Friday, June 7, 2013

Orbx FTX Global - My Thoughts...


Editorial/Rant. Personally, I’m excited for Orbx FTX Global... In fact, I would go as far as saying that FTX Global will boost the entire flight simulation community. So how does this make sense – please let me explain. We have countless wonderful scenery choices from many talented developers, and, in my opinion, the best has yet to come. Both legacy and upcoming developers are making great strides in quality and performance. We are seeing better and more immersive sceneries than ever before. So, how does this tie into FTX Global?

In general, my problem is this... To fly between most wonderful third party sceneries I must traverse the old, bland, washed out default scenery. No, this doesn’t stop me from flying between Skiathos and Sonderborg, but, it takes away some of the enjoyment. The highlight of most flights is takeoff and landing while cruise and even approach is almost always forgettable. This will change with the release of FTX Global...and not just because of the updated textures and autogen…

You see, FTX Global is encouraging me to open my mind to other products, many of which I would have previously disregarded. Take terrain mesh for example - I was never sufficiently motivated to cover my world with high quality terrain mesh as the default textures were just too bland. It just never seemed worthwhile… But now, because of FTX Global, I am exploring mesh possibilities and will likely implement into my virtual world. The effort just seems worth it now. So in turn, this one product has stimulated me to look outside my box and start enhancing my platform once again. Indirectly, FTX Global is helping another developer thrive.

Let me give you another example. There are many impressive sceneries from more desolate parts of the world, but, I have never actually purchased one of these products. Why, because the thought of an extended cruise over boring and washed out textures was just too painful. But now, these sceneries suddenly come into play as worthwhile, at least in my mind. So again, I’m now exploring products that I had previously disregarded. Indirectly, FTX Global has added value to other third party products.

The way I see it is this... FTX Global is going to offer a completely new baseline for the FSX/P3D platform. No, it will not make everything perfect, but compared to default, it will raise the bar. It will give me a platform worth enhancing again and that has value far beyond the product itself. Indirectly, because of FTX Global, I will likely be encouraged to explore products that I had previously disregarded. This in turn will help stimulate the community and new developments. So, love it or hate it, want it or don't, I think FTX Global is good for flight simulation and the community as a whole. That is my two cents...take it or leave it.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Completely agreed. It will make cruising much more enjoyable. For me, it is most important that textures will bring that photorealistic feel, that you are really flying above Germany or Swiss, etc. No washed out mountains/unrealistic textures. I don't care for VFR precision of towns and rivers, for that enjoyment I have ORBX PNW or England.

Anonymous said...

Agree, but the product is too expensive. Flying over expensive scenery makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

Consider it's the whole globe though. I mean, by that logic, buying anything payware doesn't make sense if you are going to be cheap. So let the cheap people be cheap and let the people willing to give their sim and upgrade do so.

Anonymous said...

There might be an improvement in Fsx with that soft, but in my opinion there is a lack of intellectual honesty or a fear to say the truth. For exemple: you guys did not publish the revuew of the TBM 850, just because the plane is an empty box......i think when something sucks, it has to be said, and when its good, it also has to be said.
Furthermore i know some who has some insights of the FTX global soft, and he xplained to me that he posted anonymously that FTX will have some major incompatibility pbs with third party sceneries, and that you guys did not publish it....
I often agree with you guys but being more objective would be much appreciated.....and dont get mewrong guys, it is sid with zero anger....

Anonymous said...

What are the major incompatibilities?

DAndre Newman said...

I think we have been very honest of our opinions about the TBM. And I never said we were not doing the review. Carenado is still releasing updates. Also keep in mind, I only review products I have a passion for. At the moment, the TBM is not flyable for me so there is not much to review. I need some method of enjoyment to get my thoughts together to compile a review.

I besides looks, I have none. But, let's wait a couple more weeks and see if another FDE update comes. If it doesn't then i'll proceed.

Mark Hrycenko said...

