Stephen

Scenery Review : CZST Stewart by beti-x

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header-stewart-700px.jpg
 

Scenery Review : CZST Stewart by beti-x

 

Any new scenery developers for X-Plane have to be brave. Creating really good scenery is hard and X-Plane has a smaller market and hence a smaller return on your investment in the sheer amount of work that has to be put in. Part of the problem is the chicken and the egg problem, as many new users won't come over to X-Plane because it doesn't deliver in the sort of quality and quantity that the other larger simulators can deliver and so until X-Plane can deliver that then it will still have that smaller user base and round and around it goes. Why invest so much time and effort in X-Plane when you can do the same amount of work and have a bigger market to sell your product to...  And then make more money in doing so.

 

Simple facts. But there is more to the deal than what it looks like on the surface. X-Plane users may be a smaller user base, but they will spend more on quality than on other simulators. Secondly is that your market is much more open and you can select areas you want to do and have that portion of the market to yourself, than rather be one of several versions of the same product fighting in a crowded market. So you can't have it both ways, and that is why there has been so many new entrants willing to give X-Plane a go in creating scenery and hoping that the market will expand. At one point the balance will change, but we are not at that point yet.

 

X-Plane will however get to that tipping point a lot quicker though if it acquires more scenery like beti-x's - CZST Stewart.

 

CZST Stewart

 

Stewart BC Canada.jpg  Stewart Juneau BC Canada.jpg

 

CZST Stewart BC Canada.jpg

 

As for being a remote place and unless you are otherwise in the Arctic wilderness or in the Australian Desert then Stewart in British Columbia is a very lonely place. Drive from Vancouver the state's capital and the journey will take you just over 17 hours and just under 1500 kilometers, give and take a hungry or angry bear or two. So the other options are Prince Rupert (442 km, 6 hours) or Juneau in Alaska. So flying to Stewart is the easiest option. But that is not easy either because Stewart's Airport (CZST) is only a strip and very small at that... Very Small.

 

First View

I wanted to fly from Juneau to Stewart but it was just a little to far (and slow in a GA) in time required, so it was in a Canadian Twin Otter from Digby Island (Prince Rupert) that I made the trip up the Portland Canel to Stewart. You could also use Annette island or Ketchikan International airport, or you can fly in to Stewart with a sea-plane as well as there is a (small) base there.

 

Stewart App 1.jpg  Stewart App 2.jpg

 

Stewart App 3.jpg  Stewart App 4.jpg

 

Flying up the high sided inlet is an experience with brilliant views. In the distance as the inlet forks, Stewart come into view on the right fork by the Salmon River. The surprise is that not only is there an airstrip, but also a whole town. And I mean the whole town of Stewart. There is no default autogen scenery to be seen anywhere here either.

 

Flying a low pass and your eyes take all of the scenery in. Everything is here, and I mean everything.

 

Stewart App 5.jpg  Stewart App 6.jpg

 

Stewart App 7.jpg  Stewart App 8.jpg

 

My next trick was that I had to turn around to land on Runway 18. That is easier said than done, and so there was no option but to climb up high and find the space to turn around and drop back down.

 

The area is around Stewart simply spectacular with high snow capped mountainous ranges in all directions. Stewart from this height is nestled far away deep down in the inlet.

 

Stewart OV Hi 1.jpg  Stewart OV Hi 2.jpg

 

Stewart is at the head of the Portland Canal... Which is not a really canal at all but an (Portland) inlet, The inlet is also the American (Alaskan) and Canadian border which runs the whole length of the inlet and just slightly north of Stewart.

The reason for Stewart being here is because of the gold and silver mining industry that dominated the early economy of the town. Nearby Hyder, Alaska, boomed with the discovery of rich silver veins in the upper Salmon River basin in 1917 and 1918. Hyder then became an access and supply point for the mines on the United States side of the border, while Stewart served as the port for Canadian mining activity. Mining and mining exploration is still an industry of the town as now is a large logging industry. Once there was 10,000 people living in Stewart, but today the population is only just under 500 (494). Sadly today Stewart is a dying town, but Stewart is still wanted by Hollywood as Insomnia (Al Pacino), Eight Below (Paul Walker), and the exterior shots from John Carpenter's science fiction classic The Thing (1982 film) were filmed in the around the area and in the nearby glacial mountains.

