Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest tripecac

FSX vs FS2004 wilderness scenery

Recommended Posts

Hi, I've got FS2004 and am thinking about getting FSX.What I'm wondering about is whether the FSX scenery is significantly more detailed than FS2004 for "wilderness" areas like the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Yellowstone, etc. Do those areas look more realistic, more convincing? Or are most of the FSX scenery improvements focused on the big cities and popular airports?I've tried the FSX demo, and like the cars moving around, the slightly better textures, etc. However, I don't really trust the demo to represent the more remote areas of the globe. So, for those of you who like flying in the "boonies", is FSX worth the hassle? Or is it better to wait a year or two for FS 11?Thanks!Travis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

I think it's dramatically better.Yellowstone, however, is not really modeled (as far as I know, I've looked around a bit). I was kind of disappointed with that area. Was hoping for that surreal look and geysers. No dice, yet. Maybe FS11.The mountainous areas in general look a lot better owing to the higher mesh resolution, better trees, enhanced water, etc. If you get FSX: Acceleration, you get very high resolution LIDAR mesh (3m) around Mount St. Helens.Quite realistic. Here's an unretouched screenshot of the area around Glacier National Park (you may see some GEX textures here, but otherwise, it's all FSX):http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/186846.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Travis,All I use FSX for is flying bush & G/A. Yes the resolution is way higher in FSX (thus looks better than FS9), but you'll really need to address the textures and landclass to get the best out of it. Hi res desert textures most places in the mountains from the default install is not going to impress you. (if your used to FS9 bush flying) Also Alaska & Canada are really missing alot of water/rivers with FSX that was in FS9, due to the new place they got the data from I think.The short version is, FSX is very fixable and IMHO worth the work. I'm sure once UT Alaska comes out, and Holger's updates his magic for these regions (he already did Bella Coola) it will look even better. There's plenty of good bush planes to use in FSX, with the Carenado 206, FSD Porter, Aerosoft Twotter & Beaver just some of the ones I use regularly (including the default B206 & Beaver too!)There's a bunch of lanclass out there available (I have 3 of them), but to be honest I'm still using the default as the base. I had made a batch program way back to swap out more applicable textures within FSX to better match up to the default landclass and get rid of the desert amoungst a few things, and still am using that. I haven't tried any of the new texture packages, as for me I'm quite happy with how FSX looks now looks anyways. (I intend to try GEX down the road though). Also, I am using all of Holger's land class files from his FS9 projects, UT Can/AK FS9 Ported (LC/WC/River data only) & FSG Mesh.And BTW FSX is very easy to create your own stuff. (Really) In about 2hr's I edited the land class about 40 miles around Haines Junction, added airport buildings & some static stuff, added a few "STOL" landing zones with people/props etc along the rivers, glaciers and "ideal" fishing spots to do some pick ups & drop off's. This was using sbuilder & the default object placement tool within the SDK. I've done this for a half a dozen "frequent flyer" places.I guess Travis I'm just trying to say "I" think it is worth the work you have to put into it (and it's not really all that much). Perfromance is NOT and issue in these regions or with that type of flying, and FSX really does look dam good once it's tweaked up visually. For the record I'm still using both, but most of my bush flying is all done in FSX. And as mentioned, I can't wait to see what UT Alaska for FSX is going to look like ...Here's a few pics for you. Kinbasket lake (BC) & Twin Lakes (AK)Regards'Garetthttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/186856.jpghttp://forums.avsim.net/user_files/186858.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, those are great screen grabs! And thanks for all the info!From what you guys posted, it sounds (and looks) like FSX looks significantly better than FS9 "out of the box". I've never seen anything close to those screen grabs in FS9!However, I see y'all also quickly mentioned third-party scenery like GEX, UT, and Holger's. I remember installing Holger's stuff for FS9, but GEX and UT cost money (almost as much as FSX itself), so I've avoided them (and other non-free scenery).I checked out some screen grab comparisons here: http://www.exmixer.com/QuickGEXpage/ComparisonNew.shtml but they all seem to be airport-centric. I'm not interested in airports, since I'm not a real pilot; I'm far (no pun intended) more interested in flying over areas where I've driven or hiked. So, like the Beartooth Highway or Going to the Sun road, or the Icefields Parkway, or the road into Denali... That sort of stuff. Before and after every real-life trip I like to "visit" the areas in Flight Simulator and see how things look. Do you guys do that too?Anyway, here are my questions:1) Is third-party scenery for FSX a must-have (for viewing wilderness and towns we've seen in real-life)? Does it improve upon the FSX default scenery to the same degree that FSX improves on FS9? Or are the differences more subtle? 