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  1. Plugin Review : XPRealistic Pro by rk Apps - Realism effects Interaction with the screen is limited by what you can adjust, switch and change in your viewing angle, but what about feel? Or more effectively feedback in movement and sound. This is called realism effects or the way that movement on the screen will be replicated like within a real aircraft. Headshake by Simcoders was the first in a really effective effect plugin in that it gave you well "headshake" or movement in vibrations, G force, Ground Roll bumps and my favorite that was in great touchdown effects. In my plugin standards folder then Headshake has always been a regular and even a must have plugin to use. Just take Headshake away in any landing and you suddenly feel and see the difference, in reality it is boring without no thump and vibrations on landing and riding hard down the runway and that makes the plugin a must have. But the difference between a huge Boeing and a tiddler Cessna is quite different on landing and in fact in most areas of flight when it comes to real world vibrations, by their sheer weight larger aircraft don't vibrate or move around as much as a tin can general aviation aircraft, but with Headshake the settings are global in that what you get in the Boeing is the same as what you will get in the Cessna.... and so enters rk Apps XPRealistic plugin. This new effect plugin is to take the basic movement features and ramp them up to another level of cockpit immersion, another feature is that you can set the level and immersion factor on each individual aircraft from small GA's right up to the largest heavy aircraft in your hangar. So first let us see how to install the plugin and set it up, then look at its features and ease of use. Installing the XPRealistic Pro plugin The XPRealistic zip package includes the XPRealistic main folder, a manual and the XPRealistic.lua plugin. Inside the XPRealistic folder are two folders for "Profiles" and "Sounds" and a .json file. XPRealistic Pro uses the "FlyWithLua plugin as its engine. FlyWithLua is run with C/C++ code, and makes plugins with a Lua 5.1 script engine or more like a BASIC interface on top of machine code and is compiled with LuaJIT. It is easy for developers to create clever plugins to do clever things in X-Plane or wherever you can run lua scripts. But a note is that lua can cause plugin conflicts, and many other plugins or even the main simulator can be effected by running the FlyWithlua plugin. In most cases the conflict is not an issue, but you may lose a few favorite plugins because it will clash with lua, obviously Headshake is one of them. FlyWithLua is created by X-Friese and there are two versions in one 2.4.4b (win, lin, mac) for X-Plane9 and XP10. And now a new version only for X-Plane11 version 2.6.0 (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X) so make sure you insert the correct version. FlyWithLua is inserted into your X-Plane/Resources/Plugins folder. In the FlyWithLua folder there is a "Scripts" folder (arrowed) on where you install XPRealistic's main Folder and the XPRealistic.lua file (A note in that I removed all the other extra .lua scripts that were part of the FlyWithLua download package except for the Checklist tool). One particular visual script in "Please read the manual" will annoyingly come up on your screen when running X-Plane unless you remove it. Using XPRealistic XPRealistic Pro is accessed via the "FlyWithLua" (Macros) plugin in the X-Plane Plugins menu. This brings up a main dialog panel with the current version noted on the header. All green and red text in the panels are clickable or can be adjusted, the rest is just text... The main menu consists of six items: Always Start for (aircraft) Are You Using TrackIR Are You Using X-Camera Freeze Toggle Master Volume Active Profile The best feature of XPRealistic Pro is that it can be set for the current individual aircraft in use. This means when you load an aircraft you load the XPRealistic profile for it as well, and that any changes or settings are kept for that aircraft only. This background set of settings is a great way to always have your own preferences set for that active aircraft and changing to another aircraft (say a heavy) will also load in the preferences for that aircraft automatically. These settings are stored in the "Profiles" folder in the XPRealistic main folder as .json flies. So the first item on the menu "Always Start for (aircraft)" is the choice of if you want that aircraft active with XPRealistic when you load the aircraft (yes/no). You can use XPRealistic with both TrackIR and X-Camera and crossover functionality is built in, these two check boxes will allows you to activate or deactivate both these plugins if you don't use them. "Freeze Toggle" will allow you to stop the shaking to adjust knobs or the vibrations if they get too severe. It is used by setting a situation like when in clean smooth level flight and using a key input to activate it, you set it when it says "set now". I used the spacebar and that worked fine. There is a similar setting for the "Head Anticipation" feature in that the below markers will show on your screen unless you set a key input. You can set the main volume with the "Master Volume" selection (0% to 100%) Active Profile The last menu item is the "Active Profile". This is the selection of a profile for the aircraft. Notice I said "a" aircraft. Even though it will note the current aircraft profile you can use another profile on that aircraft as well if you like that particular