Where shall I start, since this is huge review and who will it be useful to?
It cost me a lot of time but it was really super to write about these products; making a mega review of several Flight1 awesome products. While writing this, I'm still wondering myself where and how, should I start? After a few nights, lots of glasses of red Australian, South African and California wine, I think I have found the correct solution and interpretation. Thinking about the average length of my reviews, this one will be huge. Let’s first start with a small introduction of what each software package is doing and which improvements are promised by the vendor and Flight1.
Then the second part of the question; for whom is the content of this review intended?
Every review here at AVSIM is ideal for every flight simmer, even if you have had the package already for a long time. Our primary goal is to offer the reader or potential buyer with something that could help them make the right decision. Can we cover every tiny thing of UTX and GEX? No, that’s unfortunately impossible. Ok, nothing is impossible, but then the review becomes too long or too complicated, which could result in loss of interest by the reader. I’ve tried with this review to compare as much as possible, the default FSX scenery with the individual changes made by UTX and/or GEX, while both web sites also offer lots of screenshots.
To make one thing clear, all the review products are only designed for FSX whether SP1, SP2 or the Acceleration Pack is installed. Since there’s also a positive impact related to DirectX 10, I have to say in advance that unfortunately my graphics adapter (Gainward BLISS 7800 GS AGP) can’t handle that, so those things are not possible for me to test and report the results with DirectX 10.
I think it’s a good idea to offer you a Table of Contents, so here we go:
- What the heck is Ground Environment X Enhanced (version 1.07)
UTX/GEX installations and documentation
- UTX Europe Installation
UTX Europe/USA/Canada Configurations
- General European idea
GEXnhanced USA/Canada Configurations
- Arizona / Grand Canyon, here I come!
UTX + GEXnhanced Canada Impression
All the important UTX and GEX things together
Summery / Closing Remarks
Ok, let’s first start with a small Flight1 introduction/description of the tested products. What the heck is Ground Environmental X Enhanced (version 1.07)
Boasting an incredible 1 m/pixel texture resolution, native 1024x1024 pixels, all seasons, meticulously designed night textures and the latest techniques in autogen placement and alignment while keeping maximum Flight Simulator performance in mind during development. The easy-to-use interface will provide for ease in installing and/or customizing your setup and is designed with the keep-it-simple yet powerful Flight1's philosophy.
main features of the USA & Canada editions are:
So, this is not just an update but a full new version, free of charge
for existing FSX GEX customers. The most important features and enhancements
Ultimate Terrain X USA (version 1.2), Canada (version 1.1) and Europe (version 1.1)
In general, UTX (Ultimate Terrain FSX) products are changing, modifying:
Before starting with the packages, I’ll first start with some background information of what GEX and UTX products are doing. This will then be followed by several flights without any of the packages installed. This is to have a clean start and an idea of the default scenery landclass created by Microsoft.
The idea is not to land at every in-between location, but to get a good idea of the changes, created by UTX and GEX. To make it clear, the Canada and USA flights are showing you the UTX and GEX products both separate and together. However; the Europe flight only covers the UTX product, since there’s not a GEX Europe version available yet. Ok, let’s start with some background information.
There’s always the question or thought, what are all these packages doing and could they conflict with each other or is one package doing the same as the other one. I will try to explain this after I consulted with Anthony Vos and Nick Needham from the GEX title and Allen Kriesman from UTX.
My basic FSX configuration starts with FS Global 2008 installed. This product is known as terrain mesh enhancer or in normal English, it re-creates the correct mountain height and specific details. Nothing more then this. That means the land class(ification) is still coordinated by the default FSX engine. Is it worth buying this FS Global 2008 product? Believe me, it is and compliments the total realistic view in combination with GEX and UTX products. More details of the FS Global 2008 product can be found on the Flight1 website and the recently published FS Global 2008 review.
First of all, if you’re wallet is thick enough, I can already advise you to buy both GEX and UTX products. Why both? Simple, because the designers work very close together with the final result being an impressive improvement of your FSX landscape. Remember the following things:
and UTX don’t do anything with airport sceneries nor
city sceneries. That means, you still need real looking airport
scenery add-ons like the ones from Aerosoft, Cloud9, Commercial Level
Simulations (Sydney International), RGFlight (Salzburg), UK2000 Scenery,
Just Flight etc.
