Here’s screenshots showing how Zinertek HD Airport Graphics compares to the new REX Worldwide Airports HD. My setup has Zinertek installed in FSX, REX in Prepar3D V3 and Prepar3D v1 is used to show the default textures.
Beirut is the capital and largest city in Lebanon. The city is as good a place as any to start my around the world journey, but I picked the place because it has a very good freeware scenery of it’s international airport, Rafic Hariri International Airport (OLBA), made by Lebor Simulations. The same crew also offers vector scenery for Lebanon which is OK to install if you don’t have ORBX FTX Vector. They had started development of a Beirut X scenery, but after news of its development surfaced in 2013 things have been quiet.
For the first flight I’m heading off to Cairo flying a real world EgyptAir route using the default FSX Boling 737 (copied over from FSX) with FSND FSX-B737 Upgraded Cockpit by Alejandro Rojas Lucena, Garrett Smith, Stephane Verrando & Rob Barendregt, and Egyptair repaint by Paul Davies. I tried several freeware scenery offerings for Egypt and Cairo, but none of them were any good, so I’ll be using the default scenery for this trip.
This blog has gotten little attention lately, but family obligations have left me with little time to sim, and even less to blog the last couple of years. That isn’t going to change any time soon, but I’m starting a project that will give the blog a tad more focus for the next few months.
I’ll be doing a trip around the virtual globe using mostly freeware addons in Prepar3D v3.1. It would have been fun to use freeware only, but there are a few basic payware addons that I can’t live without:
ORBX FTX Global
ORBX FTX Global Vector
ORBX FTX Open LC Europe
Pilot’s FS Global Real Weather
REX Soft Clouds
I rarely buy any payware these days (and I’ll get more into why later), but the above mentioned addons get my full support for a few good reasons. ORBX, Pilot’s, REX and FSUIPC have been in business for a long time. They make high quality addons that are simple to install and use, but most of all, they have been both willing and able to support Prepar3D while still maintaining compatibility with older versions of the ESP-based simulators.
It would have been nice if some of the functionality and graphic enhancements these addons offer were baked into Prepar3D as stock features. However, Lockheed Martin have shown very little interest in doing so and instead seem to focus and encourage third party developments for their simulator platform. Let’s face it, there have been only minor changes and improvements of geographical data (vector, mesh and land class), airport and navaid data, autogen and landclass textures and objects, ATC and AI traffic since Prepar3D 1.0 was released five years ago.
Here’s a quick comparison of three mesh products I’ve been using in Prepar3D v3.1: FS Global 2008, FS Genesis World Terrain Mesh X and the freeware FreeMesh X Global. It would have been nice to have the latest and greatest FS Global mesh from Pilot’s, but I can’t afford it, so sorry, it’s not part of the comparison. Screenshots are from Antonio Nariño Airport (IATA: PSO, ICAO: SKPS). Landclass is by SceneryTech and not the default P3D landclass.
At first, FS Genesis looked a tad more accurate than Pilot’s FS Global 2008 when comparing the mesh to the Google Earth image. But, when looking at some real life footage (see link to youtube-video above) from the area, it becomes clear that in fact Freemesh X is the clear and undisputed winner. So it seems in the world of mesh products you can have the cake and eat it too. Anyway, here are the screenshots in HD, so judge for yourself:
I don’t know if any of you have tried out FinladX, but I wanted to pay my respect to Janne Sinkkonen and Tatu Kantomaa who made this incredible scenery!
Custom landclass based on official Finnish Gouvernment data;
Custom LOD 9 mesh based on Jonathan de Ferranti amazing data collection;
Custom autogen to make buildings look more Finnish;
Custom landclass textures of amazing quality for the wilderness areas;
Custom iced lakes and iced sea shores;
Custom seasonal changes for different parts of the country;
Custom rivers, streams, lakes, roads, powerlines, coastlines and railroads.
But that’s not the most amazing part: The landclass is all custom built using automated polygons from official data, hence giving a much more accurate and realistic landclass coverage than the default grid system of FSX can handle. Not only that, but it comes with a super easy installer and changes to textures, autogen etc. only affects Finland and won’t screw up any other part of the FSX scenery. There is no need for texture/seasonal switchers, control panels or centrals. These guys are in a league of their own, and better than most payware developers.