AVSIM Commercial Scenery Review

Indo-Pacific Landclass

Product Information

Publishers:  Scenery Tech

Description: Land class Scenery for Indo-Pacific Region.

Download Size:
17.8 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Arjun Murthy AVSIM Staff Reviewer - May 1, 2009

Introduction

Indo-Pacific Landclass Scenery covers a large area from New Zealand to Australia to Papua New Guinea to Indonesia and many other places (map can be found at the top of this page). This scenery is a part of the many Landclass sceneries including South / North America, Asia and Europe published by Scenery Tech.

Scenery Tech has made this scenery using the default Flight Simulator scenery files provided by Microsoft and re sequenced it in a way that is more realistic. From the north near Indonesia down to the south of Australia to New Zealand and east to the Islands, Scenery Tech seems to have spent a fair bit of time working out how to implement the scenery in a way that will make the area something that is ‘one little bit’ different.

Installation and Documentation

INSTALLATION:

The original installation of this product is quite simple. But then later on, it takes a bit more effort to let the computer know that you are the person that owns the software and wants the product installed.
The installation process and pictures are below:

Remember to read the instructions on the installation windows before and during installation of Scenery Tech’s Indo – Pacific Landclass. First, make sure you are connected to the internet. You can test your connection through the installation program. Also, remember that firewalls can affect downloads and you need to run this as an Administrator.

Now, continue with the installation as normal. Click on ‘I Agree’ after reading all the required information in the installation process. Now, here is the difficult bit. The key should be given to you as a file. There should also be another key (4 Digit Code) for the file that you downloaded.

The Key file has to be chosen using the ‘Select Key’ button and the password has to be entered. Alternatively, you can use your Flight1 account name and password. (NOTE: This process COULD be different depending on the purchase company of the product.) After this has been identified, you can continue the installation as per normal. Install it as you would install any other program.

DOCUMENTATION:

‘Documentation’ Comment: Companies that sell this product and contact information for support

The problem with finding the documentation is that there is no access to it through the Start Menu. However, this isn’t really required. The documentation is shown during installation and you can use it for your reference for the product. Alternatively, you can find the documents in the FSX directory (if it was installed into the default location on Windows XP, the following pathway should work [C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\SceneryTech\Landclass\IP]). The file is named ‘Readme’.

This documentation tells you which files are replaced for this product, what areas are covered by this scenery add-on and support information. The documentation doesn’t have that much information within, as it doesn’t require too much prior knowledge for the use of this product. In lieu of the documentation, support can be sought from either Scenery Tech directly or other companies that sell this product.

The Product: All Views in one

I have decided to place all the information about the Scenery Tech Indo – Pacific Landclass scenery together. This is because the scenery is pretty straightforward. Not many hours were needed to discover the pros and cons of this product.

This product is absolutely fantastic in many points of view, but absolutely awful in many other ways. This landclass uses the default FSX scenery files and modifies it to form a more realistic representation of what it is like in real life. This, in fact, is true in many ways but is also false in many ways.

A few places in the scenery are exactly the same as the default, let alone the modification. This is a known fact by the developers, as the formula for the scenery used most likely doesn’t affect that particular area of the default. However, many places are still not close to real life. In fact, some places are worse in the add–on scenery.

The majority of the areas, including major cities and regional aerodromes, have less built up residential areas (Houses). This is normally more realistic as the default scenery exaggerates the residential areas by a small percentage. This is the case in MANY cities and towns around the Indo – Pacific Region.

The bush land in the majority of Australia is erased and turned into paddocks. The developers are aware of a few faults with this aspect of it and claimed they will fix it in their future update releases. The bush land in the Blue Mountains are also erased and replaced with numerous paddocks. In real life, the paddocks are far less in comparison with the bush land.

The majority of mountains ranges are changed. The physical shape of the land is the same in all locations. What does change is the content on the mountain. Sometimes, bush lands are changed to paddocks, the paddocks are changed to bush lands, and towns are changed to bush land or paddocks. The scenery is very varying and unpredictable in all locations. The only way to find out is to actually fly there. This scenery does not manipulate water (rivers and oceans) or airports (the scenery tiles for the airport) in any shape or texture.

As you can see, the scenery does have advantages. Such as the cities, where built-up areas are erased and bush land is inserted. But is also disadvantages in that too much of the cities are erased or bush land is replaced by farming paddocks.

Since I have been explaining the disadvantage of this product, do not take this as a misleading statement. If you visit the Scenery Tech Indo – Pacific website you will notice that they have included a ‘Comparison Gallery’. What they have included in this gallery is true. This has been tested not just in the actual areas mentioned in the Gallery, but with other areas that have highly similar terrain. (Some areas in the gallery were not tested)

Default Landclass

Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea

Parramatta CBD (Sydney Basin)

Parramatta CBD (Sydney Basin)

Blue Mountains (Eastern Australia)

Blue Mountains (NOTE: Eucalyptus Bush land has been replaced with paddocks. Too many paddocks)

Township of Termora

(NOTE: Township of Termora has been replaced with dry paddocks)

Jakarta

Jakarta (NOTE: More residential area like in real life.)