set of settings. You can't yet make a certain profile the same one as the aircraft you have chosen, or to duplicate the settings for the aircraft you are currently flying, but that feature has been noted as coming. There are a set of default profiles to use in "GA", "Jets" and "Gliders" and more are promised. The number of profiles available will change as you add in more aircraft or if rk App's add in a new default profile. Selecting the aircraft (arrowed) will open a dropdown profile for that aircraft.. This is where you can edit the settings for that profile. In the profile there are three levels of choices: Profile Actions First level of the profile gives you the "Profile Actions" or the main choices in: Reset to Defaults - To reset all the settings in the profile Delete Profile - To delete the current profile completely. Profile Immersions Second level is your main aircraft editing tools in (effect choices can change for that particular effect): Immersion (1/26) Enabled Sound File (4/4) Sound Volume Immersion Preview Third level will give you a preview of that set profile immersion _____________________________________________ Editing Your Profile Immersion There is a choice currently of 26 immersion profiles to choose from. Selection is by pressing the actual name or the < > selection. Selecting the "info" text will bring pop out a dialog panel to note the details of that profile, in this case "Activate reverse". Immersion choices currently include: (1) Activate reverse - (2) Airframe Wind - (3) Braking - (4) Breathing - (5)Engine start - (6) Engine Stop - (7) Flaps drag - (8) Flaps stress - (9) G-Force effects (10) Gear drag - (11) Ground effect - (12) Ground roll fast - (13) Ground roll slow - (14) Head Anticipation - (15) Nose wheel well - (16) Rain - (17) Reverse Thrust (18) Roll Anticipation - (19) Rudder Squeeze - (20) Side Prop - (21) Speed Brake - (22) Stall - (22) Stall extra sound - (24) Throttle - (25) Turbulence - (26) Wind Enabled This checkbox allows you to have that immersion effect on/off Sound File This effect is the choice < > of different sounds to that immersion Sound Volume This is the separate volume only for that immersion effect % Shake Intensity If the effect has shake or vibration, then you can adjust the movement percentage % Here is a small selection of the immersions and their editing profiles : (2) Airframe Wind - (3) Braking (8) Flaps stress - (12) Ground roll fast (17) Reverse Thrust - (21) Speed Brake (24) Throttle - (25) Turbulence There is a huge amount of choice in the selections, and some sound selections can be as many as twelve choices. Certainly not all the immersion effects are required on every aircraft, as for instance a GA does not have a reverse thrust effect (scary if it did!) so you have to edit to that particular genre of aircraft. Certainly selecting either the "Default GA" or "Default Jets" profile would be a good place to start with a new profile for that genre. Immersion Preview Here you can see or hear the changes to the selected immersion by pressing the checkbox on/off. This is the preview of "Head Anticipation" which is an effect to guess where you are going to look next. As for me a general rule with these vibration effects is the line between realism and totally annoying. In that rational I usually have most settings set low, certainly the ones like the "brake" effect that wants to put your head through the windscreen every time you simply touch the brakes. Mostly (as in life) less is usually more with these choices. The most intrusive are the ones that are over active when you need to control the aircraft and you are trying to scroll knobs or adjust your height or speed. There is the "Freeze Toggle" to help you here, but I would still set on the side of minimum than maximum for the best effects. But GA vibrations and sounds always would be more violent and louder than a Jet airliner, I know you would want that feeling anyway, but you can go too far in that direction of effects as well, because at the start it is all very exciting, but after an hour or so in the air in a small slow aircraft the noise and vibrations can then send you to the doctor. So the aim is simply realistic and realism and not the point of that if you even have that huge amount of adjustments doesn't mean you have to use them all. As there is so much choice available then to GET IT just right in a profile setting will take a little time and a little patience, fly and adjust would be my mantra. Do a flight and "oh that wind noise is too low" and adjust or "that ground roll vibration is too heavy" and then adjust that and so on, and soon you will get a perfect set of profiles for that particular aircraft. Does XPRealistic have that "Wow" effect! I have noted that I have used "Headshake" for a long time, so the effects of XPRealistic will have to really surpass those in a big way as this is payware as headshake is freeware. So to test the theory out I took three flights in one a GA with the default C172 and one a Jet with SSG's E-170 and the prop regional B1900D. Cessna C172 First to note in that on both aircraft I already lowered right down the settings for the "Breathing" (20%), "Braking" (10%) and "Head Anticipation" (40%) as they all felt too high. Breathing is slightly unnerving in a horror film hiding in the cupboard way. You find the the panel heaving up and down as if you are about to be consumed by it, so that was downgraded quickly. It is clever but unnerving. I want to be shook and not shaken if you get my drift. The braking adjustment is because I don't want to constantly