Discussion about Microsoft Flight Simulator

I happened to get a powerful new computer for machine learning purposes and seeking a way that I could fritter away my time and squander money (instead of buying new HA’s and a new phone), I found this (32 min in-depth preview):

It takes a pretty powerful computer to get the most out of the simulation. But besides the computer, if you really want to get into it, it takes a yoke, rudder pedals, and (if you want to fly an Airbus or a Boeing jetliner), probably a throttle control (hundreds of $$$ there for each). I don’t think I’ll be going the route, though, of creating a 180 deg cockpit view with FOUR 4K 55" TV’s as monitors as this X-Plane 11 aficionado did (X-Plane mentioned relatively as the main competition and current sim champ in the first YouTube video):

To kick back to hearing, one thing the first YouTube video compliments MS on FS 2020 for is the attention to sound details. So hopefully come August 18th, I’ll be giving my HA’s a good workout in the sound department.

Wow to the graphics. When I tried FS back in ‘the day’ on my ibm-compatible with the monochrome screen, all the vertical lines in the cockpit turned jagged as soon as you moved the joystick off-centre and the screen would update about three times a second.

We’ll be seeing less of you here then…

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I purchased the Premium Deluxe Edition of the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. I’m ready for Aug 18th, the day it’s released

My laptop should handle it. It is a fairly new purchase as of last October.

Asus ZenBook Pro Duo

Intel® Core™ i9-9980HK processor
2.4GHz octa-core with Turbo Boost (up to 5.0GHz) and 16MB cache

32GB 2666MHz DDR4 Memory

1TB PCIe® x4 SSD Solid State Drive

NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060
Video memory: 6GB GDDR6 VRAM

Dual 15.6” OLED 4K (3840 x 2160) 16:9 touchscreens

It’s a fairly well equipped laptop. What will you be running it on?

I have a Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick coming from Amazon next Tuesday and it has a built-in rudder control and a throttle control. It also has 12 other button controls to map. I’m hoping the software recognizes it and does an auto setup. The Logitech was recommended by an experienced Microsoft FS beta tester.

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Ditto for me. (I had to learn that “pre-install” with an Xbox Game Pass for PC just means that you get to the head of the line with a game stub-not the game preview!). I applied to get into the Alpha test program but never got an invite. I figured that they might want a complete ignoramus as a test subject but I guess my relative lack of sim flying experience and lack of overall gaming experience made me a reject (we have a whole bunch of consoles and a number of games back to the original Nintendo and Super Mario Bros. but I hardly ever play them). I’m mainly not interested in flying and aircraft per se but just want an armchair way to tour exotic places in the world that I’ll probably never see in real life or to follow famous historical passages, marches, and journeys (Lewis and Clark’s Pacific Northwest trek) or car tours I’ve taken myself (graduate school trek in 1964 Corvair from East Coast to West Coast, much of it along IH-80). FS 2020 should be interesting for almost true-to-life geographical detail based on 2 petabytes of cloud data.

I would welcome other suggestions from anyone on how to have fun during the pandemic. Ideally, according to the social topic that I suggested, the idle/idyllic? pursuit should not cost a heck of a lot more than a good phone up about the cost of a good set of HA’s

I think I got one of the last ones that Dell sold as the Intel processor is now 2 generations old. The Dell XPS 8930 Special Edition with an Intel i9-9900K overclocked to 4.7 GHz on all cores. Also 32 Gb RAM and an NVidia GeForce RTX 2070 Super with 8 Gb of VRAM (I considered an Alienware gaming rig with a Ryzen processor but it would have been much more expensive and required liquid cooling, which just seemed like something extra to break-even though in multi-core processing the Ryzen processor has about 50% more processing power than the i9-9900K, I figured that most of the heavy lifting both for machine learning and gaming was going to be done by the NVidia card, which would have been the same in both Dell machines). I got the machine for machine learning before I read about FS 2020 and then realized, having only a 512 Gb NVMe M.2 SSD system drive that I would be hurting as the basic download for FS is 150 Gb just to start with! (my 2 Tb 7200 rpm SATA drive would be too slow). So I had one free Gen 3 x4 PCIe slot, got a $16 NVMe to PCIe Yateng card on Amazon and put a 1 Tb Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 V-NAND SSD into that. The added SSD is faster than my system drive, even without using the Samsung NVMe driver-just the built-in Windows 10 NVMe driver!