Ok, let’s look more closely to the UTX and GEXen products. Before we continue, what is a landclass file and what are the other effects?
A landclass file contains detailed information about the landscape that it is zoned for, where towns are located, what type of ground environment is present such as rocks, mountains, desert, vegetation, etc. You add a landclass file to the FSX scenery database and enable it for the area you are flying. This file is designed to tell FSX what type of ground you are flying over, which in turn calls for textures to represent that area.
Important to keep in mind, landclass files to not alter "vector" scenery elements such as coastlines, roads, or parks. This is a function of the UTX product, while elevation data will also be unaffected since this is a function of a terrain mesh product, like FS Global.
- UTX and GEXen complement each other extremely well.
- GEXen provides replacement landclass textures to dramatically improve the look of ground textures (1m/pixel). GEX does not provide landclass data, which tells FSX which landclass textures to display in different locations. Here we need UTX, which does provide this landclass data and tells which GEXen textures to display.
- UTX functionality occurs on top of the FSGlobal mesh and GEX landclass textures. After the mesh and landclass textures are drawn, FSX will draw any vector features on top of the landclass texture. This is where UTX really comes in with its detailed roads, water, coastlines and other types of ground polygons. Unlike landclass textures, which is only precise to 1km x 1km squares, detailed ground polygons are drawn in their exact real-world shape. UTX uses detailed ground polygons for things like freeway interchanges, cemeteries, parks, etc.
- UTX provides one of the most detailed urban landclass projects produced however it is targeted at urban areas and as such properly adds and layers other landclass files (GEXen) to the install and will increase your show outside of urban developed areas UTX may not cover as well. Therefore, outside these urban areas, we have the GEX landclass textures.
- The water color is controlled by a different scenery component than landclass, known as waterclass, which is be done by UTX.
Although the intention of this review is to collect my own data and experience, sometimes additional data already available on the Internet will help in the understanding of the basic function and output of each or combined package. Have a look to the following web links: Default landclass (FSX) with GEX Enhanced over the Grand Canyon.
UTX/GEXnhanced installations and documentation
If you decide to buy both the GEX and UTX products, which is currently only applicable while writing this review for Canada and the USA, then please first install UTX Canada and USA, configure those and then install the GEX USA & Canada software. Then select all the options within the GEX interface. GEX takes care of the necessary copy work into the specific FSX folders but more important, when you start FSX for the first time – I'll worn you now about the delayed startup time – both UTX and GEX are presenting them in the highest possible realistic view.
The cooperation between UTX and GEX goes much further. When there are new UTX updates, GEX will – if needed – add updates or patches. This is to keep the two programs working as brother and sister together.
UTX Europe Installation
I decided to start this review and installation with UTX EU. The reason is simple; UTX is currently the only available package for this region. It also helps me understand what is happening and what impact UTX has as an additional layer in FSX. Later it’s time to do the same for the USA with Canada.
The basic UTX EU Flight1 installer, who is responsible for this, is straightforward, so no problems at all. Keep in mind that the installation takes a while, which also depends on your PC. Lots, and I really mean lots, of files are installed. After this is finished we first find under the Start button, a created folder called Flight One Software -> Ultimate Terrain X – Europe and some shortcuts; two Acrobat files; Advanced Users Features and the Ultimate Terrain X Manual, a setup tool and an uninstaller. The manuals are discussed later on. The uninstaller speaks for itself while the Setup tool is more or less self operating.
Back to the installation process. When the installer is finished, the second thing that starts is the setup tool. It validates the FSX installation, the Scenery Layers and the UTX textures. It should all end with three green ticks.
When you click the OK button – FSX is not running – it will tell you that UTX is inactive. Just what I wrote, FSX is not running. When it’s running, you get a green tick and Active. I’m not going to discuss this control panel in detail since it’s discussed in detail in the Ultimate Terrain X Manual Acrobat file. So far, so good!
What else is done during the installation and configuration? The second part of the installation process/configuration makes the necessary adjustments in FSX including adding 12 UTX lines in the Scenery Library (see screenshot xx) and that’s it. Nothing more, so we can start flying … no no ….. let’s first have a look at the manuals.
