Monday, June 3, 2013

ADX First Look - MegaSceneryEarth 2.0 Colo.

FSX. Here we are, our first look at MegaSceneryEarth 2.0 - Colorado State. This article was particularly interesting for me as this was my first attempt at using true photoscenery. In general, I was quite satisfied with the experience although there are of course some unavoidable limitations.  See inside for more.

Now after purchasing the scenery, the first thing you will likely notice is the absolute massive download size. The product download includes 35 different files totaling approximately 36GB. Due to the large file size requirements of photoscenery, this is obviously unavoidable. However, for users unwilling or unable to download this size of file, a DVD option is available for an additional cost.


After downloading all required files, you must unzip and run each of the 35 executable installers separately. Certainly plenty of work, but again, unavoidable due to the large file size requirements. In saying all this, the installation went smoothly, no problems whatsoever.




When loading up MegaSceneryEarth 2.0 Colorado for the first time it becomes blaringly evident that this is not your standard scenery add-on. Even sitting idle on the runway several items clearly stand out differentiating this product from other scenery types. First, there is no autogen. Please remember, although the scenery does not offer autogen, custom models such as downtown buildings and stadiums still remain. Next, if there are mountains or raised elevations in the distance you will notice they look real, very much like a three dimensional photo. Lastly, your frame rate will be through the roof regardless of what aircraft you choose. In fact, there was no point doing one of my normal performance benchmarks as the frames were just so high.

Near Fort Collins:


Colorado Springs:

After takeoff I noticed a dramatic difference between ground quality at low altitudes versus higher altitudes. I found that after passing approximately 1,500 feet AGL things started to improve dramatically and by 2,000 feet AGL everything looked quite good. Included in my captures below is a selection of screenshots from the exact same location but at different altitudes. The idea here is to illustrate the differentiating ground quality from different altitude viewpoints.

250 feet AGL:

500 feet AGL:

1,500 feet AGL:

4,000 feet AGL:

10,000 feet AGL:

18,000 feet AGL:

28,000 feet AGL:

As I continued to ascend I began to really enjoy looking out at the beautiful Colorado landscape. I think Colorado State is particularly suited to this genre of scenery. Although I tested countless different locations for this article, the one that stood out in my mind was Aspen. It just showcased the photoscenery so well. Don’t get me wrong, there are many spectacular areas to explore - Aspen was just my personal favourite. Instead of describing all the different beautiful sightseeing possibilities, I will leave you to browse the screenshots at your leisure. I have of course not covered all locations, but, in my opinion, offered a reasonable selection.


Flying high over photoscenery is a completely different experience to flying over any other type of landclass generated scenery with generic textures. No matter how good the ground textures and landclass accuracy, it will never match photoscenery. It just feels real as if you are actually there, at least from higher altitudes. Moreover, I did not experience any type of blurriness or shimmering in the distance.

Random locations:

Of course, there are some limitations and minor issues, many of which probably cannot be reasonably avoided. For example, sometimes I noticed different colouring between photo tiles. What I mean by this is that some photo tiles appear more vibrant than others. This is generally not a big deal but it can be noticeable in the wrong location. I have included a capture below illustrating this anomaly. Please note, Dean from PC Aviator Australia has posted a detailed response regarding this issue - click here to read.

Different shading between photo tiles:

Next, I noted some clouds directly in the photoscenery imagery - please see photo below.

Clouds in photoscenery imagery:

Lastly, I just wanted to address some limitations other than the obvious lack of autogen and undefined textures at low altitudes. There are no seasonal textures or night lighting. Depending on your flying habits this may or may not be a big deal.

If I were to sum up my experience, nothing beats this type of scenery if you enjoy daytime sightseeing flights at altitude. It offers something nothing else can, the real world. There are limitations but limitations are to be expected with photoscenery. I really enjoyed my experience and think others will as well as long as they remain mindful of the inherent limitations. Plus, you can't beat the FPS performance. If you like photoscenery, you will most likely enjoy this product very much.

For more information about MegaSceneryEarth 2.0 Colorado and other States, see the official product website - click here


Anonymous said...

Thank you....from the top unmistakeably beautiful...but thank you for bring it down to low flightlevel vfr. Verifies that the product is not for me; an autogen fan. Still though, outstanding from 5000+

Anonymous said...

I love it. Thank you for the review :)

Anonymous said...

Great review. I dont understand why the developers havent fixed that tile with the lighter shading. That was very much a doable fix. Looking at the pics it seems like they also tackle mesh. Is mesh ioncluded or did you use a third party mesh addon?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, amazing up high. Really spanking nice.

Misha Cajic said...

I can vouch for MegaScenery. Yes down low it may not be the best but after even 1000ft the terrain really looks fantastic, really nothing beats photoreal at those altitudes. Probably the best MSE pack is New Mexico, in my opinion anyway.


Anonymous said...

There is an explanation on mesh posted in the link in the review above -

Same forum post explains about the coloration of some tiles and why this can be difficult to fix, although the one shown in the image could more easily be done, yes.

Anonymous said...

Now "Global" should look like that. If only the rest of the world has high resolution PR we would not be second guessing our cities, towns and villages. Just add autogen and night textures and Bob's your uncle.

Dogtrack said...

Undertaking all these "repairs" colour blending etc. Would by its very nature increase the retail cost considerably.

You only have to look at Horizon VFR unit prices per Sq Mile...and they still find it almost impossible to to get right.

The Scottish Volume7 is about 9 months behind schedule for that very Reason.

Given the relevant low unit cost of MSE2 it's well worth the purchase. For fans of Photo Scenery that can always add objects to increase the imersion.

PAT said...

All I was asking for was that the Developer who does all of the work please WATER MASK ALL of the Major Rivers, so the WATER looked BLUE instead now all I see is they show up BROWN! HE COULDN'T DO THAT I am told, as it would take to long and delay the release of the 2.0 States. This is why you are getting BROWN RIVERS instead of BLUE RIVERS! You are also getting many BLACK LAKES for the same reason! You are also getting NEON GREEN GROUND TINT EASTERN STATE TILE GROUND COLORS because he refuses to color correct for that universal color tile states shift, (IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CAMERAS THEY KEEP TELLING YOU!)except for 3-2.1 States he actually color corrected for: SEE MARYLAND 2.1, NEW JERSEY 2.1 and MASSACHUSETTS 2.1. Those 2.1 States with natural ground color now look MUCH, MUCH better! I really hope he goes back and starts color correcting additional 2.0 States and bringing this product up to a better standard. This 2.0 product just doesn't seem finished to me. I would have actually paid more if it looked better, like MegaSceneryX, the original product. The ground color looked better then and the Rivers were actually BLUE! I can only wish I guess......

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