One of the latest add‐ons rolling off the ever busy production
line at Orbx is Fall City Airport, designed to be
used with FTX PNW. With so many add‐ons being produced by Orbx
right now, does the quality remain?
About the Add-on
Fall City is a private airport community located just outside Fall City, Washington and has a 3,000ft x 25ft asphalt runway. It is far enough away from the busy airspace of Seattle to keep it nice and quiet, but at around 40km, not too far to make a trip to the big smoke a major undertaking.
The airport is surrounded
on one side by the Snowqualmie River and hilly terrain on the
other. The scenery airport‐side of the river
has been given extra special treatment and features detail of
7cm, 30cm and 60cm/pixel photo‐real
coverage (see screenshot).
Also included is:
● Fully custom modeled airport and houses
● FSX gmax poly runway, aprons and more
● Beautiful Snoqualmie Falls location
● Includes PeopleFlow animated characters
● Includes dynamic falling leaves in fall season
● Brand new grass systems for amazing realism
● TextureFlow optimised and excellent FPS
● Includes custom GA AI Traffic movements
● Unbelievable level of object detail!
● Expert 5 seasons color matched imagery
I am reviewing the download version of the add‐on which is available from the FlightSimStore website as a 622mb download for the excellent price of £21.50. It is worth noting that you MUST have a copy of Orbx FTX NA Blue Pacific Northwest Installed. Download and installation is very quick and easy, you will be ready to take‐off in well under half an hour.
Fall City is the debut add‐on by Russell White and features some new technology called 'NatureFlow' which adds a wonderful atmosphere to the airfield with moving grass, swaying trees and falling leaves in the fall.
This is a fantastic addition to the airfield, but is only really noticeable when stationary or taxing very slowly around the airfield.
Roll over the image to see the lush spring turn into arid summer!
The trees and grass do not change their
rate of movement if you change the wind speed
or direction, but that was hoping for too much on my part.
During the process of this review 1WA6 was
updated and had 'Vehicle Flow' added to the package; now the
trucks and cars move around the scenery. I
followed one truck on it's route around the airfield and saw it
being loaded up with boxes by one of the
Loading the boxes
Cessna's in the sheds
Where to today?
Vehicles are very much a feature of this add‐on with lots of excellently modelled rusting trucks and cars scattered around the scenery. Most are out of view behind the houses and buildings, so you will need to explore the scenery a little to find them all. The developer has also included some beautifully detailed static Cessnas all housed in the hangar/sheds looking out towards the runway.
The detail extends beyond the airport and out into the surrounding community with lots of houses and buildings modelled. Like the Diamond Point add‐on it is very easy to spend a lot of time wandering around the surrounding area following roads up to the houses. Once you do take to the skies, do so in something slow like the Piper Cub. The scenery area is fairly small and you wouldn't want to miss something by flying past it too quickly.
Super-detailed around the airfield
Following the river to see more of the scenery
A very popular location
Mist rising from the falls
After take‐off one of the first things you should do is follow the river south‐west towards the Snoqualmie Falls, if you're struggling to follow the river just look for the spray being thrown up from the river. The water flowing over the falls isn't animated, but the spray gives the impression that it is. The buildings around the area are spot on compared to the real‐world versions. The spray is also a great visual reference point for coming in to land at the airport.
Once you are in the skies the detail is pin‐sharp from any altitude, as I hope the screenshots show. It's very easy to pick out the landmarks of the golf course, river and waterfall, and with the river flowing so close to the airport it's never difficult to find your way home. The area covered in the scenery blends seamlessly into the FTX PNW scenery – without the visual reference points the airport is quite difficult to pick out with the naked eye until you are very close.
As you explore the area (provided you have selected them in the control panel) you will hear some nice ambient sounds which add to the atmosphere of the airfield, and combined with the moving trees and grass make it feel like a very laid back and nice place to be.
It looks so real!
I'll skip straight to the 19th!
The first few times that I came in to land I totally messed it up. Even though I could see the runway and was perfectly lined up, the uneven terrain makes it a little tough to judge the glide‐path correctly. Approaching from the other end is a lot easier as you coming in over the golf course, try not to get too low or you'll end up in the trees!
Manual & Performance
With a scenery as detailed as this it is vital to get your system set up correctly to ensure that you do not miss out on anything. Thankfully all this is covered in the manual – in fact a large proportion of the 21 page manual is dedicated to installation and system settings. No‐one can accuse Orbx of not helping the end user get things set‐up correctly.
Using the settings suggested in the manual, with Ultimate Traffic running 100% GA AI I was achieving over 40+ fps away from the airport and 20‐30fps when moving around the airport. Considering the amount of animations taking place (aircraft, people, trees, grass, trucks, AI, waterfall) I think the performance is excellent. I didn't change my system settings away from the recommended ones in the manual because I was more than happy with the level of detail I was getting.
In my opinion only simmers who enjoy the low and slow life will get the most from Orbx products, and Fall City is no different. The atmosphere and ambiance is totally different compared to any other add‐on airport I have used, primarily due to the addition of NatureFlow and VehicleFlow. These are just added animations but they bring the area to life. Without these additions the airport would just be a runway and a few buildings, which is how it is in the real world.
I've thoroughly enjoyed reviewing this add‐on, and to answer my own question: Yes, the quality does still remain in the products. If you enjoy the laid back lifestyle and flying small GA aircraft Fall City Airport should be on your 'to buy' list.
Mutley's Hangar Score: 9/10
Review machine Spec: Intel i7 2600k @3.40GHz | 8GB DDR3 RAM 1600MHz |NVidia GTX570 1280MB GFX Card |Windows 7 64bit Home Premium