UTX Europe Manuals
As written before, it comes with two Acrobat manuals; the Ultimate Terrain X and an Advanced Features Guide. Let’s first and briefly start with the Advanced Guide. The total contents goes a little too far for discussing it in detail but it generally explains/discusses the TERRAIN.CFG file, the Advanced menu of the Setup Tool and modification of the flattering capabilities. Since it’s not that easy, several examples are included and also for UTX support I can tell you, based on my own experience, you can always contact Allen from Scenery Solutions. He’s very helpful in offering the necessary professional support.
Regarding the UTX manual, I offer the following: Since I’m always a fanatic in checking and judging a manual, this time I can’t say anything else than “awesome quality”. I also know that not every user will read a manual, but this one is clearly written, has a good Table of Contents and every step or possible modification is described.
Apart that every page is important to read and well edited, page 29 is well done. Not the page specifically, but the idea and helpful way of helping tweak the installed UTX. When the whole installation is done, this window comes up with proposed adjustments and when you like it, it will make all those modifications for you. No bad nights without any sleep, it's just all prepared for you. Very well done Allen.
Currently Allen from Scenery Solutions, is busy writing a special user manual, which will explain in detail all the ins and outs of what UTX is doing and how all those changes will finally look like. If you’re a FS2004 UT user, this manual is already available for FS2004, but it’s currently being modified for FSX. Although the package name is very similar, the FSX UT version offers much more than its FS004 counterpart.
UTX USA and Canada Installation
Although UTX Canada and USA are two different files or DVD’s, the principle is the same. To be honest, it’s all the same as the previous UTX Europe installation. One difference in my case and thus the installation order, is that after UTX EU was already installed, a proposed modification window appears for the necessary changes in FSX. Once this is done, there’s no need for other UTX products to do this again.
It sounds boring but there’s not so much to tell about the UTX Canada and USA installer. It’s the Flight1 Wrapper, which works without any problems. Also for these two installers, the end result is having newly created Start button folders with the same Acrobat files, uninstallers and Setup Tools. Nothing new here so no need to write it down again. More information can be found at the end of the UTX Europe installation.
UTX USA and Canada Manuals
Are the offered manuals the same as the ones from UTX Europe? The answer is short and so is this sub chapter. No, they are not the same but the contents look very similar to the previous one, therefore no extensive explanation here. Again, USA and/or Canada come with two manuals each; Ultimate Terrain X and Advanced Features Guide. That’s it so far, just look at the UTX Europe description.
GEXnhanced USA/Canada Installation
It starts becoming a little boring, but since the GEXn (enhanced) version is also installed via the Flight1 wrapper, it all looks the same. Of course, it’s a totally different program but nevertheless some information is needed. When going back to the basics, the Flight1 wrapper is doing its work very well without any surprises. At the end, one important thing is going to happen and that is GEX will first detect and create a location to make a full backup of all the original scenery files.
Unless you press Ctrl+Alt+Del to cancel this process, which is very illogical, you have no control over this automatically started process. Let’s give the system the time that it needs to do this. When it’s finished it will tell you, and then GEX can start checking if it’s the last updated version your running.
In my case, the downloaded version from the Flight1 website was 1.04. While an update is available, namely 1.06 and recently 1.07, I choose first to download these patches, then installed them separately and after that, I made an alternative backup. This means I’m not going to overwrite the already created backup files. This gives me the possibility to restore back to version 1.06 or even further back to version 1.04. More on this can be found in the manual or in the GEX program help file.
OK, after finishing downloading the GEX updates 1.06 and 1.07, I install them – straight forward – and made my alternative backup. As can be seen on the screenshots, these GEX installations are GEX Enhanced USA & Canada Main, Special Landclass Fix, UTX Textures and UTX/LUX Textures. This takes a while but the result are really worth waiting for. After this installation, my configuration contains the UTX and GEX programs and the screenshots tell you that every change is worth the installation time, your patient but above all, your money.
Apart from this, we need to have a look at the created folders and shortcuts. Not surprisingly, under the Start button we will find a Flight One Software -> Ground Environment X USA-Canada -> and the Acrobat manual, the program itself and an uninstaller. Although it has nothing to do with this remember one thing; when you decide to uninstall GEX for whatever reason, first restore your original backup FSX files, or else you will never have the possibility to do so.
