Why I Chose xEnviro Over SkyMaxx Pro

Roughly one year ago, xEnviro came onto the scene, challenging the then top dog, SkyMaxx Pro, which was until that day without any real competition. All the time since back then I sticked with SkyMaxx Pro and their Real Weather Connector, admiring how much it improved immersion through cloud visualisation compared to X-Plane's default clouds. Of course I glanced at the arising competition, but decided to wait, go another year with SkyMaxx Pro and decide later. Well, today was that later, and I took a decision - against SkyMaxx Pro, in favour of xEnviro. You may well wonder how that decision came to pass, and I shall try and explain in this article. I can reveal though it was not an easy choice...

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New Level of Realism

Flight simulation has developed further. Most noticeable for me: X-Plane is getting better and better. Not just because X-Plane itself is developed further, but mostly as add-on developers gain in skills and tools - and computers in power to render those dreams. Large photoreal sceneries sampled from satellite imagery are no longer a problem - some years ago, the sheer amount of data would have congested any hard drive, and afterwards toasted any graphics adapter available. Physically based rendering (PBR) is no longer a theoretical approach, but has become reality for 3D applications like X-Plane and can be executed on consumer class hardware.

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Back to Live

Air-Child, my favourite virtual airline, is back. Well of course it has never been away completely, but during the past two years, the number of active pilots constantly decreased, and also the number of recorded flights was subject to an adverse trend. The founders didn't find the time to work on the website and the backend, and neglected communication to and with their piloting community. And so Air-Child became a dying community. Even I did secretly glance around for alternatives, started my own business in FSEconomy. Now Air-Child got all the chances to experience a second spring – with a brand new management taking over, bringing fresh energy, new, modern software and reforging the ties to and within the community. Now it's up to us pilots making sure the venture continues – let's jump into our cockpits and raise some funds for UNICEF!

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Waiting...

Still 14 hours to go before I finally can test X-Plane 11… Well, as you can see, I'm about to give the XP11 Beta a try. At first when XP11 was announced, I thought I'd wait until at least the second or third minor version of XP11, and I wanted to be sure my precious third-party add-ons (worth several hundreds of dollars) do actually work in XP11. However, curiosity finally took over. With more than enough disk space remaining on my SSD RAID 0, I decided to go for XP11 right now. Most certainly I will not run it with the same add-on setup as my XP10 - for the weather stuff I'm thinking about replacing SkyMaxx Pro, RWC and Ventura Sky by xEnviro (or at least have a try), and regarding payware aircrafts, I will definitely only install the ones I use most of the time. But before thinking about enhancements, I shall wait for the installation to complete - and then I'll have a closer look at what XP11 delivers out of the box. Looking forward to tomorrow…

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Concerning Professionalism

Developing add-ons for X-Plane has become a serious business. While airport & scenery development mostly take place in a freeware or donationware environment, particularly the development of aircraft models is currently seeing some kind of arms race. Both ambition and price climbed steeply over the past two years, but I feel to a certain extend, professionalism of developers and distributors didn't keep pace with this development. Through this article, I would like to dedicate some words to observations I made, particularly getting a bit more granular on how I perceive professionalism in development and business behind those aircraft models.

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