Review

 
A2A Simulations (Shockwave) 3D Lights Redux
For FSX and FS2004
By Nigel C Martin
August 2008

Have you ever thought you would really like to enhance the lighting on the aircraft?  I have on numerous occasions, I have always felt this is one area that can be, well, adequate at best.  Even on commercially available offerings, the lighting effects can be awful, and from a personal perspective it really lets the entire package down.

Some freeware has been exemplary, but again a bit of pot-luck comes into play. OK, not all fit into the pile of rejects, but many do!

So my brethren, when I noticed an add-on called 3d Lighting Redux from A2A, I had a sneaky look at the screen shots and a shout of ‘Hip  Hip Hurray’ came from me!

The results look to be a vast improvement to the default lighting effects both on older and modern aircraft. So, there was not a moment to lose, reach for the credit card! (Again!)

INSTALLATION

This process is effortless, I downloaded the programme then followed the simple instructions, and hey presto all done. I would back-up the original downloaded file if I were you.

After a very recent complete HD failure, I lost ‘tons’ of FS info, back-up is now second nature, after all HD failure won’t happen to me, or you, right?

During the installation process there will is a screen that tells you which aircraft has been tweaked and now has some ‘natty’ additional lighting.

I noticed all the default aircraft were listed having had ‘the’ treatment, but many add-on’s missing. Oh well, forging on, lets see if our path to excellence is ‘illuminated’ (sorry about pun!)

You will notice there is a PDF document which shows you how to add the effects to other aircraft, I have to say the procedure at first glance looks fairly complicated, but we will wait and see. I will be very keen to add these wonderful effects to my favourite aircraft.

IN-USE

FSX
With installation over and complete I have to say I ran FSX with a little trepidation, I selected the Boeing 737, at dusk and waited, WOW, the lighting and strobes are incredible, yup, that is best word to use incredible!

The nav lighting was proportional and effective and the strobes look incredibly realistic.  I have tried to capture this effect in the pictures accompanying this review but the effect has to seen for you to truly appreciate the effect.

Landing lights, as seen on the Boeing 747, Cessna 172, DC3 and so on, (all the default aircraft) look, well real, praise indeed and justly deserved.

Whilst taxing the light intensity on one aircraft was quite strong and on a few occasions I had to look hard at the ground to ensure I was going in the right direction.  This presented no real issues, the lighting spread seemed very accurate. Trying other aircraft, I found the entire taxing experience passed without issue.

I have mentioned in previous reviews that I love helicopters, so without further ado I selected the Robinson and Jet Ranger, both sporting the new wonderful lighting. The effects seen taking-off and landing are really excellent.

    Click for full size image

Click for full size image

FS2004

I kind of expected the lighting to work perfectly in FSX, I had some doubts however if it was to function as well in FS09, why?  I guess because of the vastly improved graphics engine in FSX.  I installed the programme for FS9 and all done.  Again, it indicated the default list of aircraft as having the enhanced lighting added but none of the myriad of my other third party added aircraft.  I will have to look at this issue later.

I started FS9 and selected the trusty Cessna Caravan, again jaw dropping lighting effects, as was all the other default aircraft.

I tested the effects at Dawn, Dusk and Night conditions and was equally impressed at all levels. Taxi lighting effects were noticeably enhanced.

As I tend to fly in FS9 a great deal mainly due to my collection of add-ons, FS NAV and Squawkbox, I am very eager to add the effect to as many of the aircraft I have still in my hangar.

After printing off the PDF file, (not too lengthy, but a must to follow the instructions.) I attempted to add the lighting; To cut a very long story short I succeeded, but I found the process a little awkward, I will persevere with my quest to add the effect to my other aircraft.  I really hope there will be simpler way introduced, after all, we are not all competent at adding information to various vital file areas.

    Click for full size image

Click for full size image

 

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