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Added: 10 Jun 2012
MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR AIRCRAFT AND SCENERY DESIGNER
MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR AIRCRAFT AND SCENERY DESIGNER is an add-on product
for MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR, VERSION 4.0 (FS4) or later. It allows you to
create additional static scenery, active scenery, and navigational aides
anywhere in the FLIGHT SIMULATOR world. Additionally, this product introduces an
enhanced aircraft editor, as well as several new aircraft. (This review is based
on the IBM-PC version.)
System requirements for A&SD are an MS-DOS computer with 640K of RAM, at least
one floppy drive (a hard disk is highly recommended), CGA, EGA, VGA, MCGA, or
Hercules graphics capability, DOS 2.0 or higher, and FS4 or later. The program
provides an automatic installation routine that must be used; you can't simply
copy the files into a current FS4 directory, although the distribution diskette
itself is not copy-protected. The installation routine adds a new option to Menu
Once in the designer, the program permits you to configure A&SD in such a way
as to maximize your use of RAM, and to customize design options, such as grid
overlays, and latitude/longitude coordinates vs. FS coordinates.
STATIC SCENERY DESIGNER
The Static Scenery Designer allows you to significantly enhance any area in the
FS world. This includes all of North America, Central America, the Caribbean,
Hawaii, Europe, and Japan. Items that can be added include the following:
Roads: Country, City, Four Lane, Divided Highway;
Rivers: Width is user-specifiable;
Buildings: Rectangular, Multisided, L-shaped, H-shaped, T-shaped, Control
Objects: Radio Towers, Wind Socks, Cars, Trees, Bridges, Suspension Bridges;
Mountains: User-specifiable dimensions and peak heights;
Runways: User-specifiable length, width, color, markings, approach lighting
(ALSF-1, ALSF-2, MALSF, SSALF, MALSR, SSALR);
Navaids: NDB, VOR, ILS;
Timing Gates: For custom race courses.
Virtually all of the above-listed items can be colored, sized, or shaped to
your liking. Objects can also be placed next to each other or on top of each
other, to provide the illusion of a more complex object. For example, if an
airport has a terminal, with the control tower protruding from the top of the
terminal, you can place a building in the shape of the terminal, and then place
a control tower in the same location as the terminal, to give it the proper
An editor is also provided; it allows you to modify or delete objects after
they've already been saved.
The limitations regarding the amount of scenery you can add in a particular
area are dictated by the amount of free RAM your system has, and the resulting
frame-rate penalty. On faster systems, you can add more scenery than on slower
systems, since the frame-rate penalty is not as great.
The Static Scenery Designer is a major addition to the FS world. You're now
able to create your own cities in much greater levels of detail, and you can
also design your own fantasy places (such as an island in the Caribbean).
Creating static scenery takes a little practice before you're able to make
things look exactly as you want, and before you can accurately judge how much
scenery is too much because it exacts too high a system performance penalty.
Learning this is a lot of fun, though!
DYNAMIC SCENERY DESIGNER
Dynamic scenery (similar to that found in Chicago and San Francisco in the
default FS4 scenery) can now be added to your FS world. To add new dynamic
scenery anywhere, you must first record the pattern. Recording dynamic scenery
can be done via flying, driving, or slewing the actual pattern. After the
scenery has been recorded, you can specify when to start the scenery, whether it
repeats or not, whether the object parks or disappears after completing the
pattern, and so forth. You can also make dynamic scenery objects dependent on
others. For example, if you have two planes at an airport, for realism's sake,
you can't have them both take off at the same time; so you may start one
immediately, and make the second one start after the first one takes off.
Dynamic scenery objects that can be added include a Cessna, a Learjet, a 767,
an F14, a sailplane, cars (red, white, or blue), a fuel truck, and a sailboat.
You can add a humorous twist to your scenery by recording an airplane's flight,
and then specifying that the dynamic scenery object be a fuel truck. Thus, you
have flying fuel trucks! Once a pattern is recorded, it can be edited (within
limits). The dynamic object and its start time can be changed, and you can
determine whether it is to park or disappear at the end of its pattern.
Recording dynamic scenery can take up lots of memory, so you have to be
judicious regarding how much dynamic scenery you add, and how long each of the
patterns will be. This is a fun way to practice flying in formation: Just fly in
formation with one of your dynamic objects.
