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ORBX OpenLC : Initial Thoughts & Screenshots [Image Heavy]

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There's been a lot of hype about ORBX OpenLC and a lot being written before people have even used the product, so I thought I'd do a quick flight, give you my initial impressions and share some screenshots from the journey, including "before and after" style comparisons between the sim WITHOUT Open LC and WITH OpenLC so that you can evaluate the difference.

 

I've been waiting for this product for quite some time. As a long time customer of ORBX, I've become so spoiled by their "full fat" regions, that I got to a point where I found myself unable to fly outside of their coverage area. The main reason for this was how poor the FSX default landclass was. With OpenLC around the corner, I wasn't going to shell out for UTX only to upgrade to OpenLC EU at a later date.

 

As a proud European, and also someone who is tight on time for simming, I love to do short hops in Europe, however due to my ORBX obsession, I've essentially been limited to flights within the UK if I wanted to stay in "ORBX land". I found that even with FTX global and the excellent textures, high altitude flying was not a visually pleasant experience due to the repetitive textures caused by the poor default FSX landclass.

 

Anyway, enough blurb, I'll let the screenshots speak for themselves. The product is excellent, and I've only begun to scratch the surface on this short flight between Budapest in Hungary, and Bergamo in Italy. Unfortunately I only got to 100nm from Bergamo before suffering a CTD (unrelated to OpenLC - a pre-existing problem I've been battling!) so sadly there are no shots from the approach.

 

The shots I chose for comparison with and without probably aren't the best in all honesty, I think the effect would be more "wow" at low levels, especially in more remote areas where the default landclass is dreadful. Either way I'm delighted with what I've seen so far and the value for money for getting a whole continent transformed is excellent!

 

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I'm confused. Maybe it's me, but I can't see much difference between the before and after shots - except that the after shots seem to have a higher contrast, which is not what LC is about. Am I missing something ?

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Seems great! Nice screenshots!

 

Thanks.

 

On reflection, it's actually not a great choice of flight to demonstrate the difference it makes. The default LC around Budapest isn't too bad anyway.

 

Looking forward to trying some VFR flights as at those low levels it will be really apparent.

I'm confused. Maybe it's me, but I can't see much difference between the before and after shots - except that the after shots seem to have a higher contrast, which is not what LC is about. Am I missing something ?

 

No, like I said in my post, not great examples of the before and after effect. The default LC is better in some areas than others. In certain areas, the area beneath you at a high altitude is a repeat of about 4 different textures as far as the eye can see, and it looks ridiculous.

I will try and find such an area....watch this space!

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I'm confused. Maybe it's me, but I can't see much difference between the before and after shots - except that the after shots seem to have a higher contrast, which is not what LC is about. Am I missing something ?

 

Exactly!!  This is my problem with these type products now.  Even UTX though I already own it but bought it before photo real spoiled my view of land class.

 

The problem with the comparison stuff for products like this is that they really are just different interpretations of how something "sees" what's there.  In OpenLC's case, it's the open community that is painting this picture of what we "see".  In UTX case, it was "professional"(or maybe proprietary is the better word) providing that data.

 

So, these screenshots just change things up a little as far as the eye candy that's placed relatively close to what you hope is there in real life.  To compare them against each other without a real image of the earth that is being flown over really is useless.

 

Which one gets closer to the actual view we'd really be seeing if we were flying over that area in real life?  That's what I want to know and to me would help to answer what is the better product or if this product is worth it.

 

As a side note, I do know that this is FS and that nothing is perfect.  There is always that compromise that we need to make.  Also, I am obviously pro photo real too hence the slight of negativity in view of land class products altogether.  But, even photo real has its downsides and I know land class can't hold a candle to it when it comes to accuracy either.  Just want the closest to real land class product there is for "filler" areas.

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I'm not a photoreal fan - too flat and blurry for the height I usually fly (1500ft). I also have UTX and ST for my LC, which seems pretty good where I fly (Northern Europe). But if OpenLC turns out to be more accurate (without breaking anything else), then I'll buy it. Yet to be convinced though.

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Before many start celebrating, you have made wrong choice of screenshots. Fly lower around cities, around fields, near coastlines. You'd better use a GA plane. The only thing you can say from such a high altitude is that there is not much of texture repetition anymore.

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Before many start celebrating, you have made wrong choice of screenshots. Fly lower around cities, around fields, near coastlines. You'd better use a GA plane. The only thing you can say from such a high altitude is that there is not much of texture repetition anymore.

Well yes, that's kind of the point I was making.

 

I don't often fly VFR, I like to simulate airline flights but didn't enjoy them previously because of the horrible texture repetition.

 

I'm sure someone will post some GA comparisons soon enough, and will find some great examples.

 

For me, the reason I stopped flying outside of ORBX full regions was the awful repeating textures as far as the eye can see, which is now eliminated. That's a big win for me.

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I totally agree with nickpap89. More differences will be easier to see on lower flight levels, a bit closer to civilization :)

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I think that $40 is a bit much for this product, as it's nearly half of what the whole world cost. Yes, it does different things, but still - $40 when they promised no more than $20!

 

I saw in the description something about new 3D night lighting, can someone post some of that?

