AVSIM Commercial Scenery Review

RGFlight-Photo Scenery Salzburg - Part 1 V2

Product Information
Publisher: RGFlight
Description:  Scenery Add-on.
Download Size:
356 MB
Format:
Downloadable or CD version available
Simulation Type:
FS2004 and FSX
Reviewed by: Lydell Stelmack AVSIM Staff Reviewer - November 25, 2006

Introduction

On the border of the Northern Alps lies Salzburg; the setting for The Sound of Music or even more notable, home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Diverse in both historical majesty and modern architecture, the many visiting tourists of Salzburg will find the highest levels of International standards.

The city of Mozart is proud to offer theatre, concerts, festivals and art on par with major cities of the world. Less than 10 miles to the north of Salzburg is the popular Untersberg mountain (elev. 6,469ft), and the border of Germany. For those flight-simmers who often frequent Innsbruck or Vienna, Salzburg offers yet another alpine stop over for Austria.

In full photo scenery, RGFlight brings a dramatic view of the contrasting mountains and rolling plains of Salzburg and its surrounding areas.

Surrounding area in photo realistic scenery
A view of the valley Phantom flight Salzburg scenery edge

Installation and Documentation

Test System

CPU: Pentium P4 204Ghz
Ram: 1535 GB
VIDEO: ATI Radeon X7 Pro
Windows XP Home
FS 9.1

Flying Time:
12.5 hours

Installation of my downloaded version was simply trouble free and up to the standards of commercial downloads. Also available for purchase is the CD version. An executable self-installer file, with optional English or Deutsch language, installs the scenery automatically to your FS9 folder location. This auto-installer also automatically activates the scenery in the FS9 scenery library. As described in the included documents, if you run the start up program several times you will have doubled entries in the Scenery Library. In this case, you will need to manually adjust the entries and delete the duplicates.

Included with the Salzburg scenery are documents in Adobe format, both English and German. However, the 20 page English version includes 5 pages covering performance tips that were not yet translated. In my case, this may have been a good thing, because my constant tweaking has quite often left me with a wee bit of a mess and why fix something when it’s not broken.

Though I may have had some performance issues with photo sceneries, I personally felt that all the other sceneries and aircraft in my collection run as smooth as silk, more or less, and my own past tweaking habits taught me a cold hard lesson.

Also included in the documents are procedure plates, parking locations and information for Salzburg Airport W.A. Mozart LOWS.

Surrounding area in detail

The Photo Scenery

For this review, the RGFlight scenery was tested only on FS2004. The RGFlight site advertises the photo scenery to be FSX ready with a free patch for the Salzburg airport in preparation.

I have often personally avoided photo realistic sceneries in the past due to my own computer's capabilities, however, the visual improvements from a product such as RGFlight’s Salzburg is quite stunning. With all four seasons and night lighting, Salzburg also includes custom detailed buildings and landmarks throughout the city area. With numerous flights included, more often in a helicopter, I did in fact spend most of my flights in a MD500 from my collection.

Dawn lighting Dawn terminal lighting

Though I did sample the scenery with other payware aircraft, I did find I enjoyed the detailing much more in the covered area with slower GA aircraft and the helicopters. The scenery was able to “keep up to my flights” as compared to the fast flyers that I needed to pause and let the scenery catch up with my preferred settings. It’s all a matter of balancing performance and quality to your own preferences. I like to take the sliders up to get the quality, but the down side is being selective in the type of flight I’m looking, thus settling for less performance

Both the mountain and plains of the area surrounding Salzburg in this photo realistic scenery is of the highest level of quality for FS2004. A remarkable visual experience. However, this quality from higher levels of flight does become somewhat disappointing when you get right to ground level. Surrounding communities detailed from higher flights become flattened and blurry when approaching ground level.

Custom detailed buildings The Hohensalzburg Fortress

Autogen trees are reflective of the season throughout the area and a nice touch is the animated smoke from the power station in Salzburg. Detailed roads and rivers throughout the scenery give a realistic impression of the area and flying to the boundary of the Salzburg scenery into the default FS9 scenery is well, “Clearly” defined.

Nearby lakes in the Salzkammergut resort area are a nice stop over for float planes, however, water details in the Salzach river seemed artificial even with some tweaking of water effects display settings.

Custom landmark buildings like The Festung are featured in high detail and several other structures such as the Ikea store, the Salzburg Cathedral and towers in the area are detailed.

Seasonal changes bring contrast to the area. This is most evident in the trees, however, the winter scenery was somewhat disappointing. Snow covered areas within the city seemed a bit off and the LOWS airport taxi and parking ramps were not covered with snow like the runway. My favorite season for best visual was fall as compared to spring which was a bit too green for my taste.

Welcome to LOWS Winter scenery
Winter season details

Salzburg Airport or W.A. Mozart Airport (LOWS)

W.A. Mozart (LOWS) just a minute’s drive from Salzburg city center and is the second largest airport in Austria. This modern and ever evolving regional airport dates back to its beginnings in 1910.

Detailed with custom vehicle objects, terminals and hangars, LOWS has a fresh new look for FS2004. As I stated above, the free patch for FSX is in preparation. Baggage carts, emergency vehicles and stairways clutter the ramp giving a realistic look for a modern regional airport.

The terminal in full detail LOWS airside detailing

Runway, taxiway lighting and ramp lighting is included, as well as terminal and hangar lighting which gives an expected night look.

Also featured in the RG Flights Salzburg LOWS, is the Red Bull’s astounding glass and steel tube hangar 7 and hangar 8. These masterful show pieces of LOWS airport are detailed with images of the parked aircraft in the museum and maintenance hangar through the glass hangar doors.

LOWS detailed ground equipment Red Bulls glass hangars

The terminal and surrounding hangars are highly detailed with signage and visual displays such as the art work on the face of the terminal and detailed flags. Taxiway signs and cones, as well as improved taxiway markings and parking numbers throughout the apron, are a reflection of the actual LOWS airport.

Summing It Up

Only having a small taste of FSX, and the jury still seems to be out, one would ask why would I spend any more money building my FS9 collection. Well simply, its add-on products such as this that I have added to my library that make me quite hesitant to move on. Now I know compatibility and upgrades are the key here, but I personally feel, and this is arguable, that many enthusiasts have collections that make FS9 still superior to FSX.

It is this thought that FS9 will remain around for quite some time, and as a consumer with both simulator versions out now, I’ll tend to shop for products that are compatible for both.

RG Flight’s Salzburg may fit the new bill here and is reasonably priced at $14.95 EUR (download ver) through Simmarket or $24.95 EUR (CD ver). Salzburg fits right in with my other Austrian scenery addons in FS9.

Still, as I said, I’ve never been a huge fan of photo realistic sceneries but RGFlights Salzburg, with its stunning visuals, may indeed have changed my opinion. With my flying habits changing more to low and slow flying, I can keep up with the scenery and not miss the details.

In a nutshell, RG Flight's highly detailed LOWS airport and the exquisite surrounding Salzburg area in photo realistic detail is a great addition for your flight sim library.

LOWS overhead view Spectacular mountain details Salzburg countryside

 

What I Like About Salzburg Scenery
  • A fair value for a highly detailed airport and photorealistic surrounding area
  • Highly detailed custom buildings
  • Four seasons and night lighting
  • Smoke effects from the power station
  • Though untested by myself a patch for FSX upcoming

 
What I Don't Like About Salzburg Scenery
  • Fast flyers may have performance issues (like myself) with the scenery keeping up
  • Winter scenery was not as realistic as expected

Printing

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Salzburg

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