Talk by Peter James
with acknowledgements to Peter
James and www.flightsim.com
Recently, so many people keep asking me, what is better - FS2000,
FLY! or X-Plane? I tell them, Flight Unlimited III
But, since so few of you can find it (hint, I am still angry), I
certainly must admit to telling those who write me, all of them. [Peter was the Lead Designer of Flight Unlimited III, but Looking Glass
Studios, the company who marketed FUIII, have now unfortunately gone out of
one is better for a different reason, and suits each person differently.
Most people want an "all in one" sim, and that is impossible.
Most diehard simmers like myself use all three sims about equally.
What's $150 or so spent on three sims that will give you years of fun
and experience? A real bargain. However, people still like to know
exactly which one they should get first, or last, and usually this
depends on a recent or planned hardware upgrade. I'll make this fairly
short and easy, if you're in the same quandary.
FS2000 - could be the best of all, and serve purposes through
the entire range of fun, student pilot training and more - if the motion
quality was smoother, and less interrupted by stutters and image
loading. This is just poor programming. To run FS2000 at blazingly fast
speeds, in order to get a perfect feel of flight, you'd need a PIII850
or greater. I have not seen FS2000 on one, but certainly won't say
FS2000 runs really well on my PIII500. In addition, the interface of
FS2000 is not so easy, and many hours of configuring is needed to get
performance and flight qualitites acceptable. Its open design allows for
unlimited downloads of new aircraft, sounds and instrument panels. In
some cases this is bad, perhaps the new student pilot just wants to get
into a new plane and fly it. In FS2000, this can't be done quickly,
without fiddling for days, trying to get things right. However, FS2000
features the best scenery of any sim.
FLY! - is my pick for #1 if you're a real pilot or student
pilot, needing to learn the exact systems and panel functions of a late
model Cessna 172.
Experienced real pilots will enjoy FLY! for the systems-rich
environment and IFR weather rendering. I find FLY! much more useful in
learning advanced aircraft systems and getting used to using real
checklists and performing the busy duties of a real flight. It is the
only sim that resembles the workload of a complex cockpit, along with
the full visual high res graphics. Flight modelling is excellent as well,
but again, you've got to see the full cockpits to believe it! FLY! would be the
best, if the weather was as good as X-Plane, because frame rates are
better than FS2000.
X-Plane - truly has something for everyone. If slightly
limiting visual scenery and some generic panels are okay for you, then
the smoothest frame rates and best flight modelling of all the sims, will
really wow you!
In addition, X-Plane features the best variable weather, settable
weather and violent weather, of any flightsim. X-Plane has the best
thunderstorms and will teach you better than any other sim about the
dangers of windshear, microbursts and proper avoidance. In addition,
icing, slick runways and system failures will challenge you. If this sim
had the systems and panels of FLY!, and the scenery of FS2000, it would
be the best.
There you go, it's impossible to pick just one! You CAN'T! Enjoy them
all, get them all, and use them all equally. You'll be glad you do.
However, if you do have a machine that is limited in performance I would
recommend only X-Plane, if you are on anything less than a PIII500.
FLY! will run well on a PIII500 but FS2000 only on faster machines, with
lots of ram, to break the 20 fps barrier!