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PC Upgraded! - Flight Sim Question


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Finally got approval from the Minister of Finance to put my 11-year old PC out to pasture.   Got a new PC that will hopefully serve me as long as my dear departed Dinocomputer.  

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It's truly amazing.   I had a basic FPS game (Team Fortress 2) that used to take 15 minutes to load, assuming it didn't lock up and force me to reboot.  It now is up and running in a minute.   I can now finally start looking at some of the flight sims I've been drooling over for the last decade.    FS2020 or DCS?  Leaning towards DCS but I'll need to avoid the modern jets since I have a pretty basic joystick setup.  I've seen some posts about DCS, anyone have experience with the WW2 subjects?   

 

See you guys in the virtual skies! 

Edited by 11bee
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  • 11bee changed the title to PC Upgraded! - Flight Sim Question

Congrats!

 

The quick decider could be combat - if you want combat, it has to be DCS instead of FS2020, because there is no combat in FS2020.

 

However, there are other sims out there, such as IL-2 series:

Steam Search (steampowered.com)

 

One of them is IL-2: Cliffs of Dover for $9.99, which after the Team Fusion mod isn't terrible, so it might be a place to start having fun without too much investment.

 

The original IL-2 Sturmovik: 1946 isn't bad, and in fact has some mods to make it more modern, and it's available from GOG for only $2.49 right now:

https://www.gog.com/game/il_2_sturmovik_1946

 

I have a couple of the WWII aircraft in DCS but haven't really played them much.  They fly with the same level of realism as the modern planes, but I can't speak to the missions included.

 

I think for basic controls, a joystick and throttle are still essential, and while rudder controls add a nice dimension, I think you can live without them.  The frustrating thing is that flight controller prices have skyrocketed due to COVID, and they are also hard to get.

 

Edit: Sorry, one other thing is that DCS World is free to download, and you get the TF-51 with it, which doesn't have any weapons, so you can try it out on your rig to see how you like it.  If you're not looking for combat, then FS2020 is probably better because of the places you can fly - DCS is quite limited, even if you buy the extra terrain packs, which aren't cheap.

Edited by Ken Cartwright
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Isn’t FS2020 online only? Meaning all terrain & features are downloaded dynamically (vs geographic areas physically installed on your HD). It seems this would require a reliable high speed internet connection that can at least keep up with your hardware. 
 

I got out of flight sims several years ago so I could be wrong about this. 

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As others have alluded to, it is a bit about what you want to do in a flight simulator.  I have all 3 of the "modern" simulators and the short version for each is:

 

1. MSFS (aka MSFS2020): The graphics are phenomenal.  As long as you're online, the default appearance exceeds most paid add-on scenery in FSX/P3D.  It is a work in progress.  They got the visuals down very nicely.  The flight model is so-so.  It is better for general aviation than airliners.  It does not truly have a supersonic flight model.  I can not speak to how it would do with a WWII turbocharged engine.  It has the whole world.  It is a "cloud base".  It's not truly cloud based (about 140 gb installed).  Without forcing offline mode though, you will be forced to update to whatever the current version. 

 

2. FSX/P3D: The graphics are a bit dated. With payware scenery, it can look pretty decent though.  It has the best IFR/airliner environment, although again that is with paid add-ons.  If you go the add-on route, it is fantastic for airliner.  There are a number of peripherals (CDU's, MCP's) that work well with P3D.  It is the whole world again.  It is also cloud based.  General aviation has some add-ons that do make it pretty good as well, but the flight model feels a bit more "on rails", which is less ideal for GA.

 

3. DCS: Great visuals, but not as good as MSFS2020.  Great flight model.  Feels the most immersive flying.  Allows for combat.  And huge systems depth.  They regulate their 3rd parties, so quality is more reliable with add-ons.  It does not model the whole world.  If you just want to fly WWII aircraft, I would still vote for DCS.  They are building their WWII theaters and AI, but it is limited for combat still.  I wouldn't totally avoid the modern aircraft.  Just landing a F/A-18C on a carrier is a huge amount of fun, even without expending munitions.