smash my head forward on the windscreen over and over again. The aircraft vibrates at standstill, which is very realistic, but let the brakes off and push up the throttle and the vibrations get more vibrant and the throttle (engine) vibrates more. Look up at your door window frames and they are very nicely vibrating to the power of the aircraft, love that. But adjust the yaw as you keep to the centre line and the "Head Anticipation" effect sorts of swimmingly moves left and right and that can either a) make you feel sick, or b ) lose focus of the centre line (the reason I adjusted the "Head Anticipation" down a lot!). But the ground roll and noises with the vibrations are excellent, you will quickly come to love the realism of it all. Pull back the stick and the main vibrations cease and the wind noises increase. A left bank brings the "Head Anticipation" back into operation again as it anticipates where you are going to look via the turn of the yoke. It is very good, as you always wanted to look in the direction of travel, but couldn't fly the aircraft and adjust your viewpoint at the same time, so this effect does it for you. It does feel very real, but the same point is valid in that if you have to readjust the other direction with the yoke (or turn straight) you do find yourself looking right or the other way than the direction you want to go? But you get used to it, again the point is not having the effect "Head Anticipation" adjustment too high as to not go too far each way. Adjustments can be done on the fly, so to speak is possible... I tried different wind settings to see what the differences were, it is very effective and you can easily find your preference with a change from one sound file to the next. One feature I would like would be a "key" input to bring up the menu, as you have to go through a lot of menu actions via the FlyWithLua plugin to get to the buried XPRealistic menu every time you want to make an adjustment. One thing you have to be aware of is plugin crossover. I am running xEnviro and the environment plugin has a similar "turbulence" effect like XPRealistic... So you have to find a compromise between the two plugins so they don't overwhelm you with too much vibration. It is the same with rain effects, and you will have to be aware of aircraft that have these effects already built in like with FlightFactor's Boeing 767 series. I did a heavy climb stall to see the effect. It was very realistic, juddering airframe, yoke noises, aileron and elevator banging, so you felt that you was pushing the aircraft past its limits, very good. Extra wind noises when you drop the flaps, and more vibrations from the airflow... Flap stress will also create a banging in the cockpit that may scare your passengers. Once back on the ground you get the ground rolling and vibrations again, braking efforts are highlighted as is any reverse thrust if you change the propeller pitch, in the GA environment the package with XPRealistic active was very effective and realistic. SSG Embraer E170 One of the great features of this effects plugin is that you can tailor the effects to different aircraft, and the differences between the GA C172 and the larger E-Jet couldn't be more noticeable and that is what makes this plugin more desirable. Certainly you would like even more subtle differences between the same GA's and the feel between small regional aircraft and the large A380 aircraft, and yes with a lot of fine tuning I think that is possible here, but a few more immersions to highlight those size differences more would be a nice addition. If you have used the excellent BSS sound packages like with the JARDesign A320neo then you will know how much a difference that great sound can add to the simulation in feel and feedback. But what about vibration? as that is another dimension again. This XPRealistic can give that feel on start up and shutdown of the engines, the one great thing is that the plugin represents not just one vibration but the effects of an vibration over the top of another vibration at different frequencies, in that an engine vibration is very different from a rolling aircraft taxiing vibration, the trick is to make them work together to make the whole feel realistic. The trick again is that both the aircraft developer's designs and the XPRealistic effects don't clash, so fine tuning is required to find that balance. But together feedback realism is excellent it you get it it right, so the point of the specialised profiles for certain aircraft has to be raised to get the maximum effect of both sets of effects working together? So engine startup and shutdown is featured and there is nothing like vibration at engine starts and running to make you feel a better experience. Taxiing gives you the vibration, but not as bouncy as the C172 as to be expected. A rainy day gives you the rain effects and noise which is highly realistic, the braking as noted is reduced to just a slight move forward for comfort and realism. Putting the power up brings first the engine vibrations and then the secondary airframe vibrations, and finally the rolling runway vibrations and you can tell which one is which one doing a certain job... it is all very credible. The vibrations build until the moment of flight and then like in a real aircraft it all ceases and replace with new vibrations and sounds of wind and wind drag noise from the undercarriage until it is retracted. Don't get me wrong in that all this action is all very dramatic and noisy in that it is totally overwhelming because it is not but kept in context with the simulation