When it comes to scenery makers, Orbx are among the best that I’ve seen and their TrueEarth series have garnered a lot of attention from flight sim pilots. TrueEarth Washington is now joined by companion project TrueEarth Oregon and it looks very impressive!
Detailed POIs and lots of HD scenery
If you’re reading this as a fan of DCS or IL-2 the concept of scenery may seem a bit strange as both of those series do their own thing when it comes to scenery. IL-2 uses its own custom interpretation of a given map area while DCS does that and mixes in some satellite information along with a lot of auto and hand placed objects.
X-Plane 11, FSX, P3D and others do a passable job of creating the whole planet with default objects and scenery much like DCS and IL-2 but at a lower quality level – making the whole planet is tough so a lot of details are lost. That’s where a company like Orbx comes in.
High resolution satellite based orthographic scenery, thousands of custom built and hand placed objects, covering thousands of square kilometers, and accurate vegetation based on LiDAR scans (remote sensing researchers have tons of details on this stuff – I was at a talk once) really amp up the visuals. It’s great for VFR flying especially.
Oregon is a follow up to their Washington state release and the two work together well as a companion product.
Oregon has 2,746,911 buildings, hundreds of millions of trees, nearly 600 Points of Interest (POIs). It also has a new HD and SD texture feature to tackle a serious problem…. disk space. While DCS and IL-2 maps take up few gigabytes, Orbx Oregon HD requires 225GB of free disk space. Combine that with TrueEarth Washington at 207 GB and you’ve got a whole SSD or part of a large HDD taken up. The SD version is a slightly more reasonable 63GB.
And it looks like this…
So all of that effort and hard disk space helps make X-Plane look like this.
The benefits of imagery like this as the base for the visuals is that everything is unique and everything matches up to the real world. Know where the local golf course is? Yep, its there. How about the marina? Yeah that too. While IL-2 offers something a little more abstract this is very much set in reality.
And it looks even better in motion.
There are limits here as well. Down low the scenery can get blocky showing off the pixels of each satellite photo, performance can struggle on lower end systems, and there are issues matching scenery images with 3D objects. Eventually orthographic imagery will be the superior option but for now it has some trade-offs.
Price and availability
TrueEarth HD Oregon is $44.04 USD while the SD version is $37.26. Both are available through Orbx Central – Orbx’s distribution and management software for multiple software platforms.