2) Are GEX, UT, and other paid scenery "better" than free stuff? (In the old days it seems like much more scenery was free.) 3) Do you ever find yourself spending more time collecting scenery than flying? (This happened to me in FS2002, which frustrated me, so when FS2004 came out I decided to try to stick more with the defaults). Or are there sites (or lists) which make it easy to assemble a single set of "recommended" scenery once and for all, so that you don't have to keep fiddling with it?4) Does all the third-party scenery that you install slow down your PC? My PC is: 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, 8800GTS 256MB; is that beefy enough to benefit from GEX, UT, etc. or would I want to stick w/ the FSX default scenery?5) What download sites do you guys recommend as starting points these days? I maintain a page of FS-related links ( http://tripalot.com/games/fs.htm ) but I haven't done any extensive searching since FS2002, so I don't know if there are other "killer" FS sites these days. Are things pretty much the same as is reflected on that page?6) And finally, I'm curious about FSX's missions. Are there a bunch of wilderness-oriented missions? Did missions get "old" for you guys? once you got over the novelty, or are they still fun If a user uploads a handful of, say, Canadian Rockies missions, would you try them out? Or are missions generally not as satisfying as flying your own favorite routes? (I'm assuming that users can actually create missions, which I don't really know).Thanks a ton!!!Trav

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks almost like Switzerland professional for FS9 ;). You can get that for FS9 however when not relying on photorealistic textures FSX look way better up close with it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>Wow, those are great screen grabs! And thanks for all the>info!>>From what you guys posted, it sounds (and looks) like FSX>looks significantly better than FS9 "out of the box". I've>never seen anything close to those screen grabs in FS9!Well, Trav, in all candor the screen shot I posted of the Liberty flying past the Matterhorn (Cervino) in Switzerland isn't quite "out of the box..."The mesh is freeware (covers the entire Alps), and the mountain likewise is specially created, photoreal freeware. Both are throughly covered in another thread further down the page(s). :)However, even without either of the above, the Alps are still far more spectacular than the same area in FS9, if we were to compare "out of the box, side-by-side" images.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>I wish I could see that view flying in a Premier1.Me too! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are my replies (lots of personal opinion here):1) Third-party scenery isn't "must have" really, but some of it is "want to have." I only purchased GEX really just to see what all the hubbub was about. It's the only third-party scenery I have so far. There isn't a lot of free stuff out there with regard to large swaths of improved ground textures. There is one other piece of third-party scenery that I will purchase when it is released: Flight Environment Extreme ... for the cloud and coral textures, which are superior to those in the default FSX thanks to the artistic ability of its main designer - Tim Fuchs.2) Having gotten GEX, I spent almost zero time collecting other ground environment scenery. If you're into airports you can spend a lot of time choosing between the various packages (but you don't seem like you're into having a really good Heathrow. Having been through Heathrow more times than I can count, I'd just as soon forget it ever existed!) If you like to fly in Austrailia, you'll want to check out Flight Terrain X.3) The third-party scenery I've tried (mostly ground stuff) tends to improve frames, because you can then get away from having so many autogen trees being drawn. This is the best advantage of having GEX, I think. Autogen, in my view, is the achilles heel of FSX with respect to today's hardware, so running lower levels of autogen significantly improves frames. (I am of the school of thought, by the way, which believes that frame rates over 28-30 is a horrible waste of CPU cycles.) GEX covers most of Canada and Alaska, so you have plenty of space to explore. FTX only covers a portion of southern Australia.4) You already have a better resource link page than pretty much anything I've seen on the internet (and the internet's pretty dam big. LOL.)Which leaves us with missions: As you can probably tell, I'm a FSX Mission Guy. I love the missions for several reasons.a) Missions took me out of my comfort zone, and forced me to do some different kinds of flying, which improved my flying a ton. I learned a lot about flight that you just can't pick up without taking lessons. I don't think I will ever tire of them. Many of the missions have multiple