I think John has been quite honest about potential third party compatibility issues. Please see John’s quote below:

"I just also want to cover off feedback and concerns about how third party airports from vendors like FSDT, Aerosoft, FlyTampa, FlightBeam etc will integrate with FTXG. Firstly, *most* airports will work unmodified just like they currently do with FSX Default, GEX, FScene and other texture addons. We don't do anything to upset their implementation _except_ modify custom autogen annotation entries. Any airport which uses default FSX annotation for houses, trees, buildings etc will work 100% fine. Any airport which implements custom modeled autogen buildings and trees will be affected. In that instance we would be grateful to customers who report issues so we can approach those developers for airports which have modified autogen (like we've done for Aerosoft, ES and 29Palms to date).

Secondly the colours of any photoreal ground imagery won't exactly match FTXG. This is because our texture palette is much darker than FSX Default (and because FSX default is too light, washed out and pale). You will have mixed results depending on how much photoreal the developer used. For Aerosoft Nice Cote Dazur for example, it blends almost perfectly because they did not include a large photoreal area and generally the textures of the urban areas are fairly close in colour to FTX. Less successful is FlyTampa Montreal which definitely sticks out from the FTXG textures because the default FSX landclass uses very light urban and city textures. I imagine their Dubai will have less of an impact because desert is .. desert.

So your mileage will vary. But it would to unfair for us to claim all your airports you've purchased to date from other vendors will fit hand-in-glove with FTXG, that just won't be the case and we also don't expect those vendors to retrospectively release patches for their airports. Just the nature of the beast with the way we adopted our texture colouring philosophy back in 2007 and that may mean FTXG is not going to be a purchase for a bunch of folks. We understand and respect that completely."

Anonymous said...

If $99 is too "expensive" the you could always invest $300-400 in the inferior GEX texture packs which have to be switched in and out and don't include new autogen or night lighting.

Anonymous said...

One can hardly accuse JV and Orbx for being misleading in any way when you read their constant updates and every question being answered in a timely manner. From day one it has been clear what FTX Global is and does yet we still have all these conspiracy theorists spouting nonsense about Orbx being dishonest and hiding the truth. It just gets tiring to hear the same broken record all the time from these people really.

Anonymous said...

I hope its good, but experience with Orbx & others points to it providing more frustration than enjoyment. Be it OOMs, low FPS or messed up addon airports.

Anonymous said...

The fact that many add-on airports will stick out like a sore thumb with FTX Global installed, makes it hard to consider buying it.

As we all have our own unique payware collections, the only thing that might sway me, is a try before you buy, the way some of the FSDreamteam airports are done. Either that or some very convincing screenshots depicting the top 30 payware add-on airports.

Anonymous said...

Why is it expensive?

Compared to GEX, it is:
- 2 times cheaper
- 4 to 5 times better
- it also covers Australia, NZ, Antarctica, and the Pacific

And you do not have GEX's despicable Ferengi business practises and "ethics", such as:

- revoking user license keys because they (users) exercise some of their legal fundamental consumer rights
- to get an update for region A, you are forced to by region B

So buy-buy GEX -> to bankcruptcy -> as just punishment.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we need to see addon airports with this.

If FSDT's MOntreal & Vancouver are fuked up, I'm out!

Anonymous said...

To Mark, about the original article-post:

If by "mesh" you mean landclass (such as SceneryTech for example), then you are absolutely right.

However, if my "mesh" you mean altitude-elevation data (such as FS-Global for example), then you are wrong.

Flying anywhere (except the Netherlands) without realistic elevation data, is totally un-realistic.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing ORBX can really do about that. Can you imagine having to rewrite landclass to accommodate every single different 3rd party addon? It's next to impossible! Besides, it's no different than trying to merge two other separate 3rd party addons.

Anonymous said...

I don't think they will be broken at all, just the ground colours won't match the FTX textures from what they said on their forums.

A texture addon pack can't nuke airports except if they both use custom autogen, and there is a easy fix for at if the airport developer send their autogen changes to Orbx. You just need to read what has been said on the Orbx forums before jumping to conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Try before you buy? For a GLOBAL texture addon? Good luck with making that copy protection work. It's bad enough with FSDT's cripple system but I cannot see how Orbx could offer a free trial version without giving the whole thing away and be cracked in a day by some teenage warez pimp lol.

