-LATEST NEWS.............. 2003 - 2007
18th December 2007
" Christmas is here again "
If is difficult to believe that Christmas is with us again, but sure enough another year has gone. You might think I cannot wait to see the back of this year, but although there have been many bad and trying times, there have been some truly amazing and wonderful times as well. If I had to remember one thing from 2007 it would be the tremendous love and affection shown to me by a staggering number of people. If there was ever a year that reinstated one's faith in human nature then 2007 was it.
I want to give special thanks to that small number of people that gave me a second life. Not only the surgeon and his team, but also to that small number of people whom are dear to me, in the USA, here in the UK and in France that gave me the courage and the strength to face the ordeal. You know who you are, THANK YOU.
So in this season of good will, amongst all the gifts and making merry, let us all try and spare a thought and a kindness or two for all those less fortunate than ourselves.
Well the 8,000+ email Christmas cards have been sent (I hope you have received yours), so we are now closing down for the year. Perhaps a little early this year, but why not ? :-))
Have a fantastic Christmas and thanks to you all for your support during 2007.
Happy New Year 2008
From Roy and the RCS Panels Team
1st December 2007
" Joysticks and Vista - addition "
You will note there has been a small but significant change to the file about using Midi Joysticks with Vista. The change a few lines down from the top - Marked in RED,
" Windows Vista Activation "
Having had to reinstall Windows Vista Ultimate after physical damage to my Vista Boot drive, I discovered that you no longer have 30 days to activate it. As soon as Windows Updates install themselves, your activation time is reduced from 30 days to 15 days at a stroke.
As it happens this time it made no difference to me, but if you are doing an install for test purposes, and know you are going to reformat the drive at the end of your tests, you do not activate it to save having to use up "your lives". Well now you only have 15 days for your tests.
I have to say this is getting beyond a joke. You spend a fortune on a PC, you spend another large amount of money on an operating system and Microsoft treat your PC as if it belongs to them. I have news to you lot, it's my PC and I will decide what I do with it and how I use it.
An example of this, recently it has been reported that the facility to "Turn off" Windows Updates has overruled by MS. You think they are turned off and MS will update you machine whether you like it or not. If this is in fact the case, this is outrage and probably illegal. I am not sure if people in the US accept this sort of behaviour, but here in the UK we certainly don't.
While on the subject of Vista, it seems that many companies are now refusing to accept new PC's with Vista and demanding XP instead, give the suppliers no option but to preinstall XP.
I used to be a big supporter of MS, but since Mr Gates departed, it seems they have completely lost the plot.
Anyway, have a good weekend.
30th November 2007
" Back to FS "
The Wildlife Art Show is over for another year and it was good to see so many people. Even the weather was good to us, which always helps. :-))
So now we can get back to other "important" matters, like FS :-))
It appears my comments on "Joysticks and Vista" were of use to more of you than I had expected. I was glad to be of help to so many people.
" Amazed !! "
I have to admit to being absolutely amazed reading the odd "review" about the "FSX Acceleration Pack". What is so difficult in telling the truth ?? The truth is what the readers really want to know about, instead they skirt around the main issues, making no useful comments and go on for ages about trivia.
How about a New Years resolution folks - Some HONESTY for a change.
" DirectX 10 Specification change "
Christmas is nearly upon us again and it is that time of year when we rush around the shops and spend far too much money. From an FS users viewpoint there is little out there this year to stick on your Christmas list. However, one thing I would advice against is a DirectX 10 video card for your PC if you don't already have one. It appears that Microsoft are changing the specification for DirectX 10 to a new DirectX 10.1 specification and it is rumoured that the current DX 10 video cards will not work with the new DX 10.1 software.
I am sure it is possible that the video card manufacturers might write compatible drivers, but it is not looking hopeful at the moment. So I think my advice has to be hold off for the time being, until they all start singing from the same song sheet.
I guess that is about it for now. Enjoy your weekend and try not to have to much fun :-))
22nd November 2007
" Wildlife Art Show opens "
This years "Wildlife Art Show" opens to the public in the morning :-))
It has been struggle this year, mainly because this idiot damaged his arm on Sunday, making it extremely painful to use and has had to work one handed all week. But we got there thanks to a little help from others.
So if you can pop along you will be made to feel very welcome. It is completely FREE, with no obligations to buy anything, although we do not stop you if you wish to :-))
" Joysticks and Vista "
Ever since Vista hit the streets, I've been cursing because my trusty "MS ForceFeedBack MK 1 Joystick" which I love, had to be retired because it is MIDI connection and Vista does not support them, even if a suitable card is installed. Nice one boys and girls !!!. Microsoft Operating system (Vista), Microsoft Joystick, and they will not work together. Furthermore MS stated it was impossible for a fix to this problem, so "go buy a new one". Thanks :-((
Well think again, because a clever chap called "Daniel Kawakami" who I believe is connected in some way to Creative Labs, has come up with a solution and it works :-))
The solution is slightly involved and you need to read the instructions with a bit of "Creativity" (excuse the pun), but it does work. I tested it with a few MIDI joysticks and all functioned correctly :-))
As it is rather difficult to find this information on the net, I have placed the page on this website, from where you can download the necessary file.
I take no credit or responsibility for this cure to the problem, and do not wish to get involved in fixing your particular joystick problems, but I thought you would appreciate this information.
So I have been reunited with my old friend and am looking forward to many more hours flying together.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers in the USA. For us in the UK, it is back to work :-))
Have a good one.
14th November 2007
" Great Personal News :-)) "
On Monday this week I was delighted to hear the results of my six month follow up CT scan on my cancer was completely clear :-)) What a huge relief that was !!!
The news also got better as kidney stones that were in my good kidney have gone and I must have passed them :-)) So it is celebrations all round :-))
" Work "
As you will imagine I haven't exactly had my mind on the job for the past couple of weeks, but as my annual Wildlife Art Show opens in just over a week, I have been trying to concentrate on painting and have had to ignore FS work, although I continue to keep and eye on what is going on.
" General "
I have to admit I have been very amused by the total lack in reviews on the "FSX Acceleration Pack". I think the silence speaks volumes :-)) Backbone seems to be in short supply :-))
I continually test the new Nvidia drivers, especially the DX10 ones, but nothing really significant yet. The latest Beta Drivers seem to be the best so far, but there is little difference in those compaired with the last official release. If you are not in the habit of updating your Nvidia drivers, then it is something you really should do from time to time. The process is normally painless and just involves one reboot. If you don't like the new ones you can always "roll them back".
OK that's about it for now.
Have a good one.
28th October 2007
" FSX Acceleration Pack - Follow up"
As is normal with me, I never leave things alone, so I have continued to test the so called "FSX Acceleration Pack". Years of experience has taught me that graphics problems can often be solved with new drivers. As mentioned in my previous post, I had tried all the Nvidia released drivers with no effect, so I have now tried the latest Beta driver 169. 01 (available on the Nvidia website)
The flashing telegraph poles in "DirectX 10 Preview" mode have gone. :-)) Unfortunately this does not stop the textures flashing. So this is a small step forward :-))
I received an email from one of our readers "JCW" which got me thinking. He told me he had done a fresh install of FSX followed by the Acceleration Pack and did not see some of the problems I had mentioned in my review. So today I decided to do a fresh set of tests using a new installation of FSX with the following results :-
A fresh install gives me my standard "baseline" FPS with no "Service Pack 1".
Add "Service Pack 1" and I get a 30% increase in FPS. (As before)
Add the "Acceleration Pack" direct to a fresh install (without having previously added SP1) and I get NO increase in FPS when "DirectX 10 Preview" is not ticked. This is also the case even if you add the "Acceleration Pack" after SP1 has been installed, it still reverts to the "baseline" frame rates from before SP1. (Again as before)
If you invoke the "DirectX 10 Preview" option by ticking the box and restarting FSX, you get up to 80% increase in FPS over the basic install. This is an improvement over previous tests. :-)) Let me just stress this improvement is only in "DX10 Preview" mode and that still comes with a host of problems
So my conclusions are these :-
If you are NOT running "DirectX 10 Preview" you get better frame rates by using a basic FSX install and SP1.
If you can and do use "DirectX 10 Preview" all the time (because you have the hardware and Vista) then you are better off using the basic install, plus the "Acceleration Pack".
All the other problems mentioned in my previous review remain the same.
I have however now observed that the flashing scenery problem only occurs at certain airports and scenery areas (for example - Seatle Int) where others are fine. This flashing occurs in both Full Screen and Windowed modes.
Furthermore, I can now confirm there are major issues with textures in both DX10 and non DX10 modes. Many textures either flash, do not show up, or are not transparent. This is particularly true with add-on products such as scenery and aircraft. This "Acceleration Pack" has moved the "goal posts" yet again for developers and many patches will be necessary for your favourite add-ons even before we get to SP2 to screw it up again.
So many thanks to JCW for his original email and the exchanges since, which have enabled us to make a few small steps forward. But we need a "giant step for mankind" or should I say "FSX mankind" to make this the product we deserve.
Have a great week.
25th October 2007
" FSX Acceleration Pack "
According to the dictionary, the word “Acceleration” even in “American” English means :- “the act of accelerating; increase of speed or velocity”, so you could be excused for thinking this add-on for MS FSX is going to make it go more quickly, giving increased frame rates. Well think again because the opposite is true, according to my tests. (see details below)
So having accepted the name is very misleading at best, what does this package really offer ? Well to cut to the chase, three extra aircraft (F14 Tomcat, P51 Mustang, Helicopter) and extra missions, some of which are multi player, some needing extra scenery which is included and basically that is it. But it comes at a fairly heavy cost and I am not talking about money.
A year after the release of FSX, which promised to have DirectX 10 support in the original release, you would think at last we would have it in this pack. Well think again, all we have is a “DirectX 10 Preview” option which doesn’t work very well. (again see details below)
As far as I can see, the extra missions are fine, but I haven’t had time to test them all and the extra aircraft are OK. However, in my view there are better add-on aircraft available for free,
Even forgetting DirectX 10, this package is far from finished. In my humble opinion this has been “rushed out” as another cynical move before Christmas.
I so wanted to write a good review of this add-on package and to finally say that FSX along with its Service Pack 1, had become the product it was originally promised to be, but it still falls woefully short of that. I am very disappointed and I sure you will be as well if you pay out good money for it.
OK, lets get to the details.
All my tests were done under controlled conditions with real results not ‘guestimates’. This is all tested on a top of the range PC with a top end DX10 graphics card (testing a range of the latest graphics drivers). I can swap between Virgin FSX, FSX with SP1, and FSX with SP1 along with the Acceleration Pack and between XP and Vista by using different boot drives on the same PC, so all results are a true comparison.
As you will remember me reporting previously, SP1 gave a 30% increase in frame rates over the original release version. Well the “Acceleration Pack” removes most if not all of that improvement. It is pretty well back to the position it was in before SP1.
The textures on some buildings and the ground, flash from normal – black – white and back to normal again, several times a second. Clouds appear, disappear and reappear again at will. When looking at the external view of an aircraft and moving around it, strange and unexplained large black shadows appear on the aircraft surface. Very spooky !!!
If we invoke the “DirectX Preview” option things change. On the good side the frame rates increase to SP1 levels :-) However that is where the good news stops. The flashing textures are still there, but now we have extra vertical “black lines” (like telegraph poles) appearing and disappearing many times a second all over the scenery (which are very annoying). The new DX10 water with wonderful reflections has great potential, but these reflections flash on and off at will. Add to that, the intensity of the water colour is just about acceptable close to, but is way “over the top” at a distance and things are not good. A lake at 10 miles looks like it is painted in “dayglow blue”. Not very authentic !! Lastly a number of add-on aircraft I tried in the DX10 preview mode displayed no textures at all. To be fair this is only a “Preview” mode, so they know it doesn’t work properly, but my question is, why include it at all ?? I don’t think you need to be Albert Einstein to answer that one :-))
You will undoubtedly read the usual batch of ridiculous reviews saying how wonderful it is, but this time it is going to stretch the reviewer’s credibility even further than normal. As has become my trademark, I tell it the way it is and not what others want me to say. So do you spend your money of this product ?? Well that is up to you, at least you are now doing it with your eyes open. For me there are far to many disadvantages for a few extra missions and three extra aircraft, it will definitely be staying off my proper FSX machine.
I really don’t understand this add-on package at all. The product name does not describe it. It is an “Expansion Pack” and that is all it is, adding aircraft and missions, but at a cost. It strikes me that the original intention was for it to be much more, giving extra speed and DX10 but the developers failed to deliver, and instead of either renaming it and leaving out the unfinished DX10 code that slows it down, or delaying the release until it was finished, they released it anyway.
I my humble opinion FSX with SP1 gives by far the best results, so there must be better things to have for Christmas.
" General "
That is about it for now, I will continue testing and report anything else of interest. We are still making slow but steady progress with our FSX packages, but I have nothing solid to report at this point.
22nd September 2007
" Back to work "
I am now back from my annual holiday to the
South of France and had a fantastic time as usual. After the events of
this year, the month away was a particularly welcome :-))
Wonderful food, brilliant wine and the company of very special friends,
what more could one ask for ? Answer :- Nothing :-))
Then is was down to the South Coast about 30 miles west of Monaco for three weeks of complete relaxation, where I was able to recover in body and soul. The weather was stunningly good, along with all the usual pleasures. This year I had to offer to play with a new Aston Martin, but I turned it down. I am a Ferrari and Jaguar man through and through.
Completely rested and recovered, next it was off to the Swiss boarder to spend three days with my very good friend and colleague Tony D'Ambrosio. As always we had a fabulous time and put the world to rights for another year :-))
Then it was back to the Champagne Region again for more good times, not to mention some quality control on the local produce :-)) Hic !!!!
Unfortunately it is now back to reality :-))
I hope you have all had a reasonable summer. I know here in the UK it has been dreadful with very little sun at all. I suppose it is not to late to get some, but I wouldn't hold your breath. It seems the weather has been very strange the world around this year. Let us all hope for better things to come.
Nothing else to report at the moment.
Have a great weekend. Best wishes
9th August 2007
" A major goal reached "
Finally we have got to the stage of Beta testing our FSX products and the initial reaction has been very good. A few bug reports are coming and requiring a few minor fixes, but nothing major so far. We still have a couple of items to be finished, one to ease installations and another to add functionality, but I am hopeful these will be available by the time I return from my annual holidays.
This time of year is normally a quiet one for us developers and the sun is normally shining so we don't want to be slaving away at a hot keyboard, but the weather has been so bad this year that writing code has been preferred to getting wet :-))
There really hasn't been anything much of interest to report on for the past month and definitely no new products on the market of any significance.
We are all waiting for the FSX DirectX 10 Patch (Service Pack) and the "FSX Acceleration Pack" which is due out in time for Christmas 2007. Which will come first is anyone's guess.
That is about it for now. Have a great holiday season and recharge the batteries.
16th July 2007
" General "
Work has continued on development of our FSX products but the progress is painfully slow. We are getting there, and I can see light at the end of the tunnel, but it is a long tunnel :-((
As we learn more and more about FSX and the way it works (or doesn't), we realise that pretty well all aspects of an addon product have to be changed to update them, even from fully compatible FS9 products.
There is little doubt in my mind that this is one of the main reasons there is so little quality add-on products around for FSX.
Nevertheless we do not give up and will continue to move forward.
“ Top Tip “
During testing, a
customer commented that installations were going through properly and
finishing in the normal manner, but nothing appeared to have been
It came as no surprise that this was a “Vista” only problem and XP worked perfectly. Investigations soon proved this to be another of “The delights of Vista”. (What a hateful operating system it is, but you know my thoughts on that subject) Basically this happens when an “exe” file is not “digitally signed”. In other words the developer has not paid out vast sums of money for a “digital signature”.
As we deal here in “Solutions” not “Problems”, here we go with a “Top Tip”.
To install any programme on Vista, don’t just double click on the “exe” file. Instead, “Right Click” on it and choose “Run as administrator”. You will then be faced with a warning screen. Click on “Allow” (even though the screen tries to frighten you out of it). Finally follow the onscreen instructions as normal.
This will save many hours of head scratching and sending emails to developers.
" Comment "
I am sure you will find that above tip useful as many FS developers are not in the position to pay for "Digital Signatures". We are in a fortunate position we could pay, but I refuse out of principle. We here at RCS Panels, like others, are trying to add to the enjoyment of our hobby by providing you with software as cheaply as possible, if not completely FREE of charge. We DO NOT expect to have to shell out "shed loads of money" for the privilege. It seems to me the Microsoft have completely forgotten that it is people like us that have made their product what it is today, not them.
OK rant over :-))
Have a great week.
" We are Honoured "
There are very few times in my life when I am left speechless, but a few days ago there was one such time, as I opened a package from Texas, USA.
You will probably remember that a couple of years ago RCS Panels produced and donated an FS version of the real life B-25J "Yellow Rose" to the CAF Museum in Texas to help raise awareness and funds for their cause.
Neither I nor my team wanted or expected anything in return, other than the knowledge we had helped to put something back into aviation. Well it seems that the CAF Museum were not prepared to let it rest there and wanted to say "thank you" in a very special way.
Earlier in the year, the "Yellow Rose Squadron of the CAF" hosted the "2007 Doolittle Raiders 65th Annual Reunion" at their base in San Antonio, Texas. They managed to get 7 of the 14 surviving members of the "Original Raiders" to the event and got them to sign a specially produced print of a B-25.
Each member of my team and I, have been presented with individual signed prints along with photos of the original aircrew signing them. What a fantastic gift.
As if this wasn't more than enough, to celebrate the 65th Reunion, the CAF had minted 400 numbered copies of a special coin to commemorate the event. Numbers 1 - 20 were presented to the "Original Raiders" and their families, and numbers 21 -25 were presented to us. What an amazing gesture and honour.
Last, but certainly not least, comes the letter from Steve Gladwin (B-25 Yellow Rose Squadron) that came with this superb presentation. It is impossible to describe the magnitude of the words and how much they mean to my team and I.
The letter :- Click here to read
There are a few things in life that are beyond monetary value, but this is certainly one of them. I just cannot find the words to express our gratitude for this honour. What can one say other than :-
Roy, on behalf of the whole RCS Panels team
29th June 2007
" Add-on Developers "
I have recently spent some time trawling through the websites looking at what is new and available in the way of "Add-ons" for FS and was somewhat surprised at my findings. It seems the days of numerous good FREEWARE add-ons have long since gone and everything has become PAYWARE. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against developers making money out of their creations, but money seems to have become "King". There is very little FREEWARE anymore, which I think is a great shame. It was the backbone of this hobby and what made it so successful and long lasting. So come on you proper developers how about joining us and doing something for FREE from time to time ?
Even we here at RCS Panels do produce a PAYWARE package in the shape of the RCS B-25J "Yellow Rose" but that is to raise money for the museum that owns the original aircraft and mot a single cent/penny goes into our pockets. Even our expenses come out of our own pockets.
