TOM’s Cockpit’s space: How do you define “realistic” an add-on?

Nowadays every new products is defined “realistic”, but how do you deal with this (very heavy) word? That’s how I do, and you?

Realistic: “representing things in a way that is accurate and true to life”.
That’s the accurated, or realistic, definition of the most used word in any review or whatever deals with X-Plane and its add-ons.

Anyway, did you ever asked yourself: “How can I define something realistic?

You know, desktop simulation isn’t realistic at all. You just sat on your armchair and watch one or more monitors showing a 3D Cockpit.
It doesn’t matter what virtual reality headset or head tracking system you use, you just won’t never experience the same feeling, acceleration, speed, turbolence as in a real flight, or in a full motion sim.
I think that makes sense.

Despite this, X-Plane developers are always trying to push their limits further in order to deliver prodcuts they define “more realistic” than the older ones.
But, again, what do you think “realistic” stand for?

And, again, welcome to the biggest paradox of flight simulation.

I’ll just tell you what I feel realistic, before asking for your opinion.

Well, as you know, I use that word often in my reviews or news.
Anyway, I give it a total different meaning. In my head it just means “compromise“.

I would define realistic a product that has good graphics, good immersion and system, good 3D model. That seems simple, doesn’t it?

If you remember, I didn’t define realistic the ToLiss A319 the first time I flew it. The textures were really poor, the sound was very very far from the real thing and even the immersion wasn’t too cool. On the other hand, it has fantastic systems and good performance. Should I call it realistic?

My answer, as you could guess, it’s no.
I don’t dare to define realistic something that doesn’t look or sound like the real one, or even close to it.

The way an add-on looks and sounds really matters as developers should know that, for a normal user, a sim is realistic if it just looks realistic. He won’t go deeper and discover how the systems were developed. It’s normal.

After all, X-Plane is a simulator. Not the real thing, it’s just a game.
You wouldn’t play a football videogame without the real teams, well represented players and stadiums, even if it has the best physics possible. I dare you!

The other thing that a user with a normal computer cares about is performance.
Let’s say you develop an aircraft that looks, sounds and behave like the real thing.
You would buy it even if it asks for 10 gigabytes of VRAM? I sure won’t.

That’s why devs spend a lot of energy on optimization.
But, again, you can’t ask a realistic thing to run at 40 fps on a GTX1050.
It won’t look realistic, right?

So, next time you read my posts and I write “realistic”, take it like the best compromise between all the aspects involved in a single product. From textures to powerplant system simulation.
And don’t forget about the documentation!
I know only a few users read manuals, but they are supposed to be realistic too if the add-on is defined realistic.

I will never see the FlightFactor’s A320 explained with a Mickey Mouse comic. Or, better, I hope so.
I’d rather expect a good A320 POH, doesn’t matter if it’s real or written by the developers.  It’s the content that counts, not the writer, like a normal book.

And, finally, it’s up to you.
How do you define “realistic” an add-on? Don’t be afraid to tell us below!

4 Comments, RSS

  1. Robert Rubin 4 August, 2018 @ 18:06

    Thoughtful commentary from an obviously experienced person. It’s good to learn new things from someone so very young (born 2000). RTR (born 1936).

    • Tommaso Felici

      Tommaso Felici 10 August, 2018 @ 17:46

      It’s more appreciated to know that older people have this judge on me.
      Thank you so much Robert!


  2. Markku Siipola 5 August, 2018 @ 08:55

    This is the problem with reviews of aircraft addons.

    People, how aren’t pilots, gives opinions on how an simulated aircraft works, without little or any knowledge how the real aircraft functions.

    • Tommaso Felici

      Tommaso Felici 10 August, 2018 @ 17:47

      Indeed that’s why you won’t see any liner review here.
      We have real props pilots who’ll provide reviews for GA aircraft.



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