449: Checking Affinity Mask Performance in Realtime

Affinity Mask could bring improvements to flight simulators.  But the question is: how can we tell from a hypothetical value (or more precisely a CPU combination) that it will bring positive gains to our system before we put it in the configuration file (fsx.cfg or Prepar3D.cfg) ?

Frankly, I don’t have a good answer myself because there are so many variables involved.   However, following is the approach I take to precheck the performances from different Affinity Masks in realtime, then thru which I pick the one I think the best for my set up.
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448: Affinity Mask Calculator

Affinity Mask is commonly recognized as one of the most useful features that allows flightsimmers to improve system performance by altering the combination of running CPUs assigned to the simulator.

Here’s my Affinity Mask Calculator (with redesigned interface) version that I hope it could give you some helps during your search for the best possible value.

Using the calculator is simple and intuitive — just select the CPUs you want to assign to FSX or Prepar3D based on: Continue reading

447: FIPs for P3Dv4 and New Drivers

Received a number of inquiries recently from friends who asked for advises why their FIPs (Flight Instrument Panels) no longer work after upgrading to P3Dv4.

Causes are in general similar — the exe.xml and/or the DLL.XML are missing.   Because these two files don’t come with the simulator nor created by the Saitek drivers by default.  Moreover, the latest FSUIPC5 is also a prerequisite.

Fixes are simple: Continue reading

446: Cessna Fuel Gauge Now with Back Light

The Integrated Fuel Gauges (INTFG) for the default C172SP and A2A C172R and C182T have just been updated to version R5 and R2 respectively.   They are the second group of Cessna gauges now enhanced with back-light effect, following the earlier Wet Compass.

Actually, in order to make the back-light effect right, I have taken far more time and effort than I expected in the first place.   The new updates are the result of numerous attempts and many days of work.

Therefore, I wouldn’t be able to give any estimated date when the next one will come nor what gauge or gauges it or they will be for the moment; however, there will be updates for sure, which I can promise. Continue reading

445: SIMAV8 CNT1 COM/NAV Radio Review

In any construction of a realistic cockpit, high-performance avionic instruments can be said the next most important equipment next to the control stick, rudder pedals and gauges.  However, choices available on the market are limited, especially to those designed for general aviation simulation purposes.

The CNT1 COM/NAV Radio by SIMAV8 is a new avionic equipment that is designed and built with this intention in mind.

Layout

In contrast to the bulky Saitek Radio Panel I have been using since 2000, the CNT1 Radio has an appearance of a real replica of a true-to-scale Bendix King Radio unit commonly found on most general light aircraft. Continue reading

444: A Temporary Measure to Restore Enhanced Textures

Although the program architecture of Prepar3Dv4 has moved from 32-bit to 64-bit, one should not henceforth assume that its associated environment (sky, cloud, sea, ground) texture data would have been upgraded accordingly.

Actually they are largely the same as those used in previous P3D versions, and in FSX as well.   Only a limited number of files I found so far have been changed or converted into a different format.

This is good because it means that it is possible for me to restore my previously saved enhanced environment texture backup (put together from different addons) onto P3Dv4 now, without waiting until those addon programs becoming version 4 compatible later. Continue reading

443: AS Cloud Art or REX Soft Clouds ?

HiFi Simulation’s Active Sky Cloud Art and REX Game Studios’ Soft Clouds are two popular cloud texture products that are fully compatible with P3Dv4 so far.

Although it may not justify to compare the two products head-to-head as AS Cloud Art comes with additional features rather than just pure-enhancement to the cumulus clouds in Soft Clouds, I think it would still be interesting to find out what the two products bring in terms of cumulus clouds improvement only.

This is the default cloud posture with Coverage Density set to Maximum under Orbx Weather 7 Theme.  (Click image to zoom bigger)

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442: B737 Backup Altimeter with AS Indicator

Here’s the Backup Altimeter with Airspeed Indicator developed for the B737.   It is the third in the B737 gauge series and it comes with the back light effect.

Explanation of its altimeter and airspeed features is not necessary, I believe.

Although the gauge is customized for the B737, I found it’s fun to include it to some other gauge setups as well, as it contains two of the core six instrument.

To serve this purpose better, I will include an extra black-panel version in future update.   Anyone interested in this gauge could click on the image above or click here for order information.