Seeing the wood for the trees

First off, I love this SIM. I use it every day. It’s an amazing product. If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t care about it. But SU9 is round the corner and I’m getting the fear of regressions…beta has already flagged some biggies (simconnect).

But also how many of the minor irritants will remain? (Let’s not discuss the big things like stability, performance and physics).

Sometimes you forget how many there are and with the focus on individual issues and bugs it can be hard to see the ‘wood for the trees’ and appreciate how all those small things add up as an overall user experience.

So to illustrate with the story of a typical flight for me and all the little pitfalls on the way (no apologies for the length of this):

MSFS! Always so happy to get up flying. I’m planning an IFR in the excellent WT CJ4.

First off, I need to make sure I have the right profiles set in controls - no drop down and, ugh, I can’t rename or even delete some of the older profiles I made [Edit - just found, after a year, that ‘M - Preset Manager’ in controls lets you clone, rename and delete profiles. Why did I never see this before?
Clutches head]. Got the right profile now, but better reset the extremity deadzones and reactivity settings that seem now not to be saved after SU8 (comment: this is due to be fixed in SU9).

Also after SU8 I’d best remember to select my headset for Comms audio: again it seems not to save this properly.

Do I leave live traffic on? It’s really cool, especially now with departures fixed, but I’m pretty sure high volumes have been causing some recent CTDs in cruise after SU8. Better not risk it.

So to the World Map. I’ll import a flight plan I made in Simbrief, but best to remember to select a parking spot -that default to start on the active runway should at least be an option rather than default.

Pity you can’t select a parking spot from the map without it scrambling the flight plan - I thought this was supposed to be fixed way back in SU6 or something? And has it got the right SID and STAR loaded? The UI drop down boxes are too small to tell and if it click on it it will scramble the flight plan again…so best not to touch (in reality I always build the flight plan in little nav map and set a parking spot there where I can tell what is a gate/FBO etc).

Oh look, it says there is a Marketplace offer for the airport I’m going to, but last time I clicked on the offer box it froze the SIM! So maybe I’ll just search in the marketplace (pity also the map of add-on airports in Marketplace was blank the last time I looked).

So anyway. Customisation…yep set the tail number and choose a livery. I could set up my weights and balances, but since SU8 the payload slider is borked and I’d just have to redo it all in the cockpit…so best leave it for now. Do I add some extra rudder authority? The CJ4 kinda needs it. Blows around like shuttlecock in a crosswind. Wish it was a persistent setting…And why only 2 degrees max?

Let’s click Fly then and get in the cockpit. Pity Freelook toggle stopped working well - all that zoom in and out was really getting kinda nauseating! So just use Freelook Hold to pan around as I set things up, but gotta remember not to hold it down as for some reason I can make any inputs when in freelook hold. That caused a few nasty taxiing incidents before I first discovered that one! As for Next Pilot Position, don’t even go there - instant death freeze in freelook.

Now to set the fuel and weights and balances out. Pity you can’t just enter total fuel in a single text box: using the slider is fiddly and inaccurate. But at least it doesnt show negative fuel unlike the payload slider does since SU8! So set that back to 0 and go through the process of setting the payload stations.

Better check the FMC though as sometimes I still end up with two sets of STAR waypoints loaded. At least it easy to edit in the CJ4. Wish you.could do the same in the G3000.

At least I have some great peripherals that I can control through that reduce most of the virtual cockpit mouse interactions. Thank goodness for simconnect!

No Vatsim coverage today, so I guess I’ll use the inbSim ATC. I quite like it for what it is, but pity I always seem to lose the external ATC voices about 20minutes into the flight. And why can’t I pick a runway for landing the assigned one has tailwind or terrain : sure I can select a different instrument approach to the runway I want but then they want me to circle to land onto the original runway???

Check ATIS - isn’t it cool that I can take and tune a Freq from a real world chart and it will bring up the SIM ATIS, and the data always matches what I’m seeing from online METAR? …but better remember to convert all those windspeeds from m/s to knots.

Now fingers crossed there are no CTDs and the crosswinds don’t cause any crazy weathervaning on the take off and landing rolls.

My point is not to report bugs, or to denigrate the product: far from it. MSFS is amazing - I put up with many minor irritants to play it. But I guess that’s my point: there are so very many of these sorts of issues and some of them roll from update to update without resolution and we get a bit habituated to it. Sometimes you need to take a step back.

