Creating your personal logbook
Now that you have installed BMS, there are a few things you must do before you actually get to fly.
This Launch window will appear when you first launch your installed copy of Falcon BMS. As you can see there is a selection list of items available for different functions that we will not be considering at this moment. We will discuss these a little later in you progression. Let's start at the beginning.
- The first selection you should be concerned with at this time is the first on in the list. It is called Launch. The only other selection you should be worried about is "Documentation and Manuals". In there you will find all the manuals from all the different versions of Falcon that where written over the years. Lots and lots of pertinent information for you to sink your teeth into. As for the other selections, you'll have plenty of time to get to them later. Remember? Stick to basics.
- When you are ready, select Launch.
- After a few seconds you will be faced with the Intro Movie if you have installed "ffdshow". Watch it, it's short. Otherwise, press esc.
- After the Movie you should end up in the simulator UI:
First, before you do anything you have to create a Logbook. So, click on "LOGBOOK" at the top of your screen.
- Once in the logbook page, enter your Callsign and your Pilot Name. You wouldn't want all the pilots on an online flight to be called Joe Pilot, right? There are also other things you can do here but for now lets just stick to the basics.
Once you have filled in you personal info, click Ok to register your logbook. Now you can start arranging your setups. They will be saved to your logbook. This is why it is important to do this first.
- Now you can begin setting up your HOTAS and it's keyfile, your graphics and your TrackIr. The first page up is the Simulation page.
The Simulation page setup you see here, will pretty much be what you will be allowed to use in online flights. You can lower difficulty levels at first if you need to. But I recommend you learn in Ace mode from the start. Anyway, if you join a squadron you will most certainly have to obide by these rules. When you are done here click on Graphics.
- This next one is a little more difficult, if you don't have a lot of experience with computers. When you first enter this page. In the Video Card box, you should see the name of you video card. If it is something else like, Default Graphics Adapter that is OK too. Move on the Resolution box. It is recommended that you select you Native resolution. I my case, I own a HDMI widescreen (1920x1080 60Hz) as you can see from the image below.
The other elements on this page can be left as is for now. When you get around to tweaking your graphics you will play with those. But again, for now stick to basics.
- In the lower part of the Graphics page, there is a button called Advanced, click on it. In this next window you'll see that in my case all the boxes are lit except for the two pertaining to Mipmapping. On certain computers this causes a problem. So try it if you like, this one's on you.
- Now to the Sound page. Here, basically emulate the setting you see in the image below to get the optimum sound levels. Later you can adjust these as you like.
Once you have finished with this page, click on Controllers..
- Hang on to your hats, this next one could be a rough one. First, there are many elements to the Controllers page. If you look at the image below, you have the Controller section with the axis ajustments, the afterburner limit line, the rudders, the keymapping for the keyboard and HOTAS controls and finally the Advanced page. but first, lets select our controller. Here Saitek x52 Flight Controller is selected (Select yours). Grab your joystick and circle through the X and Y axis. You should see the ball following the movement in the box in the lower left corner of the page. If it does not move, go back to your desktop and make sure you Controller is loaded and that in the present page you have selected your controller in the controller selection box.
Once you have the little ball moving your HOTAS is detected. Now try your rudders and your throttle. If the blue gauge is not moving, we are going to try to fix it right now in the advanced section.Click on Advanced.
- At this time we will only cover the Flight Control tab since it's the only relevant one at this point in your setup. Honestly, in the years that I have been flying, I don't think I ever touched any of the other settings, except of course for the View Control tab. But leave this one to it's default settings for now. Your head tracking device should work fine (If it's on of course.). As I was saying, click on Flight Control.
As you can see there are quite a few possible selections here. Don't worry we will only be covering the basic minimum today. First, find your throttle axis. If you move your throttle does the horizontal level move. If yes, you are fine. If not try a different selection in the roll down tab. After you have found your throttle axis, do the same for your joystick X and Y axis and your rudder axis if you have them. Otherwise leave this last one to the keyboard setting for now.
When you are done selecting your basic axisses (Joystick X and Y, Throttle and Rudders) Click OK!.
- We are back in the Controllers page. Now try your different axisses and confirm that the gauges are all moving. After that, set your afterburner threshold. Once this is all done, click Apply. And wait, stay on that page we are not done yet.
- Now, this last one is probably the most complicated of all of the settings of this sim. The Keystrokes file.
In order to install the right Keystroke file, click on Load.
- When the Load Window opens you will see two files. One called BMS and the other called Keystrokes. This simulator is designed first and foremost for Pilots who are cockpit builders. The file used in this instance would be BMS. But since you are just starting out, select the one called Keystrokes. It contains all the keyboard shortcuts that you will need.
Once you have selected the Keystrokes file. Click on Load.
- That's it! You have completed your Preliminary Setup of your own copy of Falcon BMS. Click on Apply in the controllers windows and then click OK to close the setup area. You are now ready to begin learning.
As far as HOTAS profiles go, they are a very personnal area of your setup. This is why I will not be covering them. As you progress, you'll see that you need to include more and more controls on your HOTAS profile. I know this is a complicated part of the setup, but nothing I can tell you now will help. If you can't figure it out for yourself, there is always the BMS forums that can help you or you can try to contact veterans who I am sure can give you a hand. You can also find already built profiles on the web. But I don't really recommend using somebody elses profile. I think you should spend the time to actually learn this process. It will come in handy in the future.
Good Luck and Clear Skies.