Quit playing games

As a kid, I never had enough patience for realistic flight simulators. Of course, when I say “realistic”, I’m talking about the gameplay, not the graphics, haha! After all, that was some 30 years back. I’m sure, I would do a much better job nowadays. Actually, I’d be quite tempted to get myself a decent flight simulator. What’s holding me back is my simple, self-imposed rule to not install any games on my work computer. As a self-employed person, the line between work and private life are already blurred enough, and I know I would have lapses in discipline where “just playing to relax for 15 minutes” would spiral into hours of gaming. The danger of doing that when you’re self-employed is that the consequences (less income) are totally decoupled from the act and bite you in the ass half a year later. So I chose abstinence.

When my kids grow older, we’ll probably get a gaming console of some sort sooner or later. We try to delay that as long as possible, but in today’s world it’s kinda inevitable. While I am convinced it’s good to keep these things out of the house as long as possible, I admit I’m looking forward to that a bit! I’m sure we won’t be starting out with complex flight simulators there either though.

I know we have a whole bunch of flight simmers among our flock. Can I ask which one is the best? Or would this naive question of mine trigger a religious war in the comment section?


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9 comments on “Quit playing games
  1. Sooraj says:

    No contest when it comes to computers. MSFS 2020 all the way. A close second, perhaps, X-Plane 11.
    But on mobile/tablet, Infinite Flight.

  2. Felix says:

    Short answer, MSFS for the graphics, but if you’re all in for physics and overall realism i’d wait for X-plane 12.

  3. David says:

    While maybe not the best, FlightGear is good enough for me for the few times I start up a simulator. Main advantage for me being that it’s free.

  4. Franck Mée says:

    Kudos for bravely importing a religion war! 😀

    FS2020 is clearly the most beautiful flight simulator today. Its physics engine is also quite advanced and I believe the atmospheric effects are on par with X-Plane 11.
    But Asobo and Microsoft made two absolutely revolting choices:
    1- not even try to create some airfield where a military airport is blurred in Bing Maps. I live near Cognac Air Base, and it is just plain field with some weird, low-res blue grass (mix between the blurred picture from Maps and the default empty ground texture). The worst about it is that there is a civilian part on this air base, so it’s actually possible to fly your DR400 there in real life (with a bit of paperwork), but not in FS2020 !
    2-Create fake dumb pseudo-ICAO codes for airfields which do not have one. For example, in France, private airfields do not have a 4-letter ICAO code. But they DO have a special LF+digits code. For example, La Tranche-sur-Mer’s private airfield real code is LF8522, but FS2020’s creators invented the fake LFVC code.
    Bottom line: for people flying both real-life and simulation, FS2020 is a pain in the ass. You can’t use real data to fly your virtual navigation. For example, sometimes, for no reason, you’ll have to enter different codes in the sim and in the aircraft. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s basically useless for flight training.
    Which is a shame because, you know, it’s really BEAUTIFUL and it feels much more accurate than any previous MSFS product.

    XP11 is not as pretty (it’s also not as greedy for graphic cards), but its world is much closer to the real one. It can also change flight model at will, for example by tearing off a flap if you overshoot Vfe, and it offers a very accurate reproduction of aircraft systems (for example, if you throttle down a PT-6 at high altitude, you may loose pressurization, because it accurately reproduces how the bleeds work). So it’s a much better tool for flight training, though it’s much less candy for the eye.

  5. HC says:

    I most certainly don’t know which is the best one, but I like flightgear a lot. It got me into aviation and it got me a real PPL. The story is this: Flightgear is free software, so it has what some people may call “rough edges”. This is not only a disadvantage: It doesn’t try to please the customer, because there is no customer, only peers. AIt is already a bit difficult (i.e., “realistic”) to start up the engine in flightgear, and you start with a C150 and not a commercial plane by default. I looked on the flightgear homepage for some manuals to get me started, and very prominently did they recommend to go to the faa website and read the student pilot’s manual there first. So I did that and while reading it I thought, oh wow, this does not sound too difficult, I might as well try and get a real PPL. So I quit flightgear and went to a flightschool and did just that. (-:

  6. Person says:

    Go for MSFS if you have a NASA computer and want good graphics, but personally, I don’t like the flight models and avionics there. You can also take Xplane 11 or 12, and it’s graphics are definitely worse, but flying is so much more realistic, and 12 will throw in the graphics improvements too. And then there’s always DCS, free, realistic, good graphics, and a blast to fly in!

  7. Joshua says:

    Clearly the answer should be DCS. Because, you know, Top Gun.

  8. TLB says:

    YSFlight needs a mention too. It’s not clear if it is still maintained, but for a low power computer YSFlight is excellent. YSFlight is free, has very simple graphics, and a good flight model. https://ysflight.org/

  9. eekee says:

    I hope I’m not bringing down the tone too much, but I worry about these realistic flight sims. I remember the time MSFS was highly accurate; good enough to train certain Afghani…. Perhaps I’m worrying too much. Cockpit security is a better idea than trying to withhold information, anyway.

    On a lighter note, everyone’s commenting about simulators but I don’t have anything to say about mine! 🙂 It’s because Kerbal Space Program has a different balance of realism, lacking weather and some other complexities to make it easier for players to create and fly spaceplanes at hypersonic speeds. There are realism mods to create weather, replace Kerbin with Earth, and to model more of the intricacies and limitations of real-life technology, but I think the stock game is quite hard enough. Also, I like alien vistas so I’m thinking of getting a mod which puts the home spaceport on a habitable moon. Imagine a beautiful, perhaps ringed gas giant in the sky as you fly. 🙂

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