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Review: DS – FSX Powerboats

Quick Summary: This is quite a good set of powerboats (aka as speed boats) and it brings something different to FSX, in that you can now explore the scenery at sea level, and you can “fly” without ever leaving the ground (or water).  The boats are well modelled; they look very nice in the Sim and have little effect on performance.  The sounds are good, typical of a powerboat of this genre.  Although there are 3 models and 10 variants the cockpit instruments do not vary very much, but thet are comprehensive for a power boat.  They seem to have unique instruments as well as using the default GPS and GA radio stack.  The instructions on how to configure and pilot the boats are comprehensive and need to be followed to ensure success.  For something totally different you can’t go beyond these boats.

Figure 1 DS PB Cheetah in Tongass X Alaska

Delta Sim – FSX POWERBOAT — A βeta Simple Review

In the Sim

Installation was relatively easy after extracting the “ZIP” file and double clicking the self extracting “exe” file which attempts to install in the default FSX location, so once that is changed to your FSX folder installation proceeds smoothly after entering a registration code. (This is explained in the manual).  The documentation is contained in a folder with the extracted zip files and is an htm document that if you try to print out, you will see that the print is extremely hard to see and difficult to read.  There is a readme.txt file which also explains how to install the power boats as well as describing basic commands.  How you access the “manual” is not explained anywhere in the included documentation, so its mystery as to why it’s included in this format.

Settings:

On my system in the Select aircraft menu in FSX under “Publisher” I was presented with the tab for “Delta sim Studio” and this allows the choice of all 10 variants.  In my flight control the “GENERAL” settings are full right and all other settings (p-factor, torque, etc) are full left, auto-rudder is ticked as is auto-mixture plus unlimited fuel.  I picked up these settings from somewhere and they seem to work OK, but the frustrating thing is that these are not in the manual and you have to dig around to find these sorts of tips.

The Guide:

There is an “htm” version only of the manual of 10 pages, which is also available on the Delta Sim website.  This is basically a checklist of standard operating procedures, minimum system requirements, and a series of pictures of the cockpit which have annotations showing what button, gauge, lever, etc does what.  There is no background information either on the boats or powerboat racing in general.  If you print out this “htm” manual then the print is extremely small and is very difficult to read.  A pdf manual would have been excellent.

The Visual Aspect

The external views are excellent with all 10 repaints standing out in the water.  I was disappointed with some of the VC cockpit and the boat interiors.  The word “Spartan” comes to mind — keep that weight down!  The paint schemes inside the VC are basically white/off-white and do not, in certain aspects, appear to give a 3-dimensional visualisation.  The glare is quite high, even though I reduced brightness and contrast on my monitor.  There are no 2-D cockpits only 3-D

Figure 2 DS PB Cheetah Variant (Tourist with sliding sun Roof)

Figure 3 DS PB Pathfinder Tourist Variant

Figure 4 DS PB Mangusta Tourist Variant Lights Blazing

Figure 5 DS PB Cheetah Tourist with WING

Figure 6 DS PB Cheetah 2 Racing with engine cover open

Figure 7 PB DS Racing C0pilot with reflecting helmet

Figure 8 VC Interior High Contrast very white

Figure 9  VC Interior Better Contrast.jpg

There are crews and/or passengers in the variants which are animated to a degree, ie they move and drink from a can of soda.  The “racing” crews have full racing suits and crash helmets — very chic.  The lights are excellent giving you good vision at night.

Figure 10 VC Animated passenger drinking an aperitif

The, buttons, gauges, levers, and lights all look reasonably realistic and are quite clear. None of the gauges “pop-up” or increase in size when clicked (neither do they in real-life), so a TrackIR could be a good investment. .  You do have to zoom in to read a particular gauge or the GPS.  There are no 2D panels.  Shift + 3 Pulls up the Radio etc stack, and shift + 2 displays the GPS a GPS500 both being standard FSX gauges.  The remainder of the gauges seem to be exclusive to the Delta Sim models, with DSS emblazoned across them.  I had no visual issues inside or out when using “DX10 Preview” in the sim.

