Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Godzone Real NZ Nelson - Review

FSX/P3D. So, after some increased interest in Godzone Virtual Flight products, I decided to take a look around the developers Real New Zealand Nelson scenery in conjunction with Orbx FTX New Zealand South Island. Very well put together scenery package - I'm impressed. See inside for my impression.

First off, this scenery is very good and certainly worth a try, especially given the lack of detailed airports in the area. Although originally designed for VLC New Zealand, this scenery has been patched to work with Orbx FTX New Zealand South Island and was tested as such.

Installation is fairly straight forward and a three step process. Install object libraries, then the actual scenery, then the Orbx compatibility patch. Some manipulation of the scenery library was required to get everything working perfectly alongside the Orbx region - but nothing too complicated. Ensure you read the included installation instructions so you don't miss anything. For example, FTX Central must be set to Oceania when installing the Orbx compatibility patch.
The scenery includes not only the airport itself but the entire city of Nelson and surrounding area. In fact, the coverage area is quite large, the scope of which I didn't actually realize until searching for the scenery edges to judge blending with the Orbx region.
When first loading the scenery, I was initially impressed by the surrounding area. The scenery offers that instant feeling of immersion. There are homes on the hills in the distance and beautiful mountain ranges slightly farther out - quite nice indeed.
The airport itself sits on high resolution ground imagery which looks good even up close. Taxiway and apron detail appears to be a combination of custom ground poly and photoreal ground textures. Most areas of the airport enjoy custom ground poly with the odd tarmac and taxiway using photoreal ground textures. All in all, very good, not quite up to the standards of some bigger name developers but more than acceptable. I did note a very minor “break” in one of the primary taxiways, difficult to describe so I have included a picture below. No volumetric grass although this is more of a personal preference than a scenery shortcoming.
Break in taxiway:
All real life buildings and structures appear to be represented in the scenery - the airport feels complete with nothing left out. Buildings, hangers, and support structures are modeled well and look nice. Object texturing is good - similar to the ground work, not quite up to the standards of bigger name developers but still more than acceptable. Nothing here would detract from the overall enjoyment factor of the scenery. The passenger terminal is particularly nice, in my opinion at least. Further, while taxiing around the airport you will notice plenty of vehicles in parking lots, perimeter fencing, and the odd piece of clutter. This type of thing helps add to the overall immersion factor and does a good job of it.
Performance is excellent and you will experience no problems in this regard. I always disable my overclock before installing new sceneries, then, after installation, return to the BIOS and overclock once again for testing. However, this time around there was no need to overclock as performance was excellent even using my stock 3.5Ghz processor speed. There were no problems whatsoever maintaining my usual 30FPS with full scenery complexity settings. No stutters, no pauses, just smooth. Although I did not test with any highly detailed advanced aircraft, I have no doubt this scenery will perform very well.
Airport night lighting is well done - not too bright but bright enough to get around. Nothing much to complain about in this regard.

The city and surrounding area also sits on custom photo imagery, the resolution of which is certainly sufficient. Custom autogen placement throughout the city is a thing of beauty and extraordinarily well done. It appears as if every nook and cranny is covered and just looks fantastic. Every residential, industrial, and commercial area is faithfully represented. Further, ship yards, low rise towers, and pretty much anything else present in real life is present here. Yes, I am going on and on but the city is just brilliant.
As far as I can see, the photoreal ground imagery extends quite a distance past the city itself including some farm land, beaches, and mountain ranges. Similar to the city, custom autogen has been placed in these areas as well. I didn’t notice any real problems with the ground imagery except for one small piece of default Orbx base scenery protruding from a beach peninsula. Very pedantic but I have still included a capture below. All in all, this is one of the best representations of a city and surrounding area that I have ever tested in FSX.

Small amount of base Orbx scenery protruding, very pedantic I know:
Night lighting in the city looks good with defined roads and such. Perhaps a little dim but hard to judge something so subjective. Certainly acceptable in my opinion, especially as I did not notice any massive performance differential at night..
Scenery blending could be done slightly better as there is a somewhat distinct border between the custom photoreal area and the surrounding Orbx region - I have included a screenshot illustrating below. In saying this, I realize that it is never easy to blend photoreal ground imagery with generic textures.
Scenery blending:
One item worth mentioning is that if your mesh settings are not correct, you may note some floating houses. However, I found with 2m mesh resolution, I was able to solve this anomaly.
Overall, I was surprised and impressed by this scenery! I do not hesitate to recommend this product to any of our readers. Until discovering Godzone, I was reluctant to fly in New Zealand due to the lack of detailed airports. However, after discovering Godzone who offers several other Orbx FTX compatible sceneries, the area has suddenly become worthwhile again. So is Real New Zealand Nelson worth a go...absolutely!
See the developers website for more information - click here


Snijboon said...

