-LATEST NEWS ............. 2003
24th December 2003
Happy New Year
The RCS Panels Team
(Brian Withers, Steve Wayne, Alan Landsburgh, Bob Guzman, and Roy Chaffin)
I want to thank the thousands of people that have sent festive greetings by email. We have received over a thousand heart warming messages just in the past 24 hours, and we want to thank you all for your kindness. The vast majority of the FS community are a caring, grateful and wonderful bunch. So all of you, have a superb Christmas and brilliant New Year.
There is one message in form of a "poem", that was sent to me by one of our supporters, Robert H. Gardner, that I would like to share with you, because it might bring a smile to your faces. Click Here to read.
Safe Landings and we will see you in the New Year.
Roy (on behalf of the whole team)
22nd December 2003
" RCS B-25J for CFS2' in sections "
As promised and as our server does not have a "Resume" feature, we have put the package into smaller "Bite Sized" pieces to help people with 56k modems to download the package if they wish. Using a program called "GSplit" I have divided it into thirteen pieces of 5 mbs (two files are smaller).
You DO NOT have to have "GSplit" on your system. All you do is download all 13 parts into a folder, and then double click on the "b25c2.exe" file and the full "rcsb25c2.exe" file will be recreated ready for installation. Easy :-)
The links to the thirteen files are :-
To download the whole 60 mbs package in one file Click here
For details of "No Frills CD offer" Click here
19th December 2003
" ATI Radeon 9800XT 256mb DDR "
Finally, after a lot of effort, my supplier has managed to find me a ATI Radeon 9800XT 256mb DDR video card to test. This is the "top of the range" model from ATI that is unbelievably expensive.
So, I did all the control tests with FS and the current best FS video card available, the Nvidia FX 5600 256mb DDR. Having carefully recorded all the results, I replaced the card with the new ATI model.
It comes nicely presented with a mass of "Freebie" software. (form your own conclusions) Installation was straightforward and took very little time.
The results were "OUTSTANDING", compared with the Nvidia card which is a quarter of the price, it returned exactly the same results. Well to be super critical there was a slight difference. When nothing was being asked of the video card and it was under very low loading, the ATI gave about two frames per second more. However when under heavy load, and the frame rates are at their lowest, it was a couple of frames slower than the Nvidia card. This is the time when you need the increased speed, and it does not deliver.
I was not at all happy with the quality of the display. It appeared as if "Anti Aliasing" was switched off (jagged diagonal lines and twinkles) when it wasn't. The display is also not very polished in the way it switches from one display to another. In my view the drivers where far from right. Because of that, I downloaded the latest drivers and tested them, but it made no noticeable difference.
Even the manual had errors that made it difficult for someone that was not a computer expert. For example, in the installation instructions, there is a reference to a basic file that does not exist on the CD. The file name quoted is wrong. I know everyone makes mistakes, but when you are paying this sort of money you expect better.
I had genuine high hopes for this ATI card, primarily because of the "Rhubarb" put out by ATI, trying to talk themselves into the "number one" spot, but also because of reports from one or two users. I know my findings are not going to be popular, especially with those that have such a card, because nobody ever wants to know what they have is "TRASH", but I am sorry guys this one is a pure "Rip Off", not because it does not give the numbers, but because it is grossly over priced at around four times the price of a card that still beats it with FS, if only by a small amount where it matters.
So, that is me off ATI's Christmas list, but as you know, I report the true findings on this page, even if people don't want to hear it.
Nvidia is still "KING" in the FS world.
In my opinion, the best value for money these days for FS performance is "Processor Horsepower" and RAM, not expensive video cards.
Have a good week.
14th December 2003
" B-25J for CFS2 RELEASED "
The RCS Panels Team are delighted to announce the release of their ground breaking RCS B-25J for CFS2. Complete with the new Bomb Sight.
Be warned this package is a few bytes short of 60 mbs. We know the demand will be high, but this time we are confident that our servers can cope. However this package should also appear on all the top FS sites in the next few days.
I say this every time, but it is particularly important with this CFS2 B-25J release, YOU MUST READ THE MANUAL IN FULL
Do to the high demand, we have now added this CFS2 version of the RCS B-25J RAF package to the CD we offer to those that need it. The CD package is on a "No Frills" CD posted worldwide at a nominal cost for those without Broadband. The CD contains the CFS2, FS2002, and FS2004 versions of the package along with the FS2004 Flight Dynamics Upgrade.
For details :- Click here.
It is hoped between now and Christmas, to also make available on this site a version of this package that is split into smaller parts for download by people without broadband internet connection. The timing of this release is out of our control and is in the hands of our ISP, so please be patient.
The team has worked extremely hard to bring you this package before Christmas and are now taking a well earned and deserved rest. Have a great holiday season.
Roy (on behalf of the whole team)
11th December 2003
" B-25J for CFS2 "
I am delighted to announce that we are now in the final stages of testing of our new RCS B-25J RAF for CFS2 :-)
When I started this version of the B-25J it was my opinion that the project would be a fairly straightforward and quick process. Well I was wrong, this has turned out to be a massive task for the team, who have worked extremely hard over the past weeks.
Just to wet your appetite, apart from being CFS2 compatible, there are quite a number of new features, like a completely new paint job, bombs and bullets, damage profile, and many other refinements, but also a specially designed and built bomb sight. This sight brings a whole new level of enjoyment to CFS2. It takes great skill, but you can now drop bombs accurately on targets. I have to tell you I am not a great fan of CFS2, but this development has brought a whole new level of enjoyment. Pure hooliganism :-) Dare I suggest that even "Bombing Competitions" may break out amongst friends as a result. I know the members of the RCS team are certainly having considerable fun playing with the results.
So this FREEWARE release is the RCS Panels Christmas present to the FS community. So now is the time to dig out CFS2, dust it off and standby for an explosive Christmas :-) Enjoy !!!
So keep you eyes on this site for the official release, coming soon.
" Thanks "
Can I thank those that came forward in answer to my request on the 4th December, your input was most helpful.
Not much else has happened here recently. When the team are in the final stages of a project there is little time for anything else, including, paying work or even sleep. :-(
Have a good one.
4th December 2003
" Request "
Do we have amongst our readers of this page, an experienced CFS2 user, that is highly experienced with the advanced features, such as the use of radios, and other such things. If we do, then please drop me an email.
" Wildlife Art Show "
I am delighted to tell you that last weekends Wildlife Art Show here, was a fantastic success. It was great to see so many of you and have the chance to chat. From a sales point of view we broke all expectations and even hopes :-) So we should be able to spend a good deal of next year working on new FS stuff for you all. :-)
OK back to programming. Hava a good one.
