Steam is how we deliver the software now. RealFlight can of course be purchased directly from Steam online. It can also still be purchased from other places, such as in RealFlight boxes in hobby shops. It's just that inside that box, instead of DVDs like you got, there is an alphanumeric code for redemption on Steam in order to actually obtain the software.
I suggest viewing this post
and this post
of mine for more information on these topics. (I suggest saving time and not reading the entire thread. There was a lot of initial trepidation about Steam which has largely been resolved since then.)
RF8 was the first version of RealFlight to be available on Steam, added several months after its initial release.
RF9 was released simultaneously on DVD, as a digital download through Tower, and Steam.
9.5 was a free update for all editions.
9.5S was the first version to be available exclusively through Steam. It is still a free update for all RF9 users. Steam edition users received it automatically, as with all updates through Steam. DVD and Tower Digital Download edition users must first exchange their edition for the Steam version. This exchange is free and is accomplished through the following site: https://keyexchange.realflight.com/
9.50.038 is the last update released for RF9 prior to 9.5S. Hopefully you are already running that version. It is available to you via the RealFlight Launcher. Subsequent updates were available only to Steam users (which includes everyone who has performed the above exchange).
I'm not sure specifically what bad things you heard about Steam, so I can't really speak to that. FWIW it has a very large userbase and by the end of this year will have been around for two decades. I use it personally and am pleased with it. It offers a number of advantages both for us as software developers/publishers and for our users. A few you may care about:
- You don't need a DVD drive (for years now most computers have not included one).
- You don't need to worry about losing or breaking your DVDs.
- You don't need to enter a serial number or worry about losing it.
- Software updates are provided automatically.
- You don't need to register online to receive software updates.
- Installation on other PCs is super easy. All you need is your Steam login info.
RealFlight Trainer Edition is a lower-price version of RealFlight with a limited feature set. It offers the basics and is a good way to try out RealFlight and the hobby with a smaller initial investment. It can be upgraded to RealFlight Evolution at a reduced price as well, meaning you can take that smaller step first then upgrade to the full version later if you choose and only end up paying an extra $10 out of pocket compared to buying Evolution in the first place at its regular price.
There is a substantial difference between Trainer Edition and the full versions of the sim. Many features and much content was trimmed out of it. But for someone seeking just the basics on a budget, it's still a great option for learning to fly.
is a good place to start learning more about RealFlight Evolution.
If you're using the InterLink DX, just select the "InterLink DX (Mode 1)" radio profile in the Select Controller dialog and call it good. One of the great things about using the InterLink is that everything just works without additional setup.
The InterLink DX does not have any settings of its own. It cannot apply different rates or expo to your outputs. Each model in RealFlight has what we call a "software radio" which is set up with selected values for those things. For example, one model might have 70% elevator on low rates while a different model might have only 50%. Similarly, different models can have different amounts of expo set up on their different channels. When you flip the rates switch on your InterLink, that just sends a different signal on that channel which RealFlight's software radio is watching for that tells it whether to use the low or the high rates that are already programmed into it. Whatever expo settings exist in the software radio are applied to your inputs once they reach RealFlight, but nothing ever changes on the InterLink itself as far as the output values it sends.
If you're interested in more of the nitty gritty of setting up your own radio for use in RealFlight, I suggest reading the Radio Interface Help document available from RealFlight's Help menu. It can get a bit esoteric. As long as you're using the InterLink (which provides the best experience), you don't need to worry about any of that.
To reiterate what I said in an earlier post, RealFlight is never modifying the actual controller trim for you. But that might not actually be what you meant. SAFE modes do use gyros to help stabilize flight, which is a bit different. It's acting on your behalf as if you yourself had moved the sticks.
You should absolutely see results from modifying trim values in AS3X mode. You should hear a beeping sound when you increment or decrement any of the trims. You can also turn on the Radio gadget and confirm that RealFlight is seeing those inputs, since the tabs will move visually, and will be colored red except for when centered.
However, maybe what you're encountering is that even when adjusting the trim to max it's not enough to keep your plane level at half throttle. That would be a different matter. Half throttle is not a lot of power for many models, and the impact of trim settings is limited. Even full trim is not the same as full stick input. At half throttle I expect to hold a certain amount of up elevator myself just to keep the plane in the air and level (at least for most), and for some models the amount will be more than what trim alone can manage.
Re: Training videos in different versions: 9.5S adds a similar set of lessons using the AeroScout for people who are starting out with that particular model. They are essentially the same as the ones you have experienced with the Habu. Evolution has the same lessons as 9.5S. Trainer Edition has the same New lessons as 9.5S and Evolution but none of the Classic lessons.
Phew! That was a lot. I hope it helps!