Hi all, I just got FS2004 recently and I decided to fly around Cancun. I was very disappointed though, as only one building was rendered for all of the Cancun coastline and Cozumel. Is this normal with the default scenery or do I need to adjust my graphics settings? All of my graphics sliders are set to max with exception of dynamic scenery, which I think is set to almost max. Also my framerate is set to unlimited, could that put a limit on scenery that is rendered?
If they made good default scenery for all 24,000 airports you would need a hard drive the size of Texas! 😀
I've noticed that the sim scenery usually runs a balance between various features in certain areas. For instance, in the midwest and the eastern US, I was able to see at least a painted on rendition for almost all the little towns along the way. But in the western US where there are a lot of mountains, they don't give as much detail for towns and cities. However the mountains are great as I was often able to find my way across such areas in the sim by actually recognizing mountains from having been amongst them on the ground. I thought that was awesome!
As I've been to every US state and every capitol city in each I found some interesting things about the 2004 default scenery. They really show a lot of landmark buildings in the bigest cities and even some small fun details such as the water tower in downtown Chicago, just across the street from the John Hancock Building. But in most of the capitol cities they didn't even show the capitol building. In some I did see a large building in the vicinity but usually it didn't look like the capitol building for the ones I've seen in real life. A good example of what they do and don't do is the capitol building in Lincoln, Nebraska. Its one of the architectual wonders of the world and is somewhat unique. It has a tall tower rising out of a low larger square. The sim actually shows the lower section in just about the right part of the city. But no tower! A big disappointment for me as I lived in Lincoln for a number of years while growing up... but still better treatment than for most state capitols.
In some places I got the sense that more detail to some areas was a function of perhaps someone on the team having ties to that area. For instance with FS98 in South America, I couldn't find the Amazon River until I was close to the Atlantic Coast of Brazil. However when I got to Venezuala - still with FS98 - I was able to follow the full length of the Orinoco River matching all the bends and all the tributaries to what I saw on the Atlas. Venezuala also had many many airports compared to other South American countries that had only a few. Considering the impressive overall changes between FS98 and FS2004, I'm sure South America is much better.
With the notion of team ties to a certain area in mind I thought when I got to Washington State (Microsoft's home), I would see some stepped up levels of scenery. And did see a few things. Seattle was great but not much different than treatments of other large cities. I was impressed that you could fly low and actually look through several car ferries. However, when I got to Olympia, there was no more indication of Washington's state capitol building than a white painted on graphic in the general area.
Now I'm from Utah - Vernal to be exact - a small city in the NE. The FS2004 has our airport nailed! And while the city isn't exact, it does have the general flavor of the area while flying over - and the mountains around our valley are spot on! I'm very happy with that.
They did a great job with almost all the mountains in Utah (but blew it when it came to our highest peak). However, in Utah I found that they missed many lakes, while in other parts of the country they had even little lakes that I was able to match to the map. So I think there is trade off for what they want to allocate resources in an area for.
But in Salt Lake City they got the state capitol down to a tee. I think Minneapolis-St Paul is the only other capitol building I recognized. They also had several other prominent buildings in SLC represented. And SLC is NOT a BIG city. So it seems to have gotten good treatment. Is someone on the team from Utah? They got the SLC airport down to a tee as well as the mountains all around the city. Very impressed with those.
Las Vegas provided me a real insight as to how they must decide what buildings to include and what not to include. As I flew along the Strip, many casinos were represented in good detail and then some were not even suggested as being in vacant spots in the scenery. Did some casino owners contribute financially to the sim while others did not?
One thing I must add is that I generally don't have the scenery density cranked up to the max as I find that it slows the flight controls down. Most of my settings are from 50% to 75%. I do like to see a lot of air traffic but in some areas I find that if I don't reduce it, I have a heck of a time landing as the software will pause every few seconds and when it catches up with you you are no longer in a smooth approach.
I'd be curious if my settings have significantly affected how badly state capitols are rendered. Have other players of FS2004 found better results?