MS FSX 737-800 Heavy Weather Landing

Not satisfied with just the hard setting for realism, I decided to work through some weather related scenarios. The settings for this particular landing are the default “Major Thunderstorm” weather theme from the game options that has the following description: “A large area of low pressure has generated a massive storm front with concentrated thunderstorms at its center”. At nine years old the game is showing its age, however it is still a lot of fun to fly and the weather system seems as faithfully implemented as could be expected at that time.

MS FSX Boeing 737-800 Atlanta Landing

I recently changed the realism settings in the game to the default “hard” level, which among other things made takeoffs and landings a whole new experience. After sorting out what I think I am doing wrong on takeoff, I turned to the landings (after having crashed several airframes). I think I have it down fairly well now in the stock 737-800 that ships with the game so that I can land without incident, in day or night conditions. The video below the break is from an approach to Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport runway 9R at night.

MS FSX Crash Landing at Heathrow

I have increased the realism setting of the game to hard, which has appropriately changed the entire dynamic of the game play for me. At first I was overstressing the airframe on takeoff (which ripped the plane apart midair), and now that I have that sorted out properly I am crashing on landing. There have been only two successful approaches to date, and both have resulted in crashes and what could only be (in real life) some sort of personnel casualty.

Fleet Command Single Mission 04

Pacific Pirates is the fourth single player mission in the standalone scenario set that is apart from the campaigns available in the game. The mission tasking is to intercept a vessel being used by pirates who have raided a cruise ship in the South Pacific resulting in the death of several American and Australian citizens. The orders given are direct: locate the pirate vessel and a prop aircraft operating from a nearby airstrip and destroy both platforms without causing any casualties among the civilian fishing boats and aircraft operating in the area.

ArmA II The Wrong Tool For The Job

I haven’t done much of anything in ArmA II for quite some time, so I dusted off the cobwebs and started a very simple infiltration mission in the editor using the last official mod produced for the game, the Army of the Czech Republic (Operation Arrowhead is required). The setting is Bukovina, a cropped version of the northwest airfield from the original Chenarus map with some updates such as a CQB/Training course east of the airstrip, and some new vegetation to make the area greener.

Grow Some Stones People

I wrote a post about the use of the equilateral cross in video gaming some time ago, and thought it appropriate to bring the subject back up given the recent posturing of Apple. Apparently this company (in a desperate struggle to remain relevant perhaps) has just discovered that 1) the banner of the Confederate States of America was depicted in some form or another in various products that it was (up to the point of social enlightenment) gladly selling for profit, and 2) that some people (a very vocal fraction of the population) are so incensed by the very existence of such imagery that it somehow shuts them down as functioning humans.

Fleet Command Single Mission 03

Shore Bombardment is the third single player mission in the standalone scenario set that is apart from the campaigns available in the game. The mission tasking is to utilize the surface force and air assets to destroy known hostile land targets. The lead surface combatant is the USS Caron (DD-970) which is supported by the USS Essex (LHD-2) that is operating several miles off of the coast. At the start of the battle there is one airborne AV-8B Harrier II ground attack aircraft and one AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopter.

Highway to the Reich Devil’s Hill

Berg en Dal, Netherlands: On September 20, 1944 the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment seized and then defended the higher ground in the Groesbeek-Nijmegen area which effectively cut Highway K, preventing the Germans from either reinforcing or escaping through the corridor. After having the inexperienced German 406th Infantry Division fail to remove the US 508th, General Walter Model awaited the arrival of better forces in the form of KG Becker, a regiment from the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division.

Steam Image Hosting Issues

I primarily use the integrated Picasa Web Album functionality as provided by Google through Blogger, and every now and again I use an alternative service if I suspect issues with the image quality (which has occurred in the past). Typically this means I will upload a screenshot through the Steam service, obtain a link and place it in a blog post and move on. In the past this seemed a tried and true practice as I had no issues until tonight when going through some material, I came across this post from 2013 in which all of the Steam hosted images were missing.

F1 2014 Canada Time Trial (Wet Weather)

After having completed all of the dry weather time trials in F1 2014, this afternoon I started working on the wet weather ones, and for the first effort I decided to use one of my favorite tracks in any F1 game, Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, a 14 turn 2.7 mile track in Montreal, Quebec. This time out I decided to run three laps to test the best first lap that I put up (which always seems to be faster than the default speed by quite a bit). It was somewhat satisfying that all three laps were progressively faster as I was able to hold the car on the racing line throughout and did not take a penalty for leaving the track.

MS FSX Disaster at Heathrow

Last night I flew a one hour shuttle from Berlin to London and landed on runway 9L at Heathrow without much fuss in the dead of night. Crossing the English Channel when it is dark out was kind of neat, with the only visual references being the coastal lights on both shores and a smattering of stars. Earlier today I decided to make the same flight but this time it was during dawn hours where there was visibility with the sun coming up.

Ultimate General Gettysburg Confederate Epic Victory

I picked this game up yesterday during the Steam Summer Sale for $5.99 (60% off of the regular price of $14.99) after having it in my Wish List for quite some time. It is a very quick game to learn with a tutorial video set that while not interactive, does exactly what it needs to in order to convey the mechanics of moving the units. What you ultimately do with those units (pun intended) is another matter, as I have not yet found any reference in the game in how to actually employ various units to maximize their individual strengths and mute their weaknesses.

