Where and how should I start with this massive DVD package? I tell you honestly, I don’t know.
The MegaSceneryX website already gives you so much information about this product, what can I as a reviewer, add to that? Looking around on the website there’s a very good description what this MegaSceneryX can do; "MegaSceneryX - Dallas/Fort Worth puts you in the skies above the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex at a level of realism that you've never seen before in Microsoft Flight Simulator. It's created by taking 1 foot per pixel aerial photographs and placing them into Microsoft Flight Simulator X for display at 1.19 meters per pixel. You're not seeing a synthetic world. No, you're flying over an actual image of the Dallas/Fort Worth area and well, it's so real, you may as well consider that you're actually there."
And what do you think of this sentence; "Every highway, road, interchange, street, house, factory, warehouse, mall, stadium, ball field, golf course, sand trap, playground, river and stream is visible and identifiable from your Flight Simulator skies as if you were actually there flying over the skies above Dallas/Fort Worth."
Yes, there lies the answer!
I will try to give you an impression where and how you can utilize it. I will make some screenshots but different than those you can find on the website. I will take you, our reader, on a VFR flight across this area. For the IFR flight, it won’t take long since the area is limited. Our VFR flight will be a nice and impressive flight with all kinds of detail around you.
Ok, back to the MegaSceneryX package.
You are probably thinking; you know what to except since it’s an upgraded of MegaCity 2005. Forget what you know and jump into the new exiting world of the MegaSceneryX Series. Specially designed for FSX, it offers even more then its FS2004 predecessor. Twice the size of the photographic scenery, and a reality level which is really incredible. Although looking at the MegaCity/MegaSceneryX website, you get the impression it’s just an updated version, no way!
After receiving the MegaSceneryX package, I thought, that’s a thick package for a small booklet with one DVD! I was wrong since the DVD holder contains two DVD’s but also a 127 page thick booklet with additionally, a terminal sectional chart of Dallas/Fort Worth. So the double thick DVD holder, is really needed to hold all this extra stuff.
The DVD’s look the same, except of course, one is disc 1 and the other disk 2 but there is no sign where the FS2004 version is. Yes, you read it well. You not only get the FSX version, but also – free of charge – MegaCity 2005 Dallas/Fort Worth.
Wow! Although you can’t see on the disc where to find the MegaCity USA 2005 Dallas/Fort Worth, in the booklet on page 15 you can read everything about it, including the differences between the old and new product.
The reason for this is simple. After the installation of MegaSceneryX Dallas/Fort Worth, it uses no more the 8GB of disk space but we will see that what you get is something you'll never forget and what’s really worth your money!
I have to admit, this chapter entitled “Performance Information, tips and tricks” is very helpful, easy to understand and absolutely necessary to get the best out of this scenery.
Special attention - although it’s in the book on page 13 sub-chapter Filtering – the selection of Anisotropic filtering (see red marking on enlarged screenshot). Failure to do so could result in a blurry landscape.
Documentation and Sectional Chart
I’ve seen many things, not only during my AVSIM review period, but what this package offers in relation to manuals and charts is awesome!
You get a detailed booklet on how to use this scenery and how to make final adjustments, but you also get more then 100 pages of official charts from every airport covered in this area. You get airport diagrams, SID and STAR charts, ILS, VOR/DME, and GPS approach charts and last but not least, a full colored Sectional Chart of Dallas/Fort Worth.
When you prefer to have the charts in a bigger size, you will find the appropriate Acrobat files on DVD2. These three chart examples from KDFW are just to give you an idea what‘s all in the MegaSceneryX package.
A Quick Look Into The MegaSceneryX World
Although lots of IFR charts are supplied with the package, primarily MegaSceneryX is great for VFR flights. When flying at an altitude of 3000-4000 feet, you can sit, relax and enjoy the outside view. When you’re not convinced about the extreme high resolution, you’re free to open Google Earth and compare the images for yourself. It’s astonishing!
Every detail is there once airborne and that starts when 500 feet above the ground. Ok, at least 1000 feet, the ground may look blurry but they warn you about that in the booklet as well as on the website.
Surprisingly, there is hardly any frame rate impact in FSX (without any tweaking by the way). When using MegaSceneryX for IFR flights, you also get a great view of this photographic scenery. But before you know it, you’re out of the area and flying above normal default FSX scenery.
