Flight Sim Show 2019: Orbx - TrueEarth Northern California, Edinburgh Airport and More

Sol Vashez
Tuesday, October 8, 2019

For many years, Orbx refused to enter the X-Plane universe. But ever since they changed their vision, the company has thrived in the XP community - producing best-selling content and redefining scenery. A few days ago at Cosford, CEO John Venema hosted a presentation on the successes of their company, and the many products and features to expect in the future. In case you missed it, here is a recap.

Mr. Venema began Orbx's presentation with a review of their recent products, including but not limited to London City and East Midlands, highlighting the extreme attention to detail that lies within them. There was no new information in these first few minutes, with the exception of a brief comment about PBR (physically based rendering) textures. Mr. Venema spoke about Orbx's most recent three airports featuring the new rendering technique and the company's desire to make it standard now that P3D and X-Plane are capable of PBR at comfortable framerates. No comments were made about MFS2020.

The CEO then went on to briefly touch on the next version of FTX Central, Orbx's launcher and scenery manager, which is soon to be entering its fourth iteration. Version four is currently in open beta and Mr. Venema claims that his company is basing the new version heavily on community feedback in order to make the product more intuitive and easy to use. Along with this community refresh, the new version is said to have 10-15% better performance for downloading and installing scenery and a new integrated backup system.

For the rest of the presentation, Orbx's CEO briefly reviewed up-and-coming scenery:

Alderney Airport for Prepar3D

Unfortunately, we were unable to hear who, but Orbx acquired the scenery from a separate scenery developer. They have continued to develop the scenery to the standards of the designers who started it. The airport has been completely remodeled but the textures have remained the same high quality. Mr. Venema expects EGJA to be released in the next couple of weeks.

TrueEarth Northern California for X-Plane 11

Currently in beta testing, the scenery contains a lot of detail which makes the area come to life. Among the pictures shown, Mr. Venema highlighted Silicon Valley the most showing various company headquarters and snippets of San Francisco. Custom objects specific to Northern California are being designed in order to make the scenery come to life. Orbx predicts that the scenery will be released in 3-4 weeks.

TerraFlora for XP11

TerraFlora is a complete redesign of default tree textures for X-Plane. It is expected to be released "very shortly."

Tacoma Narrows Airport for X-Plane 11 and Prepar3D

Tacoma Narrows is being built by Orbx's newest team. This team was primarily put together to develop new products instead of porting scenery over to X-Plane. Tacoma Narrows is very early in development and has yet to reach alpha testing. No timeline was announced.

Edinburgh Airport for X-Plane 11

"Absolutely stunning." Mr. Venema spoke about the high optimization that the airport has: it has been tested as having 50fps with X-Plane running at maximum visual settings, being highly detailed and well modeled with high-resolution PBR textures. The project is entering beta testing next week making the release date falling under the 3-4 week mark.

Newcastle Airport for X-Plane 11 and Prepar3D

Newcastle Airport is in very early development, meaning Mr. Venema was only able to show an early render. When released, Orbx Newcastle will feature textures for the 20 square miles surrounding the airport in addition to compatibility with TrueEarth and all the quirks that come with Orbx products.

We recommend watching the presentation if you would like a more detailed overview of all of these scenes and credit to dirkadurka for streaming the event on their Twitch channel.

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