For many people, dealing with FSX and putting it to good use can be a bit of a nightmare; you’ll normally find that you are in need of various changes and improvements along the way to make it perform correctly. The issue seems to be that, with such a unique piece of kit, it’s very hard to find something that is “smooth” and easy to use; there are no universal solutions to make FSX perform correctly on every single machine.
However, one of the big changes to FSX came when the creation of DX10 came along. It totally revamped the way that many things are dealt with across all platforms, and FSX was almost certainly affected – and not in a good way. Scenery problems have become commonplace and many people has found no way of getting the problem dealt with – until now.
This package, Steve’s DX10 Fixer, is an old-school solution that will make sure you can run FSX and make sure it actually looks the part when you are manipulating it and using DX10 installations, but does it work?
What does it do?
The first thing that you need to know about this software is its basic usage – it helps to make scenery work out correctly when using DX10. At the moment, the usage of DX10 on FSX is more or less a waste of your time. It causes a huge amount of problems that were simply not good enough. Whilst the rumors of being forced to rush out FSX in time whilst DX10 was still in production is a good one to go with, there is no definitive proof of any of these theories. What there is proof of, though, is the fact that DX10 Preview is a headache waiting to happen for users of FSX.
This software, then, works to deal with these problems and actually correct these issues. The actual aims and the planning behind the software is quite incredible; it’s got a comprehensive list of fixes that it tries to work on, ensuring that you can get something that is far closer to what was originally expected. Now, those with graphics cards that are capable of DX10 can load this up and actually get some use of their high-end graphics engines, instead of scaling back.
Of course, like anything else in this world, it’s not perfect. The software itself fixes a huge amount of problems but it does not manage to capture everything – there simply is too much wrong with the original build to be able to capture every last error that was left intact.
Do I Need It?
The main reason to decide if you need this, then, comes down to one simple thing – do you have a powerful enough machine? We love to run things at the full level and to give ourselves all of the juice and power possible, but with FSX we especially love it. Given that DX10 Preview was an unmitigated disaster from the perspective of Microsoft, it was nice to be able to fire up our simulators an actually use DX10 as it was supposed to be used.
The main question you need to ask yourself, then, is do you have a DX10-compatible card? If you don’t then obviously this is totally useless for you. The best thing for you to do, then, is to simply stick with what you have and try out some other performance mods and adjustors out there. For those with FSX and a DX10 compatible card, though, this is more or less a must have.
The other thing to ask yourself, though, is how much you need to change. DX9 works just fine and gives you all of the class and quality that you will need; if you are happy with that, why make the change to DX10?
However, if you are like many others and are determined to see just how effective DX10 can look whilst removing the problems with older scenery and aircraft vanishing or being totally greyscale, this is without a doubt the most comprehensive tool on the market that is capable of doing what’s needed.
The installation process is, thankfully, fair routine and rather simple to follow along with. First off, though, just load up FSX and try it in DX10 mode to see what you think of it. The download of the file can be made through the store HERE, and you can then install it. The problem is that with this file, you get no instruction; we spent a good while just hitting our hands off the keyboard hoping for the best, but we got there eventually!
Before we run through this mythical installer, though, you need to really consider doing one thing more or less right away; you need to make copies of all of your Fsx.cfg files and, if you are using an NVidia or ATI Inspector package, you need to copy this too. Make sure that you take a note of these files as these should be the DX9 equivalents.
In fact, it might be best if you just copy the whole configuration files in your AppData folder. It’s worth taking the time to do it, trust us! Open up your e-mails before installing, by the way, as you need to get a hold of your details that are sent to you after making the purchase of the Fixer.
The installation process itself is relatively simple – but you need to do all of the horse work above to get it to work for you in case anything goes wrong. You’ll have a few supplementary tools installed, by the way, such as the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 x 86 packages, so just let this happen as they are perfectly fine additions that you will need to make sure that this will work.
Lastly, after installation, make sure that the Fixer software – found on the desktop via shortcut – is linked to your FSX folder correctly. This is very important that you can do this, as otherwise it just won’t work. There is plenty to learn about the installation, by the way, so we recommend that you take a further look here if you need a bit of help operating it further.
