204: FTX Global Second Impression

FTX Global doesn’t like other scenery addons (such as the company’s AU, NZ, EU and NA products) which in general overlay specially created sceneries and textures on top of the default FSX layer to render the ultimate image.  It simply replaces FSX default textures in the World\Scenery\Texture folder with its own creations.

FTXGB2-28
FTX Global simply replaces FSX default textures with its own creations

This approach is somewhat similar to what REXessential from REX Game Studio or the Ground Environment products from Flight 1 does to FSX — the former replaces FSX’s default clouds and atmospherics items, and the latter replaces FSX’s default ground textures, meshes and some core files with their own modifications.

With such replacements, FTX Global is able to transform the appearance of the original FSX World into a new one having unified and consistent look and feel (via trees, grasses, roads, autogens, color tones, etc) similar to what the company has developed for its products.

But note that such Orbx style is effective only in areas where no addons are used.

The Good

The good news is: under such replacements, scenery addons one purchased from Orbx or other developers in theory could be compatible with FTX Global as if with the default FSX.

Followings are images I captured in various locations under FTX Global’s hybrid mode:

FTXGB2-01S
Hong Kong (VHHX) by FlyTampa
FTXGB2-02S
Sion (LSGS) by FlyLogic
FTXGB2-03S
Princess Juliana (TNCM) by FlyTampa
FTXGB2-04S
Madeira (LPMA) by Aerosoft
FTXGB2-05S
Andras Field (EAFS) by Aerosoft
FTXGB2-06S
Helgoland by Aerosoft
FTXGB2-07S
Innsbruck (LOWI) by Aerosoft
FTXGB2-08S
Rotterdam (EHRD) by Aerosoft

The Bad

However, there are still bits and pieces of incompatibilities found within these areas, even though all these addons are in general performing as good as they used to be.   Moreover, there are a few third-party missions that couldn’t be played.

(Note that there are people reporting various problems and performance losses are encountered in various locations.  Judgement I made above was based on my own observation.  Your case may be a total different story.)

FTXGB2-13L
Black holes on the runway
FTXGB2-14L
Massive dark area at addon border over FTX Global
FTXGB2-15L
Incorrect runways
FTXGB2-25L
White houses on Santorini Island were all removed

To most of us, it is not possible to get rid of every piece of existing addon we have before installing this FTX Global.  It is not logical to do so as well.  To some people, they may not have the issues I reported above because their systems (hardware and software) don’t equivalent to mine.  You may have found some problems that I don’t have.

No doubt, some of these flaws could be removed or minimized by further careful adjustments.  However, many of the remainings are very likely to be kept forever.  Because neither Orbx nor the developers might deal with them since neither party’s products were developed based on the counterparts’.

Also note again that even though FTX Global blends well with these addons, it also means that the Orbx style in these areas is ineffective, since third-party sceneries and textures are now the active one and on top of the FTX Global layer.

To Go or Not to Go FTX Global ?

What counts the worthiness and cost justification of FTX Global lies in the areas outside the coverages of other scenery addons and fundamentally one’s own preferences towards them.

FTX Global is Absolutely Not An Indispensable Element to FSX and it is far from perfection.

If you seldom fly into bare scenery areas (places where no addons are added), or you normally fly only in areas where photorealistic or highly customized addons are installed, FTX Global doesn’t justify.  Because whether your current addons are working in association with the default FSX textures or with the FTX Global, there’s basically no difference.

BTW, many of the problems I mentioned in the First Impression Post were pretty much solved after tweaking these and those.

Therefore, if you like the Orbx style, this one is now a good to go.

Otherwise, you can skip the FTX Global with no regret.  For example, if you enjoy the photo-realistic scenery from VFR-UK, FranceVFR or MegaScenery, FTX Global is not for you.

And the Ugly

To me, I don’t object such eye-candy improvements even though it is not cheap.

However, what I still want to say is that as a consumer, I am not quite appreciate the approach how Orbx markets their products.

