Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Accelerate or Decelerate? Get the addon or not?...

So here's my rundown of Acceleration after a week's hard use. For anyone who's on the fence about it, read on, I'm going to give you a comprehensive list of the plusses and minuses.

Accelerated (the good stuff):

-DX9 Performance is definitely up. New autogen batching etc worked well.

-The F-18 is great overall. The hud kicks ass, sooo nice.

-The P-51 is there. That's all. I don't like em.

-The EH-101 is there. See above.

-The water rendering options are waaaay better. Low 2.x is just water. Mid 2.x is reflected clouds only (yay), High 2.x reflects clouds and terrain but not autogen (yay!), and Max 2.x reflects everything. That's how it should have been set up from the start.

-Multiplayer Fixes, LOTS OF EM. Canopy/exit animations now show correctly in multi, as do airbrakes and tailhooks. Awesome. Been waiting for that for six years. Landing gears no longer get out of sync when someone appears to pass through terrain. Wicked.

-Multiplayer lobby screens no longer jump around like a jack russell terrier. You can actually select a game or add people to your contact lists without feeling like you're playing whack-a-mole. Nice one.

-The Missions are great, assuming you can get the EH-101 which is used for most of them to behave like an actual helicopter (see below).

-Smoke effects no longer detach from your aircraft at low altitude.

Decelerated (the not so good stuff):

-DX10 is a disaster for most people, myself included. Could be FSX, could be drivers, could be Vista, could be all of the above. Whatever it is, help is needed urgently.

-Flashing clouds. It doesn't happen often but clouds aren't as stable anymore on quick track-ir movements.

-Landclass issues. I've seen fields of crops on the PEAKS of the alps, not in the valleys. This is with default landclass data, so either Sp2 models some extremely ambitious farmers or something's seriously porked there.

-Sloping water/rocks bug is back. They fixed this in Sp1, but the 'Thames river bug' is back in Sp2. That's going to put a small dent in my Iceland vector project.

-Vsync is no longer available through the fsx.cfg. It can be forced in the driver in DX9, is totally hosed in DX10. That's a DX10 showstopper for me right there. No Vsync no play.

-All sorts of texture problems, even on correctly compiled pure FSX aircraft. Most of these can and will be fixed, either by users or developers. I'll fix the ones I care about.

-Light effects on the external models can cause all sorts of weirdness texture wise in the VC. On my SR-71 the afterburner lights turn my artificial horizon into a mirror...umm... Haven't even begun to figure this out yet.

-The EH-101 flight model... is.... crap! To be remotely flyable it has to be run on lowest realism settings. It wanders, the engine surge, hovering is hopeless. Keep an eye on the guys at Hovercontrol, my bet is they'll fix it before the developer can.

-F-18 Afterburner effect is a cartoon in motion. I can and will fix that. The rear landing gear is ridiculously high and out of proportion to the chord line of the aircraft. Again I think I can fix that. Just what photo were they working from I'd love to know.

-The P-51 sometimes catches fire in multiplayer for no reason, even with engine damage disabled. It also has some sound issues when two of them are in a session.

-SP2 multi is not backwards compatible with SP1 multi. Doesn't bother me, but the lobbies are looking a bit like a ghost town at the moment, we'll see how it goes.

That's it for now. Overall I like it... I think. ;)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Format C: never felt so good...

Back in action! XP rocks I have to say. Vista is... umm... how to put this nicely... unfinished. To put it honestly though, it's crap. When their own Windows Media Player in it can't even play movies of their own Windows Media Format without screen tearing one has cause to worry. That was my first indication that things were not about to go well. The other was the bird that smashed into my window and died just after I installed Acceleration. That was the moment my week of insanity started. Next time I'll pay better attention to the universe's little signs. Oh well XP wasn't exactly awesome until about 2 years after it was released, so I have high hopes for Vista. Some parts of it are really quite elegant.

I'll never refer to XP as 'bloatware' again that's for sure. Compared to Vista it's a lean long distance runner. Anyway, Vista rant over, it's great to be back and able to make movies without feeling like I'm about to have an epileptic fit from all the stuttering. At least I'm ready now for DX10 if and when they actually get FSX working properly in it. On the plus side I have an 8800 ultra now and a wicked new 700 watt PSU. On the downside I lost an entire week of my life from fighting with a single piece of software. I guess I must like it or I wouldn't bother. ;)

Aside from the DX10 debacle Acceleration is actually pretty good. There are lots of silly little problems with it like any release, and some I can fix myself, some I can't. Not gonna worry about it though. Overall performance is up even in DX9 and that's what counts. The F-18 is quite well done and easily has the *best* HUD ever made for any version of FS. I'll be finding a way to knick that and put it in the rest of my fighter collection right away. At least they fixed my #1 gripe with FS since 2002, and that's gear synchronization in multiplayer. Make one mistake and they got out of sync for the rest of the session. There's no excuse for not fixing that for SIX YEARS when it's just a simple variable type change (Toggle -> Boolean), and would take them all of about 2 seconds to do.

