X-Plane Realism At Its Best
XPRealistic brings a whole new world of immersion into X-Plane. Oh, that sounds interesting, but let me first offer you some background information what features XPRealistic Pro offers. According to Roy Kronenfeld from XPRealistic the current version – v. 1.0.92 – comes with the following features:
Create aircraft profiles with dedicated settings. Change sound volumes, shake intensity and much more.
Enjoy a growing list of 30 real life scenario immersions along with more than 16 different sound files to choose from.
X-Camera / TrackIR Support
X-Camera and TrackIR are supported, furthermore, we highly recommend to use X-Camera with XPRealistic Pro.
Easy to use
Enjoy a straight forward user interface which allows you to control almost every aspect of XPRealistic features.
We believe that fast response to any issue is the key to keep you happy, we are here if you need us.
Realism and quality
Was built by a real pilot and a software engineer to maintain a high quality product line.
Personally I’m not sure if I got all the above features right, so let me dig into one particular item; immersions. By the way, the user manual is free to download from the XPRealistic Pro website. Let me highlight only a couple those features. According to the user manual “As of v1.0.9, XPRealistic Pro comes with 33 different immersions. Immersions are grouped into categories, see below:
- Speed brake – Speed brakes are here to help us lose speed, or in other words, create more drag. The more drag and air friction the more sound of drag. In some cases when air brakes are deployed on high speeds, aircraft airframe shakes may appear.
- Airframe wind – When an aircraft is yawing / pitching, wind hits the side airframe of the aircraft causing a sound of side wind to be present in the cockpit.
- Side-prop – When an aircraft is yawing due to pilot rudder move or wind, the angle of the air flowing into the propeller is changing, see it as a vent where you blow into it from different directions. This action causes the prop sound to change.”
The best is of course to test it out myself and to see how it feels and how the X-Plane flying experience changes. Let’s move on, but first a quick paragraph about how to install XPRealistic Pro.
The installation is basically straightforward, but XPRealistic Pro relies on a free add-on known as FlyWithLua. You can download FlyWithLua from different websites, one of them is via our website, X-Plained.Com. For your convenience, here are the links to the X-Plane 10 and X-Plane 11 packages. I advice you to select, only applicable to the X-Plane 11 version, the complete FlyWithLua package. As of this writing – January 2019 – FlyWith Lua NG for X-Plane 11 is version 2.7.9 while X-Plane 10 has landed at version 2.4.4.b.
When you’re new to X-Plane or not having used the powerful FlyWithLua plugin before, let me help you a bit. After you’ve unzipped the e.g. X-Plane 11 package, you need to copy the FlyWithLua folder to the X-Plane Resources/plugins folder. Once you’ve pasted it here, go into the FlyWith Lua folder and search for sub-folder Scripts. In this folder you see a lua script . You can either delete this one or move it to the Scripts (disabled) folder.
Next you copy and paste the downloaded and unzipped XP Realistic Pro (XPRealistic Pro v1.0.92.zip) to the FlyWithLua Scrips folder. Remember that in this case not only the XPRealistic.lua file is copied into the FlyWithLua scripts folder, but also the belonging XPRealistic folder with sub-folders Profiles and Sounds. With this section, I’ve also finished the installation. Yes, that’s it!
How to handle XP Realistic Pro?
How should I start? Sounds so easy but it isn’t since this plugin offers so many things (read categories and immersions and besides that, all kind of changes that can be made), that in the beginning you could be overwhelmed with options, settings and so on.
I could write the whole story how to use XPRealistic Pro, but there’s not really a need for. In the user manual, starting at page 3, it’s very well explained so there’s no need for me to do this again and, what said before, you can after reading this review, download the manual before buying XPRealistic Pro and check all the steps to do before using it.
Right away I add to this paragraph … when you bought it, install it as described in the manual, startup X-Plane and fiddle around with it, even when you’re parked or during taxi. Many immersions and their settings will clear your mind by testing and doing. Only reading the manual and thinking you got it, believe me, that doesn’t work! The best is testing/doing by learning!
As described in the manual, you call up XPRealistic Pro via the X-Plane plugins menu. See the screenshot below.
I installed a couple of GA add-on aircraft. Yes, I know, perhaps you’re more the pilot who loves commercial aircraft, but to keep it simple, let’s first try this plugin with a simple to handle aircraft. You’ll see later on that the principle and the way you use and adjust the XPRealistic popup window is the same. Anyway, when starting via the X-Plane menu Plugins-FlyWithLua-FlyWithLua Macros-XPRealistic Pro, it automatically detect the correct aircraft, but that doesn’t mean we’re done.
