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Mungo Spencer

Developer Month: Orbx and How it Changed My Sim

I had to spend some time thinking about which developer I wished to choose as my favourite. There are many great developers out there that I was considering writing about. These include FSLabs, PMDG, Aerosoft, FlyTampa and many others. But above all I think the one developer that I am most appreciative of would have to be Orbx.

My first experience with any Orbx was when I purchased FTX Global, this has to be one of the most vital additions I have ever made to my flight sim. If you have not already experienced this product I would highly recommend it. The default mesh that is provided with FSX and P3D is pretty poor. It has no accurate ground mesh representation with pretty poor autogen. But once you add FTX Global your sim will look far better. That is a promise. This product completely transforms your simulator. If you wish to go beyond FTX Global then I would recommend to either pick up some Open Land Classes or FTX Vector. Open Land Classes are products that slot perfectly into FTX Global. They create a much more accurate rendition of specific areas around the globe. I personally have experience with two Open Land Class products. These are OLC Europe and OLC North America, both products that I would highly recommend to anyone that spends a decent amount of time flying around the two continents. To give you an idea of the size of these products, OLC Europe covers a staggering area of 10 million kilometers squared.

Below these OLC regions you then have countries and airports. These will be smaller areas but will be modelled to a far greater level of detail. Examples of such product include FTX England, FTX Ireland or FTX North Germany. I have just mentioned a handful but there are far more that do exist. I personally do not have any of these products within my sim as I do not think I fly to enough places in one area to feel the need to purchase such a product. The only area in which I regularly fly is England, but Orbx’s EU England is not the friendliest addon performance wise. I think if I had more money to throw around I would certainly pick up some of these areas as I know that Orbx often spare little detail when creating them. However, the list does not stop there. We move on finally to the airports that are created by Orbx. These airports are quite something. Being the smallest area coverage zones, airports are often modelled to an immense amount of detail. I will use an example of Innsbruck. A product that is not yet out, but is expected to release imminently. We have received numerous amounts of screenshots from this airport and they are extremely impressive. So impressive that the developers of this certain airport had decided that creating just the airport isn’t quite good enough for Orbx. Coinciding with the airport itself we will be receiving not just a small coverage area outside of the fence. But a total of 2,500 km sq worth of coverage.

It is these levels of detail that in my opinion place Orbx far further forward than any other scenery developer around. Yes of course you have your FlyTampas and Taxi2Gates but they are running an entirely different game when it comes to scenery. They create very high quality scenery addons but they extent of coverage does not often progress much further than the perimetre fence. Orbx have completely destroyed this stereotype and create sceneries that are, in my opinion much further ahead in the world of flight simulation development. One of my small gripes with developers such as FlyTampa is the use of repeat textures. By this I mean that many of the ground textures you find at Copenhagen can also be found at Amsterdam. This would not or is very unlikely to occur at any airport made by Orbx. No matter what size the airport is, Orbx still manage to blow me away everytime. Whether you like flying long international flights or simply want to have a good time flying some VFR then Orbx pretty much have you covered. Orbx are especially well renowned for the creation of a huge amount of VFR sceneries. These sceneries can be found in all corners of the world whether that be in South Wales, Australia or the West Coast of America. And the best part about some of these VFR airfields? They’re totally free. Of course not all these airports are free but there are some excellent VFR airports over on the Orbx website that will cost you nothing. A very good gesture on Orbx’s behalf for offering such high quality sceneries for the price of nothing.

Orbx are lucky enough to have a wide range of developers on their team. This allows them to run more than one project at a time. Currently, they are making some pretty needed airports within the sim. I know these off the top of my head so are the only ones I can name. Some of their upcoming airports include Innsbruck, Bilbao and San Diego. All airports that are in pretty decent need of new scenery. Bilbao especially. Most developers would only have the capacity to work on one of these products and to a much lower level of detail than Orbx. It is this flexibility and ability that allows Orbx to pump out sceneries at a faster rate than any of their competitors. Although to many it may seem like they are rushing just to get more sceneries out, this is not the case. Every airport is created to the same high standard of detail as each other. Whether that be a small grass strip in the middle of nowhere or a large international airport.

