Night flying can be fun now! I hate the default FSX night lighting. Aerosoft’s Night Environment Poland brings a change to my experience over Poland.
Pros and cons
What I like in Night Environment?
- road and city lights during the night
- the quality of lights
What I do not like?
- photoscenery conflicts
What can be improved?
- lighting diversity
Purchase and installation
I am testing a download version that can be bought at Aerosoft’s store. For around 15,45 Euro (depending on your tax rate. If you live outside of EU – the price will be 12,56 Euro.
Installation is typical for any Aerosoft product – the installer requires your email and product key.
There are three optional scenery/lights layers that can be selected in Scenery Library. Base, 0 and 3rd layers are selected by default. By turning off the third and selecting layer 1 or layer 2 you can decrease lighting density and improve performance – I’ll get back to this later.
Just a few pages explaining what the user needs to know – this is how to configure Night Environment in FSX.
Aerosoft’s Night Environment – Poland?
Night Environment – Poland brings night lighting to Poland. It adds lights along roads, highways and in the towns and cities. Apart from lights – it adds textures of brightly lit ground.
This add on uses it’s own vector scenery so the lights layout is independent of the default (or installed) road layout – this brings a huge improvement! I checked a few roads that were built recently – the road network (the vector data) seems current.
Poland covered by Aerosoft’s Night Lighting is similar to what what I can see on satellite imagery – provided the images were taken early in the night – the roads are covered densely with car headlights and the towns are fully lit.
I need to mention the most serious problem I have with this add-on – whole country is covered with almost identical yellow lights – it does not matter if I fly over a brightly lit city district or a rural road with sparse traffic and no street lights. The only difference in lighting is between major and minor roads but still – it may be considered a little boring during long flights in the night. The same applies to towns – the shape is correct but there is hardly any difference between night lighting of a capital city and a small town.
Different add-ons compared
What I like in Night Environment – Poland? I like night VFR flights!
Ok – you know what I do not like. Why I consider this a good add-on?
“Game changer” – I generally do not like this term because it is often abused but I will call Night Environment that! I can not stand the default night lighting in FSX! Sceneries like VFR Poland are no better (as you can see – VFR Poland is terrible and does not allow for visual navigation). If I have flown in nighttime – it was only hi-altitude IFR and it did not matter if I see lights on the ground or not.
This is what changed! Night Environment – Poland made me fly night VFRs. I can take my Cessna or Comanche and follow roads. I can recognize towns with ease. I can take a map and look at it to check my position – deduced from what I see around me in FSX.
Another test – Night Environment against default FSX and VFR Poland
What is important for me – Poland with Night Environment looks good in the night! It’s also a huge advantage over the older vector sceneries that adjusted night lighting but… they did it only half way. Night Environment brings the complete change.
Night Environment compatibility
I discovered that there is a small problem when flying over the terrain covered with a photoscenery (tested with VFR Poland and Drzewiecki Design’s Warsaw) – Night Environment ground textures disappear in a few mile radius around the plane and the photoscenery takes over. Lights are still visible but it seems that they do not cast light on a ground.
After several test flights I have to admit that it is not a serious problem even over Warsaw. In other areas – I simply turn the photoscenery off (I have no use of it anyway).
There are three layers that can be used to show light – depending on PC performance. On my PC I fly with layer 3 – 100% of lights. I saw no impact on performance in normal use.
During my tests I noticed a significant performance issues with high anti-aliasing values. There is no problem at my default settings (2xSGSS). 4xSGSS caused FPS drop to the range between 10 and 25 – that is less than at the advanced payware airport in daytime (15-30) at this settings.
Keeping AA at 2xSGSS allows me to fly over Night Environment at 30 FPS.
Summary – 4****
For me this is a game changer. Night flying can be fun now! It’s the first add-on that allows me to fly over Poland in nighttime and use ground features for visual navigation. For this it deserves the highest praises. Considering a small issue or two – I rate it 4**** – a good add-on.
Price to quality ratio – very good
I consider 12-15 Euro a small price for a night scenery of a whole country. It changes the way I use my FSX – 15 Euro for this is nothing. I would recommend this scenery even if it costed 25 or 30 Euro.
You can buy it at Aerosoft’s Store