In the popup window you tick the “Enable for xxxx (in this case the Car_PA31”). Next you see at the bottom of the popup window under Active Profile, out of the box 5 profiles or actually 4 default profiles (GA (2/5), Jets (3/5), Gliders (4/5) and Turbine (5/5)). When you select profile 1/5, it will be the profile of the aircraft you’ve loaded or selected. In my example that’s the Car_PA31. For sure it gets the info from the aircraft acf file.
To get the right feeling, I first make a short flight with the Carenado PA31 Navajo without XPRealistic Pro enabled and I even deselect the build in X-Plane 11 feature “Cinema Verite”.
Once I’ve made a flight without anything being active of lets say 15 to 30 minutes, I do the same flight, but this time with XPRealistic Pro enabled. Of course, I could have switched or enabled XPRealistic Pro for this aircraft during my flight, but I wanted to see the differences during taxi, takeoff, climbing out and leveling off. And I can tell you, I’m really curious how this immerses myself into the flight environment, how the behavior is, how I will experience this, and so on, right?
Just to clarify one thing; I wrote in this paragraph “without anything being active”, but what does that mean or what do I have in mind then I write this. Nothing active means for me that when you sit in the 3D cockpit and taxi, make the takeoff, climbing out, making turns, the aircraft will behave most likely a bit unrealistic. It feels like you’re not sitting into an aircraft that wobbles, moves, vibrates etc. when taxing, reaction forces or G-forces that normally would move you a bit in the cockpit in relation to the instrument panel are not present.
Knowing my time in the A310 FFS (Full Flight Simulator) it’s a bit like sitting in a FFS without and with motion active. Without the motion you can fly, but it never gives you the real feeling when for example making the takeoff – read acceleration – and being pressed in your seat or under turbulent conditions the aircraft is moved around, but this time without motion perhaps the image gives you the impressive a side slip is active, but you don’t feel anything.
With the default X-Plane 11 “Cinema Verite” active, if gives you a bit of that feeling, but XPRealistic Pro add-on gives you everything. Ok, back to the proposed PA31 flight.
KDEN Piper PA31 Flight
What said before, I make a short test flight from KDEN while I’ve parked for now my Piper PA31 at the Frontier hangar. I taxi to the runway, takeoff from 16L and fly towards the mountains. I do that with real weather active and see how it feels. During all the flight phases – taxi, takeoff, climb, leveled off, a trimmed aircraft – it feels like everybody can fly this aircraft, but that everybody means also that any realistic feeling/implementation/immersion is not present.
Is it fun to fly the aircraft this way … that depends on your expectations and your flying skills. It depends if you want to fly as real as it gets, right? I can answer that question right away; by default this Plane aircraft doesn’t fly as real as it gets. No more words needed, lets move on to add-on XPRealistic Pro. In case you start thinking what the “clean” means of this section; clean means no realistic feeling implemented!
Now I do the same flight under the same environmental conditions, but with XPRealistic Pro active. More about that later since many adjustments can be made. What said, I taxi from the same Frontier spot to runway 16L, same kind of takeoff, climbing out towards the mountains. Ho ho, hold on. During taxi and the takeoff I felt that I hardly had control over the aircraft yaw. It was moving from left to right on the taxiway when my ground speed was a bit too high, but that problem became bigger when I did the takeoff.
To me this was partly because the simulated movements introduced by XPRealistic Pro where too much. That my body and head and G-forces or other forces are available at that moment, is something I know, but this is soo much that I felt sea-sick. Ok, I’ll explain a bit more about that sea-sick feeling later, but for now I can tell you in case you try it yourself, deselect or reduce the movement percentage of immersion Taxi anticipation and G-force effects.
I leave the AP OFF for the moment. I want to feel, to see with my own eyes how XPRealistic Pro immerses me in the flight. Not surprisingly that this isn’t easy since I’m sitting behind my iMac display which is actually just 2D and not 3D. But I have to admit, I’m impressed to see how XPRealistic Pro tries to give me the feeling that I’m in a 3D cockpit and that all external forces, movements, accelerations, moving around in the cockpit are very similar to how it is in real.
When leveled off and flying towards the mountains, it’s not difficult and just a click away, to disable XPRealistic Pro and monitoring what changes, what happens, what’s suddenly missing and I can tell you, that’s a lot what’s suddenly gone. The simulated movements due to environmental conditions like clouds, wind and so on, are gone and suddenly the cockpit is back to a no motion simulator, even the sounds are different. Without XPRealistic Pro you hear the sounds as set in the X-Plane 11 menu, but I hardly hear environmental sounds although it is set to 100 percent in the default X-Plane menu and this is just a tip of the eye-berg.
