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  1. It seems this scenery is not fully compatible with Orbx Germany South. There are a lot of elevation issues, causing buildings to float and roads to disappear. Can we get a fix for this? Thanks in advance!
  2. When ORBX first announced that they would be covering the entire globe with their FTX Global series, it seemed way too good to be true. Fast forward and they have successfully managed to release two ‘Global’ products. Those obviously being both FTX Global and FTX Vector. Both releases were met with universal praise and went on to being some of ORBX’s most successful product launches. Of course, these products were never meant to be the “ends all” for their true “Global” remake. This is where OpenLC (LC = Land Class) comes into play. Now I want to make things very clear before I proceed: EUROPE OPENLC covers just that: Europe. This is not a global product unlike the previously mentioned products. The idea behind this is to allow users to choose the regions they’re most interested in. This saves development time for ORBX, reduces the overall cost of the product for the user and also helps to keep your Flight Sim hard drive to be kept clean and to a minimum. It also allows ORBX to really polish and refine each region to be as accurate and true-to-life as possible. Another point to note is the term “OpenLC”. LC, or Land Class essentially tells the simulator what kind of ‘ground’ to display within the sim. So for example, if the data says “rock” then the sim will display the “rock” texture, which was included with the FTX Global base pack. It also tells the sim where towns and villages are, meaning most remote places in Europe are now visible. Obviously this is me simplifying the technology and dedication the team at ORBX have put into the product, but hopefully it gives you a better understanding of what the product is, and not what you hope it will do. I can assure you, that whilst the new Land Class data is excellent, it’s only as good as what the system can read. This is no alternative to replacing your full FTX regions, but it vastly increases the realism in what you see depicted in the sim. That’s right, I said ‘vastly’. It truly is the difference between night and day, or Winter and Summer, or black and white. Just look at the screenshots. It’s clear that ORBX have invested a lot of time, dedication and resources into achieving as much accuracy as possible with the product. With over 10 million sq km handcrafted Land Class, it’s easy to see why the product’s timeline slipped a few times. Once you see what has been achieved, it’s hard to be mad at them! It’s breath-taking, beautiful and breaths a whole lease of life into the Sim. I will never fly without OpenLC again. One of the biggest concerns I’m sure many of you have is the total cost of the product. Obviously you will need to have FTX Global for OpenLC to work and it’s advisable to get FTX Vector to truly make this a recreation of Europe. The costs add-up quickly. That’s three products just for one purpose. From a business prospective, I completely understand, but from a consumer’s point of view – I also understand it’s not the cheapest hobby to shell out. However, I honestly believe that ORBX’s ‘Global’ vision is value for money. Let’s put things into prospective. GLOBAL = 69.96EUR – MUST have for OpenLC. VECTOR = 48.96EUR – Highly Recommend (but not needed) for OpenLC. OPENLC = 27.26EUR – Europe, each region will be priced individually. TOTAL = 146.18EUR Not cheap at all. However, if you purchased Global last year when it was, that’s nearly half of that cost already gone. If you don’t need Vector, then you’re only looking at spending 27.26EUR – pretty low cost for the coverage you’re receiving. Some of the bigger airports in the FSX world cost more than that, for substantially less “Sim Space”. Obviously, if you’re yet to own any of the products, then you’re looking at a bigger investment…. Key word here, “Investment”. It’s an investment as ORBX have promised to provide free updates to their Global range. If you buy version 1.2 of Global, and they release 1.5 next year, you will get that update free. The same with all other products from their Global Range. It’s that customer focused attitude and honesty that set ORBX products above the rest. With improvements for vector and land class data becoming more and more available, ORBX will continuously push that out to their customers through service packs. I can see that for as long as I use FSX/Prepar3d, I will have the Global Range on my PC. Certainly a small price to pay for the upgrade in quality