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    Flight1 Ground Environment X Tropics Atlantic & Pacific


    Gaiiden

    Publisher: Flight1

    Format: DVD/Download

    Simulator: FSX

    Reviewed By: Angelique van Campen


    Introduction


    Ok, let’s first start with a small Flight1 introduction/description of this Flight1 GEX product. In case you’re not yet familiar Ground Environmental X Enhanced products, let’s highlight it. According to Flight1’s website Ground Environment X Atlantic and Pacific Tropics builds on the award winning techniques of the GEX series and continues using our new approach in texture design, incorporating high level detail graphics in the default Flight Simulator X 1-meter texture resolution format. This delivers a hi-fidelity image without using excessive disk space or processor power. Our design allows a simulation pilot to enjoy clearly defined visuals from nearly ground level up to higher altitudes.”
    Not bad!


    And the DVD box also states “Extensive coverage includes Mexico, Central America, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Guam, Hawaii, Philippines, the Caribbean, parts of tropical Asia such as Indonesia and some stretches of northern South America.”


    Actually, it replaces the default FSX ground texture tiles with new ones and backs up the original tiles. There’s a big chance you know this Flight1 GEX product and are aware of the massive change by just replacing ground texture tiles. Another advantage is the FPS impact. There’s none! Simple reason for this is that you only replace the ground texture tiles with new ones, of a better quality and tiles that fit better with each other.


    Installation and Documentation


    The Flight1 installation process via a CD/DVD is totally different than the download Wrapper. Simple, insert the DVD and you’re ready to go. The installer asks you or suggests where you should install it, but basically, there’s no need to make complicated decisions. When you leave everything default, the installer installs all the GEX files in the assigned folder. But after the installation process, a window pops-up telling you that you should make a backup of the default ground texture files. In my case, that was very easy since on this test FSX configuration I haven’t installed any GEX products. Backing up the default scenery FSX files is therefore done, more or less, automatically.


    Once this process is done, the GEX configuration window comes into view. It allows you to check if updates are available, connecting to the GEX website, help files and of course, the actual replacement of the GEX files with the default FSX files. As in my case, no UTX present, I can only choose the “GEX Enhanced A/P Tropics Main” option.


    When I tick one of the other options, the installer tells me that I can’t use these because of the absence of UTX. Anyway, I only select the previous mentioned option and before you know, you’re done and ready to explore the modified areas with GEX ground texture tiles.


    01t.jpg
    02t.jpg
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    Some words regarding the manual. Since I have the DVD box, you’ll find in the box a small manual and there’s also, together with the installer, a manual installed on your hard disk. No, there’s no Flight1 GEX manual shortcut on your desktop, but the manual is available via the Start button, Flight One Software and Ground Environment X Atlantic and Pacific.


    Personally I prefer the installed Acrobat manual since it offers more detailed information than the paper manual in the DVD box. Although the Acrobat manual is no more than 12 pages, it covers what you need including examples when you have other GEX products installed. Take the time to read them or better yet, print them out!


    GEXnhanced Configuration


    Before I continue with testing, it’s first time to do some inspections related to the GEX configuration tool, although there’s not that much to configure. The program is doing most of it by itself and where needed, the user is informed with available updates or a kind of “to do” list. As can be seen in the screenshot, the configuration tool comes with the following buttons:

    • HELPThis button opens the previous discussed GEX manual. We’ve seen this document already briefly before, so no additional information needed to add here. Apart of that, some parts of this configuration tool are explained in this manual, so when you’re lost, no problem, just check the manual again or contact the GEX forum.
    • BACKUPThe backup button opens a separate window. It’s divided into creating and restoring backups. Since the GEX manual explains everything about this, there’s not really a need to do right here.
    • UPDATESThis button brings up a new window and checks for the last available version. As can be seen on the screenshot, my current version is 1.00, which equals the latest version so I’m up-to-date. Although it’s in the manual, keep in mind when updating GEX, you need to close the main
    • program, which is this configuration tool and FSX itself. After you’ve downloaded the update and installed it, you need to create an alternate backup.
    • SETTINGS
    • Flight1The Flight1 button opens the Flight1 website.

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    07t.jpg
    08t.jpg
    09t.jpg

    Default FSX Ground textures versus GEX Enhanced Asia & Pacific Ground textures


    Which areas are checked/compared?

    I decided first to check specific areas for ground texture quality, thus the way default FSX ground scenery looks. I flew the following stretches:
    • Andros Town Intl (MYAF) to San Andros (MYAN) at the Bahamas
    • Humacao (X63) to Boqueron (PR10) at Puerto Rico
    • Cancun Intl (MMUN) to NAS Salina Cruz (MM57) in Mexico
    • Juanda (WARR) to Kalimaru (WALK) in Indonesia

    I could of course take any other stretch or country that lies within the GEX Asia & Pacific package. But there’s no need for that. With these 4 stretches in different countries you’ll get a good idea of the big difference between default FSX versus GEX ground texture tiles. And remember, these replacement tiles are not the same as photo-real scenery. This means, the replaced landscape tiles are of a better quality, and more adjusted to the real environment, but it’s never the same as having a photo-real scenery package.