Mark Hrycenko said...

Wrong in what sense? I'm saying that I did not see value in getting "elevation" mesh for much of the world because of boring textures and ground detail. However, with updated FTX Global ground textures I am now more likely to invest in this type of add-on. The upgraded FSX base platform is now worth enhancing.

Landclass is a whole different story.

Anonymous said...

You missed Mark's point, which was that the awful default FSX textures don't exactly inspire you to invest in good mesh outside USA/EU, whereas the Orbx textures make for a compelling case to go explore te world where better elevation data will make it shine even more.

Anonymous said...

FSDT Vancouver already blends in perfectly with Orbx PNW, an example of a smart developer who knows where their buyers will come from.

Montreal is by Fly Tampa, not FSDT. It was developed ages ago before Global gained attention so obviously it won't match FTX textures.

However George from FT is making YSSY Sydney and will offer full compatibility with FTX.

Eventually developers will want to leverage the Orbx market 'clout' and make their airports work for both default and FTX, probably 30 minutes work with some Photoshop filters to get a whole lot more customers.

Anonymous said...

I didn't miss Mark's point.

You approach an airport very near to high mountains, or deep inside a narrow valley (examples, MHTG, LGIR, LOWI, SVMI and dozens of others).

What do textures have to do with anything?

So, because the default generic textures are not good, you are saying, you also prefer not to see the close and high mountains all around you, as high and detailed as they are in the real world?

Anonymous said...

FSDT Vancouver wasn't a smart developer. It OOMed the worst of anything.

Anonymous said...

"The fact that many add-on airports will stick out like a sore thumb with FTX Global installed, makes it hard to consider buying it."

A completely illogical argument.

Why?

Because with FTX Global they will stand out much-much less, than they do with GEX or default textures.

Anonymous said...

It all sounds like a cluster fuck. I'm not patching 100 + airports. I'll stick to stock unless this thing is outstanding, which jusging by JV's videos, it isn't.

Anonymous said...

"I think we have been very honest of our opinions about the TBM. And I never said we were not doing the review. Carenado is still releasing updates. Also keep in mind, I only review products I have a passion for. At the moment, the TBM is not flyable for me so there is not much to review. I need some method of enjoyment to get my thoughts together to compile a review.

I besides looks, I have none. But, let's wait a couple more weeks and see if another FDE update comes. If it doesn't then i'll proceed."

So basically you don't review the stuff you don't like! I've seen people say it before and now I know it's true, you guys are in the developers pocket!
You of all should be holding them to account for releasing sub standard products. You should be on the customers side! I suppose your not too bothered when you get the product free.

Mark Hrycenko said...

I think it very much depends on the colours and quality of the airport photoscenry. For example, Vidan’s Sonderborg and the upcoming FlightBeam Dulles both have very bright and vibrant photoscenery. In these cases, the airports may very well blend better.

If a third party airport has washed out photo ground scenery, I don't see why we should also have washed out surrounding ground textures just to match... Two wrongs don't make a right.

I think eventually many developers will start matching to FTX Global, just my guess…

DAndre Newman said...

You say that as is we are hiding something. Its no freaking secret people are not happy about the TBM. Its in the forums everywhere. And we have been more than clear about how we feel about it. How is that putting us in the developers pocket? There are products worth reviewing and products not worth reviewing.

The TBM is not living up to my standards ive been clear about that. What more is an official review going to say about it?

I will perform the review when I feel I am ready to do it. As I have always done. Otherwise, go find a review of it somewhere else.

No body dictates when, if, or how I conduct reviews but me. If you choose to feel otherwise, than thats your decision. But I review only what moves me. You dont like it? Sorry bud.

Always remember, we move to a beat of our own drum. People always want to hold us to their own levels and standards. So ill say what I have always said. We do what we want, when we want, how we want. Always have, always will.

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your stock FSX world then pal.

Anonymous said...

"What do textures have to do with anything?

So, because the default generic textures are not good, you are saying, you also prefer not to see the close and high mountains all around you, as high and detailed as they are in the real world?"

