FTX Global openLC Europe – ORBX – review (5*)

openLC Europe is a great add-on that eliminates repeating texture pattern in FSX scenery. It also enhances Europeans scenerie and adds missing cities. I like it!

Pros and cons

What I like in ORBX’s openLC Europe?

  • repeating texture pattern is eliminated!
  • correctly placed cities and towns
  • regional division of European sceneries
  • credible texture choice
  • new textures

What I do not like?

  • texture loading time

What can be improved?

  • some urban areas (small towns)

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ORBX FTX Global openLC Europe

openLC? What is it?

  • landclass for the whole Europe (and Turkey);
  • new textures (seasonal);
  • 3d lighting
  • Vesuvius photoscenery

Landclass?

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.

Textures

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.

Purchase and installation

Similarly to other recently published ORBX products – openLC Europe is distributed by FlightSimStore. It’s price is 39.95 Australian Dollars around 26 Euros or 29 U.S. Dollars (current rates – November 2015).

Installation process is the same as for any other ORBX add-on – installer requires your order number, order date and product key. It automatically adds all sceneries (one for each part of Europe) to the Scenery Library.

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FTX Global Base is required

All features of openLC Europe will be available only if FTX Global Base is installed on your PC.

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Impressions

What was the difference after I had it installed? The biggest change I see is in the (lack of) repeating pattern of ground textures. The pattern vanished and wherever I fly I only see a well recreated landscape. Textures also changed (slightly when compared to FTX Global Base, totally when compared to default FSX). I noticed the greater variety of European terrain.

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(lack of) repeating textures (6******)

For me it’s the greatest advantage of this product. Even after I installed FTX Global I could notice repeating textures – the default landclass is just too simple and improved textures can not solve this problem. Reworked landclass can – and here ORBX team did a grat job. Instead of multiple repetitions of the same texture – now I see a detailed landscape.

Regions (5*****)

If you start FSX in a random location – you will have a hard time telling whether you are in Russia or in Spain. You can fly around Moscow and see desert below. There can be no difference between Eastern Europe and Spain. Now there is a difference!

According to the manual – openLC includes nine regions.

Note: There are 10 folders in Scenery Library – I am not sure if the Iceland is divided into two different regions or if it’s just the way they placed Iceland in Scenery Library.

Now I can see where I em. There are no similarities between Sweden and Norway. Germany looks completely different from Turkey.

Keep in mind that this regions are similar to the real world locations but they are not an exact representation – you will notice a difference when looking at the edge of a photoscenery (for example Drzewiecki Design’s airports are surrounded with a small photoscenery).

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“Complete” world (5*****)

I need to stress that I have no idea how FSX handles autogen placement in this scenery – I simply describe my feelings.

I have an impression that this scenery I have is “complete” (Global + Vector + openLC). Vegetation and buildings (autogen) are placed very well and they follow features drown on textures – for example trees grow on balks between fields. Urban autegen seems enhanced and more dense. It makes low level flights much more exciting.

Navigation (4****)

This part is important for all pilots who fly VFR and navigate visually. How is openLC improving navigation over FSX terrain? Let me compare it to two types of scenery – photosceneries (1m/px) and ORBX FTX regions (Norway, Northern California, etc.). Both these types would get 5 stars in this category. openLC (+Vector) gets 4. It is not as good as individual FTX regions. But it’s more than sufficient for navigation.

I flew several test flights at low level. I designed my routes in the way I considered “risky” in FSX – with multiple waypoints located over small towns. openLC passed with flying colors. All towns that I looked for were available for navigation (some of them are not visible in default FSX). The only problem I could see was the shape. It was not matching my map (or a satellite photo) exactly. In openLC defense – my map is not matching satellite photo exactly so it may be difficult to get the shapes correct every time.

Bottom line – it’s a good tool for VFR flights and visual navigation.

Performance (it’s complicated)

There is no rating because everyone will have different results here. In terms of FPS this scenery is perfect. There are no problems at all.

You may notice performance issues in terms of texture loading times – and blurries. I did some test and I saw significant impact when the scenery was installed on a “busy” hard drive. Moving it to a second drive solved most of my problems.

It’s a standard procedure for me to move (or install) FSX textures on a separate drive. Currently I can descent for landing in a PMDG 777 and there are no blurries (sometimes slight may appear – especially with complex cloud cover). I can also fly military jets at 400knots without experiencing problems. That is much less than in default FSX (around 600 knots in my system) but I am pretty satisfied with 400kn. In all test flights I used demanding aircraft like PMDG 777, Aerosoft’s F-14 and Metal2Mesh Mirage 2000.

My observations suggest that openLC increases VAS usage. Keep that in mind when pushing your settings too high.

Summary (5*****)

openLC Europe is a great add-on that eliminates one of the greatest problems of Flight Simulator X (and Prepar3D) – repeating texture pattern in FSX/P3D scenery. It also enhances Europeans scenerie and adds missing cities allowing for a safe visual navigation. It’s a must have!

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
FTX Global openLC Europe - ORBX
Author Rating
51star1star1star1star1star

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