 

Stewart OV 3.jpg  Stewart OV 4.jpg

 

Stewart OV 1.jpg  Stewart OV 2.jpg

 

Installation

It is important to understand how the beti-x scenery in Stewart is assembled in X-Plane. The download package is 406.40mb and expands to 730.80mb when installed. You don't just drop the scenery into the Custom Scenery folder but to use an installation program to install it for you. If you are on a Mac you have to make sure your security settings will allow you to open the package (mine didn't until I switched them off) Then you do the install by selecting the X-Plane folder you want the scenery installed into, when the install is completed you will have three separate folders that make up the completed scenery.

 

BetiX - CZST_A_Overlay

BetiX - CZST_B

BetiX - CZST_C_Mesh

 

You will also need to have your "runways to follow contours" checkbox on (render settings). If not you will have buildings situated halve way buried under the ground and trailers floating (levitating) in the air...  I recommend to do all your installation and settings and then restart X-Plane from scratch to make sure they all reload in the correct order. In my Aerosoft version I found the manual - 10 Pages (English and German) buried in the "B" folder.

 

Landing on Runway 18

Stewart has only one asphalt runway (more a sealed gravel strip). 18/36 (3872ft) Elev. 24ft. Landing on runway 36 is over water but still slightly difficult but more of a straight forward approach.

(note: if you use either of the runway landing approaches in the default 10nm setting, be ready to adjust your heading quickly...  both settings for either runway 18/36 will pop you up heading straight into mountain!)

 

Stewart RWY 18 1.jpg  Stewart RWY 18 2.jpg

 

Stewart RWY 18 3.jpg  Stewart RWY 18 4.jpg

 

Landing on RWY 18 is for a skilled approach. VFR rules certainly apply here at CZST, low cloud and any gusting wind between the high peaks around you will make your life very interesting. Even on a a relatively calm, clear day the approach needs all your attention. The runway is actually slightly offset so you have to correct your path at the final moments, and even before that point you have to avoid high obstacles and you have to keep very close to the left side of the inlet while descending. You can early on use the Glacier Highway to guide you by sitting directly in the center between the highway and the tree lined wall on your left. The final approach has a last minute illusion as well, in that it looks on a downward angle like a straight run on to the asphalt, but in reality the asphalt is sitting slightly lower than the sloping ground before it (the early part of the runway is slightly sloping downwards), get it wrong and you find your landing will hit the slightly higher dirt ground coming up before you find the asphalt. The radar altimeter doesn't work for you because it is reading the constantly changing lower then higher ground heights and not the reading correct runway height. Coming in again on RWY 18 you will be aware of the illusion more this second time around and will over-compensate now by going too high and land (or glide) too far down the runway. The trick is to set your landing point and just aim for that and not allow the outside visuals or instruments to mess with your point of reference. If you want to land on Runway 18 in poor conditions and bad visibility...  Well good luck with that - Amen.

 

Stewart landing 1.jpg  Stewart landing 2.jpg

 

Stewart landing 3.jpg  Stewart landing 4.jpg

 

CZST

You can't really call CZST an airport... more like a two door large shed, If you are looking for a terminal - forget it.

 

CZST base 1a.jpg  CZST 3.jpg

 

CZST 2.jpg  CZST base 4.jpg

 

But do note the excellent gravel and asphalt. The runway and surrounds are done in 2cm per pixel depth and the detail shows. The volumetric grass is also excellent and well placed to be totally realistic, foliage is well done to fill in not only the town surrounds but right up the sides of the mountains to give continuous unbroken coverage over the whole scenery area.