The other thing that struck me during my research was the lack of proper add-ons for FSX. (I do not call the hundreds of "repaints" proper add-ons) I mean new aircraft, panels, scenery and utilities. If you compare now with a similar time after the release of FS2004, there is virtually nothing in comparison with the same time after the release of FS2004. Does one read from this, that the FS users/developers are just not interested in FSX ?
I know because of the stupidity or ignoranceof the developers of FSX many unnecessary changes were made to the core of FS, meaning the a great deal of add-ons that worked perfectly with previous versions of FS were useless. Many of the features within FS were also changed for no good reason at all. I use just as an example the removal of configurable " views" from a cockpit (panel SDK). What point was there to that ?? Answer NONE !!!
" The future ? "
I am all for progress and development because without it, nothing improves, but in my view it has to be done alongside listening to what people say and that means the bad news as well as the good. Unfortunately "ARROGANCE" which in my opinion is what has been displayed by the FSX developers, is what comes before a fall.
" Conversions to FSX "
One has to say, conversions of FS2004 products to FSX format is not an easy process especially when it comes to anything more complex than a simple model. I think it is fair to say, that had I and my team realised some two years ago what would be involved we would not have bothered. However, two years down the line we are still working hard on making our B-25J fully compatible. I am not making promises, but I am hopeful we might have a version of the B-25J "Yellow Rose" ready for release soon. Then hopefully the FREEWARE "RCS B-25J RAF" will follow.
" FSX SP1 "
I have also been doing more testing of SP1 for FSX. There is definitely much more use of the extra cores in a processor which has got to be good. There also seems to be quite a number of "Bug fixes" or "Feature enhancements" (as MS would call them) in the Service Pack. So far I have found no downsides. I would however suggest you upgrade you Video Card Drivers to the latest versions.
While on the subject of FSX, can I just suggest if you haven't tried the missions in FSX already, you should, there is a lot of fun to be had with them, not to mention the opportunity to improve your flying skills.
" RCS Panels Honoured "
I am pleased to tell you that I have just found out that my team and I, have been acknowledged for the work we have done for charity. To say we are very honoured is an understatement. We are delighted :-))
I will post the full report (with photos) in the next week or so.
OK, that is about it for now. Have a good week.
14th June 2007
" Where did that three weeks go ? "
I just realised that 3 weeks have passed since I posted anything here. Ooops !!! To be honest not a great deal has been happening here, I have just been trying to get back into work very slowly.
" Back to work "
I spent three days at an Art Show (Near Nottingham) I normally perform at, but this year I was just there as a guest. It is a great show and we see many thousands of visitors over 4 days. It was really nice to have the opportunity to look around the show, rather than doing five or six demonstrations every day and seeing nothing. I did however get talked into doing one 1 hour presentation / demonstration on the second day. I had nothing with me, but it was all provided. It went well, but it did prove to me I have a way to go to be fully fit. I was absolutely exhausted afterwards. Nevertheless we had a great time and a couple of fun nights out which did me good :-))
I am now preparing for an Art Workshop I am running in 10 days time, which will be my first proper work since the surgery. There is always a lot of preparation work to be done beforehand, but we are getting there :-))
" FS and computer work "
I am sorry to say, I have had little or no time to do any FS or computer work, not that there is much happening at the moment. I continue to get horror stories reported on Vista, and my personal experiences are not encouraging me to make a permanent move in that direction. I think XP is here for the long term.
" Anti Virus Software "
Let me just follow up on the Anti Virus situation. AVAST is proving to be a wonderful product and has massively improved the productivity of my PC's. Over a period of time I will completely replace Norton on all the machines here. To add to that I have had many emails from people that have been using AVAST for years and swear by it (rather than swear at it, as with Norton).
" Adware "
Something else of interest. I did have an instance of my Internet Browser being "Hijacked" (not going to the page you select), and none of the "Anti Adware / Malware" packages could find the problem and believe me I tried them all. However there was one, that not only diagnosed the problem but fixed it quickly and efficiently. "StopZilla" was the program. It is NOT free, but in my opinion is worth the small amount of money it costs. It even flags up and stops websites that carry "Adware / Spyware / Malware" so you can browse with confidence. You can find it on the net by doing a search.
OK folks that is about it for now. Have a fun weekend.
21st May 2007
" Norton -The final straw "
I spent the best part of yesterday stripping Norton Internet Security out of my email machine and installing Norton Internet Security 2007. (which was not cheap) The installation was not easy, and 24 hours later "Auto Protect" bombs out and will not reactivate, no matter what you do. :-((
So after years of loyalty to Symantec, Norton has been "trashed" for good, never to darken my door again. Why should we the customers pay out a fortune to be treated in such a cynical way ? (Don't answer that)
So having previously tested AVAST that is what now replaces it. Installation straightforward, machine runs much quicker, its free and you get good protection. What more could you want !!!
Have a great week.
19th May 2007
" More information on FSX Service Pack 1 "
I have now done more testing on FSX SP1 with two other computer setups.
Firstly I have tested it on an Intel 3 Ghz HT
(single core) machine, and was pleasantly surprised. It appears I was
wrong when I said the SP1 would not give a 30% increase in frame rates
on a single core machine because it does. The increase is pretty well
identical to the 2 Core Duo, in percentage increase terms. This however
begs the question. Why ?
Secondly I have tested it on the 2 Core Duo with Vista. The increase in frame rates were exactly the same as with XP Pro. FSX still doesn't run as well and as smoothly on Vista as it does on XP. Mind you if you are using an Nvidia graphics card, I do suggest you download the latest drivers for Vista. This is especially true if you are running the 8800 card.
A few other modifications have been made to FSX. You no longer have to look at a black screen while the first 70% of the loading takes place. This is a step forward.
" Windows Vista "
I still don't like Vista with a passion. It is just not stable. During my tests with FSX SP1 it crashed on me four times, for no reason. This is like a step back to Windows 95 or 98. Hopefully SP1 for Vista will start to get it right, but we haven't got that yet. My advice to you is, if you don't have to use Vista, give it a big miss.
" Anti Virus Software "
I have been becoming more and more fed up with Anti Virus software suppliers, who seem to want more and more money for something none of us can do without. Furthermore the software from one of the leaders in the field seems to slow the PC to a crawl. So as is my way, I have been looking around and was put onto some AV software from "AVAST". This is not only FREE for "Home Users" it doesn't appear to slow down you system while it is doing its job. What I call a result :-)) All you have to do is register and you get 12 months for FREE, when that runs out you register again for another 12 months and so on.
Currently I am testing it on Vista, and so far it seems to perform well.
OK that is about it for now.
Have a great weekend.
16th May 2007
" FSX Service Pack 1 "
Service Pack 1 for FSX was released today and is available for download.
As you would expect I have downloaded it and done a number of quick tests.
Using my Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme X8600 PC (as specified lower on this page), running XP Pro, I saw a 30% increase in frame rates. This is significant if you already have frame rates in the 20's or better, but if you are down at 10 then it only increases it to 13, which is not a lot, and still pretty useless :-((
My initial feeling is most of this increase is due to the better use of the second core in the processor and therefore it is not likely to be seen in single core processors.
My other initial impression is, there are more "stutters" after adding SP1. I will say more about this after more tests.
Tests will continue on other machines and on Vista. So watch this space, for more information.
In summary, SP1 is without question an improvement, but whether is a big enough improvement, only you can judge.
Over the next few days, I will give SP1 a good workout and report my findings in my usual truthful manner.
Have a good week.
15th May 2007
" Stop Press "
I am delighted to tell you we have just had FANTASTIC news. I do NOT have to have any drug treatment :-))
Apparently there was a communications error that caused Dinah and I to have an horrendous few days, but everything is GOOD now. We are hugely relieved and very happy :-))
Thanks to you all for your wonderful support.
I hope this is the last medical report that we have to post.
Have a great week.
13th May 2007
" Medical Update "
Things have been going well with my recovery up until yesterday when we received a setback :-((
The doctors now think there is a chance the caner cells might have escaped from the kidney and drug treatment might be advisable as an extra precaution. This information came as a huge shock to Dinah and I as we had been specially told this would not be necessary. We do not know any more details at this time, but will post information here when we do.
After this further "body blow" we are trying to remain cheerful and optimistic :-))
Have a good week.
7th May 2007
" Sitrep "
Nothing much new has happened here over the past week. Progress on my recovery has been steady but slow :-)
I have been mainly filling my time learning to speak French. Languages is not something I have any natural talent for, so I am finding it extremely difficult. But you know me, I am very persistent :-))
I am very slowly bringing myself up to speed on what has been happening in general and our projects in particular. Steady progress is being made on our package conversions for FSX. As you know we are way behind schedule on those, but this has been due to a number of factors, my health being the major one. However, with FSX being in the state it is, there seems to be no hurry. I am hopeful we will have the first package published within eight weeks (but don't hold your breath) :-))
Your good wishes continue to flood in, for which is am extremely grateful :-))
OK folks, have a great week.
Kindest regards and thanks
1st May 2007
" I'm back :-)) "
As you can see I am back with you and recovering
The past few months have been very traumatic but we have made it through with the help of the huge number of people that have supported us with their good wishes and prayers. You have all been FANTASTIC and I cannot thank and praise you enough. THANK YOU.
To say that recent events have been a life changing experience, and one for the good, is the understatement of the year. I don't think I will ever look at things or people in the same way again. I was given a second life on the 16th April 2007 and I intend to make the very best use of it. So look out world "Chaffin" is coming :-))
" FS News "
It will come as no surprise that no FS work has been done over the past couple of weeks and little is likely over the next few, but I will slowly pick up where I left off and get back to work.
I understand a "Service Pack 1 for FSX" is due anytime. It is suggested this will speed up the Frame Rates by using more than one core of multi core processors. Not before time if you ask me !!! In my opinion this should have been in the original release along with DX10 support. I understand DX10 support is still unlikely to be included in SP1, and isn't expected until the autumn. Words fail me. I am glad my surgeon was more competent.
I have said it before and I will say it again. I am totally amazed that "unfinished" products can be released to the public and the public are expected to pay full price for them !!
" General "
So I am back and intend to be a "thorn in the side" of those few people that wish I wasn't, and for a very long time to come :-))
Anyway folks, I am delighted to be back with you again, if only in a limited way for the time being.
26th April 2007
" Latest Medical Update "
We are delighted to report that Roy is home from hospital and is doing extremely well. He is able to walk around and looks well. He is still on strong pain killers and is under strict orders to do NOTHING, which he is finding very difficult, as he is not a "do nothing" sort of person. However, for once he has to do as he is told :-))
He sends you all his best wishes and hopes to be back with you all soon.
Tests on the removed kidney identified it as a particularly "nasty" cancer, but the long term prognosis is now very good. It appears that the accidental discovery of this tumour a year ago was an absolute "God Send".
Roy will not be back to work for some time, but the future is now looking bright. Thank you all for your truly wonderful support.
Dinah (Roy's wife)
22nd April 2007
" Medical Update "
Thanks to everyone who has been concerned about
Roy. Your concern and support has touched and helped us both enormously.
16th April 2007
" Update "
By the time you read this page, I will either have had, or will be having major surgery to remove a large tumour.
As I am sure you will appreciate, this is a very difficult time, but I hope to be back with you, and before to long.
For at least a few weeks this page will not be updated or emails answered, which I am sure you will understand. However as soon as my family or I are able, we will post a progress report here.
You have always been very supportive of me and my family, and we really appreciate your emails and messages, but on this occasion could I ask that you please do not email us for at least two weeks from today, so the mail boxes are not jammed full.
Can I just say as a final word. Over the years I have been producing software and running this site, you have been FANTASTIC. You have supported me through good times and bad, and it has been hugely appreciated by me.
Good wishes to you all.
PS. I'LL BE BACK
6th April 2007
" Little to report "
There is little to report from the past month as I have been taking a number of "time outs". Work has continued on development, with bugs slowly being ironed out, but I have to admit my mind has been on other things and is likely to remain so for a while.
I appreciate your restraint with emails, as I am spending little time in front of the PC at the moment, so keep up the good work :-) Junk mail of course piles in no matter what :-(
Spring seems to be finally showing its face which is great news. Even the odd warm sunny day here in the UK :-)
Have a good one.
8th March 2007
" Date Change "
For those people that know about the "BIG EVENT" in my life that is coming up, the date has now been changed to 16th April. Which does not cause me any problems. For those that don't know, disregard this information :-)
" General "
Nothing useful has been done here for the past ten days as I have been in France. This was a spur of the moment decision and in less than 24 hours from the first idea I was driving through central France. I spent a few days with my good friend and colleague Tony D'Ambrosio, and also seeing other good friends in the same area. Then it was back up to the Champagne region to spend time with some time someone that is very special to me. I had a great time and it was a fantastic break, putting a smile back onto my face, which has been something that has been sadly lacking in the past few weeks.
We are all extremely good at having a moan about things, and I am no better or worse than anyone else. As you know I can moan and grump with the best of you, but their is something I have learnt over the past year or so, which maybe you haven't as yet. Your friends, and I mean your real friends, are the most important things you have in your life, so make sure you tell them while you are still able to do so. You might be surprised how much of an improvement it might make to your life.
On that important thought, I will leave you and get back to answering the emails that have piled up in my absence.
Have a good one.
23rd February 2007
" X-Plane "
After considerable difficulty I finally managed to get X-Plane installed and running on Linux. The installation instructions that are supplied with the software are hopeless, if you don't know how to do it before your read them you certainly will be no wiser afterwards. An email from X-Plane (Linux) Tech Support was three lines of "gibberish" that didn't help. It wasn't wrong if you could understand it, but totally unhelpful. Anyway after hours of research on the Net I managed to figure out a way of installing it.
Just when I thought my troubles were over I "hit the buffers" again :-( Try as I might, I was unable to get X-Plane to run in Linux, although it was supposed to be compatible. Every effort failed, and even a panel of Linux experts were unable to solve the problem. As you would expect I fired off another email to the X-Plane Tech Support function which initially received no reply. Only after I complained to the Manager Customer Services (who was helpful) did I receive what can only be described as "a load of unhelpful waffle" on how to run it, from the X-Plane Linux tech support person.
As I discovered from hunting around the net for more hours, the answer was simple. The full retail version I had bought and paid for, that was delivered to me on DVD version 8.40 was NOT compatible with Linux. There was no mention of this on the website or in the accompanying documentation. The first thing you had to do having installed your new DVD's was to download a massive upgrade to the package before you could even run it up. Not what you would call the most instinctive of actions. Version 8.50 is compatible with Linux but is not the one supplied on the DVD's. Really helpful !!!!!
So the only information the tech support person needed to give me to solve my problems would have been "Upgrade your installation to version 8.50 and it will run in Linux". I have to admit this support function is the worst I have ever come across in all my years in computing. So much so I wrote to the Manager Customer Services a second time giving chapter and verse of the treatment I had received at the hands of his operative, but this time I declared who I was, were as before I had just acted like a normal member of the public who had bought the product in good faith. I did receive a pleasant reply, but it remains to be seen if the useless person is replaced and lessons are learnt.
Now that I have X-Plane running in Linux, it runs well. I have now got used to the fact the scenery is not the "real world" and find the experience quite enjoyable. As the aircraft are not really up to scratch, I have already reworked an aircraft package I found on the net that is now is a joy to use (this is just for my own use). This rework has taught me a great deal about the development process, which should come in useful in the future. There is however much more to learn.
It is worrying however, that there appears to be a new version of package every month or so, with changes and/or new features. This cannot make it easy for developers who are trying to build complex third party add-ons for it. I will watch with interest.
There is much to like about X-Plane, with birds in the sky, and even runways that are not flat. This is an impressive feature that I really like. You do however have to have a pretty powerful PC to get the best out of it.
If you have a broardband connection to the internet, I do recommend you download the Demo version and give it a try. You have got nothing to loose.
OK that is about it for now. Have a good week and weekend.
14th February 2007
" No DirectX 10 for FSX for a very long time "
I want to share with you something that one of our kind German readers has sent to me, which might make your blood boil.
It appears from reading this post on an MSDN forum that it is going to be a very long time before we can use FSX with DirectX 10.
Just in case the above entry on the forum is removed, I have placed the contents on a page here.
Microsoft have encouraged us loyal FS users to go out and buy FSX, Vista and a hugely powerful and expensive new PC for absolutely nothing, because a patch to put in what should have been in FSX at the launch, will not be available for a very long time to come. That is nothing short of disgusting.
To add insult to injury, what do we get out of virtually all the FS websites ? No comment !! You can draw your own conclusions why that is.
It also appears the FSX only makes a 20% use of a second core on your multi core processor. Another "little gem" that appears to have slipped out.
Am I the only one that thinks we are being "stitched up like kippers" ?? Come on guys make your voices heard.
" More investigations "
On a happier note, I have been doing more investigations with "X-Plane".
Once you accept the scenery is not the "real world" it can be quite fun to use.
In quieter moments, I have been looking at the construction of aircraft and panels to see what the possibilities are for development. I have to admit what I have seen so far as FREEWARE (on offer from current developers) has not inspired me, but I haven't done an extensive search. Maybe the time is right for RCS Panels to raise the bar ? No promises at this stage, it is just an idea that might or might not happen. That is probably taken me off the "Christmas list" of a load more Payware people :-))
OK as it is Valentines Day I guess I better keep this short :-)
Have a great week.
11th February 2007
" Linux and the future ? "
The last week has seen me doing much more investigation into Linux. I moved on from "Ubuntu" which I felt had limitations to "SUSE 10.2" which seemed much more capable, not to mention bigger. This was a serious download at 6 CD's or 1 DVD as apposed to 1 CD for "Ubuntu".
Installation wasn't the easiest thing in the world, and finally after two installs I had it licked. The problem is you don't really know the implications of the answers you are giving to questions you are being asked during the install until it is to late.
With "SUSE" you have the choice of two separate desktop environments. "Gnome", which is roughly based on the MAC desktop and "KDE" which is roughly based on Windows. KDE is probably the more capable of the two, but now I have got use to it, I think I prefer Gnome.
Installation of video drivers was a nightmare again, but I got there in the end. To be honest installation of any software is not really a straightforward process.
I have to say, a few days experience with Linux does make you appreciate Windows.
" What Windows programmes can you run on Linux ? "
The answer to what Windows programmes you can run on Linux is now much clearer to me. Using the FREE version of "WINE" you are very limited, and even if they do install and run, they often have limitations or problems.
I have now found a programme called "CrossOver Office" which is NOT free, but works very well and much better than the free version of WINE.
I am certainly going to do more work with Linux and give it a good thrashing.
So to the £64,000 question, Will MS FS run ? NO............ and I now know it never can. FS uses DirectX for graphics and Linux does not support DirectX and only OpenGL. End of story. :-((
So if you want to use MS FS, as we do, we are stuck with Windows at least for the time being.