Contrary to many good quality addons (such as the Tongass Fjords by FSADDON) that generally include everything in a single package (or may be two), the company breaks theirs into four — one FTX Global, several Landclasses, many Regional, a lot Airports.   Users are induced to pay again, again and again.  This tricky marketing is something I have been condemning to.

For example, if you already have the EU Scotland and then you buy the FTX Global, the money you are paying for the Scotland part in the FTX Global is wasted.  Because you don’t need the Scotland part in the FTX Global at all.

Similarly, if you get the FTX Global first and then you decide to buy the EU Scotland later, you still need to pay extra for the same area.  Again, the money you already paid for the Scotland area in FTX Gloabl is wasted.

There is no discount at all giving to users having either product.  The company, charging in this way, is simply an act of manipulating its customers.

Moreover, the product gives me an impression that — the FTX Global is trying to play the role of The Ring — the one ring that tries to rule the others all.

==========

Pros

  • Consistent Orbx style

Cons

  • Pricey
  • No realistic scenery, it never was, is and will be
  • No value in areas already have addons installed
  • Landscape disorganizations are commonly seen
  • Third-party missions may no longer be playable
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19 thoughts on “204: FTX Global Second Impression

  1. Hi Tom,
    Read your review and thought it is pretty spot on. If I were to criticize anything it would be your comments on price. Although Global is a big hit on your wallet, it’s really a small drop in the ocean if you were to achieve the same goal with FSX using other products. Add all the GEX & UTX products together and it is way over the asking price for FTXG. (Although you need Global Vector for FTXG to compare like for like.)
    I have ALL of these add-ons inc. FTXG so I can quite easily compare them. When you first start flying with FTXG it does simply look amazing, but after flying in various places all over the world you start noticing mistakes all over the place. Too many to mention here. Badly placed textures. Green lush fields near vertical, on the side of mountains. (Where rock should be on display) Good example for that is the White Cliffs of Dover. Halfway along the shoreline the white chalk turns into green fields!!
    Then there’s the problem most Aerosoft airport users have (myself included), of trees growing out of airports & runways. Orbx’s answer to this is to get YOU to go and manually change things in your FSX directory. In other words, they are not going to fix it which really points to what most of the community are saying. That they are completely uninterested in working with other devs to make FSX a smooth running engine. A sort of FSX takeover attitude.
    On top of that there was the “No Uninstaller” issue which buyers were not made aware of but has now been rectified. You would think it standard in 2013/14 that all software comes with an uninstaller!
    The thing that no-one seems to mention anywhere is the astronomical size FTXG is going to grow to on your drive once you start installing their add-ons. Even small airfields can be over 1-2 gig once installed.
    I can get about 62 Aerosoft airports installed when GEX & UTX are installed before I start having trouble with FPS & OOM’s. With FTXG I can only manage to install fifteen of their add-on airports before I get the OOM kick in.
    So, for the moment it’s GEX & UTX for me.
    There really is a difference between the two but FTXG is a bit fake really. The fields are too green & the vegetation too lush when compared to reality. I know Englands green, but it’s not THAT green. I should know. I live near the Lake District. (The most beautiful part of England that NO devs have even looked at never mind doing an add-on!?)
    So, for now FTXG has been uninstalled (which turned out to be a complete FSX re-install because unlike GEX, FTXG messes with your original files and doesn’t do a good job of replacing them to their previous state.) As with all software releases these days, I think FTXG went from Beta to full release too quickly and has left us finding the remaining bugs, of which I have found many.
    Would I buy FTXG after reading this. Hell yeah! It is visually stunning eye candy even though it’s a little overdone, and is taking FSX to a new level. Unfortunately FSX is dying a slow death due to CPU limits so I think X-plane will be the next big venture for serious simmers like myself.
    For now though, it’s back to my trusted GEX& UTX until a serious update turns up for FTXG.
    Gotta go, I’m set to take off for Malaga in 15 mins….