Yep that is what I am saying. It's all about the textures. Most people fly in about 10% of the world because the rest looks crap and uninteresting with default textures. FTX Global will change all that.

But you don't seem to get that.

Anonymous said...

+1 DAndre!!!

About time a news site had the balls to say it like it is.

People, this ain't AVSIM or flightsim.com where what you see on the front news pages is 1:1 tied to advertisers, their online stores, their buddies and personal agendas of their egomaniac chiefs.

Besides, I recall ADX giving some Orbx airports very honest and brutal reviews recently which does not sound like they are scared of losing advertising. Seems like JV does not mind this since Orbx is still advertising.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of personal agendas here...

Mark Hrycenko said...

If you don't mind me asking, what personal agendas exactly? I'm interested in your perspective as I truly believe we are pretty objective.

Anonymous said...

Well said DAndre, nobody should take cr** on their own site!

Anonymous said...

You won't need to patch any airport.

If you had come to the point where you needed to patch an airport, with GEX, you would have needed that patch even much more.

Anonymous said...

I have always been a great fan of FSDT, but with Vancouver they released a totally unusable airport, unless you turn everything all the way down and that then no longer looks decent.

It's a shame that they didn't create a large custom autogen mask, which in my opinion would have eliminated the overly zealous and memory heavy normal autogen, similar to how FlyTampa manage their Dubai scenery.

FSDT knew that the majority of Vancouver customers who own Orbx scenery and should have worked much smarter in the way they built that scenery.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. My point is the agendas hiding behind the anonymous cloak.

Mark Hrycenko said...

Ahhh, I see.

Mark Smith said...

Thanks Mark, great rant.
Someone made a great side point, " Agendas hiding behind the anonymous cloak", so very true.

Anonymous said...

I'll second that. Well said D'Andre!

Dave W said...

Back to the original point of the post - addons opening up new avenues in FSX that we have ignored and products driving each other's sales. I recently purchased the Aerosoft Airbus as I wanted to fly shorter routes to suit my lifestyle at home (formerly I flew 767 on longer routes). This led me to search out shorter European routes and as a result of enjoying the plane I have purchased several European airport addons to complement my trips. So when we are blessed with true quality addons it definitely provides a trickle down effect to other devs which can only be good for the industry and hobbyists alike.

Todd said...

I don't know why people feel they need to complain about everything in this hobby. Noone is forcing anyone to buy FTx Global any more you were forced to buy any addons airport. Noone is going to stop a simmer from flying default planes in default FSX. It's our choice to buy or not to buy. I appreciate the honest reviews on this blog. I also appreciate this blog's "hidden agenda" to give honest reviews and opinions. In the end, it's up to me to decide what I want to buy for my own simming experience.

Anonymous said...

TO ANONYMOUS from 10.33: I agree with you buddy, but its not our website, so we will never be right. Basically If you don't agree with d'Andre, you are f...Discussing with Dominique or Mark is possible tho. Its a matter of being open minded. have a good one.

DAndre Newman said...

Posting accusations is far from being open minded. He did not discuss anything, simply, shot accused us of things that are not true.

Feel free to start up your own site and when people start accusing you of things that are false feel free to handle it as you wish.

My words however still stand. You don't like this train? Feel free to get off at any time.

In the mean time, we will continue to strive and put in the hard work to bring our readers the free service as we always have. Sorry if it's not good enough for you.

Anonymous said...

Yes they have come good in recent times with being upfront... but dont forget they started out the promos using FS Genesis and a number of other addons in their shots which the end user will not see if they do not own those additional products, so saying you can't accuse them of being misleading in any way is misleading in itself, in this case... but yes they have come good and are more upfront now, but it wasn't that way from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Yep, if you dont like, you dont buy, simple as that. If Orbx discover their sales are not what they are expecting with FTXG, then they will know soon enough of the quality or "value" their product offers to simmers. Of course, you might have to remove those that buy 1st hour it is released. The real data should be taken from those that have waited for a review or other forms of critique before they make a purchase decision (or not).

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