and the effects are all close to real to keep it all credible. You do get that small but significant vibration in the cockpit when out of turbulence periods to keep it realistic. But there is a tendency that when using the Head Anticipation" it will go correct to the turn heading, but then when over correcting the other way it suddenly has a tendency to suddenly snap back centre, which is not very realistic and even startling. It didn't do this on the C172, but a lot in the E170 and the snap didn't happen every time you turned but intermittently. I haven't tested the effect in another heavy yet to see if it is a particular aircraft related issue or it does that on all aircraft set up a certain way with an autopilot function. In level flight I did like the slight movement of vibration of the aircraft moving, your not going to rattle and shake along like in the C172, but vibration is a big realism factor. The effects are of course not just limited to the cockpit. If you like the window view (mostly for me in replay) in that the effects are highlighted here as well in the back. Again I will note BSS's sound packages in the JARDesign A320neo and A330 and if you use them you will understand (or hear) the significant differences of the varying sounds in the cabin is so very different from the cockpit sounds and how much those effects enhances the overall simulation. It is the same here and to a point it does bring the same sort of effects that you get with BSS sounds to any aircraft, but of course not to the extreme of BSS sounds. But it does bring vibration, and flap, airbrake noise and undercarriage drag noise to virtually any aircraft in your collection and with that it makes XPRealistic a very handy tool to have. The "Head Anticipation" feature works back here as well as in the cockpit of course, but could that actually be distracting from your viewing pleasure? But unless you turn it off you get the movement effect. But it is a great feel when flying to get that aircraft vibration in the rear. It delivers a more of the real vibration feel of what you remember when trying to sleep at 37,000ft and moving through the air at nearly the speed of sound. Landing is of course the most dramatic event of flying. And it is here of where any realism plugin can deliver or fail the test of giving you a realistic feedback of this event in motion. Landing can be akin to a controlled crash, which I suppose is what it really is but with the last minute ground contact being in control. Headshake was very good in delivering that initial gear compression and violent shake as the aircraft was still partly flying and yet parts of it is now connected to Terra Firma... ... switch Headshake off and landings became very quickly very boring. So how does XPRealistic stand up with the same strong expectation of drama and vibration. Certainly the initial gear contact was very good, but so is the slightly blurry shake vibrations as you still barrel down the runway still at landing speeds. Like at takeoff the vibrations come in a different frequencies to cover the different actions like airbrakes, flap movement and mostly the overriding reverse thrust vibrations that shake the airframe to a taxiing speed as is your final braking actions and like in real life it all feels very much quieter and more serene once the aircraft has completed the event. It will be very interesting to compare different aircraft in this category and use the different profiles to see what different feel you can achieve and experience. But overall the XPRealistic landing is a brilliant experience and highly real. Like when we left KRSW the taxi vibrations are again good, as is the movement into the gate and the final engine shutdown vibrations from the engines. This was basically just a gate to gate circuit around KRSW, but it was a great experience of an injection of far more realism into the simulation, I can't wait to use it on one of my well known routes Beech 1900D I taxiing out I found "oh, that is quite different, not much happening here?" Well there wouldn't be as I had the "Always Start for B190" checkbox unchecked and then once selected it was quickly back to the vibrations and movement, so there is a lesson in there in checking first the profile is switched actually on. The B1900D interests me because it is a mid-way aircraft in that it has the genes of a GA but the power of a much larger aircraft, a bit more of a "Rattle and Shake" machine if you know what I mean. The B1900D doesn't disappoint either as it rattled and totally shook it's way right down the runway to takeoff. The effects work very well in here, and a bit of turbulence from some heavy low cloud added in to the experience and shook you up a little bit more. The "Head Anticipation" worked a little better in here as well, but you did get a constant motion sort of feeling if you are doing a lot of manual manoeuvres, if I did a lot of this I would probably turn the "Head Anticipation" effect right down or off, but I loved the look to turn effect of the immersion more than the negative aspects, so that will be an interesting one as the if that effect becomes more annoying over time or a more wanted feature. The landing was excellent with great vibrations of the airframe and the hard pull back and extra vibrations of the prop reversed thrust, I actually put the brake effort up more slightly here to exaggerate that pull back effect for the different style of aircraft. The slight vibrations at the gate and then the final out of balance vibrations as the props spun down to stop was excellent, highly realistic