    Example I - Andros Town Intl (MYAF) to San Andros (MYAN)

    Ok, let’s have a look at my flight from Andros Town Intl (MYAF) to San Andros (MYAN) in the Bahamas. I planned to fly this stretch, but for some reason my aircraft flew not along the flight plan, but instead a heading of 272. As long as both flights – without and with GEX installed – are following the same path, the comparison is correct. I made screenshots at 1000, 2000 and 3000 feet, where 3000 feet was also my cruising VFR altitude.

    Just to make sure … for example … screenshot 1A, 2A, 3A etc. show you a ground shot based on the default FSX scenery while screenshots 1B, 2B, 3B etc. are based on GEX Enhanced ground scenery. Don’t forget!

    fsx 2012-06-04 09-21-18-04_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 1A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-22-38-12_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 2A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-25-02-08_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 3A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-26-04-79_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 4A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-28-04-18_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 5A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-30-32-18_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 6A

    Example flight IA “Andros Town Intl (MYAF) to San Andros (MYAN)” at the Bahamas with DEFAULT FSX GROUND TILESThese six screenshots represent along a stretch, with a cruising level of 3000 feet, the default ground texture tiles from Microsoft. The quality of the tiles is not always good, it’s far from real and need a modification.


    fsx 2012-06-04 09-21-18-04_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 1B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-22-38-12_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 2B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-25-02-08_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 3B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-26-04-79_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 4B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-28-04-18_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 5B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-30-32-18_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 6B

    Example flight IB “Andros Town Intl (MYAF) to San Andros (MYAN)” at the Bahamas with GEX Enhanced GROUND TILES


    Example II - Humacao (X63) to Boqueron (PR10) at Puerto Rico

    I depart from X63 or Humacao Airport, following the GPS flight plan and yes, I’m following it! Cruising altitude is set to 3500 feet, which is officially too low for the montains on this route, but with the help of SLEW, I’m able to pass these mountains without any problems. And that’s not the issue. The issue is to make ground screenshots of the default FSX ground textures versus the newly installed GEX Enhanced textures.

    Anyway, screenshots are made more or less directly after takeoff at approximately 1000 and 3500 feet. After I made some interesting shots, I moved the aircraft along the flight plan close to our final destination Bogueron or PR10. During that SLEW, I left the aircraft at an altitude of 3500 feet in order to have a good overview of the ground textures below. While the aircraft continued its flight, the last screenshot was made almost above the airport PR10.

    That was the introduction. Now it’s time to see in example IIA screenshots based on the default FSX ground textures and example IIB gives the same spots, but now when GEX Enhanced is installed and replaced those default tiles with the modified ones from GEX Enhanced.

    fsx 2012-06-04 09-41-36-68_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 1A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-42-17-49_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 2A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-46-19-81_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 3A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-49-03-85_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 4A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-49-48-15_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 5A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-54-14-27_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 6A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-54-52-54_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 7A
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-55-44-05_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 8A

    Example flight IIA Humacao (X63) to Boqueron (PR10) at Puerto Rico based on the default FSX ground texture tiles


    fsx 2012-06-04 09-41-36-68_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 1B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-42-17-49_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 2B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-46-19-81_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 3B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-49-03-85_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 4B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-49-48-15_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 5B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-54-14-27_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 6B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-54-52-54_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 7B
    fsx 2012-06-04 09-55-44-05_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 8B

    Example flight IIB Humacao (X63) to Boqueron (PR10) at Puerto Rico with GEX Enhanced GROUND TILES.


    Example III - Cancun Intl (MMUN) to NAS Salina Cruz (MM57) in Mexico

    During my Mexico trip, I decided to depart from Cancun International Airport. Actually, it didn’t matter which airport in Mexico I had chosen. The whole idea of this example and the previous two is to show you the differences in ground texture tiles between the default FSX and the modified ones from GEX Enhanced.

    I followed the flight plan and after TO at 1000 feet and stabilized along the flight plan, I made the first screenshot. Following screenshots where made at an altitude of 4500 feet with default FSX cloudy weather activated. After a while, I changed to fair weather conditions for better ground texture comparison and moved my aircraft close to VOR/DME VSA. Here I made some other screenshots at, again, an altitude of 4500 feet.

    Finally, to get other grounds textures samples, I moved the aircraft close to VOR/DME IZT along the flight plan. Based on this, I made the following screenshots and again, example IIIA are the screenshots based on FSX default ground texture tiles and example IIIB the ones with GEX Enhanced installed.

    So, here we go!

    fsx 2012-06-04 10-07-30-50_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 1A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-11-33-77_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 2A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-11-42-48_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 3A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-12-35-34_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 4A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-16-26-49_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 5A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-16-47-76_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 6A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-19-09-05_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 7A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-19-29-35_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 8A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-19-54-61_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 9A

    Example flight IIIA Cancun Intl (MMUN) to NAS Salina Cruz (MM57) in Mexico based on the default FSX ground texture tiles


    fsx 2012-06-04 10-07-30-50_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 1B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-11-33-77_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 2B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-11-42-48_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 3B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-12-35-34_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 4B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-16-26-49_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 5B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-16-47-76_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 6B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-19-09-05_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 7B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-19-29-35_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 8B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-19-54-61_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 9B

    Example flight IIIB Cancun Intl (MMUN) to NAS Salina Cruz (MM57) in Mexico with GEX Enhanced GROUND TILES.


