Are we all not waiting with bated breath for the release of the PMDG 777? Any update that comes out, the community explodes in excitement.
This seems to be the going rate for the flightsim community- It’s all about the amazing aircraft, and that is where most of the excitement resides. Right?
I suppose it’s true that we get most excited about new aircraft simulations being developed, because they seem to be the hardest pieces of software to get right. These real-world aircraft after all, like the Boeing 777 for example, are extremely complex machines. To code one means a high level of expertise, time, investment, and so on.
At least, for those that who code it right. (acknowledging that not all aircraft addons are created equal, and some are just eye-candy)
These amazing aircraft are the rare simulations of this hobby/obsession that everyone appreciates, because they are so hard to get right.
Let’s get our heads OUTSIDE our own little world inside that aircraft, and think about some external (meaning outside) addons that can help you increase the overall realism of your simulation.
These are pieces I don’t feel fit in the scenery, airport, and aircraft categories. Rather, I guess you could say these are great ‘utilities’.
REX or Real Environment Xtreme is perhaps one of the greatest addons you will ever get your hands on. REX takes care of many of the weather and environment related realism for your sim.
Here are just a few things REX does:
- Replaces all cloud textures for cumulus, cirrus, stratus and more.
- Replaces water textures to be more realistic.
- Replaces wave animations and look.
- Can replace ground textures at the airport, like taxiways and runways. Want asphalt instead of concrete? You got it!
If you are looking for thunderstorms that tower tall and strong, IFR that looks like the real deal, or water that looks legit, this add-on is for you. And to think that’s just the start!
There aren’t enough great things to say about this add-on. The sim just isn’t the same without it. The guys at REX really know what they’re doing when it comes to weather and environment texturing.
Not only that, they have a weather generation program that is top notch. That means that you’ll get realistic weather for your flight, based on the current and actual conditions. And it’s dynamically changing all the time as you fly your route.
No doubt. If you have not got this add-on yet, you’re seriously missing out!
EZ Camera, or EZCA (AKA EZDok Camera Addon) is another add-on that I urge trainees to get right away. Why?
As a pilot, you get to take advantages of all your senses. Sight, smell, sound, and that ‘seat of the pants’ feel.
In a simulator, you have a fixed and locked screen that doesn’t give you much feel for the bumps and movements you’d feel in an aircraft.
For example, say that you were coming in for a landing in your simulator. You perform the approach, the flare, and BAM! You screw up the flare, and slam the wheels down on the pavement, giving a distinguishing ‘CHIRP’ for all at the airport observers to hear. There’s no hiding it, you screwed up!
In the simulator, however, you wouldn’t really know you hit hard. Yeah, the thump might be louder than usual. But your virtual ‘head’ doesn’t bounce in the view. The view is fixed, and solid. Nothing changed.
EZCA takes care of these sorts of things, though. Not only would the micro ‘air’ bumps be visible on approach, but you’d essentially bang your head on the dash if you had EZCA installed.
It gives you an incredible amount of realism.
Keep in mind this is just one scenario. Would you like to experience turbulence more realistically? Or would you like to see how your control movements affect passengers?
EZCA is one of those pieces of software that you MUST get. It’s on of the few addons you can get today that will drastically increase the realism of your simulator.
Here’s a video to show you some of the features of EZCA:
GSX, or Ground Services…. X… (Why does everyone add an X?! Guess it sounds cool) is an add-on that adds much realism to your airports. Now, I wouldn’t consider this an essential add-on at all. I would consider this more of a luxury.
That said, if you are a guy that doesn’t dabble much in single engine/general aviation stuff, and you’d rather fly a large jetliner, then this is for you.
GSX enhances the airport environment by adding realistic jetways, ground crew (actual people that walk around), baggage loading vehicles, catering carts, ground power and air carts, an enhanced pushback with moving characters, a follow me vehicle for taxiing, and more.
That’s a lot! You can imagine what it’s like being at an airport where people are moving around the aircraft preparing it for departure, or accepting it upon arrival. It’s REALLY neat to see and hear. It adds an incredible amount of realism.
I must also mention here that Aerosoft has a service called AES, almost exactly like GSX, that I feel is actually slightly more polished. However, GSX is a ‘buy once’ sort of thing, and Aerosoft sell AES (Airport Enhancement Services) by credits.
I love both, but have been using GSX more it seems.
There are many more worthy addons to be listed here, of course. I’m not purposely meaning to leave anyone out. But these are just a few essential addons that can to mind when I was thinking about great environment enhancements.
You’d do well to get these addons in your library.
Join the Conversation!
Do you use these addons? How do you like them? If you wrote this article, what would you have put in here?
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