from stock scenery. It’s difficult to review such a package as FTX Global Europe Open LC due to the sheer quantity of what is different than before. Instead, I have created a wide range of BEFORE and AFTER screenshots demonstrating the improvements you see from installing OpenLC and exactly what the product does. PLEASE NOTE, THE SCREENSHOTS ARE ANNOTATED. BEFORE = FSX + FTX GLOBAL + FTX VECTOR AFTER = FSX + FTX GLOBAL + FTX VECTOR + EUROPE OPENLC The screenshots were never intended to show vanilla FSX compared to openLC, just what improvement the additional cost involved between Global and openLC would bring. As you can see, the difference is defined and clear. You may ask “but some areas have less city land class in”, in which case, is probably right. Not every town and city is as huge as what the current FSX land class represents. ORBX have spent a lot of time ensuring that the data is accurate and believable. I am totally and completely convinced that ORBX have really outdone themselves with the release of FTXG openLC. There is nothing in the market that compares in the modern market. It is a costly venture, but one that will be supported and used for many, many years to come. Unlike a standalone airport, Europe will remain one of my most visited areas on the Globe. The combination of ORBX’s Global Product line works flawlessly and provides such a rich and immersive environment, it’s hard to not get excited about their future openLC packs and what else they have in store! 5/5 | Publisher: Flight Sim Store | Developer: ORBX | Price: 27.26EUR Despite being an add-on for an add-on, FTX Global Europe OpenLC delivers on the promise ORBX set out years ago. It’s delivered a breath-taking and stunning overview of Europe’s diverse landclass. Full towns and villages now appear, with more attention to detail to mountainous areas and forestation. A absolute must-buy for European routes and a great insight for future openLC from ORBX. + 10million sq KM covered in just one package. + Breaths new life into Europe making it much more realistic. - Although an 'investment', can appear costly to newcomers. - Some areas appear more "refined" than others. Purchase ORBX's FTX Global Europe OpenLC Here My Specs: Processor - 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-3770K Ivy Bridge (OVERCLOCKED TO 4.8GHz) RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 12800) GPU - GeForce GTX 780 FTW 3GB GDDR5 Mother Board - ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard Hard Drives - 2 x 128gb OCZ SSD + 2 x 1tb 7200RPM HDD Operating System - Windows 7 (64-bit) Add-ons Used In Screenshots: Scenery – ORBX's FTX Global openLC Europe, Aerosoft's Mega Airport Lisbon (LPPT) Aircraft – Aerosoft’s Airbus A320, A2A's Piper Cherokee Utilities - REX4 Textures, FS Global Real Weather, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global, FTX Vector
  3. REVIEWERS NOTES: Some of the screenshots represent a lack of FTX Scotland Scenery. You will notice that some terrain issues primarily near to the cliff edges look out of place. I can confirm that Sumbrugh works without FTX Scotland, but you will receive the most out of the scenery if you have it installed. Please always read the relevant information before making a purchase. Before Orbx or 29Palms had announced they would be bringing Sumbrugh airport to Flight Simulation, it had always held dear in my heart. Knowing closely people who flew there on a regular basis had always made me intrigued by the difficult approach, and short, bumpy runway. I had watched countless videos displaying detailed approaches and take-offs from the airport, and even had the chance to spend a day up there to watch aircraft come in and out. It was thrilling. Seeing the larger dash 8 aircraft land on such a tight runway was almost as exciting as seeing a 747 land at St. Maarten. You can then imagine my excitement when one of my favourite developers posted a teaser video showcasing they would be heading to the Shetland Isles and recreating this magnificent airport. I will be taking on this review from a much different style. I will be walking you through “a day in the life of…” showcasing the many different aspects of the scenery package from day to night. Date: June 1st 2014. Time: 1600z (1700 local) Location: Sumbrugh Airport (EGPB) Mission: To fly around the island, preform several touch-and-gos and then a full stop landing before heading home. The mission log: 1602z: The day starts out just like any other. The sun is shining, the birds are out, and there’s a lovely temperature of 14c in the air. Perfect conditions for flying, with a light southerly breeze of around 4-6kts. As I approach my beautiful Piper Cherokee, I can see my reflection from the edge of the wing tips. I straighten out my hair and begin my pre-flight checks. Everything with the aircraft is in order. As I approach the door on the right, I find myself tripping over some of the stones resting on the floor. I then climb in, cozy myself up and start the engines. It’s at this point, that I realise just how well maintained the airport apron is. The taxi-way signs are all there, the markings on the ground are clear and easy to use and reflect exactly how I remember when I last visited Sumbrugh. 