X-Plane 9: Call of the sky

In January 2009, the 25-year history of Microsoft Flight Simulator came to an end as ACES fell victim to the crisis. Players still have the only mass civil aircraft simulator (not counting the free FlightGear) – X-Plane 9, not so long ago received from the U.S. Civil Aviation Authority long-awaited status of a simulator. The certificate was issued to the “professional” version, but at the heart it does not differ from the publicly available game.

King of the mountain

Climbing to the top, X-Plane hasn’t changed her habits. Beginners are still “thrown into the water” without any training or at least an explanation of the basics of piloting. Hopes on the user’s manual are jammed by localization – it was cut down, no less, by an order of magnitude. The person in love with the sky will come out on his own, the rest will be sidelined.

Experienced pilot will find everything in its place – minimalistic interface has not changed, as well as the gameplay. Choosing one of several dozen aircraft, you can do with it anything you want: to spin aerobatics, fly around the airfield “in a box” or rush into a long flight. Missions are reduced to a set of “non-standard situations”: return from orbit, refueling in the air, start from a catapult or aircraft carrier deck. Fighters and bombers carry a full set of ammunition on board, but the bombs with missiles do not cause the slightest damage. Beginning terrorists may as well ram skyscrapers – there are almost no “palpable” objects on the surface of the earth. An exception has been made for all “takeoff and landing” facilities, i.e. aircraft carriers, oil rigs and helipads.

It’s even for the better – somewhere through a flat, wide runway (repeating the relief of the terrain) passes … the road with a busy traffic. The landscapes are not all right at all. First, to get the whole world at your disposal, you need to spend a lot of money and download a few DVDs from the official website. Secondly, do not count on flights over the Kremlin, despite the fact that “Akella” first released a disc with the territory of Russia. Moscow is recognizable only by its topographical features. And we do not have many operating airfields (without the Far East) and in Eastern Europe. Therefore, I advise you not to go for patriotism, but to buy a version with the U.S. territory – there are pond airfields.

The flight model, the pride of the developers, is as good as before. What is achievable in MSFS in rare modes, here – in the order of things. The flight of any car is modelled according to the laws of the blade element theory, taking into account the parameters of the air environment and 3D-model geometry. From the propeller to the tip of the wing the plane is divided into dozens of zones, and for each of them there are active forces and the equivalent, which determines the direction of flight. Of course, the matmodel became more complicated when changing versions, especially in the calculation of whirlwinds. However, the impression is blurred by the absence of flutter. In diving and weak Cessna 172 is able to approach the speed of sound – it is not threatened by shaking, or the destruction of the structure associated with it. Such “anti-science” mode allows to reveal other drawbacks which do not arise in usual conditions. A shift in aerodynamic focus would certainly make a straight wing plane dive, but it does not.

Defects are more puzzling than spoiling the fun of the game; they are unlikely to show up in a normal flight. He pulled the control knob, the overload – and just struck by the speed of “Cessna” falls off with the detached wing. The unsightly visualization of the damage is incredibly far from the battle “flying” – the broken knot just disappears. Although one of its appearance in a civilian simulator is an event.

The emphasis is made on “internal content” – the list of failures and malfunctions is wide, even the ingress of water into the fuel is taken into account. The settings have a lot of problems on the tail stabilizer – from the failed altimeter to the bird flock. The birds can be pushed to repeat the recent feat of Chesley Sullenberger, who managed to bring the emergency Airbus to the Hudson surface.

“After assembling, to treat with a file.”

