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FSX Alpine Soaring Mission

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Alpine Soaring Mission:

My time to complete = 2:10 (first try), 1:17:30.1 (third try).

It is popular to bash FSX on virtualsoaring.org, but I've been flying the DG808S in FSX for about a week, clocked up 5 hours of flying, and in my view it's a blast. For what it's worth I'm a real-world competition pilot with an ASW24. I'm not saying FSX is perfect but IMHO much better than FS9. The Alpine Soaring mission illustrates many of the basic principles of cross-country racing - don't hang around in dying thermals, dolphin in straight flight if you don't think it's worth stopping and turning, carefully balance your deviation from route with expected climb strength. All in an hour-and-a-half and you can drink beer while you're flying.

I'm assuming anyone reading this forum who owns FSX will have tried this mission - so POST YOUR TIME!

At a guess the task is about 175km, an approximate quadrilateral, taking you West along one alpine valley, across some higher ground, East along a more northerly valley, then crossing back into the original valley and home. There are actually 11 waypoints, but some are very close together and they are more to do with guiding you along the appropriate route to find lift than anything else.

I flew with aircraft realism set to max including stress damage, and with the graphic thermal indicators ON. Thermals are clearly surrounded by pale green spirals, ridge lift is not indicated at all but it's there (& strong even though the wind is 6 knots from the South).

If anyone is interested in a more detail walk-through of the mission let me know - the trick is to use the right mix of ridge running and high climbs. The thermals are all very (unrealistically) strong but some go higher than others.

More importantly if anyone beats my time let me know how the hell you did it. I've seen faster times mentioned on Avsim but I think *this* is the important forum for soaring sim comment, agree? Unless you've all become Condor groupies.

There seems to be a bug in the mission to confirm your successful landing after the flight but this doesn't affect the completion time. The finish line is somewhere around the far (west) end of the runway so make sure you do a fast pass as you finish and turn around for a landing to the east. If you fly an approach for a straight-in landing (1) that approach is fairly tricky because of high ground and trees on the eastern boundary and (2) you won't cross the finish line for a completion time.

Oh, and with cloud density detail set to MAX, the clouds are spectacular. Some of the climbs in the mission can take you above them and you end up gliding back down through them - I was truly impressed.

In case you're wondering - I have a high-end CPU (E6700 with 4GB mem), and an ok but not fancy graphics card (6800GT), and am running triplehead2go at 3072x768 anisotropic filtering + 4xAA and get a steady 25fps (=limit) across the three screens on the alpine course.

B21

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I'm drooling at the thought of your display setup, and the fact that you have the horsepower to get it to run like that. I'd bet that with a newer video card, that your kit would do even better.

As to FSX in general, I can't really bash what I don't have the hardware to run. With a high end setup, you can bet I'd have it on my machine!!

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Hi folks,

have had now all FS versions since 5.0 and before tried even those with wireframe graphics, I'm hestitating before getting FSX.

Nevertheless, I got me the recent 800 MB demo and played around with it in the carribean. My framerate impression was not too bad, running an AMD2400+, GF 4 MX 440, 768MB and 800x600.

What I would be interested in mostly is, whether it gives a reasonable soaring appearence compared to our homebuilt stuff as CCS, CUMULUS!, and so on. Unfortunately I can't find out with the demo.

Cheers,

Peter

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hey! stop hijacking my thread :)

Mission update: completion in 1:15:57.1

If FSX is playable in the demo, I think you can assume it will be playable with the prod code. FSX is designed so you can turn down the features - you have both a low-end CPU and a low-end graphics card - the CPU is more important as the graphics can be reduced simply by reducing the screen & texture resolution. For CPU you'll need to disable AI aircraft/traffic/boats and probably set autogen to zero or very low.

As FSX now has stock thermals and a stock high-performance glider, my bet is there will be many more players out there who soar with FSX. The stock DG808S has flaws but it's still fun. The flaws include very dubious flaps performance (zero flap seems better than negative at 100 knots), and a non-total-energy vario which indicates strong lift every time you pull up. Thermals all seem to be unrealistically strong. But other aspects of the sim are great - in the Austrian Soaring Mission there are areas of turbulence if you try and thermal on the wrong side of ridges and you enter a few glides trying to choose the optimal speed to cross the high ground. To FSX's credit I spent each attempt trying to improve my speed on genuine cross-country soaring issues (get high enough to reach the next thermal, but not too high if the current thermal isn't the best, use the best speed-to-fly).

