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Sent this to Fawlty in an email when he asked about it.  Copying here:

It finally finished downloading last night while I was sleeping.  I started when it released Monday night.  I got up this morning and set up my controls and flew from the airport north of where I live here, where I first kept the Chief, over the lake and my house, and then down to Georgetown.  Most impressive flight sim I've ever done.  The experience was very close to real life.  Some things were missing, like microwave towers and the marina on the lake, but for backcountry Texas, where the other sims just always had flat tan textures, this was deeply impressive.  Even my place looked like my place, even though the buildings were generic, at least they were in the right place, and my pastures sure looked like my pastures, with trees in the right places. 

I flew around Orcas Is. a bit later and landed at Friday Harbor.  Then I flew from Tacoma Narrows to Bowerman.  The default airports aren't half bad.  Way better than P3D, and even Xplane.  And I flew real weather, and it got real thick and started raining on the way to Bowerman.  Most realistic atmospherics I've ever seen.  Just incredible!  Flying in and out of clouds looks so much more like real life now. 

And I'm running at high settings, and it's been pretty darned smooth.  I was worried my bandwidth wouldn't support the sim, but apart from two pauses of about a second each, and a few barely noticeable microstutters when it's downloading new scenery, I think, it's been very smooth. 

I think once I have the areas I usually fly in a cache, it will be completely smooth.  I set up a 50gb cache on my HDD for that. 

I'm deeply impressed.  The planes feel like they are flying more than Xplane and way more than FSX/P3D.  Systems may not be as complex yet, but they are fine.   So far, I'm very happy with it.  Gonna be hard to go back to Xplane now.  And I haven't had P3D on my computer for years. 

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I’m waiting to build a new rig before I jump into the deep end with this new sim. I haven’t had P3D on this system for quite some time either, and it was basically a systems simulation/pretty scenery add-on’s game at the end there. Really intrigued that you said the FM seemed good @WWGriphos!

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I've been tempted by MSFS2020, but held off pulling the trigger. To be honest I wasn't going to bother for a long time. I had P3Dv5 fully set up with a crap-ton of Orbx sceneries and A2A and other aircraft. But lately I've been having lots of issues with P3D, and I may just have to bail. Especially if I can get my add-ons ported into MS FS. 

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The tube guys are always unhappy.  But, yeah, I think MSFS is better for GA.  I think the turboprop stuff is still not right, as always in all of these sims. 

I had zero trouble getting it running.  No tweaking necessary.  No issues downloading, setting up or running.  I flew three flights yesterday.  The first one I mentioned above.  Then I flew the default Orcas Is. (KORS) to see if I wanted to get the Orbx version at the discount (since I own it for both other sims).  The default looked better than that pic above @WWFawlty.  The buildings weren't as detailed on the airport itself, but the town looked great, and the marina, and the actual scenery (ground, trees, etc) looked amazing.  I'm not sure I'll get the Orbx version.

But here's the Orbx version in MSFS if you want to take a look:

Then I flew from Tacoma Narrows over to Bowerman.  Both airports looked pretty good default.  But the country in between, again, was incredible.  The rivers and even the highways and traffic look very, very good default.  The main thing on that flight, though, was that I flew live weather, and it was cloudy in Tacoma, but raining in Bowerman and getting socked in.  Weather was 10mi vis with lots of clouds and rain.  So, I flew into that.  I've never seen a sim capture that kind of weather that realistically before.  I never lost sight of the ground (so stayed VFR), but different parts of the sky were differentially opaque and this all changed as I flew through it.  It looked like being in clouds, or like being in rain looks in life.  The drops on my windshield and side windows were a nice touch as well.  And setting up to land at Bowerman was just phenomenal.  The partially obscured terrain with the airport lights shining through the fog looked so believable!  It was SO immersive and convincing as a simulation.  And flying in all of that weather didn't seem to slow performance down at all.  Sim doesn't have a frame counter (which I don't mind), so I can't say whether there was any hit from heavy weather and rain, but if there was, I didn't notice it. 

I'm clearly hooked.  I'll probably trim XPlane down to my Orbx WA and OR scenery so I can fly my choppers and gyroplanes and other quirky aircraft that I have for that sim (mostly from VSkyLabs, who does incredible stuff!).  But it's hard to see me flying anything but MSFS for light GA action.  I've flown the Zlin Cub, the CTLS and the C152 and I liked all of them. 

I still haven't tested the edges of the flight envelope, but landing or taking off, and even just flying around in these aircraft in MSFS feels so much more believable compared to my live experiences than either of the other two sims. 

My 10mbps bandwidth hasn't seemed to be a problem at all yet.   I'm running my i5 8600K o/c at 4.7, I think, and a 1080.  I'm running it at 1440x2560, and it's running smooth. 

Edited by WWGriphos
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The first screenshots at top were of the B.C. mountains on the way to Prince George.  The bottom shots were of Arizona where I parked in Icy’s back yard

if you want a particular place or airport just let me know, the sim literally has the whole world

i flew over the aircraft boneyard out on Tuscan and it was wonderful...forgot to take a screenshot though

also any one else that has it I would like to fly group flight, so let me know..

at this point the only thing that really sucks is VR (SEPTEMBER) and the key mapping

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3 hours ago, WWChunk said:

Screenshots would be cool, but not if it’s a pain in the ass. 😉

Thanks in advance!