And it must be really tough for new players as the knowledge and lore about this stuff is spread across a 1000 threads with no authoritative wiki or the like to consult. Just a lot of noise, with some vital signal. That does nothing to help make this a more accessible hobby.

Fortunately the mods here do a great job of keeping threads focused and pointing people to the right place. And the solutions the community comes up with and the knowledge shared is a lifesave…I definitely would have abandoned MSFS without this support.

The continuing evolution of the product is great to see: I find the weather really excellent now and look forward to the improved atmospheric model. But I’ll be most happy when I can pick a controller profile from a drop down!


Supposedly fixed already in 1.25.5

I do hope so!

Just to stress, my post is not intended to be a shopping list of questions seeking answers though - there are properly individual threads for that, but it’s more about the overall quality assurance processes around the product and how many small things add up to an overall experience. Something I feel can be lost in the specific issue discussions.

Nailed it. Even coming back to FS2020 after a break where several updates have occured can be problematic.


when something that is meant to be enjoyable quickly becomes tedious - sums up MFS at the moment!


I enjoyed your thoughtful insights.

If I was a new sim player looking for a good experience I would, based on your frustrations, go look at another upcoming program instead.

Still, the scenery is wunnerful!

I know the Devs have a lot on their hands and are tackling the bigger performance issues, but some focus on the UI and prevention of regressions would be good. The beta hotfixes are welcome with some agility in responding to tester feedback. If Spad had been broken then I really would have had to fly elsewhere: my peripherals are worth way more than the software.

I’ve been meaning to write a post just like yours, I even started making notes. All of the irritations in a typical session, things that aren’t quite right, bugs and dysfunctional features.

The truth is I don’t have the time to write posts that long.

This sim gets by on good looks.

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this sure does not apply for all, see the many xboxers flying around happily.
it is not a chore at all for me, only chore is update day, but thats only a lil time.
i startup and can be flying within 5 minutes, yay.
ofcourse if you need to setup a fmc that is taking a lot longer…quite realistic.

I’m not a new to flight sims by any means (right back to wire frame days) but I’ve almost given up on this. There are just too many hoops to jump through to get everything that should work, working whereas with an alternative I can just boot it up, fly and things that I expect to work just work.

But then there’s that scenery…
No other sim, even with pricey add ons comes anywhere near so, for looking at the scenery, MSFS is the one. I just wish the volo thingy would fly for a decent length of time without becoming uncontrollably unstable then I could boot up MSFS with just a simple joystick attached and enjoy the scenery. Maybe one day…

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Hmm, I’m not sure time-to-flight is really relevant to the point I was making. Sure I can also just go fly a discovery flight or whatever if I want to get up in the air quick. If I’m flying a B748 across the Atlantic then I expect to do plenty of preflight prep. That’s all normal. But is all the ‘hoops’ quirks and workarounds necessary to make a more realistic flight work or avoid bugs and regressions that are of concern.

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What is inbSim ATC? Is there some new ATC addon i’m not aware of or is this just a weird abbreviation or typo?

Nah just a fat finger.

In-sim ATC

Thats too bad, I got excited for a nice ATC addon lol… Okay i’m done derailing the topic. Thx for the answers though.

Well you can always try Pilot2ATC, but I found I had to repeat myself, a lot.

(actually, I’d better remove that video link as this is a family-friendly forum! Just google Scottish Voice Activated Lift )

Not to invalidate the issues with the world map, but I remember LittleNavMap can add a parking space. Is there a way to import the simbrief flight plan through LNM or perhaps reverse engineer what is needed in the file?

It’s actually exactly what I do:

  • create an IFR in Simbrief
  • use the FMS downloader app to export it to my flight plan folder as a .pln
  • load that into LNM
  • select a parking spot as a departure.
  • export that as a .pln
  • in the World Map add the LNM .pln

The advantage of building the final version of the flight plan in LNM is not only can you pick a parking spot and ensure you spawn in at that, but it will clean up the file format and reduce the chance of a CTD.

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Didn’t know it could cause CTDs.

I often think what WT could tackle next, and the world map/flight planning comes up high.

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You seem to be using a different SIM than me.

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