouTube feature the simulator running on a higher-end computer system than my own.

Dodger Stadium and Los Angeles

So if you have the money, a little patience, like flight simulation, and have at least a mid to high-end computer, you will probably have a ball exploring and tweaking Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.


Microsoft Flight Simulator Official

MFS2020 on Steam

Get the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator Patch release

What what hope looks like (FullyFreeFilms.com)

Do Christians hate gays? Watch this movie to find out


Images source: All images are screenshots from my own MFS2020

Never Forget September 11, 2001

wtc-2004-memorial

A simple reminder.  There is evil in the world.  But there is hope. We will never forget the tragedy and the innocent victims who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.


But there still is Hope

Hope

Have you seen it?  Watch Audacity movie today

180movie is a must see

Watch what hope looks like – FullyFreeFilms.com

Main image source

Discovering Elite Dangerous in 2019

Are we there yet?

Elite Dangerous is a massively multiplayer online space game by Frontier Developments. Although the game requires a persistent internet connection it also features a solo or single-player mode. Elite Dangerous is the successor to Elite which was first released in 1984 and now 30 plus years later, the game has seen quite a change.

My history with Elite Dangerous is virtually non-existent aside from hearsay about a learning curve and how fantastic the game is to play in Virtual Reality. Now it’s true I have interest in open world simulation games such as X-plane, Microsoft Flight Simulator and both Euro and American Truck simulators but interest in a space game not so much. It seems most space games are about aliens, monsters and mostly shooting other spaceships in an arcadey fashion. Something about the wide open vast nothingness of space travel also hasn’t had much appeal….but then again I have never encountered game quite like Elite Dangerous.

Sidewinder training

What Learning Curve?

Something about Elite Dangerous seemed different. Oh and there’s that learning curve I kept hearing about. A learning curve to play a game? There is always some learning when you are starting a new game especially in flight simulators but this game simulation was suppose have a notable learning curve and was not meant to be taken lightly.

And so armed with a wee bit of knowledge of what I might be getting myself into only through those online game reviews and gameplay, I took the plunge into beginning my journey into the world of Elite Dangerous. And what a journey it has been.

A new ship, another Starport

Read the Manual and Make Friends with the Options Menu

Now I don’t consider myself a very fast learner and besides that I prefer to take my time to make sure I’m understanding what I learn. And so after 14 hours later, I was able to fly my first ship! Did I mention I like to take my time? You see, perhaps Elite Dangerous is a game at heart but it’s also a simulation that takes place in space. It must be experienced and that’s not even with VR! Now I generally do not enjoy multiplayer games and so my time in ED has been spent in singleplayer (Solo) mode, along with training tutorials and the options menu for keybindings and that is probably one of best places to start in Elite Dangerous.

If you aren’t familiar with the game, within the universe of Elite Dangerous there are 400 billion star systems as part of the in game reproduction of the Milkyway galaxy. All these systems can be seamlessly traveled to in a spaceship which you can upgrade as you gain credits. You begin the journey in a spaceship called the Sidewinder. If you die or crash in Elite Dangerous you will get your Sidewinder back but will have to start over. Later, when you buy a different ship, you will need to pay a rebuy amount (5%) of your total ship value should you die or crash it.

Find the dock

Flying and docking is an accomplishment in Elite Dangerous

For me the learning curve in Elite Dangerous has been first and foremost related to keybindings and understanding both the game, menus and ship systems terminology. At the start you will want to take a look or two or three at that Elite Dangerous manual which gives a nice overview of system terms. Of course you will need to learn how to operate your ship and it’s not a point and click operation (at first). Each ship features a six-way on-board thruster system (vertical(up and down), lateral(side-to-side), forward and backward and don’t forget about pitch, roll and yaw) somewhat like trying to fly a Harrier jet in space. But unless you would like to go spinning uncontrollable toward the side of the spaceport you might want to leave Flight Assist on.

If you have familiarity with flight/combat simulators then learning to fly in Elite Dangerous will a piece of cake, maybe. Your ship features thrusters are not unfamiliar but figuring out your keybindings just might be! I am using a Flight Stick with throttle control – Thrustmaster Hotas X (Hands On Throttle and Stick). Also a keyboard, a mouse and a Xbox controller. I have heard you can fly with a keyboard and mouse only but I haven’t tried it.