However, the most important factor to many is the price. I personally think that the Orbx pricing system is very fair. Every product I have ever bought from them always seems to live up to its cost. Whether that be FTX Global or Stockholm Arlanda. For instance, the price of FTX Global is just £61. I say just as you have to consider just what you are buying. When you purchase FTX Global you are buying a product that will transform how your entire sim looks. All across the globe you will now have a far better rendition of the ground that lies below you. The many other products that Orbx sell can leave a large hole in your wallet if you choose to buy multiple products. But you shouldn’t be expecting cheap prices for top quality sceneries like this. As I said, I am always more than obliged to fork out the cash for these products as I know what I’m buying and I know that I can expect a top quality product. If you haven’t yet purchased any of Orbx’s products due to the fact that you simply do not want to pay that much, I urge you to do so. If you are just starting off as a simmer I would not say that Orbx’s products are 100% necessary. There are of course more vital products needed for one’s sim such as weather and aircraft etc. But if I were to be a new simmer once again, Orbx would certainly be very high up my list.

Orbx are truly an incredible company. They set a standard for flight simulation sceneries that many have failed to reach. Their name is associated with high quality in the simulation world. You know what to expect with Orbx. An extremely detailed product whether that be FTX Global or Welshpool airport in Wales. There are many reasons why I love Orbx but I have just summed up a few within this article. I hope you have enjoyed our Developer Month. You can find various interviews with Orbx developer as part of Developer Month!

Orbx Release San Diego

We have been waiting for this product for quite some time now. But the time has finally come and San Diego has been released. We have been reporting some of the updates through it’s development progress and are pleased that it is now out. This scenery comes as a needed replacement for LatinVFR’s rendition of San Diego which was getting quite dated. Although in no means was a bad product.

The product comes at the price of $39.95 AUD and can be purchased through Orbx’s website. A respectable price considering the coverage area of this addon with photoreal scenery included for the whole of the San Diego Metropolitan Area as well as highly detailed buildings and autogen. Something we also often don’t see within Orbx products is animated jetways but this time they have been included. Hopefully we will see this feature in more Orbx products to come.

I am certainly very impressed by the looks of this product and will most certainly be picking it up for myself. You can certainly expect a review on this product within the near future from us at FSElite.

Soarfly Concepts Release Circle Runway Concept

Last week we heard of a radical aviation idea created by a dutch aviation expert. This wasn’t our regular out of the ordinary aviation news. This was quite different. The idea just so happened to be a circular, sloping runway. An idea that many criticized and thought it was another idea that would never take off. It has been designed as an efficient new method in which aircraft will be able to take off directly into the wind, defeating the interference of cross winds completely.

Although a wait of quite some time is expected for this in the real world. We’re lucky enough to already have recieved a rendition of it for our simulators. Our friends over at Soarfly Concepts have brought us exactly that. On the topic of Soafly Concepts, why not check out our Developer Month interview with them?

The price of the scenery? It’s completely free. Soarfly concepts have created some other great freeware scenery which I can assure you is very impressive for freeware. You can find the Circular Runway Concept by following this link. On the website it does state that it’s only compatible with FSX but I have seen many people using it in P3D so you can enjoy it on both platforms.

Soarfly concepts do mention on their website that it is a very basic rendition so do not expect a high quality addon that looks similar to the high quality CGI images online.

MK-Studios Announce Lisbon

Through a brief post on Facebok, MK-Studios have showed us their next project. The developers who in partnership with Aerosoft brought us Madeira X Evolution as their most recent scenery are now bringing us Lisbon. The Portugese capital does already have a decent addon airport from Aerosoft but it is always nice to have something new.

From the solitary screenshot that we have recieved of the control tower it looks like it will be shaping up to be a very nice scenery. You can view the original post over at MK-Studio’s Facebook page.

Any more news regarding this product will of course be reported over here at FSElite.

Developer Month: A Summary From This Week

This week on Developer Month we had some great articles with them some great people from the community. We have even more coming next month which I am sure many will enjoy with some big guests. You can find all of our developer articles through this link.

  1. Interview with Aerosoft’s Mathijs Kok

We kicked off the week in style with an interview from Aerosoft’s Mathijs Kok, a well known veteran within the flight simulation community if you have ever set foot into the Aerosoft forums. We took some time to find out a little bit more about his life outside of flight simulation and how he got into it in the first place. We also asked a couple of questions regarding Aerosoft and how the large flight simulation company works. If you would like to take a look at this article for yourself then you can check it out by following this link.