Ok, that’s it and supposes you’re not that handy in making backup’s and other steps, just have a look at the GEX forum. The local assistance by Steven, Anthony or Nick is very good. Questions are always quickly and professionally answered and if you don’t like the forum, no problem, just send them an e-mail.
GEXnhanced USA/Canada Manual
Can you expect a 40, 60 or 100 pages manual? No, there’s no need for this. The software doesn’t need anything else than a brief information about the program menu items. There’s not really a need to explain in detail other things because you see the results yourself once FSX is started.
As written before, the manual deals with the installation and configuration process. Extensive information about the backup process of the default ground textures and making alternative backup’s can be found in the Acrobat manual.
Not to make this too long, the manual explains in detail every menu item in clear and understandable English. Although it's just an extraction from the complete manual, the screenshots above should give you an idea at least, of what you can expect. It’s small, very clear and friendly written for customers.
UTX Europe/USA/Canada Configurations
After an Ultimate Terrain X installation, there’s not really a need to make the necessary adjustments unless you want something different then what it basically offers. Lucky for you and me since the possibilities are endless. The manual describes all of this including their effects. That means there’s not that much left for me to discuss about these changes. Still, some energy is left to highlight a few nice and handy items.
After you’ve started the Setup Tool, the first thing is that the three validation processes are started; FSX Installation, UT Scenery Layers and the Terrain Textures. When all are green and you click the OK button, a small window appears which needs some attention.
As can be seen on the first screenshot below, the UTX USA is not active. Activation of the UTX layers can be done via the Scenery Library but it's much quicker and easier via the Setup Tool. Take from the menu Ultimate Terrain, followed by Quick Ultimate Terrain Enable/Disable. A window appears and tells you that the UTX USA layers are currently disabled and of course, do you want to enable these? When you click Yes, before you know it, it’s done. So simple!
Another item is the separate enable/disable option of what UTX may change, like roads, railroads, bridges, streams or small rivers and much more. You simply click the group; let’s say Stream And Small Rivers, followed by ST1 Named Streams and Small Rivers. Standard, it’s activated but if you don’t want UTX to modify it, click the Active button with the green checkmark and before you know it, its Inactive thus UTX USA will not implement this option. Then there’s menu option “Upgrade”.
This option is used whenever there’s a new patch or upgrade available. Important, you need to use this before installing the update. I’m not going any deeper with all the other possible adjustments. In the first place, it doesn’t belong in a review since it’s not a tutorial but mainly because the UTX manuals are very well done. All the necessary details for modifying your UTX configuration are in it.
It’s now time to see what UTX Europe is offering the customer compared to the default FSX scenery configuration. As known from FS2004, FSX default scenery is also far from reality. Coast lines are wrong or they look strange, there are lots of roads, rail roads and rivers missing. This is not all, lakes are wrong or completely missing and I could continue with lots of examples of things which are not available in the default FSX Europe scenery.
Therefore, introducing UTX Europe in the default FSX scenery gives huge or if you wish, dramatic change or improvements, which gives the VFR and IFR virtual pilot the impression “Yes, this is it!”. In the next sub chapter, I’ve tried to give you that feeling of what can be expected when buying and installing this enhanced package. Please join me on this short but impressive European flight trip.
UTX Europe Impression
General European idea
Here’s the first European flight I made. From the North to the South, from East to West. I stopped at certain places to make the necessary screenshots. I could make hundreds of pictures but that’s not the idea. Just a few and that’s enough. Officially, there’s no need to make any other adjustments, however on advice of Nick Needham and Allen Kriesman I did make some changes. One change is that FSX delivers much better ground texture clarity with the texture resolution at 7cm, which will also set the mesh resolution automatically to 10m. Before you think ... FPS … no problem and even on slower systems it does no harm.
Back to my first impression and modified FSX landscape. WOW! Although the basic ground textures, borders, beaches and many others are much better than FS9, I’m not a favorite of the default FSX landscape. The modification done by UTX depends a little on where you’re flying in Europe.
For example; when you shoot above the Netherlands, you initially think that there’s not that much changed but believe me, I’m living here and there are many modifications made to make it even more realistic. The same for LFMN area (France Nice/Cote d’Azur). You get the impression that the default FSX is pretty good but after seeing the UTX implementation, it’s stunning.