" X Plane "
I finally received my full version of "X Plane" version 8.5 which came on 8 DVD's. I must say the delivery by UPS was good and on time, be it somewhat expensive. For the price of "X Plane" ($69 plus shipping) I was expecting the full boxed version. No wrong !!! 8 DVD's in paper packets was all that arrived. Not very professional.
As you would expect installation did take a long time, although you don't have to load all the DVD's at one time. They are broken up into scenery areas around the world, so you can pick and choose what you install. Altogether it is boarding on 60gbs for the full install.
Once I had it all loaded, I was full of expectations about this Worldwide Photographic Scenery, but I should have guessed disappointment was just around the corner. It turns out it is not proper Photographic Scenery at all, it is Generic Photographic Scenery thrown together in a patchwork to look pretty. You will be able to recognise absolutely nothing.
Just checking out areas that I know, they are RUBBISH. San Francisco for example: Even I know as a resident of the UK that the Golden Gate Bridge has two major "H" towers with the suspension bridge hung between. According to "X Plane" there are four towers, and it is not RED it is BLACK. The island of Alcatraz has no prison on it. I could go on and on. Seems the authors cannot even get their own country correct, so what hope have the rest of us ?? Answer NONE. As far as I can see nothing anywhere in the world is correct or even close to it. What a waste.
I was also dismayed to find out there were NO extra aircraft with the RETAIL version than were in the DEMO.
All in all, what do you get for your money ? nothing other than a world of RUBBISH scenery. Oh, yes I nearly forgot, you can use your joystick for more than 6 minutes without it cutting out as it does in the DEMO, but even that doesn't count as there is a freely available crack on the Net that gets around that limit.
To sum up, "X Plane" has some very nice features and can be a pleasure to fly, but it still needs a pretty powerful PC to run it. Tests have been done since my last post and it does not run well on anything less than a 3ghs PC. The aircraft are very hit and miss. Some are good, most are not, and those that are tend to be payware. What they really need is some decent developers working on it for scenery and aircraft.
It has great potential, but in my opinion has not really come of age yet, so don't trash your MS FS quite yet. The good thing however is it will run on Linux and MAC as well as PC.
By all means test it for yourselves, download the demo and the crack and you can have some fun, that way you can see for yourself exactly what I mean.
" Still no FSX patch for DirectX 10 "
I am disgusted to say there is still no patch for FSX so we can use it with Vista and DirectX 10. I also read during the week there is another significant problem with FSX which is going to require a patch.
I said back at the time of release "the product wasn't finished" and how right I was.
Hopefully we will have some good news to report some time this year, but don't hold your collective breath. :-((
OK that is about is for this week. Have a good one.
3rd February 2007
" Alternative Operating Systems ? "
With the advent of Windows Vista and all the testing that I have been doing with it, I started wondering if there was anything to the various claims made about LINUX as an alternative Operating System.
Well my findings were interesting to say the least, but don't trash Windows quite yet.
I started off using the latest release of a version of Linux called "Ubuntu" which can been downloaded and burnt to a CD. Furthermore the whole operating system and programs can be run from the CD without making any changes or additions to your hard drive. This is extremely useful in itself and it is also FREE.
The FREE CD package is quite amazing. not only do you get the operating system, but also a full version of "Open Office" (Like Windows Office) plus Graphics packages, Email, Web Browser, Games and more besides, and all on the one CD. The packages are not rubbish either. To give an example the Word Processor package is very like "MS Word 2003" and easy to use and very powerful.
If you want to download "Ubuntu" just do a search on the net for it, and you will find it :-)
To give you and example of a use for it. If you need to go and visit someone, do some work on their PC, and you don't know what packages they have to work with, this is a very useful thing to have in your bag. You can even save your files to a "Flash Drive" and take them away with you if necessary, and it doesn't affect their PC at all.
So after this, I decided to install it onto a spare hard drive, which does boot faster, and then do some more investigations about what was possible.
" Customising Ubuntu "
Customising "Ubuntu" and probably any Linux system is not easy. Anything is possible, but it is extremely difficult. Much of what has to be done to modify Linux, has to be done from the "Command Prompt" and this is a big step backwards to DOS days, which is not somewhere we really want to go. Even installing Nvidia Display drivers was a "Nightmare from Hell". I nearly "lost the will to live" in the process.
" Online Help "
There is an online IRC (Forum) to help people with over 800 users online at any one time. But this is a joke when it comes to getting help. The idiots really are running the asylum. Even the so called "Moderator" is a complete "Whally", who seems more interested in trying to instruct you on how to ask a question than being of any useful help. Lets face it guys, I have been around the block a few times and know how to ask a technical question, not to mention answer them. Eventually I just gave up on them as they are worse than useless.
Anyway drivers installed and it customised to my requirements, I went about investigating which software was available. Basically all software is bespoke to Linux, but there are Linux versions of most things available and most of which are completely FREE.
" Windows Programs on Linux "
I also heard during my investigations, that it was possible to run Windows programmes on Linux using a special piece of (FREE) software called "WINE"(WINdows Emulator). Well I have to say WINE is very clever and creates a Windows Virtual drive where the Windows programmes are stored and run from. Not to go into to much detail, WINE converts the Windows DLL files "on the fly" to Linux instructions sets so they can run. This all sounds far to good to be true, and I have to say it is :-(
Using WINE, you can certainly run a great number of Windows programmes pretty well perfectly, but certainly not all. But to answer the question that is in all of your minds, Can you run FS ??? Sadly NO, well at least I have to say so far I have been unable to do so, after many hours of trying. Even the information on the Web seems to confirm my findings. But if you know better I will be glad to hear from you.
" Alternative Simulators "
This lead me the start looking at the other FS packages to see whether they were possible on Linux. "FlightGear" was the first that came up, which is again FREE. The Windows version installed under WINE and worked, but the Linux version I could not get to work. I have to admit I didn't try for more than a few hours, because when I tested "FlightGear" on Windows, it was RUBBISH compared with MSFS.
Next came "X-Plane", which I have to admit I have never looked at before. This again installed perfectly in Windows, and runs well. To be honest it is very impressive, be it somewhat different from FS9. But the frame rates are exceptionally good and the graphics and realism is impressive. I will give it more time over the next few weeks. (This however is NOT free).
Installation of the proper version of "X-Plane" into Linux again turned out to be another major problem and one I have still not solved. :-(
Another thing that seems to be a problem with Linux is hardware manufacturers such as Logitech do not make drivers for Digital Joysticks for Linux and therefore there is no support for them.
" Conclusion "
In conclusion, I think that Linux is a complete "non-starter" for any of us that love FS, but maybe worth a look for other purposes.
I do however have a "Top Tip". If someone is buying a new computer or just recycling and old one, that just wants to do the "normal" things with it, like accessing the internet, email, create or modify office type files, handle graphics and all that stuff, then Linux and in particular the "Ubuntu" version is a very cheap (FREE) way of having a load of powerful packages for nothing. Even the Internet Security and Anti Virus packages are free. This is what I call a "real result".
" No FSX patch yet !! "
It will come as not surprise to anyone that MS have stitched us all up again, and still haven't released a patch for FSX so it can run DirectX 10 and we can have all those wonderful features we were promised with FSX.
Far be it for me to stir the pot, but it is about time that the FS community started to exercise some "People Power" and make their voices heard. We put up the money and it is about time they put up what we paid for. Over to you.
OK folks, have a good weekend.
30th January 2007
" Vista Launched "
Well Windows Vista has been available for a few hours now, and a great wave of apathy has washed over every one.
To give Nvidia their due, the Vista drivers for the 8800 graphics cards were released within a few hours and seem to work, with both Full Screen and Windowed mode working correctly in FSX. There isn't however any increase in frame rates. In fact just based on my "Gut feel" I would say it stutters more, and is more jerky.
Microsoft have "played the blinder" I had expected and have not released the upgrade to FSX today, to enable us to use DirectX 10 in Vista. Considering FSX was being "trumpeted" for this feature, in my view the whole situation stinks. So the wait continues to find out exactly what FSX is capable of in Vista.
So I ask yourself this question. Does FSX do what it says on the box ?? You answer for yourself, but I know what I think.
" Good News ?? "
I have to say it would be nice to be able to report some good news on this page for a change. It seems there has been nothing but "doom and gloom" recently. But sadly I have noting for you along that line at the moment.
" Minor Glitches "
I can report a couple of minor glitches with FSX in Vista :-
1. When you minimize FSX when in "Full Screen Mode" it is a heck of a job to get it back up again. Don't ask me why, it just doesn't want to come up again. Sometimes restarting FSX is the only cure. Not good if you are in a long flight.
2. In FSX the Vista Cursor turns BLACK, which makes it impossible to find either at night or on a dark panel. A completely new game, Find the Cursor :-))
These are both minor annoyances, but worth mentioning.
That's about it for now. More in due course.
28th January 2007
" Update "
Further investigations with FSX and Vista, convinced me that FSX was not using DirectX 10 although it is part of Vista and we were strongly lead to believe that FSX was DirectX 10 ready. So now we know why no performance increase or improved graphics.
Further investigations on the net, came up with less than obvious post from MS that a "patch" will be necessary for FSX to take advantage of the new DirectX 10 features when they are available.
See the bottom of this page :-
When we can expect to see this "patch" is anybodies guess, but rest assured I will be onto it as soon as it is available and give you a full report.
You can draw you own conclusions from the information that is starting to creep out, but I know what I think. Keep you money in your pockets
More in due course.
27th January 2007
" Nvidia's Drivers "
After chasing several "red herrings" to find Vista Nvidia Drivers for the 8800 GTX video card, I finally managed to find them (version 100.30) and get them installed. It is still a mystery to me, why we are not allowed to have them even in Beta form. I even heard rumours that one website had been threatened with legal action from MS and Nvidia if they didn't remove a link to some drivers. Come on guys has somebody been giving out stupidity pills ??
Apparently Windows Vista hits the street on Tuesday and one assumes that the proper drivers will be released by then. But maybe you shouldn't hold your breath.
As you all know I have been a strong supporter of MS and Nvidia over the years, but the "wheels seem to have come off" recently.
Now the drivers are installed I am able to run Windows Vista in the proper resolutions and fire up FSX on the new system. At last !!!!
In full screen mode, FSX works fine. There appears to be little or no difference in appearance between FSX in Windows XP and FSX in Windows Vista. I am yet to see whether some of the effects are better with DirectX 10, but my first reaction is there no improvement in "effects". More to follow on this subject later.
A couple of things do jump out immediately. Firstly there appears to be no support for older "Joysticks" that use the MIDI port on a sound card. The problem here appears to be that Vista doesn't support MIDI ports anymore, which I do find very strange, maybe I have it wrong, but more investigation will be done. Secondly, the Nvidia drivers do not work in "Windowed Mode" and even the aircraft selection screen is corrupt. However to be fair these are not "release" drivers so I hope that will be fixed.
" Vista and XP perform the same "
Comprehensive tests prove there is absolutely no difference in frame rates between FSX running in Vista and FSX running in XP. They perform exactly the same on the same machine. Interesting; so much for all the hype. Obviously new drivers might make improvements, but don't bank on it.
So far I think there are a number of issues with Vista that need to be looked at more carefully. It basically seems a good operating system, but it is very difficult to engineer. So many folders have moved and had their names changed, that you will find you waste hours trying to do the simplest of tasks that would have taken seconds in XP. You will be nagged to death, with security warnings and denied access to things when you are "the administrator" ?? Go figure that !!!
I have to say my advice to you, is not to be the first in the line on Tuesday morning to part with your money and then stick it on your main FS machine hoping everything is going to work and you are going to get increased performance, because disappointment is going to hit you squarely in the face. If you have a second machine or a "Caddy Drive System" then load it on another machine or hard drive and play with it first, if you must.
The money you would spend on Vista, would be better being spent on better hardware.
I will post more information as I play more and come up with more findings, but don't expect any radical changes.
" RCS FSX Packages "
Despite me unexpectedly being in hospital last week with kidney stones, which was completely unrelated to other problems, I am now well again and did manage to get some work done on the B-25J for FSX. We now have a full working set of gauges that perform in FSX :-)) Most of the programming issues has been resolved and things are moving forward well. We still have a few problems to fix, but I think I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel :-) It has certainly been a long slog so far.
" General "
I was gratified to read reports during the week to confirm my findings about the differences in performance between Intel and AMD. Intel certainly came out on top, and by a good margin.
I am hoping over the next week to do much more evaluation of Vista and FSX, to be able to give your some more solid facts about the benefits, problems, pitfalls and performance differences if any, so bear with me.
If you are intending to go for Vista, DO NOT "burn your boats", because you might be running backwards fairly quickly. You have been warned.
OK, have a good week.
11th January 2007
" Nvidia's Own Goal "
I have been in the IT business for a very long time and thought I had seen and heard it all by now, but yesterday I was stunned to silence again.
Nvidia have been plugging their flagship 8800 GTX video card for months now as the "best thing since sliced bread", saying it is the first and best DirectX 10 video card. So in the interests of keeping you folks up to date with all things FS, I thought I would do a load of tests with Windows Vista and FSX on the new "all singing and dancing" machine with the 8800 GTX video card.
Well everything went smoothly until I discover that Vista does not have drivers for the Nvidia 8800 GTX. Not a problem I thinks as we are used to having to download the latest drivers from product manufacturers. Now you will understand my horror when I find that Nvidia have not released any 8800 drivers for Vista the operating system it was designed to be used with ???? Not even Beta Versions !!!
Words fail me. How stupid can they be ??? Don't answer that !!
According to the pundits, it is not because they don't have them, because apparently they do. They just choose not to let us have them. Not even people that do product testing and are supposed to be promoting their products.
What an own goal !!!
is awarded the RCS Panels
"Platinum Award for Gross Stupidity"
So folks I'm afraid you are going to have to wait for your test results until Nvidia deem us worthy to be given the drivers for the video card we have paid out huge amounts of money to buy over a month ago.
" Even more stupidity "
Whilst on the subject of stupidity, it came to my ears this week, it seems that one of our FS add-on software suppliers are worthy of a mention.
Apparently, if you buy PMDG's 747, and maybe other of their packages, and have chosen NOT to have your FS computer connected to the internet (which quite a number of us do for safety reasons) you cannot activate the package. Apparently you don't find this out until after you have paid your money. But, and this is the crunch, there is no means of activating it in any other way, so you are "stuffed". So will PMDG give people their money back ? Apparently not.
You have been warned
As this information is not from my personal experience, I will happily remove this post if what I have been told proves to be wrong, but I fear it is correct.
" General "
I must admit it would be nice to have some good news to report for a change. So far this year it has been all "doom and gloom", but perhaps things can only look up, and get better. :-)
I am encouraged to learn that slowly I am not the only one that seems to see the truth about FSX. It seems the large majority of flight simmers and developers are giving it a miss, at least for the time being. Which I must say, in my opinion is a wise move. But I say again, it will be good when we have the hardware to run it.
We are still developing FSX versions of our software, but the urgency has certainly gone out of it, with so few people using FSX.
Thanks to everyone that has emailed me in the past week. You have been very kind and it is really appreciated. Just to clear a possible misunderstanding. My current medical problems have nothing to do with diabetes. This is a serious kidney problem.
"Have fun week "
OK, that is about it for now. I hope to have more information for you as soon as I have some drivers or anything else to report.
Have a great week.
4th January 2007
" Not a good start "
I am very sorry to say the year has not started off well. A major health issue has resurfaced and is going to require drastic action to deal with it. I am not being secretive, but this is not the place to go into any details.
Many people have already sent very supportive emails, for which I am extremely grateful. It is at these difficult times when your friends are so important. So THANK YOU.
As much as possible I will try to continue "business as usual".
" FSX "
Nothing has changed on the FSX front. I have had a very large amount of emails saying how people confirm my findings and thanking me for "telling it the way it is". This does make me wonder, who is driving the hype ?
We continue to work on updating the current packages for FSX, and i will let you know when release dates are available. It is a massive amount of work and I do wonder if it is worth the effort. What I am sure of, is there is no urgency because we really don't have the hardware available yet.
OK, that is about it for now. I hope you have a good 2007.
24th December 2006
" New FSX PC Update "
Since my last posting on this page, I have done much more testing with the new machine and have now changed to 800 memory from the 667 that was initially installed. This change only gave an increase of between 1 and 2 fps. But when every extra little bit helps it was worth the change. I used Kingston HyperX 800 memory.
There is little doubt in my mind now, that the "Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme" is a much more capable CPU with FSX than I have originally thought. It is difficult to be precise across the board, but I would say in FSX frame rate terms, you are looking at an increase of between 10% to 20%, which is a lot. This really makes that massive increase in price for the "Extreme" processor worth the money. Lets face it, we are spending a lot of money here, so is it worth skimping ?? It is you decision obviously, but I thought it was worth giving you my thoughts.
" The holiday is here :-) "
So enough of the technical stuff for now, as the
holiday season is here :-)
Can I thank the huge number of people that have sent me Christmas emails. I am totally overrun :-) I had hoped to answer you all before I broke off, but there are so many I am not going to be able to do that. So many thanks everyone, I will answer in due coarse. Please be patient :-)
Can I thank everyone for being wonderfully supportive, during what has been a difficult year for me. Because of you, this year has also had some magically good moments. :-)
Happy New Year 2007
Roy on behalf of the whole team
13th December 2006
" FSX and a new PC "
There is Good News and Bad News. The "good news" is, I have finished my research into the hardware that is necessary to run FSX properly. The "bad news" is as I feared, it is currently impossible to build a PC that can run FSX to its full potential, where you can "Max Out" all the settings and still get over 20 fps at "low level" in a scenery intensive area like Seattle.
You can however build a machine that can run FSX well, as long as you have realistic expectations, are prepared to accept compromises and spend a shed-load of money. Over the past few weeks a lot of time and effort has gone into testing the various options. My starting point was my own existing P4 3Ghz HT system with 2gbs of DDR RAM and an Nvidia 6600 256mb video card, which was clearly not up to the task. It would run FSX but with many options turned down or off. Really a "Non-starter" !!!
So what did we end up with ?
In a few words, the fastest PC than can be built with parts that are currently available to the public, and at a cost that really will make most peoples eyes water. I will start with the specification and then explain the reasons and options if there are any.
Video Card - Asus EN8800GTX 768mb DDR3
Processor - Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme X8600
Motherboard - Foxconn 975X7AB
RAM - 4Gbs of Kingston KVR667D2N5/1G (fitted) 800 on order
Power Supply - Hyper Power - HPU-4M730-SK (730 Watt)
Hard Drive/s - SATA2 7500rpm 500Gb
DVD Drive - Sony Dual Layer DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW and DVD-RAM
Operating System - Windows XP Pro
All the major components in the PC have an effect on the overall performance but the graphics card is probably the most important. There really is only one option when it comes to a graphics card, the new "Nvidia 8800 GTX". Nothing else performs like it with FSX, and in my opinion nothing else is good enough.
