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Behind the Screen : Year in Review 2019

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Behind the screen- Year in Review 2019.png

 

Behind the Screen : Year in Review 2019

 

In many ways simulation in 2019 was transmogrified from one situation to another. In early 2018 Laminar Research's X-Plane11 was seen as the saviour of simulation, as Microsoft's long winded, long dead and bankrupt "Flight Simulator" series finally died at the hands of another saviour in Dovetail Games in the form of Flight Sim World (FSW) but was still based on the original code based in Flight Simulator X... so finally FS was dead...  dead and gone, buried on May 15, 2018.

 

So they finally came to X-Plane, the users and dragging their feet also the developer's, some didn't want to come like PMDG, Quality Wings and Majestic... but for many then survival was the key and many actually realised that X-Plane was a pretty good simulator for their money. But most Ex-FS brought in tired old product and hoping we would want to buy a decade or older add-ons, and then complained loudly when nobody actually bought their crap... I wonder why.

 

For Laminar Research the X-Plane sales went through the roof, everyone got a new Tesla and not just the boss and the focus went on the development of the next big thing in new API's Vulkan and Metal for X-Plane. For as starting 2019 then X-Plane was the finally the prominent simulator in simulation, and to be fair Laminar deserved the coveted title, they had been innovative, worked hard and delivered some excellent ideas and product to make X-Plane a very good simulator, a few areas were notable in ATC and weather which are still quite average but in most areas it delivers a very realistic aviation simulation.

 

Moving to the end of the year you couldn't believe the changes that have taken place within that same 12 month period. The crucial date is June 9 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles in that the French Asobo Studio game company announced the new coming Flight Simulator 2020 or FS2020, the beast had again risen from the dead...  and with a huge investment again from Microsoft, and if you look at the trailers it makes X-Plane look dated and clunky, even if the new simulator stole most of the X-Plane ideas along the way. Laminar literally laughed off FS2020 at the last Q&A of the year, and that went down like a lead balloon to the point that the video was pulled off line very quickly. So from being the leader of the pack and huge numbers coming into the simulator then the tide suddenly went out again as they all pledged allegiance to the brave new world, in just the last few weeks four Ex-FS developers have already quit X-Plane to go back and find the golden riches again in FS2020 and more will soon follow, in fact the slow flow will turn into a torrent as the FS2020 release date comes near.

 

This was the simulation story of the year 2019, and right at the end of the decade of the teen's.

 

Laminar Research

From Laminar Research's perspective it was all on about just one thing in converting those API's. So from a users perspective it was one of the most quietest development years in the simulator. You started off the 2019 development year in the beta of X-Plane v11.30, it was a long one of seven betas and the usual RC's and mostly focused on the Particles editor, ATC voices, Oxygen and De-Icing systems and a rebuild shader system with a load of autopilot options as part of the package. Overall it was a great beta, but in reality that was it for the year except for a few crumbs that came out of the FlightSimExpo in June. One final beta v11.40 release was a solo effort by Austin to update the X-Plane flow dynamics, it was so boring X-PlaneReviews didn't even bother to cover it, but in reality it was an important part of the hidden forces that makes your simulator so realistic so you shouldn't discount it, missing the whole year was the expected new ATC, and weather updates, instead Laminar seems to want to lavish more attention on to their mobile global airports app than the desktop version.

 

But that was hiding all the work and the resources going into Vulkan/Metal. A progress report was shown at the summer FlightSimExpo and again at the UK Cosford Expo, and as exciting as it all was, we just all fell asleep again as the numbers were noted as just very good, but not exactly life transforming. A moment was that Laminar was very quiet around their usual annual surprise thanksgiving date, in well nothing happened this year was very unsual, and it is still all very quiet to date, and after the Q&A debacle they had seemingly left the building completely... Merry Christmas for 2019 from Laminar.