I can confirm this since my previous review was about the FranceVFR FlightRiviera. The coastline is not that bad in the default FSX but there is too much green, so too many trees. Conclusion, an unrealistic landscape till you’ve got UTX Europe activated. Then it looks very realistic and realistic means really realistic! Rivers are introduced, road are added or modified, surrounding villages are added and so much more that I lost count.
Good, my flight impression of Europe with UTX Europe shows the middle part of the Netherlands, Mid Southern France towards the Pyrenees, the JetSet city Nice, France and flying between the mountains nearby LOWI (Innsbruck-Austria).
What have I learned so far from these UTX Europe images and thus the UTX Europe product?
Depending on the location, it makes small or large changes. This by itself depends on how realistic the default FSX scenery is. When it's very accurate, then probably there’s not really a need to change much. However, although Microsoft did a great job of making a more realistic Europe, there’s still the need for programs like, in this case, Ultimate Terrain.
Is it then done with this or is there really a need for UTX Europe? Yes, there is! The pictures speak for themselves and when your familiar with certain areas, then you can even judge more about the changes and the need for those. The above pictures are made during summer time while the three screenshots below are during hard winter, although the winter isn’t that hard anymore in Europe.
Scotland Yard … Edinburgh … 360°
Just before leaving the European continent, I still want to show you a short but impressive 360 degree look around of the city of Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Why 360 degrees; with this ground texture look we can clearly see the big and small differences between a default FSX Scottish landscape and the one with UTX Europe installed.
I didn’t mark the differences as you will see later on in this review since the majority of the differences are clearly visible. The first 360 degrees number pad look around is based on the default FSX scenery ground textures and I can tell you, not bad till – you know already the answer – we install Ultimate Terrain X Europe. OK, let’s start with the default FSX Scottish highland where you can smell the Scottish Malts.
Now its time to see what UTX Europe can do with this landscape and even though it wasn’t that bad, after seeing those pictures you now know the value of buying this UTX product. Because of those tiny things and something big changes, it makes the overall sensation great. Here we go!
It’s now time to take a regular flight with the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to the USA and Canada. Since we had to make a choice, we fly towards Montreal, Thunder Bay and then straight to the West coast of Canada, where we pass the wonderful landscape and end in Vancouver.
Although it seems that we fly straight, we don’t do that. We jump from one plane into another plane and again into another one. We do this at different altitudes but more importantly, with different outside views of the Canadian ground textures and modifications. Come on, jump in my plane and fly with me …. Canada … here I come!
GEXnhanced USA/Canada Configurations
Before continuing with either only GEX, or UTX or a mix of UTX plus GEX, it’s time to do some inspections related to the GEX configuration tool, although there’s not that much to configure. Not because it’s not a good one, but simply because it’s kept simple for the user. The program is doing most of it by itself and where needed, the user is informed for example, with available updates or a kind of “to do” list.
It’s not in a way that there’s no need to read the manual. There is and keep in mind, out of the developers eye, they put a lot work into it so please take the time to read it. It not a massive manual, but it will help you understand the configuration tool better.
Back to the GEX configuration tool. Via the Start menu button I start the GEX configuration tool. When there’s a need to make a backup, GEX will detect this by itself and ask you nicely to do so. If you’re not interested, you just click No and the program continues. As can be seen in screenshot I, the basic tool hasn't got that many buttons on the left hand side; “HELP”. “BACKUP”. “UPDATES”. “SETTINGS” and the “Flight1”. Ok, let’s first start with the easy ones.
- The Flight1 button
opens the Flight1 website. That’s it so
nothing shocking about it.
Last item and probably the most important; what do you need to install or what have you already installed? The middle field of this tool tells you which GEX parts are needed to install and what is already done. Let’s first start with the last question.
You just click the “View Log” hyper-link. A text file opens and shows you straight away what you’ve installed already. Since it tells you which GEX parts are installed, you can verify this with the available list of GEX enhancements. When this list equals the visible listing on the configuration tool, you’ve installed everything. Of course, you will find this in the standard GEX manual as well.
GEXnhanced USA/Canada Impression
Arizona / Grand Canyon, here we come!