This version of FS is all about the visual experience, so don't skimp or try to save money in this area. It is a beast of a card, being pretty long, taking two slots and being very heavy. There is 768mbs of DDR3 RAM onboard and FSX needs every bit of it. This is an expensive card and prices vary considerably, but currently there is nothing to pick between the names on them, as they are pretty well all the same. As long as it is the 8800 GTX, just get the best price you can. In the UK £450 is a good guide.
You can in theory "SLI" three of these graphics cards together, for better performance, but at the price they are, I fear this is not an option. Apart from having a space issue not only on the motherbaord but also in the case. Cooling of the top one or two cards would be a major problem.
While on the subject of this brilliant graphics card, removing it once installed can be difficult. As on most AGP or PCI Express motherboards there is a locking catch at the end of the slot to stop the card falling out, which is very necessary with this "lump". Great idea, but with such a large card the release catch is hidden under the double width card and impossible to get at with your fingers when the card is in place. My advice is attach something like a piece of cord to the release catch so it comes out beyond the card so you can pull it to release the catch if you need to. (just a helpful tip)
The main processor is also an important item and we boiled it down to one of two. My recommendation is the top of the range Intel Core 2 Duo Extreme X8600. This is currently the fastest processor money can buy. More about the alternative later.
Very few people give enough consideration to the motherboard, and tend to treat is like “the table” that you put everything on, but if you want performance then getting the right one is vital. I deliberately went for a Foxconn 975X7AB because all tests indicate this is the best option. Foxconn has been making components for motherboards for years, but have only relatively recently got into making the whole thing. Well the results are fabulous. If you have problems finding one my supplier listed at the bottom of this report will be happy to sell you one. Alternatively if you cannot find one ,I would recommend an Intel board.
When it comes to RAM I suggest you need 4gbs of the best and fastest you can get. DDR3 800 is perfect, but my test machine only has DDR3 667 at the moment, as I am waiting for the 800 to arrive. Our tests have shown that slower memory really "chokes down" the overall performance of the machine. 533 memory does not perform well, 667 is good, but 800 is better.
The power supply is a very important component in this machine. The graphics card takes a lot of power and even the processor is fairly hungry. I would suggest a good quality 650 Watt PSU is fine but should be considered the MINIMUM you should use. Personally I went for a 730 Watt unit.
Now we come to Hard Drives. These have to be SATA2 7500 or 10000 rpm drives. But be sure you set the jumpers so that they perform in SATA2 mode. Personally I went for 7500 rpm as I feel they run cooler and are currently more reliable.
The DVD drive is up to you. I would recommend a recognised name that gives you Dual layer, and all three formats DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW and DVD RAM.
When it comes to operating system you are limited to Windows XP at the moment.
This system will give you good performance with FSX but you need to set the sliders and options carefully.
The system I just laid out costs approximately £2,500 sterling, which does not include a monitor, keyboard, mouse or joystick etc. In other words just the box. That to me is expensive to use a package that costs less than £100. But we are all enthusiasts so we pay the price !!!
If money is an important consideration, then there are a couple of things you could cut down with only a relatively small drop in performance. Firstly you could go for the Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 processor, which is only slightly slower, but saves you quite a lot of money. Lastly you could go for 667 memory rather than the 800, but that really only saves you a small amount. A word of warning, however tempting as it is to change other things in my list for alternatives, you would be wise not to do so, because you will pay the price in lower performance. You have been warned !!!
So what performance can you expect from the system above? Well much rubbish is spoken about frame rates with people quoting silly numbers with no details of the environment that they are flying in. It seems that “bragging rights” are a bit like men talking about the size of their manhood; Not to be believed. We can all get 50 fps on an average machine at 40,000 feet where there is no scenery, but that means nothing.
So what is a realistic test ?
Sitting on the end of the Runway at Seattle – Tacoma Int. facing Seattle City in the default Cessna showing the 3D cockpit is a good test. I would expect between 20 – 25 fps with the settings I will detail below.
I would also expect the fps to increase as you turn away from Seattle to the west, south and then east, in level flight at 2,000 feet.
Firstly you need to set 4092 mbs of “Permanent Virtual Memory” in Windows – Control Panel -System on your fastest hard drive.
The easiest way for me to give you the settings is for me to show you the screen shots below. Pay particular reference to the Autogen Scenery, which is turned off (This feature is one of the main killers of good frame rates). Personally I hate Autogen as it looks so fake and unrealistic, but that is just me and my artistic eye. Next note the settings for other traffic, aircraft, boats, cars, animals etc. These are another great killer of frame rates. These two items are the last thing you should start increasing to gradually bring your frame rates down to a constant approx 25 fps. Why 25 ? because that is the fastest the human eye can see. Any more is a total waste.
In my opinion you should also set the “max frame rate” to “Unlimited” as it appears from my tests that holding it down reduces the overall frame rates rather than increasing them. This does not seem correct, but it is true, and I know others have found the same.
Summary and Conclusions
To sum up, if you take my advice exactly as it is laid out, you will end up with a PC that will run FSX nicely, be it not to its full potential, but this is the best we can do at the moment.
Personally I think it is poor that Microsoft have yet again put out a product that requires hardware that is not yet available and unlikely to be for some time. I would love to know for sure what FSX was demonstrated on, but I have my strong suspicions that is was not a PC or at least one that is available to the public.
MS always say they like to build their new products to take into consideration the advances in hardware to come in the future, but this time I fear they have gone way to far into the future, making this product “unfit for purpose” well at least for most users and the foreseeable future. In two years time, when the hardware has caught up and another version is about to be released, it will be good.
So the choice is yours, you can either spend a huge amount of money now and have a machine that will run it reasonably well, or save your money until things get better and cheaper. What is for certain from my tests, is it is pointless and a total waste of money to try and upgrade an existing machine, because it will not “cut the mustard” no matter what you do.
As a final word, I will just say that I am happy with the machine I have finally built and I am sure it will serve me well, but I am eternally grateful that I had the facilities to test and evaluate before I had to spend my money,
As usual I want to thank my supplier SRS Microsystems here in Watford www.srsmicrosystems.co.uk for their cooperation during these tests. If you want good service then they are worth giving them serious consideration.
OK time to have some fun with the new system.
Have a good one J
HALL OF SHAME
Bruce Fitzgerald has been added to the "Hall of Shame" for publishing a "hacked" version of our B-25J RAF, claiming it works with FSX.
He has neither asked for or been granted permission to steal or modify any of our packages and never will be. He has broken International Copyright Law and the strongest action is being taken against him.
Just for your information, his so called FSX version of our B-25J RAF package is total rubbish. When we have a proper working version you will be the first to know.
23rd November 2006
" FSX "
As days go by I learn more and more about FSX, and get more feedback from you all. However nothing so far has changed my initial thoughts.
I have read many suggestions on how to speed up the frame rate, but none of them work better than what I have already mentioned in previous postings on this page.
You will however find a patch on the MS FSX website to correct a problem with third party add-on scenery, where large blue or black areas show up.
On a different subject, we are currently working on building a machine that is capable of running FSX properly, but as was initially feared this is NOT going to be an easy or cheap option. When I have the final specification tested, I will post my recommendations on this page. But brace yourselves for a shock.
"Just Flight VFR London scenery"
Because of the hopelessness of the default London scenery in FSX, I purchased the "Just Flight VFR London Scenery". I downloaded the 1 Gb file and installed it with great hope having used their VFR scenery for FS9. Well more disappointment was just around the corner :-(
Although it is marginally better than the default scenery, and does not have a river Thames that looks like a string of sausages, it is pretty lousy. They haven't even bothered to balance the colours of the original images so the various areas of London look like they are on the same planet. Central London is a muddy brown (but acceptable) and then suddenly north London is a hideous bright green, and so on. I know I am an artist, and notice such things, but come on guys this is dreadful.
London and the whole surrounding area looks flat, and there are virtually no buildings. Even the original default buildings, as incorrect and thin on the ground as they were, have now gone.
Lastly the resolution of the scenery is very poor if compared with what we are used to in FS or on Google Earth.
The only good thing I can say about it is it has little effect on frame rates, but I guess that is not surprising owing to its lack of quality.
In my opinion, this is a very poor product that has been thrown together with little care or attention in a cynical attempt to remove more of your hard earned money from your pockets. Well I have spent mine, but as a result I can save you wasting yours. Take my advice, give this one a miss.
" Product Updates "
In the past few weeks very good progress has been made on the conversion of our FS9 products. The B-25J is now in Beta form with a full set of gauges. There are still quite a number of problems to solve and things to be done, but we are getting there. Unfortunately every day reveals more stupid and unnecessary changes MS have made to the systems, but we will overcome as we always do. It is however still to early to say exactly when the new versions will be ready.
"Annual Wildlife Art Exhibition "
As many of you will know, my annual Wildlife Art exhibition opens in two days time, so things have been very busy around here recently. The show looks great and is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
OK, that is about it for now.
Have a good one.
23rd October 2006
" FSX - Your feedback "
In the past two weeks I have received a steady stream of emails from readers around the world confirming my findings on FSX. All had their own reasons for having spent their money and lived to regret it. Some had "rocket powered" machines, well they thought they had, and some just couldn't believe I could be right, as I was flying in the face of most of the so called "reviewers". Well now they know, and I must credit you all for having the "balls" to put your hands up.
" Tips "
As promised, work has and is continuing with FSX, and I do have a couple of tips for you.
It seems the most effective way of increasing the frames rates is to "TURN OFF" Autogen scenery.
Alternatively, if would just want to turn the Autogen Scenery down rather than off, you only have two alternatives in the menu. However if you edit the "FSX.cfg" file with a text editor, you can make infinite adjustments. Look for [terrain] section and either add or adjust the settings. "Turn down" in this example :-
The maximum setting is 6000
" FSX Features "
There are many new features in FSX (if your machine is capable), but one really did catch my attention. That being the "Red Bull Air Racing" mission, which as you would expect can be found in the "Missions" section.
This is huge fun and nearly justifies buying FSX on its own. You have to fly an Extra 300 around a course of gates in a "Time Trial". Well I thought I could fly a bit before I tried that :-) Well all I can say is, it is a good job it is virtual flying because if not, I would be dead a few times over :-(
The mission is not that heavy on frame rates, and with my current "realistic" settings for my machine, it works very well. This is just as well because slow frame rates would be a killer (excuse the pun) flying at that speed so close to the ground.
" Programming work "
Work has continued at a pace over the past two weeks, and I have made a good dent in the reprogramming work necessary to convert the B-25J for FSX. This is the first time the new updated coding systems have been used on real complex gauges for FSX, but all is going well, be it slowly. We now have a new internal security and time locking system that works perfectly :-)
We have also now solved many of the programming problems caused by the changes that MS have introduced into FSX, but each day and every new gauge turns up more changes that cause strange things to happen. Therefore to give any sort of date for the completion of the conversion work is impossible at this stage. Sorry you will just have to bare with me :-)
" Real work "
For the next week, I am completely tied up with my real work as an artist. I am performing in public at a show which means no FS work or emails will be dealt with for at least a week. So again, please bare with me.
" Video Cards "
I am reliably informed that during November nVidia are releasing a new series of video cards to take advantage of DirectX 10, called the "8000" series. So the advice is, do not buy a new video card until they are available.
"FS Weekend in the Netherlands"
My good friends in the Netherlands have another of their wonderful FS Weekends on 4th and 5th November at the Aviodrome museum.
This is not a commercial Flightsim event, and the visitors pay only the normal entrance fee for the Aviodrome museum. The weekend show, which is bigger than ever, is made by Fligtsimmers for Flightsimmers, with a wonderful friendly atmosphere.
You can get more information from :- www.FSweekend.com
That is about is for now. Have a good one :-)
" FSX - Can you afford it ? "
Many readers of this page have asked me to give my initial thoughts on FSX to help them make a judgement as to whether to make the jump or not.
As you know, the one thing you get from me on this page is "no nonsense", honest opinions based on my own tests, with no "spin". Well with that in mind I have put together a fairly lengthy article that should help you make a balanced decision as to whether go want to go down the FSX route yet.
My advice to you, is read this article in full before you make your decision, even if you think you already know your answer. The article also includes a few tips you are likely to need if you do use FSX.
" Other News "
Work is continuing here at a pace converting our old packages to work with FSX because none of them currently do. This is neither an easy or quick task, but we are making good and steady progress. It is my aim to overcome the various problems and have working products as soon as possible. But don't hold your breath :-)
We are also working on many other issues for and with other developers to do with FSX. (This will make more sense when you have read my FSX article).
We have already completed an FSX project for another developer so they can launch their product at the same time.
As you know this time of year is busy for me, as I have my annual Wildlife Art show coming up at the end of November, but I am still managing to work on FS projects at the same time.
There are many unanswered questions at the moment, and each day brings us more knowledge as we pick through the bones. But be assured as we find problems, solutions, tips and workarounds we will bring them to you on this page.
OK time to get back to work.
Have a great week.
15th September 2006
" Back to work !! "
Here we are, back from what can only be described as a "Fantastic" holiday. Four weeks at my hideaway in the South of France was really what the doctor ordered. This year I am delighted to say there were no difficulties, like being shot at (unlike last year).
The drive down in my Jaguar was really good, and much more pleasurable than driving in England. I don't think the drivers have improved, but perhaps I am just getting more used to them. The weather was fantastic the whole time, with wall to wall sunshine.
I started off spending a few days with my good friend Tony D'Ambrosio, not only having fun, but also spending some time working on programming problems that needed to be solved to give us compatibility with FSX. I am pleased to say that we made excellent progress, and now just have to do massive amounts of the boring bits, like writing the new code to make our packages FSX compatible. All new versions of FS bring compatibility problems, especially with the more complex "add-ons" such as ours, and FSX is going to be no exception. Anyway, more about that at a later date.
This year the holiday was more necessary than normal after the earlier medical problems. By the time we drove down to the South of France, it was five weeks on from my operation and I was starting to feel back to my old self again. But four weeks of fantastic food, some fabulous wine, meeting up with old friends, and I am now fighting fit again :-) Add to that being surrounded by pretty girls, and what more could a man want ?? Well read on, there was more to come !!!
" An ambition achieved "
This year we did meet some wonderful new French people that made this years holiday very special. One of which filled one of my lifelong ambitions. Over the years I have driven many wonderful, powerful and fast cars, but never my "passion" a Ferrari. Well that changed, and how. I was admiring a beautiful red Ferrari 360 Spider F1 owned by a new acquaintance called Patrick, when he asked me if I would like to have a ride in it ?? Well that was a silly question, and it took me a whole microsecond to think about that :-)
Well the twenty minute drive, was an amazing experience. Patrick is a very talented driver and could really handle the car. We went round corners three times faster than I would have thought possible. The road holding was amazing the car was just glued to the road. The acceleration was mind blowing, not to mention its ability to stop. Anyway, a ride of a lifetime. <A very big grin>
Well what followed I don't think I still really believe, Patrick asked me if I would like to drive it ?? Is the Pope a catholic ?? Wow !!! Of course I would :-)) Mind you the thought of being in control of a £160,000 "red rocket", was somewhat daunting, but I suffered. :-)
Learning to drive it was somewhat more complicated than I expected, because of the F1 style "flappy paddle" gearbox. It took me a good twenty minutes to get the hang of it, and another twenty to start to use it properly. It is not just a case of blipping the paddles when you want to change gear. Once you do master the system it a a pure joy to use. The soundtrack from that engine and F1 exhaust system is pure music to the ears. Only the Merlin engine is that evocative to listen to. Sadly the experience was over only to quickly.
Patrick was "a star", to let me play with his pride and joy. He told me afterwards, that because I had enjoyed it so much, and I had only just got used to it enough by the end of the session to start pushing it, I could take it out for another session, to really have fun the following week. Well I have to tell you, that is the most fun I have ever had with my clothes on :-)) Absolutely fantastic :-)))
Patrick a HUGE THANK YOU.
That was only one of the experiences that made this holiday so special, but the rest are for me to know about and you to wonder about :-))
So now it is back to work.
" FSX "
As we all know, FSX is just around the corner, well at least in its 32 bit form. It is strongly rumoured that it will be released in October. The latest version I have seen and played with is pretty impressive, and a positive move forward, bringing new levels of sophistication and quality. This of course all comes at a cost. Middle of the road or lower end PC's will not be able to get the best out of it, and if you have such a machine, you will probably be best sticking to FS9 or what you are currently using, until you buy the new top of the range computer. But Christmas is coming :-)
Many of the more sophisticated third party add-ons are not going to work with it, and new versions will be required. This will be very sad when it comes to many much loved bits from developers that have long since left the hobby. If I was being cynical I would say this was driven by the commercial boys who just want you to buy their new products and not use the ones you already have or got for free. Our own packages are good examples of this. As they stand they will not work on FSX, but you never know our requests to MS on behalf of you the users, for backward compatibility, might be listened to for the release version. If not will will overcome as we always do.
" Windows Vista "
Since I have been back, I have also been testing the "Release Candidate 1" of Windows Vista (32 bit version) with FSX. This is now much more stable, and is starting to look possible, but crashes still happen and I am not convinced that Vista RC1 is even close to being as stable as XP. It is however early days, so watch this space.
" Painting to do "
As is normal for me at this time of year, it is time I got my head down and did some serious painting. Even I have to make a living. So the next few weeks will see me "thin on the ground". But while on holiday, I did come to the conclusion that I am going to do much more of what I enjoy from here on in, and less of the things that bring me grief :-)
" General "
So it is good to be back, and thanks to everyone that has been so supportive over the past few months.
The next few months hold much promise for all of us into FS, so I will try to keep this page up to date whenever there is something to report.
Have a good one :-)) Best wishes,
2th August 2006
" Holiday time is here again "
Well it seems the summer holiday season is here again, and I for one am off for my annual break. This year it is especially welcome after all the health issues. Apart from getting tired a little quicker than usual, I am delighted to say I am pretty well back to normal :-)
Worry not, I will not be slacking. This is the time when I do much of my thinking, "taking stock" and planning for the year to come, as I have no emails to interrupt me. There is certainly much to contemplate with FSX due out later this year, and the doubt around 'when or if' Windows Vista might hit the streets, and what impact that might have. As I understand it, officially the launch has been delayed until Jan 07, but rumours abound, which range from release in Jan 2007, to Jun 07, to Never. You pays your money and takes your choice !!!
As you know, I have a reputation for telling it the way it is. Well I received a "Press Promotional CD" for FSX which contains a video, and I have to say it is the worst advert for a product I have ever seen. The screenshots are good and impressive, but the video makes your skin crawl. It is absolutely awful. I swear it was put together by a ten year old. No hang on, that is an insult to ten year olds. Anyway the video is on a number of websites, so you make up you own minds.
From what I hear from the people that have seen FSX demos, at such places as Oshkosh, and the screenshots, it is going to be a great product, but don't judge it on the video.
