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View Full Version : X-Plane v.8.15 - some impressions here...



msalama
11-24-2005, 11:52 PM
Well then -

I've been tinkering with X-Plane v.8.15 lately, and here're my impressions so far:

* The simulation engine itself is pretty decent, but stalls and especially spins are way off or non-existent.

* Most planes I tested were of dubious quality, i.e. they felt like they were made of paper and thus had no mass at all. All control responses were instantaneous and VERY abrupt, and planes VERY wobbly. The reason for this, it turned out, was X-Plane calculating AC radii of gyrations incorrectly.

* Ground / taxiing behaviour was very weird with most planes to say the least! Many GA AC started to move pretty fast immediately when brakes were released - and yes, I kept my engine(s) on idle at this point...

* OTOH, there _are_ some very well-modelled AC too. Jan Grundke's Beechcraft B1900D comes to mind - an excellent twin-prop job, one of the best I've ever tried in any simulator actually!

* The overall graphical quality is pretty tatty.

* There's no real independent differential braking. A plain & hard(ish) rudder deflection, however, gives you AUTOMATIC differential braking whether you want it or not http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

* Combustion engines have pseudo-separate magnetos only, meaning you can't do a proper mag check during your pre-flight.

* Clickable cockpits are a plus, but you seemingly can't import your own gauges into the plane builder (though I might be mistaken on this).

So what's the overall verdict then? Well, IMO IL-2 beats X-Plane hands down. We've superior - or at least much more detailed - FMs, better-looking and more interesting planes, more accurate cockpits, better graphical quality - you name it (or, well, almost), and it's better here! Now if we only had clickable CPs & comprehensive AC subsystems too... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

So hey, maybe y'all should be _grateful_ for what you've got here, eh? Because this heah simulator of ours ain't bad, ya know http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

PS. There was a LOT of whining there a while back of Austin Meyer (X-Plane's creator) constantly changing the sim's internals from version to version & thus adversely affecting many AC. Sound familiar to you? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif

msalama
11-24-2005, 11:52 PM
Well then -

I've been tinkering with X-Plane v.8.15 lately, and here're my impressions so far:

* The simulation engine itself is pretty decent, but stalls and especially spins are way off or non-existent.

* Most planes I tested were of dubious quality, i.e. they felt like they were made of paper and thus had no mass at all. All control responses were instantaneous and VERY abrupt, and planes VERY wobbly. The reason for this, it turned out, was X-Plane calculating AC radii of gyrations incorrectly.

* Ground / taxiing behaviour was very weird with most planes to say the least! Many GA AC started to move pretty fast immediately when brakes were released - and yes, I kept my engine(s) on idle at this point...

* OTOH, there _are_ some very well-modelled AC too. Jan Grundke's Beechcraft B1900D comes to mind - an excellent twin-prop job, one of the best I've ever tried in any simulator actually!

* The overall graphical quality is pretty tatty.

* There's no real independent differential braking. A plain & hard(ish) rudder deflection, however, gives you AUTOMATIC differential braking whether you want it or not http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif

* Combustion engines have pseudo-separate magnetos only, meaning you can't do a proper mag check during your pre-flight.

* Clickable cockpits are a plus, but you seemingly can't import your own gauges into the plane builder (though I might be mistaken on this).

So what's the overall verdict then? Well, IMO IL-2 beats X-Plane hands down. We've superior - or at least much more detailed - FMs, better-looking and more interesting planes, more accurate cockpits, better graphical quality - you name it (or, well, almost), and it's better here! Now if we only had clickable CPs & comprehensive AC subsystems too... http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

So hey, maybe y'all should be _grateful_ for what you've got here, eh? Because this heah simulator of ours ain't bad, ya know http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

PS. There was a LOT of whining there a while back of Austin Meyer (X-Plane's creator) constantly changing the sim's internals from version to version & thus adversely affecting many AC. Sound familiar to you? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/88.gif

joeap
11-25-2005, 02:49 AM
Good review but again you know apples and oranges. Folks who want to fly modern GA wouldn't be interested in IL-2. You also get modern guages, navigation aids and systems modern scenery and airports. No DM or weapons however. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/icon_twisted.gif

msalama
11-27-2005, 01:47 AM
Yep, Joe, you're absolutely right of course - apples & oranges, different strokes for different folks etc. My point, however, was to remind ppl that IL-2 is not a bad _sim_ either, even when compared to a civvie simulator of high esteem.

But of course there's a place for both, and for M$FS9 too! Different strokes &c...