The 10 variants from the three models include: (see figures above)

  • 4 x “racing’ power boats, two Cheetahs, one Mangusta and One pathfinder;
  • 4 x “tourist” power boats with sliding roof, two pathfinders, one Mangusta and one Cheetah;
  • 2 x “tourist” power boats with “wings” and sliding roof, one Mangusta and one Cheetah

Figure 11 DS PB in the rain Mangusta Tourist Variant

Instruments in the Interior:

There are minor differences in the cockpit layout for the 10 variants.  There is a mixture of analogue and digital instruments including 2 x fuel gauges (left and right), 2 x Oil temperature and pressure gauges (left and right engine), speed in kts (analogue and digital), heading and position indicator and wind speed gauges (digital).  These reflect typical gauges used for marine navigation.  There is also a “card lock” system, in that you have to insert a card for the engines to start, etc.  There is a button for the sliding roof (tourist variants) and an opening glove box including a can of soda (all variants).  Also depicted is a main battery switch, 4 light switches: Panel, Deck, Nav and Reflector.  There is also a switch to open the engine cover.

Figure 12 DS PB VC Typical Instrument

Figure 13 VC showing GPS, CD, Lights and Card Lock System

Figure 14 Starter for Engines 1 and 2 plus digital speed indicator

Figure 15  CD DVD player slide show

Figure 16 Spot View navigation with pop-up GPS 500

Figure 17 Engine cover open showing engine

Figure 18 Engine cover open showing engines2

Figure 19 VC showing glove box open with 2 cans of Coke

The Payload

These are set within the Sim for a payload of 4000 lbs and fuel load of 600 gallons.  Changing the payload to zero lbs did not remove the passengers.

In the Sea

To load the power boats without issue there is a procedure that has to be followed. Basically you choose a default sea/amphibian plane and put it at a “wet” location and switch off the engines, ie cold and dark.  You can then load your PB without issue and you can save this “flight” and use it to load the PB directly into FSX.  It should be noted that if you want to change Power Boats you need to switch off the engine and leave them, “cold and dark”.  There is one “flight plan” included with the software but no explanation as to where you actually are!  From Google Earth it seems to be near Friar’s bay in St Kitts and Nevis, Leeward Islands, West Indies.

The engines are started by inserting the Card into the card lock system, making sure the battery is on and then pressing first the F1 button to reduce the throttles to zero and then the E1 and subsequently the E2 starter buttons on the panel.  They should not be started with Ctrl + E I tried that, but I then found that the E1/E2 indicator lights did not work, so I can’t recommend that method (nor does the publisher).  In the “manual” there is little reference to the use of a joystick, yoke, rudder pedals or throttle quadrant to operate the boats, so there is little you can do to calibrate your game controllers specifically to the boats.  I found that I was steering the boats with my rudder pedals and not my joystick.  The keyboard controls can effectively control most aspects of the boat’s operations.

Reviewer’s Note:

I had problems with starting the power boats in that when I started engine 1 it started OK but then after a few seconds the engine SURGED and the boat moved forward, (embarrassing when tied up to a dock) repeated pressing of the F1 key did NOT stop the surge – but then after a few seconds it returned to normal.  This was repeated when I started engine 2.  I referred this issue to the developer via email and all my questions were answered promptly and efficiently, even though a solution for this problem on my PC could not be found.  This was probably a local quirk and may not occur on all other computers.