When I select XPRealistic Pro back on, I can clearly hear new environmental sounds. Awesome since those added sounds are not dominant, but it makes a huge realistic different then without these sounds. By the way, when you select XPRealistic Pro back on, you see for a couple of second in X-Plane that XP Realistic Pro is loading. That’s then a confirmation it’s back.
So, so far … amazing, but how and what can be adjusted and is there a need for?
XP Realistic Pro Adjustments
Example Settings Categories-Immersions
Lucky for you and me that the provided manual comes with a detailed step-by-step explanation how to make all the adjustments. In particular the section that starts with “Immersion Explained”. It’s a thorough explanation of the categories and their immersions. It’s a long list, but it explains it very well what you can all change to your preference. To wrap it together; all the different immersions deal either with specific sounds or movements that are introduced with this add-on package.
What said, I’m not going to highlight all these pages since that’s useless. And why should I since you can, after reading this review, download from the XPRealistic Pro website the user manual and read it all by yourself. And what is written in the manual too, it offers so many immersions within different categories that you should try it out yourself.
Check out this while reading this review. This is a tutorial movie “How to Use” XPRealistic Pro and although the movie reflects an older version, the idea is still applicable for the latest package which is of this writing 1.0.92.
A couple of words about the integration with X-Camera and visa versa. I’m aware that there’s a free version of X-Camera, but personally I prefer to concentrate myself on XPRealistic Pro which is already difficult enough. There’s also a possibility to us TrackIR, but for the same reason, I leave that out of this review.
Perhaps worth to mention this …. from the same developer … SimHat. It’s currently as of this writing, January 2019, only available for the iPhone. For Android it is under development. It’s an alternative for the TrackIR hardware. Mount your iPhone on your cap and off you go with a head moving device. Anyway, that was just a side track!
Let’s go back to my PA31 and the default GA profile file or how to customize it. As stated in the manual, you can use the default GA profile in conjunction with the add-on aircraft, but it’s more fun to customize your preferences and again, these preferences are changing the immersions within the categories and thus how sound will be or how movements are different then basic.
Once you have first enabled XPRealistic Pro to work with this aircraft, and then you’ve selected “Customized” from the active profile, you’re able to change all the immersions or even to deselect certain immersions. There’s so much possible that it feels impossible to understand it all, but that’s for some reason not the case, partly because of the well explained “immersion” section in the manual.
One thing I noticed and I felt becoming a bit seasick were the cockpit movements during taxi. When making turns or corrections with the nose wheel, the instrument panel and thus the simulated movements from left to right, gave me a slight form of seasick. I didn’t felt comfortable with it. It could be that this is just an adjustment issue or it is just me. Hold on, is it perhaps a setting(s) or immersion(s) that must be changed or perhaps do I need to switch something off?
Time to check it out and scroll thru all the immersions. There are a couple of immersions that add a level of realism, but that can cause with you and me “seasick” behavior. To me and after testing, I felt that the following immersions could causing the seasick issue:
- Natural head (our body is never static, it always moves due to blood circulation and breathing)
- Heading anticipation (Pilot’s head heading anticipation). Try the preview option. The preview will move your head to right and left. Then you know immediately what it does. Try also playing with the movement percentage. It increases or decrease the overall head angle. Unfortunately such a preview option isn’t available for natural head.
- Taxi anticipation (Pilot’s head anticipation during taxi) Without doubt this was also causing for me the seasickness. Not a problem when enabled .. the more immersions that are enabled, the better the realistic factor, but just keep it in mind when you face the same kind of seasickness as I did.
- G-force effects (G-forces during flight cause pilot body to move). Although the text suggests that this is only applicable during flight, it does have also effect during my taxi and my uncontrolled movements in the cockpit.
These four immersions gave me the overall feeling while on the ground taxiing or making my takeoff/landing, that I got a bit seasick. Not that I’m disappointed with these kind of immersions. Absolutely not, but it’s worth to bring it to your attention that in case you feel the same, you know which immersions are responsible for this and how to correct it. The advantage is that during a taxi it’s very easy to enable/disable each option step-by-step and see which one should be OFF or you reduce the movement percentage. It works on the fly.
Ok, lets show you some example of categories with immersions.
I jump into my Carenado Piper PA31, and parked it this time in front of the United hangar of KDEN. I scroll thru the categories and noticed that some of the immersions I see aren’t applicable to this GA aircraft like for example Engine – Active reverse (category – immersion). When you want to know what that immersion is doing, click the Info text and a small popup window tells you what it does. Based on this, you can judge for yourself if that immersion is applicable to the landed aircraft. When you think it’s applicable, don’t forget to tick the enable option!
