This is no regular preview. Since the Huey is still in early stages of development (Nimbus told me the model is pretty much finished, but some tweaks and improvements may be added) I can’t do any kind of “pre-review” of the product.
This is still an alpha of the helicopter. Features are yet to be added, a lot of work is needed, and, by any means, you should look at it as a representation of the final product.
Nonetheless, Nimbus decided to allow me to take a very early look at it. An offer I could never, ever, refuse, right?
I will not go into any major details. I will leave that to our final review (which you can expect Joe to be doing). What I will try to do in this early access preview is more to provide you an overall opinion of the state of the project and my expectations towards the final product.
So, again – I really want to get this clear – this is not a detailed preview or review, and this is not a final product.
The model looks fantastic. It’s quite detailed and the PBR textures do their job perfectly. I feel the interior, especially the cockpit area could need a bit of work – namely the cargo release pedal and a couple of other smaller details – but I am nitpicking.
Overall the Nimbus Huey looks great and it’s a joy to watch it inside X-Plane.
The sound is a huge deal with the Huey. It’s its trademark. Make a gorgeous 3D model, add a brilliant flight model and systems but get the sound wrong and folks will riot. You need to get the sound right.
Nimbus knows that. I had already mentioned it from the videos previously released by Nimbus. The sound is gorgeous with several layers that you can notice if you pay enough attention.
The sound is powerful, strong. The recognizable whoop-whoop-whoop is there and it’s a joy to listen to.
I didn’t get to experience warning sounds or any other non-related stuff, which Nimbus is still working on, but I could listen to the engine sound alone and the powerful blades beating the air into submission. “Down, air! Down, I say!”
The Huey struck me as a bit light (or overpowered). Nimbus is working with the correct numbers from the manual, but I was expecting a bit more of collective travel until I got her off the ground.
Granted, I am used to the DCS Huey (of course – more on that later) and that is a heavy lady with all the weaponry, crew and ammo.
She’s not a wild beast. You’re not going to have a hard time controlling her. She’s still not a child’s play but she’s stable enough for you to be somewhat at ease. Keep an eye on her and treat her well and she’ll do the same for you.
Just be careful not to drop the collective too hard. If you do, you’ll be up for a nasty surprise. Trust me: I know.
Systems are not yet fully present. In fact, you can’t interact with the cockpit yet as the clickable areas were not added, making it hard to actually do anything.
As such, I didn’t test anything and didn’t even try a cold and dark startup. I limited myself to flying around, looking at the model and getting the feel of this beast.
The million-dollar question: how does it compare with the DCS Huey?
Oh boy... It’s time I disappoint you. Not because the Nimbus Huey is bad but because I will not make a comparison with the model folks see as the benchmark.
Doing so would not be fair to Nimbus or yourself. I can’t compare an unfinished product with a product that’s been out there for so long – even if it’s kinda botched after the update (I am talking about the DCS Huey).
So, no, folks, no comparison with the DCS one (not yet, at least; perhaps Joe will want to do it on the review once Nimbus releases her to the wild). Sorry!
All right, what do you say? Yay or nay?
Nimbus is taking a huge risk as we all have the highest expectations for this model. The team has the eyes of the whole community on them (and ears as well – whoop-whoop-whoop) and they can’t afford to mess this one up.
Folks will be disappointed if the Huey doesn’t come out “perfect” or very close to it. It seems unfair to be putting all this pressure on top of Nimbus, but the reality is that everyone has been waiting for this bird for a long time.
I had faith in Nimbus and, after trying it out, it seems that my faith was not misplaced. She’s looking good, feeling good and sounding good so far and it’s still in an early stage of development.
Nimbus, well done. Now go for the home run!