27th November 2003
" General "
Yet another month has gone past since I have been able to update this page. Unfortunately I have had my head down, and been working around the clock painting new works of art for my annual Open Studio / Wildlife Art Show that opens to the public tomorrow morning. For anyone interested we are open from :-
11pm - 5.30pm this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 28th - 30th November 2003 at :
Blackwood, 10 Nascot Wood Road, Watford, Herts. WD17 4RS, UK.
Tel +44 (0) 1923 225618
I am present at the show during the above times and am happy to talk to all visitors whether it be on the subject of Wildlife Art or FS. (however, Wildlife Art has to take priority) But if you can pop along I would be pleased to see you and talk.
" RCS B-25J for CFS2 "
Many people have asked recently how work is going on the CFS2 version of our B-25J ? Well I am pleased say that progress is being made and the work is going well, but we are still to far off to be able to predict a release date. All I can say is it should be soon, and it will definitely be FREEWARE.
So watch this page for more announcements.
" Video Cards "
I sm sorry to say that the ATI Radeon video card has still not materialised. My wholesaler tells me they are very hard to find. Apparently because of the cost and lack of demand, suppliers are very loathed to stock them. Anyway I continue the search for one to evaluate.
OK have a good weekend and I look forward to meeting those of you that can pay us a visit.
26th October 2003
" Urgent Message "
There is an Urgent message for Alan Carmichael. See the "Urgent Message" tab on the left of this page.
" General "
As you will have noted things have been very quiet on this site recently. As some of you will know, this is the time of year when I have to earn my living and paint continuously for my Wildlife Art Show at the end of November. Therefore I do virtually nothing else until that time. Even emails which I normally answer very quickly are laying in the inbox for quite a while. But be assured, normal service will resume as soon as possible.
" Salute to Concorde "
Sadly, Friday saw the withdrawal from service of Concorde, the greatest airliner of all time. We salute all those involved with the design, production and operation of the most advanced and only supersonic passenger carrying aircraft that was in regular service. The joint British / French venture set new standards that have still not been equaled or bettered, some thirty years on. What a credit to you all.
I have listened with interest to the continual stream of rubbish spoken about why the Concorde should not continue to fly, and it boils down to one thing and one thing alone "Politics". The financial arguments just do not stack up.
Personally I have two hopes. Firstly that the truth will come out and the people involved in this scandal will be disgraced and loose their jobs. Secondly that Concorde will continue to fly, be it not in commercial service, although that would be nice. I know that Sir Richard Branson has put together a detailed plan to save Concorde that is currently be "blocked" by the British Government and British Airways. This should not be allowed to happen.
Speaking personally, Concorde makes me proud to be British (where as the actions of the British Government and British Airways disgust me).
Concorde is a great aircraft. Long may she continue to fly.
" Video Cards "
Still no sign of the latest ATI Radeon video card in my "in tray" for me to test, not that I have time right now to do it, but hopefully I will get one soon.
With respect to the Nvidia Geforce FX 5600 256mbs card recommended earlier in this page. I have to report that many people have purchased them and have reported very good results and are delighted with the card, however I have had two people that have seen a small reduction in performance over a GeForce 3. This can happen.
Unlike most people, I am always reluctant to make recommendation about hardware because there are so many variables in the PC that can effect performance. However when recommendations are made, they are done in good faith based on actual tests made here, and not because the manufacturers want me to say so.
OK it is back to the paint brushes. Have a great week.
10th October 2003
" New Server online "
The new server on this site is now up and running. :-) Many checks still have to be carried out to ensure it is rock solid, so bare with me if there are a few errors thrown up in the next few days. I will work through them.
Have a good weekend.
2nd October 2003
" Many thanks "
Over the last couple of weeks I have received masses of "get well soon" greetings, which has been wonderful. I thank you all most sincerely :-)
I am pleased to say I am gradually getting my strength back and becoming more normal, well as normal as I ever am :-)
" Website improvements "
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be making a number of changes to this website, with the view of improving the service we offer, especially on downloads.
The major problem with running a website like this one, is the amount of server space that is required and the bandwidth that is needed to enable you all to download stuff as you need it. The "Internet Service Providers" always want their "pound of flesh", and unlike most, this website is provided and paid for, out of my personal pocket . I prefer to do it this way, because it means that I am not influenced by anyone telling me what to post and or that I have to "give them a good review" because they are paying for the site. We are and hopefully will remain, completely independent. Furthermore we do not have to bug you all with those annoying adverts and banner advertising.
Anyway, I am just running up a new ISP and domain name, and over the next couple of weeks will be transferring over to them. During this time you might experience a few download difficulties, but hopefully I will keep them to a minimum. If you do experience problems, do not email me immediately, but wait for say 24 hours to see if the problem goes away. If not then do tell me about it. This way I can concentrate on making the changes, rather than trying to trace faults that have already been fixed. I know everyone wants things immediately, but remember what we offer here is a FREE and a voluntary service, so please exercise a little patience :-)
" ATI Radeon Video Card "
I have not yet received the latest ATI Radeon video card, but am hopeful I will soon. You will hear about it as soon as I do.
" B-25 CFS 2 Version "
Just to keep you informed. We are still working on a CFS 2 version of our B-25 and it will be released in due course. However there is still a load of work to do, and as you know we have had one or two setbacks recently. So keep the faith, it will happen :-)
OK that is about it for now. Have a great week.
21st September 2003
" Back at the helm "
As you can see I am finally back at the helm, which was unfortunately slightly delayed due to an unexpected stay in hospital last week. Having returned from a fantastic holiday, (more about that later) I was hanging an art exhibition, collapsed and was rushed to hospital with kidney stone problems. For those of you that have had one you know exactly what I mean. For those who haven't, I hope you never do. Anyway I am now back home and apart from being weak, I am recovering well :-)
" Holiday but not slacking "
I did have a fantastic time on holiday in the South of France. The weather was fantastic, as was everything else. Great food, drink and company :-)
During the stay, I met up with a flight simmer who lives in Monte Carlo. We had never met before, but we had a fantastic evening out together with our wives. I think it is fair to say that Jean Pierre and his wife Marie Luise have now become firm friends. It was a great pleasure to meet you both.
But worry not, all you flight simmers where not forgotten during my time laying around in the sun. During my drive back to the UK, I met up with my good friend Tony D'Ambrosio. Not only did we have a great time together, as we always do, but we also talked about FS and associated things.
" RealCRT Gauges and FS2004 "
One of my questions to Tony was about the RealCRT gauges compatibility with FS2004. He tells me that the gauges are completely compatible with FS2004 and the only minor problem is with the installation program that comes with the gauges. If you try to run the installation program with FS2004 problems occur.
Tony tells me until he reworks the installation program and issues a new version, which he should do fairly soon. If you want to install the RealCRT gauges in FS2004, you are best to install them into FS2002 and then copy them across to FS2004 and they will work fine. Obviously you can rerun the database building program after you have copied them across.
