Mini X-Plane rant

One of the slightly frustrating things I’ve found with X-Plane is that there can be a wide variety of methods that add-on developers use to operate internal cockpit mechanisms. In the old days of X-Plane, toggles were just a mouse click, and rotating knobs were handled by positioning the cursor to the left/right/inside/outside of knobs until a + or - appeared to indicate the direction the knobs would rotate when you clicked the mouse buttons. This worked pretty well until TrackIR came along and then it was a struggle to get the precise location for those little knobs right.

Along came manipulator technology…which (ostensibly) more closely resembles the actual physical motion you’d use to, well, uh…manipulate stuff. So windows you would “grab” with the mouse and move with a sliding motion in the direction you desired. Throttles, mixtures, etc…you could just grab and slide. Works pretty good unless you run out of mouse travel on your pad or screen…but I don’t have a whole bunch of complaints about that.

Now Carenado uses a bit different system for their knobs…it it might actually be better, but it does take some getting used to. Hover over the knob (for instance a heading select knob) and you can either roll the mouse wheel or move the mouse up and down or left and right to get motion. Pretty good. And I’d say better than finding the + / - zones that some aircraft use.

But it can be frustrating going from one aircraft designer to another and trying to figure out what the mechanics of moving stuff is. I mean, a knob or switch in real life has very little variation…but the ways you can do it in X-Plane are quite varied. It sure would be nice if they settled on a common method and everyone used it. But…I can see how the variety is there because different people probably prefer different things…

Very mild rant indeed.

Carry on.



I hear ya man!!! I think the 777 I have uses scroll wheel. Where as the MD80 I just got uses the left click and then move the mouse to turn the knob. And the E-190 I have uses my most hated method, hover over the side and click for plus and then hover over the other side for minus.

If all planes could just use the scroll wheel I’d be happy!


Each developer thinks their way is the best way.


I dont think there is some easy way how to find out how the knobs are functioning before buying specific plane. I can clearly imagine that even the same developer can during the time change the way to program it.

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Btw I wanted to ask, in case someone have both FSX and XP.
How about the flight models? Did anyone evaluated the same craft from the same developer on both platforms (FM vise)? Is it so huge difference? Or the developers just relay on the better default XP FM programming and the difference is there but not so eyeopening?
For example if I take for a ride Carenado C172 (or any other) in FSX and XP will be the FM experience completely different or there will be some slight differences in the behavior?

Most definitely a difference. Graphics-wise, the FSX Cessna 172 might be a little better looking. And I say “might” because for me, X-Plane has almost gotten as good looking as FSX. In my opinion (only an opinion) - X-Plane does lighting way better than FSX - both interior and environmental lighting. The guy doing the Carenado conversions for X-Plane (Dan Klaue), I think is doing a phenomenal job porting over the lineup and taking maximum advantage of X-Plane features. As far as gauge update rates and fluid motion - I don’t think there is any comparison (as long as X-Plane is running at a high FPS) that X-Plane is better. As for flight model…again, my personal opinion, based on no small part as a pilot and flight instructor, is that X-Plane better translates the “feel” of flight better. More twitchy, more dynamic, way better interaction between the aircraft and the ground during takeoff and landing. I suppose that is owing to the different ways that FSX and X-Plane come up with their flight models (ostensibly) - FSX uses look up tables to calculate an output, while X-Plane (apparently) uses actual wing and body shape to come up with a more dynamic flight model. No telling which one is more statistically “right” or not compared to a POH, but the X-Plane ones feel more right to me.

Again, there are some high-fidelity add-ons for FSX that try (or do) circumvent the FSX flight modeling. I don’t know how they do it (AccuSim is one developer…and some helo devs like DodoSim do it as well) - but their models feels better than default FSX modeling, but in my opinion is still not as good as a good X-Plane model.

Anyway…there is a short longish answer… LOL…