5/15/11 PPG Simulator News - Simulator Software
As you can tell from this site, I'm a little biased when it comes to using Vehicle Simulator (VSF). No question that it's my preferred paragliding sim software. The physics (both model and weather) and graphic realism have pretty much met all my demands of what a (powered) paragliding sim should be. It helps that the author of the software (Ilan Papini) is very responsive to requests for updates (he's a past hang glider pilot himself who enjoys the soaring elements that this game provides). All-in-all, a great product.
With that said, there is one problem with VSF, and it isn't a minor one: It doesn't have a large user base. Unlike sims such as FSX or X-plane, there aren't nearly as many scenery add-ons, and they're not as complex as those found in the two big sims. This last point (scenery complexity) is the one weakness of VSF that stands out the most. It's not that the software is incapable of producing the detail seen in the other sim products, it's just that there isn't a small army of people creating it.
This leads me to one of the my needs for a powered paraglider sim: Lots of close-up scenery detail. The ability to get close to the ground at slow speeds (low and slow) and see the world around you is one of the biggest attractions I have as a powered paraglider pilot. For that reason, VSF doesn't quite fit the bill. Unless there were many more people (or 3rd party companies that the big sims have) putting together this detail, the offerings won't ever stack up.
So, I'm starting to shift back to using one of the other sim products - at least on an experimental basis. In fact, I've settled on FSX. Although it's been discontinued (it's currently being supplanted by Microsoft Flight), there's a huge support base for it, and plenty of new add-ons are still being made for it. Also, I've received (from a fellow simmer) a very nice powered paraglider model for FSX. So, as I write this, a copy of FSX is currently being loaded onto my PC, along with some very beautiful add-ons by ORBX. If you haven't seen any of this company's sceneries, then you'll be in for a surprise with the level of detail and realism (along with good frame rates). I can't wait to get these loaded up, and will put together a demo video when I've got everything working together with the results I (hopefully) expect to get.