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!