FRAME RATES:

The frame rates for this product may be different from what many may predict. Since this landclass uses the default FSX scenery files, there should be no increase or decrease in frame rates. If you face change of frame rates on your computer, it is most probably related to the aircraft you are flying or your scenery settings. The developers have reported the scenery doesn’t affect the frame rates and that you shouldn’t find any change in it. I personally didn’t find any changes to the frame rates. This is definitely an advantage to Flight Simulator users who face poorer performance on their computer.

Test System

Intel Core2 Duo E8400 @ 3.0 Ghz
2.00 GB Ram
Nvidia Geoforce 9800GTX/9800 GTX+
(1GB Video Card)
Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3
Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick

Flying Time:
8 hours

RECOMMENDATION OF DEVELOPERS:

The developers have placed in their documentation that the Indo – Pacific Landclass is made to be used with 3rd party payware scenery products. The Landclass manipulates the formation of the ground textures, while the 3rd party software enhances it. The developers also claim that you don’t always need to use 3rd party software because the modification of the ground textures should create a high aspect of realism in direct comparison to the default scenery. Thus, making this a very useful product when used solely by itself.

QUESTIONS ASKED TO THE DEVELOPERS OF SCENERY TECH INDO – PACIFIC LANDCLASS:

Q: The blue mountains are fully covered with bush land except for the smallest of exceptions. In the Indo-Pacific landclass, this is shown as paddocks and fields in terrain instead of bush land as it is supposed to be.

A: For the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, it appears that we may need to extend the coverage of the Moist Eucalyptus tiles further west so that they will better cover the Blue Mountains. This is something that can be addressed fairly easily in the next update.

Q: In Sydney, major cities have all the residential area shown to them. You can fly around Sydney and pick out the Various CBD's by finding out their built areas using the default scenery. In the Indo - Pacific, how come this shows as residential area instead of tall office buildings?

A: We find the default landclass tends to exaggerate the depiction of high-rise locations in places like Sydney as well as other cities around the world. For example, the default depicts high-rises in places like Fairfield and Penrith, even though in reality there aren't any high-rises at these locations. The SceneryTech landclass is more discerning between regions of different urban density--as such, only downtown Sydney has high-rise tiles. See the attached screenshots for a comparison of the default landclass data for Sydney and the SceneryTech landclass (darker spots = less dense, brighter spots = more dense).
Screen Shot are the 2 pictures below

Q: Is the same technique used for Major CBD's, Mountains and regional cities used for all Major CBD's, mountains and regional cities (e.g. If Bathurst is manipulated in a certain way [the city] will Orange be manipulated in the same way). I can further explain this question if you don't understand it.

A: The city landclass data all over the world is generated using the same specialized formula that we have developed through a considerable amount of trial and error. Although we recognize it may never be perfect, the current representation is about as accurate as we can get it with the source data we use.

Q: Does the default FSX Scenery use the actual satellite pictures? (I thought it originally did.)

A: The default landclass does not employ satellite pictures in any way, but instead uses a system of 1 square km tiles to represent different types of terrain.


Q: I have been told that Indo-Pacific uses the FSX Scenery files and places it in the scenery in a different format. Since it uses the FSX Scenery files, how is it different from the Default FSX Scenery?

A: The SceneryTech landclass uses the same scenery format as the default landclass (landclass stands for "Land Classification"), but the improvement comes from how the terrain tiles are assigned (for example, the default landclass may render desert tiles where there should be forests, whereas the SceneryTech landclass will attempt to correct mistakes such as this).

Q: Why do you recommend to use Indo-Pacific Landclass with another 3rd Party Scenery?

A: Using other 3rd party sceneries with the SceneryTech landclass isn't required, and in some cases may not even be recommended if the other scenery also uses landclass data. However, our landclass works well with 3rd party mesh scenery and is compatible with just about every other type of scenery data.

The Default Sydney Data The Landclass Sydney Data

Summary / Closing Remarks

In summary, the Indo-Pacific Landclass add-on scenery from Scenery Tech is very good in some areas but not so good in other areas. Unless each and every single regional aerodrome and every single location are observed carefully, you will be unaware of what to expect. Although the same formula is used for the definition of cities (that can be viewed by Virtual Pilots), each city and town is different in small ways. For high density cities like Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin, etc, you can predict to have some excess Residential Areas ‘cut off’ and replaced with bush land. This could vary in many ways.

Although bush land is cut off for paddocks and in turn paddocks and cities / towns are cut off for bush land, majority of the places where there is supposed to be a city or a town does have a city or a town, places that are supposed to have paddocks do have paddocks and places that are supposed to have bush land do have bush land. This scenery is very unpredictable. Although it may take away a little touch of realism, it certainly does counteract it by inputting realism into other areas.

 

What I Like About The Indo-Pacific Landclass

  • Erases excess residential areas
  • Enhances scenery in many areas (comparison gallery from the Indo-Pacific website can be used)
  • Quick and efficient online support service
  • Doesn’t affect frame rates

 

What I Don't Like About The Indo-Pacific Landclass

  • Erases bush land where there is supposed to be bush land
  • Erases paddocks where there is supposed to be paddocks
  • Erases residential areas where there is supposed to be residential areas

 

Printing

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Indo-Pacific Landclass

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The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the product producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment as experienced by the reviewer. This disclaimer is posted here in order to provide you with background information on the reviewer and any presumed connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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