Doug Zabizewski has been busy with issues way deeper then your usual scenery or aircraft, he has occupied himself with the inner works of FSX, the fine art so to speak.
His latest review takes us to an utility that manages a almost forgotten device, the force feedback joystick, called FS Force by Dirks Software:
“Hello fellow sim-pilots!Â Today’s review is another different type of review.Â It is along the lines of my last review.Â It’s an add-on, but not mission based nor scenery, but it goes a very, very long way as far as immersing you in the FSX experience.
In my last review I asked a question, wouldn’t you love to be able to make your simflight experience much more realistic without spending hundred or maybe thousands of dollars on a home made cockpit?Â I guessed then as I would now that the answer is yes.Â I mean if you can afford full motion, triple monitor fan blowing through your hair type accessories…good for you!Â Myself…not so much LOL.Â I found 5 dollars in an old coat pocket the other day and did a four minute happy dance LOL.
This product is called FS Force, by Dirks Software Â (It can also be purchased for FS 2004 and 2002, (which unfortunately I did not have access to the two later versions at the time of this review, so this review is based on the FSX version).Â I will give you some good news right now as well, if you are lucky enough to own all three versions, you can save EUR 15 right now atÂ www.simmarket.com if you purchase all three versions at the same time.
Now, needless to say, you must own a force feedback joystick.Â If you are not sure if you have one….you don’t.Â Force feedback simply means you receive tactile responses felt through your joystick during different events or “feedback” from a game or simulator. Â Â So if you lower your landing gear, you feel a thump as you hear the gear safely being stowed away below the plane.Â Or a strong vibration if you are half asleep because you can’t stop playing with your new feedback program and taxi onto a field instead of the runway LOL.
Once again if you read my review on the Multi Crew Experience, I again was completely blown away by how much more satisfying, and immersive this program makes FSX.Â It does not cost a lot of money, and the extra sense of the vibrations of the runway, the shudder you feel as you are about to stall, the extra hard thump when landing a little hot….or a lot hot and your joystick will let you know that this was not your best landing.Â The most amazing part is just about every single part of his program is adjustable to your own personal tastes.Â Again this just amazes me for the cost.
I hate to keep referring to my last review, but again, The programmers of this product are aware that there are several different types of joysticks out there, and any number of computer configurations, for example I use a Saitek EVO force feedback joystick, but there are so many more, so you are STRONGLY advised to download the product, try it out, see how incredible it is LOL, no prejudice here huh? But honestly I loved this product, and once you are satisfied that it works properly on your system, then you purchase your activation code.Â Again, if you look above now is a great time to purchase because you can make all three versions of flight sim extra immersive for a very small investment.
Now just because you have tested the program, and it worked, and you bought the licence, that does not mean you will not receive top notch customer support.Â In fact, if for some reason it does not work or you feel something is just not right get in touch with Dirks software’s customer service.Â This is another very good reason to invest in this product.Â The support is excellent.Â They responded to my first question about a tiny mishap I had in less than two hours.Â I obviously can’t guarantee that time frame for everybody, but come on folks, that is pretty darn amazing.Â They never once made me feel computer illiterate, which I have admitted before, I am notÂ totally illiterate, but am pretty closeÂ J. Â They will do their very best to make sure you are satisfied, but still, please make sure you test before you buy.Â It’s software and we all know that software simply is nonrefundable due to the nature of the beast.Â (And I say bonus points to the programmers for allowing us to try before we buy by the way, how many times have we bought a product, that either doesn’t work, doesn’t live up to what it claims etc, and guess what it’s all yours. Take advantage of an honest developers offer and try this out, you won’t regret it.)
Okay back to the review part…I guess the reason I am so excited about this new type of add-on is that it makes flight simulator feel brand new again.Â You find yourself re-flying missions you accomplished a very long time ago, because you want to experience it with the new feedback. I even flew completed missions with different airplanes to see if they would feel different, and yep, they did!
