• Review: Orbx TrueEarth Great Britain North

    The view from 5,000 feet or so is just fabulous, and when you turn off the lights, then just wow! You can just imagine all the folks below tucked up in bed, there is something quite magical about flying at night and the TE series doesn't disappoint from what I experienced. With lights turned back on, the metropolis that is the Central Belt with Glasgow sprawled out below was superb; Ibrox, Parkhead and Hampden football stadiums, not forgetting cranes along the Clyde, old gas works storage tanks, the exhibition centre and loads of other local historic landmarks were all present. My frame rates did take a wee bit of a hit when downtown, low to mid 20's but still flyable. I should mention that this area has always been a challenge for my setup, even without the TE scenery, but as I said no major stutters. Heading east, Edinburgh was next on the list, and again the urban sprawl below was superbly detailed as I followed the M8 motorway to the capital.

    Orbx - TrueEarth Great Britain North

    As I approached the ancient city of Edinburgh from the west, the three Forth bridge crossings stand like sentinels across the water and provide fabulous VFR landmarks, and as I progressed, I found various other landmarks such as the Royal Yacht Britannia docked at the Ocean Terminal in Leith, both Tynecastle and Easter Road football stadia, Murrayfield the home of Scottish rugby and not forgetting the historic castle towering above Princess Street and the Royal Mile. The seat of Scottish power is also there in the shape of the Parliament Building, the Palace of Holyrood, the iconic Walter Scot monument, and loads, loads more. Heading west, I flew past the Falkirk wheel, which is a fabulous piece of engineering if you have never seen it, then hung a right to take me into the Kingdom of Fife and then on to Dundee and up the east coast to the Granite City of Aberdeen.

    Crossing the river Tay, the railway and road bridges are like outstretched arms welcoming you into Dundee, and where you will find a few local landmarks such as the RRS centre where Captain Scott's Antarctic Ship can be found, and not forgetting Tannadice, the home of Dundee United and literally across the road, Dundee FC's stadium.

    Orbx - TrueEarth Great Britain North

    Following the A90, I headed off north to Aberdeen a journey which by car takes about an hour, and is normally dull as dish water, however this time, it was quite the opposite. Being able to follow the road I have driven on so many times in years gone by, gave me a real buzz, and as I arrived at the outskirts of Aberdeen, the nostalgia came flooding back. I passed the Shell fuel station where I used to wash my car, the historic Bridge of Dee, the Winter Gardens green houses in the Duthie park, Pittodrie football stadium down at the beach (freezing in winter), the resolute Marshall college, and not forgetting the iconic suspension bridge near Tory, the new sports village off King Street, the exhibition centre at the Bridge of Don, the Golf Road tower blocks, Aberdeen Universities' new library, and finally the historic King's College. Great for weddings by the way! For an Aberdeen lad like myself who is now living abroad, this was just like coming home, and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

    This for me is why the Orbx TE series is worth every penny; the fact you get so many famous landmarks that you can really relate to (not just some jumbled up mass of generic objects). With the leaps and bounds that X-Plane has taken over the last few years, the scenery really comes alive and you can truly immerse yourself for hours at a time. I appreciate if you are at 30,000 feet then who really cares, but for anyone flying VFR like myself, I can't speak highly enough of the experience and just how much genuine pleasure I have received from this and the other TE sceneries.

    Orbx - TrueEarth Great Britain North

    In saying all of that, I believe it is also important to balance things up a wee bit and point out a couple of small things that I believe could be improved upon. I know I am just being picky, however I thought it worthwhile to share my observations nevertheless. Even the "best of the best" can always be improved. What I noticed was that on occasion, some of the roads were a bit "messy" when in the urban areas, and it was a bit tricky to work out what was going on at times. I also found the occasional bridge to be a bit stranded in mid-air, and the most annoying issue was that there were trees in places where there shouldn't be from time to time, i.e. in the middle of roads. One other thing to be aware of is that the base mesh and overlays must be slightly different to the default, as I found that in at least a couple of my own airport sceneries, they no longer aligned with the roads and will have to be adjusted. Just something to be aware of.

    So, there you have it, my views, thoughts and observations regarding the TrueEarth Great Britain North scenery from Orbx Simulation Systems.

    If you are a regular flyer in and around the British Isles, I would certainly give this some serious consideration, as the overall effect and level of detail really is fabulous. A real game changer for X-Plane 11 in my opinion. I am not sure what else the Orbx team have on their roadmap, however hopefully, this is just the start of many similar scenery packs for the rest of the globe, because I was truly impressed with the quality of their work. In saying that, I also appreciate that at 40 bucks a pop, you are looking at the guts of 120 dollars to just cover the whole of Great Britain which may not be in everyone's budget, however if you can stretch the money, and you have the hardware to get the best out of it, I would go for it. For me at least, I am now pretty much set for life, as being able to tour about my island home in all its beauty from the comfort of my living room is all I need to keep me interested. I am also sure there will be updates along the way adding new features, so it just doesn't get better than this!

    Orbx - TrueEarth Great Britain North

    One thing I have realised through this experience, is that although there is a big old world out there, with so many fascinating places to visit and see, sometimes it is worth just having a closer look at what is on your own door step, as it is often surprising what you will find!

    Stuart McGregor

    Purchase Orbx - TrueEarth Great Britain North


    1 Comment
    1. Coneman's Avatar
      Coneman -
      True Earth is really excellent. However as a P3D user, I'm very disappointed how this rolled out. The Netherlands was released for P3D, then the entire 3-part scenery for England was cranked out for X-Plane, only then did we finally get UK South for P3D. Then it was on to TE PNW for X-Plane after it being stated that it would be coming first for P3D. I would be very surprised if we even see the rest of England this year. Think I'm going to put a hold on Orbx stuff for now.
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