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About alazose

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    Flight Student - Groundwork
  1. The premise of City Bus Simulator, as everyone knows, is that you take on the role of “Carlos”, a newly trained New York City bus driver, who drives a Metro bus across the east-west route of Manhattan’s 42nd Street. Without question, the graphics and animation are superb, to say the least. I can’t say for certain, even after checking with Google Earth, if all of the buildings along the route are authentic, that is, if they are accurate graphic representations of the originals. Many of them certainly are, including the Main Library (minus the lions), and certain other buildings. In any event, the graphics artists have obviously gone to great lengths to re-create the look and feel of Manhattan’s 42nd Street. The buildings certainly look authentic and in fact are visually and graphically stunning, crafted with meticulous detail. For example, the Chrysler Building and the Metlife building look very much like the real thing. The same can be said for the sidewalk storefronts, as well as some of the incredible neon lighted signs and colossal photos along this fabled artery, especially in the area in and near Times Square. On close inspection, however, it can be seen that these signs, again, just have the “look and feel” of the originals because the brand names are not exactly the same. The style is the same, the placement of the sign is the same, but the brand-name wording is slightly off – I assume to avoid legal entanglements. Other successful attempts at emulating reality are the ubiquitous construction scaffoldings with their temporary sidewalks, along with the general traffic noise and the constant wail of police sirens. After several attempts, I wasn’t too enthused about driving a bus through Manhattan traffic, even though that is the point of the game. 42nd Street happens to be very narrow, with a lot of traffic impediments, such as barricades and other busses and trucks. But the simulation allows Carlos to enter this virtual world on foot and walk on the sidewalks, which is a saving grace as far as I’m concerned. Walking requires pressing the W key, and pointing the direction with the mouse. I soon discovered that I had to assign a special key in order to “jump” the curb and continue walking. All pedestrians are frozen in place (except when they get on and off the bus), which diminishes the overall feel somewhat, but I’m certain that we wouldn’t be able to afford the PC that could handle thousands of continually moving pedestrians. On the other hand, flags flutter in the breeze, the neon signs sparkle, and the traffic moves, with a great variety of vehicles involved. Busses and trucks are especially well done from a graphic standpoint. However, even at the “very high traffic” setting there is still very little traffic in the simulation, compared to reality. In the real world, 42nd Street traffic is always jammed. The box set included a map of the driveable/walkable route down 42nd Street, which depicted some accessible side streets, with some extra maneuvering room at Times Square, which is a visual treat. The travel boundaries of the side streets are delineated by a group of large yellowish circles with horizontal bars through them, which depict a “Do Not Enter” zone. The simulation is, after all, limited to 42nd Street, and I guess the side streets, even with their limited boundaries, are a bonus. Let me say here that it is an absolute delight to be able to immerse myself in this environment. The graphic recreations of the streets, buildings, and storefronts are remarkable – as long as you don’t look too closely at the windows or signage. As mentioned, it has the look and feel of actually being there, but you are not expected to linger and inspect the handiwork too closely. After all, there is a limit of what detail and fidelity to reality you can expect in a simulation. The temptation is great to enter Grand Central Terminal, or the Library, or any of the hundreds of stores depicted here – but you are not allowed entry. When viewed from a distance, from across the street for example, the storefronts look real and viable, but up close they become a generalized blur, and it is impossible to discern the detail of what is being sold or advertised. And the doors do not open. But who cares? The overall feeling is what’s important, and that feeling is sheer delight. The Manual and the Website for City Bus Simulator promise that there will be a “Route Editor” in the 4th quarter. In fact, there is a contest which closes in April of 2010 providing a vacation in New York for the best created route. The available details concerning this Route Editor claim that it will be possible to create very detailed streets, stores, and buildings for use in the simulation, and that they can be exchanged online and freely downloaded and installed in the game. This is certainly good news, and I am very much looking forward to obtaining it. However, I fear it means that the realism maintained in the initial simulation – that is, where the simulated buildings reflect the actual placement and look of the actual building – cannot be duplicated via a generic Route Editor. (If we were fortunate enough to have all of Manhattan re-created the way that they have re-created 42nd Street, what a wonderful and overwhelming delight that would be.) But if we are now expected to create our own additional streets, such realism will be lost even if they do maintain the look and feel of generic Manhattan city streets. For example, what will happen to other landmarks in Manhattan, such as the Empire State Building, if we all just create our own renditions of city streets? There is no word on how large such new routes can be, nor how they would be connected to each other, nor a specific date as to when the editor will actually become available. I guess we’ll just have to be patient. Bottom Line: This is a fabulous simulation, with its incredible features far outweighing its few flaws. Is it too early to hope for a similar simulation for Paris?
  2. OK, I found out that there is a “jump” command for Carlos when he comes to a curb, which certainly facilitates traveling on the sidewalks. I’m fascinated by the comparison of City Bus screenshots (taken via Fraps since the assigned F12 key doesn’t work) versus Google Earth street level photos. Apparently TML couldn’t use real-life names on the signs within the simulation (fear of lawsuits?), but they’ve certainly captured the essence of 42nd Street and Times Square. My requests: Please increase the traffic, and reduce the constant police sirens. And when did you say the Route Editor will be released?