ENHANCED AIRCRAFT DESIGNER
Installation of A&SD replaces the current aircraft designer (in FS4) with a
significantly more powerful one. There are basically five screens of options for
changing your aircraft. The first screen allows you to modify the wings,
including the wingspan, chord, aspect ratio, angle of incidence, induced drag,
dihedral, and winglets. Also modifiable are the airframe type, engine type and
power, and the engine's altitude derating factor.
The Stabilizer Systems Menu lets you modify many facets of the horizontal
stabilizer and vertical stabilizer. New additions to this portion of the
designer allow you to change a number of damping effects, as well as pitch
velocity, hysteresis, and lift; coefficient scaling; and stability augmentation.
A new Color and Visual Design Menu lets you change the colors of many of the
aircraft's surfaces, and add custom aircraft numbers to some of the
The Weight, Balance, Instruments, and Structure Menu allows numerous changes to
your aircraft. Some of these include dry weight, fuel capacity, center of
gravity, center of lift, inverse moments of inertia, how some instruments
respond, when the stall warning horn comes on, whether the gear is retractible
or not, and the airplane's crash resistance. A new, enhanced instrument panel
(based on Boeing's 747-400) is also selectable. A canard configuration option
allows you to design aircraft with horizontal stabilizers in front of the main
wings. This option reverses the horizontal stabilizer control surface response
so that the aircraft still gains altitude when pulling back on the stick,
instead of going into a dive.
The final A&SD menu is the Aerodynamics/Controls Menu, which allows you to
modify the frontal area, body side area, various drag coefficients, dynamic
pressure effects, control sensitivities, and steering response. This menu also
allows you to specify whether an aircraft is a Heavy or not (like a 747), and
allows you to add thrust reversers to jets.
The new aircraft designer is substantially more powerful than the one included
in the FS4 package. The new designer still does not permit the design of a high
wing jet, or a significant alteration of the shape of the fuselage. However,
with the added aircraft in this package (see below), the choices are more
numerous. The new designer also lets you make some limited modifications to the
default aircraft that were previously only possible by actually changing some
bytes at the hexadecimal level.
One of the highlights of A&SD is the incorporation of several new aircraft. A
Boeing 747-400 has been added, and it's beautifully rendered in both its
internal and external views. The cockpit features a new enhanced instrument
panel, referred to as the glass cockpit. This cockpit consists of several CRTs,
instead of the usual flight instrumentation. (Boeing was actually involved in
the design of the glass cockpit for A&SD.) Included are active checklists that
automatically detect what your next course of action should be, as well as an
integrated map view. Using this new glass cockpit along with the new scenery can
substantially slow down a computer's frame rate, which can be critical during
landing. To remedy this, you have the the option of turning off the map view by
hitting SHIFT-SPACEBAR once or twice; this returns the screen to a very useable
Other new aircraft included in A&SD are a Piper Cherokee Archer, and a
Beechcraft Starship. The Archer is a low wing, fixed gear, single engine
propeller aircraft (painted red), and the Starship is a twin-prop, canard design
aircraft with an impressive maximum speed of 335 knots. Both fill a void in the
FS world. The Archer finally adds a low wing propeller airplane to the FS fold,
while the Starship at last gives us a propeller plane with performance.
Because of all of this new functionality, the software requires much more free
memory in DOS than before. If you're using FS4, A&SD, and subLOGIC's Instant
Facilities Locator (IFL), it's recommended that you first free at least 585K of
RAM. You can do this either by creating a special boot diskette that loads no
TSRs or drivers, or by loading all your drivers into high memory with products
such as Quarterdeck's QEMM and QRAM. If you do not use IFL, a total of 550K of
free RAM is sufficient.
In the future, A&SD should add the capability to include hot air balloons as
dynamic scenery, and allow runways to be placed on top of mountains. A better
mouse interface for the static scenery designer would also be welcome. Another
improvement would be the inclusion of a distance scale on the design grid, so
that you'd be able to judge distance more easily. Aside from these minor
omissions, A&SD is a winner!
MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR AIRCRAFT AND SCENERY DESIGNER is an absolute must
for any serious FLIGHT SIMULATOR owner -- highly recommended for even the
occasional user. It's a very powerful addition to FS, as it provides virtually
limitless possibilities for scenery design, and much more flexibility in
MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR AIRCRAFT AND SCENERY DESIGNER is published and
distributed by Microsoft.
*****DOWNLOADED FROM P-80 SYSTEMS (304) 744-2253
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