Before we combine the two packages – GEX and UTX - together, I would like to spend some words on what impact GEX itself offers. In general, it should influence every corner in the USA and Canada but the problem is, it’s not always that visible or it's not at all. Sometimes changes are made but hardly any difference can be seen. On other places, like the Grand Canyon in Arizona or the Las Vega area, there’s a dramatic impact and with dramatic I mean, it’s very close to the real ground textures. For the Grand Canyon, it’s also a huge challenge for the GEX development team to get the best of the best or in normal English, as real as possible. The Grand Canyon is and stays a very difficult area to create but the short flight I made here was impressive.
First of all, some pictures of the default Grand Canyon area. Those are as you can see later on when GEX is installed, not shot at the same location. This is more or less impossible and if it’s possible it will cost me so much effort that even then it’s not easy to shoot exactly at the same location and angle. When you take the general default Grand Canyon FSX look into your mind and compare those with the GEX version, you know what I mean. Ok, here we go with first default FSX Grand Canyon shots.
Let’s go gambling in Las Vegas and then on to LAX!
After my shocking Grand Canyon experience, its time to travel to another nearby place and I can tell you already, it’s the same difference. Of course, not the same rocks, rivers, rims and others items related to the Canyon, but the sand color, green areas in between, hills … everything will be different, at least, when you compare the default FSX with GEX Enhanced USA.
This time I made a long VFR flight at around 8000 feet from the middle of KLAX (Los Angeles International Airport) via the mountains to KLAS (Las Vegas International). It was a very long trip but worth seeing the differences between what the GEX team has made and what Microsoft has created. Devastating, I think that’s the only word I can find.
Before I continue, let’s first see how this flight looks – more or less – according to Microsoft, with its default FSX scenery ground textures. You could think, that’s not bad at all since the included cities have there own photorealistic sceneries but all around it and especially the sandy area of Las Vegas, is not that realistic. It’s a too sandy color.
When you’ve got no idea you would say .. not bad … but the moment you’ve installed Ground Environment X Enhanced, which can be seen below then you will say … good lord …. And that’s the difference between just a few US$ bucks or if you wish European Euro’s. It doesn’t matter which currency you use, it’s fully 100% worth you’re money.
Here my USA trip ends, although there are so many places I would like to show you. Of course, the GEX website shows you lots of pictures, including on the GEX forum, but generally I can conclude that the GEX impact on a clean default FSX installation is absolutely worth you’re money. No doubt about that!
What I said before, I could find out many other US places to show you what GEX can do for you but then this review starts becoming more of a slide show and that not the way I’ve got this review in mind. I also want to mention again that not at every location is the GEX impact that high. When, for instance, you’re flying in Tennessee above the mountains and forests, you probably don’t see as many differences. Not because they – GEX Development team - have forgotten this, but simply because there’s not much to modify with the trees or in general a forest.
Last impression of GEX during our hop and stop flight through the United States of America and Canada, is a set of screenshots in Eastern and Western Canada. Since GEX covers every season – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn – I’ve decided to make some screenshots during the winter time. It even becomes harder to see the differences between the default FSX and GEX scenery ground textures but I will warn you about that. It’s not always that sunny. Sometimes the differences are small and not impressive at all, because of the simple reason there’s not that much to change.
Oh beautiful Canada
Where to go in Canada since it’s so huge and there are so many things to see. For some reason I was stranded here during the winter in the eastern part of the country, and as can be seen, it was really cold and white.
UTX + GEXnhanced Canada Impression
I tried to give you - with the previous chapters - an idea which impact UTX EU alone and GEX USA/Canada by itself has on the FSX scenery ground textures and/or land class modifications. As you could see and judge, sometimes those changes are dramatic and in other places you really need to look in detail to find the differences.
But now, what will be the impact when you combine UTX and GEX together. With the coming screenshots I tried this by flying the Canadian and US territories three times. First with the default FSX scenery, then I installed UTX and finally I added GEX. So, all the screenshots on the right of the upcoming tables are a compilation of UTX + GEX. Since the packages have a more or less different function, they hardly influence each other. Ok, let’s start and see.