The things that need copying are :-
The "NavData" folder complete.
The "RealCRT Gauges and VDRegister.exe file" from the Gauges folder.
Now double click on the VDRegister.exe file in your Gauges folder and enter your details and Unlock Key Code.
To update the Database for FS2004 double click on the "ND99,exe" file in the gauges folder. Click on "Rebuild Database" ensuring you give the location of the FS2004 installation for scenery. Etc.
Important Note :-
Although Tony and I are good friends, I am not in a position to give Technical Support for the RealCRT gauges, and all queries including registration issues must be addressed directly to Tony himself at :- email@example.com
" Viruses "
There is a particularly nasty virus around at the moment that appears in the form of an email from Microsoft. In one form it looks very official and convincing, but it is a virus never the less for that. Microsoft NEVER email customers with updates or fixes, so you can always be sure that it did not come from them.
Going by the number of instances of this virus that are coming to us. Many of you have been caught by this one and are infected. You need to update your virus definitions immediately and do a full scan of your system. Also check the website of your virus protection software manufacturer for special instructions.
" General "
It is my intention over the next couple of weeks to do two things. One to regain my strength and get back to normal, and secondly, try to acquire and test the latest ATI Radeon video card to see how that measures up against the Nvidia opposition. But I have to tell you, that my past experiences have always told me that Nvidia comes out on top when used with FS. However I wait to be proved wrong.
Have a great week :-)
25th August 2003
" RCS Panels Wins Award "
We are delighted to hear that RCS Panels has won an award from one of the biggest and most respected FS websites on the net, FS Planet.
We have been awarded the “Premiere Season’s File" prize for our ground breaking RCS B-25J RAF Mitchell MkIII.
The whole team are delighted and thank FS Planet for honouring our work in this way.
You can visit their website at http://www.fsplanet.com
" B-25 FS2004 Flight Dynamics Update "
Brian, has been doing some great work on updating the Flight Dynamics package of our B-25J RAF for use with FS2004. Some of you might have noticed, that the way aircraft handle in FS2004 is subtly different to FS2002. Therefore minor changes have been necessary to keep the package up the very high standards we set ourselves.
These new files are for use in FS2004 ONLY and must not be used in FS2002.
To download the new files:-
" Summer Holidays "
With all that excellent news the team are taking their summer holidays. Therefore there will be very limited responses to emails addressed to the team for the next three weeks. We are all attempting to take a well earned rest and enjoy the summer while it lasts. Catch a few rays, have a few drinks and more besides :-)
Have a good one :-)
24th August 2003
" Urgent Message "
There is an Urgent message for Christophe from near Paris France. See the "Urgent Message" tab on the left of this page.
20th August 2003
" Assistance "
A number of people have emailed me saying they cannot find the "Sparkle Nvidia Geforce FX 5600 DDR 256mbs RAM" that I recommend and can only find the 128 mb version, which I DO NOT recommend. To help people, I have located a source of supply that are prepared to ship them anywhere in the world.
S.R.S Microsystems is a good and reliable company that should give you great service.
I hope this helps.
Have a great holiday weekend.
20th August 2003
" Message for Troy Cook "
Troy, please see the "Messages" section of this site.
20th August 2003
" Recommended Video Card "
As you probably know I am continually on the lookout for the "Best" video card for FS, and that seldom means the newest or most expensive. Well the hunt continues, and for once I have some GOOD news for you. Up until now, I have always recommended the Nvidia Geforce 4 Ti 4600 Ultra, but unfortunately that is very difficult if not impossible to find now. Well I have now found a replacement that is between 10% - 25% faster on frame rates, which is a significant improvement, and better still, it is reasonably priced. :-)
The card in question is the "Nvidia Geforce FX 5600 DDR 256mbs RAM" made by "Sparkle". This card performed brilliantly and has become a permanent fixture in my FS machine. Remarkably it is only around £150 ($225 US), which is a third of the cost of the so called top of the range FX cards.
However be warned, You do need this precise card, and not something that is nearly the same and / or has less memory on board. (256 mbs of DDR is what is needed)
In all the tests I have done, which are done under precise and controlled conditions with FS and not with speed testing programs, it has performed much better than anything else. What we are all about in FS is "Frame Rates" and smoothness, not fancy 3D effects that FS does not have or use.
This card also only requires one slot, and is remarkably quiet in the machine.
I will obviously continue my quest, but this moderately priced video card is a "Jewel" and gets my vote, and is definitely worth the money.
"Sparkle Nvidia Geforce FX 5600 DDR 256 mbs RAM"
I am sorry I am unable to enter into discussions with individuals about the pros and cons of individual video cards, so please do not email me with your questions.
" FS2004 and our B-25J "
You might have noticed that aircraft do not perform in FS2004 exactly as they did in the previous versions. The flight dynamics are significantly different. Well I am pleased to say our expert has been working on this problem with our enormously popular RCS B-25J RAF and we will soon be bringing out a small enhancement to "tweak" the flight dynamics the to high standard that is our trademark.
The RCS B-25J RAF Flight Dynamics Upgrade for FS2004 will be released on this page and will be exclusively for FS2004.
That is about it for now, have a good week.
6th August 2003
" R4D and FS2004 "
I have been doing some investigation on the subject of installing the R4D panel and sounds into the FS2004 DC-3. Although this is possible and I have done it, this is far from easy to do, so that it works properly. It is my suggestion that you get a different DC-3 off the net and use that,, it will be much quicker and easier. Sorry we are not able to offer technical Support for the R4D and FS2004, or issue instructions on how to use it with other exterior models.
" Nvidia FX video cards and FS2004 "
It appears that the problem of the 2D panels not showing up with the Nvidia FX video cards in FS2004 is a common problem. One of our readers (James) was kind enough to send me the full story and the solution, very soon after my post on this site. Apparently Microsoft have also spoken on the subject. Basically you need to download new Nvidia Drivers (version 44.67 or later), but as strange as it might seem they are not available on the Nividia Website ?? !!!!
The drivers you need ( 44.67 or later ) to solve the problem can be downloaded from a different website by :-
I have to add however these new drivers do nothing to make the card any faster.
OK, have a good weekend. Me personally I am taking some time out :-)
5th August 2003
" Nvidia FX 5900 Platinum "
Well finally today I got my hands on the Nvidia FX 5900 Platinum 128mbs DDR. Well if the box is anything to go by, this should be stunning. The box is 18" high and 12" square, in which is a large metal cylinder (a can with a lid) Inside there is the board and a host of connectors, leads and CD's.
With great expectation I did a lot of tests with the existing Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti 4600 DDR recording the results and then fitted the new card. Interestingly enough this card requires its own power connector, like a hard drive, but a "Splitter" comes with it.