branches, so there's a lot of replayability in some of them. Also forces you into different airplanes and helps get you out of the rut one can fall into.:( Missions took me to different areas of the sim that it hadn't occured to me to visit - exposing me to some scenery I didn't realize was even in the sim. There's a lot of variety, so you can sort of pick and choose which you focus on. I don't care much for the UFO-type missions, so, I just skipped those.c) Missions provide a challenge against which to measure your progress as a pilot. One of the aspects of Flight Simulator that I find I miss is its lack of any kind of a scoring system to tell you how well you're doing. I also had a LOT of trouble using the helicopters in FS2004 and in FSX, but the tutorial missions provided me a way to practice, and since they were timed, gave me a way to keep track of my progress. They also taught me a little more about how to fly helicopters that I didn't know before.d) Missions put someone else in the cockpit with me - even if it's just another tower voice. Since I don't use the third-party copilot software, it's sometimes lonely up there.e) I'm not a heavy user of the multiplayer missions, but they've introduced the concept of competitive racing over the internet, which a lot of people like (you probably wouldn't though.)f) There are not a lot of third-party free missions, and they can vary dramatically in quality. There are some excellent ones here on AVSIM and if you spend much time in the forums, you'll be alerted to which ones are must-have. There are two or three third-party payware mission packages. I had to resort to learning how to build missions on my own because I couldn't find enough of them to buy, at any price.You will definitely want to purchase the Acceleration Expansion Pack. This adds three new aircraft, 30+ new missions, the carrier takeoff/landing system and the entire air racing package. Even if you're not "into" racing, its fun sometimes to see just how good a pilot you can become and how fast you can push a plane, and the racing definitely will fine-tune your abilities.If you want to find out just how good a pilot you are, Acceleration is must-have. Try the Carrier Landing IMC mission right out of the box, for a humbling experience that will force you to understand the basic dynamics of flight a whole lot better.Hope that answers some of your questions.Enough already, go install FSX and Accelration - get a few enhancement packages, and we'll see you back here in a year or two when you get bored again.Cheers,Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, wow, thanks again guys!Your responses convinced me; I just ordered FSX Deluxe and Acceleration. :) Hopefully my PC will be able to handle it better than the FSX demo. (I'm assuming the two service packs improved performance over the demo).Is there any "want-to-have" wilderness scenery that I should download in preparation? For example, I remember that Holger's Northwest meshes were recommended by several sites for FS9, so I always installed that right away. Or should I try "vanilla" FSX first?Travis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree the missions is awesome. FS9 does lack a bit of a "goal" this helps a lot. There is addons for FS9 as well like FSPassengers, FSCargo and other applications that give you some basic missions but you can

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not knowing anything about your PC, I will first warn you that you will not be able to run your sliders much past the Normal setting. I've found that pushing things to Extremely Dense makes the sim seem fake anyway ... too much of a good thing kind of spoils it.SP1 and SP2 dramatically improved frame rates. I have a two year old single-CPU Dell with a 256-meg video card, and I am able to get excellent frames in the areas you want to fly in (40-50).Downtown Tokyo, however, is quite another story. So, just be realistic in your expectations. FSX will bring your old system to its freakin knees, and its somewhat designed to do that.If you primarily fly bush, however, you should have a great time.I highly recommend that you spend some time just flying plain vanilla FSX with the two service packs and Acceleration. You'll be in a much better position to then understand which add-ons you think will be of the most benefit to you.You can't go wrong with GEX in my view. That should be your first add-on purchase because it will allow you to dial down some of the autogen settings and still have a very realistic look.Cheers,Kevin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, GEX will help my "old" (2.4GHz C2D, 3GB RAM, 8800GTS 256MB) PC get better frame rates in the wilderness because I will be able to reduce the autogen scenery and still get nice looking mountains, fields, etc.?What about UTX or fsgenesis? What would they bring to "bush" flying that GEX doesn't? Would they hurt performance enough to undo the benefits of GEX?