My wife actually asked me (fearfully, I think): “Are you buying anything else to go with the flight simulator?!” It seemed frugal not to go too overboard so I dusted off what may be an original analog CH Flight Stick from the early '90’s that I used to play X-Wing back then. Its connector is a 15-pin serial plug so I bought a Rockport serial to USB game port adapter on Amazon for ~$25 that’s supposed to allow it to work on Windows 10. I’ll try my Xbox controller, too, and maybe sometime in early 2021, I’ll splurge on something better. I thought my PS2 Logitech Gran Turisimo auto steering wheel and pedals might at least give me a set of rudder pedals but, alas, Logitech says that equipment won’t work under anything Windows 8 and above!

26 million of the 175 million Windows devices that shipped in fiscal year 2020 (for Microsoft) were gaming PC’s, which gives some idea of how big high-end gaming is when you throw gaming consoles into the count, too. There must be a bunch of home-built rigs, too, that are not officially counted as game machines.

Wow! You are throwing more power at it than I am.
Do you think what I have will cut it?

See part way down the following page of FAQ. The sim just adjusts to the level of computing power and Internet speed available down to the minimum requirements in the left most spec column of the table. I’m worried that Spectrum (formerly known as TWC) will not provide consistent enough Internet speed for maximum sim performance, especially with the old wiring in our house and the long run to the cable box.

VR will not be in the initial release although it’s supposed to be high on the priority wishlist for the developers. In the first YouTube video that I initially provided in my OP, the narrator speculates that the computing power requirements and 4K resolution are just too much for any currently available VR headset.

From the chart it looks like my hardware should work reasonably.
I understand that the realism is contingent on good internet speed.
I’ve got good connectivity.
I get a consistent 240-250 Mbps down and 12 up.
That should help.

BTW, the guy doing that review video is the guy that recommended the Logitech Joystick I’m getting from Amazon.

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@jim_lewis Nice build you’ve got there. The 9900K though isn’t two generations old; the 10th gen Intel desktop CPUs only just came out this spring (and they’re just another refresh of the same 14nm process that’s been around since the 5th gen Mobile CPUs launched in 2015).

I don’t know why someone would build a setup with all those monitors when you can just get a VR headset. They’d probably cost about the same, if not the VR headset being cheaper, since you’d want monitors that are high refresh rate and resolution.

I’m planning a build here in the fall, I think, once we’ve moved and got our new house all setup (two and a half weeks or so until we close). Waiting on the nVidia 3xxx series cards to be released; also hopefully AMD releases high end 4th gen Ryzen soon (hearing maybe September). It’s too bad the DDR5 spec only got finalized this week; while it’ll be expensive the performance will obsolete all our systems when it makes it to consumer products later next year.

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Jim, as far as suggestions for something to do with your time, ideally I’d suggest learning new things that involve some sort of physical skill. (Learning to fly would certainly qualify) Possibilities (not at all all encompassing) learn a musical instrument, try online yoga videos, set some sort of physical fitness goal, learn to tie different kinds of knots, take up woodworking, …

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Given we’re all on a hearing forum I’d suggest sign language as something to learn if you’re not already working from home:

ASL: http://www.lifeprint.com/ or ASL for Free – Gallaudet University
BSL: https://www.bslonline.co.uk/ or Online British Sign Language Course - Learn BSL Today
AUSLAN: https://www.lisamillsonline.com/ or http://www.auslan.org.au/

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Even with a gaming laptop with a GeForce 2060, you might need to purchase a laptop cooler because with heavy use of graphics, the laptop will run hot.

Good suggestion - I don’t know if video editing, photo tagging would qualify as a physical skill but another use of my new computer will be to make video editing a lot faster as the graphics card adds very powerful multi-core processing to video editing and there have been video editors for a number of years now that take advantage of card power - I just haven’t had a computer to use such an editor. And I have lots of old videos and photos that I’d like to organize onto Blu-ray discs and USB sticks before I depart this world, i.e., videos of our kids from way back, etc.

The flying skill that I do want to learn is how to fly a drone. I’m waiting for DJI to come out with a Mavic Pro level drone with better obstacle avoidance in all flight directions. And like real world airplane flying, although flying a simulator can never fully substitute for real world flying experience, if one could fly a DJI drone in FS 2020, it might help avoid a lot of expensive crashes during the learning process.

Right now in FS 2020, there are no military jets, no helicopters, and no drones to sim-fly. FS 2020 will probably go the route of X-Plane 11. 3rd-party developers will supply expensive add-ons for airports and aircraft, etc., to let you fool around with additional items. So if there is in-sim feedback, I plan to dun Microsoft or suggest to 3rd-party developers that they come up with DJI drone sims so I can learn to fly and also plan future drone flights and ideally learn to fly a drone with some wind (you can’t fly a DJI consumer-grade drone in over about a 20 to 25 mph wind).

