Our reader Ray Hughes has kindly taken the time to review AR MOD’s new Interface Design utility:
This is a small and clean interface enhancement add-on for existing users of FSX and FS2004
What does it actually do? In a nutshell, it cleans up the interface and subdues the 3D look with a tidier arrangement of the background and by rearranging some of the design aspects of windows menu choices it simplifies the choices to be made, particularly when configuring a new flight.
The file downloads as a 2.1meg compressed image and unpacks to a size of 8.48megs.
Design changes. The Creator has modified the FSX Menu layouts to reflect a more subdued overall theme – pushing back from the 3D look of the menu choices and offering a cleaner more 2D approach using a flat pale blue color scheme. Some menu areas have been left alone, such as the Briefing and ATC windows, but the three buttons to the lower portion of the menu have been squared up and made bigger. These buttons remain the same through-out the mod. They are; HELP, CANCEL and OK. There is also an inclusion of a help box that interactively shows help sentences on your choices. For old timers these are merely stating the obvious, but they do help especially if you are about to change a configuration option and canot recall the effect.
The creator of the addon has gone for a softer approach than using the bold font everywhere. Most of the menu choices are in a softer grey colour.
The most noticeable changes are in a few selected areas,
In the Free Flight Menu option, where you choose your setting, the creator has gone for a bigger presence for the airplane, the inclusion of a “kill the music” circle (top right hand side – brillant!) and, if I am not mistaken, added the “failures option” button -( my memory of the original has faded so fast here that I cannot remember if all the button options displayed here, are actually also displayed at this point in the original, or you go to another menu item to configure.) Regardless, the buttons are all large and easy to select and all configuring can be done all without departing this window
The reader will note the small word Contacts on the bottom left corner. Clicking on this allows communications with other flyers if you are logged into Gamespy, or the Briefing room.
Another example is the Select Aircraft menu. This appears the same until you click on the Details tab. Then you are given a larger picture of the selected aircraft with a more detailed information panel, as shown below
I personally find this a more pleasing presentation than the default.
Other Areas that have been given a “look” workover are in under the TIME and SEASON menu. Here we show a more intuitive layout, again with a larger graphical image. While this is purely cosmetic, I beleive it works quiet well. Each image to the right reflects the season as well as the time
As the progamme is really an interface change and doesn’t delve into the inner workings as you expect, all add-on Applications work fine. There is no conflict with their menu displays.
The programe works flawlessly although I did encounter a couple of small issues which I have let the developer know about. When installing an aircraft with custom gauges, the standard; “Do you want to trust thsi new module” in the alert box, text flows into the upper design area. This is a small fix I am sure.
The only other area of concern is that there appears to be no way to uninstall this add on if you want to revert back to the original. (Apart from making a Backup before installation). Again I have contacted the Developer about this. An uninstall feature would have been nice.
There is the potential here to offer a little more configurational fine tuning of the FSX menu layout. I would have love to have seen an option for 3rd party weather button(s) inclusion into the Weather menu or the ability to have a blank (feature to be added) button for the end user to link (or launch) an outside programme such as FS Captain or FS Passenger-or even a favourite Internet site containing air charts.. If this is possible perhaps a future update? While these elements may be well beyond the mandate of this offering and require a more heady understanding of the inner core workings, I can only urge the Developer to flesh this product out some more. It already shows signs of becoming another value add on.
For a quick visual overview of the FS2004 edition there is an example of this Mod on YOUTUBE :
Available from simMarket:
Big WHOOP – Meanwhile back in sim mode – why do we need this?
Well clearly you don’t… But does that mean that anyone who wants it can’t have it too?
People want different things. Some people clearly like to change the way FSX presents itself. That’s their prerogative if they want to do so!
I could see paying $20 if this were more than just “lipstick.” over the FSX interface.
For example, the Select Aircraft section (which actually hasn’t changed at all with this, FYI) has to pull thumbnails for EVERY PLANE in your collection. You can speed this up by deafulting to “don’t show variations”, but if you then want a different scheme for a given plane you can’t choose it. It would be nice if clicking a plane then gave you the option to choose a livery.
-PS: The “Failures button does exist in the “old” UI, as does the Music On/Off toggle. For FSX at least.
Matt: You can easily cut that down using the drop boxes at the top of the screen – or untick “show variations”, select the aircraft that you want, then retick “show variations” so you’re in the right place.
I think Prepar3D operates the way you state you’d like, Flight definitely does. Unfortunately having a lot of aircraft and paints for them installed slows FSX down massively during load sequences, which is why so many people find ways of ‘disabling’ unused ones as user aircraft until they need them again (extra folders, cfg tweaks, etc.)