Another example; Environment – Rain.
When you go to the bottom of the window, you tick (enable) “preview” and select the rain level of your choice. The first rain level is 0.05, then 0,1, then 0.15, and so on, but above all and important, listen to the rain (sound) hitting your window even if you have CAVOK conditions. The idea is that this rain preview give you in case during your flight with rainy conditions, the sound effect to expect.
Let’s check Environment – Turbulence.
Provided you’ve enabled this option, turbulence may cause to shake and rattle. Want to see and hear this? First you can select for this the sound of the rattle, the volume level and movement level. When you have made your choice, tick the preview and fiddle around with the turbulence level, but you can also change or listen too the different rattle or rumble sounds (1, 2, 3 etc). At then end, it’s your choice what you prefer.
Sometimes it’s difficult to hear or to understand what is mend; for example Flaps – Flaps set. A very easy option and no preview possibility since it’s automatically implemented the moment you select flaps, but read the info window carefully ….”when flaps leveler is moved, it creates a sound.” Just a small note; I think they mean not flap leveler, but flap lever! This means that you don’t need to listen to the flap movement, but to the “click” you hear when you move the flap handle or lever. And then, with this option active, you hear “click” when you move the handle. So, this is an example of a tiny immersion which you and I didn’t expect.
Ok, one more; Gear – Nose wheel well.
The info text is even more impressive ….”spinning nose wheel sound inside wheel well after gear up”. It depends a bit on what aircraft you have and if it’s applicable. When it is applicable to that aircraft, it depends how the nose wheels are stopped in the nose wheel well when the gear is retracted. Besides all of that, the immersion of how this could sound is awesome. And yes, you can imagine when the aircraft becomes larger or the cockpit is far before the NWW (Nose wheel Well) or even far above the NWW like with a Boeing 747 or Airbus A380, you can leave this option OFF since with those aircraft you will never hear the nose wheels stopped by any device in the NWW. Anyway, great immersion!
And so I can continue with many other categories and immersions. Oh yes, I tried them all and some are applicable to a GA aircraft, other immersions only to commercial jets and then even jets aren’t all the same. The previous examples show you how to scroll thru every category and then thru every immersion. Another way is leaving the category at All and then scroll thru the immersions. Now the immersions aren’t categorized within each category. It’s another way of going thru all immersions. The end result is the same!
In case you find the characters on the XPRealistic Pro popup window a bit small, at the left-hand upper corner you find a “+” and “-“. Click the “+” and all characters and the popup windows itself, become a bit larger. Much easier to read.
After testing and making the right profile settings for that particular aircraft, in my case for the Carenado PA31, you would like to save all of this, right? But the problem is .. I don’t see any save button to save my PA31 settings. No no, no need for that. Every-time you changed something in the categories-immersions, it is directly saved in the created PA31 profile file. To be exactly; the moment you tick that you want to use this add-on aircraft with XPRealistic Pro, a profiler file is created. It can be found – for later use – in the FlyWithLua – XPRealistic – Profilers folder. In my case identified as “Car_PA31.json”. Easy isn’t it!
Something Forgotten or …..
Being almost at the end of this review I’m asking myself the question if I have forgotten something and then, in a sudden I think … yes, how do the XPRealistic Pro immersions feel when you fly a commercial jet, right?
That said, I jump into the ToLiss A319, create with Little Navmap a fms flight plan and make a test flight, departing from X-Codr KDEN. Parked at gate B33, XPRealistic Pro enabled and enabled all immersions. That said, all immersions are active, but as you might know now, the level of implementation – movements, and sound levels – depends on each settings. The advantage is that during the test flight it’s easy to play with an immersion and its settings.
In other words, you can mostly see right away what the effect is of the change you made. Of course, not all immersions are active during a cruise flight, but when that particular immersion has a preview option, you can always test the output of that immersion even if the immersion isn’t active like in my previous section when I highlighted the nose wheel spinning sound during retraction. For example; you’re in cruise, the landing gear is retracted so you won’t hear the nose wheel spinning anymore thus this immersion isn’t active, but via preview you can test the sound immersion, right?