 

Aircraft

From a user perspective it was actually a very good year, but it also came with a very few of the really big releases. No new releases from FlightFactor, FlyJSim, Rotate, Dreamfoil and even JARDesign. In most cases it was updates and upgrades to existing aircraft, with many finally filling out their project status. FlightFactor finally got their A320 Ultimate to v1.0 status and overall it is now a sensational deep simulation, and update to the "FPDS" or "Flat Panel Display System" for the Boeing 757/767 series was however a nice compromise, but nothing in a new A350 or Boeing 777 that is really required, both are said to be in development. The ToliSS A319 went official Airbus and is again all round a sensational simulation, the surprise announcement is that ToLiSS is releasing a A321 early into 2020, was one of the big exciting announcements of the year.

 

FlyJSim was working on their new Q400 "Q4XP" and moved the older now tired version to Legacy status, the B727/738 got the "Rainman" packs but that was about it. Rotate and the MD11 was another no show, three years now and it goes on. Dreamfoil went AWOL then recently came back to development, so a lot of helicopter releases and upgrades were put on hold, and no news on the Embraer 120 in development, means we hope it is still in development.

 

JARDesign once a front runner in airbus designs is in a quandary. With such highly developed A320/A319/A321 now out there, it is the JAR A330 that is now the frontline aircraft from JAR and the various updates are bringing this aircraft forward, the promised A340 is still a WIP.

 

SSG - Supercritical Simulations Group put their v1 Boeing 748 also into legacy, and released their brand new v2 Boeing 748 Inter late October to a lamentable lack of enthusiasm and criticism. It was far better, but the cockpit was almost exactly the same as before and there was a noticeable lack of beta development... annoying as well, because the systems and their detail were all very good.

 

X-Craft's were really the only notable developer to get out a full new series of aircraft in 2019 with the release of the ERJ Series with five E135/E140 series of different variants, the aircraft was also a serious step up in design with only the hybrid FMC still being a missing step to it all being a full quality simulation.

 

Different developing methods also appeared this year, or "how to make a lot of cash from a half developed project" Colimata and his Concorde, MagKnight and the B787 Dreamliner were the leaders in the cash crowdfunding before you buy brigade, at least they delivered as the Concorde has now gone v1.0 and the Dreamliner has also went v1.4.0 with an updated fuselage/cabin and more systems, so the incoming cash is spurring great development, however the extra cash grab for the "Aviator" edition was a very fine line for the devoted, it split the crowdfunding, holding your hand out idea maybe too far...  time will tell if these tactics will wash in the future, likewise FlightFactor's canny ways in getting more cash for their addon extras, are all testing the proven model of paying for addons. One event was the MilViz crowdfunding episode (or gun to your head) "pay me US$27,000 dollars and I will do an ATR for you!" was a disaster from  the start, but the $8,000 rake showed the idea had actual promise, at the end of the year MilViz was gone, back to his safe haven of FS2020, which actually was a shame and again mostly towards the developer as his (with vFlyteAir) DHC-3T Turbo Otter was simply sensational, sadly I think the real loser here is MilViz, as more of the same as the DHC-3T would have cemented a reputation of a great developer for the simulator, deep down though I think he will be back.

 

If anything 2019 was the year of the "Regional" aircraft, as noted the X-Crafts E135/140 Series were a big regional flying filler, but it was Carenado that released the very best in this genre this year. Their incredible Saab 340 XP11 was and is one of the most compelling releases for a long time, the follow on Fokker 50 XP11 was just as good. But the recent announcement that Carenado has split with Thranda Design is one to seriously mull over. Thranda with Danial Klaue is the builder of Carenado's huge status in X-Plane and one of the great partnerships ever in the simulator, so this announcement has huge repercussions for both entities, I have found and have noted frequently that certain elements of Carenado are now feeling very dated, in many areas like dynamics and quality they are well ahead of the pack, but in others with Menus, Options and Weight&Balance features they are also now way behind (Weight&Balance is available on all Carenado aircraft as an afterthought, through the "manifest.json").

 

In general aviation the showboat just rolled on, it was a bumper year again in this category with almost every developer house putting out some sensational aircraft, but with a lot focused on the installing of the Laminar Research G1000 avionics system in their aircraft, so you got a lot of G1000 based aircraft.