The offered Dallas/Fort Worth area just covers 8000 square miles (21.0000 square kilometers), which means in combination with an IFR flight, it's a little limited.
Cross-country (VFR) flight KGKY - KGKY (Arlington Municipal Airport)
Today I’ll take you on a VFR flight at 4000 feet across the scenery. The fact that I’ve got the provided VFR Terminal chart from Dallas/Forth Worth with me, I could also print out a page from the Rand McNally Road Atlas. Why would I do that?
The details of this megascenery are so incredible that you can fly via roads, crossing rivers, lakes, railroads etc. Ok, since you don’t have the provided chart, I’ve collected some charts for you (sectional Dallas/Fort Worth), which covers our route. By the way, you can download those charts for free at www.skyvector.com. During this typical cross-country flight, I’ll use also some NDB and/or VOR radio beacons.
This cross-country flight should give you an idea of what is possible and how realistic it will be!
can imagine what you can do. Most important is that this flight
gives you a very
good and realistic impression of what you will see during
a cross-country flight. Additionally, I will try to provide you
with additional information
than what's already available on the MegaSceneryX website.
All the preparations are done, so let’s go and see if we can find our way across the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Oh yes, prepare yourself a little bit and print out either the above charts or if you have the ability, place them on your second monitor.
I hope I proved to you that with this typical cross-country flight, based solely on charts and the photographic screenshots, how accurate this scenery is. One thing is for sure, I’ve got an excellent impression of the VFR details from MegaSceneryX Dallas/Fort Worth scenery. What I wrote before, I could just fly around, take some pictures and write down how great it is. When taking those pictures during a virtual cross-country flight, with or without the help of radio beacons, it makes MegaSceneryX even more fun and highly realistic!
What About An IFR Impression?
When using MegaSceneryX in combination with an IFR flight, we run into trouble. Not because the scenery can’t handle it but when choosing a Boeing 737, 777, 747 or Airbus A320, the speed of those aircraft is pretty high, including their climb rate.
In other words, in no time flat, the special effects of the Dallas/Forth Worth MegaSceneryX is gone or you’re flying outside the covered area.
But is the above statement completely true? Not at all.
When you chose a smaller aircraft like the Cessna C172, C182 or any other, it remains fun since you will probably stay at low altitudes, and are flying with the assistance of radio beacons. Whatever you chose, the photo realistic scenery keeps constantly surprising me.
Daylight ground textures are impressive, but even after sunset it’s still great to fly with the 737-800 over the Dallas landscape. Just have a look at the example in the right hand picture. It’s taken at a low altitude and it seems to be a real picture, but believe me, it isn’t. It’s the magic power of MegaSceneryX!
Where The MegaSceneryX World Ends!
A surprise or smile is waiting for us when reaching one of the borders of MegaSceneryX Dallas/Fort Worth. It’s a shame that the are covered in MegaSceneryX is so small. Or is it? No, it’s still 8000 square miles, and that’s a lot. Don’t even think of walking around this area.
On the other hand, it’s very disappointing that Microsoft is not able/willing to improve the default scenery from Flight Simulator Xsince it’s so unrealistic. Where the default world ends, it’s not always the same. It depends on the MegaSceneryX landscape and where the default FSX starts.
When flying north, passing some lakes, it’s shocking what Microsoft thinks about inland water color. It’s such a strange blue color while the MegaSceneryX gives you a truer water color, which reflects the reality. Don’t believe me? I confirmed it with Google Earth and the water color/reflection of MegaSceneryX is what is should be.
Summary / Closing Remarks
This time I can keep it very short. My first reaction is, after a thorough review related to the question “is this a worthy add-on?” … yes, absolutely! You get an excellent product, extremely highly detailed scenery, a lot of charts and even a VFR Terminal chart. If that’s not enough, you also get the MegaCity Dallas/Forth Worth 2005 product, in case you want to swap between FS9 and FSX. Above all, it’s very frame rate friendly!
There is, however, one thing of note and that’s the level of detail. When you have seen the FSX MegaSceneryX version, you will probably never go back to the old MegaCity Dallas/Fort Worth 2005. This is not a small difference, no, it’s a huge difference and it almost reaches the same depth as Google Earth, some pictures are even as sharp as Google Earth itself.
What I Like About Dallas/Fort Worth
What I Don't Like About Dallas/Fort Worth
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