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How does Photo Realistic scenery work in FSX?


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I'd like to buy some photo realistic scenery for FSX and have been looking at the Generation X software from Horizon.


Please could you tell me how does photo realistic scenery fit in and work in FSX?


Is it displayed as a flat picture on the ground so that to get the best view you need to fly at 2000-3000 feet, like the plane that originally took the photos?


When you fly low over a city or land at an airport does the scenery revert to the FSX default scenery so that you get 3D buildings or does the scenery stay as a flat picture on the ground?


I understand that the Generation X scenery includes some cities and towns rendered in 3D, but what happens when you fly low over an area which has not been specially rendered?


Thanks for your advice :-)

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First, I must admit that I have no 'mass' photoreal (PR) scenery currently installed (only a few addons airports that have a PR base file) but did have the JustFligtht VFR package installed for a while - the comments I make are based on this and general observations of using PR - The Gen X product may/may not have similar issues highlighted.


IT is also important to note that you must pay particular attention to the install instructions AND where you place the PR scenery within the scenery priority list as it may also have an impact on how things are displayed.


In direct answer to your Q's as listed..........


Q1 - Yes it is displayed as a flat picture and is designed to be viewed from altitude.


Q2 and Q3 - Yes and No - this is dependent on how the chosen PR scenery works. In the main default FSX airports (and their buildings) and most other autogen objects will display fully but some items, such as trees, may not. However, some PR will obliterate all autogen outside of airports. Likewise any third party addon airport/city scenery will also display OK as long as they appear ABOVE the PR scenery entry in the Priority list.


The most common issue when using PR is related to how the default and other addon scenery 'lines' up with the PR. For example, it is common to see mismatching at airports whereby runways and taxiways don't match up so you will see both the 'hard' runway and the 'ghosted' image of the PR runway.


Another issue that can occur is a small mismatch between the PR and FSX airport altitudes that can cause some airports to appear to be sitting on 'cliffs' or in 'quarries'.


There are products out there that will add the missing autogen but they are usually designed for a particular product - however I don't know is there is one for the Gen X product.




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I have GenX scenery for the whole of England & Wales , the Scottish mainland, the Western Isles, and the Orkney and Shetland Isles, and I love it,especially in VR, where it gives a great sense of the structure of the landscape. The resolution is higher than that of the Just Flight photoscenery, so you can fly lower before it becomes over-blurry, but it still gets pretty messy below 500 feet. It also takes ages for FSX to load up if all the GenX areas are enabled, so I tend to disable any areas that I don't expect to be flying over. The lack of seasons is a put-off for many simmers, and colour differences are sometimes noticeable between tiles, though I don't find this too bad.


I use Just Flight's Revolution X to add autogen, and I think it makes quite a good job, though the buildings and trees are a little bit over-large. It is also fairly common to find buildings (especially churches for some reason) planted across roads, but the positions of most of the buildings and trees are quite plausible.


I use UK2000 VFR Airfields for England and Wales, and these are excellent. They don't extend to Scotland, but the only airport altitude problems I've encountered there were when I also had ORBX scenery installed (FTX Global Base Pack, Global Vector, and Global openLC Europe).



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For a good idea of what to expect at different zoom levels (qualities) look here: https://simheaven.com/photo-sceneries/ - click on each photo for the best view. It's for X-Plane but translates directly to all photo–realistic sceneries. To get reasonable detail at 500ft, you really need ZL 18 which equates to a tile size (only 1x1 degree) of 32GB! Even ZL 18 doesn't look good low on an airfield approach. Most photo sceneries use lower resolution outside airports (16 or, at best, 17) to make the tile storage size more manageable and because it's often difficult to find sufficiently high resolution reference data for the whole world.


Having tried photo scenery, I went back to Orbx regions which, whilst obviously not as accurate, look good all the way down to the ground (and have trees and buildings everywhere which are actually 3D). It all depends on what you're looking for and what you're prepared to accept.




Lesh hit it pretty much dead on!!


One other thought. FSX can be "brought to its' knees by the Autogen slider" even when used with ORBX.


Unless you're running a whole lot faster processor than any I'm aware of on the market, you're not even going to be able to "fly" with super detailed "photo real" stuff unless you back it off to where it's a min. settings! So now you're back to buildings that look like they're playhouse models!


They may be placed exactly correctly according to an Ordinance Survey Map. But they're also going to be VERY SHORT!


(See the attached example of what I'm talking about)


That model village is placed exactly correctly, including having a model village inside this model village! But it'd be hard to imagine anyone living in it! And IMHO difficult to sim as well!



Molly in Bourton on the Water.jpg

Being an old chopper guy I usually fly low and slow.
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The OP was specifically interested in the GenX photoscenery, and I have described my experience with GenX photoscenery (with 0.6m photoscenery and 4.8m mesh).


I use a 4K TV as a monitor and have my frame rate limited to 30 fps. Even with autogen at Extremely Dense, the frame rate never falls much below 30 (and I've just checked this with the PMDG 737 NGX, though I wouldn't normally enable photoscenery for anything but GA or helicopter simming). At least with GA aircraft (RealAir Duke & Turbine Duke, A2A C172 and Cherokee) I enjoy a very smooth simming experience.


My photoscenery is installed in FSX-SE, and I have all of ORBX's EU and NA scenery installed in boxed FSX for airliner simming. I have more artifacts and microstutters with the ORBX scenery than with the GenX, though I suspect that this is partly due to the fact the aircraft I'm using are more complex, and possibly partly due to the reportedly improved coding in FSX-SE.


I certainly haven't had any problems with the GenX scenery apart from the blurring at low altitudes, and I'd say that what I see corresponds to about ZL 17 to 18 in the photos referenced by lesh.



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