Microsoft Flight Simulator Aircraft and Scenery Designer. (Evaluation)
by Bob Guerra
If you're one of the thousands of armchair pilots who earned their wings with Microsoft's Flight Simulator, you know that the program's realism and attention to detail make it one of the most realism and attention to detail make it one of the most rewarding simulations to master. However, by now you probably also realize that the program is deficient in one important area--scenery.
Oh, sure, you can buzz the Statute of Liberty, loop under the Golden Gate Bridge, or fly rings around the Sears Tower in Chicago. But where are all the realy important landmarks like your house, your old school, or the building where you work? Microsoft's Aircraft and Scenery Designer not only lets you add these buildings but also allows you to customize the landscape with other types of statis scenery, including trees, rivers, mountains, highways, cars, and even navigational aids and runways. Dynamic scenery such as moving ground traffic, sailboats, and aircraft can also be added to bring the area around your local airport to life. You dictate the movement patterns and decide whether the movement should be continuous or begin only when you enter the specific scenery area.
Although Flight Simulator already includes an aircraft design option, Aircraft and Scenery Designer surpasses the features of this mode by allowing you to modify a much wider variety of design parameters. These include color, instrumentation, aerodynamics, and visual design.
If, after all your hard work designing scenery, you're too tired to design a new aircraft from scratch, you can still cruise around in a new plane. Aircraft and Scenery Designer comes with four new aircraft--a Piper Cherokee Archer, a Beechcraft Starship, a Boeing 747-400, and a seaplane. With all these planes and scenic improvements, Flight Simulator holds its own against the current flock of simulators.