Saturday, 27 July 2013

FTX Global is out...

...and I've been playing around with it for a couple of hours now.  The first thing to realise is that this is just a worldwide texture replacement pack, it doesn't include the hand-drawn landclass or insane details from the full blown FTX regions.  What it does give is much deeper, richer textures and some very subtle tweaks to the way they blend together, plus some improved landclass in certain parts of the world.

Flying in areas that I've already got enhanced by UTX Europe, the results are pretty stunning.

Just after take-off, EIDW Dublin, with FTXG running over UTX
I recreated the flight from my first video, Barton to Liverpool John Lennon, following my old daily commute up the M62.  While before I felt it was a passable "symbolic" representation of the area I used to drive through, now for the first time it finally felt like I was flying over the British countryside.

Outside of UTX enhanced areas, the scenery still suffers from pretty awful coastlines and limited default FSX landclass data.  FTX are promising a range of "OpenLC" landclass add-ons in the coming year at a fairly reasonable price.  It'll work out cheaper than buying all the UTX packages, which at the moment only cover the USA, Canada, Central America and Europe anyway.   My impression though is that these won't be as full-featured as UTX, so I'm going to have to do some comparisons when the Europe OpenLC is released.  I suspect I'm going to wind up sticking with UTX where I can and use OpenLC to fill in the gaps.

So far I've noticed no compatibility problems with the add-on airports & airfields I have.  The UK2000 airports have a slightly lighter grass texture which makes them stand out a little, but nothing too unnatural.  In fact it makes it a little easier to pick out a grass field like Barton from the surrounding countryside.

The key thing, for me, is that FTXG removes the jarring difference between an OrbX scenery region and the rest of the world.  This was a problem I had not just with OrbX, but also photoscenery.  Taking off in one style of terrain, then crossing over a very noticeable border into a different style of terrain always broke my sense of immersion.

Now I can fly anywhere within FTX's Europe region and get the full features of the full regions I buy (currently Scotland, soon to be joined by England and Wales) and flying to a non-FTX area still looks like part of the same, cohesive world.  And with the Global Hybrid mode, you can fly seamlessly between FTX regions in different continents and with only a slight compromise in quality.

Does FTX Global make the whole world instantly totally awesome?  I think not.  But in the areas I predominantly fly (Europe) that are already partially enhanced by UTX, it's the final piece in the puzzle that turns FSX into a whole new sim for me, which makes it well worth the pricetag.

2 comments:

  1. Cracking view - how very england!

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  2. Isn't it just.

    Unfortunately by making England and the like properly green, FTXG currently also makes more arid parts of the world too green. I think the textures previously used for all of Europe were better suited for Mediterranean climes, which now look a little more temperate than they should. OrbX promise a lot of improvements in the series of upcoming landclass enhancements, but for now I'm delighted at the effect on the areas where I usually fly.

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