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  2. Unfortunately, FTXG has REPLACED the assignment for the standard “grass” texture with a texture that is a mix of grass and trees. (This can also contribute to the “tree issue” with trees in unwanted places…like airport runways and aprons.) This means that any developer assigning the “solid” grass texture from SBuilderX will not find that texture where it belongs with FTXG installed. This also means that any developers who choose to use the “grass” texture as an airport background instead of the standard “Mask Class Map” will not see a solid grass surface. The reason developers sometimes choose “grass” over the “mask” is largely for aesthetic reasons… it just LOOKS BETTER in some instances, but it serves the same purpose. Because the standard grass texture contained NO TREES, it was always a safe (and sometimes preferable) alternative to using the “mask”. FTXG makes the grass texture useless, and thus, “breaks” every 3rd party scenery that has assigned a specific “grass/non-tree” texture based on satellite imagery.

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  3. I think you are on target about marketing trickery and pay, pay more, pay again.
    I ftxg is not for me. Its marketed as if it was a jigsaw puzzle that you have to pay for every piece.

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  4. i dont know if i mess something by myself, but there are areas like KLAX that global messed up some airports, nearby airports are elevated or sinking, a mesh problem of course, internal settings lowering issues but no completly …..please someone report if im wrong.
    Thanks Tom and sorry for my english

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  5. I feel that there’s such a big improvement over the stock FSX that I don’t mind paying for FTX Global.

    For those areas that I know from personal visits, I have (mosty) free airport scenery. For a few places like Madeira, I’ve bought payware like Madeira X and am quite happy to do so. Orbx isn’t going to get rich from me because my needs are fairly simple.

    But for most of the places in the world that I might want to fly to on a whim FTX Global suits me fine.

    True, FTX Global still has a number of flaws. But a good many of them were in FSX too.

    One of the best things that I can say about it, other then the visual improvements, is that I haven’t noticed much, if any, FPS slowdown.

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    1. As long as you find it suits your needs, Rich.

      I personally don’t mind paying for the product too as I mentined in my post. But it’s still worth mentioning to others that it is not a perfect product and they may encounter different issues after installing it. For example, there are favorite missions I can no longer fly due to changes brought by FTX Global.

      We shouldn’t just say the goods and suppress the bads, right?

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      1. Hi Tom…apologize for this off topic post in advance…
        yesterday left request under post 191 for link to copy of full
        ShadeShifter program and had not heard from you..perhaps
        you are on vacation…just wanted to bring that request to
        your attention if you had not seen it..thanks in advance…John H.

        Like

    2. no fps slowdown…well, if you fly in the middle of deser with clear sky im sure, try klax with extreme autogen .Orbx itself has pointed that will be a fps hit caused by masssive autogen they added.

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  6. You’re right and you’re wrong.
    Yes FTX Global is not an indispensable element. And yes, as you stated earlier, the price is not cheap for default FSX texture replacement!

    But I disagree with you on the condemnation of the company policy. Here my reasons:
    – ORBX region greatly enhance wide areas in an unprecendant quality which is hard to match except with hundreds of gigabytes of photoreal textures combined with highly accurate autogen placement (FranceVFR 3D automation is the only scenery coping, but at a very high price). All the aerodromes covered by the Orbx regions are enhanced to such a degree that you don’t really need the payware add’on aerodromes except if you want hyper realism. The crazy details the payware Orbx aerodromes offer is so high that it would be impossible to finance their production if they had all to be included in the region package.
    I see it like this, even when Microsoft is not delivering us a new version of Flight Simulator, there are add on companies like Orbx, Carenado, A2A, RealAir, REX and so on which are providing us the feeling of FS11. The only thing I miss here is that we don’t get a modern simulator engine which can take better advantage of multicore CPUs, modern GPUs and more RAM offered by 64bit OS. But maybe Lockheed Martin will help out at least a little bit with Prepar3d 2.0!
    I would already be happy with an FS11 where Microsoft would release the enhanced FSX engine they programmed for Microsoft Flight. That along with better textures (like FTX Global), a better mesh, latest landclass and a few new aircrafts done by the latest standards would give the Flight Simulator industry a much needed kick.

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    1. Hi Samuel,
      That second impression was a draft that I was written late at night. It’s supposed not to be public yet but I must somehow press the wrong button. Ideas and wordings are to be polished and everything hasn’t been finalized.
      Note your point.
      Tom

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