The past three weeks have not been wasted while I have been recovering, as I have been getting my hand back in coding gauges. Some of which will appear in our future products, and others have been for other developers. Many people don't realise we do development work for other individuals and groups and always have.
Last week saw me do my first proper two days work since my illness. This was a "research photo shoot" with a very attractive young lady, who will be appearing in my next painting in the series of "Nude with Big Cats". It is a tough job guys, but someone has to do it :-))
On that pleasant thought, I will wish you all enjoyable holidays and get my packing done.
Have a good one :-)
20th July 2006
" Back at last :-) "
I am delighted to be back with you are last. :-)
Can I start off by thanking all the people that have sent supportive messages to me and my family during these difficult times, and for keeping the emails to a minimum.
" Health update and the future"
I am slowly recovering and getting back to normal, which is great news for me. I still get tired quickly but am getting stronger every day :-) Hopefully I am now finished with medical procedures until at least November.
So what has been happening in my
FSX is on the horizon, and if this new version is like the previous ones, there will be heaps of work to do to make current products compatible with it. But you never know we might get a pleasant surprise.
I do have a strong suspicion we will all be looking for new PC's which is the usual scenario for a new version of FS, especially this time when 64bit machines are likely to be needed to get the best out of things.
" Windows Vista "
I have done a few limited tests on Windows Vista Beta 2 (32 bit version). Graphically it is nice, with some very stylish features, but there are so many changes to the look and the way you use it, that it kills productivity. The 32bit Beta 2 versions is slower than XP, and by no means as stable. But my big gripe is the security features. Even as the "Administrator" with "Full" privileges, it "nags" you to death, with stupid screens and just refuses to let you do things. I am all for improving security on the operating system, but not to the point you want to throw the monitor out of the window in frustration. For my money, it would have to get a whole heap better before I would even buy it in 64bit form and I doubt I would ever want the 32bit version.
But testing it did throw up one helpful side effect. My trusty Nvidia GeForce FX 5700 256mb video card (my best ever FS card) was not up to the job of running Vista properly, so I started the hunt for a replacement.
" New Best Video card "
I tested a raft of new cards as is usual with me and have now come up with a very good replacement.
Sparkle Nvidia GeForce 6600 (AGP) 256MB DDR
Part number :- SPAG43DH/256MB
This card works well with FS9 giving a good all round performance. It is the first AGP card that I have found the is better than of old FX 5700, and the best bit is, if you can find one, they are relatively cheap. :-)
I can recommend a supplier if it helps :-
You will have contact them as the particular card is not advertised on their website.
" General "
So it is good to be back with you :-) I am told I have to take it easy for a while, which I will definitely do, at least until I go on my annual holiday, but I am now here and spending at least a little time at the PC.
Speak to you again soon.
Kindest regards and best wishes
8th July 2006
" Latest Update on Roy's health "
We are very pleased to report that Roy should be back with you soon. Since the last posting on this page a great deal of progress has been made, tests done and encouraging news received. During last week he had surgery on his liver and is recovering well, although under strict orders not to over tax himself, he is slowly trying to do more.
Later in the year he has to have further tests on his kidneys, but we are keeping our fingers crossed and praying for some more good news.
Can we thank you, for respecting our wish to keep emails to a minimum, that was and is very much appreciated.
Roy hopes to make the next post on this page personally, but in the meantime sends you all his very best wishes.
10th May 2006
" Sorry, No recent updates "
As you will have noticed this "News Page" has not been updated for some weeks, which has been due to Roy having been very ill.
He is now recovering well from the initial problems, but has to go through further investigations and treatments to try and prevent future problems.
All in all this means that Roy will be out of commission for some time, but hopes to return to the FS world as soon as possible.
Although we are sure many of you would like to email him, we would respectfully ask that emails are kept to a minimum for at least a couple of months. We will advise you on this page when things change.
30th March 2006
" The wait is over "
Finally after many delays RCS Panels is delighted to announce what we have been working on for so long.
The "Yellow Rose" B-25J
Some two years ago, I was approached by the Commemorative Air Force, to recreate and accurate rendition of the real "Yellow Rose" that is based in Texas, to help keep the real aircraft on the air show circuit. You will understand my initial reluctance, owing to previous experiences, but after much investigation and reassurances from the people involved, my team and I agreed.
As a result we have produced three versions of the "Yellow Rose" which is available on the same PAYWARE CD (one for FS2004, 2002, and CFS2). This package has very much built on our massively popular and ground breaking Freeware B-25J RAF.
Click on image to make larger
These packages are of the very high quality you have come to expect from us and the CD is presented in the same way, with a clear and easy to use interface, giving you easy access to the many other things included on the CD.
There are precise, well illustrated, and easy to understand manuals, with no waffle, to help you get the best out of the product.
For many reasons, it has been decided this product will be provided on CD ONLY and will not be available for download.
To find out more information and hopefully to order your copy of the CD click on this link :-
(Once you have reached the "home page" click on the "Flight Simulation Software" moving text)
This is a great package and Commemorative Air Force could really do with your support, so don't delay order your copy today.
(All monies go to the CAF B-25 Squadron. RCS Panels or any of its members get nothing, not even expenses. ONLY the CAF and you, benefit from this package)
" The future "
As you would expect the team are extremely tired after finishing what has been a very long project, but are extremely proud of the outcome. It contains a number of new features and developments.
Do not however be put off by the fact this is a PAYWARE product because it is extremely good value for money. We have also not lost sight of the fact that we are 'champions of FREEWARE', and will continue down that line. We have not gone commercial.
The guys at CAF have been very kind and helpful and speaking on behalf of my whole team I can say we were pleased to be able to do something to help them.
So are we now doing nothing ?? No, I don't think so, we are already working on new projects which you will hear about in the fullness of time.
" Windows 'Vista' Delayed "
Just in case you haven't heard, Windows 'Vista' has been delayed until the beginning of 2007. This apparently means that FSX will be launched as a 32bit programme, sometime before Christmas 2006 and then another version or upgrade will be released when 'Vista' hits the streets.
Personally, I will be delaying putting together a new FS PC until 'Vista" has arrived, and therefore will hold off making a decision about the 32bit version of FSX until I have seen it or at least read an awful lot more about it. As I understood it, the vast majority of the improvements and good stuff with FSX requires 64bit processing so it is difficult to see where the advantages will be over FS9 with 32bit.
As always I will comment when I have more information. At the moment there is just speculation flying about and I don't bother with that.
OK, that is about it for now. I very much hope you support our friends at CAF by ordering your CD and have a lot of pleasure from our latest work.
Catch you all again soon.
15th February 2006
" Urgent Message - Wayne Lloyd "
Wayne, you tried to contact me via my hotmail email account and your messages were deleted by the "junk mail filter".
Please contact me again at :- firstname.lastname@example.org
" General "
Yet another five weeks have slipped past, but to honest there hasn't really been anything much to report. Unlike some I could mention, I've never been one for bashing my gums for no reason.
The RCS Panels Team are still hard at work on "that package" we keep referring to, and we are now very close to releasing. The package is now complete in its three forms, been fully tested, and we are just working on the promotional material and documentation to go with it. So hopefully not much longer before we announce it.
On the hardware and software front things are pretty quiet. 64 bit is just around the corner and to be honest and I'm just keeping everything here running until that all happens in the autumn (fall for our US readers), when I will seriously "upgrade", I mean "replace" my FS system.
During the slacker moments of the past few weeks, I have produced a complete set of custom gauges for a new developer in FS, who is working on his first project. I have to say it was a pleasant change to be a "subcontractor", rather than running the project for a change. :-) It is also really nice to be able to help new people that are coming into our hobby. This was the way things used to be before all the unpleasantness was brought in by the "lower forms of life" that seem to crawl about the FS community these days.
Anyway, it is not for me to tell you about this new developer and his first project, but you should hear about that in due course from here and other places when it is released. Suffice to say, it was an enjoyable experience for me. Something of a "flashback" to the times when I used to quietly do development work for many of the top names in FS development.
Anyway enough of memory lane. That is about it for now.
Enjoy your flying.
6th January 2006
" Flight Simulator X is announced "
If you haven't heard the news already, the next new version of Flight Simulator has been announced by Microsoft, called "Flight Simulator X". There is a full report on the MS announcement posted on www.flightsim.com
As you will read, this new version will not be available until around Christmas 2006, but that is probably just as well as it seems we will all be needing to do some serious saving of money beforehand. Although it is claimed "FSX" should run on any system that will run FS9 properly, that is not going to satisfy many if any of us. Seems we will need a completely new "Top End Gaming PC's" with the new MS Operating System "Windows Vista", and "Flight Simulator X", which will add up to some serious cash. So I think you can start writing your 2006 Christmas list already. :-)
Although the MS announcement is short on specifics, there does seem to be a fair amount of "promise" for this new version, but lets wait and see over the next few months. At least we now know for certain there is a new version in development and the screenshots show what seems to be a major step forward with the scenery engine. I do have a good feeling about this version.
" General "
Things have been quiet recently on the hardware front. My personal view is most manufacturers are gearing up for the revolution that will take place when Microsoft launch the "Windows Vista" operating system around September 2006. Personally, I have not really updated my FS PC for quite a while now and will build a completely new one in the second half of 2006 to take advantage of all the new goodies that will coming out around then. We can all spend a huge amount of money on the latest and fastest of everything, but my advice for the time being, is if you don't have to, save your money for later in the year, when things look like they are going to become very exciting. :-)
We here are RCS Panels have been very quiet about what we are doing on the development front, and for the time being we will continue to do so, but the team is still working hard on the finishing touches to a project, that we hope to release in the next couple of months. We had hoped to have this out already, but deadlines always seem to slip.
So the year has started with some exciting news, and let us hope it continues in the same vein :-)
Have good one.
25th December 2005
Very Happy New Year
The RCS Panels Team
I want to thank the some 5,000 thousand people that have sent us festive greetings by email. Your kindness is overwhelming. :-)
So from all of us to all of you, have a wonderful Christmas and brilliant New Year.
Roy (on behalf of the whole team)
25th November 2005
" The work is finished and the show is open "
The painting is finished and the "Roy Chaffin Studios Annual Exhibition" opens in a few hours. 11.00am - 5.30pm 25th - 27th November 2005.
As promised you can have a sneak preview the finished painting of the "nude with tigers" on this page, by clicking on the link below.
The painting is titled "Tiger Dream", and is intended to be a "fantasy" painting. The whole image is packed with symbolism. A map of Germany, and India indicated by a damp patches in the sand, where the girl and the tigers come from. Her name is Chloe, and in her hand she has clasped a rock, which is placed on her home in Berlin. Each rock or group of rocks has a meaning. There is much more to this painting, but this is not the place to explain it. I will let you judge the painting for yourself, but I hope you like it.
If you would like to see the painting for real and you live in the UK and are within striking distance, then do pay us a visit during the weekend show.
Blackwood, 10 Nascot Wood Road, Watford, Herts, WD17 4RS. UK
More details can be obtained by clicking on this link.
Have a great weekend, and I look forward to seeing you here if you can make it.
11th November 2005
" Working hard "
Things have been quiet on this page for a few weeks now. I could give you a load of waffle, but I won't. I have been working on a new painting project of a "nude with two tigers" which pushed my skills to new levels and took all my waking hours. Painting tigers is my stocking trade, but pretty girls and all that smooth skin is another thing entirely. I have invented and developed a few new skills and I think the finished result is something pretty special, but you can judge for yourselves when the painting is officially unveiled at the end of this month, when I will post a photo on this page. It has absolutely nothing to do with FS, but you might like to see it, or even come and see it for real at my annual exhibition on 25th, 26th and 27th November. That is if you are within striking distance of the UK.
After that painting was finished, some weeks later than scheduled, I only had a couple of weeks to complete the other paintings for the show, so things have been and still are, a little on the hectic side. I have managed however to keep up to date with emails and give technical support to those who need it.
The team has not been lazing around in my absence, well I hope not :-), work has continued on a new project, although I am still unable to give you a release date. Hopefully before Christmas this year.
Sadly I haven't even had a chance to get my wheels off the ground for some weeks now, but I hope that will change during December. :-)
Well I guess I better get back to the paint brushes.
Have a great weekend.
28th September 2005
" Ducth FS Weekend Update "
The following information is published as supplied directly from our friends in the Netherlands :-
For all info www.FSweekend.com
If you are interested in participating then click below to download the "Invitation" and "Entry form".
21st September 2005
" Flight Simulation Weekend in the Netherlands "
If you want to have your eyes opened about what is possible with our hobby of Flight Simulation then you need to visit what is billed as "The world's biggest Flight Simulation Event" in the Netherlands on the weekend 5th and 6th November 2005. www.fsweekend.com/uk
This is basically a show organised by and for FS enthusiasts. Unlike most shows, this is NOT commercially oriented to screw as much money out of your pocket as possible. If you have been before you will know what I mean. Every year it gets bigger and better and this year is no exception.
So if you would either like to visit or take a space, visit the link above. This is a fantastic show and you will be made very welcome.
Have a great week.
18th September 2005
" Back at the helm "
I have just returned from three glorious weeks in the South of France which I must say I did enjoy, but it is also fair to say the holiday was "Eventful" !!!!
I will not bore you with the details, but just give you a taster for the 21 unfortunate incidents that occurred during the trip. It all started off when driving down through France on the first day. Stopping at Dijon for the night, after dinner walking down the main high street with my wife around 10pm, I was shot at with an air rifle. Although I was hit in the back of the neck, the impact was taken by the collar of my leather jacket, which is about eight thicknesses of leather at that point. So no harm was done. :-) This was followed by being hit squarely on the head by a fig falling off a tree while I was sitting in a restaurant having dinner the following day :-) During the remainder of the three weeks things happened at the rate of about one a day, with included, having both feet stamped on by pedestrians, in two separate incidents. I did spend a couple of days hopping around, with very swollen feet, but it takes more than that to stop me :-) It will come as no surprise that when I got home, I checked myself very carefully to try and find the target that was obviously on me. But it must have been done in invisible paint :-)
Nevertheless for all the above there were at least three fantastic events that more than made up for everything :-)
On top of the three fantastic events, the weather was superb, as was the food and wine. :-)
" Thanks "
I am very grateful to one of the readers of this page for the information on the whereabouts of my friend Jean-Pierre. As a result Jean-Pierre and I got together again with our wives and had a wonderful time in Monaco.
" Urgent Message "
While on the subject of emails, here is a message for Steve Wayne. Your email address is currently "Bouncing" all emails sent to you, from anywhere or anybody. Please get in contact.
" Two questions for my French readers "
I have a couple of questions for my French readers. I have driven in France on many occasions and absolutely love the road system, but why do the majority of French drivers constantly straddle the centre white line, especially when going around a corner ? This means you always meet oncoming traffic in the middle of the road, meaning both drivers have to swerve to avoid each other ?. Secondly, what is the fascination for "Tailgating" especially on the pay roads ? What I mean is the habit of sitting on your tail, about five feet from your rear bumper, with their indicator flashing along with flashing their headlights, on or just over the speed limit ?? If you move out of the outside lane, then they do not overtake you, and if you speed up they drop bank ? !!! Perhaps someone could explain these two strange habits :-)
" Useful advice "
A couple of days ago I had a long chat with my suppliers of PC parts, and the whole scene is very quiet at the moment. Even on the graphics card front there is little happening, other than AGP graphics cards are becoming very scarce in favour of PCI Express. This I find very worrying, as it now means if your graphics card dies, you are pretty well forced into changing your motherboard and probably memory as well. Somewhat of an expensive option !! Therefore I recommend that should you find good AGP graphics cards going cheap, it might be worth having a spare in stock. I will certainly be doing so.
" Now back to work "
Since my return, I have been clearing a number of PC problems for friends and people who's machinery I maintain, but hopefully that is now all done, as I must get some painting done for this years show.
OK, that is about it for now. I hope you have all had a good summer and are now looking forward to some serious flying.
Have a good one :-)
16th August 2005
" Urgent Message - for - Jean-Pierre Barthelemy "
I am desperately trying to contact my friends Jean-Pierre & Marie-Luise in the Monaco area who have recently moved. If by chance you read this message or a message gets to you, please telephone me either on the mobile number you have, or at our usual Hotel.
" General "
There is little to report on the FS side at the moment. Try as I might, to find something exciting, I have failed. But unlike some people, if I have nothing useful to say, I keep quiet :-)
Our latest project is still progressing well, in fact quite large steps forward have been achieved in the past four weeks.
My major enemy at the moment is time, or the lack of it. So many people and things are putting demands on my time at the moment. I guess it is better than being bored, but I have to say the opportunity would be welcome from time to time.
" Save your money "
I was asked the other day about a piece of software that claims to "enhance the performance" of your Windows XP PC especially when using FS. Well I am sure it will come as no surprise, when I tell you that the software does absolutely nothing to improve the performance of your machine that you cannot do by following the simple and completely FREE advise given on this website. It is one of the usual "con jobs" where you can try it for 30 days and then have to shell out your cash. Many people are convinced they see and improvement when there isn't one. Believe me, if your machine is set up properly, there is nothing to gain by using such software, and in fact a great deal to be lost.
The two major pieces of FREE advice are :-
1. Close down all unnecessary programs before running up FS (using something like "EndItAll" or "MSCONFIG").
2. Set a PERMANENT Virtually Memory setting of 2048 mbs (2 gigs) on your fastest hard drive.
One of my "pet hates", is where certain people collect a number of items or pieces of advice that are given away for free, repackage them and then charge unsuspecting punters for them. Get wise and save your money for the important things like quality hardware.
" Summer Holiday Season "
Well it appears the summer holiday season is well and truly upon us. I wish you all a very pleasant break if it yet to come and I hope you enjoyed yours if you have already had it.
Have a good one :-)
27th July 2005
" Windows Vista "
Microsoft has finally announced its next new operating system for the PC called "Windows Vista" (formally known as 'Longhorn'). This is due to hit the streets in 2006. Why they are calling it "Vista" seems to be unknown, but there are many theories.
I have to admit I haven't seen the Beta version and know little about it, other than what I have read, but apparently the biggest changes are with internet browsing and security. I will report more when I have more reliable information.
My personal view, although there are a few issues with Windows XP, it is the first really stable and reliable operating system we have had, and I will think long and hard before I move away from it. But who knows, "Windows Vista" might be stunning, and bring massive improvements. We will see.
" New Hardware "
I would like to report there were many new and exciting things on the PC hardware front, but to be honest, there is still absolutely nothing to tempt the money out of my pockets.
Most people these days are using flat panel monitors rather than the old CRT monitors, and I have to admit I would never go back to a CRT.
There is one tip here through. If you use a flat panel, and it has the facility for "Digital" input as well as or instead of "Analogue" input, then use it. The increase in picture quality using "Digital" input is quite dramatic.
Please do NOT email me with questions about whether your monitor is capable of digital input or how you tell the difference. Your instruction manual for the monitor will tell you, and your video card will have a "Digital" connector if it can give a digital output.
