You often ask about ORBX products. How they fit into FSX or P3D? What do you need? What don’t you need? How they work together? Here are the answers!
- Purchase and installation – ORBX Direct
- ORBX Libraries
- FTX Central vs old installers?
- Download issues
- FTX Central Settings
- Global, Vector, openLC, regional sceneries – coverage, differences
- Coverage and features
- Regional sceneries (FTX Norway, FTX Southern Alaska, etc)
- FAQ (Global and regional sceneries)
- Other add-ons
- ORBX mash for Australia, Papua, and South America
Purchase and installation – ORBX Direct
To buy ORBX products visit ORBX Direct. Then, to install your new sceneries, download FTX Central. It’s a small app that manages ORBX content in your FSX and Prepar3d. You need to log in to FTX Central with the email and password you used in ORBX Direct store. Then just click on a scenery you wish to buy or install.
ORBX sceneries were divided into four product lines: Global, Europe, North America, Oceania. On the screenshot above you can see the selection of add-ons in Oceania. Two products are darkened – meaning I need to buy them (New Zealand). Click on such product to be redirected to the store.
Products that need to be updated are marked with a red label (next screenshot – FTX Global NA Airport Pack).
Click a product tile to see detailed information and options.
Update availability is shown again.
Control Panel and User Guides are available only for some products.
Up-to-date ORBX Libraries are required for sceneries to work properly. This is important!
FTX Central vs old installers?
Some users reported problems with ORBX sceneries. Often they were always a result of using old installers (downloaded from the Flight Sim Store).
When ORBX decided to sell their sceneries directly (ORBX Direct) instead of using FSS (Flight Sim Store) they moved all licenses to their database. If you have any sceneries purchased in FSS – you need to sign up for an account in ORBX Direct, and then use FSS License Transfer tool to get all the content to your account. Only then proceed with the installation. First, download the current version of FTX Central and then install or update your sceneries and ORBX Libraries. In my experience – following the proper procedure solves the problems.
Some users experienced issues with downloads. It happened to me too. Usually re-downloading solved the problem. If it does not – you can use manual download feature in FTX Central. Once you have the file on your PC – use FTX Central to extract it and install into your sim (FSX or P3D).
FTX Central Settings
You will probably look at this screen only once. But it’s important that you do! Just set Library insertion corretly and you are done.
On top, you can see account data. Your name and email address should be displayed there.
Below you will find Library Insertion Point. ORBX sceneries work best when they are located below your other add-on sceneries (with the exception of mesh and landclass). In FSX you can choose to place the FTX below “Addon Scenery”. In my P3D library (shown) I don’t have Addon Scenery in the library so the FTX is located below Fixes (scenery I added just above the Bathymetry). openLC should be placed below FTX. Check out my text about the correct scenery library layout.
For downloads, I chose multiple threads option which is still in Beta. If you experienced any problems with downloads – uncheck it.
Visibility options are self-explanatory.
Tools are located in the bottom of the screen. Migration will probably be forced during one of the first installations so you don’t have to bother with this option. Clear Temp will free some space on your drive – if you have any unfinished downloads. Vector configuration is blacked-out in my FTX Central. I haven’t installed it yet in my P3Dv4.
Global, Vector, openLC, regional sceneries – coverage, differences
A quote from my review of FTX Global Base:
At first glance FTX Global is just another texture package – like many freeware and payware. This observation is true, but at the same time – it completely misses the point. FTX Global is not just another texture pack – it’s a global modification of how FSX (P3D) terrain looks. And when I write global I do not only mean the world range but also the depth of change of FSX core. It’s not the matter of better textures. It’s the better idea behind texture creation and display that makes this add-on worth it’s price.
There are additional advantages – FTX Global Base is a… base for other ORBX add-ons (just like regional FTX sceneries are a base for airports). You can expand FTX Global with Vector and OpenLC landclass add-ons. What I like most is the ability to install new ORBX airports over FTX Global – I recently reviewed one of these airports – Palm Springs (6*).
Another from my review of FTX Global Vector:
Vector – what is it?
