As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been flying my new toys quite a bit. After some nagging from a friend, I've finally organized a series of screen shots to show off the graphics of Flight Simulator X.
Note, these are direct screen caps from my setup, which is 1920x1200 resolution. FSX creates screen caps in BMP format which is uncompressed; the source BMP files are nearly 7MB each! I've saved these in the somewhat more compact (but still lossless) PNG format so that you can still see exactly what I see, without distortion. Those images range from a little over 1MB to about 4.5MB depending on the complexity of the scene. So be forewarned! Also note, if you simply click on the images to view them in your browser, you may need to turn off "automatic image sizing" in your Internet options to view the full resolution pictures.
Each of the images in this page (click on the "Continue Reading" link below) links to the full size source image. I welcome your comments or questions. If there's a particular part of the world that you'd like to see in FSX, let me know and I'll try to record some pictures for you. Enjoy!
This is at the simulator's default location near Friday Harbor, in the San Juan islands of Washington State. The water effects in FSX are pretty amazing, note the reflections and general wave effects here:
Just after a water landing and takeoff, buzzing one of the Washington State ferries in the Puget Sound. Note the major difference in texture quality between the aircraft and certain other elements on screen. That ferry is not looking too sharp!
The "virtual cockpit" mode of FSX is pretty detailed and much better than in previous versions. You can look around inside the cockpit in any direction, and all of the controls/switches are interactive with the mouse, so you can actually manage all systems without keyboard reference if you like (I happen to prefer the keyboard for speed & accuracy).
While the water effects are I think the most graphically impressive aspect of FSX, the sky effects ain't too shabby either. Check out the high-level clouds here:
Switching locations just a bit, now we're over Seattle looking at Mt. Rainier:
The sports stadiums (stadia, I suppose?) for the Mariners and Seahawks are rendered in some detail:
As, of course, is the iconic Space Needle. Note Paul Allen's "Experience Music Project" building in the lower right corner of the shot.
Jumping once again further South to Portland, we've also upgraded our ride to a brand new Boeing 737 in company livery. The airport buildings at PDX look reasonably close to reality:
Likewise, the I-5 bridge from Portland to Vancouver, Washington is rendered pretty accurately:
Interestingly, it looks like a lot of care went into including specific landmark bridges in Portland, while there are no specific buildings included (except for the Oregon Convention Center, which is barely visible in the first shot below). Portland has some very distinctive architecture and the downtown skyline is pretty amazing, but it's not in the simulator. The automatically-generated urban ground scenery actually makes for some pretty ridiculous building locations.
Once again, we magically transport further South, to Las Vegas. Since we want to take our time enjoying the view of the Strip, we've moved back down to a little Cessna 172:
Upon takeoff to the West from McCarran International Airport, we're lined up to buzz the Strip from South to North, starting with Mandalay Bay and Luxor:
Continuing on, we can see the major hotels at the Southern anchor of the Strip (at Tropicana Avenue): Excalibur, Tropicana, MGM Grand, New York New York, Monte Carlo:
A bit farther North, we can see Bellagio (including water show) and Caesar's Palace on the left, and Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood), Paris, and Bally's on the right. Also visible are the Barbary Coast (barely), Flamingo, and Treasure Island (now known simply as "TI").
Note the detailed signage for The Mirage (Danny Gans is a fantastic show, by the way):
Looking back at Caesar's, note the detail of the seal at the top of the building -- and more of the Bellagio water show.
The new Wynn has been rendered very well, they got the colors down just about perfectly:
The Stardust, Circus Circus, and Stratosphere:
Bumping up the clock to midnight, we can appreciate the lighting effects. Note the internal cockpit lighting in this closeup of the airplane:
Heading back down to the South along the Strip:
The Mirage volcano is out in force:
MGM Grand really is that green at night:
And back where we started, looking at the Luxor and Mandalay Bay:
Mixing things up again, we've jumped into a King Air 350 for a little flying in the Bahamas, note the different ground scenery and the very different water colors.
This maneuver is not recommended... but DAMN check out the ocean in this picture. I am just in awe of the water effects at times.
This maneuver is also not recommended if you don't wish to be shot down... getting ready to buzz Washington, D.C.
One of the cool features of FSX is the inclusion of a ton of scripted missions, from the basic flight instruction modes through to seriously difficult flight challenges. One of the more entertaining missions involves taking an ultralight up over an African wildlife preserve to locate a lost baby elephant. You start out on a dirt strip, up close and personal with the local fauna:
Gotta dig that zebra pattern paint job!
Now some of that lush African flora:
There aren't just elephants roaming around, you can glimpse the occasional giraffe as well. I was distracted trying to take this snap shot just before a rather... uh... less than perfect landing which ended the mission prematurely...
And that's all I have to say about that. ;-)