Flight Plans:

You can navigate from place to place and even file a “flight plan” that you can then follow in the inbuilt GPS 500.  However you have to remember that FSX is a flight simulator and even though it has rivers, lakes, seas, etc and it is totally geared to aviation.  The GPS shows a flight plan which is based on aviation rather than maritime data, so your plan could also go across land!!  As we all know, the water is not well modelled in FSX, so you have no sense of wave movement, there is no wind on your face, and you never know whether the water is shallow or deep, where the icebergs are below the surface, and whether there is a tide with you or against you.  But happily you do not suffer from mal de mer!  Basically you are “sailing” on “flat” water and there is no “motion” that you can induce.  Your visual perception is also altered, because now you are at sea level and it is almost impossible to see where the sea ends and the land starts, so you run aground quite a bit.  I did some trips in the Stikine River (using Tongass Fjords X) and the only way that I could navigate at high speed was to use “spot” view (and/or the VC) and have the GPS popped up on the screen so that I could see where the water and land where.

Having said all of that these boats are fun to drive and its quite an adrenaline rush to charge up a narrow river at full speed trying to avoid running aground or crashing into a cliff wall.  The boats are quite a handful and show different handling and response characteristics to an aeroplane.  You need a lot of practice to handle them correctly.

Figure 20  lift off at speed

Figure 21 Wake Effect

Figure 22 Spray

There is an inbuilt CD in which you can play music (even your own) or display a slide show of various screenshot type images.  I didn’t use this facility as I am far more interested in the engine and ancillary sounds associated with a speed boat.

Another good point is that you have raindrops on the windshield (windscreen) when it is raining

Figure 23 Raindrops keep fallin’ . . . .


Sounds

The sounds are good and seem to reflect the real world, but they are only of the engine.  I couldn’t hear the hull slapping against the water for instance.

Repaints

None that I could find- very new.

Support:

This was by email.  Excellent the developer answered promptly with very good solutions or suggestions

Summing Up:

Well!! These powerboats are certainly different and do give a lot of pleasure when navigating the rivers and lakes of FSX.  It has to be remembered that FSX is a flight simulator and that water is not well modelled, so you rarely feel that you are moving against the sea, etc.  Your perspective at sea level is poor so it is difficult to differentiate between the land and the water.  Running aground becomes a way of life. Having said that you can have a lot of fun with these boats and once you’ve mastered the handling techniques it becomes very satisfying to navigate the FSX waterways.


WOW Factor: 7½/10

Peter Hayes, Australia, February 2010.

Table of the Important Bits:

Publisher:

Delta Sim Studio http://www.deltasimstudio.com/

Supplier:

Simmarket by direct download: http://secure.simmarket.com/ds-fsx-powerboat.phtml

Download
File Size:

132 MB (Zip file)

Installation
File Size:

751 MB

Simulator Requirement:

FSX SP1, SP2 (or Acceleration/Gold);

OS Requirements:

Win XP, Vista and/or Win 7;

Variants:

3 types in 10 variants with animated parts and crew:  Mangusta, Razor, Pathfinder, Cheetah.  The “tourist” versions have a sliding roof; there are four “racing” power boats and two variants with a “spoiler” wing.

Paint Schemes

See Variants

Cockpit

3D (VC) only

Supplementary:

N/A

Testing System:

Intel E8600, 4GB DDR 800 RAM, Vista 64 SP2, nVidia 9800 GT, 182.50 Driver;
FSX SP1 + SP2; 750GB SATA II Seagate 7200 HDD.  Saitek X-52 Joystick, Saitek Pro Pedals, CH Eclipse Yoke, CH TQ Quadrant.
No Tweaks all standard and no over-clocking.

Scenery:

FSX standard, GEXn, UTX, FSGenesis LC/Mesh; X-Graphics; Tongass Fjords

Installation:

After extracting the “ZIP” file double click on the “EXE” file and install in the correct path for FSX.

Manuals / Documentation

There is no manual as such but a 10 page “htm” file gives pictures of the boats, set-up details, etc

Support:

http://www.deltasimstudio.com/support.htm

Forum:

N/A

Updates

Patch 1.1 available fixing minor glitches in lights, smoke and stability.

A couple of pics:

Figure 24 Shouldn’t I be in the water

Figure 25 Tight Turn!

Figure 26 Oops!!

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