2. Interview with TFDi Designs 

Next up we had an interview with TFDi designs, the great team that have brought us products such as smartCARS and the fabulous 717. In this interview we spoke to the guys behind TFDi designs. We asked a variety of questions ranging from ‘what is your favourite power drink?’ to ‘why did you choose to develop the 717?’. A great bunch of guys who look to be going big places in the flight simulation scene. I would highly recommend this article if you are a fan of any of TFDi’s work and upcoming plans. You can find the article through this link.

3. Interview with Drzewiecki Design

Our third article for this week was another interview, this time with well renound developers Drzewiecki Design. They have brought many products including products such as New York City X, Warsaw Chopin and more recently, Washington X. A group of developers who are veterans to the flight simulations community with their first product releasing in 2003. We once again asked questions about what they do away from flight simulation and how their develpment process works. You can find the article through this link.

4. Carenado – They aren’t All that Bad

For our fourth installment of Developer Month this week we enjoyed a video from our very own Timothy Thomas (CountyFlyboy). In this video Timothy talks about his thoughts upon the well known developer, Carenado. Over the years Carenado has created a reputation for themselves of creating very good looking aircraft that are relatively empty system wise. Timothy aims to disprove this theory within his video and does a very convincing job of it. If you wish to check it out for yourself then follow this link.

5. Interview with Orbx’s Alex Goff

Our firth installment for Developer Month for this week was an interview with Orbx developer Alex Goff. Alex is behind Orbx sceneries including Meigs Field (KCGX) and Goheen Airport (W52). Both excellent products that we at FSElite would highly recommend to the community. Within this interview we speak with Alex about the future of flight simulation and how he managed to snatch a job at one of the best developers in flight simulation. You can find the article at this link.

6. Interview with iBlueYonder

Last but not least we have an interview with Bill from iBlueYonder. The developers behind products such as Nantucket Island. Within this interview we spoke with Bill regarding some of his personal stories and why he chose to become a flight simulation developer. An excellent read and one I would highly recommend. Bill made sure to spare not detail in his answers. If you wish to read this article then you can find it at this link.

We have really enjoyed Developer Month so far and we hope you have to. Week 3 is looking to be another great week with some great articles, videos and more coming up for you. For now please enjoy our whole range of developer month material.

 

Aerosoft/XYZ Visuals Release Maastricht-Aachen

XYZ Visuals in partnership with Aerosoft have brought us a new scenery for X-Plane. This time they have created Maastricht-Aachen airport. It looks to be a very good little airport and definitley one for any X-Plane users that are looking for something a little bit more off of the beaten track.

Maastricht-Aachen is a small international airport located 10km north east from the city of Maastricht and 30km north east from the city of Aachen. Suprisingly it is the second biggest cargo hub within the Netherlands falling only behind Amsterdam Schiphol. The airport is far busier during the summer and is used by airlines such as Ryanair and German Wings to fly to popular tourist spots in Southern Europe.

The sim rendition of this airport as mentioned earlier is created by XYZ Visuals who are also behind the creation of Airport Amsterdam (Schiphol) for X-Plane. The airport has been created using high resolution aerial images, numeroues custom 3D objects and exact ground markings. The entire feature list can be found below.

If you wish to purchase this product you can do so from the Aerosoft website at the price of €15.07.

Features:

  • Realistic rendition of Maastricht-Aachen Airport
  • Photo real textured buildings
  • Ground layout based on high resolution aerial images
  • Realistic reproduction of ground markings
  • Customized night illumination
  • Very good performance and implementation
  • Animated radar facility
  • Numerous details
  • Animated road traffic
  • Fully compatible with X-Plane 10.51
  • Compatible with XPlane 11 Public Beta

Carenado Show Off More E50P Phenom 100 Shots (X-Plane)

Over here at FSElite, we’re not ones for getting too involved in X-Plane news. Our primary focus is towards the P3D/FSX market. I personally aim to change that as I now am an X-Plane user or the dark side as it is seen to many P3D/FSX users. Today I’ve got some news from Carenado. This is regarding their upcoming E50P Phenom 100 aircraft.

