AVSIM Commercial FSX Scenery Review

Maldives X: The Malé Atolls

Product Information

Publisher: Aerosoft

Description: Scenery Add-on.

Download Size:
220 MB

Format:
Download / CD
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Jason McKee AVSIM Staff Reviewer - August 21, 2010

Introduction

The Maldives Atolls stretch over an area of about 90,000 square kilometers.  There are 26 double chain atolls in the Maldives territory which run in a north-south direction.  Maldives is one of the smallest Asian countries and is the lowest country on the planet with the highest point on the atolls being just 2.3 meters above sea level.  The climate is a tropical one which ranges from 24C to 33C year round.  The Maldives principle economy is based around tourism.

There are several airports in Maldives, there is two international airports at Gan and Malé, there are also three domestic airports at Hanimaadhoo, Kaadedhdhoo and Kadhdhoo.  But by far the most popular and easiest way around is by amphibian seaplane.  Aerosoft has covered the north Malé Atoll and the South Malé atoll with this release.

Test System

Computer Specs

Intel 920 I7 Quad Core
3Gig 1333 Ram
ATI HD4800 1Gb
Saitek Pro Yoke and 2 throttle quadrants
Pro Flight Rudder Pedals
Windows 7 64bit

Flying Time:
5 hours

Installation and Documentation

Installation from the download package is easy, follow the on screen prompts and you won’t have a problem, one thing I would suggest, as the Aerosoft serial numbers are long, is to copy the serial number you get emailed to you to “notepad” and then cut and paste it when the installer asks for it, this saves mistakes and makes it easier to get it right the first time. I am speaking from experience here!

Included with the package is a simple PDF file with the readme about the Atolls, a brief history, some performance tips on getting the best visually out of the product.  Also there are some notes about the traffic and some questions and answers.

Malé international Airport & Seaplane Base

Let’s start at what most people will see first, the Malé International Airport.  Aerosoft has included a fully detailed airport in this package.  The Airport is also fully compliant with the AES system and uses zero credits, so you get to use AES for free.

Taking off From Malé international airport at dawn you get some great views of the Atolls and the airport.

Malé International has a 3200 meter runway that can handle almost every aircraft flying today.  It would have to be one of the lowest above sea level, at just 2 meters above MSL.  Currently Malé international has 10 gates with parking for up to 7 aircraft short term.  There are 27 airlines that regularly service Malé International from around the world.

Aerosoft’s version of Malé looks spot on, with well detailed buildings and very nicely done night lighting.  Even flying the Captain Sim 767/757’s in to and out of this airport, I get no noticeable frame rate drop.

On as rather wobbly final approach to Malé.
On the runway about to taxi to the ramp, the scenery depicts the airport with the ramp extensions completed.
If you fly the heavies, Aerosoft’s AES is a must, and thankfully you can use it on the airport for no cost.
The famous Maldivian Air Taxi service, flies only twin otters.

Beside Malé airport is the Malé seaplane base, this is the home for the Twin Otter seaplanes which have been included by Aerosoft.  To get the seaplanes active, you must have some traffic set up in your flight sim preferences.  If like me you are running Ultimate Traffic 2, then you may have your FSX traffic settings turned off.  Activate this setting, even on the lowest setting and you will get the seaplanes bussing around the place.

The seaplane base itself is well detailed, with the piers for the seaplanes to unload and load passengers included.  But having said this, it is funny to watch a seaplane back out of its spot on the pier. This is not a fault of Aerosoft, it’s more of a well known issue with AI traffic and the way FSX moves these aircraft from the gate.

Atolls

Aerosoft has covered the North Malé Atoll and the South Malé Atoll with the package.  Covered in the package are seventeen seaplane bases which service the resorts spread around the atolls.  The resorts are service by both boat and seaplane, with seaplane being the choice for passenger movements.  The aircraft of choice to fly around these bases are the De Havilland Twin Otter.  They are strictly seaplanes only, and as such only operate from the water.

The airport and seaplane base just cry out for you to take an amphibian out to explore the surrounding resorts and Atolls. One of the Local islands, these islands are for the locals only, and special permission must be obtained for a tourist to visit these islands.

The perfect aircraft to get around the atolls would be any kind of seaplane or amphibian in your inventory.

Exploring around the scenery you will find resorts scattered all around the place, with some built on the larger islands, and more built out in the lagoons surrounding the atolls.  The resorts are well detailed and eclipse the default scenery.

Two of the tourist resorts scattered around the Atolls.

From up high the sand banks and atolls look very convincing and realistic, the only thing missing is the waves gently lapping the beaches.  All the resorts and buildings have some very nice night lighting, which add to the realism and make you wish you were really there.

Another of the local islands.
The main city beside the International airport, just a short boat ride away.

Performance and DX10

Now this is always the thorny question that we as reviews have to answer, will it run on my computer, and to be honest everyone has a different opinion of what is acceptable.  For me my limits are 20fps or more where smoothness is key.  Now on my PC this scenery works really well, with no dips below 25fps. Even with heavy traffic and not so nice weather I struggled to get below 20fps.

Now it has to be said that being so far out in the ocean that this will be the main reason for the performance, which is true, but even with all the autogen that Aerosoft has included to make this look realistic, there is still not a huge performance hit.  Someone has been very careful with the autogen to not overwhelm the system.  Of course the usual caveat applies, what works well for me might not work for you.

The night lighting around the Atolls is  very well done, even if the pictures doesn’t show it all that well.

DX10, to be honest I didn’t test it, as to test it would mean having to change all my settings, disable some modules that I have set up and such, and for me DX10 brings around a whole lot more problems than it fixes and the performance gain is not worth it.

Having said that, having SP2 for FSX as a requirement I can see no reason why it would not work, but there may be some of the well known problems caused by using DX10.  DX10 is still a well argued point in the forums, with some people swearing by it and others cursing it.  I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to use DX10 or not. Having used the scenery in DX9 mode and having nothing but sparkling performance, it should run just as well in DX10 mode.

Summary / Closing Remarks

This scenery is very well done, even if it only covers the two Malé atolls. I have heard through the grapevine that Aerosoft is going to complete the rest of the Maldives, and I can say that the rest of the Atolls sorely need it.

It was great to jump in a seaplane and go exploring around the atolls, with little detail surprises abound it made me wish I was really there rather than in a cold and wet Brisbane, Australia. Yes, we do get rain here.

Overall this is a great scenery to have, not only does it cover the long haul fliers with a good representation of Malé International (with AES for free), it also covers the VFR fliers with some stunning scenery of the Atolls. If you fly with an amphibian even better, as now you can find a nice beach for a picnic.

 

What I Like About Maldives X

  • Very well done autogen with minimal performance impact.
  • Nice night lighting, which doesn’t overpower the surrounding scenery.
  • Resorts are well detailed, with good looking buildings and scenery.
  • Covers both IFR and VFR fliers.
  • Included traffic in case your traffic program doesn’t cover the local air traffic.

 

What I Don't Like About Maldives X

  • Having to activate the default traffic to get the Twin Otters active.

 

Printing

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Maldives X

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