And I think there will be an opportunity in virtualsoaring.org to propagate custom missions so soaring pilots can compare achievement as we can with the Austrian mission.

B21

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Sorry, that was not my intention.

I'd like to give it a try, in particular to battle your 1:15, but I'm still collecting arguments for the new release.

Anyway, it's helpful to hear about your positive experience.

Cheers,

Peter

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Sorry, that was not my intention.

LOL no problem, my apologies. For what it's worth (i.e. 10cents) I took the decision to upgrade my PC based on a punt that FSX was worth it, and delayed purchase of FSX while I read the many posts which indicated FSX had problems, but have enjoyed flying the soaring mission enough already to consider the investment worth it. I have a friend with a PC like yours who flies FS9 jets who upgraded to FSX and highly rates the experience also. He's not really a VFR pilot but has commented for example the rain effect is awesome - and that's on his relatively low-end PC.

I would argue the CPU (and maybe RAM - I'm not sure) are critical to FSX performance, hence you can save a bit on the graphics card. In my setup (triplehead2go) I take advantage of the lightly loaded graphics card to simply push more pixels, i.e. my 6800GT copes with super-widescreen fine - I don't think the screen resolution bothers the CPU much and that's where the main constraint is.

At a given framerate (my 25fps), FSX definitely seems *much* smoother to me than FS9, and the landscape texture loading seems much improved. I have a 6800GT/FSX driving a screensize triple the size of my previous 9800pro/FS9 combination with higher framerates and better textures. The ground textures on my setup are set to highly detailed also. The headline 9800pro/6800GT performance ratio is 1:2, but I'm doing much more than this with FSX showing my major CPU upgrade (3.2P4 -> E6700) made all the difference.

To credit micro$oft, FSX on the E6700/6800GT performs much better than FS9 on the 3.2P4/9800pro and the latter was top-end when FS9 came out.

There are plenty of things to slag off with FSX (joke vario being one of them) but I have much of this being in the details rather than the big picture.

B21

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No I haven't tried Condor but I know it's good and I know it supports multi-player really well so I expect I'll be getting on there at some point.

I am a real-world glider pilot based out of Cambridge and the photo-scenery is important to me, as well as the custom 3d scenery for local airports, hence FSX.

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ah the Nene Valley puddle-jumpers - now it all makes sense :hi:

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haha made me laugh in the office, 10 points.

Just did 1:06:29.6 on the Austrian Soaring mission, which I can tell you is totally unbeatable. But I cheated. I certainly didn't hack around with the config which I'm sure is possible (so people may post bullshit times). I discovered there's no height limit on the start (as far as I can tell) so I diverted away from the start gate you're pointing at when the mission begins to take a few mediocre pre-start climbs to 10,000 feet, and started from there. It's interesting you can improve the total race-time using a variety of real-world soaring techniques, even that cheating. It would have been simple for the mission creator to have limited the start height though, and they should have - because they didn't know soaring that well they didn't realise the advantage that would give I guess. If there was a reasonable wind on a soaring mission, it would pay off taking the into-wind turnpoints low and the downwind turnpoints high - again a real-world soaring racing necessity.

There is a new 'mission creator' utility in the FSX SDK, which is fairly point-and-click, so I really think there's the opportunity for virtualsoaring members to create kick-ass competition flights which will be easier to distribute than FS9 which needed a variety of add-ins. There's a useful site about mission creation: http://fsxmission.com/live/modules.php?name=LearningCenter. Essentially you create the text/image briefing (using a template), save a flight file (.flt) which saves the location/plane/weather (.wx) information for the start, create your waypoints, and then the only complicated bit (see video on the link) you can associate messages/audio to appear at certain points on the course - the mission automatically tracks the time from the start.

And there's a formative site to log mission times: http://www.fsxhome.com/, but it's early days there yet.

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forsterlewis,

I would try Condor it is the fastest growing gliding simulator out ther today and is well supported in many areas, if you do decide to buy this product you will never look back.

www.condorsoaring.com

There is no demo version available but there are a number of viedo's that will show condor in much detail.

You could also use YouTube and search "CondorSoaring" where you will find a number of video's, some are good and some are not in quality.

Lets keep the threads on topic .... this is the fsx forum not condor forum

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