While taxiing to my assigned runway – 16R – I noticed immediately the immersion effect of XPRealistic Pro. Without XPRealistic Pro you just taxi, not more and not less. You won’t see the instrument panel moving or shaking when making a turn or when taxi constantly over taxi lights and so on. Yeah, I know, the instrument panel is fixed to the aircraft structure, but in real your body and head are not fixed. They constantly move while making turns, pressing the brake, taxing under windy conditions, taxiways that haven’t a smooth surface and because of that, we’re never sitting still in relation to the instrument panel. And that’s what XPRealistic Pro does. I simulates all those movements and adds sounds you normally not hear without the add-on enabled.
I can tell you that during my taxi, I’ve noticed a lot of realistic immersions (movements and sounds) added by XPRealistic Pro. During long taxi stretches you can play with several immersions. either you disable an immersion or you change the movement or the type of sound immersion. In most cases you immediately see, feel or hear the effect. I see the effect, and when you see that too, you see the value of this add-on product.
Enable and disable immersions that are effective during the takeoff is a bit difficult since you need to keep the aircraft on the centerline and at Vrotate, you need to pull the side-stick, but no worry, during the initial climb, you can hear enough immersions that where not there before. I never thought that this could make a huge difference.
Flying the ToLiss A319 by hand and following the flight plan is not difficult so when you own the ToLiss, try it yourself. There’s a reason for to write this. Let me explain that in a minute. When I’ve reached my intended cruising level of FL200, I play a bit with making small turns and that is awesome. Oops, what is awesome?
XPRealistic Pro gives you the impression when making a left-hand or right-hand turn that the instrument panel is moving to the left or right. In real that’s also what happens. Remember, the aircraft is banking in real too. But when you disable XPRealistic Pro, making the same turns gives you suddenly a static instrument panel that doesn’t move to the left or right. Ok, the scenery moves, but that’s not what happens in real! Weird and unrealistic, isn’t it? Lucky we have XPRealistic Pro!
Wow, suddenly I appreciate XPRealistic Pro even more then I did already. Amazing how such a program can change the whole look, feel and not to forget the immersions of sounds.
I can continue for hours what I all see and feel, but I think I can confirm that even with a jet the immersion is great and brings X-Plane flying to a next higher level, thanks to this add-on.
Well done Roy!
Although I had a lot of fun reviewing XPRealistic Pro, it wasn’t easy to write a review about this utility. An aircraft, whatever kind of, an airport or a scenery or sometimes utility programs that can be touched in one way or the other are easy to write about. In that respect, XPRealistic Pro is difficult to see, to touch or to experience. I could make a movie, but there are already so many out there, even the developer has made a couple, so why should I add another one. I prefer to look to the facts, to settings that can be made and so on.
Tips or things I experienced are also useful. For this review I used XPRealistic Pro version 1.0.92, in combination with X-Plane 11.26r2, FlyWithLua 2.6.7 and all of that running on an iMac Pro with macOS Mojave 10.14.2. As of this writing, January 2019, FlyWithLua was just updated to version NG (Next Generation) 2.7.9. Because of that, I gave it a try and XPRealistic Pro works nice with this NG version of FlyWithLua too.
And yes, in the beginning I was a bit skeptical how or what to see, what to expect, what do I need to set, how do I need to set something and so on. At the end, it turned out that it was much easier than expected. This is partly because of the tutorial movies from the developer, but the manual is a great help too and updated to the latest version. That a File Explorer screenshot is used for copying the folders and lua script within the FlyWithLua plugin, ok, as Mac user I can life with that. There’s not much difference between a Mac Finder window or a Windows File Explorer window.
Good, XPRealistic Pro has an own nicely and good looking website. Worth to have a look at. The product can be bought at X-Plane.Org, SimMarket and FSPilot. The dedicated X-Plane.Org store page offers a lot of information and of course, you can buy it via them.
As of this writing – January 2019 – XPRealistic Pro cost 19.99USD and yes, I like it very much since it adds not a bit immersion to your aircraft, no, it adds a lot of new interesting features to it. Remember what the manual is saying .. it add over 30+ immersions to the aircraft.
Great add-on that works more or less out of the box. The only thing you need is FlyWithLua. As mentioned in the beginning of this review, you can download FlyWithLua for X-Plane 11 that X-Plained.Com link and FlyWithLua for X-Plane 10 via this link.
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Payware XPRealistic Pro|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | XPRealistic|
|Description:||Adding realistic immersions to X-Plane behavior|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 407MB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||January 9th 2019|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac Pro
- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Bootcamp Windows 10)
- 1 external 2TB LaCie Rugged Pro SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino
- Honeycomb Alpha Flight Controls
- Honeycomb Bravo Throttle Quadrant
|Software specifications:||- macOS Big Sur (10.15.x)
- X-Plane 11.5x