132: Zoom Functions Frequently Ignored

Zoom In and Zoom Out are two of the most frequently used functions in FSX.    In contrast, the Chase Distance Increase and Chase Distance Decrease features are seldom used relatively.

Background Zoom Level Remains Unchanged

Compared to Zoom In or  Zoom Out that enlarges or reduces all objects in the scenery, the Chase Distance Increase acts like pushing the aircraft away from you and the Chase Distance Decrease pulling the aircraft closer to you, both keeping the zoom level of the background scenery unchanged.

This could create quite a dramatic effect in a flightsim session.

By default, these two “zooms”  are assigned to key-combo [CTRL][-] and [CTRL][=] respectively.    They can easily be re-assigned to any buttons on external panels or yokes via Settings in FSX.

131: My Best FSX Setup (2011-1124)

Since my last update in August regarding my FSX setup, there were quite some changes to my system,

where I:

  • added two more FIPs

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130: Radeon Settings for HD6970

In terms of FSX performance, my newly added ASUS HD 6970 Direct CU II graphic card is just slightly better than my previous ASUS Matrix HD 5870However, it does bring a better image quality and a much cooler and quiet environment to my system.  Moreover, the card allows connection up to six monitors, giving me flexibility when planning for future multi-monitor system upgrade.

The Radeon driver I am using is the latest 11.11 (updated on Nov-28).   Despite the new features come with the new driver, the Mipmap Detail Level option in 3D Application Settings was gone for the HD 6970.    Moreover, the Wide-tent and Narrow-tent filters of Anti-Aliasing were combined into one Edge-detected filter.

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129: The Moon and The Stars

For anyone who likes to fly at twilight or in the night, the following two enhancement tools shouldn’t be missed.

The HD Moon Texture by Marco Fischbach can replace the default FSX moon texture (64×64) with one of its higher resolution moon texture sets — 2048×2048, 1024×1024 and 512×512.

My recommended choice is the 1024×1024 set, which is good enough to render a pretty and realistic lunar terrain effect, without sacrificing FSX performance.

The latest version 3 can be downloaded from FlightSim.com here.

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128: The Little Secret of Day & Night

Ever wonder what the FTX Day Night Switcher does to your system?  Here’s the detail.

The Miscelleneous_lib_orbx.bgl under X:\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\Scenery\Global\scenery directory is the file controlling some of the lights in FTX scenery.   The switcher reinstalls two versions of it in the ON and OFF folders under X:\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\ORBX\Scripts\Lights directory.

The OFF folder contains the DAY version (with some of the lights removed), where the ON folder holds the NIGHT (original full) version.  The switcher just functions to copy the full or lighter version (on or off) to replace the one in the Global Scenery directory.

Regarding the hype of “doubling your FPS”,  I don’t have the luck to reach that level but just a marginal improvement.    Developer of FTX says,  “… not seeing a big change may be due to your already optimized settings or possibly GPU AA settings, frame limiter or even a FSX.cfg tweak.”     Anyway, still worth a shot.

127: Put the Tower Radar on the Plane

Each aircraft in FSX can be equipped up to 9 different panels, and each of these panels can be called up by pressing the [SHIFT] plus a number key from 1 to 9.   However, only a few aircrafts in FSX are actually equipped with all 9 panels.   Most aircrafts use less than five.

The following tweak adds the radar panel found in control tower to virtually any aircraft.

Don’t remember where I found this tweak in the first place (credit should be given to the one who shared this).    It is an interesting and useful one and quite easy to implement.    Furthermore, I had it simplified.

Here’s how to add the radar to the Cessna 172 as an example.    Same procedures apply to all other planes:

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126: New Gear Added

Lately, I have been busy on playing with my new gears that I’d been longing for quite some time.    Two additional Saitek Flight Instrument Panels (FIP) were finally added to my system, which completed my Saitek collection  —  well, at least for the moment.

And the ASUS HD 6970 Direct CU II, which replaced my ASUS Matrix HD5870, brings a better image quality and a cooler and quiet environment.    Also, it allows me to upgrade to a multi-monitor system in the future.

However, both new gears require adjustments.   In particular the HD 6970, it requires quite some patient in order to achieve a satisfied result better than the previous setup.    Updates and settings for both new gears will be posted soon.

125: Aircraft Door Fixes

The Mitsubishi Pajero by Mitsuya Hamaguchi is supposed to have its Door Windows, Cabin Doors and Engine Hood opened (or closed) when [SHIFT+E][SHIFT+E] then [2], and [SHIFT+E] then [3] are pressed respectively.

However, due to a mismatch error in its aircraft.cfg file, its hood (bonnet) cannot be opened when [SHFT+E] then [3] is pressed.

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124: Break the 10-Day Shade Cycle Limit

SHADE for FSX is built on the 10-day cycle of FSX.   Therefore, up to 10 different SHADE presets can be saved via the program’s GUI utility (Shade_gui.exe).

Actually, it is possible to crack the 10-day limit and extend the cycle to cover all days in a month.    And theoretically, it is even possible to use a different preset every day throughout the year and beyond, despite of the impracticality of the idea.

The concept of this tweak is pretty simple — when SHADE for FSX is executed, it will load the presets from the settings.ini created by Shade-gui.exe.   Therefore, if one can:

  • Prepare three different settings.ini each containing 10 different presets (totalling 30 presets)
  • Load them one after the other in every 10 days

Then, each day in a month can associate with a unique preset stored on these three settings.ini.

The tricky part is how to fully automate the swapping process of these three ini files according to a predefined condition without human intervention.

Here’s what I did:

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