 

...and technically...

 

4. X-plane: I can't speak much to this, some people love it.  But my sense is it's a bit "incomplete".

 

  

3 hours ago, habu2 said:

Isn’t FS2020 online only? Meaning all terrain & features are downloaded dynamically (vs geographic areas physically installed on your HD). It seems this would require a reliable high speed internet connection that can at least keep up with your hardware. 
 

I got out of flight sims several years ago so I could be wrong about this. 

 

It can be run in an offline mode, but the graphics that have sold it as the "next gen" simulator are downgraded to something more akin to FSX/P3D.  You can also manually cache regions you fly in often, which would then allow you to have online quality graphics while offline.

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3 hours ago, ESzczesniak said:

As others have alluded to, it is a bit about what you want to do in a flight simulator.  I have all 3 of the "modern" simulators and the short version for each is:

 

1. MSFS (aka MSFS2020): The graphics are phenomenal.  As long as you're online, the default appearance exceeds most paid add-on scenery in FSX/P3D.  It is a work in progress.  They got the visuals down very nicely.  The flight model is so-so.  It is better for general aviation than airliners.  It does not truly have a supersonic flight model.  I can not speak to how it would do with a WWII turbocharged engine.  It has the whole world.  It is a "cloud base".  It's not truly cloud based (about 140 gb installed).  Without forcing offline mode though, you will be forced to update to whatever the current version. 

 

2. FSX/P3D: The graphics are a bit dated. With payware scenery, it can look pretty decent though.  It has the best IFR/airliner environment, although again that is with paid add-ons.  If you go the add-on route, it is fantastic for airliner.  There are a number of peripherals (CDU's, MCP's) that work well with P3D.  It is the whole world again.  It is also cloud based.  General aviation has some add-ons that do make it pretty good as well, but the flight model feels a bit more "on rails", which is less ideal for GA.

 

3. DCS: Great visuals, but not as good as MSFS2020.  Great flight model.  Feels the most immersive flying.  Allows for combat.  And huge systems depth.  They regulate their 3rd parties, so quality is more reliable with add-ons.  It does not model the whole world.  If you just want to fly WWII aircraft, I would still vote for DCS.  They are building their WWII theaters and AI, but it is limited for combat still.  I wouldn't totally avoid the modern aircraft.  Just landing a F/A-18C on a carrier is a huge amount of fun, even without expending munitions.

 

...and technically...

 

4. X-plane: I can't speak much to this, some people love it.  But my sense is it's a bit "incomplete".

 

  

 

It can be run in an offline mode, but the graphics that have sold it as the "next gen" simulator are downgraded to something more akin to FSX/P3D.  You can also manually cache regions you fly in often, which would then allow you to have online quality graphics while offline.

Thanks very much.   I read a concern that with FS2020 routinely downloading graphics as you fly in different areas, folks that have data limits from their ISP could run into some issues.  

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On 3/27/2021 at 10:03 AM, 11bee said:

Finally got approval from the Minister of Finance to put my 11-year old PC out to pasture.   Got a new PC that will hopefully serve me as long as my dear departed Dinocomputer.  

No photo description available.

It's truly amazing.   I had a basic FPS game (Team Fortress 2) that used to take 15 minutes to load, assuming it didn't lock up and force me to reboot.  It now is up and running in a minute.   I can now finally start looking at some of the flight sims I've been drooling over for the last decade.    FS2020 or DCS?  Leaning towards DCS but I'll need to avoid the modern jets since I have a pretty basic joystick setup.  I've seen some posts about DCS, anyone have experience with the WW2 subjects?   

 

See you guys in the virtual skies! 

What are the specs on your new computer?

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2 hours ago, jpk said:

What are the specs on your new computer?

I7/10700, 16gig 3200hz RAM, 3060ti and 1Tb SDD.    Somewhere down the road I’ll add more RAM and SDD space.   Got a great deal on it.  Not a bleeding edge machine but it should serve me well for quite a while.  

