AVSIM Commercial Scenery Review

NZ Pt 1 - Wanaka & Tekapo

Product Information
Publisher: Godzone Virtual Flight
Description:  New Zealand add-on scenery.
Download Size:
149 MB
Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FS 2004
Reviewed by: Hector Davila AVSIM Staff Reviewer - September 4, 2006

Introduction

New Zealand... these words can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. The first thing that might pop into your head could be a Kiwi; but for me, the first thing that pops into my head is its beauty. From its freezing ice caves to its warm white sand beaches you can't go wrong. New Zealand is a class of its own.

For me, being chosen to review a New Zealand scenery add-on was exciting and confusing as well. Mostly because I have almost never flown outside the western hemisphere. In my mind New Zealand is unexplored territory.

Installation and Documentation

When you buy Wanaka & Tekapo you receive 2 different installers, one for each scenery and a couple of text documents. You need to install both sceneries using the installers and once your are done, you must activate the scenery using FS as the manual explains in detail. All in all, installation is a simple process made easier with the information in the manual.

Installer and Manual.

The manual mostly talks about the installation process and a couple of features included. The installation section takes you through a detailed step by step process. I would have liked to have seen more of the history of these airports included in the manual.

Tekapo Aerodrome (NZTL)

The first thing that comes to mind when you land or start at Tekapo is how small the airport is. This airport is at an elevation of 2484 ft and is operated by Air Safaris, who offer scenic flights in the area. You must understand that Tekapo was not included in the default FS9 airports and placing a brand new airport is a chore in its own. This airport doesn't have the details that you might find in Wanaka, but it does have detailed buildings and surrounding photo realistic texturing but that is pretty much it. I was disappointed when I saw the default runway and taxiway textures.

This scenery is very nice and detailed.

A good thing about this scenery is that you do not loose any FPS (frames Per Second). I had all my settings to full and it felt as if I was flying at a default airport (FPS wise). There are no AI for Air Safaris unless you add them from a third person developer. You will only see a default Cessna Caravan, but it's better than having no AI at all.

Wanaka Airport (NZWF)

This airport is by far the best between the two. It is larger and has a lot more features than Tekapo. The runway is 1200X30 meters. Both airports share amazingly modeled and textured buildings as well as photo realistic surrounding scenery. Also, this airport includes photo realistic texturing in the airport but does not have default taxiway texturing. Just like Tekapo, you do not loose any FPS with this scenery even if you have your settings to full.

Realistic buildings. Detailed Airport. Photo realistic surroundings.

Godzone's Wanaka includes a detailed representation of the Warbirds over Wanaka (WoW) Air Museum. Each year, WoW holds the biggest airshow in the southern hemisphere, know as the Wings over Wanaka airshow right at this small airport. The Godzone team did a great job creating the airshow atmosphere which occurs in the simulator whenever your date is set to April 14th, 15th and 16th. This is a feature I have rarely seen in a scenery add-on before and certainly deserves some credit.

Airport during normal operations. Airport during airshow.

Minimum Scenery Requirements

Test System

AMD 4000+San Diego
2GB DDR3200
Windows XP Home
GeForce 7800GT PCIx 256MB
19” LCD 1280x1024x32
Top Gun Afterburner II

Flying Time:
8 hours

I sent an e-mail to the developer about a problem I was having and he told me that there were minimum scenery requirements for this scenery package. These facts can be found in the developers site but since it was not included in the manual, I decided to add this to the review. These are facts about the product you should be aware of in order to get the best results from it.

Since the default New Zealand mesh is poorly represented in the sim, the author recommend I get Red Baron Entertainment New Zealand Topographical Scenery which can be found at Simmarket for EUR20 or $25. This scenery adds high definition coastlines, rivers, lakes, roads, plus a lot more. Another recommended add-on is the Red Baron Entertainment freeware 75 meter elevation mesh. This is available from Geographx. They also supply a 20 meter payware mesh, which is a great investment. And lastly, available from the same download page at Geographx, is an updated Landclass scenery for New Zealand.

It seems the problem I was having, which had to do with the runway disappearing, is an isolated problem and so far I am the only person who has reported this happening with the scenery. Now, I am not sure if the minimum scenery requirements helped to resolve the problem, but just so you are aware, this will not happen to you and if it does, it can be easily fixed by reinstalling the software as indicated by the author.

Conclusion

This scenery has more highs than lows. Apart from the bug I found in Wanaka, it is a very good scenery add-on. Definitely a must buy for all you New Zealand flyers and a good buy for all you GA lovers. The Godzone team is an experienced group of flightsim enthusiasts that just want to make your flight simulation experiences that much better. However, at $23.05 this scenery is a tad overpriced in my opinion.

 

What I Like About Wanaka & Tekapo
  • Nicely detailed environment.
  • Photo realistic textures.
  • Airports have AI traffic.
  • Professional quality modeling.

 
What I Don't Like About Wanaka & Tekapo
  • Default airport texturing in Tekapo and default runway texturing in Wanaka.
  • Manual should include more historic facts about these airports.

Printing

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Wanaka & Tekapo

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