Aaron_GT
11-27-2005, 02:46 AM
Isn't it rumoured that the IL2 engine may be licenced for various new sims, e.g. WW1, and GA. X-Plane is FAA approved. If IL-2 is superior in terms of the simulation and a suitable plug-in architecture can be created (which X-Plane has for plugging in additional modules for control) then maybe an IL-2 derived GA sim could be approved too.

msalama
11-27-2005, 03:16 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">X-Plane is FAA approved. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Exactly. And that was just the thing that aroused my curiosity here http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">If IL-2 is superior in terms of the simulation and a suitable plug-in architecture can be created (which X-Plane has for plugging in additional modules for control) then maybe an IL-2 derived GA sim could be approved too. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

IMHO it _is_ superior in terms of the basic simulation, because as I said X-Plane can't even model spins and stalls correctly. Stalls, well yeah, maybe to a degree, but spins just aren't there at all. And the X-Plane engine guesses AC radii of gyrations all wrong too if you don't determine / define them yourself, resulting in VERY wobbly - and at the same time weightless - planes http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

I therefore did go out of my lazy way and did the calculations myself for the plain and humble default Cessna 172SP, just to see what's what... And lo and behold - the plane just settled DOWN - and the mass was suddendly there - but not to an extent of over-stabilizing the bugger. So the basic X-Plane engine isn't _BAD_ at all, but it does feel somewhat incomplete, and some things are just plain wrong IMHO.

The IL-2 engine, OTOH, is more complete, and feels more realistic in other ways too. So what we've got _right_here_ ain't that bad at all, ladies and gents http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

PS. Got track? Nope http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Check the bugger out yerselves to compare!

joeap
11-27-2005, 05:32 AM
Well my unscientific opinion is that I tried the X-plane demo and dabbled with it. Of course as it was the demo couldn't really try it but it "felt" a bit closer to IL2 than MS. Didn't try spinning though.

msalama
11-27-2005, 05:48 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Of course as it was the demo couldn't really try it but it "felt" a bit closer to IL2 than MS. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

My impression too, the 2 do feel somewhat similar. Who knows, maybe Oleg is using blade element theory maths as well!

FS9 OTOH is table-based isn't it?

Viper2005_
11-27-2005, 07:14 AM
Classic apples and oranges comparison.

The beauty of X-Plane is that you can make your own aeroplanes and test them.

The biggest weakness of X-plane is that it suffers from GIGO.

If you know what you're doing, and understand the various limits of the modelling approach used, you can get some very realistic performance out of it.

On the other hand, back in the V6 days, somebody made an excellent model of snoopy's kennel which flew extremely well...

Please do not confuse the performance of the simulator itself (which is pretty good) with that of the vast majority of aircraft available "off the shelf" (which are of variable quality at best).

I have flown several aircraft in X-plane which would stall and spin quite nicely. I made some of them myself.

To get the best out of X-plane you have to approach it from an engineering background. X-Plane tends to run into trouble if you ask it to simulate more extreme conditions and more complicated engine arrangements. It performs some basic aerodynamic calculations, but essentially neglects thermodynamics, which obviously results in major errors in high speed flight.

I would also point out that IL2 is very far from perfect with regard to fidelity, especially with regard to Mach number effects. It has nice spin behaviour, but its stall behaviour is far from perfect (Fw-190 gives prestall buffet "clean" when it should stall without warning etc).

At the end of the day it all comes down to fitness for purpose, and one cannot really say that X-plane is better or worse than IL2 in any absolute sense, anymore than one could say that a hammer is better than a screwdriver.

I would say however, that if you put the hours in (and it's a lot of hours - you'll need to write plugins to model the engine and other systems more accurately...) you could make a more realistic model of the performance of any given WWII fighter in X-Plane than you'll find in IL2. But once you've got it you'll find no scope for a damage model or weapon effects. So you'll just have to be content with the joy of flight.

One day I decided I wanted to fly a Whirlwind in X-Plane. That evening, I was test flying. Enough said.

p-11.cAce
11-27-2005, 10:05 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> Good review but again you know apples and oranges. Folks who want to fly modern GA wouldn't be interested in IL-2. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't think this is correct. I currently use IL2, FS9, and Condor on a regular basis. In RL I fly sailplanes and Condor is HANDS DOWN the best soaring sim on the market - and imho offers the best sim experience (but then again my power flight time is limited). I'm a pilot for DC-3 Airways, a virtual airline, and for that FS9 provides all the fun "twiddly" details like radio range navigation, weather, etc. (but it looks like **** and I do not think many aspects of the fm are very good - i.e. I can get my -3 to motor around at full power with full up elevator all day long just hanging on the props at 60mph indicated and 100fpm on the vsi; I have no real -3 time but this seems far from realistic. Then of course I jump into IL2 when I want to strafe and bomb and blow ***t up http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/784.gif The graphics are top notch and the fm (I'm patched back to 4.01) rarely leaves give me those "wtf" moments where reality just goes out the window. Anyone else a multi-sim pilot?

msalama
11-27-2005, 12:43 PM
Viper,

2 things:

1) Someone more knowledgeable of X-Plane than me said v.8.x has a problem with spins. And FWIW, I couldn't get any plane to spin at all, the closest thing being a half-revolution with instant auto-correction. So nope, not very convincing at all...

2) Yes, the simulation engine is very decent, just as I pointed out myself earlier. Most planes, however (and this includes the default AC as well), are not.

Which planes, BTW, have you made for the sim, and for which version?