OK we powered it up and installed the supplied drivers, and then fired up FS2002. To my amazement this new card that costs over $500 returned exactly the same frame rates to the fraction of a point as the GeForce 4 Ti 4600 DDR that it replaced. To say I was stunned was the understatement of the year. !!!
So, move number two and three was to try two more sets of drivers, finishing up with the very latest from Nvidia. Not a fraction of a point of a difference did it make. !!
Next I ran up FS2004, and to my further horror, there is a problem with FS2004 and the Nvidia FX 5900 card which means the 2D panels will not display properly, (all black) but the gauges are there and working although you cannot see them. This problem persisted with all the different drivers and even a reinstallation of DirectX. Basically if you have FS2004 it will not work with this video card, until there is at least a new set of drivers or a fix available.
Frame rates with the FX 5900 and FS2004 were identical to those with the GeForcce 4 Ti 4600 DDR.
There are two things worth mentioning at this point. This Nvidia FX card is NOT the "ULTRA" version and only has 128 mbs of RAM rather than the 256 on the ULTRA. But will this make a significant difference ??, I doubt it.
I will be testing the ULTRA at a later date and will report on my findings, but I have to say, this Nvidia FX 5900 Platinum 128 DDR is heading straight back to my supplier first thing in the morning.
Therefore the Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti 4600 DDR is still "King of the video cards" for use with FS.
This experience once again convinces me that the fastest graphics cards for games like Quake and similar, are more often than not, no faster than the old ones when it comes to FS. It seems that your money is better spent on more "horse power" from your processor, RAM and motherboard technology, than on expensive graphics cards, if you want the system for Flight Simulation.
Well after than shocking piece of news I hope you have a good week.
4th August 2003
" FS2004 and the R4D "
The R4D is NOT fully compatible with FS2004 because of problems with the exterior model. (No props, Door Closing, and Gear) However the panels and sound works fine. As upgrades or further development is not permitted, I suggest you use the FS2004 default DC-3 aircraft, with the R4D panel, and sound package.
" Nvidia Video Card "
I have been given the "heads up" that I might have the new Nvidia Video card in my hands this week. Watch this space for more information :-)
Have a good week.
29th July 2003
" FS2004 is launched "
Well today is the BIG day, FS2004 "Century of Flight" hits the streets in the USA, and the wait is finally over. :-)
All I can say briefly, is it is worth rushing out and buying yourself a copy. In my humble opinion this is a major advance, and worth the money to move up to it :-)
As with all new versions, I am sure there will be people that "Whinge and Moan" about this or that, which in my opinion is unjustified. I know that some people will expect to move all the new sliders to "MAX" and then expect to get blistering frame rates from a machine that is not up to the mark. Well like always it will not happen. In my opinion this is a GOOD new version that offers massive improvements, that as always goes beyond what all but the very best PC's can currently cope with right now. But good it is, and works wonderfully if setup realistically in accordance with the capabilities of your PC.
I do however offer a WORD of CAUTION..... As soon as you have installed FS2004 do not jump to quick conclusions about whether is it better or worse than FS2002. You need to play a little with the various "Settings" to see which works best on your PC. Certainly do not just "MAX" everything out and hope it will work. 2 fps is likely to be the result at best, if you take that option.
Anyway good luck and have fun.
" RCS B-25J Upgrade "
As mentioned ten days ago, I have produced a "FREEWARE RCS B-25J Upgrade" which I am releasing here. The Upgrade is 10 mbs in size, and can either be downloaded in one piece, or in 2 mb sections.
This Upgrade makes the package fully compatible with FS2004 and FS2002 and removes the need to have FSUIPC.dll installed.
Anyone downloading or ordering the CD of the FULL version of the RCS B-25J RAF package, from today onwards will automatically get the new Upgraded version, which will work on both FS2002 and FS2004.
You will find a new link on the left hand side of this page to take you to the page to order a CD if you wish.
" B-25J UPGRADE "
Version 1.5 UPGRADE (10 mbs)
" B-25J UPGRADE in sections "
As our server does not have a "Resume" feature, we have put the package into smaller "Bite Sized" pieces to help people with 28k modems to download the package if they wished. Using a program called "GSplit" I have divided it into six pieces of 2 mbs (two files are smaller).
You DO NOT have to have "GSplit" on your system. All you do is download all 6 parts into a folder, and then double click on the "b25k4up.exe" file and the full "rcsb25k4up.exe" file will be recreated ready for installation. Easy :-)
The links to the six files are :-
NEW FULL VERSION FILES
" RCS B-25J Version 1.5 'FULL PACKAGE' (including upgrade) "
Version 1.5 FULL PACKAGE (52 mbs)
" RCS B-25J Version 1.5 'FULL PACKAGE' (including upgrade) in sections "
As our server does not have a "Resume" feature, we have put the package into smaller "Bite Sized" pieces to help people with 28k modems to download the package if they wished. Using a program called "GSplit" I have divided it into twelve pieces of 5 mbs (two files are smaller).
You DO NOT have to have "GSplit" on your system. All you do is download all 12 parts into a folder, and then double click on the "b25k4.exe" file and the full "rcsb25k4.exe" file will be recreated ready for installation. Easy :-)
The links to the twelve files are :-
" General "
I am pleased to report that the London Art Show was a huge success and we are now back and unpacked, be it very tired. Now it is "all hands on the pump" to get ready for the "PAWS 2003 Gala Prize Giving" this coming Saturday. Things never stop at this time of year. Therefore the response to emails over the next week will be very poor at best.
OK have fun with FS2004 if you can get you hands on one, and I should be back online by the time it is released here in the UK.
Have a good one :-)
19th July 2003
" Back in harness "
I have finally managed to catch up on all the email and get back on schedule. As some of you know this is the busiest time of the year for me, where I am heavily involved in the big art show in London, and this year it is followed a week later by the Gala Prize Giving Evening for the International PAWS 2003 Competition (see links on the "Wildlife Art" page) which I also run.
Nevertheless, amongst the show preparations I have found a little time for FS issues.
" RCS B-25J RAF Update "
I have now managed to spend a little time making a few minor updates to the RCS B-25J RAF. Nothing drastic, just the two things you already know about and one minor issue (the Fuel Pressure gauge will only work unless you install FSUIPC), that needed fixing for the forthcoming release of FS004. Therefore I have decided to release an Update for the package to coincide with the FS2004 release.
This update file will be 10 mbs in size, so please do not email me asking for it to be sent. It will be posted on this site as soon as it is ready.
At the same time, I hope to change the B-25 downloadable file to incorporate the update, so that anyone that downloads from that point on will not need the Upgrade.