"FS Development work "
The team here are reaching the end of a project we have been working on for a very long time. This was one of those projects we have all had, which started off as a "quick job" :-) Yep you guessed it, everything took ten times longer than expected. Oh well, the end is now hopefully in sight. We will let you know what it is, when it is finished :-)
" Email Address "
Many of you might know already, we are running down the use of the old Hotmail email address (email@example.com) and replacing it with (firstname.lastname@example.org). The old Hotmail address will continue in use, but it will not be monitored as frequently or given the same priority as before. Therefore I suggest you change your address books accordingly.
OK I guess that is about it for now, which doesn't seem much for a month, but that is all there is. I hope you are all enjoying the summer, or for those of you in the south, I hope the winter is not to bad :-)
27th June 2005
" Long time, no update "
As you will have noticed, it has been a long time since this page has been updated, for which I apologise. I am sorry to say this has been due to illness, but I am delighted to say the "parties" that have been arranged to celebrate my demise, will have to be cancelled, because I am now back and fighting fit again :-)
I will not bore you with the details, but basically the diabetes got totally out of control, due to NO fault of mine :-(
To aid my recovery, I spent a very enjoyable couple of weeks in Switzerland/France and met up with my good friend Tony D'Ambrosio. Not only did we have a great time together, but we had the chance to talk about future developments in our FS work, so the time was not wasted.
I would like to thank the large number of people that sent me messages of concern and best wishes, during my absence. In this "money grabbing", "couldn't give a sh-- for anyone else" world of today, it is very heart warming to know there are still nice, honest, and caring people around. :-)
So again I am catching up with things and hope to be much higher profile from now on.
I think I have already answered all your outstanding emails.
" New hardware "
I have also done quite a lot of testing of new hardware, but to be honest there is little new to get really excited about so far. Well at least nothing to tempt the money out of my pockets. However watch this space.
There is however one thing I would mention for your consideration. More and more I am coming to the conclusion that it is sensible to fit at least a 500watt PSU (Power Supply Unit) to your PC. These days we are putting more and more into our boxes, like DVD Writers, more and bigger hard drives, and more fans to keep the whole lot cool. All of these consume power. Only last week, I had a machine in that had a totally trashed hard drive, because the PSU couldn't cope. Considering the minimal cost of a 500watt PSU (Around £25 / $40 max) it is not sensible not to do it. Just an idea for your to think about.
That is about it for now. Thanks for keeping the faith and returning to this website.
Have a great week.
16th Aoril 2005
" Finally finished !!"
After what has been a marathon event, I am delighted to say this years filming of the art teaching programmes is finished :-) The final editing has been completed and it is now all off to the duplication company, ready for release at the beginning of June 2005.
So, now I can start to focus back on all those things that have been ignored in the past few months, which includes FS.
It is going to take me a while to catch up with events, and get up to speed on what is new, but from what I hear, that isn't a lot.
During the time I have been away, I have tried to keep up with Technical Support emails, and have been pretty successful, but I have really appreciated the restraint shown by most people, in keeping the emails to a minimum. Thanks :-)
Anyway, I am going to catch a few days off.
Have a great weekend.
10th March 2005
" Vulcan To The Sky Part 2"
You can now watch "Part 2" of Jonathon Elliot's informative interviews recorded when he visited the Avro Vulcan restoration project.
5th March 2005
" Time slips past ! "
I'm afraid a few weeks seem to have slipped past since the last update on this news page. I have been working around the clock on my series of teaching TV/DVD/Video programmes on the subject of Art and this has prevented me from any sort of FS activity. Well that is beyond just keeping the team ticking over on current projects. Unfortunately I am on a very tight schedule, which is giving me absolutely no time for other activities. However I am keeping my eye of what is new in the video card and PC market and other things of interest, but there is little happening at the moment of any significance. All developments now seem to be down the "PCI Express" and "64 bit main processor" line, which will be the next area I will be looking at, but not for a while.
Be assured that I have NOT dropped out of the FS scene and am working behind the scenes, but this "art teaching project" is something I have been planning for about ten years. I want to get all my specialist knowledge recorded before it is to late and it is lost forever. So bare with me "I'll be back" :-)
Enjoy your flying.
28th January 2005
" Vulcan To The Sky "
If you have even a casual interest in the Avro Vulcan, which was one of the UK's "V" Bomber force, there is a fascinating programme on http://www.airsidetv.com that is well worth a look. If you haven't heard, there is a project underway to get an Avro Vulcan back into the air. Jonathon Elliot interviews Project Director Dr Robert Pleming about this huge undertaking. Not only is the interview very interesting, but there is also some wonderful footage of the aircraft, both on the ground and in the air. Do click on the link above and watch the interview.
" Video Cards "
Over the past few months I have been testing video cards to try and find a replacement for the trusty Nvidia Geforce FX 5700 256 DDR or the MSI Nvidia Geforce FX 5950 Ultra 256mb DDR. Well I am sad to report, that everything I have tried has fallen way short of the mark in performance terms. I think those two cards will remain the best for FS, until such time as we get well into PCI Express. I think however it will be a while before I personally go down that route.
" General "
There is little else to report at the moment. Work continues on our various projects. Since Christmas, I have spent a lot of my time doing all those jobs that never get done during the normal year. You know how it goes :-)
OK, have a great weekend, and enjoy your flying.
31st December 2004
" What a Fabulous Day Out "
On Monday last, I was lucky enough to spend the day at the Newark Air Museum, Nr. Nottingham, UK. What a wonderful place, with some of the most amazing aircraft, and displays. I was accompanied by my good friend Norman Hancock, and I have to say the staff at the museum made us extremely welcome.
Brian Withers with Avro Shackleton MR3/3 WR977
It was also great to meet up again with my fellow RCS Panel Team member and friend Brian Withers, who was in charge of the Avro Shackleton MR3/3 for the day. It is a long time since I crawled around one of those, in fact back in the days when I was in Aden in 1966, but what a trip down memory lane that was. My experience was all with the MK 2, but what an aeroplane in any form MK2 or MK3 :-)
Roy inside WR977 (Photo by Norman Hancock)
The version at the museum is a MR3/3 which has six engines. 4 Rolls Royce Griffin piston engines that drive the counter rotating props and two Viper jets in the rear of the outboard engine pods, for extra boost. This amazing aircraft had an endurance of around 24 hours without refuelling, which is quite remarkable.
WR977 is still fully fitted out, and gives you an amazing insight what it was like to be airborne and working in this aircraft for prolonged periods.
Brian was very generous, not only to me, but to all visitors, in sharing his considerable knowledge and experience of this wonderful aircraft. Not only did he have considerable experience on this aircraft type as a pilot, but had actually flown this particular one for some 200 hours.
The whole museum is extremely well done, and a very interesting place to visit. So much so that Norman and myself got completely "frozen to the marrow", on what must have been the coldest day of the year so far, added to which the wind chill factor made it cut right though you, and feel even colder. No matter Dinah and Sylvia our respective wives didn't complain for a moment, and kept us well supplied with hot drinks from the excellent and warm cafe that is onsite. Cold or not it was a brilliant day.
Norman Hancock with Avro Anson
I have included a few of the many photos taken during our visit, just to give you a flavour of the place, and some of the most unusual aircraft on display. Do yourself a favour, pay a visit to the museum if you can.
Details of the museum can be found by clicking on this link :
" Overwhelmed "
I have been totally overwhelmed by the many thousands of wonderful email/e-card greetings I have received this year. Wow !!!!! I have always received quite a number, but this year has been exceptional, well in excess of 5,000 during the Christmas week alone and they are still coming. :-) Thank You !!!
To know there is that level of support out there is very touching, and means a great deal to me.
I sincerely hope you all have a WONDERFUL 2005
*** Happy New Year ***
23rd December 2004
" Wonderful TV Series "
There I was, watching some TV last night and I happened to come across a programme, one of a series of "Great British Aircraft" on Discovery Wings. This particular programme was about the Avro Shackleton, an aircraft that the RCS Panels Team have more than a passing connection with. Not only have I flown a few hours in them back in the distant past, but more importantly our own Brian Withers flew them for many years. Brian as you might know is our flight dynamics expert, and the main builder of our B-25J model.
Avro Shackleton MR 3/3 Reg. WR977
It turns out that a good deal of the programme was filmed at a Aircraft Museum at Newark, Nottingham, UK, very close to the place I was born. Furthermore Brian made quite a significant contribution to the film, sharing some of his first hand knowledge and experience. It is a strange feeling when your friends talk to you from the TV screen :-)
The museum has a very nice website that is well worth a visit, as is the place itself, if you live close enough.
The museum is open most days other than Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Years day. The range of aircraft is quite extensive, making it well worth a visit if you can. So much so, that I have decided to get away from the turkey and festivities on Monday 27th December and spend an afternoon there. So if you have had enough of the usual Christmas and need an injection of aviation fuel, then do come and join us. :-)
On that pleasant note, I will take my leave until 2005 :-)
A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2005
16th December 2004
" Christmas "
Well Christmas is nearly upon us once
again. Where does the time go ?
Let me take this opportunity to thank you for the hundreds of electronic Christmas Cards we have already received. Each and every one of them is much appreciated :-)
" What's HOT on the Christmas list"
That is certainly the $64,000 question ? I guess it has to be a 3ghz PC if you don't already have one, but other than that, there isn't much new and exciting around at the moment. PCI Express and all that comes with it, is certainly the future, but personally I am waiting a while for the prices to settle down before I dip my toe into that pond. I tend to think unless you are "made of money" then to be one step behind the front line is a much more sensible option.
" New FMC "
My good friend Tony D'Ambrosio, has just reworked his B747 and B777 packages so as to enhance the performance with FS9. A new version of the FMC fixes some issue with FS9 and things like input of flight plans. Included is a new version of the FMC used in my Airbus Packages.
Download them today :-
" Merry Christmas "
The RCS Panels Team, would like to take this opportunity, to wish you and your families, a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Eat, Drink and be sure to be nice to each other.
Have a good one :-)
Roy and the whole team.
28th November 2004
" Success "
I am delighted to report that this years Wildlife Art Show is now finished and was another great success. It was really good to see so many of you, and have a chat. More importantly, to all of you, I can now concentrate a little more on FS matters, rather than painting. :-)
" Sad individuals "
Sadly, while I was preoccupied with the show, certain infantile people seemed to think it would be good to "hack" one of the RCS servers, while I was not watching, causing some disruption, making temporary changes to a few files and the loss of a few emails. It was not difficult to track the culprits, and their identity came as no surprise to me. Amazing !!!
I am pleased to say, that the vast majority of people in the FS community are good, honest, and grateful people, who enjoy our hobby, appreciating the effort we put into improving things, in particular tying to keep the spirit of FREEWARE going in the face of ever growing "commercialisation" and "sharp practice". I am also pleased to say we will not be deflected by these undesirable "silly" elements that try to intimate and destroy what we all enjoy. Enough said !!
" FS9.1 Upgrade NO CD patch "
Although I have still found no hard evidence that the old NO CD patch for FS9 does not work perfectly with the upgrade, apparently there is now a new NO CD patch for FS9.1 available on various websites. So if you are worried about using the old one, now you have an choice.
"Christmas I coming"
Well can you believe it, only four weeks to Christmas !! So if you haven't yet got that new PC on the "Christmas List", it is about time you did :-)
Have a great week.
12th November 2004
" Words of warning "
This is a word of warning for those people in the UK that use BT Yahoo, as I do as one of my ISP's. Today they offered an Anti-Spyware package for FREE which is great credit to them. However you might run into a problem if you download and install it, as I did. This is no major problem if you know what you are doing and know where to look if things go wrong.
I downloaded and installed the package as instructed, and ran it. All appeared to function correctly and it removed a few "cookies" and other questionable things, and all seemed fine until I attempted to access the internet. Then to my horror nothing could access the internet. The long and the short of it was, that the Anti-Spyware software had completely "screwed up" Norton Internet Security so that all your personal setting were lost and nothing can get in or out :-( Not to helpful.
The fix was simple, if slightly time consuming. You just have to setup NIS again, doing a full system scan, and set the "Internet Access Control" settings and "Zone Control" settings. Problem solved.
Once you are aware of this possible problem, then it is no great problem, but I thought I would post the information here, just in case any of you have the same difficulty, or think you might just quickly install the Anti-Spyware software.
I have to admit I do use "Ad-aware" which I have always found extremely good.
" General "
FS work with me is at a stand still at the moment, as I am working around the clock on new paintings for my show in a couple of weeks time. The work is going well ,be it slowly, but I am pleased with the results so far.
Anyway the "Crazy Season" is nearly finished for another year, and then we can get back to some sort of normality. Well as normal as life ever is around here :-)
Have a great weekend.
20th October 2004
" Fantastic reception in the Netherlands "
I have just returned from a wonderful time in the Netherlands, where we had a stand at the Dutch FS Weekend at the Aviodome, Lelystad. It is fair to say, I have never received such a fantastic reception from the FS community anywhere in the world. We had many visitors from all around Europe and the warmth of the people and the compliments were unbelievable. :-)
It was great to talk to so many like minded people, fortunately pretty well all of which spoke English as my Dutch is zero, and my German and French is not to hot.
My wife and I were joined on the stand by my friend Enno Borgsteede from the Netherlands, and my friend colleague Arne Bartels from Germany. Arne will be known to most of you, for programming the brilliant Sperry Mk III that we use in our packages.
To my mind the show was made all the better because of the fact that it was not commercial in any way. There wasn't anybody there trying to relieve you of money at every opportunity. The only chance you had to spend money, was on "at cost" CD's with various designers packages on them, which were being offered as a service to those who still do not have broadband connections. In my opinion it is about time we stopped paying for rubbish and got quality products whether they are payware or not.
The whole show was held amongst the aviation exhibits in the NEW Aviodrome Museum, which is a day out on its own. I was delighted to see whole families coming to the event, and really enjoying it.
The show was wonderfully organised by Frans Broekhuijsen. who was very well supported by the Aviodome staff and a number of others.
Most of the exhibitors were either individuals, groups or clubs, and the range of equipment on show was mind blowing. Multi-Screen displays, 60" Plasma Displays, not to mention most people, including ourselves, had Digital Projectors, (or "Beamers" as the Dutch call them), throwing large images on screens so that everyone could see clearly. The biggest of all, was six, 20 foot by 12 foot screens joined together in a semi circle using six projectors, to give a complete 180 degree "wrap around" display filling a lagre room. There were also whole cockpits, some homemade, some professionally made, and when it came to control systems, you have never seen such equipment.
To sum up the whole show was an amazing experience, and one I will remember for a very long time to come. The Dutch certainly set the standards for FS shows.
To mention and thank, all those people that said such nice things and paid me so many compliments, by name on this page would be impossible, so I would just like to say a collective THANK YOU to you all. It is because of you, and your kindness, I put in the thousands of hours I do to bring you the FREEWARE products.
" Video Cards "
Recently I have tested a few more video cards, and to date have found nothing that is better "frame rate wise" than the Nvidia Geforce FX 5700 256 DDR mentioned lower down on this page. However I have found one that is at least as good. The MSI Nvidia Geforce FX 5950 Ultra 256mb DDR gives pretty well identical performance. The downside is the price. It is reasonably expensive, as you will see if you look on the net. However I do know where this is one going at a reasonable price http://www.srsmicrosystems.co.uk/
On the same subject, I did test the latest from ATI and although it was nearly as fast, I was not impressed with the clarity of the display. It lacked "crispness" when running FS, in my humble opinion.
" FS9 Update and No CD patch "
Although many people are offering opinions on the subject (as usual), I have still not found any evidence that the old FS9 No CD patch reduces the functionality of the FS9 upgrade. However investigations continue, and I will post any information as soon as it is proved.
" General "
OK that is about it for now. It is time for me to get on with painting for my forthcoming Wildlife Art Show at the end of November.
Have a great week.
9th October 2004
" Oops "
It seems that I put the wrong date on my last post on this page (26th August when it should have been 26th September) Sorry !!!
" FS9 Update and No CD patch "
As you will notice on most FS websites, MS have released an Upgrade to FS9, to take it to version 9.1
I am being asked repeatedly, whether or not the "No CD" patch, that enables you to run FS9 without having to put Disc 4 into you CDROM still works with the upgrade ?? The answer is YES it does.
To install the upgrade, first save the "No CD" version of the "fs9.exe" file and replace it with the original version. Now do the upgrade to FS9 to 9.1. Once the upgrade has finished installing, replace the current "fs9.exe" with the "No CD" version. All will then work as before. To the best of my knowledge there are no significant internal changes to the "fs9.exe" file.
" FS9 Update and 3rd Party add-ons "
According to the information supplied with the FS9 version 9.1 Upgrade, there are a number of 3rd Party add-ons that will not work with the upgrade and some will even prevent the installation of the upgrade. It is vital that you read the documentation that comes with the upgrade and that is available on the MS website.
As far as I can find, there are no problems with the RCS Packages and the new upgrade.
" Video Cards "
I have been doing a number of tests on new video cards, and so far have found nothing that performs better than my previous recommendations. I will let you know as soon as I do find anything significant.
Have a great weekend.
26th September 2004
" Back from holiday "
As you can see I am back from my much needed holiday. Three weeks in France was just what the doctor ordered :-)
During my time away, my wife and I were able to spend some time with our good friends Jean-Pierre and his wife in Monaco, and even spend a few days with my good friend and colleague Tony D'Ambrosio (RealCRT gauges) and his partner in Annecy. All in all, we had a fantastic time, not to mention exchange notes on our various latest projects. Without giving away any secrets, I think the FS world is in for a few "treats" in the next few months :-)
As is always the case when you return from a long break, it takes time to catch up, but we are getting there.
I have placed a request in with my supplier, for some of the latest video cards, to see how they perform with FS, so expect some feedback from me in the next few weeks.
Have a good week.
24th August 2004
" RCS Panels in Holland "
I am delighted to announce that "RCS Panels" will be at the "Aviodrome Flight Simulator Weekend" in the Netherlands on the 16th and 17th October 2004. This show is reputed to be the oldest and largest of its type in Europe, and I can tell you from personal experience (of two years ago), the event is not to be missed.
The show is located at new
The show covers all aspects of FS and there is masses to see and do.
Having received a very kind invitation to attend the event, I look forward to meeting my many FS friends from around Europe at the show. So if you have not yet decided, why not come a see us, and have a great weekend at the same time.
" Stunned for words "
It is not often that I am totally stunned for words, but last Sunday was one such occasion. I was in Chester, UK, to open the second PAWS exhibition and present a prize, when at the end of proceedings, the event was "hijacked" (pleasantly) by the UK Sales Director of Winsor & Newton (the art materials company).
Totally unexpected by me, he wanted to make a presentation to me, to thank me for all the work and dedication given to the PAWS competition over the past 14 years, and commemorate my long connection with the company. I was then presented with the most amazing Special Golden Jubilee, Numbered (14) Limited Edition Gold Plated Water Colour Brush mounted in a frame with a certificate.
