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News! - Simulator Environment : SFD Global by ShortFinal Designs

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News! - Simulator Environment : SFD Global by ShortFinal Designs


Hot on the heels of ShortFinal Design's extremely successful EDDM - Munich scenery is the announcement of their next scenery... or project. It isn't actually a scenery but a complete reworking of X-Plane's internal terrain textures, autogen regions, and creating HD forest and vegetation textures. That is a really big proposition, but ShortFinal also have the runs on the board for you to know that if anyone can deliver such a big transformation of the simulator it is ShortFinal...  and exhibit A, with their excellent Japanese autogen that blows your socks off.



Most of the terrain currently in X-Plane hasn't really changed in years, and mostly because it is already very highly efficient, but detail and quality is not one of it's fortes. In reality it has done a really good job over years, but like everything else in X-Plane there needs to be a HD (High-Definition) feel that currently is just not there... hence the new textures from SFD with more detail and a more quality feel.





The most interesting aspect of this is "how much will these textures change the feel of X-Plane". And that is a very good question, because it is the current textures that have been the most consistent look and feel of the simulator since the release of X-Plane10. And textures are the core and soul of the simulator, efficiency is not really an issue, because ShortFinal already do extremely highly efficient sceneries.



Since I started in X-Plane I have had one serious major gripe (global) autogen. It was also seriously worse than what we have now, in just the US style autogen being available wherever you set your wheels down in the world... Africa, Greece, Singapore...  all American, hated it all with a passion. The most jarring areas were the Middle-East and southern European countries in Italy and Greece... I mean US housing in Greek Rhodes is simply horrible.


The German 11.20 European autogen was a revelation when released, but also showed the serious issue more glaringly as well in how bad the situation really was, and with no foreseable fix on the horizon coming from Laminar Research.... The one change in X-Plane 11.20 that did now allow regions to be now specified within the simulator just begged for a package or packs of specific world autogen...  but there was nothing until now.


Middle East










First three region areas will cover the Mediterranean, Africa & Middle East (as one region) and Southeast Asia. More regions will be announced later during the development. The USA and Europe central will not be available, because the autogen there is already very good, this package is really a filler for the rest of the world. Extra smaller packages will later cover the more remote areas like the Nordic states and Australia, Japan we already have, but it might be tweaked to fit in with the full global package. It will be interesting to see how far this new system will go. But one thing is very evident, it will be very good in quality and range.


Trees and vegetation are also in the package, but currently there is not a lot of development in that area, but here is one glimpse...




Trees are actually a crucial area of coverage in X-Plane, get it wrong and any scenery looks awful, so it is very important to get this aspect correct.


Like with Laminar Research there will some Landmarks as well... Like with here with the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy.





Personally I don't see the point of the odd landmarks in a city, as they feel odd without the other aspects that make up a city outline. Dedicated city packages are still a better way to cover these areas and are far better for VFR flying than the odd landmark in a city desert.


ShortFinal's forum page is here to keep up with the latest developments... The intended release of SFD Global? well not yet, but around or after Easter is the target.


All images are courtesy of ShortFinal Design




(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)


News by Stephen Dutton

19th February 2019

Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews


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