 

Stewart walk 1a.jpg  Stewart walk air 1.jpg

 

Stewart walk air 2.jpg  Stewart walk air 3.jpg

 

I am a scenery junkie... I admit it. Nothing more excites me than great scenery. The scenery that really excites me is scenery so realistic you feel like you are really standing there, in that place, looking around you and seeing the real area and things you can almost touch as they are so real. 

In that context Beti-x's scenery is simply outstanding, It is like being in Google maps or better still Stewart BC itself. At eye level you feel you are really walking around Stewart, turn this way or that way and every SINGLE building is represented. Everything...

 

Moving in the area behind the Terminal (Shed) you walk down Main Street (yes it is called that) and it just blows you away with the detail.

 

Stewart walk air 5.jpg  Stewart walk air 6.jpg

 

Stewart walk air 7.jpg  Stewart walk air 8.jpg

 

The further around you travel the more of Stewart you will see. From the old service station to the repair workshops and the old concrete blocks.

 

Stewart walk 1.jpg  Stewart walk 2.jpg

 

Stewart walk 3.jpg  Stewart walk 4.jpg

 

It just goes on, street after street of real recreated buildings...

 

Stewart walk 5.jpg  Stewart walk 6.jpg

 

Stewart walk 7.jpg  Stewart walk 8.jpg

 

It is mind boggling. You can spend hours moving around this place and see everything and nothing is copied or duplicated. Even the famous "Fire Hall" (now the Stewart Museum) is here and so are the other main town buildings in the church, schools, port & fishing facilities, fuel station, and even the standing out blue roofed Stewart Health Centre.

 

Stewart OV town 4.jpg  Stewart OV town 3.jpg

 

Stewart OV town 2.jpg  Stewart OV town 1.jpg

 

I recommend to have your traffic running, not in say "Los Angeles Downtown", but at least in "Chicago Suburbs". Beti-x has active collision detection built in so the traffic will run correctly on the false ground texture layers, this also means you can land your helicopter anywhere as well without falling through the scenery. With the traffic running the town is very buzzy and the traffic is running right out of the area in both directions.

 

Going East out of town is the timber yard (over the bridge) and RV park. The "Welcome to Stewart" sign is also perfectly reproduced as is the wall mural. To show the sheer detailing in Stewart then admire the towns electricity supply station...  really excellent work and very realistic.

 

Stewart East 3.jpg  Stewart East 2.jpg

 

Stewart East 5.jpg  Stewart East 1.jpg

 

West is out of town still on the Glacier Highway is going past the small port facilities and the Granduc marine terminal. Then you cross over the US/Can border until you get to Hyder. Beti-x has recreated the small town of Hyder as well as Stewart itself.

 

Stewart west 1.jpg  Stewart west 2.jpg

 

Stewart west 4.jpg  Stewart west 3.jpg

 

Stewart west 5.jpg  Stewart west 9.jpg

 

Stewart west 8.jpg

 

Every building in Hyder is again recreated and placed as in real town, faded walls and wooden buildings are the signs of a hard life in this remote area. The Hyder port (pier) is here as well.

 

Stewart west 6.jpg  Stewart west 7.jpg

 

Finally in the South-west is the Stewart Water (Storage) and logging pens, All through out the scenery there are bundles or mounds of stacked wood, in either the wood being stored or packed.

 

Night-Lighting

With a location like this in the middle of ranges of scenic mountains the fading light of the dawn or dusk is going to be spectacular... On this front Stewart does not disappoint.

 

Stewart fade night 2.jpg  Stewart fade night 1.jpg

 

In the lesser light the lighting on the buildings start to come on.

 

Stewart night 1.jpg  Stewart night 2.jpg

 

As the night closes in the full lighting of Stewart emerges and it is very good with HDR on.

 

Stewart night 3.jpg  Stewart night 4.jpg

 

Stewart night 5.jpg  Stewart night 8.jpg

 

Stewart night 10.jpg  Stewart night 11.jpg

 

There is a lot of down lighting and pockets of street lighting. All windows are creatively different and nothing is repeated in the detail, brilliant small detailing like Coke machines and signs make it perfect. However you will need your torch on you at the airport as the ramp is quite dark.