UTX + GEXnhanced USA Impression
Sorry boys and girls, we don’t have too much time to spend shopping in Vancouver. We still have a long trip and some sightseeing in front of use. Crossing the USA is not done in one day and especially not when you take a Cessna 172. First we take a regular flight to San Francisco and from there we are heading south, then towards Las Vegas, following the coastline along the Mexican Gulf, then straight to the Key’s, back to the Carolina's and finally we will reach NY.
to shop, forget it! Time to sleep … unfortunately
we need to. Please join me on
this magnificent trip in the world known as UTX-GEX.
All important UTX and GEX things together
Find below a list of important items to know, to remember, or to modify to get the best result. These tips are primarily based on the advices I got from UTX developer Allen Kriesman and GEX developers Anthony Vos and Nick Needham.
Remark I – UTX/GEX:
When installing both UTX and GEX products, make sure GEX is the last to install. UTX Europe will overwrite GEX upgraded textures from UTX USA/CAN and it’s therefore better to run the GEX installer last, and, apply every one of the options in the list,
Remark II – UTX/GEX:
FSX delivers much better ground texture clarity with the texture resolution set at 7cm, which will also set the mesh resolution automatically to 10m. This will give no reduction on slower systems and frame impact is limited!
Remark III– UTX:
When UTX is in use and you have another landclass products such as SceneryTech North America, FSGenesis USA LC, XClass, etc, you layer all 3rd party landclass products with UTX as on the right pictures and enable only one at the time for the area you are flying in.
If you do not layer the 3rd party landclass as shown on the right pictures, UTX will override that landclass if below, or, the landclass will override important UTX features if above UTX.
In this case the issue is the UTX VEGETATION LANDCLASS. As has been mentioned in many threads, landclass products are NOT perfect. Where one falls short, another will usually fix it.
Remark IV – UTX/GEX:
Defragmentation is so important after you’ve installed one or more of these programs. Especially UTX and GEX, since a lot of files are replaced in the FSX folders. By the way, don’t forget to defrag – if applicable and installed on a separate hard disc - your Windows XP or Vista as well.
Remember, FSX runs by itself but based on the Windows operating system. Personally, I’ve got good experiences with Raxco PerfectDisk 2008, which offers offline defragmentation of the paging and Hibernate files, Metadata and the MFT (Master File Table). For those who are not familiar with offline defragmentation; offline means that defragmentation is done during the PC start-up, so there’s no Windows running.
Of course, there are many other add-on defragmentation programs like O&O Defrag 10 Professional or Diskkeeper 2008, but personally I’ve had the best experiences with PerfectDisk. Soon I will write a review of DiskTrix UltimateDefrag 2008 and see if this program offers the gamer more flexibility than every other program, so keep tuned to the AVSIM reviews.
Remark V – UTX/GEX
following links are related to Ultimate Terrain
links are related to Ground Environment X
Summary / Closing Remarks
Where shall I start?
Since it’s already a very long review with lots of information, I don’t want to make this summary too long. My general impression about these products and their interaction gives a huge and impressive impact on the default FSX ground textures, landclass modifications and water textures.
UTX and GEX work perfectly together, and apart of a view minor items – not worth mentioning– they give us flight simmers a highly realistic VFR and IFR flight. No doubts about that.
Although it’s outside the scope of this review, whenever you own other landclass products like FSGenesis Landclass or SceneryTech, no need to throw them away as you have read in the previous chapter - remark III – just put them in the Scenery Library in between the UTX layers and all works fine.
Does it mean nothing goes wrong when having more then one landclass product installed?
When googling on the different forums and then especially on the GEX and UTX ones, you will find certain items in FSX with one or both packages installed, which are not 100% streamlined, but with the help of other users and developers like Allen (UTX), Anthony and Nick (both GEX), you will get a solution and the help where needed.
Ok, I promised to keep it short.
These products altogether change the way how FSX looks. It changes it in a way that you’ve got no other choice than buying the products and never regretting that you did it. Everybody knows that scenery enhancers, in one way or the other, are totally different in the way that they change a large area while an airport or photorealistic scenery, only reflects a specific area.
Therefore I think that taking the price into account – UTX Europe/USA/Canada (each $34.95) and GEX USA/Canada ($29.95) - you get awesome products! Before you think that I have shares in one of these companies, not at all, but the change of the ground textures/scenery is really great.
I sincerely hope that this review will help all interested people in making their decision with the UTX and GEX products.
What I Like About These Flight 1 Products
What I Don't Like About These Flight 1 Products
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