“There’s no need for good graphics, the main thing is realism,” says the virtual pilots. “Beauty won’t hurt anybody, the plane should look like its prototype, not like a log with wings,” says others. Previously, Austin Meyer mainly listened to the first opinion, and now he is interested in the second. Graphics does not shine literally – reflections promise only in the next updates. But already now small aircraft and helicopters in detail do not lag behind MSFS HKRATIVE information about the game, along the way boasting of full-fledged three-dimensional cabins. After X-Plane 8Brief information about the game, which looked extremely pale against the background of MSFS 2004: A Century of FlightThe brief information about the game is a real breakthrough. Remember, “as it was”, will help legendary “Discovery” together with some aircrafts, migrated from previous versions. Among the graphic innovations there are thicker forests and denser cities with even more dense buildings, which sharply raise the demands on the video card. Reduce fps and display of the flight model, when the spaces

“After assembling the file to be treated with a file.”

“There’s no need for good graphics, the main thing is realism,” says the virtual pilots. “Beauty won’t hurt anybody, the plane should look like its prototype, not like a log with wings,” says others. Previously, Austin Meyer mainly listened to the first opinion, and now he is interested in the second. Graphics does not shine literally – reflections promise only in the next updates. But already now small aircraft and helicopters in detail do not lag behind MSFS HKRATIVE information about the game, along the way boasting of full-fledged three-dimensional cabins. After X-Plane 8Brief information about the game, which looked extremely pale against the background of MSFS 2004: A Century of FlightThe brief information about the game is a real breakthrough. Remember, “as it was”, will help legendary “Discovery” together with some aircrafts, migrated from previous versions. Among the graphic innovations there are thicker forests and denser cities with even more dense buildings, which sharply raise the demands on the video card. It will also reduce the fps and display of the flight model, when the space around the aircraft is colored with episodes demonstrating the processes occurring with the machine.

X-Plane has enough features. Want to try something new? In Plane-Maker editor we edit the available technique or create something “from scratch”, guided by either drawings or fantasy. There are no restrictions on the type – build blimps with a helicopter propeller and reverse sweep wings. At the same time, check whether it can take off. On a holiday of disobedience is allowed to swing on the foundations of the universe, changing the radius of the Earth or Mars and the coefficient of free fall on their surface.

However, not everything is provided for. Of course, flight simulators often “grow” with various additional programs. But if, say, in the “IL-2Brief information about the game” can fly for years, without thinking about the existence of NewView or Hyperlobby, the fan of X-Plane is much harder. QuickTime, required for recording videos, is nothing. OEM network game is more suitable for training, but the installation of special plug-ins for multiplayer in IVAO or VATSIM networks can and should be forgiven. At least because of the specifics of these networks, which connect pilots and dispatchers from around the world. Much more serious is the lack of a normal flight planner and the need to use conditionally free programs like GoodWay for route planning. Especially with such detailed implementation of navigation systems and equipment.

Horizontal transfer

X-Plane is a rare example of long and smooth development in the gaming industry. It’s an ascending straight line that’s been going back to 1999. Laminar Research has found an empty niche and continues to perfect its product. The ideal, of course, is still far away, but the points we have exhibited are well deserved. For 2008.

Come out the “nine” today, after learning about the clinical death of a competitor, the score would probably be lower. After all, with your hand on your heart, how many people playing X-Plane 9 in the world wouldn’t have a disk with a simulator from Microsoft lying on the shelf? Someone needs it only for comparison, but most people started flying with it. Like any other community of flight simulators, it needs to be constantly updated. Someone loses interest, someone is returned to the land by family and household worries. And if MSFS with its extensive textbook and an abundance of tasks with a clear complexity can fascinate a beginner, then more realistic, but at the same time ascetic and unfriendly X-Plane can easily push away. And this will mean further extinction of the genre. AccelerationBrief information about the game for a long time will not be enough.

P.S. Following the localization of X-Plane 9 from “Akella” “New Disc” released X-Plane 8Brief information about the game. Each other they differ from each other about as different versions of Photoshop, so analyze it separately senseless. It is necessary to note only that here we deal with the original, not russified simulator, but complete with a large-scale Russian-speaking management. In addition, the love of antiquity is rewarded with landscapes of five continents. It is only strange that instead of v8.64 we sent v8.00 to the press. Do not forget to download updates.