While fixing that they also managed to fix lots of other sync problems, spoilers, canopies, tailhooks etc. Go ACES! They're copping an absolute thumping on the various community forums over this DX10 stuff though. I really wouldn't want to be in their shoes. Never seen so many threads locked in one day. The people are that pissed. They've spoken, they want an SP2a. I hope ACES delivers just that. I think they might have to. If these are the final code bits for FSX then the multiplayer community could very well be split in two: Those who can't deal with Sp2's issues and those who can, and that I think would be pretty sad. :(

Fingers crossed.

-Lotus out.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Oh yeah, Firefox. Forgot about that one. They like to do things differently, really just to annoy anyone struggling with their basic html skills. ;) Movies should be now working in browsers other than IE. Sorry 'bout that.

The Dailies...

A big part of what goes into my movies are the 'dailies'. I do a lot of little clips and vignettes that are tests for different effects I want to try in my main films or for finding solutions to new problems. These movies were a series of test shots for what eventually became the Iris Texan trailer and are sort of soothing and fun in their own right. In this first clip I was trying to get used to filming aircraft flying behind me, not as easy as it looks!

Pilots: Pebble, Jester, and Futureflyer.

In this second clip I was trying to solve some FSrecorder issues, and to generally see just how many Texans my computer could handle on screen at once (5 it turns out). I figured the Australian Air Force Roulettes demonstration team needed to visit Syndey, and of course to break some air regulations, always a neccessity.

Pilots: Me, me, me, me, me... oh and... me (camera). :)


-Lotus out.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Okay I take it back...

Vista DOES suck. If you're thinking of trying out the DX10 features of Acceleration/sp2, here's a little warning for you: It's a quagmire.

These are the casualties so far, aside from my sanity and general well being:

Vsync - totally down for the count. Even nhancer can't get it going. My eyes hurt.
AA&AF - erratic at best and performance sucking
Stuttering - you can have 2 flavours, continuous or all in one big lump every 30 sec, your choice.
Administrator mode - don't run *everything* in it? Kiss your track-ir goodbye.
Graphical glitches - just way too many to even begin to mention, sound too.

Going back to XP tomorrow. If you're going to try Vista, save yourself some headache and do it dual boot.

If sometime in the near future MS and Nvidia get their acts together on these bugs then I'll try it again. In the meantime, good riddance.

-Lotus (FSX's biggest and most thoroughly frustrated fan)


Even when I'm not filming... I'm filming. :) This movie is just a collection of random shots I put together a few months back, basically shows what my friends and I get up to between movies. ;)

The movie may take a minute to show up, please be patient.


Friday, October 26, 2007

A little venting....

Well here's the first little gem for any FSX fans who have decided to check out my blog. I made this short flick just before starting on Lament. My bud Pebble was having a bit of a downer day and around that time I was getting TRULY frustrated with the number of airliner FSX movies going up on youtube every day. Both of us were actually. I mean come on people, how many freaking videos do we need that show the wing of an airliner on landing? Yes, you can land an A320, congratulations, tell someone who cares.

It was time to get it off my chest. I didn't keep this on youtube for very long, just long enough to make my point. Here it is for posterity. Don't give me any crap about the quality, I bashed this out in an hour and got a laugh from Pebble which was my primary goal at the time. :)

Did Lotus pull a Steve Fossett?

Ok that was in bad taste. I really hope he's ok.

Lots of people have been asking me lately when the next movie's coming out. When it's damned well ready, that's when! Kidding. Acceleration has thrown me for a loop here. First it basically destroyed my FSX, then when I finally got it working it decided that it hates my videocard and starting CTDing on all menu actions, very annoying. Well I've had enough of the card too, so look for a little movie soon where my 7900GTO meets with an 'accident'.

I have a new 8800 ultra on order, picking it up tonight, yay. Hopefully that solves matters. Btw, in the process of trying to solve my Accel Pack woes I upgraded to Vista, and you know what... it actually doesn't suck. Well, ok, it does suck a little, but mostly minor things, such as, what in the hell did they do to the sound settings?! Talk about making access to bass and treble controls about oh 500 times more complex than needed. Ugh.

Anyway on to the movies. I have a couple ideas I'm bashing around with my wonderful friend and uber reliable copilot Pebble. The next movie will be somewhat downtempo I think, couple of ideas for that, but the one after, well, if things go according to plan (some BIG ifs in there) it will be the movie my fans have been waiting for and asking about a lot lately. :) Stay tuned on that one.

-Lotus out

Wake Turbulence - The Lotus Films blog

Well I've decided to give this blogging (what a stupid word) thing a try. This blog will be primarily a resource for my youtube fans, and for anyone else bored enough to browse through it. I will be adding lots of those little clips and side projects I do that are never quite good enough to become full 'Lotus' FSX movies. This will also be my unrestrained venue to let you all know just what I think of airliners and the people who love 'playing captain' in FSX. Unmoderated stick and rudder mayhem awaits!