 

JustFlight although expensive had some great aircraft and the every expanding PA-28 universe, so yes we start off the year with a... PA-28 in the Archer lll variant, then the lovely Duchess Model 76 and finally the PA-38 Tomahawk trainer, and towards the end the year a...  another PA28 in the Archer TX/LX but in G1000 avionic guise.

 

We are back to Carenado with a smorgasbord of GA releases, but mostly many were disguised as XP11 upgrades, brilliant they were. First off the rank was the Cessna 172SP SkyHawk XP11 and I adored this aircraft with G1000 avionics, it was brilliant simulation. The PA-31T Cheyenne ll was a grunt of a machine, again really good, and at the end of the year the CT206H - StationAir in both G1000 and Analog versions. But most Carenado releases this year were private jets with the 390 Premier 1A XP11 and the excellent Falcon 50EX that both carried over the same quality and detail as their exceptional  Cessna Citation ll S550 from late 2018.

 

VFlyteAir joined the level of masters this year. All their releases were exceptional with the Cherokee PA140C Original, then the amazing Cherokee PA140C Modern with an Aspen E1000 Evolution avionics suite, vFlyteAir also spread some magic out on the already noted DHC-3T Turbo Otter and topped out the year with the amazing tiddler trainer Cessna 150 Commuter...  so overall a brilliant year for vFlyteAir.

 

Aerobask by definition had a quiet year with only an upgrade to their Diamond DA62 XP11 mid-year, however that all masks their development of the official version of the Dassault Aviation Falcon 8X, of which is a change of genre and aircraft type for the development house, but one to get really excited about in 2020.

 

AirFoilLabs released their over featured King Air 350, no doubt a brilliant aircraft, but when is too much too much that it gets in the way of the flying and ease of use, very buggy early on, I have yet to revisit to see the aircraft to see the progress.

 

Every year has it's oddballs, but the Spectr-Aero SP-30 by Mad Flight took out the trophy on oddness. The SP-30 was a very interesting and exceedingly deep and a highly realistic simulation that made this all a very unique aircraft, I simply loved it, but the developers odd interpretation of some features made it all maddeningly very hard to access the aircraft. And update fixed most of the  most maddening of idiosyncrasies but not all of them, but an aircraft to savour and understand to get the best out of this exceptional machine. Most users passed over the Aerostar 601P by Avia 71, which was a huge shame because it is a brilliant aircraft with a load of great features, I loved it... you should as well.

 

VskyLabs brought out a huge cannon of experimental aircraft that defines oddness with a new design or a new model every few months, but the way these aircraft are released and updated (basically on the fly) makes it all very hard to follow and lot of the releases and versions got lost in the confusion, however VskyLabs have a serious devoted following and the aircraft designs are very clever and experimental.

 

In military we had a few gems. The Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXc by FlyingIron was a great homage to the famous WW2 fighter, a more modern British aircraft in the McDonnell Douglas Harrier AV-8B by X-Trident (it is a British developed aircraft not America even in the translation) was the training curve of the year, yes you sorted the hover out at the end, but the great machine but required a lot of patience. FlyingIron also did the interesting Grob G109B/Vigilant T1 motor-glider, again an interesting machine.

 

Helicopters were again in a few minority, but at least in 2019 there was a few signs of life. Biggest release of the year was the exceptional Bell UH-1 Iroquois "Huey" by Nimbus Simulations, a very good reproduction for the veterans, because they mostly created it and refined the UH-1. An update covered the AB512 (again very nice) but Dreamfoil as note went AWOL all year so any updates from his large cannon went missing, as did the non-appearance of the Hughes MD500D. Other choppers that I love became mostly now obsolete with the dated AS350, the Virtavia Sea King breaking my heart, and the BK-177 now hopelessly grounded and seriously out of date. VskyLab's did however do three great very light helicopters in the Cicaré-8, Guimbal Cabri G2 and the Revolution Mini-500

 

Overall it was a very quiet 2019 release year with most of the big development studios not releasing new aircraft.