Hyperspace Jump

Moving your ship to another star system is another accomplishment

Moving from one star system to another within the galaxy is also a new experience which must be learned. We just don’t do that kind of thing on Earth!

Likewise docking (landing) in a spacestation-like port is also not like driving to grandmas around the block in your car unless you use AutoDock which is a newer feature of the game. (Note: All ships come equipped with AutoDock, Auto Launch and Auto Cruise. Auto Cruise can be useful when hyper-traveling around the galaxy.)

Focus on the task at hand

Doing most anything successfully in Elite Dangerous feels like an accomplishment

So you can move around in Elite Dangerous and you’re learning the keybindings and termology? Good. Now what? As a noob to ED at just over 80 hours (at the time of this post) I have learned about a few things you can do in this vast openworld galaxy. There is a war going on within the game but it appears to me, at least visually speaking, to be a nearly silent war (maybe it’s different in Open mode with human players?). But nevertheless, space is really big and so unless you go looking for a fight you might not find any. Each port features a news and mission board which displays information about the faction war and their particular allegiance (if any). You can choose to do missions for the leaders of the factions to earn credits (in game currency) or go exploring on your own.

I have found that doing Courier jobs at first helps as you are learning how to jump from star system to system and it doesn’t require any cargo space. The data is store on your internal computer and if you get scanned by another ship or pirate they will not try to steal your stuff. NPC’s or none playable characters are all that is found in the solo mode but in Open play mode you will encounter human players.

Should we land there?

Explore some Planets with Horizons

Recently I have begun to explore systems and map individual planets using the Detailed Surface Scanner (which must be bought at a Starport). The data you get after mapping a planet and from discovered systems can be sold 20ly (light years) away in a different star system for sometimes hundreds of thousands of credits!) If you prefer combat, you can learn how to shoot other ships down and gain credits for doing it. Besides doing missions, you might try mining an asteroid, landing on a planet and disabling turrets on the base for a particular faction leader. This is part of the war except you won’t encounter actual people or aliens walking around with guns. Maybe you like to free-roam and wish to visit a random planet (not for a mission). You can with the included SRV (Surface Recon Vehicle) that is part of the Horizons expansion pack in Elite Dangerous. Horizons is great especially if you want to be able to land on some of the planets and moons. (Note: As of this post there is no life on the planets and you cannot land on any Earth-like planets)

Request docking permission

The Universe in Elite Dangerous is really big

I haven’t really scratched the surface (aside from a few planets) of what this game probably has to offer since I am still quite new. However, I have been able to get a glimpse of what this game is and how vast it is. Elite Dangerous is masterpiece in it’s size and beauty but something more jaw dropping is what this game is based off of. When you go outside on a clear night, look up at the night sky and see hundreds of dots of light and realize those are suns similar to our own—one cannot but ask at least one big question. Who made all this?

I know the Maker of the Universe and perhaps you do as well. But if you do not know the Creator Almighty God, there is a reason why it matters more than anything else on this earth. Elite Dangerous was made by mere men but someday all men will face God. Some will meet God willingly in worship and some will be kicking and screaming but today you have an opportunity to find out who the true God really is and why it matters. Many people believe in Heaven but if hell is real place you need to find out what that means to you. I don’t want anyone to go there. If you haven’t already why not check out the good person test linked at my website or read my post called 5 things you should know before you die. And if you have a Bible start reading in John 1. The good person test and starting with John 1 from the Bible will give you a good start to understanding who God is and why it matters since none of us are promised tomorrow. And in case you wondered, this is a matter of life or death and not about joining a religion or church.

Outpost – Time to fuel up

But after all we’ve learned, is the game any good?

You learn quite a bit in Elite Dangerous, you need to even to survive but is it a game I would recommend? And how about that learning curve? I would enthusiastically recommend Elite Dangerous but especially to anyone with special interest in Flight/combat simulators and/or truck simulation games with a twist. If you don’t mind learning and setbacks and frustrations and grind to get a reward (menial at first) then you might like this game. Each person is different but do your research and then if you still like what you see, get it on sale with Horizons. Naturally, you will need to take your time to learn ED but I think it can be a rewarding experience when you learn something new. I know it has been for me (and that’s saying a lot).

My Rating (out of 10) 8.5 out of 10


AreYouGood.us

5 things you should know before you die

My early steam review

Elite Dangerous Deluxe Edition on Steam

Elite Dangerous Official Site

Elite Dangerous Manual

Watch what hope looks like -FullyFreeFilms.com


images are my own in-game screenshots

Is Microsoft a Hate group?

