• Review: Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington

    Review: TrueEarth US Washington

    Reviewed by Shawn Weigelt

    Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington     Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington

    Introduction

    All I can say is, "wow!" In fact, I kept repeating "wow," over and over again every time I took a flight over Orbx Simulations Systems' latest scenery package, TrueEarth US Washington. Ever since I started using X-Plane nearly ten years ago I have dreamt that a product like this would someday come along that would impart vivid realism to the state I call home. Finally, at long last that product is here! I can honestly say without a doubt, this is one of the finest products I have ever had the pleasure to review since I first started writing for FlightSim.Com over six years ago. While I fully admit that I may have a slight personal bias being a transplanted Washingtonian, the accuracy of this scenery package and the painstaking efforts and attention to detail required to bring a product of this magnitude to life speak for itself.

    Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington     Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington

    I have never been nervous about reviewing a product until now. To be clear, I was never nervous in a negative, threatening way. I just found my nerves slightly rattled at the prospect of writing my first ever scenery review. Sure, sometimes I jokingly talk about being "out of my element" writing an airplane review that doesn't conform to my personal penchant for General Aviation piston singles, but writing a scenery review is a totally different ball game! Numerous times throughout the testing and evaluation process I kept pondering, "how do I put this into words?" Perhaps a small amount of trepidation comes from the fact that I never remember reading a scenery review, let alone writing one. I guess I figured that if I was ever interested in purchasing a scenery package I would simply peruse the developer's screen shots and make my decision based upon what I saw. After all, custom scenery packages are pretty much all "eye candy." There are no sound files to tickle the eardrums and no flight model to critique and compare to its real world counterpart.

    Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington     Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington

    Once I got over the initial shock of the sheer beauty of this scenery package and came to grips with how I was going to approach writing the review, I was able to relax and just enjoy what it had to offer. I do more than 90% of my X-Plane 11 flying in Washington State, and, having lived here for many years, I felt as though I was very well qualified to review this product. This realization gave me the confidence I needed to press forward and write the review. So, sit back, relax, drink in the screen shots, and allow me to make my case for why Orbx's TrueEarth US Washington should be your next purchase for X-Plane 11.

    What Is TrueEarth US Washington?

    Orbx Simulations Systems have been creating scenery packages and custom airports for many years, but it has only been recently that they started making products for X-Plane. I must confess that more than once I have browsed their web site wistfully hoping that some day they would finally start producing scenery for my preferred flight simulation platform, X-Plane. That day finally came when Orbx released their regional scenery packages for Great Britain as well as several custom airports. Since I hardly ever fly, "across the pond," I, ashamedly, completely missed the release of those products. Only within the past month or two did I even realize that they were working on this project for Washington and it took my good buddy Dom Smith (an Englishman) to point it out to me!

    Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington     Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington

    What is TrueEarth US Washington? Basically, it is a high fidelity rendering of the entire state of Washington through the use of photo real HD ortho-imagery, over 1,000 custom modeled objects, accurately placed buildings, landmarks, and trees. It sounds incredibly simple to say it or type it out, but the lengths the developers have gone to to make this scenery package as realistic and immersive as possible is truly staggering. I will get into this in more detail later in the review.

    Purchasing and downloading the product from OrbxDirect is relatively simple and straightforward. I will warn you, however, that this is not a small file. In fact, I had to make room on my 1TB iMac for the entire package. Some may see this as a negative trait of the product, but I have reconciled that to get a product of this scope and magnitude, one has to dedicate a large chunk of space on their computer to accommodate it. Everything has a cost and not just a financial one! Orbx says on their web site that TrueEarth US Washington is 207 GB once it is installed. Yeah, that's big, so make sure you've got the space on your machine. Maybe consider investing in a good external hard drive!

    Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington     Orbx - TrueEarth US Washington


    1 Comment
    1. johnnybbmorgan's Avatar
      johnnybbmorgan -
      Shawn,
      Thanks for your thorough review of what I also believe is one of the best addons I've ever spent $$$ on! I was born in Seattle, and have been a Washingtonian for the bulk of my life. TE Washington is simply amazing and beautiful! I was fortunate to finally get my 'dream' dedicated for flight simming only 'hot' setup earlier this year and I'm able to jack up my flightsim's settings to pretty much maxed out, and what can I say...TE Washington kicks butt! I live on the Oregon coast nowadays and love this state's natural beauty as much as my beloved Washington! And...wouldn't you know it...another dream came true! Orbx just recently released TE Oregon and it's superb too! I'm spending a lot of time flying around both great states, and I'm enjoying every minute of it! Thanks Orbx!

      John
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