 

Scenery

X-Plane scenery output this year was huge, massive in context to the past and the quality was through the roof as well. Releases are coming almost weekly, so you had to pick and choose the best of the best to suit your simulation needs. The Laminar default Global Airport package is now enormous with at last count at 11,661 of 3d sceneries. Many are exceedingly good, but personally I still use set payware work for realism.

 

Overall scenery had a bit of everything from landscapes to cityscapes, monuments to the quality airports. Quality was the word this year in many airports embracing the high dynamics of PBR to give you rainy/wet runways, reflective glass and even reflective buildings with high object counts. The biggest advance came from Stairport sceneries with their amazing SAM - Scenery Animation Manager (yes SAM should be in the plugin section, but it is in the scenery it made it's biggest impression) and the plugin was adopted with virtuoso by most scenery developers and has dynamically changed your airport experience and best SAM implementation of the plugin was Misterx6's EDDM.

 

Another plugin by Misterx6 that effected scenery was his amazing SFD Global, that introduced local autogen and better textures by just popping the folders into your custom scenery folder... brilliant. Both plugins totally changed the scenery landscape in 2019 for the better.

 

In landscapes then Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini had a huge impact with their amazing mountain range sceneries and you got three areas all in one year...  with the latest Mont Blanc Group joining Eiger Park 3D, and then the earlier Cerro Torre 3D "Los Glaciares". Map2XPlane also gave us the sensational Faroe Islands in the same scenic visualization experience, which very quickly became my personal favorite.

 

Expat flightSim developers FlyTampa brought X-Plane a swath of Greek sceneries with LGTS - Thessaloniki, LGAV - Athens, LGIR - Heraklion

and all were sensational. The Greek theme continued with LGSR - Santorini Greece by Logo Projects with some of the best nightlighting I have seen in X-Plane.

 

European airports were in big demand with newcomers Vidan design with their excellent EKYT - Aalborg XP and EKBI Billund XP that covers Denmark's second and third largest airports, both are excellent. JustSim had a load of new and upgraded sceneries, the new was the excellent LMML - Malta International but most of their main sceneries got major dynamic upgrades including ELLX Luxembourg V2LEBL - Barcelona XP11 and EDDL - Düsseldorf International v2.

Aerosoft were very busy (or their partners were). Berlin-Brandenburg XP was a great release, but still half a dead airport. the release of LSZH - Zurich v2 saw the introduction of the SAM plugin, the airport upgrade was good as well. LIMC - Milano Malpensa XP was very welcome as was the upgraded LIRF - Roma-Fiumicino, but neither is what you would call high quality sceneries. Aerosoft released some serious clunkers as well with the very dated LIME - Bergamo and simply awful remodeled EGCC - Manchester.

 

Drzewiecki Design had a huge year but were more were more content in 2019 in doing airport upgrades than city vistas, the only city vista was an Upgrade to Miami City XP which was ho-hum and a bit pathetic. Their upgrade to UBBB Baku and City XP was far better and an vastly underused scenery and UUEE Sheremetyevo Airport XP is a sensational upgrade to their Moscow City vista.

 

Nimbus was busy (besides doing the Heuy) with a new KORD - Chicago O'Hare v3 and the sensational upgrade to ATL- Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta Intl Airport v2, both are quality sceneries to use. Mexico got a huge look-in with the brilliant MMMX - Mexico City by DreamFlight Studios, but the MMUM - Cancún International Airport by FSimstudios on close inspection was a bit of a disappointment, but still usable.

 

China finally got a look in with the new ZBAD - Beijing Daxing International by Star-Atlas, but the surrounding infrastructure in China does still not make a scenery work well in X-Plane, but it is a start. A best new entry is LPPR - Porto Airport Portugal by Area77 Simulations and Skyline's KCVG - Cincinnati International and KCMH - John Glenn Columbus International were nice additions (note, I never got around to a review of KCVG, because of early ground texture issues, but will do a review in the new year).