Microsoft embraces sin

Like many liberal organizations, it would appear that Microsoft has bowed to the altar of hate by hating God and loving sin through their blatant backing of the LGBTQI community. On the Microsoft store website they ask, what actions will you take? Throughout the site is various computer related merchandise with the goal to promote LGBTQI sin. (Note: the LGBTQI promoted merchandise and action site has since been removed – see screenshot above)

You might be asking why is this hate? And the simple answer is because Microsoft has chosen to dishonor and hate God Creator of the Universe, His laws but instead love their sin and the sins of others. But they don’t stop there. They go on to promote their hatred of God and love of their sin and the LGBTQI sins by running a campaign about it on their store and website.

Imagine the uproar if Microsoft or Google had embraced God’s holiness and righteousness on their website such as they have with sin.

We are all lawbreakers

It’s important to note that we all have the same desires to sin and have broken God’s law (sinned against a holy God).

Romans 3: 10-18 
There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."
" Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; " The poison of asps is under their lips";
" Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."
" Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known."
" There is no fear of God before their eyes."

And spiritually speaking the unregenerate heart is even hostile to God. In fact, that’s the main point of why we are in desperate need of deliverance. God is holy but we are not and cannot enter heaven without a Deliverer. If you haven’t already, check out the good person test and if you are super bold read the book of John in the Bible. You may not have tomorrow.


Do Christians hate gays? Watch this

Watch what hope looks like

The hatred the left has for conservatives

Jesus was and is hated by many

Jesus predicts hatred toward Christians


image actual Microsoft store screenshot as of 6/29/19

Discovering Planet Coaster in 2019

Planet Coaster, is it for you?

Planet Coaster or Planco for short, (not to be confused with Planet Fitness), it seems was released a long time ago (2016) but this year (2019) I have finally got my hands on it.

Will you like it?

Everyone’s tastes are different but if you enjoy city and/or transport building sims (City Skylines/Transport Fever) and management style games you will probably like/love Planet Coaster.  Note about Roller-Coaster Tycoon Series from the early 2000’s: I never got into the Roller-coaster tycoon games from the early 2000’s, but if you liked those games, I’ve heard this game improves upon them.

Game Summary

Build roller coasters and rides while you manage staff and the rides (yes, the rides do break down for which you will need a mechanic.) You can play various modes. Challenge, campaign or Sandbox/free play mode (unlimited money). I haven’t played the scenarios as all my time has been in sandbox mode (80+ hours and counting). 

Graphics

Good to excellent. 
Something to keep in mind though. Must have a high end computer to play this game otherwise you will probably become disappointed with the performance. (My computer has 16 gb ram, 8700k and gtx 1070ti 8 gb, and it still slightly lags, stutters when building a park to fill the default map size.) There are also some anti aliasing issues visible at certain angles which for me slightly mar the overall quality level of the graphics. 

Where’s the people? The park isn’t open yet

Tips for first-time players

Before you really get into building a good park, I recommend practicing getting use to using hot keys on a empty map (in sandbox mode). Here are a few of my favorite commands and settings. 
NO CLIP – In the menu camera settings, be sure the option NO Clip is selected. This allows movement through terrain ( otherwise building/moving/seeing underground will be impossible or difficult. ) 
Key Command T allows a first person camera view which is essential when building tunnels and general moving around the map. 
X allows the precise placement of objects and rides without the camera moving (especially when you zoom in). 

Two hands on the controls

Using your mouse in the right hand and W A S D keys with the left hand move the camera around the map. Hold SHIFT while pressing WASD keys to speed up the movement. When you have the T key toggled (don’t hold it down), raise and lower the camera with Q and E keys. Note: If those keys rotate, then press T to enable first person view (freelook).

Ctrl Z will undo your last action and Ctrl Y will redo it. 

The path and track laying system could be improved (Transport Fever gets it right) but in time you will understand how pathing works in Planet Coaster, so don’t give up.  Note: there are two ways to make a path. Either on a grid or freeform. (In my experience, both ways kind’ve stink and could have been implemented better. Just remember to practice to see which method works for you best)

When all fails, you might consult a YouTube tutorial or two or three.

Rating

My rating (out of 10): 7.5 

It’s on Steam

Get the game and dlc in a bundle on a steam sale and it’s a great deal. 