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43 minutes ago, ST0RM said:

With 16Gig RAM, you'll struggle in DCS if using the multiplayer servers. But the others, you should be fine. 

Yeah, I figured that would be the case.   I’m not a huge multiplayer guy so that’s not a big issue.  I downloaded the Huey and with all graphics set to high, it runs really smooth.   

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If you want WWII combat and not super in-depth systems modeling, IL-2 Great Battles.

If you want modern combat, some WWII combat, and very in-depth systems modeling, then DCS.  However be aware that DCS is very system intensive.

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2 hours ago, 11bee said:

Yeah, I figured that would be the case.   I’m not a huge multiplayer guy so that’s not a big issue.  I downloaded the Huey and with all graphics set to high, it runs really smooth.   

Sounds like you got DCS then?  The A-10A is a cheap module and not too complex, if you are looking for a jet (I wasn't sure if "modern" would still be appropriate for it).  Aiming the Mavericks might be a little tricky, depending on your joystick config.

 

Also, not to make a bunch of suggestions to cost you money, but I have found the TrackIR 5 device really helps with the immersion, where you can look around by simply moving your head.  It usually runs about $150, and you have to wear a baseball-type hat while using the sim, but it really makes looking around a lot easier.

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2 hours ago, Ken Cartwright said:

Sounds like you got DCS then?  The A-10A is a cheap module and not too complex, if you are looking for a jet (I wasn't sure if "modern" would still be appropriate for it).  Aiming the Mavericks might be a little tricky, depending on your joystick config.

 

Also, not to make a bunch of suggestions to cost you money, but I have found the TrackIR 5 device really helps with the immersion, where you can look around by simply moving your head.  It usually runs about $150, and you have to wear a baseball-type hat while using the sim, but it really makes looking around a lot easier.

Suggestions are always welcome!   I was thinking about the A-10A, with no pod / radar, I might be able to fight the jet with the very limited buttons on the joystick but with only one hat switch, aiming Mavs will still be tough.  How’s Track IR play with WIN10?  Any issues?

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9 minutes ago, 11bee said:

Suggestions are always welcome!   I was thinking about the A-10A, with no pod / radar, I might be able to fight the jet with the very limited buttons on the joystick but with only one hat switch, aiming Mavs will still be tough.  How’s Track IR play with WIN10?  Any issues?

 

Back in a day, the A-10A did not have click spots for the buttons in the "virtual cockpit".  They all had to be through keyboard short cuts.  They did a mini facelift some time ago, and may have fixed that matter.

 

As for me, if I could have only one or two modules, the A-10C and F/A-18C are amazing.  The "Supercarrier" module is a nice addition to go with the F/A-18C, but not necessary.  The F-16C and AV-8B would be my second choices, but the P-51D and F-86 are also very good.  They're also moving towards an AH-64D that should be interesting. 

 

I fly the A-10C and F/A-18C to a "study level" sim actually known the numbers, systems, etc.  The rest I fly for leisure.

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2 hours ago, ESzczesniak said:

 

Back in a day, the A-10A did not have click spots for the buttons in the "virtual cockpit".  They all had to be through keyboard short cuts.  They did a mini facelift some time ago, and may have fixed that matter.

 

As for me, if I could have only one or two modules, the A-10C and F/A-18C are amazing.  The "Supercarrier" module is a nice addition to go with the F/A-18C, but not necessary.  The F-16C and AV-8B would be my second choices, but the P-51D and F-86 are also very good.  They're also moving towards an AH-64D that should be interesting. 

 

I fly the A-10C and F/A-18C to a "study level" sim actually known the numbers, systems, etc.  The rest I fly for leisure.

That’s what burned me out on high end “study” sims years ago.  I got to a decent proficiency level in a highly modded Falcon 4.0 but found out if I didn’t fly the thing religiously I lost proficiency quickly.   At the end, it became more of a job than a hobby. Wouldn’t mind buying the F/A-18C and carrier modules just to practice carrier ops. Those videos of the flight deck with the deck crew and LSO modeled in such detail are quite amazing.  

