|DEVELOPER||Orbx Simulation Systems||PRICE||$40.00 AUD|
|PUBLISHER||Orbx Simulation Systems||BUY FROM||Orbx Direct|
As part of our Community Charter, we provide full disclosure at FSElite.
Orbx Valdex Pioneer Field was provided free of charge to FSElite for the purpose of reviewing for the community.
One of the newest Orbx sceneries is Valdez Pioneer Field, located in Valdez, Alaska. We’ve become accustomed to a certain high quality in Orbx releases, so have they done it again? Join me in this journey around the area to find out in the FSElite review!
A little background on Valdez before we begin. Valdez is an interesting quaint little town that is located in South Central Alaska on the northeast tip of Prince William Sound. Despite its small size, Valdez is an important part of the Alaskan economy as it sits at the southern end of the Alaskan pipeline. Oil is loaded on to ships at the Valdez Marine terminal and shipped all over the world. Additionally, a large amount of freight moves through Valdez destined to the interior of Alaska. Tourist often flock to Valdez to experience the nearby glaciers and marine wildlife, as well as those looking for a deep-sea fishing experience or heli skiing on the nearby mountains.
Now onto the review starting with the installation. The installer file was a Flight Sim Store installer that extracts the files required for installation into a temporary directory and then deletes them once you’re finished. It’s a slightly different than normal approach because the FSS installers remains open after launching the product installer. It doesn’t present any difficulties or challenges, but it is different from what I am use to. Installation was fairly easy to do. I should point out that I also installed the recommended Southern Alaska region for this review and that I am running Prepar3d version 3.4, so those of you with FSX, FSX:SE, P3D V1.x or P3D 2.x may have some slightly different results in the performance portion of this review.
After installation I left the scenery configured “as is” in FTX Central with the exception of the frozen lakes. I turned that feature off simply because of P3D compatibility issues. I loaded up my sim and verified the scenery was in my scenery library. Everything looked good so it is time to fly!
I decided for this review I wanted to fly something modest so that I could take in the beautiful surrounding area. I opted for the A36, Beechcraft Bonanza, for this flight. As I loaded into the Valdez scenery the first thing I noticed was the obviously high texture quality. Since it is fall, which means winter in Alaska, the airport was covered in snow and the surfaces were frosted over, a very nice and immersive detail. I did a quick look around I noticed birds flying in the distance and the people moving in the distance which only increased the immersion. But enough of the looking around, I need to get up and fly!
I started the engine and began a taxi out to runway 24 for a departure out over Port Valdez. On the climb up to 1,500 feet and took in the view of the port as the sun rose, yeah it was absolutely stunning! I started my left hand turn in the pattern and observed the detailed buildings and trees below. Orbx has spared no detail in this scenery and you can tell. As I turned to final for runway 24 I decided that after this touch and go I’d go out and explore more of the town, the port, and try to find the end of the Valdez Marine Terminal.
I once again started to climb out from the main airport and flew runway heading. It wasn’t long before I was over the small town of Valdez, modeled to perfection, covered in snow and frost. As I began to make my way south to fly along the other side of the port and stumbled upon some large white tanks. As I got closer I realized this was the Valdez Marine Terminal and where the oil was being sent by the Alaskan pipeline. It seemed as if Orbx spared no detail on this either as it looked very realistic and even included what appeared to be a flare stack where the gases are burnt off. This was fun to see but it was time to make my way back to the airport, so I began a turn to the east to follow the port in. I noticed the frozen river flowing off into the steep mountains which I thought was pretty cool. The port would look better if it was frozen, however I have the P3D limitation to account for here. I landed the aircraft and taxied in to park nearby some other aircraft, but the review doesn’t end here!
Because I am using P3D I have the unique ability to go into “avatar” mode and freely walk around the field to observe some of the finer details you won’t notice from within the aircraft. I began on the western part of the airport and started walking along the frozen ramp. My first stop was a couple having a nice discussion in front of a small hangar. While people flow is a neat feature of Orbx scenery, they can be a bit awkward to walk up and see closely. I got a good chuckle out of it and moved along to other parts of the ramp including an aircraft that was parked and being worked on by a mechanic (with a British registration), a ramp full of parked aircraft and people, a gate with security and even a dog, the passenger terminal with a parked Era Alaska Dash 8 (should be Ravn Alaska as Era rebranded to Ravn a while ago), and finally an Era Alaska hangar with another Dash 8 parked inside. As I walked around I couldn’t help but noticed the immense amount of detail Orbx has put into this scenery, staying to true themselves and detailing even the smallest of things on the field.
Orbx did leave some weird things in though, I noticed a few as I walked around the airport. An interesting oddity I noticed, the aircraft on the ramp getting repaired was a Cessna with a British registration number. Maybe I need a better imagination, but Valdez, Alaska seems like a long journey to make in a Cessna 172 and I felt as it that took away from things a little bit. Furthermore, this same aircraft is spotted again later on at the airport parked by other aircraft. So we have an aircraft with a British registration, FAR away from home, spotted in two different locations, I’m not a fan of that. Another oddity I spotted as I continued my walk was a random gentlemen in a suit all alone in front of the fire station. He felt very out of place for me. I felt as if somebody like this should be near the terminal or by a business jet and not way over in front of the fire station all alone (especially when it is cold out, he’s going to catch a cold). Lastly, and not an oddity or anything negative, but Orbx included a fat ramper standing by the Era plane. I got a good laugh out of that (#stereotypes).
So we know it looks great, we know the scenery creates a high level of immersion, but how does it perform? Well, before I dive into this I want to reiterate that I am running P3D 3.4 and the recommended Southern Alaska region. FSX users may get some slightly different results. As I did my flight in the Bonanza my VAS stayed steady at just slightly over 2GB and never went above that. It did very well actually. I think FSX users can expect 2-3GB (depending on other installed addons) to be a starting point, but the VAS will increase. My FPS stayed steady at 30 were I have it set and never dropped at all. Overall it was a very enjoyable and smooth performance. I did want to try this out with another aircraft so I loaded the Flight1 Cessna Citation Mustang to see how it compared. Out of the gate my VAS was at 2.3 GB and my FPS was again smooth at 30fps. The VAS never really changed despite flying much longer and the FPS was only getting an average of 2-3FPS dropped at the most. All in all, the scenery performed fantastic for me, but again I caution the FSX user that VAS will be different for you. The installed scenery takes up 3.36GB of space on the hard drive, which is a lot in my opinion. For reference, my entire FlightBeam folder is only just over 2GB and includes all of their products.
In conclusion I think the Valdez Pioneer Field by Orbx is a fantastic addon that stays true to the high level of detail and quality we’ve come to expect from them. My biggests issues with this scenery are the out of place guy by the fire station and the two British registered C172’s on the ramp. The size of the scenery is a bit much for me as well. This is all very little to be upset about though. For $40 AUD/ $29.67 USD this isn’t too shabby if you are looking for a fun small field that isn’t too far away from bigger airports such as Anchorage, Fairbanks or Ketchikan. Valdez will prove to be a perfect combination for flying between any of the other Orbx airports in Alaska. I recommend the product to anybody looking for just that. Last but not least, I want to thank Orbx for giving FSElite the opportunity to review this product.