• Review: San Jose del Cabo by Baja Sim

    Review: San Jose del Cabo by Baja Sim

    By Bill Stack
    October 19, 2011


    Screen shots by BajaSim



    San Jose del Cabo is one of two cities at the southern tip of Baja California, which is a major tourist destinations. Both cities are served by the Los Cabos International Airport (MMSD), which is rendered for FSX in this new scenery from BajaSim. As Mexico's eighth busiest airport, Los Cabos handled 2.7 million passengers in 2010 via several domestic and international airlines. It has three terminals, four concourses, and one runway (16/34).

    This entirely new scenery from BajaSim focuses on the airport and surrounding commercial and tourist areas. It is a complete "from scratch" upgrade of the same scenery for FS2004. The developer highlights these among many other features of this scenery:

    • FSX native scenery
    • Photoreal ground textures
    • Main buildings 3D interiors
    • Amazing realistic night textures
    • Ultra realistic glass textures
    • High detail with low FPS impact
    SCENERY LOCATION


    Screen shots by Bill Stack

    The Scenery

    BajaSim's depiction of Los Cabos Airport and the San Jose del Cabo are is realistic in most aspects.

    Airport: As the focus of this scenery, the airport is depicted precisely in all locations and facilities. All terminals, hangars, fuel tanks, and other structures are where they should be and accurately rendered. An airport building under construction (seen in satellite photos) is shown in the scenery, too. Signage, pavement markings, and equipment appear accurate and detailed. Pavements are more realistic than FSX default, with tire marks and worn paint on the runway, taxiways, and aprons. There are even weeds sprouting from cracks in the concrete. The cacti and scrub bushes in the vegetation areas between pavements give the area a unique realism as we taxi around this airport.

    Surroundings: Landmarks around the airport and in the flight paths for both runways are shown. A penitentiary and an industrial area north of the airport and a golf course and beachfront hotels south of the airport are represented. Their positions are accurate according to the satellite photos I saw, even though their renditions are not absolutely accurate. These large scenery items serve as good visual references for simulation pilots flying visually in, out, and around the airport. They also provide interesting scenery when simulating commercial flights using the airport (if there's time for looking). I have said many times that such items are much more useful to simulation pilots than small items that can be seen only from close up or only from areas were an airplane would never be. There's no extraneous clutter in this scenery that would bog down frame rates.

    Terrain: As evident in my comparative screen shots, this scenery's terrain is remarkably more realistic than the bland terrain in FSX default. Scrub brush, trees, grasses, and water all appear like real-world photos. Anyone relying on FSX default scenery would believe this area is barren desert, when the area is actually well populated with vegetation, a reality that BajaSim's rendition reveals.

    My screen shots below comparing BajaSim's Los Cabos scenery with FSX's default scenery were made as follows: I made a series of shots with BajaSim's scenery activated. Then I went to precisely the same vantage points with BajaSim's scenery deactivated (FSX default).


    SCENERY COMPARISONS

    FSX Default

    BajaSim

    FSX Default

    BajaSim

    Screen shot by Bill Stack



    AIRPORT DETAILS

    Screen shot by Bill Stack



    SCENERY FEATURES


    Screen shot by Bill Stack

    Night Views

    BajaSim's night effects are more realistic than default FSX and in many other scenery add-ons I have seen. Light is cast on buildings and grounds around light poles instead of uniformly, and buildings don't glow in the dark. I wouldn't call them "most amazing," as BajaSim does, but they are indeed superior.

    Both runways lack sophisticated lighting that we're accustomed to in most commercial airports around the world. I am unable to verify their accuracy because Mexico doesn't publish official approach plates, but they do resemble runways seen in satellite photos.


    NIGHT VIEWS


    Screen shot by Bill Stack

    Documents

    A 10-page manual in Adobe Acrobat format provides information about the airport, a basic airport diagram, and installation instructions. An English version and a Spanish version are included.


    THE MANUAL


    Screen shot by Bill Stack

    Technical Features

    This product is for FSX only. BajaSim offered a free FSX upgrade for all registered users of its FS2004 version when the FSX version became available.

    No minimum system requirements are specified. The manual says the scenery was tested with low-end computers without problems. It ran perfectly on my Windows 7.

    Purchase and installation from the Pilot Shop are very easy. Downloading and installation are quick. Neither acknowledgment of copyright nor license keys are required.

    The installation program is available in several languages, including English and Spanish, with the desired language chosen during installation. This program installs the scenery files and manuals into the FSX Addon Scenery folder. Once installed, the scenery must be activated in FSX, and instructions appear upon successful installation.

    No special settings are recommended. The manuals says: "We have designed this scenery keeping in mind that a normal PC could run this addon smoothly, so if you think you have a faster machine you could play with your favorite settings and there will be not any problem with this scenery."

    Frame rates are good. They were in the 20s and 30s most of the time, and they fell into the teens only when I was taxiing near the airport buildings where scenery objects were more numerous. Indeed, they were only slightly lower than in the default FSX.

    Removing the product (if desired) can be done using an unistall program included with the package.

    Technical support is available through an email address available in the manual. BajaSim responded quickly to my inquiries, which bodes well for users needing assistance.

    Readers with technical questions not answered in this review should ask the developer. Using the links below, go to the Pilot Shop page where the product is listed and described, then click on "Manufacturer Tech Support" in the right column.


    PURCHASE FEATURES

    Instant download from the Pilot Shop

    Yes

    Installation program

    Yes

    License key required

    No

    Copyright acknowledgment required

    No

    Manual included

    Yes

    Uninstall program included

    Yes

    TECHNICAL FEATURES

    MSFS Version

    FSX

    Operating System

    Windows XP, Vista, 7

    Special Settings

    None

    Frame Rates

    Good

    Tech Support

    Quick & Helpful




    More Information

    Information about is available from several sources:

    BajaSim develops flight simulator sceneries "using the most advanced 3D design with ultra realistic photoreal textures that will bring your flight experience to the top," the developer said. "Either in FSX or FS2004 our sceneries will give their best to maximize your flight expierence with the best FPS available for this kind of high end scenery." This scenery was chosen because the developer saw sceneries for Mexico "a big hole to fill" and because medium-size, internationally known area was an obvious first choice. This version is a "from scratch" remake of BajaSim's San Jose Del Cabo for FS2004.

    Summary

    BajaSim's rendition of San Jose del Cabo for FSX is remarkable in several ways: While the terrain, airport, and surrounding areas are considerably more realistic than in default FSX, the frame rates are only slightly affected. All scenery items, even weeds growing from cracks in the pavements, are detailed enough for realism without being useless clutter. The manual is helpful toward maximizing the use of this scenery. These features make the simulation experience in this area much more enjoyable than otherwise. BajaSim says it made this FSX scenery "from scratch" instead of adapting its FS2004 version for FSX. All these aspects make BajaSim's San Jose del Cabo for FSX a worthy product in many ways.


    Bill Stack
    [email protected]


    Learn More About BajaSim's San Jose del Cabo for FSX.


    Bill Stack is author of several books about flight simulation, a regular author in flight-sim magazines, and a contributor to FlightSim.Com. His website is www.topskills.com


    1 Comment
    1. pats's Avatar
      pats -
      Wow. Great render and images.
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