The flood of nice things that were said and the presentation itself, left me in total stunned silence. I was incapable if speaking for some 15 minutes, and was completely overcome. What a wonderful surprise and experience :-)
What can I say, other than a big THANK YOU. I am very pleased and honoured.
Anyway, that is it from me for the now. Have a good one :-)
16th August 2004
" Great Success ";
Time is just "flying" for me at the moment. I am delighted to say that the Artists & Illustrators Show in London at the end of July, was a fantastic success for me again this year. We had record crowds and all the feedback was brilliant. The downside was it really took it out of me physically and it took me the best part of a week to recover to something like normal. Then it was straight into the Finale Exhibition of PAWS . What a superb show that turned out to be. You can see the results and the winners at :-
We are now moving the show to the Black Sheep Gallery, near Chester, UK :-
The exhibition opens there on Sunday 22nd August.
As you will guess I have been so busy that FS has really been on the back burner. Never mind, my annual holiday to the South of France is getting ever closer :-)
" Thanks "
I would just like to thank those many kind and concerned people that email me whenever there is a delay in me updating this page, hoping that I am well. I do appreciate your concern for my welfare and it does the old heart good to know that there are so many wonderful people out there. :-)
" Normal service will resume "
I can assure you when I have returned from my holiday, the "normal service" will resume on this page and FS work will pick up speed. I can also assure you that even when I am away or busy, the rest of the team are still working hard on the projects.
So enjoy the summer break and have a good one.
10th July 2004
" General Update "
It appears that some six weeks have passed since the last update to this "News Page". Well I am glad to tell you, any stories of my demise are grossly exaggerated, and I am still alive and well. :-) For those of you that know me personally, you will be aware this time of year is manic for me, and this year is no exception. Not only has the filming been going well, but it is taking every minute of my time, and to add to that we are just coming up to the Artists & Illustrators Show in London, in which I have a big involvement. Unfortunately preparation work for that takes some weeks. Plus this year we have the Finale Exhibition of PAWS opening at the beginning of August. So all in all, FS has had to take a back seat, but do not worry, as others in the team are still working hard on the new project.
The introduction of the new security measures on the email server, seem to have had the desired effect, and massively chopped the "garbage" that normally comes my way in the form of viruses from FS users that do not have clean machines. However, if any of you are not getting replies to any emails sent to me, please let me know. I always reply to emails within two days if I am here.
I do hope to test a new Nvidia Geforce 6800 as soon as I can get my hands on one, although it will not be in the next two weeks. So stay tuned.
There is little else to report at the moment. Keep the faith, and check back here again in a couple of weeks.
Have a good one.
Kindest regards, Roy
31st May 2004
" NEW RealCRT and NavData Package UPDATED v2.02 "
A problem was discovered in the FS2004 version of the RealCRT/NavData package that caused the "AutoILS" not to function correctly. Tony has now fixed this problem and has released a NEW version 2.02
Click here to download
Have a good week
28th May 2004
" New Security Measures "
Sadly, after having resisted it for many years, I have now had to install some serious security measures and filtering systems on my email accounts. It seems that after all the warnings given here and elsewhere, there are still FS users that do not have effective virus protection, and have infected machines.
After over two weeks of receiving between 800 -1500 virus attacks per day, something had to be done. Norton Internet Security did a wonderful job of stopping them all, but the time taken to deal with them was getting beyond a joke.
All attacks were traced back to the actual senders, rather than the "Spoof from addresses", and the majority were originating from a particular FS user in Germany, and some to other places. The ISP is taking action against the offenders.
So with effect from yesterday, heavy duty filtering systems were put in place, which have certainly solved the problem. Furthermore the email address "email@example.com" has been closed down permanently. Should you wish to contact Brian, you can do so through my normal email address.
It is just possible that legitimate emails might be filtered out (the reason I have tried to avoid this measure in the past), Therefore if you send us an email and don't get a reply in a couple of days, you can assume you have been filtered out. In this case you will have to get in touch by other means. The "Wildlife Art" link on the page will give you alternatives.
OK have a great weekend and double check you virus protection, along with the cleanliness of your PC's.
25th May 2004
" RCS B-25 Sperry Fix "
One or two people have realised there is a minor difficulty in adjusting the heading on the B-25 Sperry. Yes some people do use it :-)
Well, a good friend Norman Hancock, of "DC-3 Airways" has discovered a "work around" that solves the problem. Click here to read. Many thanks Norm.
" General "
OK that is about it for now. Have a great week.
12th May 2004
" NEW Airbus Packages Released "
I am delighted to announce the release of the new RCS Airbus A320 and A380/388 packages for FS2004 (ONLY). Three days ahead of schedule :-)
Both packages contain a FREEWARE and SHAREWARE (RealCRT) version. Each package is in the form of a self installing EXE file that has everything included, such as aircraft, panel etc. The A380 also has a whole range of liveries.
The new FMC is very accurate and tremendous fun, and there are many more updates and new features.
I want to sincerely thank Camil Valiquette for his wonderful A380 aircraft and his agreement for it to be included in the A380 package.
As you no doubt know the A380 does not fly for real until 2005, and this package is our best estimate of what the aircraft will be like, based on the information we have.
I also want to sincerely thank Albaro Villegas, Ric Barker, Pedro Oliveira, and Ben Jones of iFDG for their superb British Airways A320 which is included in the A320 package.
Lastly I want to thank my good friend Tony D'Ambrosio for his continued support, cooperation and assistance.
You can download the packages from these links :-
A320 http://www.roychaffin.co.uk/pub/rcs320f9.exe 12mbs
A380 http://www.roychaffin.co.uk/pub/rcs380f9.exe 11 mbs
(These packages are referred to as "Beta" versions, this is not because they are untested or unfinished. It is purely because they are updates of the old FS98 packages and not the "all singing and dancing" packages that you have come to expect from our factory. Nevertheless for that, they are still quality products and a pleasure to fly. So enjoy !)
" NEW RealCRT and NavData Package Released "
I am also delighted to announce the release of the NEW RealCRT gauges and NavData package from my good friend Tony D'Ambrosio. This new package is a significant step forward and is fully FS2004 compatible, along with also being backwardly compatible to other FS versions.
You can download the package from this link :-
RealCRT Navdata package http://www.roychaffin.co.uk/pub/ND2K_202.zip
Tony has also updated his B747 and B777 packages and they can be downloaded from these links :-
" General "
As always, pleased read the documentation that is included with all the packages. It really does help and stops you having problems and asking unnecessary questions.
OK I think that is about it for now. Have a fun time. :-)
1st May 2004
" Latest Update "
I have just returned from two wonderful weeks holiday in Cyprus, which was extremely relaxing and enjoyable. :-)
The downside of being away for two weeks, is there was a massive 8,000 emails awaiting my return, a great number of which required replies. However the backlog is now cleared and we are back to normal again.
" Airbus Package Updates "
The Airbus "updated" packages are now pretty well complete, and I will be releasing an A320 and A380 package, which will be complete with aircraft and panels. All this will be in self installing EXE files, which has now become our normal method. Both packages will contain FREEWARE and SHAREWARE (RealCRT) versions contained in the one EXE file. The A380 package will also contain a number of different liveries.
The release date is expected to be 15th May 2004, to coincide with the expected release of the exciting new RealCRT gauges and Navdata packages from my friend Tony D'Ambrosio.
I have made the decision NOT to release an A330 or A340 version of these packages. If you want to use the panels with an A330 aircraft, then you can just "Alias" the panels to an A330 and likewise the A380 panel can be "Aliased" to the A340. Even I need to save space on my servers.
The B717 "Update" project is still in development.
" What at things coming to ? "
I have to admit I have been shocked and disgusted by the present trend by so called "FS development groups", to have no facilities to contact them by email. If you want to contact them, your only option is to post a message on a Public Forum. Is this what they call "Customer Service" ? I don't think so. They should be ashamed of themselves. It strikes me that some groups are getting above their station, when they will neither talk privately to their customers or anyone else.
My advice to you all is to make your feelings known, and let them know (on their public forums) just what you think of this "high handed" attitude.
I am pleased to tell you that RCS Panels, will not be going down this route and will continue to answer emails, even if I do get around 4,000 a week. I believe in good Personal Customer Service, and respect you and your right to NOT have to make everything you want to say, public.
" General "
The only other news of significance is that Nvidia has just announced their new video chipset. The GeForce 6800. It is reported to be better then twice the speed of the FX chip. Well as you would expect, my advice is save your money for the time being, until I have had a chance to test one. Obviously I will do that as soon as I get my hands on one. So watch this space. :-)
That's about it for now. I now need to do some development work on an exciting new gauge project, that you might be hearing about in the not to distance future.
Have a great week.
12th April 2004
" More Good News "
I am delighted to announce that we will also have an Airbus A380 package ready for release around 1st May. As you probably know this aircraft does not fly for real until 2005, but the simulation will be here soon. I want to thank my colleague Camil Valiquette for his model and cooperation, that has made this possible. Having now flown the pre-release version, with our new bits, it is quite a bird. :-)
10th April 2004
" Help needed "
I am trying to get in touch with "Project Opensky", and it is turning out to be "mission impossible". If anyone has a current email address for them I would be obliged if you could forward it to me.
" Airbus Packages "
I am delighted to tell you that I now have the Airbus A320 package pretty well ready to go, and it should be released around May 1st. I am just waiting for an exciting new item that should be ready for that date. It will be a full package in the form of a self installing EXE file, with a wonderful aircraft by Albaro Villegas with textures by Ben Jones.
" Viruses "
I have to say, I am totally amazed just how many people do not have proper virus protection on their systems and are infected with viruses or worms. We are currently being hit anything up to several hundred times a day, and all from FS users that have our email address in their address books.
Bye the way if you ever receive an email from us, that has an attachment that you are NOT expecting, DELETE it. We never send out attachments without warning people first. Most viruses these days seem to come from someone you know and trust. This is just a ploy to get you to open them. They use a proxy "from address" plucked out of an address book.
OK that is about it for now.
Have a good Easter Holiday.
24th March 2004
" More good news "
As mentioned in my previous news item, I had been working on a new update panel package. Well now I can tell you about it. The update package was for the virtual airline "DC3 Airways" and as you will have guessed it is a DC-3.
What I have done is updated their company Training Panels for use with FS9. They are designed to work especially with the company repaint of the FS9 MS default DC3.
You can read all about the package, DC-3 Airways, and download them by clicking on this link :-
Thanks to my friends at DC-3 Airways, Charlie Wood, Ron Bushell and Norman Hancock for their help with this project.
Have a great week.
19th March 2004
" Good News and NEW Best Ever Video Card "
First of all, I am sorry for the lack of updates on this site for the past few weeks, but the reason for this has been two fold. Firstly, I have unfortunately had a dose of the Flu from which I have now fully recovered, but secondly there really hasn't been much to report. I have never been one for "banging on", when I haven't anything useful to say, unlike some :-)
But now to the good news. I have finished the updates of the Airbus and B717 panel packages and just await the various permissions from the aircraft designers to package their aircraft with the panels. Hopefully that will not take to long. Furthermore, another important update has been completed, but more about that at a later date.
Now to the most important news. As some of you know, I have been plugging the same Nvidia video card for some time now, as being the best there is for FS, and it has been becoming more and more difficult to obtain because of lack of stock with just about every supplier. The advantage other than the speed, was it was also one of the cheapest options available.
Well as an on going process, I have been continually testing what is new in the field, and have just finished putting the MSI Nvidia FX5700 VT2DR256, through its paces, which has turned out to be a very good card. Approximately 20% faster than the previously best tested, using the very latest Nvidia Drivers. That is 2 frames a second faster, for every 10 frames a second, which is a significant increase. Now comes the better news, this card is reasonably priced at under £150 Sterling. Which is not "an arm and a leg" by modern day prices.
So we have a successor to the throne of "Best FS Video Card", now it is the :-
MSI Nvidia FX5700 VT2DR256 (256mbs DDR)
Now to a few words of warning. To start with, this result nearly didn't get to happen. The first example of this board I tested, would do wonderfully well until you got half way round the first circuit of the airfield and then it crashed the PC in the biggest of ways. :-( Well, having tried a variety of drivers with the same result, I decided it just might be a faulty card, so I got another one which turned out to be fine. So persistence pays :-)
My second word of warning is a physical one. The video chip on this card is fairly small, and it has a relatively large heat sink and fan balanced on the top of it which is NOT held down very securely. This is fine, but make sure nothing leans against or touches that heat sink when the board is installed, because it can fairly easily be made to loose complete contact with the chip it is trying to protect, which would fry the chip. It is not stuck on, but just pressed against the chip with heat sink compound in between the two.
This version of the FX 5700 comes with special "Control Software" that enables you to change the operating speed of the card and onboard memory. (in other words "overclock" it) Now I know the average person will NOT be able to resist turning up the speed, thinking he will get better frame rates. Well YOU WON'T, I have tested these settings under Lab conditions and it will not make the slightest difference to FS frame rates. What it will do is OVERHEAT the memory and the chip and "cook" the board. Once you have cooked your board, do not expect to be able to take the card back to the supplier and claim it is faulty, because they won't believe you.
Lastly, I have learnt to my cost that there are always many variation of any particular video card, and not all measure up. The one I am recommending here is ONLY the :-
MSI Nvidia FX5700 VT2DR256 (256mbs DDR)
This card has two digital outputs (with one analogue converter), S Video socket, and all the usual cables. Furthermore this unit has its own Remote Control. As if that is not enough there is also a massive pile of bundled software.
So where do you get one ? As always my supplier "SRS Microsystems" has these in stock and is prepared to ship them worldwide. Do visit there website at :- http://www.srsmicrosystems.co.uk and just in case you were wondering, I am NOT on commission :-)
That is about it for this update, I think that is enough good news for one week. :-) Have a great weekend and watch this space for more exciting information.
24th February 2004
" Virus Threats "
Virus threats continue to plague us, and more and more claim to come from people that you know.
Just to help you, me personally or RCS Panels in generally NEVER send out emails to people with attachments, unless you have specifically asked us where you can get something, or for us to specifically send you something. Furthermore, we never mind answering emails asking for confirmation, that we have or have not sent you something.
" Package Updates "
To my total amazement, I am continually being asked about updates for the now ancient FS98 Airbus/B717 panel packages. I am stunned that after so many years and so many new version of FS later, these packages still seem to stand the test of time.
Well, I am pleased to tell you that I have decided to gradually convert them for use with FS9. These will be simple conversions, and not add any of the new features that we have grown to expect with the current range of modern products, but they are still very usable and fun to fly.
Where possible they will be packaged with an FS9 aircraft (from a 3rd party author) and have FS9 GPS fitted. These packages will be released as "Beta Versions", to distinguish them from our proper NEW products. When packaged with an aircraft they will be supplied in the form of a Self Installing EXE file, which will make installation easy.
With the help of Bob, one of my team members, we have already virtually completed the A320 package, and even if I say so myself, I am amazed how well it stands up against modern day products.
I hope to release this A320 package on this site, as soon as I have received the necessary permissions from the aircraft author. So watch this space.
That's about it for now. Have a great week.
16th February 2004
" Virus Threats "
Well it is good and bad news on the virus threat front. At last the "MyDoom" virus, as it is now called (the one referred to below) has now diminished which is great news. For a period a couple of weeks we were being hit with it up to 500 times a day. It is totally beyond my comprehension that people can operate without virus protection these days, but they do. Fortunately "Norton" and good common sense kept us safe.
While on the subject of viruses, the bad news. There is a current HOAX being circulated, where you receive and email that looks something like this :-
This is a HOAX and should be ignored. Sometimes this email arrives with an attachment, claiming to be a removal tool. DO NOT RUN IT.
This hoax is a little more clever than some, in as much as there is a genuine virus that covers itself as an "smss.exe" file and others, which is called "Dalbug.or Ladex". BUT and this is a big BUT, Windows XP and Windows 2000 does have and needs to have running an genuine "smss.exe" file, which if deleted will cause Windows will cease to function.
Currently none of the Anti Virus scanners pick up this HOAX, and it dangerous so called deletion tool. So you have been warned.
However please do not email me with questions about this HOAX, as you now have as much information as I do on the subject.
" General "
Little else has been happening here
recently, other than the power supply on this machine blowing up.
Spectacular it was !!! :-)
" Chuck Dome "
There have been several rumours around recently about my good friend Chuck Dome. I am delighted to say all the stories of his demise are grossly exaggerated. Chuck is very much alive and well. He is however, taking a very well deserved rest from FS to concentrate on other things, so hence the reason why he and his website has disappeared from the net.
Chuck has asked me to pass on his kindest regards and best wishes to everyone, and thank people for their concern. He says he is fine and hopes to remain that way for a long time to come.
OK that is about it for now, have a good week and, stay lucky.
2nd February 2004
" Video Card Update "
It has been brought to my attention by one of our readers (Mike) that there is a new variation of the Nvidia GeForce FX5600 256meg DDR video card around, called the FX5600 XT which still has 256megs of RAM onboard, but BEWARE. At the moment I am only aware of this card under the name of "Sparkle", but there might be others.
This XT version IS TO BE AVOIDED, there are a number of specification changes that make this card SLOWER than the proper one. So do not buy them.
Today, as a result of Mike's findings, I borrowed one and put it through the full range of tests we use here. It was 15% SLOWER, when measuring frame rates, than the proper Nvidia GeForce FX5600 256meg DDR.
It appears this new XT card does not have DDR RAM, and other downgrades.
Personally I think this is a bit of "Sharpe Practise" on behalf of Sparkle, because they are causing confusion. When you look at the ATI cards, the XT versions are UPGRADED VERSIONS of the normal cards. Therefore you would assume that an XT version of an Nvidia card would be the same. Not so, this one is downgraded.
I am pleased to say that Mike now has the proper version of the card, and I personally thank him for bringing this to my attention, so I could do tests and bring you the results.
OK that is it. Have a good week.
30th January 2004
" Update on Serious Virus Warning "
The "W32.Novarg.A" virus has now become the most widespread ever. You might be interested to know that a considerable financial reward is being offered for the capture of the "mental deficient" that wrote and released it. There is nothing clever about writing a virus, any "half wit" can write one, with the minimum of programming knowledge, so it is hardly being clever. Let us hope this moron and any others that follow are caught and thrown in jail for a very long time. Alternatively I am sure we can all think of more suitable things to do to them, but don't send your ideas to me, as I have plenty of my own :-)
Unfortunately it appears that many of you do not realise or maybe do not care that you are infected with this virus. Well in this case, it is not just an irritation but has serious effects on the way your PC runs, so it is important to find and eradicate it from your systems.
Currently we here are RCS Panels are being sent the virus in emails at the rate of over 400 times a day, and that has been every day since last Sunday. As this weekend approaches, and many of you turn on for the first time since last weekend, it is more than likely the numbers will probably increase dramatically.
