In 2013 we will be releasing a FTX product for FSX and Prepar3D that covers the entire world with FTX textures combined from the twelve different regions we have developed since 2008 including England. It won't be a perfect solution like a "full-fat" FTX region because it is predominately textures only. However, it will cover the whole globe with Orbx so you never have to experience FSX default textures again.
What does FTX Global include?
- Complete replacement of FSX ground textures
- Custom autogen houses and objects
- 3D lights with FTX Day/Night Mode support
- Selection of custom trees
- Replaces default FSX so you can run with FTX Central set to EU, NA etc
- Can be uninstalled so you can revert to default FSX
- Some custom landclass in sample areas initially (can be disabled if desired)
- Perpetual free updates (textures, landclass tweaks, POI objects, upgraded default airports)
- Dedicated staff working on upgrades full-time
- Dual installer for FSX and P3D
What does FTX Global NOT include?
- Geographical and vector data (roads, rivers, coastlines, elevation mesh)
- Full hand-crafted landclass and polygon landclass
- Unique ground textures native to the area you're flying in
- Upgraded airports everywhere
- Traffic on all major roads (only default FSX traffic)
- Extensive custom modelled POIs like power stations, windfarms, stadiums, photoreal areas etc
What does it look like?
Spectacular! I am testing a pre-alpha build at the moment and I can promise you most of the places I randomly pick to visit around the world look beautiful covered in Orbx textures. I did a dusk flight over the south of France last week and to see all the 3D lights twinkling over villages and towns was magical. I have included a selection of screenshots below.
However, beware of the limitations of FTX Global. It is first and foremost a texture replacement and it uses the current 'pool' of textures Orbx has created since 2008. This means that in many places the cityscapes and rural crops and fields won't look right at all. The initial release will have a whole bunch of warts because of the restrictions of the FSX landclass texture system. (This is the very reason we make full-featured FTX regions). We will have a team to deal with obvious landclass back spots first and then slowly begin to add POIs, airports and new content. Think of FTX Global as an upfront investment in an evolving ecosystem which improves over time. We will also invest in code that allows you to auto-update FTX Global or as a mimum alert you to new content and patches.
How does it perform?
The performance is fantastic - I am running FSX inside a virtual machine using Parallels Desktop 8.0 on my humble Macbook Air 2.0Ghz and it runs quite smoothly (the Windows 7 VM was allocated 4GB of RAM, 512MB of VRAM, 1x CPU). On a decent PC configured for FSX properly it should scream. I'm in the process of setting a proper quad-core i7 testing PC at 3.2Ghz with a GTX650m GPU and I'll update you on the performance side of things again. The Switzerland and Ireland screenshots were taken from this VM running on my Mac.
What will it cost?
The price of this product is AU$195 and will include free perpetual upgrades including a constant flow of upgraded airports at key locations around the world, for example Helsinki in Finland or Manila in the Phillipines. We are building a dedicated team of people who will do nothing but work on continual improvements, POIs and airports and key areas of custom landclass around the world. Additionally, as Orbx releases the much more detailed and sophisticated regions around the world, we will dip into the expanding texture pool to finesse the global product, all at no charge.
Will it affect the "regular" Orbx regions being worked on?
Not at all. There will be zero impact on regular regions since we're hiring new staff to make this product and we're using existing texture assets. If anything in 2013 we will release more regular FTX regions than any year of our short history; South Alaska, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Northern California as well. Our average release rate has been 1.75 regions per year; in 2013 it will be 5+
We also hope to move into Europe next year, with Holland confirmed and then perhaps Norway, Belgium, Germany etc. FTX Global simply does not have the depth and scale of detail of our regular FTX regions, there's no comparison and those upcoming regions are made with unique textures licensed from aerial imagery over those particular countries.
What is FTX Global Compatible with?
Ultimate Terrain X (UTX)
SceneryTech LC or any other LC addon
Any FSX scenery addon - but be aware Orbx textures are richer and darker than FSX default so many airports may not blend in at the edges of their photoreal coverage area
REX/AS2012/Other weather texture/WX engine addons
FSGenesis and other elevation mesh addons
What is it not compatible with?
GEX - it does the same thing (replaces FSX default textures) so you decide if you want GEX or FTX Global
FScene4X - as above
Orbx payware airports - those are designed and matched to our dedicated full FTX regions for AU/NA/NZ/EU because of mesh elevation and other landscape mods
How big will the installer be?
The installer will be download-only for the first six months or so until we can bundle all the monthly Downloadable Content (DLCs) into a DVD release. This installer will weigh in at less than 5GB and will need about 8GB of disk space. We would recommend about 10GB of free space for FTX Global.
When will it be released?
We don't give release dates at Orbx (and when I have broken this rule in the past invariably releases have been delayed for various reasons, so I won't again). It will be in the first half of 2013, that much is sure.
If you can imagine your whole world covered in Orbx, you won't have to wait too much longer. Here are some screenshots taken from random locations. We'll be posting lots more over the coming month and I am sure Emmsie will be using his magic eye to find amazing locations. After all, it's a big planet!
These two shots are over Ireland with some custom landclass applied. We have yet to determine the extent of custom landclass in the initial release.