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me clarify just a bit so I don't lead you astray or give you false hope:GEX, in my opinion, allowed me to lower my autogen settings and still have the feeling of good realism. Thus, I experienced a frame improvement. Your mileage may vary, depending on your own unique view of "realism."GEX will not alter mesh. It will not make mountains higher, or better defined. It's only a texture addon - which means basically what you see when you look at the ground.The textures GEX produced make it appear there are more trees and ground cover and it just looks better for some reason to my eye, so I could cut down on the number of trees I needed produced via autogen, but still have the look I wanted.Result: fewer trees/buildings for FSX to draw = more frames.I don't have either UTX or FSGenesis. I would think that UTX would be a tradeoff: frames vs. more realism. UTX adds lots of roads and rivers.Since the new water shaders come with a frame cost, more rivers = fewer frames. Since road traffic comes with a frame cost, more roads = more car traffic, thus, fewer frames.I think both UTX and FSGenesis are highly regarded addons in the community ... just be aware that more complexity comes at a cost to performance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Is there any "want-to-have" wilderness scenery that I should download in preparation? For example, I remember that Holger's Northwest meshes were recommended by several sites for FS9"Here's a link that lists what and how (with file listings) to use to Holger's Land class files in FSX. They are definatly an improvment to the default. It's an easy addon to do, and you'll intsantly notice a vast improvement if you intend to fly any of the area's covered. Also, there's more and more small scenery's and airports croppin gup all the time in the library. Search Alaska or British Columbia and that should be a good start. I also recommend you pick up Bella Coola for FSX, as this was the first one Holger has updated for our new FS.http://forums.simflight.com/viewtopic.php?f=231&t=57041Regards'Garett

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Poke around the library, there is a lot of free scenery, one of my favorites is Yellowstone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Travis,Almost all my flying is in the boonies and without a doubt FSX is much better than FS9. With or without add-ons.However, add-ons, like death and taxes, are unavoidable. But, like in FS9, if you get the silver Bullet combo; GEX, UTX, FEX, and Genesis mesh, that should be all you need as far as payware goes. Not cheap, but you do end up with a mightily sophisticated flight simulator that should hold your interest for hundreds, if not thousands of hours. Unless something truly awesome comes out with better Pacific coast or Arctic coverage, I'm not buying any more environmental add-ons. My boonie flight right now with what I have are great fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, is this correct:1) first, try vanilla FSX + Acceleration2) next, try swapping textures-- GEX ($29.95) is the most recommended-- new textures should look good enough to lower auto-gen scenery-- lowering auto-gen will HELP framerates3) next, if the PC isn't too slow, try changing landclass-- landclass adds roads, rivers, and other "geography" stuff-- UTX ($34.95 for lower US, $34.95 for Canada, no Alaska yet) is often recommended-- Holger's (free) landclass is mostly for FS9 at this point-- detailed landclass will HURT frame rates4) next, try some different meshes-- these only define topography-- FSGenesis ($39.95) is the most recommended -- detailed meshes will HURT frame rates5) finally, try freeware textures, landclass, and meshes-- these are usually for smaller areas6) textures, landclass, and meshes all serve to make scenery in FSX look more realistic and recognizable7) for the ultimate realism you need to invest in all three (plus maybe the atmospheric stuff like FEX)8) each person will pick a "good enough" level based on:-- how much money they are willing to spend-- pc power-- desired framerate/detail trade-off-- areas and conditions in which they fly-- amount of time they plan to use FS-- amount of time until the next release of FS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>Okay, is this correct:>>1) first, try vanilla FSX + Acceleration***Good starting point>>2) next, try swapping textures>-- GEX ($29.95) is the most recommended>-- new textures should look good enough to lower auto-gen>scenery>-- lowering auto-gen will HELP framerates***Less autogen of course helps FPS. Out of the box the number of trees and buildings in FSX vs. FS9 is approx 8-10 times more. The autogen effect can be adjusted with two lines in the FSX.cfg file and then by the slider adjuster in FSX. Purchasing a payware product solely on the basis that it will decrease autogen effects is not wise.Adjust autogen levels to a comfortable point, then consider if a texture replacement package is something you'd like to buy.>>3) next, if the PC isn't too slow, try changing landclass>-- landclass adds roads, rivers, and other "geography" stuff>-- UTX ($34.95 for lower US, $34.95 for Canada, no Alaska yet)>is often recommended>-- Holger's (free) landclass is mostly for FS9 at this point>-- detailed landclass will HURT frame rates***Land class does not add roads or rivers or other stuff, it only tells the sim what particular texture to place at a particular spot. Land class won't affect FPS, unless it's so poorly setup to be placing high rise buildings in Sitka, Alaska.Vector based products that add roads and rivers and other stuff, like the UT/X products can affect FPS, just as any product that adds more detail could. But in the wilderness this effect would be minimized, as there aren't too many four lane freeways running through British Columbia and Alaska, with the resulting FSX traffic hit.