Orbx shows off gorgeous X-Plane 11 Washington scenery

I’ve talked about how much further ahead DCS World 2.5 has pushed with their scenery sets in the form of Persian Gulf, Normandy, and the forthcoming Syria map but I want to take a look at what’s happening over with X-Plane 11 and Orbx for a moment because I think you’ll be really surprised at just how good that sim is looking these days. Orbx has just released a teaser trailer for TrueEarth US Washington for X-Plane 11 and its really stunning. Let’s have a look!

Beautiful scenery

Orbx is a scenery maker first and foremost and they’ve done some great work for FSX, P3D and X-Plane. This latest update takes the team back to one of their original projects covering Washington State with a diverse array of terrain from ocean to mountain to rolling hills and what appears to be more desert like features.

The map covers 91,875 square miles (237,956 km²) and includes most of the state of Washington, USA as well as parts of British Columbia, Canada (notably Victoria) and a small piece of Oregon, USA.

Here are some of the other feature details coming from their recent announcement:

  • 91,875 square miles (237,956 km²) of hand-corrected, crisp, color-matched aerial imagery
  • New PBR autogen technology developed especially for X-Plane 11, allowing thousands of realistic looking PNW-themed houses and buildings to be placed at a realistic height with minimal impact on performance
  • 1,174 custom-modeled PBR 3D POIs
  • Over 500 million trees placed correctly based on detailed land use and high-resolution height data
  • 42.6 million buildings at their correct height and location where data is available
  • Major Cityscapes for Seattle, Bellevue, Victoria, Tacoma and significant buildings added to Everett, Olympia, Spokane, Kennewick and Yakima
  • VFR landmarks such as masts, wind farms, churches, power-lines, and lighthouses are all accurately placed.
  • Hand-placed and custom modelled 3D landmarks placed throughout the scenery such as bridges, skyscrapers, stadiums, cranes, tanks, piers farms, and monuments – this is especially noticeable in city areas
  • Sharp and detailed 10-meter mesh brings out stunning detail in natural features such as mountains, coastlines and valleys
  • Superb watermasking along the entire coastline and most rivers and lakes
  • Accurate road and rail network blended into the aerial imagery with moving traffic 
  • Summer season only with full night-lighting supported 

Orbx is using aerial imagery to create the scenery which, in my experience has never really looked very good at low altitudes (where DCS and IL-2 aircraft often operate). This, however, seems to have transcended that with ample buildings and features that seem to blend the terrain beautifully having much less of a ‘downloaded from the satellite straight into your sim’ look and more of a hand crafted approach. Eagle Dynamics did this to some degree with Persian Gulf as well but I have to say that this scenery pack just pops out of the screen beautifully.

Still images are one thing but the recently release teaser trailer is a 4-minute preview of what the June 2019 release will be like. It looks brilliant in motion and it’s really a step forward from what I’ve seen previously from photo realistic attempts at satellite terrain.

Perspective

Of course, X-Plane 11 and its users have different expectations from DCS and IL-2 fans when it comes to scenery. Those combat sims need high performance and are typically willing to sacrifice some of the visual fidelity when it comes to scenery to achieve that. Still, with X-Plane and Orbx pushing the envelope here its just a matter of time before other titles catch up and make use of increased CPU, GPU and memory capabilities.

In the end I wanted to share this because of how incredibly good this looks. Make sure you check out the trailer above to see what it’s all about.

If you’re an X-Plane or Orbx fan, feel free to give me a shout in the comments and let me know if you have any favourite scenery packs that I should look into. Do any of them come anywhere close to this?

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Mischiew Rithe says:

    With small GA airplanes and helicopters, there’s plenty of time to see the scenery at low altitude, and it’s not easy to find a good package. This is looking awesome, the same quality level as the individual airport products, I wonder if that’s accurate enough to fly VFR and recognize landmarks, I suppose so.

    You just have to make sure your system can handle it, that’s a lot of data to read in memory and with fast aircraft this may introduce noticeable pauses. There are surely options to tune the amount of details, which should help.

    Many will mention the free Ortho4XP scenery alternative, though from my experience it was not that good, the photo imagery didn’t match the overlay layer and I got a lot of inconsistencies like trees in fields or in the middle of roads, buildings at the wrong place, and so on. I better recognize the terrain and landmarks with the stock scenery when flying VFR at ~2000 ft. But it surely depends where, by searching “ortho4xp guide” you’ll see it is not too complicated to test, maybe you’ll be luckier if you try with your region. Here is such a guide for example, but to be honest I didn’t watch it entirely: https://youtu.be/sCk4L4xO1Pc

    Note that you need to be logged in the x-plane.org forums to see the download links in Ortho4XP’s author signature!

    There were alternatives at http://simheaven.com, I don’t know if they are still maintained and maybe it’s only for Europe.

    You can manage the map tiles with enough precision so that it coexists with Orbx or other sceneries that would enhance other parts of the world, and maybe start with only one or two tiles to test it.

    I don’t think free sceneries will get close to what Orbx and others can provide after spending months of crafting, but they may be an improvement on the stock ones. Orbx is nice, but quickly gets expensive if you don’t want to wait for a sales opportunity (and even then…).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mischiew Rithe says:

      Orbx started their TrueEarth series with Netherlands, there are a few others like parts of UK, and Australia should be next (it’s where they’re located I think).

      They have a few free airports and sceneries, sometimes they’re quite good (most are for P3D/FSX, but there’s some free stuff for X-Plane as well).

      Liked by 1 person

    2. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Once I get into X-Plane properly I’ll be sure to check out the Ortho4XP pack and see how it does for my region.

      Orbx so far hasn’t done much of Canada from the looks of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mischiew Rithe says:

        That’s probably the most opposite location to their offices, that would explain it 😉

        There are regions in the West, Northern Rockies, Pacific Fjords, Pacific Northwest, Southern Alaska… however they are old Orbx technology and only for FSX/P3D. There seems to be some really beautiful spots there!

        But don’t despair, in their roadmap they said “Our plans for XP11 in 2019 is to continue to port our legacy Orbx airports from P3D to XP11, concurrent to releasing brand new content as well. We will also continue to develop TrueEarth regions, with TE Pacific Northwest for XP11 being the first in North America.”

        Roadmap: https://orbxsystems.com/forum/topic/164884-orbx-2019-roadmap-231-screenshots

        Great Britain is a lovely country if you like the style, it’s flatter and less dramatic but cozy, maybe not far from a modern version of the Normandy map in DCS. I had the previous generation for P3D and really enjoyed it but I see that their new TrueEarth version is in 3 parts! That must hurt.

        PS: You probably saw it, there is a product map (literally), but no sim selection and the links are somewhat broken:
        https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/embed?mid=1oMki4fAslLZKQiCQIn2fNSvvzG0

        Liked by 1 person

      2. ShamrockOneFive says:

        Yeah probably a good reason for why they haven’t done anything a bit closer to me. Still, the work they have done is brilliant and beautiful from what I’ve seen.

        Their new Australia scenery I just spotted as well and that’s very impressive too.

        Like

  2. Toxin 1 says:

    Bought all of the Orbx stuff for Aerofly FS2 and the quality is second to none. Just bought the TE England for X-Plane (all three parts on the 50% off sale) because VR VFR has never looked so real. Highly recommend it, but wait for sales.

    Liked by 1 person

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