Ease of Use
In terms of using the software, it was relatively easy. However, the main problem that we found was that it seemed to be a bit of nightmare to get some of our mods to work with it; especially shader mods. Be sure to check with the mods themselves in case any DX10-specific updates have been released, as outdated versions can simply become incompatible with this.
Another problem with the ease of use – or lack of – was that the instruction manual that we needed to install the thing was installed alongside the software; a bit late! It may be worth your time reading this manual, though, as it details everything that you need in painstaking detail to get things sorted out as soon as possible.
The main issues with ease of use were more the advanced side of things – the user interface for the software and its various other changes and additions are easy to use. The issue really does come from just getting used to the way that it all comes together during the installation and making sure that you have all the appropriate backups in place just in case you make a change that your simulator does not tend to actually agree with you making!
The Key Impressions
Our first impressions of the software were relatively simple – it was powerful but it had a lot of options we didn’t really get. It took many hours of browsing the forums and troubleshooting in the manuals to finally work out how to deal with things like anti-aliasing, for example, we suggest that you set your options to Anisotropic filtering with the Anti-Aliasing box ticked, by the way!
The software was very easy to use in terms of getting it all loaded up after we done the long amount of reading that was needed. However, something else that we looked into along the way was that DX9 and DX10 were still very different in look and in feel; and we wanted to go back and try our DX9 again for a more hands-on comparison.
The benefit of the software is that it lets you do this with just one click which is always very nice – you just need to use the Import and Export feature to bring in the right .cfg file depending on what version you want to use. Remember we spoke about keeping a DX9 and DX10 version? It’s to save you making challenging and manual changes to configurations!
It was very simplistic for that reason alone in changing, and we noticed that it did do a huge amount of good work on the DX10 errors that plagued us. The software does what it says on the tin, and makes sure that you can use the changes with ease!
Should I Use It?
It all comes down to two things – personal preference and personal capabilities. You will find that flying with this DX10 change is very easy and much more enjoyable in terms of the depth of detail and design; IF your machine can handle it. If you are running on the tip of the edge on a medium level machine, though, that enjoyment and elevation can quite quickly be lost and leave you with a chuttering and struggling simulator
DX10 naturally needs a bit more drive and energy from your machine to make it work effectively, so performances on lower end machines with a rather powerful graphics card could be a problem
However, it also comes down to the fact that some people just prefer DX9. Given that this is absolutely loaded with errors originally, many just won’t bother even trying out DX10 again. However, these changes are fairly comprehensive and will make a sizeable difference to your overall level of quality and performance as you move forward
This fills in a lot of gaps that the simulators developers were forced to create with being (apparently) rushed to get FSX out on the market, and is very much worth having for those with a PC that is DX10 compatible
If you are interested in taking things to that next level, then, you should really consider picking this up. Given that it makes flying the same as before and adds nothing new to the simulator outside of removing errors, it’s not going to make your flights any different really
It will be just the same as usual, but you should take note before downloading if you are using a shader tool that works with this. The likes of SweetFX and Shade can start to fall apart at the seams if you don’t update them!
Steve's DX10 Scenery Fixer Demonstration Video
Overall, we were quite happy with this tool. It did what we asked of it, when we asked of it, and it was very effective at plugging the numerous gaps that were created by the rather shambolic release of the DX10 Preview in the first place!
However, it takes a bit of trial and error – as well as hours of reading – to get it working for you. Even if we were to try and set it back up today, we would need to go and read it all again as it was all just so specific and unique in comparison to what we are used to.
That being said, the level of power and overall features of the software was very impressive – it definitely hands you a lot of control over the simulator and its powers, ensuring that you can take things to the next level with a bit of messing around.
It just needs to be easier to set up in future, really. The detail and the quality of the features was without a doubt one of the most impressive aspects of using this amazing software, improving your level of performance so much as you move forward clearly. Need a solid tool that makes DX10 actually useable, albeit at the cost of a lot of reading? Then this is what you need to pick up.
You can purchase your copy over at Steve's website here.