For the last couple of years the International Flightsim Convention has been a huge success in Europe where over a thousand people will attend an event.† The International Flightsim Convention decided it was time to come to the USA and set a date for July 2006 in Denver, conveniently located across from United Airlines simulator training center.
Fellow simpitter Steve Cannaby kindly invited me to go with him and his ex-US Air Force F-4-D Phantom simulator. http://www.f-4phantom.com†
He uses FS-2004 and an EPIC card to run it so it was a perfect event to take the sim to as Microsoft was an official sponsor of the show and was going to show a bebeta version of FSX to the public for the very first time.
We arrived a day early and I went to dinner with Mark Silcock and the Angle of Attack crew where in the elevator we managed to run into a woman from the UK on the way in, and another on the way out!
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Steve sets up his F-4 sim
Mark Silcock poses with the famous Jim
and George Phantom dummies
The sim was outside the hotel so we set up a monitor inside by the registration booth to allow people to see and hear the crew in the F-4 sim do their thing. Once the sim was up and running we let the venders fly it for free. Many of them had never flown Flight Simulator in a cockpit before and some had never used throttles or rudder pedals.
Among the venders to fly the sim were the Angle of Attack crew Robert Trent and Chris Palmer who I talked to a lot over three days.† They have created special training DVDs intended for the Level-D 767-300 airliner. I stopped by their booth and what I saw was very impressive. www.flyaoamedia.com
Steve uses Abacusís Flight Deck 3 and they wanted to try it in the sim so he flew the sim with IFC founder Mark Silcock. After several tries both guys were proud to have trapped on the deck of the Flight Deck 3 aircraft carrier which is no small feat. Later, Steve was given a copy of Flight Deck 4! http://www.abacuspub.com/ Other venders to try the F-4 included the Aerosoft team, http://www.aerosoft.com †
There was also the father and son crew from Daken-Skys who make high end panels for cockpit builders. http://www.dakenskys.com/
John Southmayd, a FSX programmer, and Capín Meryl, an author, Microsoft advisor, and columnist at USAToday.com crewed the F-4 together. John liked the sim so much the very next weekend he took his first flight lesson!†
At the IFC awards dinner Brett Schnepf announced that Microsoft would actively support third party venders since the Microsoft team cannot do all the work themselves and the community is larger than Microsoft.
The first version of FSX out will be a DirectX9 title and once the DirectX10 hardware becomes more commercially available, a free patch will be distributed for the end user. DirectX10 will not be backwards compatible with previous versions of DirectX.† DirectX10 will also be Vista-only and using it in conjunction with FSX is going to push your computer
to the very limits of itís ability. No video card supports DirectX10 so be ready to buy a new one. There will be two different versions of FSX, Deluxe and Standard.
The multiplayer code has been reworked and has a great new feature; you can now have a pilot and co-pilot flying a two-place aircraft over a LAN connection! It will include not just control but also communication between the crew.
There is also talk of support for the engine sound being separated from the comm. sound in your headset!
†††† One of the highlights of FSX is more of a living, breathing world and to do this Microsoft turned to its own products to get the kind of immersion they needed. Streets and Trips provide enhanced roads and rivers. With the scenery options turned up the major highway intersections look real and there are moving motor vehicles on the streets and highways. Zoo Tycoon provides the animals, which follow real world migration patterns. They have also mapped over 6,000 stars for celestial navigation. FSX Beta used about 13Gig on my hard drive. To my surprise if I didnít quite turn the scenery all the way up it works with only a 64 meg onboard video card. Turn the scenery up that last notch and it kicks in some hardcore eye candy that certainly requires a lot more than 64 megs. With Vista, Microsoft suggests a 512 mb video card, with dual core and multi-threaded processor.
Flightdeck Solutions was also there with a nice 12 thousand dollar sim of their own.
They had some set-up problems like we did with the F-4
I was delighted to find many simpit builders at the convention, most of whom were building the 737 or 777 such as Larry Vandivier. The presence of the home built cockpit builder community was certainly felt at IFC Denver and I hope to see even more of you there in 2007!
Justin Messenger 2006
†††††††††††††††††††††† Justin working as F-4 sim Instructor