I'll get right on it.  Just saw this message after flying around a good part of the afternoon. 

It's cool that you live so close to the airport!!

One of the places I flew this afternoon was around Austin.  It was incredible!  The AI that interprets the imagery and places autogen is just so clever.  Around here, there are good sized oak and elm trees, etc, then a lot of scrub trees, like live oaks and cedars, and then a lot of smaller brush.  They nailed it.  Flying around the outskirts of town, the pastures are surrounded by exactly this kind of vegetation.  And the textures of the ground are just so realistic for the most part.  The roads can have a green tint.  I think the AI needs to be tweaked on that. 

Town Lake looked just right, with all the bridges.  The capital was there, and the convention center, and the UT campus had all the correct red roofs! 

Then I landed as Austin Executive (used to be Birds Nest airport, and I used to fly there and land on its 40 ft wide runway!).  It was so believable and realistic in appearance.

And, after a dozen or so landings now, I can say that this is the first sim that feels like what it feels like in life to enter ground cushion.  It doesn't balloon unrealistically, but it's definitely there.  Landing just feels like landings should!  SWEET! 

And I flew around the Alps from Innsbruck to Zell am See, and the turbulence over the mountains was fantastic!  I have never flown mountains, so I have no idea whether it captured the rotors and ridge lift correctly, but it felt like what it feels like around here on a hot summer day with thermals popping and overall a very bumpy ride.  SWEET! 

@WWZed That top picture looks fantastic. 

Edited by WWGriphos
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Watching the Orcas Island  youtube video above looks interesting.  Looks to be a C-152 that was being flown. One thing of interest was that on landing with the power below 1500 rpm 

they were not using carb heat.  I take it that the sim can be flown with simple engine management because most all the Cessna's require carb heat on lower power settings ( @ less than 1500 rpm )

or they will ice up quickly and cause power loss and engine cut-off fairly quickly. Also, the rollout looked weird to me in that it appeared much faster than it should in accordance with the indicated airspeed on the airspeed indicator. Other than this the scenery looked nice. 

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Tokyo Airport, middle of night, Live time, traffic and weather.... Took forever to find runway 22, but with the look down GPS in the cockpit wasn't too bad.

Took off easier than an HE111   Sounds in cockpit are awesome with the creaks and whatnot sounds... 

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Yeah, the satellite imagery they use is fairly accurate. Only the newest changes locally were missing. I took a toodle around my new neighborhood and found it very accurate. The semis rolling through the residential streets were a bit over done. 

Why they changed controls around is a minor issue... Key commands I've used in MSFS products for 20 years no longer work, or do unexpected things (flaps down? What the heck?!) But like any other dim, I'll learn my way around. 

I'm keenly interested in trying out some Snake river bush flying again, Griph... Have you tried the multi-player yet? 

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I have flown Orcas in default, and it's basically just as nice as that video, minus a few buildings.  I've flown quite a few places now, and I think Orbx is soon going to be out of business.  I just can't see any reason to buy scenery when the default looks this good.  Maybe in some parts of the world where Bing imagery isn't as great, maybe.  But everywhere I've flown has been gorgeous.  I flew out of Bonner's Ferry yesterday (65S) and it looked so much better than the old Orbx P3D scenery. 

I've flown the C152 @WWSoarfeat.  Most of the engine systems are pretty simple so far.  A2A may change that for us.  I do think 3rd party aircraft will be worth getting.  No carb heat seems necessary for it.  The little Cub like planes are all modern versions with Rotax engines, so no carb heat at all on them, or even mixture.  🙂

The C152 in the sim is a bit too spry.  Climbs too fast.  Cruises too fast.  But it's good fun anyway.

Funny you should mention MP @WWChunk.  I flew out of C53 to 0ID2 this morning with a dozen or so guys.  A little canyon river running to start, then a climb over the mountains.  The scenery was just amazing!  And it was no problem to fly together.  We all just made sure we were on the USA West server, and had MP set to Live.  That way we all saw each other.  No rubber banding.  No sinking into the ground when watching other planes land.  It's really a seamless and excellent MP experience!  You are basically automatically in MP unless you set it to fly alone.  So even if you don't know anyone else flying, your flight world is populated by the other folks flying on the same server and using the live setting. 

I'm up for some Idaho canyon flying anytime!  I put together an adventure flight series at DTP years ago called the Sawtooth, and it flies most of the backcountry bush strips in the Salmon River country.  I could dig those old flight plans up, I'm sure. 

But here's the coolest thing!:  I've been flying in the mountains, and it's been very bumpy!!  They have finally modeled turbulence realistically in this sim.  I think the atmosphere, and the interaction of the plane and atmosphere is waaaaay better than anything before.  It feels like a typical summer day bouncy flying!   I can't wait for them to put sailplanes in the sim.  It's going to be incredible to do some gliding with the way they have modeled ridge lift and thermals. 

Edited by WWGriphos
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I'll probably pick up some of the Orbx add-ons that I already have, to get the discount. Otherwise, FS2020 looks pretty damn good.

Heading off for a kayak trip today, else I'd be looking to fly. May have to change my server preference to US West to fly with you folks, I'm on US East now. 

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