I would even go so far as to strongly suggest getting yourself a force feedback joystick (Sold separately) if you don’t already have one just so you can buy this program.Â I have personally always felt that Microsoft completely dropped the ball when programming in the feedback for us force feedback owners, but Dirks software has fixed that problem and did an incredible job in the process.Â You can even set and save your own retooled settings and make this program your own as you have choices from heavy’s right down to small planes and everything in between.Â You can change the strength, frequency, friction, cornering forces, touchdown force, and so very much more I won’t mention because you should experience the multitude of choices and so many different strengths of forces for yourself.Â You know, even though it isn’t mission based, there is a sort of replay value with this.Â Set it to full, set it to middle, whatever you like the most and of course each time you change the feedback values, you change your flightsim experience.
I can only hope that Dirks software has some more tricks up their sleeve or some new ideas they are working on because I know I would love to feel this kind of feedback in the CFS series as well.Â Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, LOL.
So in conclusion, you will need this program and a force feedback joystick.Â If you are anything at all like me you will also need to say a quick goodbye for a few hours/days….to your wife/girlfriend, boyfriend, etc. because this program sucked me right in and while I thought I was just sitting down for maybe an hour to see how it felt…..I looked up at the clock and almost five hours had passed.Â My wife wasn’t exactly my biggest fan that night, but between you and me…..it was worth it LOL.Â (Again a look into the mind of proud sim pilot geek, I better be careful before someone does actually get emotionally scarred witnessing the depth of geek I am capable ofÂ JÂ LOL).
Okay…once again I will stop gushing about this excellent product and give you the breakdown so you can get over to the web site and see for yourself what a great program this really is.
- At a glance:Â Fantastic value for the cost.Â Just try it and if the extra immersion doesn’t affect you, I don’t know what will.
- Installation:Â EXE.Â No problems with installation, and if there were the customer support is excellent.Â Again, try before you buy!
- Documentation:Â Good.Â Everything is explained in simple English, with several suggestions on how to adjust the strengths for different feedbacks provided by this program.
- Textures and presentation:Â Not really applicable as far as graphics.Â Presentation they also get an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. Oh no now I am recycling jokes.
- Extras:Â You can adjust just about everything, making this even more of a bargain because of the replay value.
The only other thing I can say is, if you don’t have a force feedback joystick, see if you have a fried who does.Â Ask to borrow it because if you are a true flight sim fanatic, this program falls into the must have category.
P.S.Â I welcome opposing views, suggestions, comments, recommendations, etc.Â In that light I would like to make myself available at the following web site, which also happens to be a good news source, and has a pretty interesting forum.Â Â I will do my best to respond to any and all comments. Also please keep in mind, I amÂ not paid to review any products.Â These opinions are mine and mine alone.Â Â JÂ (You can find me under either the name Doug Zabizewski or zmanff, it kind of depends on my moodÂ J).
At a Glance:
- Developer: Dirks Software
- Installer: EXE — Easy installation. Great support if any problems.
- Documentation: DOC — Good. Lots of suggestions.
- Modelling:Â FSX Format — Not really applicable.
- Texturing: BMP — Not really applicable.
- Extras: Complete immersion, makes the simulation feel fresh and new, excellent support.Â Oh and did I mention….it’s on sale!!! AtÂ www.simmarket.com
- Download Size: 193 Mb
- Price:Â EURÂ 29.69 without VAT EURÂ 24.95 (Don’t forget to check out the sale as well)
- Purchase Link:Â http://secure.simmarket.com/dirks-software-fs-force-for-fsx.phtml
- Test System: Intel Core2Duo E2220 @ 2.40 GHz-2.40 GHz, 4Gb RAM, Nvidea Geforce G100, Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 (DX9), Saitek EVO force feedback joystick.
I use this software and swear by it. It comes HIGHLY recommended! Been using it since 2005.
Same here. I’ve been using it since the first beta, and I wouldn’t fly without it. It’s right up there with TrackIR and FSUIPC as far as I’m concerned.
I have a Logitech Wingman force feedback joystick and already experience the thumps and such in FSX, and it already has software to customize the amount of force. So, does this software simply add to the number of things that would generate a response? I too, feel that Microsoft and many others have dropped the ball on force feedback, to include the manufactureres. Where’s my force feedback yoke and pedals!? LOL
The software includes a demo mode so you can try it for yourself before buy. Its force representation is a world away from the rubbish implementation within FSX itself (you turn that OFF when you use FSForce)
The implementation of FFB in FS is, frankly, bizarre. Once you’ve tried FS-Force, you’ll see what I mean. Its forces are logical and predictable. The ones in FS by default are anything but.