 

With mister6x ShortFinal commited to his SDG global project for most of the year, he still created a masterpiece with EDDM - Munich, an upgraded Salt KSLC - Lake City is also due before the end of the year. Pilot+Plus did his definitive new EGGD - Bristol and an old X-Plane developer in TruScenery came back into the family fold.

 

Orbix released the their TrueEarth Series for the UK (North, Central and South) and Northern California and Oregon. Cardiff, Southampton, Leeds Bradford, East Midlands, London City and Edinburgh all were major releases, but you will need serious storage (and a bank account to match) to use them, but make no doubt that Orbix has delivered a lot of scenery content for X-Plane in 2019 and are soaking up also a lot of serious developer talent in the same context.

 

So scenery was a huge market this 2019 year, the biggest ever, obviously the question is will it continue for X-Plane in 2020 with the FS2020 now attracting back the developers and the content suppliers.

 

Plugins

The plugin market in 2019 was very vibrant, with some major releases to cover the missing aspects of what Laminar Research are not developing.

 

In the weather wars xEnviro brought out a significant version in v1.10. This release added volume rendered clouds which is the Holy Grail of cloud formations, but the release was not refined, slow and slightly buggy, so v1.11 flowed very quickly. One great feature of v1.10 was snow coverage which is excellent, but there was a lot of features is this version. v1.12 and also v1.13 also quickly followed, which was very unusual for xEnviro, but steep progress for the second half of the year with v1.14 due early 202, finally sees major progress to the app being made. Yes I am still a big fan of this complex component, but it does test you sometimes, however it does really deliver where it counts.

The sudden change in updates by xEnviro were no doubt caused by the release of Active Sky XP (ASXP) from the FS developers Hi-Fi. Active Sky however has not come in and dominated the market, mainly because it still uses the default visual cloud rendering system, yes it adjusts the default bitmaps and shaders, but is still not a complete environmental engine per-se like xEnviro, however both engines will be looking to the new API's for quicker forward progress..  again 2020 will be an interesting year in this context.

Skymaxx Pro merged with FS Global Real Weather to create another environmental leader in weather and that project is still currently ongoing, and so currently SkyMaxx and ASXP are locked into similar parallel war, but soon a three way race will be on with xEnviro, ASXP and SkyMaxx all after your weather dollars. As for the freeloaders there was a trillion new packaged versions of shaders and cloud adjustments, but overall they were mostly all the same with the same average results.

 

Traffic has also had a major change in 2019 with new competition. The traffic plugin for X-Plane is dominated by WorldTraffic3 by Classic Jet Simulations, but this year Just Flight have released their own traffic plugin called Traffic Global, so the war begins here as well. But Traffic Global has a mountain to climb to match WT3, it has currently 7, 900 versions of A.I. aircraft in all up to date current form to real world air traffic data, and that for Traffic Global is a lot to catch up on...  WT3 is still currently wrapped up in a long, long beta phase currently 3.2 0b7, but the new features including enroute traffic is very good, personally I haven't yet tried Traffic Global so expect a comparison review early in 2020.

 

Stairport's SAM and mister6x's ShortFinal Global have already been mentioned here in this review, but both were very significant. Another two plugins that were highly valuable and highly useful was WebFMC Pro by Green Arc Studios and Navigraph's subscription Charts v7.0, this brilliant addition can cross reference both X-Plane (aircraft placement on maps), SimBrief and show all SID and STAR arrivals on the charts, a totally invaluable tool.

 

The librain (Rain) application by skiselkov was picked up by every developer, and it is a clever application, not every one managed to get the effcts perfect (even the pro's) but it was an exceptional addition to your weather bound flying. The Github downloading page however may be fine for the coders, but confused everyone else of which was the correct download of the app.

 

I really liked X-ATC-Chatter by Stick and Rudder Studios, but ultimately it didn't work for the job it needed to do, mostly in Europe with the different dailects all mashed into one large area (you got Russian's on London ATC?), but the plugin has huge promise if dissected into the correct ATC zones, America or Australia worked better and showed you how good this application could really be.