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I like the fact that there are no corn fields or whatever it is on top of mountains anymore. Those mountain-top fields always killed immersion for me

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Before many start celebrating, you have made wrong choice of screenshots. Fly lower around cities, around fields, near coastlines. You'd better use a GA plane. The only thing you can say from such a high altitude is that there is not much of texture repetition anymore.

Higher altitudes is probably where we'll see the best whether this product is worth it or not.  Hopefully at high altitudes, there is much less repetition than there was before - like in real life.  Down low, you're just looking at Global textures.  We already know those look good.  That's not the point of the land class update.  With correct land class, from any altitude really, colors and types of vegetation or lack there of, grassland, city, etc should be clearly visible and should hopefully match what you'd see in a satellite image as much as possible.

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What I expect to see from a good LC product (from any altitude) is an accurate (but not photo-real) representation of the kind of scenery I would expect to see if I flew over that area in the RW. i.e. towns where there should be towns, forests where there should be forests etc etc.  

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I'm not a photoreal fan - too flat and blurry for the height I usually fly (1500ft). I also have UTX and ST for my LC, which seems pretty good where I fly (Northern Europe). But if OpenLC turns out to be more accurate (without breaking anything else), then I'll buy it. Yet to be convinced though.

 

Of course it will be better, it has over 9GB's of custome textures to compliment the landclass in addition to the FTX global textures. Just look at the screenshots in the Orbx preview forum. Its night and day. Dry arrid areas actually look right. Lush green areas actually look right.

 

UTX LC and ST LC only call default texture classes.

 

 

I'm not a photoreal fan - too flat and blurry for the height I usually fly (1500ft). I also have UTX and ST for my LC, which seems pretty good where I fly (Northern Europe). But if OpenLC turns out to be more accurate (without breaking anything else), then I'll buy it. Yet to be convinced though.

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I understand all that. It certainly has the potential to look better. But all I can say is that with FTXG/UTX/ST the area that I fly (northern Europe) looks pretty damn good to me. I'd need some convincing to switch to OpenLC. And I've seen the screenshots.

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remember this is not just a landclass product, otherwise it would be about 10mb in size like Scenery Tech. This is a full texture replacement and landclass product. The file size is 25gb unpacked according to their forums. I have not purchased yet but plan on soon, still deciding whether I get the PMDG 300ER addon or OpenLC.

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remember this is not just a landclass product, otherwise it would be about 10mb in size like Scenery Tech. This is a full texture replacement and landclass product. The file size is 25gb unpacked according to their forums. I have not purchased yet but plan on soon, still deciding whether I get the PMDG 300ER addon or OpenLC.

 

It's mainly a landclass product, with some unique textures (the base textures are from FTX Global -- this one, yes, is a full texture replacement product) and some photoreal textures. This explains the size (which still is bigger than what I would imagine for a product like this -- I'm honestly surprised). 

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Of course it will be better, it has over 9GB's of custome textures to compliment the landclass in addition to the FTX global textures. Just look at the screenshots in the Orbx preview forum. Its night and day. Dry arrid areas actually look right. Lush green areas actually look right.

 

UTX LC and ST LC only call default texture classes.

Well I have it here local and the difference it's indeed night and day...

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Is that a comparison between OpenLC and UTX/ST or between OpenLC and FSX default ? If the former, some comparative images would be nice. I have no doubt that OpenLC with FTXG will be a massive improvement over FSX default.

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Dick, you aren't quite getting it.

 

UTX , scenery tech or any other current landclass is only capable of drawing from the default texture pallet. Regardless of if you have FTX global or GEX, these textures simply replace the default existing textures. The landclass file is only capable of specifying textures to be called from the default folder.

 

What FTX have done is to add additional landclass "calls" and provided hundreds of new, appropriate textures for those calls in addition to the default scheme and textures that were already present.

 

Scenery tech and UTX and any other landclass product does not do this. ( well, UTX does provide some custom urban textures but to be quite honest, they aren't very good.)

 

So, regardless of default fsx, st or UTX, the openLC product will be a night and day difference.

 

You are trying to compare apples to oranges.

 

Just look at the screenshots of the various areas, especially the variance and accuracy from dry to temperate regions. You won't get that with any other combination.

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Is that a comparison between OpenLC and UTX/ST or between OpenLC and FSX default ? If the former, some comparative images would be nice. I have no doubt that OpenLC with FTXG will be a massive improvement over FSX default.

 

A comparison with FSX default is really not needed as the difference is apparent just from looking at screenshots of openLC. However, a comparison with UTX for those who already own UTX is certainly interesting.

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One thing that UTX have, without comparing, is texture repetition, and in some places (Germany) is endless. I switched to SceneryTech because of that, and generally ST land class is using more textures for the given area. UTX is more realistic than ST, but texture repetitions and VAS usage is killing UTX. OpenLC EU seems more detailed than both products, and with new textures should be a top notch product.

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With respect, Glenn, I do understand all that. FTXG made a massive improvement to the region where I fly. by replacing the default FSX textures. These are called and placed on my system by UTX/ST landclass. (The default FSX landclass would call them too, though less accurately.)

 

I understand that OpenLC has the potential to improve it even further by 1) mapping the FTXG replacement textures more accurately and 2) calling and placing  the additional custom textures you mention, , but as yet I haven't seen anything to persuade me to buy. I can see that it makes an enormous difference to other parts of the world which have not been covered to the same level of detail by other products, but I don't fly there.

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