MS FSX Short Hop Boeing 737

This is a short hop from Cecil Field in Jacksonville, FL to JIA (Jacksonville International Airport). From start to finish the entire process is about 20 minutes of video. The reason I do not request takeoff clearance at Cecil is due to what I perceive to be a bug in the game when setting up a flight plan. In many circumstances, even if you move your aircraft to the “Active Runway” when prompted, you could be lined up on one strip and when requesting clearance it asks that you drive your plane all the way across the airport to another strip (pain in the ass).

MS FSX Landing/Video Test

This is another video using Raptr however the quality parameters have been tweaked to allow for a 60 fps maximum framerate. Although this is not a racing game with an immediate viewpoint sensation of speed such as the last post, I do believe the image quality increase resulting from the frame rate adjustment is noticeable.

Hockenheimring Time Trial/Video Test

This video was shot using the Raptr application which is part of the AMD Gaming Evolved package which has caused some issues with games in the past but largely seems to be getting sorted out. The nice thing about Raptr is there is no time or quality setting limit to use their free application. So I decided to take a time trial lap in F1 2014 at Hockenheimring to see how the resulting video holds up. While overall it is OK, it is not as smooth as I would have liked for what they call the default high settings.

FSX Stress Test

I hadn’t flown much lately in FSX, so after watching about a week of Air Crash Investigations on YouTube (I wish that show was on Netflix), I decided to brush up on my waning skill set with my preferred aircraft, the Boeing 737-800. I have a couple of saved approach flights where I can load them to practice final approach and an ILS landing, as well as a full flight plan from Tampa to Miami, FL. After successfully running a scenario to simulate an ILS landing at Miami, I decided to do the full flight.

F1 2012 Grand Prix of Europe

Valencia Street Circuit: The eighth race of the season took place at the Valencia, Spain asphalt track that hosted the European Grand Prix from 2008-2012 (the last such event on the schedule until 2016). The track was designed to meet the same safety standards as a permanent track, and features many overtaking opportunities due to its minimum 14m width. The race is scheduled for 14 laps on the 5.42km circuit resulting in a total distance of 75.9km and 350 turns.

Vietnam ’65 Battle Report

This post will be somewhat more in line with standard after-action reports and will cover my effort to increase my rank from Brigadier to Major General. The game has been a boatload of fun as well as challenging. This particular outing saw me take some hard losses early on and a KIA from mishandling the supply chain toward the end which was actually quite infuriating in gaming terms as it came from my being greedy and not thinking logistically.

Vietnam ’65 Decisive Victory

Tonight I had a fun mission in which I was able to secure my first Decisive Victory in the game which resulted in a promotion to First Lieutenant (the old shadowbox is filling up with awards for the body count and such). This game is seriously starting to grow on me, in no small part to what appears to be a robust interaction by the developer with the users in the Steam community (as evidenced by this post).

Vietnam 65

This is a new game from developer Every Single Soldier that is published by Slitherine, LTD and is available through Steam. I actually purchased my game through the Slitherine site using an Easter discount code that was not offered through Steam, and picked the game up for about $7. The Slitherine site has a web page where you can register the product to generate a legitimate Steam key to download and play the product there if you prefer (to track total game time, garner Steam achievements, etc.)

Command Ops Scaling Issue

I am not sure when this occurred, but it had to be some time after the last post I made about this series of games. All of my Airborne Assault engine games (Highway to the Reich, Conquest of the Aegean, and Command Operations) now have what appears to be a scaling issue where the text and graphics on the left side of the screen image are out of alignment. I have checked several forum threads from what remains on the Matrix site and attempted to adjust monitor scaling but to no avail.

MS FSX Boeing 737-800 IFR Flight Plan

Microsoft Flight Simulator X came out back in late 2006 and is the last installment of the vaunted Flight Simulator series prior to the release of the much maligned MS Flight platform which proved to be an abysmal failure (ultimately resulting in its discontinuation). I last had flown MS FS 2002 logging dozens of hours in a Cessna prop plane and Lear Jet becoming somewhat of a master using VOR to VOR routing, but quickly lost interest in the genre and completely skipped Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight.

Defense Grid: The Awakening (Demo)

This is a tower defense single player strategy game from indie developer Hidden Path Entertainment. The free demo available on Steam contains several missions that range in complexity but are tutorial driven. There is enough available in the sample that I am definitely going to pick this up during the forthcoming Steam holiday sale, however I will state here that the game is well worth the current asking price of $9.99 base, $19.99 with all DLC.

Democracy 3 United Kingdom (Second Term)

This after-action report covers the second term of my play through as the United Kingdom in Positech Games turn-based political strategy simulation game Democracy 3. After winning reelection largely based on the policies implemented and answers to several curveball questions thrown in my direction, I begin the fifth year in office with a Budget Surplus of £26.91 Bn and a National Debt of £451.98 Bn, along with 46 Political Capital points available to spend.