 

Stewart night 6.jpg  Stewart night 7.jpg

 

Stewart night 9.jpg

 

Highlights are the well lit Service Station and Telecom compound that is excellent. Other out of town highlights are the viewing point parking area and the very spooky Marine Terminal brooding very authentic in the dark.

 

Stewart night 13.jpg  Stewart night 12.jpg

 

Frame-Rate

With all this amount of specified scenery it is going to cost you somewhere, and you will also be in need of your render settings set to "Extreme" to bring out the full impact of the quality of the scenery. I was restricted to "Too Much" in the settings and as the images show in many areas it gets a little buzzy. But beti-x have tried to soften the blow. As noted by the runway the textures are 2cm per pixel depth, moving around the town and that jumps that then to 50cm per pixel resolution for the 150 square kilometers around the scenery. For the size and depth with all that high quality 3ds MAX created objects your getting a good deal for your resolution. I found you can get a balance with the "Too Much" setting and still enjoy the scenery with out it dropping into the dreaded teens. The bonus is that there is nothing else out side the installed scenery that could otherwise drop your frame-rate down.

 

Conclusion

beti-x has noted that CZST Stewart their first scenery for X-Plane, and a dip into our market. As a scenery there is no doubt that it is one of the very best scenery products created for X-Plane. So if we want more excellent scenery from beti-x then we have to support them for them to support us.

The main thing to note with this scenery is that in most scenery the focus is on usually the airport itself and it's immediate surroundings. CZST is nothing like that. It really turns the concept upside down in that the scenery as a whole package is the destination and not just the focus on the airport. Flying over Stewart is getting a totally realistic view of the destination. Not just a simulator point of view but the real town of Stewart point of view.

Yes a location like Stewart allows you to deliver that. (and so does FSX Orbix scenery), but here it is for X-Plane users and not FSX/P3D, and that is what FSX/P3D users buy and have more of in a choice of quality scenery than X-Plane. CZST can be a game changer in X-Plane (and we do now have other great add-on scenery), but this extreme level of detail is well worth using and having as part of your X-Plane world. Besides not only the visual points of this excellent scenery it is also a great challenging scenery to fly into and out of. You won't get a Boeing Airliner in here, but it is a General Aviation/Seaplane (and small commuter aircraft) heaven sent destination.

 

Overall CZST Stewart by beti-x is simply outstanding scenery and well worth your investment as a destination and is outstanding in value...

 

Yes! the CZST Stewart scenery by beti-x is now Available from the X-Plane.OrgStore :

 

CZST Stewart

 

Price is  US$25.80 (CZST Stewart scenery is only available for X-plane10)

 

Developers Site :  beti-x

 

Review By Stephen Dutton

 

19th February 2014

 

©copyright 2014 : X-Plane Reviews

 

Technical Requirements:

Windows , MAC or Linux

X-Plane 10 (not compatible with X-Plane 9)

4GB RAM/1GB+ VRAM - 1.5GB HD - Version 1

(last updated Feb 10th ,2014)

 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System:     

- 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i5 iMac 27”

- 6 Gb 1067 Mhz DDR3

- ATI Radeon HD 4850 512mb

Software:     

- Mac OS Mavericks 10.9

- X-Plane 10 Global ver 10.25 (final)

Addons

- Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle

Aircraft

DHC-6 Twin Otter v970+ 3D v2.0 - Pedrovl - free (.org - DHC-6 Twin Otter)

 

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I recently added this scenery and find the visuals stunning, the best I have found to date on X Plane.    

 

I have most settings pretty high, including SkyMAXX clouds, and get 25-30FPS on a 4ghz i5 + GTX 780.  I made a minor modification and added an ILS nav aid to the airport, so now I can also enjoy the scenery in overcast conditions and make an approach to runway 360.

 

I am enjoying flying from Ketchikan to Stewart, its a reasonable amount of time at about 100nm.

 

Very happy with my purchase.   :)

 

Cheers,

John Miranda

http://www.johnmiranda.com/flightsimulator.htm

 

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