 

VATSIM finally got Audio in "Audio For VATSIM" (AFV) that gives you a high fidelity radio simulation encompassing Very High Frequency (VHF) and High Frequency (HF) communications, and it all came with realistic audio effects. The AFV is a brand new voice system, that was built from the ground up with the aims of improving the clarity and intelligibility of VATSIM voice communications. Audio for VATSIM also removed the concept of ‘Voice Rooms’ where a controller hosts a specific channel on a specific server which all pilots tuned to their frequency automatically connected to the online community.

 

___________________________________________

 

2019 marked the anniversary of X-PlaneReviews 6th year in producing content for the X-Plane simulator, and it was a huge year even a third larger in content than the year before and X-PlaneReviews pased the 1500 milestone of published reviews and 500 posts coming in the last year and a half alone, that shows the sheer amount of quality add-ons that was added to the simulator, and that is again a huge growth year and again everything came higher levels of quality and dynamic simulation.

The 2019 year was not without it's hiccups either for X-PlaneReviews... in March we had a software update that rendered all the sites images out of proportion, and we had to shut down for a week to find a fix, still a lot of reviews from  that event have not been manually re-edited, but we redo as many as possible on the fly. A personal situation in having to move house took me away from the computer as well, and at the busiest time of the year for releases, then a another personal situation for a family matter took us off line again at the start of December... it was just one of those years, and I don't think no one went into 2019, will come out the same at the end of it, but sometimes the real world can create situations you just can't deal with online.

 

To all those new users that have joined the X-Plane universe over the past year, significantly they are more users that are also contributing to the simulation only means they are giving up their valuable time to contribute and that does mean that X-Plane as a community is a gift that keeps on giving all year round. Without them, then the software is nothing, X-Plane is not only a great piece of software, but more importantly X-Plane is in the end of the only about the people that contribute and use the software. Overall the users are X-Plane, and they represent everything about the simulator.

 

A last word on the FS2020 and the X-Plane Simulator changes going into the new decade. Yes the huge growth of X-Plane of the last year will slow down in 2020 as users will gyrate back to the FlightSimulator series. But there will also be a significant differences between the two platforms and there are notes to be made on that; for one we haven't flown or used the FS2020 simulator yet for all the lush hype, yes it will be good, but so was the expectations of FlightSimWorld. But one point to make is that FS2020 is being created and marketed as a game (Introduction of Microsoft's new Project xCloud game streaming service) and set up like Google's Stadia in games content and also for the new XBox gaming console XBox one X. They say it is an open content simulation but how open and acccessable we haven't seen yet. In the defence of X-Plane it is still a very open source and experimental simulator, it is called X-Plane for a reason, so yes many will be initially very attracted to the new simulator, but even the hardcore users of FlightSimulator will still be highly attracted to the X-Plane platform for the very reason that they can and be interactive with it and change and adjust the simulator to their personal wishes and preferences... if the same can be said of FS2020, is one of the biggest questions still out there.

 

Again this review site cannot function without all the great and exciting work by the tireless developers that give us all this exciting and incredible product to fly and use, as they and X-Plane has come a long way and created leaps in quality in the last few years, and to a point I was very proud of the work they produced, it is world class if not the very best in simulation product, and they are all top notch and very clever. To the X-Plane.OrgStore who supports this site with review products, service and updates, a really big thanks, this site just would just not function without that outstanding support.

 

We will finish off with X-PlaneReviews best of the year awards…   So I will now list my Best of the Year 2019:

(note the awards are given to only products I have seen and tested and can vouch for)

 

Best Aircraft : Carenado Saab 340 XP11
Carenado threw everything at the SAAB and most of it stuck, will it be Daniel Klaue's swansong for Carenado?
Honorable Mentions : Carenado's Excellent Fokker 50, X-Crafts ERJ Series with five E135/E140 series aircraft

There was really nothing between them in every area, but one..  but the SAAB 340 had an extra system over the Fokker 50.