The E50P Phenom 100 is a small private jet devloped by Embraer. The jet is one of the smallest aircraft produced by the Brazilian company which are known well for their succesful regional fleet. The aicraft has an impressive range of 1,178 miles and can fly to an altitude of 41,000 feet. A very fun aircraft for anyone that enjoys flying short routes, quickly.

Carenado have not specifically specified whether or not this aircraft will be compatible with both X-Plane 10 and 11 so we will have to wait until we hear more news regarding that. I would hope that an aicraft being developed now will be compatible with X-Plane 11. I will certainly be looking into this aircraft when it’s released.

Carenado have specified on Facebook that this aircraft will be coming soon which is good to hear. We will look to publish an article over here on FSElite when this aircraft is released.

 

Milviz Announce ATR 72

An aircraft that has been far too long awaited in P3D/FSX is finally being created. Milviz announced earlier on their Facebook page that they will be making the ATR as their next project. They did not say much about the product apart from the fact that it’s an ATR. They did not confirm exactly what type but it looks like it will be an ATR 72 of some kind. I personally do not own any Milviz products so am unsure of how detailed they are but I hope that this will be an accurate representation of an ATR 72.

There is no mention or indication of an ATR 42 being made at this stage so we’ll currently just have to hope that they end up creating the smaller ATR varient. Much like the Dash 8, the ATR 72 is a turbo prop that wants to be a jet. A very quick and nimble aircraft that can handle all sorts of airports with ease. I look forward to hearing more about this aircraft. Any more news regarding this product will of course be reported over here at FSElite.

Immersive Audio Release MJC8 Q400 Sound Immersion

The guys over at Immersive Audio have released their latest sound package. This time it is Majestic’s Dash 8 Q400 series aircraft. This is Immersive Audio’s thrid product following up from their excellent PMDG 737 sound pack and their unknown Boeing Stearman. A video was posted earlier this week showcasing the sounds and they seem to be a huge improvement over what Majestic offer as stock.

According to the developers every sound has been changed within the aircraft bar the default announcements that come with the aircraft. I personally do not know what a Dash 8 should sound like but judging from what I’ve heard in the video (below this article) they sound excellent. I am an avid fan of flying the Q400 in the sim so certainly will be picking up this product soon. I look forward to seeing what Immersive Audio have to bring us in the future. If they keep continuining as they are at the moment I am sure we can expect some more top quality sound packs for more of our sim fleet.

If you wish to purchase this product it can be bought from SimMarket for the price of EUR 10.70 (plus VAT / TAX).

Feature List:

– Authentic engine sounds
– New N1 (turbine) sound with correct pitch
– New switches
– Authentic levers
– High quality GPWS callouts
– New TCAS
– Authentic warning sounds
– New ground roll noise with authentic controls rattle
– New authentic cockpit/nose gear wind noise
– Authentic avionics, packs, external APU, Chime, GPU unit, wipers, stickshaker.

FSimStudios Calgary Released

An airport that has not been touched much before in flight simulation has now finally got some scenery. This airport as stated in the title, is Calgary which is a scenery that has come from FSimStudios. I personally have never heard of this developer but they seem to have created a very nice scenery by the looks of it. Maybe we might finally see some decent traffic flying out of Calgary? We will have to see. The scenery comes at the reasonable price of EUR 24.60 and can be purchased from SimMarket.

The feature list contains all the normal features you would expect from a high level scenery as well as some extras such as static planes and seasonal textures. I will certainly be picking this scenery up and look forward to flying out of it in the near future. You can find the entire feature list below.

Features:

  • High detailed, updated representation of Calgary International Airport
  • High Resolution Photoscenery of the airport and surrounding areas.
  • Terminal and hangars modelled and texturized with great attention to detail
  • High Resolution textures
  • Static Planes
  • Winter textures
  • Inverse-Kinematics (IK) Animated Jetways
  • Highly optimized for great performance
  • Tested compatibility with ORBX’s Airdrie Airpark
  • Configurator file for low-end machines.
  • Apron vehicles
  • Volumetric grass
  • Night Lighting
  • Realistic Ground Poly of the airport
  • Charts of the airport