1609z: With the engines primed and ready, I release the breaks and begin rolling towards RWY27. As the aircraft bounced around, up and down the hilly taxi-way, I notice the airfield is extremely busy today. Must be all those holiday makers escaping during the school half term. There’s plenty of aircraft to see today; Dash 8, Cessna aircraft and more. What made the airport even busier was the contestant stream of vehicles. I saw firetrucks, op support vans and fuel trucks. None of these distractions caused me to deviate through the airport’s well laid out taxi-ways. The signage was clear and precise. I was particularly impressed with how maintained the surrounding grass was kept. Plenty of it everywhere, really creating a sense of forestation. I soon managed to find myself at the holding point where ATC had instructed me to hold short. 1612z: “Line up and wait,” I was told over my headset. I switched on the strobe and landing lights. Apprehensively, I closed the window to the side of me and lined up. At this point, a few butterflies fluttered through my stomach. I could see just how sloped this runway was. Although no traffic was able to land here, this immersion factor was far greater and created a much more nerve-racking and exciting take-off. The runway ahead sloped up, down, left and right. “Cleared to take-off,” as I then take a deep breath and pushed forward on the throttle. “80knts” I thought to myself, as I glanced down the short runway to see how much I had left. Now that I got myself airborne, it was time to breath a sign of relief. The bumpiness of the ground below me was a thing of the past and with a knock of two here and there from the light breeze, I was ready to explore this beautiful Shetland Island. 1614z: Even straight after take-off I was left speechless. The airport was now a distant memory, but the same quality persisted all over. The huge cliffs created a slightly surreal shadowy effect, but suited the style of this island, whilst the nearby fields were brimming with colour and radiance. I could clearly define the coastlines and found I could watch the tide break into the giant rocks below all day long. Although I had planned on doing some circuit training, I found it more thrilling to explore as much of the island as I could. I passed over villages, small towns, various roads, beaches and lakes. There was a huge variety of things to ‘wow’ me as I soared over it all. Nothing looked blurry or out of place, and I found the whole experience to be smooth and fluid (no stutters). The locals have cleared invested in a lot of time perfecting their unique style. 1657z: After being sucked in with how beautiful Sumbrugh looks, I decided to start flying some touch-and-gos. I managed to snap a few shots of the several approaches I made, and as you can see, they’re all pretty entertaining. Some over land and one over water makes each visit different. I was lucky that ATC let me chose which runway I could land on. Approaching runway 33 was by far my favourite. You will need to fly the initial approach from the West to avoid the tall cliffs that sit just south of the runway. I can imagine that during low visibility or high winds, it would be an incredible challenging approach. Couple that with the small village and hills below you, I would have to be even more cautious, regardless of whether I was flying IFR or VFR into the airport. 