• Aerosoft Tahiti X

    Tahiti X

    By Kevin Glover (10 December 2008)

    In any discussion of exotic vacation locations, the name Tahiti will invariably come up sooner or later. Ah, Tahiti.... what does that name conjure for you? In my mind, I see long, white beaches unbroken by tourists or colorful towels (unlikely, I know), sunburned noses gently crackling under the relentless sun, and beautiful tropical water populated by shoals of fantastically-colored fish and dolphins. As autumn turns to winter here, I find my mind wandering more and more to such locales.

           

    Obtaining and installing the 200MB package from the Aerosoft shop went uneventfully, and I found a new manual in my Aerosoft folder. This manual is liberally concise and only amounts to some five pages of information. However, this is quite enough to fly the scenery, and it does give some extra information on proper settings for this package as well as the included islands and airports. I see that Aerosoft now has a map of the product on their product page, but this would have been useful to me before I spent an entire day flying around what I thought was the product.

           

    The islands are richly carpeted in a lush and vibrant array of autogen and objects. There are various sorts of palms and tropical plants, and the sheer profusion of these add a lot to the islands. I was able to run this scenery on maximum settings and only encountered choppiness when I turned on traffic. Faa'a, the major airport of this package, is capable of accommodating all sorts of aircraft, from gliders to 747's. I was surprised by the 747, but sure enough, there was an AI one there. There is just one runway at this airport, but a plethora of effects and objects are present. The terminal is built along the style of a bamboo hut, but much larger, of course. There are shrubs, cars, an F-18 in a hangar, military vehicles, and cargo containers waiting to be loaded. If you fly northeast from the airport, you can find lots of fascinating objects around the island, such as a small house set besides a calm lake, and a waterfall which plummets from the end of a stream down a rock edifice. This doesn't show an actual water fall, but is rather just a cloud of steam enveloping the rock. I was very happy to see similar things throughout the product, and generally they're accurately placed at the end of rivers or streams.

           

    All of the package's nine airports are detailed and interesting. These airports are spread over fourteen islands and generally have fairly short runways. The distance between the islands is immense, and the scenery is spread over a whopping 2.5 million kilometers. This demands a fast, twin engine aircraft, and I usually used a versatile Twin Otter for my flights. While the tarmac and runway textures at the airports are default, I believe that some of the land surrounding the airports themselves are based on photographic images.

    Aerosoft included teeming masses of custom objects package, and most of them are unique and very interesting. There is construction equipment, piles of logs cut fresh from the rainforests, huts on stilts above the water, resorts, construction cranes, and a host of other things which are too numerous to mention. In addition to this, this scenery is vibrantly alive both at the airports and in the islands. At the airports, there are numerous people walking around, talking on cellphones, or, in the case of a downed pilot who looks suspiciously like the one in the CAP search mission, waving for help. For that matter, many objects are borrowed from FSX such as people, yachts, hangars, and luggage trucks. I didn't mind this in the least personally, as these objects are all artfully placed and are a definite positive factor in this scenery. Watching over all this activity are large, imposing stone faces, and while the original stone sculptures are found on cliffs overlooking the ocean, smaller ornamental replicas are found scattered around the airports.

           

    The archipelago of French Polynesia is one of the most busy sceneries that I have ever seen. There are wheeling flocks of birds above many of the islands, and some of the lagoons even feature a pod of five or so dolphins which gambol and leap in the tropical waters. For that matter, the 'tropical waters' are beautifully enhanced by the water masks which Aerosoft is so skilled with. These are simply textures put over the water, and give the ocean new definitions such as deposits of sediment. These are found all over the scenery, particularly near the shores. As I said, the scenery is 'busy', and I think this is the largest collection of autogen and objects that I've ever seen.

           

    The terrain throughout the scenery is fantastically detailed with craggy cliffs rising above the islands. This makes for some challenging flying, but the effect of these monoliths is quite striking. For that matter, these stone edifices do expose an underlying fault to this scenery; the textures. If my judgment is correct, this scenery is placed on the default textures. While this is somewhat mitigated by the sheer amount of autogen which seems to serve the purpose of covering this up, I still am somewhat disgruntled by this, especially as the roads which often wend along the coasts cut through the sceneries. This is really the only notable fault with this package, and I suppose you can't even really call it a bug or an issue, but nevertheless it displeases me.

    While I believe that this scenery places too much value on eye candy and less on realism or texture quality, I can't deny the attractiveness of the package. Tahiti, or more properly the whole French Polynesian archipelago, has an air of mystique which is difficult to capture in a review or images. This project was conceived on a vast scale by Aerosoft, and any island hopper or bush flyer would do well to consider this package, as I personally believe that Tahiti X offers unrivaled opportunity for discovery.

    Kevin Glover
    [email protected]

    Learn More Here


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