  3. Thanks, Shaun, I finally figured out how to do that, and it seems to have resolved some of the problems. The Manual didn’t exactly emphasize that it was necessary to fill in some of the keyboard assignment blanks in the Controls Section, nor that it was necessary to place a checkmark in some other options that allowed you to start the engine and release the brake. However, I still haven’t figured out how to get “Jack” to do his explaining stuff to Carlos in the Tutorial, once they’re both on the bus. I haven’t figured out how to answer radio calls. I haven’t figured out how to enable Carlos to walk down various sidestreets that don’t have that beige circle with the dash (which I keep crashing into). I haven’t figured out why hitting F12, which is the assigned key for screenshots, doesn’t seem to work since the screenshots only show up as a black screen when I try to view them. Other than these and a few other annoyances, I have to say that this is one stunning simulation. I’m running it at a full 1920 x 1200 on a large digital monitor, and the quality of the graphics is outstanding. It’s amazing how they have captured the look and feel of 42nd Street. The buildings, the storefronts, the neon signs and collosal photos are all a work of art, with a joyful air of authenticity. Even the streets themselves look real, with the tar patches, manholes, and worn crosswalks. I'm very much looking forward to getting the Route Editor so that I can create and download additional streets. Please convey my kudos to the entire team at TML for a delightful simulation.
  4. I must be missing something or doing something wrong because I can’t even get started. In the Tutorial, how does one access "Jack", the tutorial instructor? I confront him, but then what? In another scenario, I can walk to the bus, but can’t open the front door. Pressing C, F5, or F6 doesn’t work. How do you answer the radio calls? When I'm in walking mode, I don't have full access to all streets. Please help. Thanks.
  5. Back when Paris X was a viable project, I somehow came across this sample screenshot on the Aerosoft website. What a shame it would be if we were denied the exhilaration and joy of being able to fly through the City of Light.
  6. Paris 2004 repackaged for FSX – that would explain it. But it’s interesting to note that this repackaged product with the Aerosoft logo is for sale on the FlightSimX website but not the Aerosoft website. Can someone explain that? Has anyone actually used this specific product?
  7. Etienne's post prompted me to visit (found via Google) the FlightSim X website, where I found the attached photos. Isn't that the Aerosoft Europe logo on the VFR Paris X CD ROM box? The FlightSimX flightstore said it was "expected in March 2009", and selling for 21.99 Euros, including VAT. Can someone please explain?
  8. I notice that VFR Paris X is no longer on your Scenery Release Dates list. As a grateful fan and user of Manhattan X, I am very sorry about this development. I was really looking forward to flying and exploring in a Paris scenery that compared in quality and scope to Manhattan. I sincerely hope that the project is not permanently shelved, and that your developers will return to it at some point in the future. I can certainly understand that a Paris scenery must involve detail and complexities of the highest magnitude, but please don’t abandon it. It doesn’t have to be perfect for us. Even a flawed Paris is better than no Paris.
  9. What you're seeing is an error in the Default Scenery, the doubling up of the Citicorp Building. Since it's default scenery, there's not much you can do about it unless you install a separate New York area scenery for FSX, with whatever effect that may have on Manhattan X. Incidentally, as mentioned in another thread, the slanted roof of the Manhattan X Citicorp Building is facing west, whereas the slanted roof of the actual building faces south, with the flat side facing north. Mr. Kozma has promised to fix this in a future update.
  10. Three months ago, primarily in anticipation of running the then forthcoming Manhattan X software flawlessly, I purchased a new PC: Core 2 Quad 2.66 CPU, 4GB RAM, Nvidia 9800 512 MB graphics card, 1 TB HD, and Vista 64 bit Home Premium OS. I bit the financial bullet, but Manhattan X does indeed run flawlessly on this machine, and I am a happy camper. My one and only complaint is that the Plaza Hotel, at 5th Avenue and 59th Street, is missing. But let me quote from the manual: “…Will you find objects that could be done better? Objects that are missing? Sure. You will find some, the next guy will find others. And that is just the problem. There is just too much to get it all right.” So I duly withdraw my only complaint, which certainly pales in comparison to other complaints that I’ve read here in this Forum. From my standpoint, I am thoroughly enjoying Aerosoft’s remarkable creative efforts. Quoting again from the manual: “Is this Manhattan? Yes it is. Most certainly!”
  11. Here's a video of Manhattan X at night, starting from the UN Building and going north along the East River: http://s137.photobucket.com/albums/q218/al...AtNight01MM.flv
  12. Thanks for the settings. Seems to work, but if you can improve something this good, go for it.
  13. Here's a short video clip and 4 screenshots which don't do justice to this great scenery. http://s137.photobucket.com/albums/q218/al...hattanX02MM.flv
  14. I’ve ordered the box set of Manhattan X, and in anticipation I just downloaded the PDF manual. Like the Venice manual, it displayed several charts with “mandatory” routes and approaches, including instructions on “announcing” your arrival and intentions by radio to heliport air traffic controllers. Can I assume that this “requirement” is simply to make the experience more realistic? Forgive me for asking, but do many flight simmers actually adhere to and use the charts? I kept looking for the word “optional” among all those charts, but no luck. Since I’m a scenery guy and not a “flying” guy, I hope there will be no problem if I simply choose to fly an Ultralight trike or Cessna out of LaGuardia and fly every which way over Manhattan Island as I see fit. I want to take my Fraps videos and screenshots from every conceivable angle and location and just enjoy the ride.
  15. Thanks for the info and the link. I just ordered mine. Hopefully I'll soon be able to post my own screenshots in this Forum. Someday I would like to see an article on the techniques used and problems encountered by Andras Kozma in rendering such beautifully detailed sceneries as Venice and Manhattan. Please accept my gratitude for providing these remarkable flight sim environments. I hope there will be many more.
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