" FSUIPC "
While on the subject of FSUIPC, there has been a great deal said about Peter Dowson's decision to make a charge for his excellent package, under certain circumstances. But as is the usual way, several people have not bothered to read exactly what he intends to do and how it will apply to the FS community. Therefore I am publishing an "Announcement" from Peter Dowson, that sets out exactly what is going to happen, and how it will affect users of his programs. I suggest everyone reads it carefully, and does not listen to a lot of the rubbish that is circulating on the Forums.
Let me say at this point, that I totally support Pete in what he has chosen to do and the way he is going about it. He has probably given more to the FS community than any other single person, and should be commended for that. He deserves every ones support
" CFS 2 Version of the RCS B-25J "
For those that might be interested, we are working on a CFS 2 version of the RCS B-25J , which we hope to have out this summer. Work is going well, but the whole team are having to concentrate on other things, like making a living at the moment :-) So progress is and will be, slow. But keep the faith, it is coming.
There will NEVER be CFS 3 version from us.
" Machine Upgrde "
I thought it was about time my main FS PC got something of an upgrade, as the old AMD XP 1900+ is starting to show it's age, and a bit tired. Nevertheless it has served me well.
I have now fitted a new Intel Motherboard that supports Hyperthreading, and also has an FSB 800 mhz capability, along with many other very nice features. This along with a new P4 Hyperthread processor and 1 gig of fast DDR RAM has really made the thing move :-)
I am still waiting to get my hands on the new Geforce FX 5900 Ultra video card to add to the system, but they are a little short on the ground with my supplier at the moment. I do however offer a word of WARNING. I am told by one correspondent that not all motherboards will physically take every version of the above card. On rare occasions motherboard components get in the way of the video card fitting into the AGP slot. So my advice is "try before you buy".
OK that is about it for now. Have a great weekend. Not long now until the exciting release of FS2004 :-)
Have a good one :-)
4th July 2003
" Upgraded and Running "
I am delighted to tell you that we are back online again. The reason for the outage was simple, I, needed to be upgraded :-) and took a months holiday.
I have just returned to the UK from the most fantastic months working holiday in Canada, travelling right across the country from East to West. Basically this was a wildlife research trip, looking for new subject matter for my wildlife paintings. During the trip I captured over 3,000 wonderful images of Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Elk, Moose and much more. The whole trip was one long stream of amazing experiences one after the other. Brilliant scenery, warm and welcoming people and tremendous animals just waiting to be photographed. I could go on and on :-)
Special mention must go to the wonderful staff at West Coast Air in Victoria BC for their kindness, and helpfulness. You folks really set the standard for others to follow.
FS was not completely out of my mind because I was fortunate enough to meet up with a number of FlightSim people and have the odd drink and meal with them. Some were old friends others were new. So the hangar doors did get opened from time to time :-)
OK back to business. I returned to over 3,000 emails that need answering. Yep, that was not a typo, over three thousand !!!. It will take me time to catch up, so please try to be patient, I will get to you all eventually.
With the coming release of FS2004 and the new "Rocket" graphics card from Nvidia, it sounds as if we are in for a pretty exciting month. So I guess it is time to save your pennies/cents and get plenty of sleep while you can.
That is about it for now. Have a great weekend.
4th June 2003
" RCS Panels Email Service "
As you are no doubt aware if you have ever emailed us, we pride ourselves on the rapid and comprehensive responses we give to all people that contact us. However, during the next few weeks you are likely to experience less than our normal level of service, due to circumstances beyond our control. There is nothing to be concerned about, as this is a controlled and planned outage.
During this unusual time, we obviously ask you to restrict your email traffic to us as much as possible, but all emails will be answered eventually. But if you have URGENT requests or queries we would ask you to send them to:-
I will post a message here when we are fully upgraded and operational again.
Have a good week.
30th May 2003
" B-25 improvement "
Thanks to one of our users, I have found a small "glitch" in the external sounds of the B-25 package. To download a fix
27th May 2003
" Urgent Message Section "
You will note I have added an "Urgent Messages" tab and section to the left hand side of this page. This is to be used when we want to get a message to an individual, when their email fails. Anyone that has contact with a mentioned person should try to get the message to them. The first candidate is "John Sanders" John please read your message.
" RCS B-25J Frequently Asked Questions Section "
You will also note I have added a B-25J FAQ's tab and section on the left of this page. This will contain answers to B-25J commonly asked questions, and will be added to as new questions occur.
" New Video Card expected from Nvidia "
Nvidia have announced a new video card that sounds like it will be a major step forward for the simmer. The "Nvidia Geforce FX 5900 Ultra" is due to be released during June, and sounds like it could be something special. I have asked my supplier to send me one for testing as soon as they are available. So expect to hear from me when I get my hands on it. However I understand this is a little on the expensive side, so I would hold off buying one until we see what it can do.
WARNING do not confuse this new card with the old "FX 5800 Ultra" which I understand was a bit of a "turkey".
" FS2004 "
According to announcements elsewhere, we can expect to see FS2004 in the shops during July this year. So I guess it is "save up your pennies" time again :-)
Have a great week.
17th May 2003
" RCS Panels Statement "
Many untrue and libellous accusations have been made against me directly, and the RCS Panels team by implication, on the web over recent weeks. To attempt to put the record straight I am issuing this statement, which I would like you to read.
" RCS B-25 Sperry Update "
During the confusion of releasing a new B-25 package I inadvertently left a couple of lines in the "Aircraft.cfg" file "remarked out", which causes the Sperry to act strangely.
The two lines in question are in the [Autopilot] section of the "Aircraft.cfg" file :-
Alternatively download this amended file
Have a great week.
9th May 2003
" B-25 Added Download HELP for 28K modems"
As our server does not have a "Resume" feature, it was suggested by one of our supporters, that we should somehow break the package into smaller "Bite Sized" pieces to help people with 28k modems to download the package if they wished. Well this I have done. Using a program called "GSplit" I have divided it into twelve pieces of 5 mbs (two files are smaller).
You DO NOT have to have "GSplit" on your system. All you do is download all 12 parts into a folder, and then double click on the "rcsb25.exe" file and the full "rcsb25k2.exe" file will be recreated ready for installation. Easy :-)
The links to the twelve files are :-
" RCS B-25 - Statement "
RCS Panels would like it to be known, that the RCS B-25J FREEWARE package is 100% legal.
During the past few days, many accusations have been made that our package infringes MAAM's copyright. This we strongly refute. So far none of the accusations have been backed up with any form of evidence. When such evidence is made available to RCS Panels, we will defend our position and offer the proof necessary to substantiate our case.
On behalf of RCS Panels
4th May 2003
" RCS B-25 FREEWARE Released "
The RCS Panels team are delighted to announce the release of our long awaited and eagerly anticipated FREEWARE B-25J RAF Mitchell MkIII for FS2002
As mentioned before the download is considerable, but I was able to get it down to 54 mbs, which is 30% smaller than expected. It really goes without saying that a Broadband internet connection is really necessary, especially as our server does not have the "Resume" feature. However all of the important websites should be carrying the file.