>>4) next, try some different meshes>-- these only define topography>-- FSGenesis ($39.95) is the most recommended >-- detailed meshes will HURT frame rates***While I have the FSG mesh for North America the added benefit over default is much less in FSX versus FS9. With the craze of higher resolutions is the reality that the rendering engine doesn't extend this high res effect far off into the distance. Try the default 38m for the US and Canada, see how it does before you plunk down money for something with limited effect. And the FPS hit for higher mesh will be very minimal.>>5) finally, try freeware textures, landclass, and meshes>-- these are usually for smaller areas***Before you tinker too much, make sure you understand the effects of each of the catagories that make up scenery in FS. Throwing too much, too fast can cause the dreaded "Reinstallinitis".>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah, thanks for the clarifications!So it sounds like add-on mesh will have the least "bang for the buck", and is probably skippable. Also, since Holger's landclass will probably have less of an impact on framerate than UTX, it makes sense to try that first. In fact, maybe I can try Holger's stuff before GEX as well. Or is Holger's FS9 landclass unlikely to improve the visuals of FSX?(I'm asking all these questions now because I'm trying to research and download the most promising add-ons while waiting for FSX to arrive in the mail).So, how about this order:1) vanilla2) Holger's landclass3) GEX (maybe)4) UTX (iffy)5) FSGenesis (probably not)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>Ah, thanks for the clarifications!>>So it sounds like add-on mesh will have the least "bang for>the buck", and is probably skippable. Also, since Holger's>landclass will probably have less of an impact on framerate>than UTX, it makes sense to try that first. In fact, maybe I>can try Holger's stuff before GEX as well. Or is Holger's FS9>landclass unlikely to improve the visuals of FSX?>>(I'm asking all these questions now because I'm trying to>research and download the most promising add-ons while waiting>for FSX to arrive in the mail).>>So, how about this order:>>1) vanilla>2) Holger's landclass>3) GEX (maybe)>4) UTX (iffy)>5) FSGenesis (probably not)>The land class structure has changed from 9 to X, so I would be hesitant to try any FS9 land class addons in FSX. Though it seems like it's taking a long time, I would wait for any FSX versions of Holger's work. Bella Coola has already been updated, I understand Tongass Fjord may make a FSX appearance "soon".From your list above I would grab UT/X first (proper disclaimer: I am a beta tester) and then GEX. FSG, especially the version 2 mesh where airport plateaus are being smoothed away, is a toss up.Lost amongst all this is the suitable choice of transportation. Unless you can get a pack mule with pontoons... the Real Air Decathlon, Scout, Citabria package is a MUST for any bushwhacker, IMHO!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Travis -I spend gobs of time with bush flying and for me the most useful single add-on was UTX. It adds minor roads, streams, lakes and towns, which greatly enhances the backcountry visual experience. The resolution is amazing -- finding even tiny mountain lakes at the right location and being able to recognize their shape on a topo map makes for immersive realism in wilderness flying. It used to be such a bland, featureless forest.Just keep the road traffic at 10% or less and you will have no problem with frame rates away from cities.John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to clarify, while there has been changes to the lookup.bgl and "some" of the class to texture maps in FSX, these changes have not altered the positive "effect" of using Holger's LC FS9 files in FSX. The benefit comes from him adding better "resolution" around the mountains, instead of vast areas being blanketed with "rock and sand" as default. And on the most part, rock, ice, snow, conifer's, sage, scrub, mire bog still remained the same classes in both versions.I'm using his LC files layered over UT, as UT mainly focuses on adding urban areas and his stuff fixes (at greater detail) the mountains around. Holger's LC layer's well on top of UT, giving you better textures all the way around for the areas. With or without UT, there in no reason to shy away from using his LC files (to improve upon the default) as no negative result is going to occur.Here's default FSX, default textures, Roger's Pass BC ...http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/186923.jpgHolger's Landclass, default textures Roger's Pass BC....http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/186924.jpgRegards'Garett

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites