Saturday, August 05, 2006

A sense of depth

The other night I flew to a small grass airstrip in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. I decided to leave Alaska for a bit to fly in my own region of the world. I watched the landing in replay (as is usual), and was simply amazed at the sense of depth that the simulator provides. This still shot give a little bit of it, but it really needs be experienced in full motion, where you can see the bits of scenery passing by at rates relative the the distance from the viewer. This greatly enhances the immersion-- the sense that you are really in the landscape, and not merely watching a pretty painting. One of these days I'll figure out how to capture videos, and post links here.

Here are the components that I used in this shot (all are FREE!).
1. Golden Wings. This is a comprehensive texture replacement package. Most users will create an entirely new FS installation, then upgrade it to these textures, so that they will have in essence two FS installs-- standard, and Golden Wings version. This is why the ground textures look so rich and green.
2. Terrain mesh by FSGenesis. They sell a lot of good stuff, but also have free mesh data for some regions. The one I am using is available from major flightsim sites, and is called This is probably the most important component, because it is the small rolling hills that best create the sense of depth for low and slow flying.
3. A good location. Here you have to be creative and fine a place with interesting topography. The White Mountains of New Hampshire are great, but there are so many others, perhaps near where you live.
4. I also use the Freeflow New England by the Freeflow Scenery group, though this is not evident in the above shot. This makes the shorelines of lakes, major rivers, and ocean much, much more detailed. Highly recommened. This is available from major sites as the file

Get out there and enjoy the scenery!

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