EZDok was a staple addon in the flightsim world for multiple years. It ran completely unchallenged as the one and only camera movement tool worth any amount of money. While small competitors rose and fell, EZDok was by far and away the top dog for years and years and years…
There was just one problem. It was never supported.
After a few updates to the EZDok software, and a couple of years of regular support, anything resembling developer contact was lost. Whether it was for a good reason or not I have no grounds to debate, but there was radio silence for the maker of an essential addon as the FS world around it went full speed ahead. This was the case for a few years, and despite grumblings from the community, it remained a top addon and choice because there was no alternative, and the community wanted (and in some cases needed) the functionality it provided. Circa 2016, the landscape was bleak, and was projected to stay bleak. However, about halfway through the year, a new challenger appeared, almost as if out of thin air. Enter FSFX package’s Chaseplane camera system.
FSFX began rolling out the ability to buy into their Alpha program for the software, and promoted their new Chaseplane software heavily (not that the rest of the community’s ravings wouldn’t eventually do that for them.) Within a matter of days, it was being hailed and thrown about as “the EZDok killer.” Finally, the community was going to have a responsive and forward-thinking developer behind a camera addon. Chaseplane took the market by storm, and gained huge backing. This was all to be expected, the only reason people hadn’t uninstalled EZDok before was because they were simply waiting for an alternative piece of software. When that arrived, they gave Chaseplane an immense welcome, and barraged it with welcome gifts from their wallets. All was set to be smooth sailing, and FSFX would ride into the sunset with people’s money and support in hand. But it wasn’t so.
Miraculously, a mere few weeks after Chaseplane became as viral of a success as an FS addon could be, there was new life in the least expected place. EZDok’s developer released a preview video of his up-and-coming EZDok v2.0 software, and he even provided a reason for his absence. He claimed that he had been off the past few years gathering telemetry data to make EZDok v2.0 the definitive realistic camera addon, and he was close to releasing the fruits of his efforts. Suddenly now we had two new responsive developers vying for a spot on a simmers HDD in which only one application could occupy. So, who did the better job? Who made the better camera addon? Who should you give your hard earned cash to? These questions are frequently bundled together all into the last question I asked, but the first two are just as important to consider on their own. So let’s dive right into those questions!
NOTE: This article is going to be different from the structure/intent of my other reviews. This debate is one that boils down to personal preference in a lot of cases, therefore I might frequently contradict other reviews out there. I feel like given then immense similarities of these products, it would be unfit to give them different reviews, as it would just make their inevitable comparison more difficult. That being said, I also want to point out that I purchased a copy of EZDok v2.0, and I received a review copy of Chaseplane.
Who made the better camera addon?/Who did a better job?
Alright, let’s start with a harder hitting question. Who made the better addon. There are 3 main features I expected to see in these addons: UI Usability, Customization, and In-Sim effects. Chaseplane is well known for the much improved UI over EZDok, and while I didn’t originally hold this opinion, Chaseplane did make the better UI.
I started reviewing EZDok first, and during my time w/ EZDok I found myself liking/appreciating the minimal/small UI, and found it’s simplicity to be well worth it over trying to look all stylish. When I first booted up Chaseplane, I was overwhelmed by all of the tabs and sliders without tooltips, I was more than a little disappointed to find that the audiovisual tutorials for the software were “INOP.” I struggled a lot to get Chaseplane to do what I wanted it to do, and found myself getting lost in sub directories and menus a lot more than I was hoping to.
However, I decided that it would be unfair to stop using Chaseplane just because I didn’t understand how to fully use it, and after a few discord calls with some friends, I figured out how to get the camera to smoothly transition and slide the way I wanted it to. As time passed I found myself more and more comfortable with the UI, and I began to appreciate the little things like the ability to adjust the curves for camera movement speed, and the ability to control the camera movement smoothly directly from the UI. While I eventually came around to thinking that Chaseplane had the better UI, I still think the EZDok UI was a lot more intuitive and simple than people liked to say it was. Neither are perfect (I’d like the option to choose between light and dark themes for both) they both did well with deigning their UIs.
Now we move on to Customization, where again, Chaseplane will reign supreme. Chaseplane’s settings may be a little hard to grapple with at first, but they are incredibly more robust than the competition. EZDok gives you sliders for speed and inertia, gives you a few toggleable options, and that is really about it. Even EZDok’s headline horizon hold feature was implemented into Chaseplane on top of all the other features you can change. In Chaseplane.., instead of getting sliders for inertia and speed, you get those options for each axis of movement for each camera.., it’s insane. You can choose to have smooth transitions in EZDok, in Chaseplane you can choose from over 15 different movement speed curves for the smooth transition, as well as edit transition speeds themselves and which cameras remain in the rotation when you press “next camera.” The only feature that worked with EZDok that didn’t quite work with Chaseplane was the ability to bind NUM 0 to an outside view of the plane.
And now, onto In-Sim effects. This section is a little short, because a LOT of this is down to personal preference. I personally believe that EZDok provides slightly nicer looking/more realistic head movement effects, but then I’ve met people who say just the opposite, and they have good reasons to believe so. The other main strength that Chaseplane has in this department is that the software simply comes with more effects than EZDok does. Predictive movement for turning your head is an incredibly convenient thing for those of us without TrackIR, and the inclusion of many of EZDok’s headline new features leaves many wondering if EZDok will ever have exclusive effects again.
So, who made the better camera addon? Two weeks ago when I was outlining this article, I was leaning towards taking the controversial stance of saying that EZDok was better. However, in the time since I wrote that I’ve begun to grow accustomed to the Chaseplane style of head FX, and while I still think EZDok has the slight lead in realism, it is far outweighed by the customization ability and feature list that Chaseplane provides by default. A lot of the missing features currently are simply because the software is in Alpha, and should be remedied as time passes.
Who should I give my cash to?
Here’s where the debate becomes a tad lopsided. Chaseplane, all though it costs more money, is an Alpha release that is getting regular updates from a proven reliable developer. EZDok on the other hand, has released their full v2.0 version, and seem to be on the verge of another disappearing act.
I gave my money to EZDok, I paid the full price for v2.0, and I wouldn’t recommend you do the same. Unless the sole purpose of this addon is to have the most realistic head movements (for which you really should just have TrackIR) then Chaseplane is the smarter purchase. It already has a robust and stable feature set, and we’re still in Alpha. Some of the up and coming features look like they will be worth their weight in platinum, like social profile sharing and such. But we never know for sure, and this is most certainly a developing landscape.
Until next time,