 

Best General Aviation Aircraft : Cherokee PA140C Modern by vFlyteAir

VflyteAir achieved the perfect simulation in feel and quality and all with an Aspen E1000 Evolution avionics suite as well.
Honorable Mentions : Cessna 150 Commuter again by vFlyteAir and the great to fly DHC-3T Turbo Otter by MilViz

Anything vFlyteAir touched was golden this year and here again they both had the vFlyteAir magic touch.

A mention of the King Air 350 by AirFoilLabs is a feature packed machine that is far too good for it's own good.

 

Best Classic Aircraft : The Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXc by FlyingIron

FlyingIron wins for two years in a row, but there was not much competition in this category.

 

Best Business Aircraft : Carenado Falcon 50EX

A new category for business jets as they have exploded in releases over the last few years, 50EX is sensational and wins, but only because the Carenado Cessna Citation ll S550 was released the year before, a lot more to come in this category.

 

Best Military : McDonnell Douglas Harrier AV-8B by X-Trident

always a quiet category, but the Harrier was very good

 

Best Helicopter : Bell UH-1 Iroquois "Huey" by Nimbus

Only a few helicopters again this year, but with Dreamfoil back in development that will give you hope for 2020, but the Huey was very, very good and it should be with the testing the aircraft had.

 

Best Landscape Scenery : Faroe Islands Map2XPlane & any Frank Dainese and Fabio Bellini mountain group
It was really hard to pick as either landscape sceneries as all were excellent, but my heart goes to Faroe Islands and the sensational season changes and hard testing approaches that in the end my scenery of the year and one place that just kept on bringing me back there

 

Best Airport Scenery : EDDM - Munich by ShortFinal
Mister6x's genius pulled every rabbit and special effect out of the hat, EDDM was a tour de force of dynamics.

Honorable Mention : Orbix TrueEarth Series

Brilliant photo textures are what X-Plane detail is missing, but they require a lot of computer storage and power, and way beyond my 1Tb SSD capaciity.

Special Mentions : JustSim Sceneries again for consistent quality and value and MMMX -Mexico City

Worst of the year was Aerosoft's awful remodeled EGCC - Manchester


Person(s) of the Year : ysfsim (WorldTraffic)

It is not the big names that contribute the most to the everyday genius of X-Plane but the ones that work tirelessly in the background. ysfsim has compiled and constructed with helpers the enormous package of A.I. aircraft for WorldTraffic, highly detailed and now has an extensive inventory, WT3 is a huge task to keep abreast of all the changes...  huge thanks from everyone.

 

Best Plugin(s) : Stairport's SAM and mister6x's ShortFinal Global
Both made huge contributions to airport scenery and worldwide autogen

Honorable Mention : librain (rain) by skiselkov

Just brilliant, clever and very X-Plane (again)

Special Mention : WebFMC Pro and Navigraph Charts

Both applications were highly used throughout the year and in Navigraph Charts/SimBrief both are simply invaluable

 

Best Moment of the year 2019 : Restarting the computers after moving house

 

Worst Moment of the Year 2019 : Software update that crashed the site with every image broken and still ongoing nine months later fixing it


Biggest distractions of 2019 : ... MS2020 and moving house (150 ft away from the old one), oh and the constant updating!

 

Personal Favorites of 2019 : ToLiSS A319 (Brilliant), FlightFactor Airbus Ultimate (Yes it is now the ultimate simulation), Cessna Citation ll (Uber Flying), Bonanza F33A (Even better in XP11), Native X-Plane11 B737-800 its basic but still great to fly and now with a cabin. Scenery : Dusseldorf, Barcelona, Oslo, Laranca, Malta, Manchester (old version), Gatwick, Dubin, Zurich and Mexico City.

 

That is X-PlaneReviews for 2019, and we will be back after a very much needed recovery and the review site returns again early into the New Year on the 6th January 2020.

 

So Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and also a completely new decade in 2020

 

Stephen Dutton

23rd December 2019

Copyright:X-PlaneReviews 2019

 

 

(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)

 

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