AVSIM Commercial Scenery Review

Alaska Cinematic Volume 1

 

Rating Guide
Publisher: GEORENDER
Description:  Add-on scenery for FS2004
Download Size:
466 Megabytes
Format:
Executable file
Simulation Type:
FS 2004 Add-on
Reviewed by: Gene Davis AVSIM Staff Reviewer

The AVSIM Commercial Rating System: 1 Star to 5 Stars (with 5 stars being exceptional) Please see details of our review rating policy here .

Introduction - North to Alaska

This scenery package from GEORENDER has literally transformed the way I look at scenery add-ons for MSFS, and I hope that this is a sign of better things to come.

From your desktop computer or laptop you will be transported north to Alaska all from within you Flight Simulator environment. You will be flying over scenery that looks like it does in real life and at times you will almost forget that it is on a computer.

The scenery in the package is some of the most beautiful and well done scenery I have ever seen, and I simply can’t get enough of it.

Installation and Documentation

The installation is relatively simple, but you must download a total of three files and all must be placed in the same folder or the execute file will not work properly. In all, the files total up about 466 megabytes packed, so it evens out to about 620 megabytes after it is installed to your hard drive.

The hardware requirements for AK Cin 1 are relatively decent for those of us with older systems. The documentation touts that it is best if you have the following setup; Windows XP, NT, 2000; FS2004 (Of Course); CPU Speed of 1.5 GHZ; and at least 64 MB of RAM on your video card. Now I am running the AK Cin 1 scenery on a P4 3.0 1gb of RAM with an ATI 9800 Pro 256 card and I get frames rates in the thirties range, of course I have my FPS locked at 35. I am sure that every system will differ here and of course the faster your system is, the better.

Test System

P4 3.0
1 GB of Ram
ATI RADEON 9800 PRO

Flying Time:
30 hours

Now, I did have the opportunity to try out this scenery on a P4 2.4 with 768 RAM with a GEFORCE 64MB card and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised that I was still getting frames up in the middle 20’s and little or no stuttering.

The documentation is simple and straight forward and gives you an overview of the area of Alaska that is covered in MSFS.

The Program

When I saw the initial screenshots for this some months ago, I was totally amazed. How could any scenery look that good and not slow down ones computer? Well the guys at GEORENDER have pulled it off with some of the most exquisite scenery I have ever seen. What the scenery package offers is a true representation of the state of Alaska in a confined area. There will be three more volumes released by GEORENDER giving the flight sim user continuous coverage of the state of Alaska.

For now we will look at Volume 1 and its coverage area. Volume 1 includes 11,000 square km of the following areas:

1. Anchorage and its surrounding areas;
2. Chugach State Park and Chugach National Forest;
3. Knik Glacier, Lake George Glacier, Surprise Glacier, Spencer Glacier;
4. Portage Pass, Port Wells, American Pass, Summit Lake; and
5. Knik Arm, Turnagain Arm

Now 11, 000 square km is a pretty decent sized area, but I recommend that you choose a nice slow aircraft to enjoy this scenery with. For this review I tried several different aircraft add-ons and I found that the most enjoyable one was the Cessna 182 from Carenado. Its relatively slow pace and good viewing areas made for some real nice VFR flying in and around Anchorage. When you are flying over this scenery with a faster aircraft, say the FA-18 or a business jet of some kind you will find that the scenery has a hard time staying up with the plane, so it is necessary at times to refresh your scenery while in flight.

Flying over the glaciers and their adjoining lakes or water ways is incredible, the level of detail is simply amazing. I took off from PANC and flew out and around the city and back out over the bay. In fact, one of the pics I included in this review is from that very flight. It really shows the level of detail looking out over the city. Be sure to check out the coastline as well.

One of the most impressive features of this package are the glaciers. They look so real! Flying out over Whittier is really impressive, you will be greeted by shipping traffic in the bay and huge glaciers crawling over the headlands and emptying into the ocean. There really is a lot to see and I recommend that you spend some time just exploring VFR. The mountains have a very realistic look to them and you will find yourself in awe at times looking at the finer details. At times you can almost get a real sense of height when you are looking out over the wing of your plane at the valleys below.

I have spent a number of hours flying over this relatively small portion of Alaska and frankly you don’t want it to end, so when you get to where their scenery ends and the default scenery picks up again, one tends to find that a little disappointing. Not to mention the fact that there is no real transition between the two; one ends abruptly where the other one picks up. You will also notice that at higher altitudes you can see the default textures in the background, though not as much of an eyesore as it sounds its just the limitations of the scenery package.

I really enjoy taking my little Cessna on a short hop from Anchorage, over Palmer (Scenery ends just short of the city), and onto Whittier through the mountain passes. I like this flight as it seems to really cover a great deal of area and makes for a relatively nice flight. Now throw in some weather and you have a really interesting flight.

GEORENDER has brought the armchair Bush Pilot's ultimate scenery package to our desktops and I have very little to say that is negative about it, as I just can’t get enough of it. When I need to get lost and forget about the day's events, I just load up Alaska Cinematic 1 and fly.

Now be warned, this scenery comes at a cost. There is no night lighting for this area. I found this to be an acceptable cost with the level of detail this package offers, and frankly the scenery is so good you don’t really want to fly it at night. However, if you are a UT Canada and Alaska user, the glowing city lights (balls of light) will work on top of the AK CIN 1 textures and this helps with areas that don’t have any lighting.

As I close this review, I have had quite a bit of time to spend flying with it and I can’t express enough about how good it is. You will be greeted with some of the highest quality scenery I have ever seen for a MSFS product. Its clarity and detail makes this a must have and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. One could almost find an address by using this scenery it is that detailed.

Alaska Cinematic Vol 1 and UT Canada and Alaska

For users of the UT Canada and Alaska product from Flight One, there is good news. There is a patch in progress and should make a debut sometime in the near future.

As of right now there are some issues with both products running together, but they are relatively minor and create only mesh height problems in certain areas. I ran both and welcome the UT lighting for areas like Anchorage.

Conclusion

I strongly recommend this one to anyone who loves flying over beautiful terrain. This is truly a new benchmark in scenery add-ons and will only get better with time.

You are no longer flying over default textures or fake looking land class textures; you are simply flying over the real thing. And the price tag is even nice, $26.68!

So, get ready to transform your Flight Simulator environment and be ready for Alaska! I can’t wait to get MSFS up again and go flying, the only problem is where do I fly this time? I guess I will just go east from Whittier and look for another airstrip, or a lake for that matter.

TRIBUTE - (OFF TOPIC)

At the closing of writing this review I lost my best friend, her name was Rose. She was a 7 year old German Shepard. She would wait patiently as I worked hard at my PC getting these reviews out, all with the ultimate intention of getting out to the beach for a walk. My life has a rather big whole in it right now, but I have to be thankful for the time that I had with her and although I will miss her, she is in a better place now, walking on that wide open beach carefree and happy. This review is dedicated to my Rose and it is my hope that when it is my time she will be there waiting for me as I will miss her dearly in the here and now. Gene.
 

 

What I Like About Alaska Cinematic Volume 1
  • It’s clarity
  • Immersiveness
  • Depth
  • Realistic look

 
What I Don't Like About Alaska Cinematic Volume 1
  • Where it ends and the default scenery starts up again.
  • The lack of night lighting.

Printing

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Alaska Cinematic Volume 1

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