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.
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 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:
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.)
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.
- Consistent Orbx style
- 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