1835z: With several touch-and-gos completed, I send my little baby back to the hanger for some much needed rest (and a change in spark plugs…whoops). It was a very tidy looking warehouse, but looked great nonetheless. Before my flight hope, I decided to take one final look around the airport and its vicinity. Everything looked great. I was surprised at how well the airport looks considering it doesn’t hold strong for the best weather award. As I passed busy workers cleaning and sweeping, I headed for the huge carpark, just outside the perimeter fence. Again, a lot of work has clearly been put into the airport to make sure it’s ready for passengers. The road layouts and signs were clearly marked. I certainly didn’t get lost finding my way back. 1918z: As dusk took over the skies, I managed to hitch a ride with one of the ground ops personnel who was kind enough to take me over to one of the coasts found inside the airport area. It was a wonderful sight to see the runways and aprons lit up so nicely, with the sun just peeking through the clouds. As we drove down the runway, I couldn’t help but feel slightly blinded by the amount of bright lights. I imagine that during the evening, the airport is just as beautiful and just as rich in character. It was just a matter of time before my flight home was due to land, and just as this thought crossed my mind, the beautiful looking Dash 8 -400 came hurtling down the runway. 1950z: With the night sky ahead of me, it was finally time to board the flight home. It had been an incredible experience. Everything from the dirt tracks in the tarmac, the hilly runway and the greatly detailed surrounding area made flying around Sumbrugh one of the most exciting small airports I’ve seen. Being able to explore so many possibilities will ensure Sumbrugh remains an airport I can revisit time and time again. As I close this log entry, I can honestly say that without a doubt I will be returning. This time, I plan on tackling some IFR flying in rough conditions, but in the meantime, I will be recommending to all my friends to give it a shot at Sumbrugh. Final Summary text version: 5/5 | Publisher: ORBX | Developer: 29Palms | Price: $30.68 29Palms have done it again. Yet another remarkable and highly detailed airport. With its excellent flexibility thanks to the detailed control panel, users can enjoy all the aspects of this excellent release. The great use of the sloped runway and taxiways make for a challenging and realistic approach, and the superb ground details represent another achievement for the developers. Regardless of flying style, Sumbrugh has something for everyone. + Fantastic texture and modelling work, with detailed airport and area. + Exciting approach and challenging runways - Some terrain issues with taxiing on the sloped runways. - Ocean mismatch too obvious from scenery to FSX colouring. Purchase Orbx's Sumbrugh Airport (EGPB) Here My Specs: Processor - 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-3770K Ivy Bridge (OVERCLOCKED TO 4.8GHz) RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 12800) GPU - GeForce GTX 780 FTW 3GB GDDR5 Mother Board - ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard Hard Drives - 2 x 128gb OCZ SSD + 2 x 1tb 7200RPM HDD Operating System - Windows 7 (64-bit) Add-ons Used In Screenshots: Scenery - Orbx's Sumbrugh Airport (EGPB) Aircraft - A2A's Piper Cherokee, Majestic Dash 8 - 400 Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global
  4. The last few reviews I’ve provided for you have been for larger and more commercially viable airports. This time however, I take a look at ORBX’s recent release of Gustavus Airport. It’s certainly a lot different compared to the likes of Dublin or Istanbul, but have ORBX delivered on creating a small airport that can capture the attention of Flight Simmers? Situated in the farthest corner of South-Eastern Alaska, the airport is fairly unknown and unused. Seeing as just four airlines serve the airport (Alaska Airlines only serves as a seasonal airline), it was never going to have to be a busy airport. With only two runways – the largest measuring at just over 6,700ft in length – Gustavus Airport will never be hailed as the must-go to airport in Flight Sim. However, the level of detail ORBX have managed to squeeze into the package is outstanding. First impressions would immediately tell you that this is easily worthy of the ORBX tag. The realism provided in each texture is still to be beaten by any other developer. Every single marking, every grass blade and every grain of sand is visible. It’s clear that Russ White has a very good eye for visualisation within the world of Flight Simulator. The colouring fits in beautifully with the in-sim world, each being vivid, distinct and clear. A personal touch I love seeing in ORBX products is the considerable effort they go through to include as much detail surrounding the airport as possible. This certainly holds true with Gustavus Airport. Coastlines border the airport, hand-placed auto-gen sprawls for miles around the airport and forestation creates cinematic approaches. It’s this level of commitment to ensure a truly new Flight Sim world that sets ORBX apart from the rest. Being an ORBX airport, it includes a