Non-Commercial FSX Scenery Review
AWG Simulations KSDL X
|Description:||Accurate recreation of Scottsdale KSADL airport Sola|
|Reviewed by:||Aaron Graham|
|Published:||May 12th, 2012|
Computer / Software Specifications
|Computer System:||- Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400
- 8 GB RAM
- NVIDIA GeForce 330GT
- 1TB HDD
|Software:||- Windows 7 x64
- Flight Simulator X
AWG Simulations first release is KSDL X. KSDL is the ICAO code of the airport, its proper name is Scottsdale Airport. It is located in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA and is adjacent to Phoenix. This is a debut release so stakes were high.
But I was surprised that they offered it as free ware as they clearly have intentions of releasing pay ware scenery and aircraft!
Installation was an easy and straight forward affair. The product installs using an automatic installer which is easy to use and has an interface which gets to the point with nothing fancy.
The installer will ask you to confirm your PC meets the minimum systems requirements, ask you where to install the scenery and accept the EULA. All very standard in today’s world. Upon the completion of installation you will be asked to read a PDF called ‘Activate Scenery’. This simply tells you how to add the scenery to the FSX database. It was nice to see them include this as many free ware developers omit a manual all together!
My first impressions were “wow, I can’t believe this is freeware”!
That impression continues throughout the entire review.
The scenery covers a large area which has a photo aerial base and custom auto gen placed on top.
I personally feel this scenery is up there with some pay ware developments!
The Airport (KSDL)
One thing that struck me was the amount of detail that has been added to the airport. It looked superb. All the buildings look good and are custom modelled as far as I can see. The models are of a high polygon count and have sharp textures which something most free ware sceneries do lack.
I was disappointed to see there was no ground poly but you can’t blame them when it is free and adding a ground poly would have probably required a lot more work. The aerial image at the airport was very crisp and sharp with no visible blurs. The airport layout seems very accurate from real world images and I could find no misaligned buildings.
Moving on to the climb out and approaches, I liked the way the scenery designer has integrated the area around the airport to create a very nice feel. KSDL normally handles business jets and props. The runway is pretty long for such a small airport, so there should be no worries regarding rejected take-offs or go arounds.
The Surrounding Area
AWG Simulations also chose to model the surrounding area in fantastic detail! I liked the way they did this as it provided the ultimate VFR experience along with realistic jet-set approaches. Again, I couldn’t find any misaligned buildings and all the auto gen looked good with sharp textures.
The aerial image was as expected – nice and sharp – and the airport overall oozes quality and it was a relief to see this, as with this being a free ware project, I expected it to be sub-par. But this proved me to be incorrect. Most of the buildings were also modelled accurately so I have nothing much to complain about here. I would have liked it if they modelled some more of the surrounding area.
Performance is often the deciding factor for us flight simmers. We don’t care how much detail is in the scenery if we get low FPS and can’t enjoy the experience. I am glad to report back that the developers seem to have made the scenery very efficient as I noticed little to no drop in FPS compared to the default scenery. I was very surprised with this result.
I can only congratulate the team on this achievement.
I know this review was rather brief, but I feel it conveys the message I am trying to get across. This scenery is one of the best free ware sceneries available in FSX bar none. It is also better than same other developers pay ware sceneries! Which for freeware is quite an achievement.
I initially thought of free ware as being poor quality and sub par, but my initial thoughts were happily proved wrong. I would recommend this scenery to anyone who flies FSX as it provides good looks with silky smooth performance. I have been informed by the developers that they may update it in the future to include Scenery X technology and some more improvements to the overall look and feel of the product. I look forward to seeing future free ware and pay ware releases by this new FSX development group!
I hear that Atiu X (Aitu is situated in the Cook Islands in the Pacific) is coming along nicely, after Canadian Mesh 2012. They seem to have an exciting product development time line. Let’s see what the future holds, after this impressive first release which was free ware.
This review is written for Aerosoft News Service and published via the Aerosoft website.
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