Do to the overwhelming numbers of requests, we have decided to offer as CD service for those that need it. The package will be on a "No Frills" CD posted worldwide at a nominal cost for those without Broadband.
For details :- Click here.
This package has been very well tested on all sorts of operating systems and hardware and we are confident it should not give any trouble if used in accordance with the Manual. I know we always say this, but it is essential that you read the manual carefully before you even try to use the package.
As the boss of RCS Panels, I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank the whole team for the fantastic job they have done with the B-25 project. The amazing amount of work they have done, and the hours (12,000 man hours) they have put in is unbelievable and very much appreciated. Only me, the people themselves and their long suffering families, know just how much they have given for the benefit of you all.
On behalf of everyone a very big THANK YOU to you ALL :-)
WE DID IT :-)
On behalf of the whole team we hope you really enjoy the fruits of our labours now and for many months to come, while we all take a long and well earned rest. It goes without saying that although we are always pleased to hear from you, we will not be giving top priority to emails for at least a week or two. :-)
Have fun :-)
Roy, Steve, Brian, Alan, and Bob (The RCS Panels Team)
To download the RCS B-25J RAF for FS2002
30th April 2003
" RCS B-25 FREEWARE Release Update "
I can now tell you the FREE B-25J Mitchell will be released this coming weekend, which I know is a couple of days over the end of the month, which is today, but I am currently tearing my hair out, trying to get the rest of the team to finish their particular tasks so it can finally be assembled for release.
You can be fairly confident that it will be on this site by cease work on Sunday latest, only because my schedule decrees that if it isn't, then it wouldn't be released until December, if at all. I have just completely run out of time, and we are up to the wire.
I know this has been one of the most eagerly awaited and probably the most delayed FS projects of all time, and for that I am truly sorry, but no one has been keener than me to get this out. However, I have no doubt you will be delighted with the end result, especially as it won't cost you a penny :-) One thing you can be sure of, while I have been waiting, it has been thrashed to within an inch of its life in testing, so we are hopeful it will not give any grief.
I am pleased to tell you the release version will now have "Dynamic Reflections and Shadows" on the bare metal skin of the aircraft, which is quite amazing when you see it in flight. Just to give you an insight here are some more screenshots taken a few days ago, and it has improved even more since then.
OK that is about it for now. Hopefully the next posting on this site will be the formal and long awaited release of our B-25J Mitchell.
Have a good few days.
"On his epitaph plainly lacquered, not dead just blinking knackered" :-)
23th April 2003
" RCS B-25 FREEWARE Release "
Finally I am prepared to give you a reasonably accurate release date for our FREEWARE B-25 package. The date being the end of this month April 2003.
We have now all but finished the Beta testing process and I have corrected pretty well all the "bugs" and problems that were found. The last pre-release Beta will be going out in the next few days for final checking.
I am pleased to tell you this package will be usable on just about any machine that will run FS2002 properly. It will also run on Windows 98, 98se, ME, and of course Windows XP (which is what it was designed for).
We still have two main areas of work which need to be finished, tested & added. 1. There are still quite a number of new graphics to be done and incorporated. 2. The writing of the all important "Manual" has to be completed, and put into a form that is easy to understand and follow. Unfortunately with a package as complex as this one, you will not even get 10% of what it has to offer if you don't read the manual fully at least once.
I think it is fair to WARN you at this stage that the package is going to be a considerable download. Possibly one of the biggest ever. My current best estimate would be in the region of 75 mbs for the "Zipped Self Installing EXE" file. Obviously I will do my best to keep it to a minimum, but it is not going to be much smaller than that. I think it is also fair to say that a broadband internet connection is going to be essential. However as this package is FREEWARE, we have no problems, or objections to a friend downloading it for you and passing it on. I will also be looking at alternative methods of distribution as we want this package to get the widest possible circulation.
I hope you will understand, when I tell you the team has literally been working around the clock for several months now to get it all completed. Even our normal paying "day jobs" have virtually been ignored since Christmas to get this published. We are all extremely tired ,short tempered, and in desperate need of a serious break, but we can see the finishing line now and are going for it. So hang in there your wait is nearly over. :-)
By the time we release this package the team will have jointly put in over twelve thousand man hours of their own time, to give you this package for FREE. So as their boss, I ask you all to give that fact due respect, as we get nothing but your appreciation or moans for all that commitment.
OK just to wet you appetite, here are a few screenshots from the BETA version.
Have a great week.
4th April 2003
" More outages "
As some of you might have noticed we were off the air again last weekend. All I can tell you, was it was another ISP problem. I have no idea what the exact problem was. !!!!
" B-25 Update "
Many of you are wondering when you are going to see our FREEWARE B-25 ?? As you know I have said it will be released "soon" for quite some time, and "soon" has not yet come. Well I can assure you it will. No one is keener than me to have it out to you all. But neither I or any other member of our team is prepared to release something that is not properly finished to our highest standards just because of the pressure we are being put under. All I can assure you is this will be worth waiting for and set new standards for quality, as is our way.
The team is working literally around the clock on this project. Steve (our graphics man) and myself are doing little else and have been for a considerable time, so as to get it out as quick as possible. However last week I made the positive decision it would not be rushed.
I have been working on this project for over two years now, so nobody is keener to get it finished than me. However development work is not a precise science. Just for those who are interested. So far this project has has logged over 11,500 hours of development time. Yes, I did say eleven and a half thousand hours.
We are in uncharted ground with this package and it is not possible to predict precisely when a technical problem is going to be solved. I am however pleased to tell you, in the past three weeks, during the time I have been quiet, I have "cracked" the last of the major problems I have been working on. Now it is just a matter of pulling all the bits together. Steve has and is doing a fantastic job on the graphics side. Without boosting his ego to much, I think it is fair to say, I have never come across such a talent in all my years, and as you know I do know a thing or two about Art and Graphics.
This project is being done for all the right reasons. Our satisfaction for producing something special and hopefully to bring to you the users, something that will bring you hours and hours of enjoyment.
So when is is going to be released ?? Well putting a date on it is still not something I am prepared to do right now, because I do not want to disappoint or not keep to my word. It will be released as soon as it is finished, and I can assure you that will not be that long from now. Beta Testers have been "thrashing it to death", so all the problems are beaten out of it, so you don't have to see them. I am pleased to say the "snags" are getting smaller and rarer :-)
I will be putting up some screenshots on this site within the next week or so, and hopefully the full product not long there after.
Many thanks for your patience. Hang in there, as I am sure you will be rewarded.
Have a great weekend.
12th March 2003
" Sorry for the outage "
I must apologise for disappearance of this site, and our email accounts, during the last 24 hours. This was entirely due to a total "Screw up" by our ISP who managed to get our Domain Name suspended. I will not bore you with the details, because I doubt you would believe me even if I told you :-)
Anyway, we are alive and well and back in business :-)
Have a good week.
10th March 2003
" Thanks "
Can I thank the huge number of people that sent us good wishes for our 5th Anniversary, and the overwhelming vote of support for the "Behind the Scenes" article. You folks are tremendous :-)
" Confusion "
There does appear to be a little confusion with a few people over the B25 package. The package announced here is a FREEWARE package, to be released by RCS Panels fairly soon, and is one for the "Connoisseurs", who demand "superb quality graphics" and the "ultimate flying experience". This however should not be confused with the MAAM product.
The MAAM B25 "Briefing Time" package that was recently released is nothing to do with RCS Panels. We no longer support or have any connection with MAAM.
" Technical Support and Unlock Key Codes for R4D "
We here at RCS Panels, are pleased to tell you however, we continue to fully support the R4D package to ALL users with excellent Technical Support and still issue Unlock Key Codes as required.
" FS Event in the Netherlands "
On a completely different subject, I am delighted to bring you details of a tremendous FS Event that will be taking place in the Netherlands on 20th and 21st September this year. For more details:-
" B-25 Michell "
Your long wait for the FREEWARE B-25 will soon be over, as we are nearing completion of the project. I fully understand that waiting is frustrating, but I am sure you would rather we produce something of real quality, rather than cut corners to rush it out before it is properly ready.
OK I must get back to it. Have a great week.
Roy (on behalf of the whole team)
22nd February 2003
" RCS Panels, Past, Present and Future "
At this historic and important time in the history of RCS Panels, our 5th Birthday, I have decided to take the time to write a "Behind the Scenes" article about us, our aims, what we do and the future. Something you cannot afford not to read.
19th February 2003
" RCS B25 to be FREEWARE "
I am delighted to formally announce that the long anticipated and soon to be released RCS B25, will be in our original tradition of FREEWARE.
Make no mistake, this will be a superb package of stunning quality, and is likely to be enhanced and developed even further as time goes on, but the whole team are of one view, in that we want to put it out as FREEWARE with no registration process. Working from the information on the MS website, we are hopeful it will be compatible with the next version of FS, but as more is published we will want to add enhancements to our B25 to take advantage of any new features.
You have all been very patient as we have developed this package, but you are soon to be rewarded. A formal release date will be announced on this page as soon as available, and that release will be pretty quickly after that announcement.
Back to the finishing off the development work.
Have a great week.
17th February 2003
" CFS3 Patch and NO CD Patch "
For those who haven't heard there is an official update for CFS3 to bring it up to version 3.1 which can be downloaded from Microsoft's website.
If you have installed the previous v3.0 NO CD Patch. Before you run the v3.1 update you need to revert to the original "CFS3.exe" file that can be found on the original CD. If you don't, the update will not install.
Once you have updated to version 3.1 you will need a new NO CD patch. This can be found on our "Fixes and Patches" page.
" Version 2.97 of FSUIPC "
You will find the new version of FSUIPC has now been updated to 2.97 (available today) on our "Utilities" page.
Have a good week.
16th February 2003
" URGENT Message for Rob Johnston "
Rob your email address rejects all emails from us. Please contact us again URGENTLY with a different email address or contact details.
" Where does the time go ?? "
I cannot believe another two plus weeks have slipped past. It doesn't seem five minutes since the last message on this page.
" Is your PC Power Supply up to the task ? "
As a computer professional and electronics engineer, it never really occurs to me that other people do not make sure their power supplies in their computers are powerful enough to do the job. It is second nature to me really. However we all pile in more an more power hungry bits into our computers and must make sure the source of power is up to the mark.
When building new PC's now I always fit a 500 watt power supply as standard, which can cope with the high demands of modern graphics cards and CD/DVD burners and the like. But I am sure many of you might still have a 250 watt or even smaller ones fitted to yours. My suggestion would be if you have smaller than a 300 watt power supply in your PC, change it.
A too smaller power supply can cause all sorts of strange things to happen. Computer crashes. "Coasters" when burning CD's or DVD's, Graphics problems, Hard drive problems, etc. etc. So do yourself a favour upgrade it is necessary. They are relatively inexpensive and every easy to fit.
" Operating Systems "
Recently I had cause to do some development work and testing on Windows Operating systems prior to XP. Man what a load of grief !!! Did we really used to accept such a bad and flaky Operating System ??
Like this comment or not, I have to say that anyone that does not upgrade to Windows XP must either need their "Head Read", or is just be a "Masachist". "Beat me again I like it" :-( Sad man !!!
" The future "
There have been worries since the release of CFS3 that the next version of FS would be based on the same system, and not based on the FS2002 system. Well I am pleased to say, I have it on very good authority that this is not going to be the case. I can say with hand on heart and great confidence, that all RCS Panels products will be compatible, even if minor tweaks have to be made. Fantastic news !!
" General "
There is no more specific news at this point other than to say the RCS Panels team are working hard and not slacking. All we wish was there were 48 hours in each day, but I guess that is nothing new..
Have a great week.
28th January 2003
" Work has started "
Work has started on bringing this site more up to date. Obviously this has to take second place to development work, but I am making progress.
The 2002 News from this page has now been removed to speed up the loading when you log on. I have however, just for a few weeks duplicated the last three months of 2002 news so you get some continuity.
The "Utilities Page" has be updated, or more to the point has had the redundant stuff removed. NEW :- From now on this page will carry the latest version of Pete Dowson's FSUIPC application interfacing module for FS2000 and FS2002. Pete kindly now supplies me the latest updates directly for upload, so it is no longer necessary for me to search them out. I will gradually be adding the more useful utilities to this page as the weeks go on.
" Update "
You will remember some time ago I purchased and reported on a new type of laptop called a DeskNote "i Buddie 4". Well I just wanted to give you an update some months down the road, when it had been used seriously in the field. I am pleased to say it continues to delight me. It's performance is fantastic and that 15" screen is a pure delight. Many people have apparently purchased them on my recommendation and emailed me to say how pleased they are with them. I guess there is no better recommendation than that.
I am always reluctant to make strong recommendations on equipment when it involves you going out and spending your hard earned money, but on this occasion I think I was justified.
" New Graphics Card "
As you are all probably aware, there is a "new kid on the block" in the graphics card market. The Nvidia "GeForce FX" is said to be the fastest thing we have ever seen. Well so far it has been so fast I have not seen it. :-) But when I get my hands on one, I will give you a full report.
" Warning "
While on the subject of graphics cards, I will give you a valuable WARNING. Most graphics cards these days come fitted with a substantial heat sink and fan, but YOU must give them a fair chance to work properly. I would always recommend that you leave at least one empty PCI slot next to the graphics card to ensure there is good air flow around the heat sink and fan. If you put another card directly next to it, you are restricting the airflow and you are likely to "cook" the graphics card. Expensive !!! This is not an empty warning, I have seen this happen more than once.
Also while on the subject of heat or getting rid of it. Fitting extra fans to your PC case is a very good idea. My main FS machine for instance has FOUR case fans. Two sucking air in, and two blowing it out.
It is important that you think about where the fans are and which direction the air is flowing. What you are trying to achieve is a smooth flow of air over all the major components. So minimize the restrictions and blockages to that airflow, and think it out before you fit the fans. Normally speaking the main power supply (with either one or two fans) sucks air from inside the back portion of the case and then blows it out the back. Therefore it is a good idea for the case fan/s to suck air in at the front of the case and blow it out at the back of the case.
You can buy extra fans from most PC component suppliers and virtually all of them have an "arrow" marked on then, to indicate the direction of flow. If not, connect it up and test it.
Just remember, most things in the PC box generate heat, and if that heat cannot be conducted safely out of the box then it will overheat the components and present you with an expensive bill for repairs. Most PC component suppliers will not replace stuff that has been allowed to overheat, and they can always tell. Anyway it should not be a problem from now on :-)
OK that is about it for now.
Have fun and a good week.
12th January 2003
" Thank heavens for honourable people "
A Happy New year to all our readers. I am pleased to say that even in 2003 the large majority of people in the world are still honourable and nice people.
If you are like me you start every New Year with tremendous optimism that the "low life" of yesteryear will have been reformed and seen the light. Sadly this hope doesn't last long, and with barely ten days of the New Year gone, we find out life in the gutter is "alive and well", with the old faithfuls hard at it already, and new blood joining in quickly. :-(
The latest to be added to the list for theft and piracy is (name now removed, see below) who has the nerve to steal and publish an entire RCS package.
Therefore the first addition to the "Hall of Shame" for 2003 is :-
Shame on - *************
for piracy of an RCS Panels package
(The name has been removed from this page because a full apologee, remedial action and explanation have now been received)
" Your help would be appreciated "
Now for something you can help with. There have been claims that some strange CD's have found there way into the system, and you might have received one. If you have received a MAAM R4D 7th Edition CD's over the past few months, could you check to see if they have the authors names Bill Rambow, Roy Chaffin, and Jan Visser on the front cover of the CD jewel case and/or on the front of the CD. If there are no names could I ask you to email me. There is no problem from your point of view, so no need to be nervous, but the information would be very helpful.
If you have received such a CD, could I please ask you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your cooperation is much appreciated.
" Exciting and positive things "
Over the next few weeks there will be many new and exciting things happening here on this site, first of which will be a return to the tips and technical help that has been missing from here recently. This will be kicked off by a couple of short pieces that might help a few get better performance out of FS.
It is also my intention to bring this site more up to date, things have slipped over the past months. Many of the items showing here are now very old and need removing or replacing. During this process of working on the site, I hope to bring you more of the more useful modern utilities.
" Norton Anti Virus Software "
A very long time ago I use to advise that running Norton Anti Virus Software slowed down your machine while using FS, and should be DISABLED temporarily. Well I am pleased to say THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE, as the software has now been modified to stop this problem, and has no significant effect on the speed of FS, especially FS2002. Therefore with the current worsening situation with viruses, it is definitely a good idea to keep your virus software ENABLED at all times you can. There are a few exceptions, like when you are installing new Nvidia video drivers, when is has to be disabled, but that is very much the exception.
In my experience Norton Anti Virus is still the one I would recommend, with at least weekly updates of definitions.
" Speeding up FS2002 "
People often ask me how to best speed up the performance of their PC with FS ?? Now there is a question one could write a book on, but apart from the obvious, which is have a modern fast PC that is setup properly (which is rare), there are a couple of tips that can help.
FS is very demanding on system resources, and because of that we need to make sure that we have as many available as possible. RAM or system memory is vital, and to run FS properly I recommend a minimum 512 Mbs of the fastest RAM the PC will support. I know it will run on less, but not efficiently.
While on the subject of RAM and its use, it is pointless having 512 Mbs of it, if you also have a load of programs running in the background (those that appear in the bottom right hand corner of your start bar), each one takes up valuable resources. These should either not be run up or closed down with such a program as EnditAll or MSCONFIG.
Now to the subject of operating systems, in my opinion and that of any person that really understands an operating system, there is only one game in town, and that is Windows XP. Nothing else on a PC comes even close (including Windows 2000). XP is rock solid stable (like UNIX) and virtually never requires a REBOOT. My systems stay on 24/7 and get rebooted about every 7 - 10 days just for safety and not because they need to be. This compares with having to reboot 95, 98, 98SE or ME as many as 20- 30 times a day when developing FS software. From the FS users point of view, Windows XP releases system resources when it has finished with them not like the others (ie, every time a task is done or a window closed).
Putting Windows XP on a new system is very straightforward and drivers for most equipment is packed with XP. However if not, most manufacturers have drivers available. As for software, there are such things as "Compatibility Modes" in XP that let you use old software.
XP upgrades can be hassle, but the end result is worth the grief you might experience on route, and you might be lucky and get none.
Lastly, and this will cost you nothing. You need to set a permanent "Virtual Memory" (or swap/paging file, as it is called) of 1024 mbs ( 1 Gb ) on your fastest hard drive, to supplement your RAM. ( necessary even with 512 mbs of RAM)
DO NOT LEAVE WINDOWS TO DO IT FOR YOU
With Windows XP this is done through :-
Control Panel - System - Advanced - Performance - Advanced - Virtual Memory - Change, then set it in Custom Size.
This should speed up your FS experience. However I do ask you, if you do not understand what is above. Please DO NOT email me for individual help, I do not have the time. Sorry !!
" General "
Well the New Year is off and running at full steam. I have been a little out of it for the start, due to a rather bad cold, but hopefully that will be gone soon.
During the coming year, apart from trips to Europe (as usual), I should be visiting Canada and the USA, and very much looking forward to them all, especially the chance to meet up with many of you.
We have many exciting things coming for you, starting pretty soon, so keep you eyes on this page for more news. I shall do my best to update this page more frequently than has been the case for the past six months.
Finally, can I wish you all the best for the coming year. Have a good one :-)
(On behalf of the RCS Panels Team)
***** Special Notice *****
RCS Panels responds to every email, so if you do not receive a response from us within 72 hours, then you can safely assume that we either did not receive your email, or the reply is being "Bounced" by your ISP. This is becoming a major problem for us as many ISP's now operate "Anti Spam Filters" which also cut out legitimate emails. We really do try our best to get back to you quickly.