lot of neat little extras. ORBX’s famous ‘Flow Tech’ has been used incredibly here. Throughout the airport are various characters all doing their own individual action. As you taxi around the airport, there will be plenty of these characters walking around the car park with their luggage, others will be doing work for the airport such as sweeping, window cleaning and so forth. Without a doubt this is my favourite feature of the airport. It brings it all to life in a way I’ve never seen an airport come to life before. It works well, looks great and adds that extra bit of realism to the sim. All of this is provided with fantastic performance. Although it’s a small airport, in a remote part of the world, it has allowed the developers to take this to their advantage and create a remarkable looking airport without taking a performance hit. With the airport brimming with aircraft, plenty of cloud coverage and the resolution set to high, I was still achieving an acceptable frame rate of around 30-35fps. Again, this shows the class and skill the team at ORBX have when creating Flight Sim add-ons. Even if you’re using a low-end machine, a great little feature allows you to turn off certain CPU heavy features. Whilst I commented on how having a small airport can benefit the product, at the same time, it also burdens the value of the airport, too. It’s a real catch 22. The airport, on a technical level, is fantastic. It looks great, performs well and has nice little features to make it an entertaining product. However, the value is something I believe is slacking. Although no fault of ORBX, it’s a very niche airport. As I’ve already said, only a few select carriers visit Gustavus Airport, meaning the level of motivation to visit the airport is very low. There’s nothing special about the airport itself either. It doesn’t fall on any “top 10” lists for a challenging or beautiful approach, nor has it got any real historical value. It’s a shame as the airport looks stunning. Another gripe I have with the airport is its reliance on ORBX’s FTX: NA Blue Southern Alaska release. During the installation process, and during purchase, you are reminded that it must be installed prior to use. Whilst I can confirm that the airport can be used without it installed, it certainly takes away some of the coverage and beauty you would expect. The nearby mountains and terrain look unpleasant and some of the terrain mesh mismatches a little. Again, this takes away a lot of the value of the product as to get the most out of it, you’ll now need to install another product. Sadly, due to the airport’s size, lighting at night is almost none existent. During the hours of dusk and dawn, surrounded by the wondrous looking valleys, lakes and shrubbery, it looks wonderful. In the dead of night, it’s almost unusable. Taxiways are poorly lit, and the buildings emit almost no light. Understandably, this is an airport that probably has very little lighting, but regardless, it feels like it was an afterthought on the developer’s behalf. Despite these qualms, it’s hard to take away what value you do get with the product. You get fantastic seasonal texture work, great and detailed buildings, volumetric grass, the people flow and some wonderfully hand-placed auto-gen. I am truly conflicted on my recommendation as to whether it’s worth your time and money to invest in the product. On one hand, it’s beautiful to fly into and explore, but on the other, it just doesn’t provide the same level of exploration or challenge you could get from a larger, more commercial airport. It’s clear that the target audience wasn’t the casual simmer, but for those you enjoy flying in and out of smaller airfields with quick and easy access to some wonderful VFR flying. It’s a technically brilliant airport and truly some of the best work ORBX have delivered, but generally speaking, I find it hard to recommend unless you’re very much into small airfields. PURCHASE ORBX Gustavus Airport (PAGS) HERE My Specs: Processor - 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-3770K Ivy Bridge (OVERCLOCKED TO 4.8GHz) RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 12800) GPU - GeForce GTX 780 FTW 3GB GDDR5 Mother Board - ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard Hard Drives - 2 x 128gb OCZ SSD + 2 x 1tb 7200RPM HDD Operating System - Windows 7 (64-bit) Add-ons Used In Screenshots: Scenery - ORBX PAGS Gustavus Airport, ORBX FTX: Blue Southern Alaska Aircraft - PMDG 737-700NGX, Piper Cherokee 180F FSX by Carenado Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global
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