FTX Global Vector is a vector scenery add-on that changes (or adds) the following:
- rivers and lakes
- power lines
- golf courses
Additionally Vector corrects airport elevations and adds:
- concrete textures in ports
- tunnel entrances
And one more – this time from the review of openLC Europe:
openLC? What is it?
- landclass for the whole Europe (and Turkey);
- new textures (seasonal);
- 3d lighting
- Vesuvius photoscenery
Landclass – land classification defines what kind of texture will be displayed in each plane in FSX scenery. There are about 150 classes of terrain in FSX – each with their corresponding textures. In short – landclass connects this textures with the place you are looking at defining it as a field, meadow, rocky terrain, desert or a city.
Consider the importance of the last type – correctly placed towns and cities will allow you to navigate visually. A missing city that you planned as a waypoint will get you lost. openLC Europe deals with the missing cities problem.
New textures give Europe even better looks than earlier (with FTX Global Base). They are also more realistic in how they represent terrain in each part of Europe.
Global Base and Global Vector cover (as the name suggests) the whole world. openLC coverage is limited to a continent. Currently three products are available: Europe, North America and South America.
Regional Sceneries (FTX Norway, FTX Southern Alaska, etc)
ORBX’s regional sceneries consist of vector and landclass sceneries for a featured region. The quality of vector data and landclass is higher compared to the global sceneries. They are also enhanced by mesh (elevation data), corrected airports, custom landmarks and better autogen (when compared to Global+Vector+openLC). Additional features – like small photosceneries are also included.
- Northern Ireland,
- Northern Germany.
- Southern California,
- Northern California,
- Pacific North West,
- Pacific Fjords,
- Southern Alaska,
- Central Rockies,
- Northern Rockies.
- New Zealand (North Island)
- New Zealand (South Island)
Check out my reviews to read more about this sceneries:
FAQ (FTX Norway, FTX Southern Alaska, etc.)
Do I need FTX Norway if I have Vector and openLC?
Yes. FTX Norway adds a more detailed scenery that features mesh, better autogen and custom objects.
Does Global include mesh (elevation data)?
No. Neither ORBX FTX Global Base (nor Vector / openLC) includes mesh. You need a separate mesh product (freeware of payware).
Is there a difference between FS Global 2010 / FS Global Ultimate and FTX Global?
Yes. These are completely different products. FS Global is a mesh (elevation data) developed by Pilot’s. FS Global can be used with FTX Global to provide mesh.
Does Global work with GEX? Does openLC work with GEX?
FTX Global Base and openLC work similarly to GEX. I prefer Global.
Global or UTX?
UTX ads vector and landclass data. It can be a cheaper alternative for Vector and openLC of you fly over Europe only (UTX range is limited to Europe or North America – which are sold separately).
UTX does not include textures so it can work with Global Base.
The airports are places in all product ranges (Global, Europe, North America, Oceania) which may seem odd. They were placed according to requirements. Airports that require FTX Global Base were placed in Global Range, and airports that need FTX regions were placed in appropriate ranges.
I am often asked about this requirements. Will the airport work if you don’t have the required scenery (Global or regional). Yes, it will. But some features may be unavailable.
Check out my reviews of ORBX airports:
FTX Global Trees HD
High definition trees. Global coverage.
Monument Valley, Cityscape Canberra, Portland – sceneries of several places.
There are three aircraft by ORBX. I haven’t tested them.
There are several freeware airports for ORBX’s American regions (mostly for Pacific North West) and for FTX Australia. New freeware airports were published recently for Europe. You should definitely try them. They differ in quality and in the level of detail, but even the old add-ons are worth a visit.
There are also two Airport Packs – for North America and Europe. The quality is similar to the enhanced airports of FTX regional sceneries.
Freeware add-ons are not visible in FTX Central if they are not added to the user account. To install them visit ORBX Direct and add them to your account.
Mesh ORBX (Australia, Papua, South America)
There is a freeware mesh for Australia, Papua-New Guinea and South America available in Freeware section of ORBX website.