Flight simulator addons are intended to improve and enhance flight simulation by adding software to any given flight simulator.
Add-ons are a way of customizing a flight simulator by adding or changing various areas within the simulator itself. It is a way of customizing your simulator by improving different components that are important to you. Upgrade the scenery that you are going to see, not much point developing areas of scenery if you like to fly Jetliners at 30000 feet or higher for the majority of your flight time.
Common Types of Flight Simulator Addons
Flight simulator addons are available both as freeware and commercially; the commercial add-ons are most often developed by professional developers who often specialize in a given category of add-on, while freeware add-ons are offered by talented enthusiasts. Scenery add-ons can have a striking effect within the simulations landscape, depending on the type enhancement, it will typically alter all to some of the visual elements.
The transition can be local or global depending on the type of add-on, but yes, the results can be spectacular. If you love to fly the heavies or prefer lighter small aircraft, then these types of add-ons can make your flight simulation much more enjoyable by increasing the realism and the challenge of flying much more realistic.
It is the ability to choose the type of flight simulator addon that best suits the needs of any given flight simmer which makes them so popular. Five different flight simmers who customize their flight simulators to suit their individual needs, might well result in 5 simulators that are very different, and nothing like the out of the box standard simulation it once was.
The scenery in a flight simulator is splendid in all the typical simulators but can always be improved upon, particularly in any one given area. Scenery add-ons will often significantly enhance and airport or airport and its environs.
For example, Pago Pago International Airport by ORBX includes the main airport but also takes in 7 new airports and improves more than Over 3000 sq.-km total for the American Samoa.
ORBX FTX – Products Quick Overview
Airports are a very common add-on upgrade for flight simmers
ORBX also offer worldwide texture and vector replacements which significantly improve scenery globally.
Improves ground textures for the whole world and features new autogen (A Microsoft Technology which generates landscape within FSX)
These packages improve rivers, more accurate coastlines and other water bodies like lakes, better forests, parks, golf courses, roads and freeways all with moving traffic. These types of packages are ideal for those virtual pilots who love to fly low visually (VFR).
FTX Global OpenLC which is custom and new textures for vast areas like Europe for example, these also add new night lighting.
Other highly respected scenery texture developers are Ground Environment X, FSGenesis and Ultimate Terrain X and Scenery Tech.
Airports are a very common add-on upgrade for flight simmers who love to see an accurate representation of their local airports. They are often improved by the use of better high-resolution textures, more detailed photoreal buildings waterways around the airport where applicable and moving airport Jetways. Highly detailed ground vehicles and other animations and general graphical improvements.
Some of the highly respected developers in this category are: ORBX FTX, Aerosoft, FlyTampa, FSDreamTeam & FlightBeam Studios
Aircraft realism has significantly improved in recent years with a level of realism that is truly impressive. Third-party aircraft developers for flight simulator addons now offer aircraft both light civil to large commercial planes that replicate the real plane very accurately. Well, known developers such as PMDG, A2A Simulations, Realair, DoDosim, and Majestic continue to provide a larger range of aircraft with even more operative systems which mirror their real life counterparts.
Accurate weather representation is again something that makes flight simulation much more realistic and immersive. Weather add-ons provide real-time weather as it happens for any area one happens to be flying and changes as you progress through any location in the world. New textures also help to accurately display clouds, fog, haze and every other aspect of weather also.
Tools and General Add-ons
Ezdok: provides a means of customizing views both internally and externally for your aircraft, it is very configurable and is a must have for many.
Flight Planners: Build flight plans using specialized software that replicate real world flight planning.
Air Traffic (AI): builds upon the aircraft that fly in your environment, airspace and airports, these are aircraft with artificial intelligence and are designed to add another element of realism to flight simulation by adding more aircraft in real world liveries which fly real-world routes.
Flight sticks, Flight Sim Yoke rudders with varying degrees of complexity and price for the flight simmer who wishes to use a physical mean to fly the flight simulation aircraft.
These types of setups need a space to accommodate the hardware, perhaps a spare room or a study. Budget is another consideration as some peripheral devices can be expensive, but very worthwhile if you wish that added immersion in your flight simulation experience.
Additional monitors which provide a means of extending the flight simulations visual reference via multiple computer monitors networked to provide an extended peripheral vision.
Keep an eye out for the following, Oculus is going to change the virtual gaming and simulation world as we know it, those that have tried it struggle to find enough superlatives to do it justice.
New Flight simulator addons appear from time to time as well as the old are improved upon which helps to keep things fresh and exciting, might I go as far as saying it has kept the hobby alive!
“Microsoft Flight Simulator – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.