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Guest wathomas777

Gibraltar 2004 Comments. (long but if you like GIB, worth it)

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First of all, let me preface this with the comment that I am NOT an add-on scenery guy. I have never purchased add-on scenery for any flight sim prior to FS2004, and even now, my purchases likely will be limited to land class, mesh, Ultimate Traffic and Gibraltar 2004.My tastes in Flight Sim run a little counter to most. I have no interest in TOTAL accuracy, yet am more concerned with overall consistency.For example, MegaScenery USA holds no interest to me because,A: I don't live or sim in SoCalB: The scenery is SO detailed and overwhelming, that to fly outside of the "area" is so abrupt, that it destorys my suspension of disbelief. (Kind of like flying between Seattle and San Francisco in Flight Unlimited. And those of you who owned that product know exactly what I mean there).So if I am unwilling to part with 40 bucks to get hundreds of square miles of arguably the finest scenery rendered for FS2004, why in God's name would this Yank want to outlay 17 bucks for an area that encompases a total of 6 square Kilometers?Well, the Rock holds a real special place in my heart. Having visited while I was in the Navy, I had the opportunity to drive all round the area, while serving as the Duty Driver. I experienced the nuances of the roundabout, Driving up and down the one way roads that crisscross the western face. Driving around the Entire Peninsula, from the Moorish Castle, to the Lighthouse on Europa Point. Taking shipmates to the Gun Emplacements or to the airport to catch a flight home.All these memories are burned inside of me. They are pleasant, and Gibraltar holds a special charm. One of the most vivid is that of the airport itself. The runway extends out into the west side of the Sea and spans the entire width of the ithmus. Any traffic going to and from Gibraltar must cross the runway. As a result, during the day, it is common to see lines of cars and pedestrians crossing the runway with no more thought than crossing a very wide street. When a flight is inbound or outbound, gates close at each side and access is restricted. After the runway is free of all foot and motor traffic, the plane is allowed to depart or arrive. After it has passed, the gates open, and the constant stream of traffic continues.It is facinating. Unfortunately, up to now, Flight Sims have not been able to capture the unique charms of Gibraltar. Only ProPilot 99 had a reasonably accurate rendition of this Geological wonder, complete with the breakwaters and piers rendered from satellite imagry. Unfortunately the Airport was nothing more than a runway and tower.Microsoft has been even tougher on Gibraltar. Until FS2002, Gibraltar was not even a rock. It was flat as a pancake. FS2002 made a molehill but it wasn't even close in size and shape. FS2004, back to flat.Certain "freeware" meshes have added some size and shape to this area, but they still don't capture Gib.Until now.THE GOOD:Gibraltar 2004 is the absolute most accurate rendering of this area I have seen to date. The Scenery includes a highly detailed rendering of the airfield, includes such extras as traffic crossing the runway, the gun emplacements from WW2, the cable car going up the side, the lighthouse at Europa Point and even the radar station on the top. This scenery is incredibly detailed and a great deal of fun to fly around. It also blends in the surrounding area very nicely. No shocking transitions from stock scenery to the "detailed" stuff.Anyone familiar with Gibraltar will be flabbergasted by the detail they have added, and with Autogen in Extremely Dense, the Western side is pretty accurately populated. Even the Casino is discernable, but not labeled as such. The moorish castle is shown but a texture of the "The Rock Hotel" would have been sweet.And at 16.00 Euros, it's a fairly cheap add-on. and the 32Meg download is not bad either.THE BAD: The link to download is unlocked after purchase, much like FSGenesis. However, the zip file is ALSO password protected. A quick read of the e-mail gives your unlock code, but I find the use of a locked Zip file AND protected download a bit redundant. Be sure to backup the extracted files so that if the code is lost, you still have the ability to install the product.The Eastern Face of the Rock does not have near the detail of the Western Face. The Caleta Hotel Dominates the Eastern Side of the Rock, yet there are no buildings rendered there at all.The annimations of the cable cars and cars crossing the road are very jerky and unrealistic.Some buildings pop in and out to try and keep frames in check. Circling Seagulls are a bit cheezy, if you want to have animals, at least include either the dolphins, or the Barbary Apes that live on the side. Those are signature Gibraltar, not gulls, (although they are quite abundant)THE UGLY:In FS2004, there is a bug that performs an improper flatten at Runway 9, this is corrected with a patch available from SimWings. More disturbing, is a known bug in FS2004 that misplaces the plane placement. When you choose a runway, you are offset of the runway. This is even mentioned in the manual, and to take off you have to slew yourself on the runway. Since FS2004 doesn't have any "parking" for GIB, no AI traffic is available until AFCADS are generated, and you don't have the option to start "parked".The only way around this issue is to slew to your desired location and then save the flight. While this is not a huge hassle, it does take some of the professional shine off the product. I am sure this is a leftover from the FS2002 version, and when the SDK's for FS2004 are released, I expect this to be fixed.Overall, the Scenery is very good, and I give it 4 out of 5 stars. While it may only appeal to a niche market. Those of us who love GIB will find it brings back many fond memories, and for those new to the Rock, a virtual trip there may interest you in a future "real" visit and make you a true fan of the Rock.

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