Great review. Will def give NZ a try.

Mason Dominique said...

I tested Nelson too. It's a real nice airport. With fine détails. Hangars were really good from my memories.

Anonymous said...

Slight correction here: Godzone is not a lesser known company. It is one of the earliest flightsim company since FS2002 franchise. Robin Corn, the man behind Godzone, is one of the gurus at who has written many articles and contributed tons of posts on how to develop sceneries for FSX and past platforms. Robin, in plain terms, has made many aspiring developers successful today. I don't think Robin will mind the term "lesser known" by his commercial offerings under the Godzone title, but many of us who have benefited from his advise and used his materials to develop sceneries are slightly offended by the terminology. But don't fret when I am being frank, as the article, on the other hand, is good representation of Robin's work of art. Thank you for recognizing him in this review.

Unknown said...

I am of course simply referring to Godzone and its commercial operations. The company has been under the radar of many enthusiasts. As such, the inherent purpose of my article is to help build increased levels of exposure for this quality developer. My comment is in no way an insult to the accomplishments and contributions of Mr. Corn.

Nevertheless, it is certainly not my intention to offend and I will adjust my wording accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mark for being gracious in re-wording the concerned paragraph. Again, your article, overall, does not necessarily diminish the efforts of Godzone's scenery; whichever way you may perceive my remark. I was only referring to what you just corrected. The review itself is excellent, and therefore kudos for exposing Robin's work. We hope ADX gives Godzone more coverage as he surely deserves it in the future.

Sid said...

Thank you so much Mark for this wonderful review...I have been waiting in anticipation of it and its been really useful as I assured Robin I would give this and Tauranga a go, which I will certainly be doing. Perhaps Robin might be able to make some minor adjustments with a small patch some way down the line to dot a little volumetric grass sparsely around the runway/taxiways and perhaps fiddle with the blending with orbx a little and keeping an eye on these issues with Wellington etc. but I'm generally impressed, that city looks awesome and I'm more than happy to give it a try as I said. Very interesting to learn these facts about Mr. Corn too Anon, I must admit he and Godzone were under my radar but its very nice to learn about both, so thank you both, Mark and Godzone. Stamped: Recommended by Mark of ADX, Nice!

Robin Corn said...

Thanks for pointing that out, and I appreciate the support. I do admit though that I have had a low profile over the last four years, I've covered the reasons on my blog. Now, though, I really want to get back to continuous development. This should mean two projects a year.
To Sid -- cheers, some valid points there. Real NZ Nelson was actually released before NZSI (not a lot earlier, but NZSI wasn't around during development.) The blend is something I have looked at, but really it is a product of the aerial photo -- where the landscape changes a lot over time, such as the forestry areas around Nelson, then it does stand out. At the time the photo was taken, huge areas of forest had been harvested, but NZSI shows trees.
One solution I looked at was to actually reduce the photo coverage to exclude these forestry areas. This may be included in any future patch. The goal initially was to have just one version of the scenery which worked with or without NZSI, though, so this meant leaving the coverage as it was.
Wellington doesn't have much forestry, so it won't have the same blending issues.

To Mark -- thanks for the great review!

Unknown said...

My pleasure Robin, very much looking forward to Wellington!

Sid said...

Thanks for taking the time for a great response Robin. I understand completely what your saying and think the solution you pose sounds to be a very good one, all things considered, in the long run though I can imagine and empathise with the nuisance of having 2 separate versions. As I said, I will be buying this version of Nelson in the next couple of days and am happy to patch later, whenever its ready (sounds of a great developer taking on board reviewer and customer/community feedback). Can't wait for Wellington and all these future projects now and so very pleased that you're back in for the long haul. We'll cross paths again then. Cool. Best of luck Robin and cheers again. Thanks again Mark, for the exposure of Godzone to those of us whose radar it was under and for the great review...its proved very productive and positive.


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