On a practical front, we are still attempting to answer all your emails as they come in. However I have to warn you that we are deleting emails at a massive rate, and although we attempt to filter out the genuine ones, it is just possible yours could get deleted by mistake. Therefore if you do not receive an answer from us within 48 hours, I would suggest you send it again.
There is nothing much else to report at the moment. Have a great weekend.
27th January 2004
" Serious Virus Warning "
A couple of days ago a new "mass mailing virus" hit the NET which is called "W32.Novarg.A". If my email accounts are anything to go by, this is the most widespread virus so far. We have now been hit around 150 times in 24 hours and the number is growing by the minute.
We strongly advice you to download the latest virus definitions immediately and sweep your systems, as it appears huge numbers of you have this virus on your systems already without knowing. Removing it is possible but fairly complex. See your AV software's website for removal instructions.
Have a good week.
22nd January 2004
" General "
I am pleased to say the "John" mentioned below did get in touch with me, and I was able to pass on the information I had for him, which I assume he got, although I have not heard from him since.
I have to say this "bouncing email" problem is a growing one. Again today I had another instance, where all attempts to reply to a customer seemed to be in vein.
Anyway, on to better and brighter things. There is not much to report at the moment. Work continues on our usual list of projects. I have spent a little time in clearing all those jobs and problems that never get the attention they deserve because one is always too busy. I have also been looking at and learning new programming software that should be helpful in the future, but as is always the case, "new" doesn't necessarily mean better :-)
There is virtually nothing new on the hardware front to get excited about at the moment. The Nvidia Geforce FX 5600 256mb DDR is still the fasted graphics card for FS. Even the newer variations of the 5600 (256mb) seem to be no faster from our point of view, but seem to be as good. I do keep my eyes and ears open for better options. The good news is these 5600 cards are now coming down in price quite dramatically.
If you have problems finding one, then my UK supplier (SRS Microsystems) will be happy to supply them worldwide. http://www.srsmicrosystems.co.uk/
OK that is about it for now. Have a great weekend.
12th January 2004
" Urgent Message "
We have an URGENT MESSAGE for "John " email address "firstname.lastname@example.org"
John, we have been trying to get hold of you all day, from a range of our different mail servers, but your email address rejects all emails We have information of value to you, so please contact us at email@example.com from and email address that works.
" Message to all readers "
Here at RCS Panels, we always reply to every email that is sent to us, no matter how many we get and how much time it takes. We deliberately do not employ "Spam Filters" to ensure your messages to us get through to us, even it is does mean us having to plough through hundreds of bits rubbish. Therefore we respectfully ask you to do the same, and not waste our time by sending us emails from stupid servers that have these so call "Spam Filters" fitted, that reject our replies.
If you want us to continue to offer you the best software as we have in the past,, do not waste our valuable time, by us having to make countless attempt to reply to you.
Make no mistake, I hate Spam as much as the next person, and believe me I get a hundred times more of it than you do, but I can assure you I hate these so called Spam Filters on servers and the people that use them, even more. SO YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Have a good week :-)
8th January 2004
" 2004 is here "
Well 2004 is upon us, so a Happy New Year to you all. I hope the festive season was good to you and brought you lots of exciting new toys :-)
" Good News "
To start off the new year, I have some good news for you. Our server now supports the "Resume" feature so you if you get disconnected during your download you can now pickup from where you left off, rather than starting all over again. A GREAT advantage :-)
" General "
Not much new happened during the holiday, as the team tried to take some well earned rest. I did however try and continue the usual technical support service we offer to our users. As is normal during a holiday, many people had time on their hands to play and got into the usual difficulties, so we did our best to help out.
The flood of Christmas cards I received did the old heart good :-) Some really superb ones amongst them. So thanks to you all for taking the trouble to remember me at Christmas.
Most of any spare time I had, was spent investigating FS2004 and some of its hidden secrets, most of which you will get the benefit of in our future projects and updates. As is always the case the SDK only tells half the story and a deal of detective work has to be done to fine out the true potential.
I think that is about all for now. Have a good weekend.
24th December 2003
Happy New Year
The RCS Panels Team
(Brian Withers, Steve Wayne, Alan Landsburgh, Bob Guzman, and Roy Chaffin)
I want to thank the thousands of people that have sent festive greetings by email. We have received over a thousand heart warming messages just in the past 24 hours, and we want to thank you all for your kindness. The vast majority of the FS community are a caring, grateful and wonderful bunch. So all of you, have a superb Christmas and brilliant New Year.
There is one message in form of a "poem", that was sent to me by one of our supporters, Robert H. Gardner, that I would like to share with you, because it might bring a smile to your faces. Click Here to read.
Safe Landings and we will see you in the New Year.
Roy (on behalf of the whole team)
22nd December 2003
" RCS B-25J for CFS2' in sections "
As promised and as our server does not have a "Resume" feature, we have put the package into smaller "Bite Sized" pieces to help people with 56k modems to download the package if they wish. Using a program called "GSplit" I have divided it into thirteen pieces of 5 mbs (two files are smaller).
You DO NOT have to have "GSplit" on your system. All you do is download all 13 parts into a folder, and then double click on the "b25c2.exe" file and the full "rcsb25c2.exe" file will be recreated ready for installation. Easy :-)
The links to the thirteen files are :-
To download the whole 60 mbs package in one file Click here
For details of "No Frills CD offer" Click here
19th December 2003
" ATI Radeon 9800XT 256mb DDR "
Finally, after a lot of effort, my supplier has managed to find me a ATI Radeon 9800XT 256mb DDR video card to test. This is the "top of the range" model from ATI that is unbelievably expensive.
So, I did all the control tests with FS and the current best FS video card available, the Nvidia FX 5600 256mb DDR. Having carefully recorded all the results, I replaced the card with the new ATI model.
It comes nicely presented with a mass of "Freebie" software. (form your own conclusions) Installation was straightforward and took very little time.
The results were "OUTSTANDING", compared with the Nvidia card which is a quarter of the price, it returned exactly the same results. Well to be super critical there was a slight difference. When nothing was being asked of the video card and it was under very low loading, the ATI gave about two frames per second more. However when under heavy load, and the frame rates are at their lowest, it was a couple of frames slower than the Nvidia card. This is the time when you need the increased speed, and it does not deliver.
I was not at all happy with the quality of the display. It appeared as if "Anti Aliasing" was switched off (jagged diagonal lines and twinkles) when it wasn't. The display is also not very polished in the way it switches from one display to another. In my view the drivers where far from right. Because of that, I downloaded the latest drivers and tested them, but it made no noticeable difference.
Even the manual had errors that made it difficult for someone that was not a computer expert. For example, in the installation instructions, there is a reference to a basic file that does not exist on the CD. The file name quoted is wrong. I know everyone makes mistakes, but when you are paying this sort of money you expect better.
I had genuine high hopes for this ATI card, primarily because of the "Rhubarb" put out by ATI, trying to talk themselves into the "number one" spot, but also because of reports from one or two users. I know my findings are not going to be popular, especially with those that have such a card, because nobody ever wants to know what they have is "TRASH", but I am sorry guys this one is a pure "Rip Off", not because it does not give the numbers, but because it is grossly over priced at around four times the price of a card that still beats it with FS, if only by a small amount where it matters.
So, that is me off ATI's Christmas list, but as you know, I report the true findings on this page, even if people don't want to hear it.
Nvidia is still "KING" in the FS world.
In my opinion, the best value for money these days for FS performance is "Processor Horsepower" and RAM, not expensive video cards.
Have a good week.
14th December 2003
" B-25J for CFS2 RELEASED "
The RCS Panels Team are delighted to announce the release of their ground breaking RCS B-25J for CFS2. Complete with the new Bomb Sight.
Be warned this package is a few bytes short of 60 mbs. We know the demand will be high, but this time we are confident that our servers can cope. However this package should also appear on all the top FS sites in the next few days.
I say this every time, but it is particularly important with this CFS2 B-25J release, YOU MUST READ THE MANUAL IN FULL
Do to the high demand, we have now added this CFS2 version of the RCS B-25J RAF package to the CD we offer to those that need it. The CD package is on a "No Frills" CD posted worldwide at a nominal cost for those without Broadband. The CD contains the CFS2, FS2002, and FS2004 versions of the package along with the FS2004 Flight Dynamics Upgrade.
For details :- Click here.
It is hoped between now and Christmas, to also make available on this site a version of this package that is split into smaller parts for download by people without broadband internet connection. The timing of this release is out of our control and is in the hands of our ISP, so please be patient.
The team has worked extremely hard to bring you this package before Christmas and are now taking a well earned and deserved rest. Have a great holiday season.
Roy (on behalf of the whole team)
11th December 2003
" B-25J for CFS2 "
I am delighted to announce that we are now in the final stages of testing of our new RCS B-25J RAF for CFS2 :-)
When I started this version of the B-25J it was my opinion that the project would be a fairly straightforward and quick process. Well I was wrong, this has turned out to be a massive task for the team, who have worked extremely hard over the past weeks.
Just to wet your appetite, apart from being CFS2 compatible, there are quite a number of new features, like a completely new paint job, bombs and bullets, damage profile, and many other refinements, but also a specially designed and built bomb sight. This sight brings a whole new level of enjoyment to CFS2. It takes great skill, but you can now drop bombs accurately on targets. I have to tell you I am not a great fan of CFS2, but this development has brought a whole new level of enjoyment. Pure hooliganism :-) Dare I suggest that even "Bombing Competitions" may break out amongst friends as a result. I know the members of the RCS team are certainly having considerable fun playing with the results.
So this FREEWARE release is the RCS Panels Christmas present to the FS community. So now is the time to dig out CFS2, dust it off and standby for an explosive Christmas :-) Enjoy !!!
So keep you eyes on this site for the official release, coming soon.
" Thanks "
Can I thank those that came forward in answer to my request on the 4th December, your input was most helpful.
Not much else has happened here recently. When the team are in the final stages of a project there is little time for anything else, including, paying work or even sleep. :-(
Have a good one.
4th December 2003
" Request "
Do we have amongst our readers of this page, an experienced CFS2 user, that is highly experienced with the advanced features, such as the use of radios, and other such things. If we do, then please drop me an email.
" Wildlife Art Show "
I am delighted to tell you that last weekends Wildlife Art Show here, was a fantastic success. It was great to see so many of you and have the chance to chat. From a sales point of view we broke all expectations and even hopes :-) So we should be able to spend a good deal of next year working on new FS stuff for you all. :-)
OK back to programming. Hava a good one.
27th November 2003
" General "
Yet another month has gone past since I have been able to update this page. Unfortunately I have had my head down, and been working around the clock painting new works of art for my annual Open Studio / Wildlife Art Show that opens to the public tomorrow morning. For anyone interested we are open from :-
11pm - 5.30pm this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 28th - 30th November 2003 at :
Blackwood, 10 Nascot Wood Road, Watford, Herts. WD17 4RS, UK.
Tel +44 (0) 1923 225618
I am present at the show during the above times and am happy to talk to all visitors whether it be on the subject of Wildlife Art or FS. (however, Wildlife Art has to take priority) But if you can pop along I would be pleased to see you and talk.
" RCS B-25J for CFS2 "
Many people have asked recently how work is going on the CFS2 version of our B-25J ? Well I am pleased say that progress is being made and the work is going well, but we are still to far off to be able to predict a release date. All I can say is it should be soon, and it will definitely be FREEWARE.
So watch this page for more announcements.
" Video Cards "
I sm sorry to say that the ATI Radeon video card has still not materialised. My wholesaler tells me they are very hard to find. Apparently because of the cost and lack of demand, suppliers are very loathed to stock them. Anyway I continue the search for one to evaluate.
OK have a good weekend and I look forward to meeting those of you that can pay us a visit.
26th October 2003
" Urgent Message "
There is an Urgent message for Alan Carmichael. See the "Urgent Message" tab on the left of this page.
" General "
As you will have noted things have been very quiet on this site recently. As some of you will know, this is the time of year when I have to earn my living and paint continuously for my Wildlife Art Show at the end of November. Therefore I do virtually nothing else until that time. Even emails which I normally answer very quickly are laying in the inbox for quite a while. But be assured, normal service will resume as soon as possible.
" Salute to Concorde "
Sadly, Friday saw the withdrawal from service of Concorde, the greatest airliner of all time. We salute all those involved with the design, production and operation of the most advanced and only supersonic passenger carrying aircraft that was in regular service. The joint British / French venture set new standards that have still not been equaled or bettered, some thirty years on. What a credit to you all.
I have listened with interest to the continual stream of rubbish spoken about why the Concorde should not continue to fly, and it boils down to one thing and one thing alone "Politics". The financial arguments just do not stack up.
Personally I have two hopes. Firstly that the truth will come out and the people involved in this scandal will be disgraced and loose their jobs. Secondly that Concorde will continue to fly, be it not in commercial service, although that would be nice. I know that Sir Richard Branson has put together a detailed plan to save Concorde that is currently be "blocked" by the British Government and British Airways. This should not be allowed to happen.
Speaking personally, Concorde makes me proud to be British (where as the actions of the British Government and British Airways disgust me).
Concorde is a great aircraft. Long may she continue to fly.
" Video Cards "
Still no sign of the latest ATI Radeon video card in my "in tray" for me to test, not that I have time right now to do it, but hopefully I will get one soon.
With respect to the Nvidia Geforce FX 5600 256mbs card recommended earlier in this page. I have to report that many people have purchased them and have reported very good results and are delighted with the card, however I have had two people that have seen a small reduction in performance over a GeForce 3. This can happen.
Unlike most people, I am always reluctant to make recommendation about hardware because there are so many variables in the PC that can effect performance. However when recommendations are made, they are done in good faith based on actual tests made here, and not because the manufacturers want me to say so.
OK it is back to the paint brushes. Have a great week.
10th October 2003
" New Server online "
The new server on this site is now up and running. :-) Many checks still have to be carried out to ensure it is rock solid, so bare with me if there are a few errors thrown up in the next few days. I will work through them.
Have a good weekend.
2nd October 2003
" Many thanks "
Over the last couple of weeks I have received masses of "get well soon" greetings, which has been wonderful. I thank you all most sincerely :-)
I am pleased to say I am gradually getting my strength back and becoming more normal, well as normal as I ever am :-)
" Website improvements "
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be making a number of changes to this website, with the view of improving the service we offer, especially on downloads.
The major problem with running a website like this one, is the amount of server space that is required and the bandwidth that is needed to enable you all to download stuff as you need it. The "Internet Service Providers" always want their "pound of flesh", and unlike most, this website is provided and paid for, out of my personal pocket . I prefer to do it this way, because it means that I am not influenced by anyone telling me what to post and or that I have to "give them a good review" because they are paying for the site. We are and hopefully will remain, completely independent. Furthermore we do not have to bug you all with those annoying adverts and banner advertising.
Anyway, I am just running up a new ISP and domain name, and over the next couple of weeks will be transferring over to them. During this time you might experience a few download difficulties, but hopefully I will keep them to a minimum. If you do experience problems, do not email me immediately, but wait for say 24 hours to see if the problem goes away. If not then do tell me about it. This way I can concentrate on making the changes, rather than trying to trace faults that have already been fixed. I know everyone wants things immediately, but remember what we offer here is a FREE and a voluntary service, so please exercise a little patience :-)
" ATI Radeon Video Card "
I have not yet received the latest ATI Radeon video card, but am hopeful I will soon. You will hear about it as soon as I do.
" B-25 CFS 2 Version "
Just to keep you informed. We are still working on a CFS 2 version of our B-25 and it will be released in due course. However there is still a load of work to do, and as you know we have had one or two setbacks recently. So keep the faith, it will happen :-)
OK that is about it for now. Have a great week.
21st September 2003
" Back at the helm "
As you can see I am finally back at the helm, which was unfortunately slightly delayed due to an unexpected stay in hospital last week. Having returned from a fantastic holiday, (more about that later) I was hanging an art exhibition, collapsed and was rushed to hospital with kidney stone problems. For those of you that have had one you know exactly what I mean. For those who haven't, I hope you never do. Anyway I am now back home and apart from being weak, I am recovering well :-)
" Holiday but not slacking "
I did have a fantastic time on holiday in the South of France. The weather was fantastic, as was everything else. Great food, drink and company :-)
During the stay, I met up with a flight simmer who lives in Monte Carlo. We had never met before, but we had a fantastic evening out together with our wives. I think it is fair to say that Jean Pierre and his wife Marie Luise have now become firm friends. It was a great pleasure to meet you both.
But worry not, all you flight simmers where not forgotten during my time laying around in the sun. During my drive back to the UK, I met up with my good friend Tony D'Ambrosio. Not only did we have a great time together, as we always do, but we also talked about FS and associated things.
" RealCRT Gauges and FS2004 "
One of my questions to Tony was about the RealCRT gauges compatibility with FS2004. He tells me that the gauges are completely compatible with FS2004 and the only minor problem is with the installation program that comes with the gauges. If you try to run the installation program with FS2004 problems occur.
Tony tells me until he reworks the installation program and issues a new version, which he should do fairly soon. If you want to install the RealCRT gauges in FS2004, you are best to install them into FS2002 and then copy them across to FS2004 and they will work fine. Obviously you can rerun the database building program after you have copied them across.
The things that need copying are :-
The "NavData" folder complete.
The "RealCRT Gauges and VDRegister.exe file" from the Gauges folder.
Now double click on the VDRegister.exe file in your Gauges folder and enter your details and Unlock Key Code.
To update the Database for FS2004 double click on the "ND99,exe" file in the gauges folder. Click on "Rebuild Database" ensuring you give the location of the FS2004 installation for scenery. Etc.
Important Note :-
Although Tony and I are good friends, I am not in a position to give Technical Support for the RealCRT gauges, and all queries including registration issues must be addressed directly to Tony himself at :- firstname.lastname@example.org
" Viruses "
There is a particularly nasty virus around at the moment that appears in the form of an email from Microsoft. In one form it looks very official and convincing, but it is a virus never the less for that. Microsoft NEVER email customers with updates or fixes, so you can always be sure that it did not come from them.
Going by the number of instances of this virus that are coming to us. Many of you have been caught by this one and are infected. You need to update your virus definitions immediately and do a full scan of your system. Also check the website of your virus protection software manufacturer for special instructions.
" General "
It is my intention over the next couple of weeks to do two things. One to regain my strength and get back to normal, and secondly, try to acquire and test the latest ATI Radeon video card to see how that measures up against the Nvidia opposition. But I have to tell you, that my past experiences have always told me that Nvidia comes out on top when used with FS. However I wait to be proved wrong.
Have a great week :-)
***** Special Notice *****
RCS Panels responds to every email, so if you do not receive a response from us within 72 hours, then you can safely assume that we either did not receive your email, or the reply is being "Bounced" by your ISP. This is becoming a major problem for us as many ISP's now operate "Anti Spam Filters" which also cut out legitimate emails. We really do try our best to get back to you quickly.