Obsolescence is one reason that I didn’t go for the Dell Alienware rig with a AMD Ryzen processor. I had planned on waiting 'til 2023 before getting a new computer but decided, especially with the pandemic, that I might not live another 10 years and might as well not throw away another 3 years of my life waiting for something better (30% of remaining life?). But the Alienware machine could easily cost close to $4K. So I decided to “economize” for now because it might be nice to have something better further along in my old age.

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@jim_lewis if you’re looking for military you should check out DCS World.

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Actually, DJI already offers a FREE stand-alone DJI drone simulation:

https://www.dji.com/downloads/softwares/dji-flightsimulator-launcher

You get your choice of SIX DJI drones to fly in the FREE TRIAL edition. A DJI remote controller is probably best but you can control the drone through your computer keyboard instead (with mouse use possible in some limited scenarios). A DJI remote controller, depending on the drone, costs in the vicinity of $500 so it looks like it will be a keyboard for me, unless my CH Flight Stick can substitute.

The hardware spec requirements to run the simulation (80 Gb download) are almost as severe as for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 - but at least the entire simulation is self-contained in the download, it would appear).

I’ve tried that. It was fun for few sessions then it seemed to me to be more of a computer game than useful practice. I have a Mavic 2 Zoom and in my experience, flying any camera drone (for photography) is more about positioning than flying. The drones damn near fly themselves anyway. The hobby in its entirety is definitely challenging though, lots of options and technique. Seems like I learn something new on every flight, sometimes for the second or third time on account of CRS syndrome. :slight_smile: One difficulty for me was being able to see what I’m doing on a phone screen in bright sunlight. Macular hole in one eye made it even tougher. I added DJI goggles to improve the detail view and of course that has its own challenges. I’m really enjoying it, everything I need can be packed easily so I carry it into the boonies on a ATV.

Here’s something else I found challenging in case it suits and you haven’t done it already - 3D Cad modelling. Tall learning curve but really rewarding. Doesn’t require much computer horsepower unless you want to render complex items.

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Thanks for the DJI drone tips. That’s probably another area where I’m foolishly waiting away my remaining life waiting for something better. My excuse to the wife is I’m getting too old to go up on our very steep 2-story main roof to check out what’s going on- better a drone instead (but then the trees are beginning to overhang the house so much I don’t know whether one could position a drone safely in the 6 to 10 feet between the roof and any limbs, given any breeze would probably spell doom …). We now pay a roofer to come by 2x a year and clear oak debris and check things out.

I have a Bosch DLR130 laser distance measuring tool and the consumer Home Designer “Pro” program from back in 2011 or so (I took 4 years of drafting in high school since at the time, I intended to go to college to be a chemical engineer and before that had aspired to be an architect). Big mistake to get your architect to be your home builder. He refused to give us a copy of the plans (afraid we’d take them to another cheaper developer) but had to provide them to the Architectural Control Committee of our neighborhood. Unfortunately, the guy on that committee who had the plans for all the houses in the neighborhood stored the blueprints in his attic!-and cyanotype blueprints are very heat-sensitive! So I have intended with the Bosch tool to reconstruct my house in 3D. I’d be missing all the good stuff as to where the wiring and the pipes are supposed to run but the actual workers don’t always put the real life stuff where it shows on the plans - as we found out when they forgot to run the pipes to one of the prospective locations for one of our water heaters (in the main attic!) - so that that heater was jury-rigged plumbed into pipes from one of the girls’ bathrooms and located in the garage attic instead!

The thing about Home Designer is it’s an upgrade gimmick. It is one of the most amazing programs that I’ve ever owned but even the consumer “PRO” version doesn’t quite do everything you might want from a full-fledged CAD program and they always want to upsell you to the next level (Chief Architect, in my case). My brother-in-law is a professional architect and he turned up his nose at anything like that - he uses some version of AUTOCAD that cost him $5 or $6K - that would meet the criterion of something to buy that costs as much as a deluxe set of hearing aids!

My favorite drawing program is the original Micrografx Designer (since bought by Corel). I used to make lecture slides, journal graphics for papers, and as a RSO, radioactive inspection plans for labs from university CAD drawings. I still have all my pen-and-ink drawing and lettering tools from the 1960’s! I hope that qualifies as some sort of skill I’ve learned for MDB’s approval! My high-school-era home drawing table sits in a corner of our present living room. :slightly_smiling_face:

https://www.homedesignersoftware.com/

I was going to buy a DVD several years ago but then I didn’t get around to it and when I went into Best Buy they didn’t have it anymore. Can’t remember if that was right after 911.

When I get to heaven if God gives out earthly type things to do I want to be a fighter pilot. Not to be in combat but just the thrill of operating that plane.

When I went on vacation last year the pilot let me sit in the cockpit. it was an Airbus. They don’t have that yoke anymore but a little joystick on the side.

Have fun!

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