Good morning ladies and gentlemen, please fasten your seat belts and get ready to experience Microsoft flight simulator X as you never experienced possible in a eight-year-old PC game.
The vanilla Microsoft flight simulator X, even with the acceleration Pack add-on pales in comparison to the level of graphical detail that most PC games are able to do now. All you need to do is look at the fact that flight simulator 10 it only includes a direct X 10… Preview mode. Wouldn’t it be nice if we finally had direct X 11 support for this old simulator?
Unfortunately MS flight simulator 10 is no longer being supported by Microsoft and hasn’t received any updates for many years. On the other hand, this new flight simulator product called Prepar3d is looking promising as it is basically a super buffed up version of Microsoft flight simulator X.
For as old as Microsoft flight simulator X is, there really is nothing that comes close to it. The reason isn’t because the vanilla install plus the acceleration update is that fantastic, rather it is the plus or of third-party add-ons which have come after that we suddenly drags a 2006 game right into the 2012 era.
In case you haven’t installed any Microsoft FSX add-ons, the following is my own personal lives of must have add-ons.
Add-ons you can’t live without in Microsoft FSX.
This awesome add-on, completely re-does the weather and environment effects in FSX. Those strange puffy repetitive clouds you got so used to it FSX, get replaced by a whole bunch of new HD textures.
The weather and sky themes all get updated. If you ever wanted to fly a beautiful sunset scene than real environment extreme add-on is your ticket to that.
There are other add-ons that are similar to real environment xtreme,such as Flight 1 – Flight Environment X, however the amount of free updates and HD textures you get with real environment xtreme makes it one of the most affordable and popular environmental add-ons for FSX.
Features of Real Environment Xtreme
- New weather engine
- Free flight planner
- Change the default weather, water, airport and even lightening textures
- Completely new environmental sounds and weather effects
The current newest version of real environment extreme is called REX is essential. you can buy this product on the flight Sim store and retails for a very affordable $40. This is a digital download, be prepared as the download is almost 5 GB in size. For those of you that actually fly Prepar3D you are in luck as Rex is compatible with this new update.
This add-on is a little bit harder to explain but once you have it installed you notice immediately the difference it makes to how flight simulator looks.
The default terrain in FSX is pretty sparse. For example, if you fly the Telluride mission and you look out to your left at Rome… it looks like a flat boring mash of grey and brown colors. It hardly looks as amazing as your co-pilot would have you believe. This is where UTX really shines. Install the europe add on and notice an immediate change. Rome looks like a city now. Generic roads actually become placed as they are in real life, there is an increase in density of auto-gen, Rome looks like a sprawling urban city!
The real roads is a killer, this data is actually pulled from a commercial data set and makes all the roads in FSX much more closer to what you would see in real life.
Not just roads, but UTX upgrades all the often forgotten stuff like shorelines, rivers and streams. Lakes even get proper brown murky colors. No more tropical blue lakes in the middle of the country side.
Lastly and most importantly UTX redefines all the land class data to dramatically improve how FSX portrays cities. If you fly the default FSX installation over big cities, a lot of times you notice how sparse anything looks. UTX does a lot to address this.
Features of Ultimate Terrain X
- New roads and highways
- More realistic shorelines, rivers and streams
- More accurate land classes
- Additional water classes
- New ground textures for newly added land classes
Ultimate terrain X is split into geographical regions. For example to buy the USA UTX add-on will cost you around $43 at time of writing. UTX also has versions for other popular regions such as Europe and Canada. It is hard to describe what ultimate terrain X does but it’s a lot easier to see its effect once you have it installed in front of you.
This is a stand alone product, however it pairs and works very well when you have UTX installed.
UTX is like the painters crudely drawn black and white sketch. It outlines where the major features need to appear, however what truly brings any scene alive is the range of colors and textures that finally get laid on top of that framework.
GEX is your painters color pallet. UTX tells FSX in great detail what bit of land is a forest, city or water terrain. GEX replaces all the standard low resolution boring FSX textures with absolutely new ground textures. Combining UTX and GEX is like installing FSX Service Pack 3.0! Yes it really is that amazing.
Features of Ground Environment X
- Brand new high resolution ground textures
- Replaces all seasons
- New night textures
- New autogen rules. More stuff at the right place.
- Revamps FSX mushy brown textures with ones that make you want to create wallpapers
GEX has add-ons for almost all the world. You have America, Europe and Africa etc. You can buy the America + Canada add-on for about $35 on the Flight1.com website. Installation is a breeze. Just make sure you install UTX first as GEX has special texture replacements for UTX customers. Also, GEX will even back up your old FSX textures in case you ever wanted to go back (why?).
GEX + UTX + FEX
I’m glad this video came out, as it clearly and very beautifully demonstrates the transformation a ground texture + landclass + weather add-on can make to the overall look and feel of the venerable FSX.
GEX + UTX + REX2