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About Flight Simulator 2020

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 has been released and I finally found time to give it a spin (for various reasons I did not participate in the beta program). It is an impressive achievement and surely a landmark in the history of flight simulation games – although like its predecessors when they were first launched it needs some pretty heavy hardware to run properly. I am not a gamer, and the computers I use for development work have very modest specs, so I cannot experience MSFS in all its glory. But even at the lowest setting this game is still very enjoyable.

A bigger problem is the requirement of a high-speed internet connection – not only to download the game but to apply the mandatory updates. We have an LTE/4G mobile broadband connection that on a good day can deliver up to 20 Mbps. After struggling for hours with the confusing website to even get the download started, the initial 100 GB installation took me two days – and the following day I had to patch it with another 8 GB before I was allowed to start the game. This is really frustrating and frankly a bit off-putting. I didn’t touch the game for several days because I was so annoyed.

I do understand that this may seem trivial in just a few years when most people will have access to fiber broadband and/or 5G. We actually signed up for a fiber connection 3 years ago, but the contractors that have the concession in our area have been tied up since then with financial problems and with getting the proper permits. Turns out that there is no clause in our contract that specifies exactly when they should connect us. So we are stuck in limbo with 4G until they sort it out.

So will there be a Draken for MSFS 2020 from Bookmark? Probably not. That would require a complete remodeling and retexturing of the aircraft using new tools and procedures. At the moment it is possible to convert FSX/Prepar3D models and make them fly in MSFS, but the old .mdl format is only barely supported at this time and may not load at all in future updates of MSFS.

The FSX and Prepar3D versions of Draken are modeled in Gmax, which of course is not supported in the MSFS SDK. Some additional parts for Prepar3D were modeled in a 3DSMax version that I no longer have access to. To create a commercial quality model for MSFS we would need to start over using 3DSMax 2016 or later, Blender being a possible alternative. But as we no longer have a license for 3DSmax and very little experience of working with Blender, remodeling Draken is not on the map for the foreseeable future.

As the only permanent thing in life is change, I do not rule out completely the possibility of an MSFS version of Draken in 2021. But at the moment it seems unlikely.

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J-35OE status

The OE version for Prepar3D has been delayed due to a heavy workload in combination with the COVID-19 situation. The initial target date range was early summer 2020, but my best guess at this point is sometime in the early fall. The project is however very much alive and moving forward.

Most of the avionics and instruments are now complete. Some final touches and optimizing of textures and code to do after that, then we will start building installers for pre-release testing.

A major update to the 35J version will be released in conjunction with the OE version. This update will contain significant improvements in texturing and functionality that were developed for the Austrian model. I will post details about this update in the coming weeks.

Stay tuned /Thomas

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J-35OE in the works

An Austrian J-35OE model for Prepar3D is now officially on the roadmap and development work has begun. This will be a completely separate add-on with a full 35OE cockpit, including a functional RWR.

A release date has not been set yet. Stay tuned for more info.

35OE

35OE cockpit
J-35OE cockpit still in development
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How to download updates

To access bugfix patches and updates to Draken 5 you must now be logged in with the same user account that you used when purchasing Draken.

If you purchased Draken between the 25th and 27th of October 2019, the transaction was handled through PayPal instead of Stripe. This unfortunately means that your purchase may not be detected automatically by our system. If you have purchased Draken but cannot access the updates, please contact us using the contact form and we will send you a direct download link.

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Draken 5.0.4 update

The latest Draken updater is available here.
This is an accumulative update that will apply all changes since version 5.0.0.

Changes in this version:

  • Aircraft configuration is now saved in ProgramData folder (Windows 10 fix)
  • Instrument and panel dimmer settings are now saved to configuration
  • Landing and taxi lights adjusted
  • Turn-bank indicator needle now centers properly
  • Drop tanks are now separate tanks in the configuration
  • Drop tanks animation is now disabled for instanced aircraft in multiplayer

Changes in version 5.0.2:

  • Control surfaces now animate correctly in Multiplayer
  • Brake chute hatches are now always closed in Multiplayer
  • Fixed broken function for showing the Options dialog on startup
  • Fuel system now has separate front/rear tank groups (same as in FSX version)
  • Disabled OMI marker sounds (not used in 35J)
  • Fixed bad texture mapping on the main attitude indicator ball
  • Miscellaneous minor bugfixes and improvements under the hood

Changes in version 5.0.1:

  • Fixed errors in the FR21/FR28 communication radios
  • Remodeled and retextured RB 27 and RB 28 missiles
  • Corrected mapping of afterburner cooling intakes
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New FAQ page

The old static FAQ page has finally been updated to a more useful format, hooray. :)

We will successively add more questions and tips to the FAQ as we get more feedback from users. Please use the forum for any questions or suggestions that you may have about Draken, this will help us build a useful FAQ.

The old Draken 4.x forum is currently closed for new posts, but there may eventually be a new section of the forum for the older models. Not decided yet.

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Fake versions, clickbait and piracy

Have you found our add-ons on other websites? Do NOT download them.

This is the ONLY place where you can download the Bookmark add-ons for FSX or Prepar3D. If you find them on any other website, they are without exception stolen or fake versions of our products that were scraped off our website to be used as clickbait, and they may even include malware.

Old versions of our FS9 model are still available at AVSIM and Flightsim.com (and a few other websites). These downloads are absolutely legit but very much out of date. The final FS9 version 3.2 is only available on our website. The FSX versions have never been uploaded to other websites, they are only found here.

Before our first FSX model of Draken was released in 2010, one website actually repackaged the FS9 version, modified the EULA (!), added some of their own stuff, and then promoted it as an official FSX version by Bookmark. Some people downloaded this abomination and then sent us angry messages when it did not work in FSX. Amazing.

The Prepar3D version is not free but very modestly priced. The low price will not eliminate piracy (hey, people steal our freeware) but we hope that it just might make it less worthwhile. To those of you who have bought Draken 5.0, our sincerest thanks. You are supporting this project and inspiring us to keep on developing Draken for future versions of Prepar3D and (maybe) Microsoft Flight Simulator.

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We are back online

A module in the WordPress theme that we use ran into a nasty conflict with an updated plugin on Saturday evening. This problem has now been solved (we hope) and we are back in business. We apologize if this temporary hickup caused you any inconvenience and promise to keep our themes, plugins, widgets, gadgets and doodahs in line in the future.

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Draken 5.0.1 hotfix

A patch that will update existing installations of Draken 5.0 to version 5.0.1 can now be downloaded for free from the webshop. This is a hotfix release that corrects a few minor bugs and some mistakes in the exterior model.

The update includes the following changes:

  • Fixed errors in the FR21/FR28 communication radios
  • Remodeled and retextured RB 27 and RB 28 missiles
  • Corrected mapping of afterburner cooling intakes

The patch will not overwrite the aircraft.cfg file, so modifications you may have made there will not be affected and your saved flights can be used. The new version number will only be displayed in the Options panel.