Wednesday, October 2, 2013

ADX FirstLook: WingCreation Narita!

FSX/P3D. Well, this is an interesting FirstLook edition. Because whereas I respect and admire the work in this project, I also find myself conflicted. The thing is, I want to encourage developers everywhere to do their best and produce projects they are happy with. With WingCreation, this is a team that has taken on a huge task of developing such a large scale project as their second scenery release. Usually, it's best to start off small, stay small, then work your way to big scale in the same way we have seen Drzewiecki Design and LHSimulations perform. Here though, I can't help but feel that the team might have jumped the gun and I don't want the developer to feel discouraged because my following comments will be quite critical. On the same token, I have to be honest to my readers as it is they who depend on my thoughts and experience. Come with me, we'll work this through.



The tier.

Being this is my first experience with a WingCreation product, my first thought runs to: who can I compare this team to? If I had to place this development into the usual tier categories being Blueprint Simulations at the bottom, ImagineSim and LatinVFR in the mid tier, Taxi2Gate and UK2000 in the upper mid tier and FlightBeam and FlyTampa in the high tier, I would place WingCreation in the lower mid tier.

But even ImagineSim and LatinVFR are progressing so quickly on their development techniques these days, even they will soon be out of this part of the market.

The interesting thing is, the product is actually good, but in a weird sort of way. What I mean by this is: it's not obvious to me that the usual FS development tools like GMAX or 3DS MAX was used here. The texturing is just too odd looking. It's not bad, just odd. In fact, for this tier, I'd say the texturing is quite good. It's the price point that makes it bad. But I'll come back to that.

Ultimately, the project is much better than I expected it to be. Many developers are just not savvy at screenshooting their own projects as the case is with UK2000.


Some textures are quite crisp and others... a bit blurry.... way blurry.
Start judging for yourself the texture quality and scenery representation. All shots are unedited. Only re-sized.











I really love the attention to detail in areas like this. The roof textures are surprisingly accurate albeit the texturing method a bit odd looking to me. I also impressed by the fencing. Very good work here.














What's going on here? The windows here are practically black. In real world, the windows are slightly tinted but completely transparent. Definitely not matte black like above. I was also disappointed to find there are no window reflections at all anywhere. This should have been developed for FS9 as well.
The modeling work is nearly perfect.
I have seen better jet bridges. But I have also seen much worse.

I liked the custom vehicles.





What I also liked was all hotels and office buildings in the area were added. Indeed, there is a lot of attention to detail which I believe has been represented to the very best of their abilities.

Here is a look at the ground texturing. You be the judge.
 Far out.
 Zooming...
Zoomed!




The scenery blends perfectly with FTXGlobal.






The night lighting is not bad but leaves much to be desired.






Okay. As I mentioned earlier, I don't want this developer to be discouraged by my words here. If anything, I hope it will be taken as constructive criticism. There are not too many developers in our market, many have left and few are coming in. The last thing I would want is for a new developer who has worked so hard on a project to feel discouraged.

The work on a visual scale is actually very good for a brand new developer on the scene. There was clearly much effort that went into this project and the detail is obvious. I respect the attention to detail and the fact that each and every single building was researched and included in the scenery. Nothing was left out. In some areas, I even saw photoreal textures which suggests the team was at some point onsite.

The question here is: did this team jump the gun perhaps a bit too quickly to fill a heavy demand for Narita? Was a project of this scale taken on too soon? Because this team is clearly talented and clearly has a passion for the work they are doing. Just thinking back to their first release earlier this year, the quality levels do differ a bit.

Again, in cases where I come across projects that are far less than perfect, I look at the price point and then determine if the quality matches its price. The lower the price, the better the quality redeems itself.

In this case however, the price point is just far too high to justify the purchase of this product taking into account the pricing level rivals some of the very best developers in the business. In the case of LHSim Budapest, that was a product priced too low. Again, my opinion.

Now when it comes to finally having a decent rendition of Narita, this is definitely the airport you want to buy because it will be a long time before we will see another. Besides, most of the people flying here are going to be PMDG TripSeven headz who will be spending far more time staring at the FMC than the scenery. These guys are mostly expecting the airport to represent itself as it should. For the buildings, runways, and taxiways to be where they should be. The only thing those folks have to do is justify the price.

But there is also the issue of night lighting that bothered me as well. Custom taxi lights but default runway lighting and no environmental window reflections.

According to Dom, with the PMDG777, he got good performance but a couple of OOM's during the approach process.

For me, the frames were not good at all. Using Carenado's brand new Cessna Grand Caravan EX, my digits remained in the lower teens to the single digits with really bad stutters. I also had scenery loading issues which made parts of the scenery appear grey and textureless as it tried to keep up. I am expecting my readers to inform me if their performance was better/different.

So what do we have here?

Well, for a first attempt at a project at this scale, it is indeed impressive. But I would like to see the team go smaller with their next project and put more focus on texturing techniques and performance while working their way back up.