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After almost 10 years running a i5 2500k I finally built a new PC in the fall and figured I'd get a new RTX GPU in a couple months when supply caught up. Yup, got that one wrong. Might have been better off with a prebuilt. 

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5 hours ago, 11bee said:

Suggestions are always welcome!   I was thinking about the A-10A, with no pod / radar, I might be able to fight the jet with the very limited buttons on the joystick but with only one hat switch, aiming Mavs will still be tough.  How’s Track IR play with WIN10?  Any issues?

No problem at all with the TrackIR in Win10, been running it will all the sims I mentioned.

 

In reference to the virtual cockpit on the A-10A, it does not have "clickable" buttons.  The A-10C does, but it's a lot more complex overall, and is more expensive.

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8 hours ago, fulcrum1 said:

After almost 10 years running a i5 2500k I finally built a new PC in the fall and figured I'd get a new RTX GPU in a couple months when supply caught up. Yup, got that one wrong. Might have been better off with a prebuilt. 

Yeah, I was pretty surprised that Alienware had these systems in stock (I had the thing on my doorstep 8 days after placing the order).   Sounds like between a huge surge in PC gaming due to the pandemic and the fact that high end vid cards are key for cryptocurrency mining, there is a pretty significant shortage.  

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19 hours ago, 11bee said:

I7/10700, 16gig 3200hz RAM, 3060ti and 1Tb SDD.    Somewhere down the road I’ll add more RAM and SDD space.   Got a great deal on it.  Not a bleeding edge machine but it should serve me well for quite a while.  

No wonder your loading times are not silly long anymore - SSD's are godsend. Atleast i assume you mean SSD. Seriously, anyone who is reading this thread and somehow still uses hard drive, upgrade to SSD asap zulu. They are like what, 80 bucks for 512GB these days? Just make sure you get a decent one as there is some difference in tech. Also, congrats on scoring a new generation graphics card (good pick too), finding them is atleast as hard as finding a honest politician!

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20 hours ago, 11bee said:

I7/10700, 16gig 3200hz RAM, 3060ti and 1Tb SDD.    Somewhere down the road I’ll add more RAM and SDD space.   Got a great deal on it.  Not a bleeding edge machine but it should serve me well for quite a while.  

That's not bad. It should run MSFS2020 at full settings if your ISP connection is fast enough. I have a Ryzen 7 3700X, 32gb 3200 RAM, EVGA 1080Ti SC2 w/11gb ddr5+ ram and it runs MSFS all up at the highest setting just fine.

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20 hours ago, 11bee said:

I7/10700, 16gig 3200hz RAM, 3060ti and 1Tb SDD.    Somewhere down the road I’ll add more RAM and SDD space.   Got a great deal on it.  Not a bleeding edge machine but it should serve me well for quite a while.  

Looks like you got a Dell/Alienware machine. I hope it didn't come with a lot of bloatware on it. 

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7 hours ago, jpk said:

Looks like you got a Dell/Alienware machine. I hope it didn't come with a lot of bloatware on it. 

Correct.  Bloatware wasn’t that bad.  I shut down some programs in the startup settings.   As I get some time, I’ll start deleting stuff I don’t need.   One note on Dell/Alienware -  Had a minor WIN10 issue on day 1, called tech support, very impressed.  Picked up on the first ring and it wasn’t an offshore call center.  Resolved the issue and circled back with me later that day to make sure I was all set.     Quite nice.    And yes Berkut, I’ve got SSD storage.😀  As you pointed out, this reduces loading time amazingly.  Given how cheap it is, I’m kicking myself for not going with 2TB.   I’ll add another TB in the near future.   

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Adding a second drive can help with performance as well - it's possible that with that setup that the PC can load or save data simultaneously, so it helps to have the OS on one drive and applications and games on the other.

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14 hours ago, Ken Cartwright said:

Adding a second drive can help with performance as well - it's possible that with that setup that the PC can load or save data simultaneously, so it helps to have the OS on one drive and applications and games on the other.

 

I did the same thing on my sim rig.

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