Comments

What do you like (or not) about Planet Coaster? Tips or tricks for me? I would love to hear them.


Planet Coaster Official Site

Planet Coaster on Steam

See what hope looks like – FullyFreeFilms.com


Images are my own

Discovering American Truck Simulator MODS

The Open Road in American Truck Simulator

Updated 7/22/19 (for ATS version 1.34 and some mods updated for ATS 1.35)

In my previous post about American Truck Simulator I mentioned briefly the added benefit of using mods in your game. Not all mods are great but some mods can become an essential part of your game especially when you want to try to create the best (and most realistic) game experience possible.

I am constantly discovering new or better mods that really enhance American Truck Simulator but listed below is my current essentials list. Many can be found on the Steam workshop page for American Truck Simulator. Others I have found elsewhere. Some mod settings I even tweak to my own liking, which if your new to mods, I will explain a little about that at the end of the post.

Tractor hauling a tractor in American Truck Simulator

My favorite Mods for ATS 1.34 (most working in 1.35)

  • Filmic Lighting by Pixelgrapher (Note about compatibility: There is no bloom effect when using Filmic Lighting mod, therefore HDR – No Bloom mod is not necessary when using this mod) (not working in 1.35)

Mods and links for adding more AI traffic, trucks and trailers

Non Steam Workshop Traffic Mod Packs by Jazzycat (for 1.34) (See all Jazzycat mods updated for 1.35 here)

Trailer and Company Wizards

If you really want to have fun with your trailers and types of trailers that will spawn at company locations check out this trailer tweak wizard and company wizard

A little about tweaking Steam Workshop mods.

This information is specifically meant for those who are new to modding and in American Truck Simulator. I don’t know anything about creating a mod but perhaps I can help with tweaking a modders mod to your liking.

Some mods are easier to tweak than others. I have only tweaked one mod in particular but others have settings that can be changed in a similar fashion. (Important note: You cannot redistribute or upload tweaked or changed mods without first getting approval from the mod creator. )

Mod Location and Subscribing

Once you have subscribed to a mod on the Steam workshop perhaps you would like to find their location on your hard drive. First, it’s important to note that there are two places for mods on your computer. Steam workshop mods that you have subscribed to from the American Truck Simulator Steam workshop website will be located in a numbered folder (To help clarifying this post I will call this folder xxxxx). This numbered folder can be found in your steam workshop content folder. Follow this path on the drive Steam is installed on your computer. (Program files (x86)/Steam/steamapps/workshop/content/xxxxx (where xxxxx designates your steam numbered folder for ATS)

Within the correct numbered folder for American Truck Simulator there will be more numbered folders pertaining to each mod you have subscribed to. Finding the correct numbered mod folder can be tricky especially if you have subscribed to a lot of mods but here’s a tip. Sometimes within the numbered folders there will be a jpg image inside which can give you a hint as to which mod folder you have opened.

Mods you have download from other websites outside of Steam will need to be placed manually into a different mod folder that is located in your documents folder on you hard drive. (documents/American Truck Simulator/mods) Important note: Steam workshop mods will not be located here. As example Jazzycat mods go in this mod folder

Something you don’t see everyday

DP Traffic Mod tweak example

Once you have your favorite Steam mods for American Truck Simulator in game enabled, you can sometimes tweak the mod if you don’t like the exact settings used by the modder. For example I have tweaked DP’s Traffic mod slightly. This mod contains a file called traffic_data.sii. If you want a more safe and patient reacting ai traffic response (like default) change ai_safety_modifier to 0.3 and ai_patience_modifier to 0.0. You will still see lots of ai traffic with this mod in use but their likelihood of crashing into you will drop significantly. Tweak those numbers and see what you get but do it at your own risk!

Have you played American Truck Simulator? Let me know what you think of this game.


Discovering American Truck Simulator

American Truck Simulator on Steam

Steam Workshop for American Truck Simulator

American Truck Simulator Official Site

My Complete Steam Mod Subscription List for ATS

Watch what hope looks like – FullyfreeFilms


Note: All images are from my modded version of American Truck Simulator

Warning on mods and altering mod files and settings:  Tweaking settings of your mod files can not only mess up the local version of the mod that you have downloaded or subscribed to, it can corrupt your saved game. If you are unsure what you are doing exactly I would leave the mod files alone. I will not be responsible for undesirable results!