There is much talent in WingCreations and I am very happy to see the home grown Japanese team tackle the much needed region. I think at the right pace with good airport selections, this team honestly could be among the best in the future. My advice would be: don't take on too much too soon and analyze the market. $46.80USD without VAT (the cheapest anyone can buy it for) is a lot to ask from any scenery developer. Best make sure the quality lives up to it.

I believe this team has the ability to create amazing sceneries so long as they keep going and keep improving. I hope, they will.

You can purchase the project here:
http://secure.simmarket.com/wing-creation-inc-narita-international-airport-rjaa.phtml

Happy Flighting!
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13 comments:

Jeroen Doorman said...

Looked at the screens yesterday at simmarket and was surprised by the price this is going over the counter for. I would suggest that the developer looks at the higher segment of developers and then consider their pricing. I support any developer and hope to see them grow but the price just is something else in this case

Frank van der Werff said...

I would have liked to have a nice new airport in Asia, but even if it would have been top notch quality, nearly 42 euro's (that's including VAT) is way above the maximum I'm willing to pay for a scenery which will only be used every now and then.
With relation to the readers rant earlier this week, I believe price settings like this also will provoke people into piracy while lower prices like the 20 euro's from LHSim's Budapest will reduce it. For me basically anything I like and that's priced in the < 25 euro range are no-brainers. Anything above must be really good quality or I expect to use it very frequently if not daily (like FTXG).

Tom Koffeman said...

The thing is, the overall modeling quality of their product is what I would expect from the high-end developers. But like as seen before, what really kills this product in my opinion is their inconsistencies in texure resolution. Putting a part with high texture resolution next to one with alot less resolution would make the low resolution one stand out. I'd say if their next product will be more consistent in texture resolution, it would be a far more better product.

About discouraging the developers I wouldn't worry that much. They have in the past also listened to feedback of the community unlike many other developers. These developers are still in a learning pattern I'd say. If they keep responding positively to the feedback they get there will be alot of room for improvement.

Joshoc said...

for that price no thanks..

T.J. Streak said...

I have noticed that products from Japan, as a general rule, are much higher priced than their American counterparts. In many areas, it seems that the Japanese have priced themselves out of the market. I don't quite understand the market forces behind this because the Japanese economy has been stagnant for over a decade.

This is true, to a lesser extent for products from the U.K. For example, books published in the U.K. will often cost twice as much as similar books published in the U.S.

I can perhaps understand the discrepancies with physical products, but it seems harder to justify with digital products. After all, the marginal cost of a digital product is zero, or pretty close to zero. The cost is in the cost of development, which is a sunk cost. Once that cost has been incurred, it would seem that the best approach would be to price the product to as to generate the maximum revenues.

In the case of this scenery, the question for consumers is whether they are satisfied with Microsoft's higher detailed version of Narita, or whether they want to pay $50.00+ for yet a high detailed version. I suspect prices for scenery are not particularly elastic because they are a luxury good and not a necessity. If this is indeed the case, I suspect Wing Creations will generate far less money at this price point, than if they lowered the price. Sooner or later, they probably will be forced to drop the price if they want the sales.

mleuck said...

Great review, but further supports my choice not to purchase the product.

Adi Sahar said...

Looks a bit dull compare to flytampa, flightbeam, fsdt, etc'.

Josh Fredr said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DAndre Newman said...

Comment off topic.

Søren Veje said...

Thanks a lot for the great review, i hope it will be upgraded in the near future... ;-) Sugiii

Daniel Arellano said...

I to will wait the future looks more promising with Flightbeam re-making this airport as Amir has said in the past it is one that will get done!

Mason Dominique said...

They worked really hard to release this heavy airport in less than 10 months. All the parts of the airport directly in contact with you, during preflight/flight are very well done. I will be the first to buy their next product too.
But - there is a but - i am really curious about these flickerings on some structures, it's like they are not programming the airport on the same usual Tools or, as if there are some compatibility issues between their tools/hardware and usual Gmax/3Dmax software.
It's odd and obviously has not been fixed.
It's odd that Aerosim displayed the same kind of problems on Kobe for instance( and probably Kansai as well).
I am not saying Narita is not usable, a good trick is too raise the antialias and quality settings on graphic cards.
If someone else has a tip on this, i really like to read it.
Best
Dom Mason
Simmer.

Iain said...

The Japanese sceneries are generally expensive, but so are the Swiss ones from Flylogic. I'm not surprised by the price when I saw how much their Fukushima scenery was going for.

I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for better detail though, especially airside stuff like vehicles and equipment, and a bit more texture baking. I hope Wings will stay and improve their techniques, just like Taxi2Gate's new MMMX. What T2G had done was phenomenal.

By the way can someone please post photos of "that farm" which is in the way of 34R, and the surrounding taxiway areas?

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