Jump to content
DeltaAlpha

System spec guidance, and software advice

Recommended Posts

Hello chaps

 

go easy on me this is my first post and this isn't entirely for my benefit!

My father-in-law has decided he wants to get into flightsim's and I've been asked to "sort it out".

I just need some reassurance I'm going the right direction and I'm not about to fall into a trap somewhere. 

 

I'd just like some opinions on which software to get him started with and whether the laptop we have in mind will be suitable.

I confess to being behind the times with regards to computers these days, I was left behind when WinXP was replaced, and using them for most of my working day I tend to avoid them out of work! I did have FS2004 many moons ago and I do hold a pilots licence and fly light aircraft for escapism. You never know this little project may just hook me into FS as well!

 

Before anyone screams "don't use a laptop", I need to point out that Father In Law is disabled and has very limited use of legs and a laptop at a table is about the limit of what we can work with, but a second screen will be used via HDMI output.

 

Ideally, cockpit instruments on the laptop screen, outside view on the HDMI screen.

 

A Saitek Pro Yoke with throttle quadrant is planned, but obviously without peddles.

 

Software either

  • Microsoft FSX Steam
  • FlightGear
  • X-Plane

 

are on the list at the moment. If anyone has better suggestions, we are listening, nothing has been bought yet.

 

The laptop, the spec I've ended up with is as follows

 

  • i5 Processor
  • 8GB Ram
  • 256GB Solid state HDD
  • GT940MX Graphics
  • Windows10

 

Any thoughts greatly received.

 

Please don't shoot the newbee, I come in peace!

 

Kevin

DeltaAlpha

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to Mutley's Hangar.

 

I'd say FSX-Steam is probably the best choice and should do OK on the laptop with the specs you've listed.  Not having pedals should not be a huge impediment - turn on auto-rudder in FSX and you can do most things just fine.  

 

John

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kevin :welcomeani:

This type of dilemma is as old as flight sim itself.

 

As you are coming back into this afresh rather than being tied to a previous simulation type you have a much bigger choice.

What would be good to know is what type of aviation is your father interested in? Light aircraft, military, helicopters, regional airliners or heavy airliners? as this will have a bearing on your choice. 

 

The latest sims will run using 64bit memory addresses, without getting technical, older sims using 32bit memory addresses cannot use more than 4 GB of memory (even if you have 8GB installed) which would come in handy if he gets into more complex aircraft.

 

So the choice of 64bit simulators are (in order of my preference):

  • Lockheed Martin Prepar3d (pronounced prepared) aka P3D - Version 4. This is the successor to FSX and FSX:Steam.
  • X-Plane - A bit more geeky than P3D and has a few core facilities missing like seasonal textures and weather generation.
  • Flight Sim World - Made by the same company who make FSX:Steam.  Still in public beta which means the full product is not ready yet but is fully useable. As it is still not a fully released model the extra aircraft and scenery is only slowly coming on line.

There are dedicated war sims available as well such as DCS world but these tend to be more for gamers.

 

I can't see any problem with using a laptop with that spec, but don't expect to emulate the very detailed and dense scenery you may have seen in our screenshots forum. It is always a compromise between power and quality.

 

Good luck choosing, please ask more questions as you need to, we are here to help.

 

All the best,

Joe

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you chaps

 

Well that's the hardware sorted, just got to decide on software.

 

Thanks for the other options for me to look at.

 

Father in laws preference is jet airliners. No interest in Combat Sims. 

 

Downloaded and looked at FSX demo and it runs in 4:3 aspect ratio, does the proper version run on widescreen or is that a limitation of its age, or me not setting it up correctly?

 

I guess Flight Sim World would be the better option but is only bundled with light aircraft, the Cub and Vans would be ideal for me, but I'm not doing it for me! Are airliners available for FSW yet?  Although at the price it is at the moment, its almost worth just adding anyway.

 

X-Plane, we could live without seasons and weather generation if the scenery and aircraft choice was there.

 

P3D, I'll read up.

 

Is it me or are some of the software houses a bit slack on providing information on their software? I seem to be trawling through google and retailers just to find out basics like aircraft lists!

 

regards

 

Kevin 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Kevin,

 

FSX should run on widescreen ok, if you go into the Options -> Settings screen you can set the screen resolution and size from there, it should have your monitor's native setting available, then it should fill the screen.

 

If it is jetliners you are after then P3D / X-Plane in that order, the extra memory available will come in handy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to ring in here with a suggestion:

 

Most high-end joysticks have a "twist" (of the wrist) feature which is mapped to rudder. This will solve your dilemma about the rudder pedals. As @allardjd says; it's possible to fly without pedals but it's a bear on the ground taxiing with the keyboard.

 

If he's interested in airliners (we call the tubes of chairs), I suggest the Airbus line. This because they are normally flown with a joystick rather than a yoke. However, all aircraft can be flown with a joystick so Airbus is not the only choice.

 

I was offshore on my boat for 7 years. My only choice was to use a laptop. The one you're describing is very similar to the Acer that I used. Just be careful about how much scenery (complex airports, especially) you load the thing up with. Too much "eye candy" tends to bog things down on, or close to, the ground.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with everything QM says about joysticks - all true.  I'll add two things...

 

1) You can map two keys or buttons to left and right brake to provide differential braking for taxiing; with autorudder set on, aileron deflection also steers right or left on the ground and deflects the rudder, but an assist from differential braking and/or asymmetric thrust (on multi-engine AC) is often required.  Big taildragger twins are especially bad to handle on the ground because you can't really get an effective blast of propwash on the rudder as you can in a single and tailwheel steering just doesn't really get it done.

 

2) If you can manage a stable cross-controlled approach (aerodynamically, a slip) with a twist-grip joystick you deserve the Nobel Prize for eye-hand coordination and can probably rub your stomach and pat your head or fly a helicopter without difficulty.

 

John
 

EDIT:  Note that mapping brake functions, either common or differential to a button rather than a control axis or a "rotation" (same thing really) means that you give up the ability to modulate braking, so it's all or nothing.  Bumping the button in a series of brief actuations is usually about the best you can do.  It works but it's not as good as a proportional control such as pedals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, allardjd said:

I agree with everything QM says about joysticks - all true.  I'll add two things...

 

1) clip.... with autorudder set on, aileron deflection also steers right or left on the ground and deflects the rudder,

 

2) If you can manage a stable cross-controlled approach (aerodynamically, a slip) with a twist-grip joystick you deserve the Nobel Prize for eye-hand coordination and can probably rub your stomach and pat your head or fly a helicopter without difficulty.

 

John

clip......

 

1) I didn't know that! I've never used autorudder. I started out with a twist-style joystick.

2) Agreed. An accurate slip is very near impossible with the joystick I'm describing. You get real good at crabbing down the centreline, then kicking the a/c straight as the mains touch.

If you like big airliners, try the 747. It has castoring mains. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Gents,

 

Laptop and yoke ordered. Personally I'd use a joystick but this isn't for me.

 

Still undecided on software at the moment but may get x-plane and fsw, install the pair and see which one he gets on best with.

 

Sorted the fsx monitor issue, maybe if I'd looked first....!

 

No doubt I'll need further help.

 

cheers

Kevin

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, DeltaAlpha said:

No doubt I'll need further help.

 

Keep us in the loop.  We'll help if we can.  Our advice is free and worth every penny.

 

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×