FS Economy: World Tour

I have to wonder whether I’m setting myself up for failure with this one…

Zooming along in an F-16 of the RNLAF 323 squadron

Zooming along in an F-16 of the RNLAF 323 squadron

After playing a lot of Kerbal Space Program over the last months, I am currently on hiatus from that. Reason: there’s a new version just around the corner, which may solve some of the crashes I am seeing due to out of memory errors (go x64!). Another game I’ve been playing is Euro Truck Simulator 2 which I got during a Steam sale for next to nothing. I still don’t really understand what the lure of it is, but somehow it is incredibly relaxing to truck along Europe’s highways. Another thing I am playing with B is Cities Skylines. We have some cities there chugging along nicely, but I must admit I am waiting for Cities Skylines After Dark since Colossal Plaza announced that. In the meantime I dove back into FSX. This is something I do every once in a while, and Dovetail Games picking up the old Microsoft title, integrating it with the Steam platform, and the promise of some incremental improvements to the overall simulator lured me back in.

I’ve always had a bit of a problem finding “a point” to flying this simulator though. Air Hauler helped me in that respect, but the constant attention needed there made it often feel like a chore. Staying away from your company for a couple of days will lead to immediate problems with your reputation. Add to that the fact that the AI pilots are unable to select any flight and will just sit on their hands if you don’t tell them what to do took some of the fun out of it for me. Next to that I like to fly passengers every once in a while as well. I am hoping those issues will be solved in Air Hauler II, but since that’s not out yet I have no way of knowing.

Enter FS Economy. According to their website:

FSEconomy is a multi-player “persistent world” add-on for flight simulators, with an economical focus. It is “persistent” in that the aspects of the game – the aircraft location and fuel levels, etc. – are controlled by the players. Other players see changes in these items within the “game world”.

FSEconomy is not a Virtual Airline. There is no schedule; there are no “levels”; there are no requirements to start from the bottom and work your way up. However, many VAs do use the FSEconomy system to operate their VA.

FSEconomy strives to be a framework within which players can decide what FSE is to them… their “style of play” is the phrase frequently used. It is an open-ended platform, allowing each member to tailor their experience to their individual liking. Some members choose to use FSEconomy completely on their own; others choose to work with a few other players; and still others choose to join one or more communities of made up of dozens of other players.

The basic concept of FSEconomy is that players use aircraft to move virtual passengers or cargo. Players can own their own aircraft, or rent them from other players or from “the system”. Players must be aware of their aircraft’s capabilities and fuel levels so that they can carry the cargo selected, or to not become stranded at an airport without fuel. There are many expenses associated with every flight – rental charges, fuel costs, etc.; as well as income from the virtual passengers or cargo. The goal is to make more income than associated operating expenses.

What they fail to mention in the description above is that the whole thing is freeware being maintained by a group of volunteers and voluntary donations from its users.It appears they have been going strong for 10 years now!

Over the last couple of days I’ve been playing around with FSEconomy for a bit, flying in Sweden, the Pacific North West, and the Netherlands. Reading the manual paid off to the sum of about 9000USD. Although I still have some trouble understanding just why someone would pay 3000USD (excluding extra costs) for transporting 4 agitated penguins from Valkenburg to Lelystad by air it provided me a nice excuse to just rent a Beechcraft Baron and zoom the tower at Schiphol.

But alas, as I said above, I am always looking for “a point”, so I decided to set myself a challenge: Circumventing the world using FS Economy generated flights and aircraft. This way I am “forced” to fly a wide range of aircraft, and go by way of airports that I would probably not fly into otherwise. I will see how this goes, and try to follow along on this blog. I hope some of you will fly along with me!

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