For military aircraft aficionados, the TacPack addition to the VRS Superbug is well worth the wait. As you may know, this project has been a long time coming. An add-on product for FSX that uses as its foundation a multiple award-winning virtual aircraft – all from a studio with a proven track record in flight control modeling, is a pretty darn solid footing on which to build on. The flight sim community is lucky to have a dev team like VRS that recognized the potential of FSX as a combat flight simulator and imagined “what if?”, then took their “what if” and made it happen. This labor of love now gives the flight sim community the capability in FSX to shoot down aircraft and drop bombs onto unsuspecting targets below. Could VRS’s TacPack have just provided a reason for Microsoft to restart production of FSX? This new add-on is truly a game-changer for fans of military flight simulation products. Once the @War project has been released and with the addition of no-password-required servers it will only get a lot better.
But VRS isn’t stopping to pat themselves on the back just yet. Their web site also announces plans to release a Software Developer’s Kit (SDK) that will allow advanced systems integration with other aircraft add-ons, and a basic Aggressor system that will be accessed by an in-flight menu system. As of this writing, VRS is currently working with Aerosoft, Iris, Milviz and other developers to create more aircraft that will fly in the TacPack environment. Already Aerosoft has posted a video of their upcoming F-14.
The future of FSX is looking pretty bright, as exciting new mods like TacPack add a whole new spectrum of gaming options to that venerable simulation platform. Fans of the genre should be very pleased by this new product.
- Aerial refueling and carrier ops.
- The future release of @War to give a more fully functional combat environment in which to stage missions.
- What used to be a one of the best civilian flight simulator on the market, now sports one of the most detailed military aircraft with a functional weapons system that can BLOW STUFF UP!
Could be Better
- The future release of @War – since it’s not released yet, users will have to scour the web looking for suitable targets made by other users/developers in insert into the game environment. With no real ground targets, i.e. tanks, SAM Sites and other things that shoot back, not to mention the lack of any real air targets other than what is agreed upon by team A and team B prior to flight, you’re left with a virtual killing tool and nothing to kill.
- The TacPack is not now, nor was it ever was designed to provide a persistent combat environment with goal-oriented play. It is a platform from which to build those types of enhancements on, and certainly it’s a great way to experience some tactical fun in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. That’s why they called it the TacPack. It adds combat to single and multiplayer FSX – pure and simple. The future for the product lies in continuing growth of the developer base and expanding on the core enabling technologies the TacPack brings to FSX. That growth will hopefully provide things like persistent combat environments and mission building. Vertical Reality thinks they’ll get there, but for now enjoy the TacPack for what it was designed to do, and don’t fret about what it can’t do (yet).
- Fitting into the Good and Could be Better categories, this isn’t a “Sim-lite” project. You’ll have to take your time to fully learn and practice with the advanced avionics in order to enjoy the TacPack. For those of you that just want to get in, pick a weapon, and shoot or drop it; this isn’t the game addition for that. In order to properly deploy theTacPack weapons you will have to do some reading. I’ve found the best place for that is the VRS Wiki. It’s a lot, but in the long run, well worth the read.
Reviewer’s System Specs
David “Stormtrooper” Tessier
- Processor: Intel i7 920 @2.67 OC’d to 3.51Ghz
- Motherboard: Alienware
- RAM: Corsair Dominator 12GB
- Graphics Card(s): Nvidia GTX570
- Storage: 2GB Western Digital, 1TB Seagate, 2GB Seagate external backup
- Power Supply: Alienware 875W
- Case: Alienware Aurora ALX
- Controllers: Saitek X52
- Operating System: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Ken “531 Ghost” King
- Processor: AMD AM3 Phenom II
- Motherboard: AM3
- RAM: 8GB DDR3
- Graphics Card(s): ATI Radeon 5750
- Storage: 500GB SATA Hard Drive
- Power Supply: 400W
- Case: Asus Essentio CG1330
- Controllers: CH Products: FighterStick, ProThrottle, MFPs (Xs2), Throttle Quadrant, ProPedals DT225, XKeys Pro USB, Logitech MOMO
- Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
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