and you noticed the vibrations really well from the rear cabin window view as the airframe shook to the stopping engines. At this point there are no profiles for helicopters? In X-Plane11 helicopters do already have a very good vibration effect, and the set up for helicopters would be very different from aircraft. My main slight worry is that helicopters may over exaggerate the vibrations, so it will be interesting to see if a default profile is created and how it relates to the aircraft. Summary It is a very fine line with effect tools in that they can be very good or just simply annoying. Headshake had managed to enhance but also not become an in your face tool that you either switched off or threw away. In other words it worked very well in the background and was only noticeable at crucial points like taking off or landing and that was it's successful appeal. But Headshake is global and that makes the same effects and their vibrations work in every aircraft no matter it's size and type. XPRealistic is adaptable to every aircraft large, small, noisy or even older and newer. It works like all great plugins in the background, not seen or heard unless you want to adjust something or even switch it off. And that adaptability means you can have some aircraft active and others not, and then unlike Headshake you can adapt certain characteristics to every different aircraft as you desire, so the plugin is hugely flexible and it also supports X-Camera and TrackIR. So what are the downsides. Well not that much directly but there are things you need to be aware of in using the plugin. One it uses FlyWithLua for its base coding, and the FlyWithLua as a plugin can conflict with other plugins. So you may lose some favorite plugins or some might not work at all and even worse also create conflicts that could cause the crash to desktop a regular occurrence. I'm glad to say it didn't conflict at all with my regular plugins, but then again my plugin folder set is quite small. The plugin is very new as well. It worked really well for me with no crashes or conflicts, but there is still refinements and extra features to still be added in there, but the basics are solid, only the feature "Head Anticipation" is a little buggy. As noted it flickers sometimes or snaps to a new position and I still don't know if over time it will be a favorite feature or will just get annoying, thankfully you can like all the immersion choices here turn it down to minimise any negative impact on your flying. Another point to make early is that you will need to spend time to fine tune your profiles and your desires of certain feels given to certain aircraft, the word "tweeking" come to mind, but I would like the idea that users share their favorite "tweeks" online so we can all enjoy the same settings and profiles that have been refined. But the awareness of the original aircraft's features is also required so they don't overlap or conflict with each other. So is this plugin another staple in a "must have" standard. Personally I really think so, as its qualities are excellent but also there is the huge flexibility of the profiles for every aircraft and the return of the effects and the huge immersion factor is going to make this plugin easily an X-Plane standard. It is clever in doing just a simple thing, and because it is layered in effects and sound as well in that it also gives it the absolute wow and realism factor. So certainly a "Must Have" plugin and you see that again X-Plane go another step forward in simulation realism... XPRealistic immersion is that good. _____________________________________________________________________________________ The XPRealistic Pro by rk Apps is NOW available! from the X-Plane.Org Store here : XPRealistic Pro Your Price: US$19.99 Features Separate Aircraft Profiles Create aircraft profiles with dedicated settings. Change sound volumes, shake intensity and much more. 26 Immersions Enjoy a growing list of 22 real life scenario immersions along with more than 15 different sound files to choose from. X-Camera/TrackIR Support X-Camera and TrackIR are supported, furthermore, we highly recommend to use X-Camera with XPRealistic Pro. Easy to use Enjoy a straight forward user interface which allows you to control almost every aspect of XPRealistic features. Fast Support We believe that fast response to any issue is the key to keep you happy, we are here if you need us. Realism and quality Requirements X-Plane 11 - X-Plane 10 Windows, Mac or Linux Required X-Plane Plugins: FlyWithLua (free) X-Camera (optional but recommended) Support forum for XPRealistic Pro Current review version: 1.08 (1st June 2017) Installation and documents: Full installation procedure is noted within the review above FlyWithLua (free) IS required to use this plugin Documents: Manual (13 pages) ____________________________________________________________________________________ Plugin Review by Stephen Dutton 8th June 2017 Copyright©2017: X-PlaneReviews (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.02 Addons: Saitek x56 Pro system Joystick and Throttle Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 2.0 Plugin - US$29.95 Scenery or Aircraft - KRSW - Southwest Florida International Airport by Aerosoft (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$24.99 - E-Jet 170 Evolution - by SSG (Supercritical Simulation Group) (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$49.95 - Beech 1900D HD - by Carenado (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$34.95 - C172 - X-Plane Default aircraft (X-Plane11) Free with simulator