It might sound strange that a developer would advertize another product on his own forum but, when something is SO good, compliments are in order. I'm refering to the recently released L-39 Albatros from Lotus Simulation, to be found here:http://www.lotussim.com/
The airplane it's a military trainer, built in the Czech Republic to be used by former Warsaw Pact air forces. It's similar in concept to the T-38 or the MB-339
But, the real reason why I wanted to mention this product, it's because it represents EVERYTHING in airplane design we always stood for, and tried to show up in "our" F/A-18 (the one included in FSX-Accelleration), of course under the strict deadlines we had at the time.
- It's an FSX-only design, made from the ground up for FSX with no legacy baggage. Same as our F/A-18.
- It's a VC-only airplane. Same as our F/A-18, which was made this way under MS request, which we couldn't agree more.
- It's an old-style all analog gauges cockpit, and every gauge is made with 3D needles, no flat, slow and ugly rotating bitmaps here, just like our F/A-18 (the analog part).
- Performances are spectacular. It has been said that, not having any CRTs screens helped a lot with the fps, and it's partly true, because glass gauges (badly programmed ones, especially) *can* be taxing, although not THAT much, when done correctly, which is something that we already shown in the F/A-18, that has 4 glass instruments in addition to the analog stuff. Nevertheless, the L-39 fps are basically the same as a default airplane, which is impressive.
- The modeling quality is top notch, up to 3d rivets in the canopy, and fully animated and good looking pilots (including a female instructor in the back! )
- Being FSX-native, it has been created with the shared cockpit in mind, and both front and rear cockpits are done in the same level of detail, which is very appropriate for a trainer airplane.
- There's a lot of additional eye-candy, that is possible thanks to FSX-only features, like bump-mapping on the canopy, very nice landing lights and instrument lights, and convincing icing and rain effects as well.
Basically, this kind of quality is what we think should be standard for an FSX airplane addon and I'm sure that, if more developers would finally realize how work properly in FSX and release products as good as this one, there would be no questioning about how much better FSX is, as a platform.