AVSIM Commercial Scenery Review

ORBX AU Green
Tropical North

Product Information

Publishers:  Orbx Simulations

Description: Add on scenery for the tropical north of Australia.

Download Size:
944.6 MB

Format:
Download and DVD
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Jason McKee AVSIM Staff Reviewer - February 24, 2009

Introduction

Orbix are already well known as a Flight Simulation company specializing in stunning add-on scenery for Australia and now they are starting to take on America. This review will cover the AU Green zone, or the Top End, as it is known by locals of Australia.

The tropical north of Australia has a wide range of topographical features; from wild coastlines, sun soaked sand, native bush lands, wetlands and the top of the outback with its red soils. There are small settlements around the area, several larger cities and cattle stations that rival some countries for area covered.

Installation and Documentation

I am not going to go into explicit details into how the install process and the manual works, but I will cover the install process.

The installation proceeds as usual for an Orbx product, without a hassle and stress free. The manuals, as always, are very detailed and cover the setup and tweaking of your flight sim installation to get the best out of the product.

The Top End

With Orbx it is always hard to describe the scenery with words, as it is that good. I have to say that AU Green, as well as all of the other areas in the series, is simply stunning. For the price, it is a very cost effective and rewarding as a way to improve your view out of the cockpit window.


AU Green covers the top of Australia and blends in perfectly with AU Gold, AU Blue and the latest area, AU Red. Since it combines well with all, there is no noticeable separation between the different zones. There is, however, a noticeable difference between the default scenery and the Orbx add-ons. This is unavoidable due to the FSX terrain textures used by the default scenery.

The default airports fit well with some exceptions, such as the roads, with some occasionally running through the airports in places. This is not hugely noticeable and Orbx are constantly updating these little issues that are noticed and reported by their customers.

Orbx support is second to none. If you cannot find the answer in the forums, then an email will get a response normally within an hour (depending on your local time), and normally a solution will be found. You wioll find that your problem will be resolved in the next hot fix or service pack.

If only everyone’s support was this good. It speaks volumes for the enthusiasm that the Orbx crew has for their products.

Orbx includes custom tiles for the cities and towns. They also include tiles for mines, farms and general landscapes. This approach overwrites the default scenery so that it doesn’t show through. It uses the photoreal approach for land cover which works very well; it looks like photoreal coverage but it isn’t.

Custom buildings are created for landmarks and these blend well, with custom autogen and trees included along with custom built freeware airports within each scenic zone.

I found there was no frame rate hit when flying around in the countryside and depending on how you have the autogen set, you may get some performance hits in the cities, but again this is minimal considering what you get to see.

I prefer to go on smoothness of flight rather than focus solely on frame rates as I think that it is better to have a smooth flight than maximum frame rates. By this I mean I am happy with 10-15 frames per second so long as it is smooth without any stutters, as these destroy the realism.

Test System

AMD Phenom 9850 Quad Core
4Gig 1033 Ram
Gigabyte 9600GT 1Gig PCI-e Video Card
Saitek Pro Yoke and 2 Throttle quadrants
Windows XP SP3

Flying Time:
15 hours

Direct X 10 works well with the Orbx scenery with the usual slight shimmering and reduced AA, but it seems to improve frame rates on my system.

Summary / Closing Remarks

To sum this up. Well, it is well worth the money and is one of the best scenery investments that you can make. I managed to convince my wife to allow me to buy the other two packs, AU Blue & Red along with AU Gold, making Australia a place that you must fly.

Without the Orbx scenery there is no point. Put the Orbx scenery in and you have every reason not to fly anywhere else.

There are a few small issues with some roads and such around airports and parks, but overall considering the area covered and the detail included, these are minor problems and do not distract from the package at all.

AU Green is highly recommended and Orbx should be congratulated on producing another outstanding product which is inexpensive to purchase. Plus, their customer support is second to none.

Editor's Note: There is a "mega-review" forthcoming with a detailed look at the complete "AU" line from Orbx.

 

What I Like About AU Green

  • Great coverage that includes autogen, custom trees and ground textures
  • For the price, one of the least expensive options out there
  • Minimal performance impact
  • Works with add-on scenery from other companies
  • Great manuals which include performance tips and tweaks that worked for me

 

What I Don't Like About AU Green

  • Some minor placement issues with default airports.
  • It is a very large download which may affect some people, but a DVD option is available

 

Printing

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AU Green

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