    Example IV - Juanda (WARR) to Kalimaru (WALK) in Indonesia

    The last example I want to show you is on a VFR flight from WARR (Juanda Airport), flying on a cruising of 3500 feet. The initial screenshot is made along the flight plan, just after takeoff, stabilized after a full turn. It was made at an altitude of approximately 750 feet with fair weather conditions. Not long after that, I made a few other screenshots. I also made some screenshots on the 2nd island along my flight plan and some close to my final destination.

    How does this look? See for yourself and again, screenshot 1A belongs to screenshot 1B with the only difference; shot 1A was based on the default FSX scenery and 1B with GEX Enhanced active.

    fsx 2012-06-04 10-33-49-36_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 1A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-35-01-14_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 2A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-40-09-02_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 3A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-40-27-91_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 4A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-42-46-75_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 5A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-44-11-07_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 6A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-46-41-89_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 7A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-48-15-47_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 8A
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-50-39-11_001t.jpg
    Screenshot 9A

    Example flight VIA Juanda (WARR) to Kalimaru (WALK) in Indonesia based on the default FSX ground texture tiles


    fsx 2012-06-04 10-33-49-36_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 1B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-35-01-14_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 2B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-40-09-02_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 3B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-40-27-91_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 4B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-42-46-75_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 5B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-44-11-07_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 6B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-46-41-89_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 7B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-48-15-47_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 8B
    fsx 2012-06-04 10-50-39-11_002t.jpg
    Screenshot 9B

    Example flight VIB Juanda (WARR) to Kalimaru (WALK) in Indonesia with GEX Enhanced GROUND TILES.


    What have you seen so far, Why not more examples and what was my goal?

    You’ve seen so far a few examples of the areas covered by GEX Enhanced Atlantic & Pacific. Yes, it covers much more area, but the overall idea is to show you what impact the GHEX Enhanced ground textures have compared to the original default FSX ground textures thus the way the ground scenery looks. There’s no reason to make 20 or even more of those examples. Those above should trigger your decision to go for this add-on or not. It’s not something new, it’s not something unknown. Flight1’s Ground Environment X Enhanced products are famous for what they do … making the FSX scenery look better!

    That was my goal! Showing you how the FSX world would look like with GEX Enhanced active. And yes, at some spots the change isn’t dramatic, while at other locations there’s a huge difference compared to the default FSX scenery. It’s important to keep those “huge” spots in mind and that’s also the reason why you should buy this product. It could be, after you’ve seen all the above screenshots and compared them, you don’t like every GEX screenshot. I think that’s purely personal.

    Indeed, some screenshots in Indonesia aren’t’ much better than the default FSX version, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t do anything. Luckily for the default FSX ground texture, that single ground texture tile or surrounding ones weren’t that bad, but overall, it makes a huge difference. Just a side note; I’ve got the idea that this GEX product also changes the water color close to the coast line. In some screenshots you can clearly see the difference between the water color.

    Overall, I recommend the product.

    Summary/Closing Remarks

    Computer Specs
    • iMac 3.4Ghz 27”
    • 16GB RAM
    • SSD 256Gb and 2TB drive
    • AMD/ATI Radeon 6970 2G

    • Mac OS X 10.7.4
    • Parallels Desktop
    • Windows 7 x64 Bootcamp

    • FSX Acceleration
    • FS9.1
    • PrePar3D
    • X-Plane 10

    Test Time: 21 hours

    What can I say? The add-on software is worth every penny, but watch out for a few things. This GEX Enhanced product will not change coastlines, lakes or the shape of lakes, roads etc. It won’t change the terrain mesh either, because that’s done by products like FSGlobal 2010 or FSGlobal Ultimate Series. GEX Enhanced isn’t a photo-real scenery product although the modified ground texture tiles are photos.

    Is there a problem? No, there’s no problem at all, but I only want to warn you about this. Replacement of the FSX ground texture tiles is the minimum you can do to get a better realistic FSX scenery. Since Ultimate Terrain X doesn’t offer its services for rivers, roads, and coastlines, they stay as they are, but the FSX ground scenery becomes 200% better than it was. Keeping in mind the price at Flight1 – $34.95 – that’s not much for an area like this.

    What I Like About GEX Tropics Atlantic & Pacific
    • Easy installation
    • Nice and in-depth manual
    • Easy update possibilities
    • Clear and understandable configuration panel
    • Just install it and you’re ready to go and enjoy!
    • Dramatic changes to the FSX scenery (ground texture tiles) in favor for GEX Enhanced products in general

    What I Don't Like About GEX Tropics Atlantic & Pacific

    • I couldn’t find anything!



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