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3D Plane Games – 5 Tips to Optimize Your PC

If you’ve purchased a flight simulator or fighter plane game, there are several things you can do to your desktop or laptop computer to make sure you have an optimal experience. In this article, I outline the top 5 tips to optimize your computer for the best flight gaming experience.

1. Make sure your PC Hardware is the Best Available

3D Plane Games have come a long way in the last 10 years. Today’s flight simulators and 3D fighter plane games require that you have a system with a powerful CPU and graphics card and abundant RAM and hard drive space. To get smooth frame rates, you’ll want to invest in a system that has at least a 2 GHZ, dual core CPU, 2 GB of RAM and 20 GB free hard drive space. I also recommend a video card with at least 64 MB of RAM, and Windows 7 is the operating system that supports the most popular titles of plane games and flight sims.

2. Map Common Flight Controls to the Keyboard

Many flight simulator games will come pre-configured with keyboard settings mapped to a range of functions on the plane, such as adjusting the ailerons and rudders, changing the throttle, controlling the lights and radio, and much more.

What’s important is that you have a configuration that is most comfortable for you. Also, if you are playing a more conventional fighter plane game that does not come with many controls mapped to the keyboard, it can still be useful to add shortcuts to things like firing missiles and dropping bombs. Take the 5 minutes to go into the settings for the game you are playing and configure these keyboard controls to be optimal to your hand position. For instance, I like to keep my left hand on the typing position (keys ASDF) and my right hand on the mouse, so I map a lot of controls in my games to keys on the keyboard within reach of ASDF.

3. Invest in Cockpit Accessories

To get the most realistic and enjoyable flying experience, consider investing in additional cockpit accessories, or hardware that you would find in an actual airplane cockpit. The most common accessory is a joystick (or flight controller), but these days it is also possible to purchase a rudder, a yoke, or an enhanced gaming seat. Take a look on Amazon.com to get an idea of the range of accessories available (many of which are for sale for less than $150 or even $100).

4. Invest in a Good Sound System

Many games support surround sound, so it is worth it to invest at the very least a 2.1 speaker setup, but more ideally a 5.1 setup. If you have roommates or thin walls between your house and your neighbors, I recommend purchasing a good set of over the head, ear-covering headphones. Noise cancellation is generally not needed, so save your money there. But, there is a big difference between the chip in-ear headphones that come with MP3 players and those from companies like Monster and Klipsch, especially when it comes to realistic reproduction of the lower frequencies.

By investing in a solid set of headphones or speakers, you’ll be able to get a realistic, immersive representation of what it’s like to be in the cockpit of a commercial or military aircraft. You can get either for less than $100.

5. Tweak Software

If you can’t afford new PC hardware, or if you still want to get better performance with high-end hardware, there are several things that you can do in order to get optimal frame rates, which translates into “smoother” graphics.

First, make sure extraneous background processes are stopped if at all possible. Take the minute before you launch your game to halt virus scans, defragmentation, and close your web browser and other applications.

Second, make sure that you have installed the latest drivers for your graphics card and that the latest graphics frameworks are installed (such as DirectX and OpenGL).

Finally, it is possible within the Windows resolution settings and within the game to modify the resolution and bit depth that you are using. If you are getting choppy gameplay, consider changing to a lower number of bits (e.g. go from 16 from 24) and to a lower resolution (e.g. go from 1600 x 1200 to 1024 x 768).

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