The Seychelles, sometimes also known as The Treasure Islands, an archipelago of some 115 islands of various sizes truly are a jewel in the Somali Sea off the East Coast of Africa. It is rumoured that almost £1 billion in treasure is buried somewhere in the Seychelles, the true treasure however is its incredible natural beauty and Maps2XPlane have done a wonderful job bringing this beauty into X-Plane. With 2 major airports, 13 airfields and 4 Helipads there’s an incredible amount of scenery to discover.
I once thought that Island tripping would be a great fun flight, honestly though, the flights in between are a little boring as there’s nothing but ocean to look at. But once you do get to the islands, you're treated to fantastic sights that you hope one day to see in real life. Virtual Tourism at its finest.
Does it have Helipads? It certainly does and lots to see as well.
After my wonderful tour of the Faroe Islands (Maps2XPlane’s previous release) I was very much looking forward to more adventures when they announced their next project would be the Seychelles Islands. They certainly haven’t disappointed with providing a wonderful scenery that has great value for lots of different sim pilots, but as usual, natural beauty like this is best experienced from a Helicopter. Yes, there are fixed wing aircraft that can fly low and slow like we do, but very few can land where we can.
Like many other X-Plane add-ons, installation consists of extracting the contents of the ZIP files provided into the X-Plane\Custom Scenery folder. You get two zip files, the larger of the two is the actual scenery and is approximately 3Gb compressed. This is a large scenery folks, so make sure you have some room.
The second archive contains Airport Scenery Animation Manager or SAM for short. If you have any recent ORBX scenery then you might already have SAM installed, regardless this is an optional installation and I think it’s more focussed on our friends who like to fly the Big Iron than Egg Beaters as it makes Airports more alive with animated jetways and the rest. Since the world is our Helipad, feel free to install this or not.
The manual provided has sections in German and English and will give you details on the scenery itself and all of the airports, airfields and helipads, pretty much what you would expect really.
If there is one thing that you should know about Maps2XPlane, it’s that they take tremendous care in shaping the 3D terrain for their sceneries. This can be seen when flying around some of the larger islands that have more variation in the terrain height like Mahé island which rises like a lumpy granola bar out of the crystal blue waters.
Yes, all 115 islands are represented in the scenery and I have only had the chance to swan around the top part of the island group. Even still they all look incredible and when you are approaching some of the larger islands and they begin to appear over the horizon, it’s quite an interesting sight.
Much like our friends misters Dainese & Bellini, Maps2XPlane prefer to create their own photo realistic terrain textures than use Orthophotos. These textures are beautiful and do a wonderful job of expressing the detail of the rocks, grass, sand and ground cover. Not only this but they also created custom textures for the water surrounding each island.
We all know that the representation of water in XP is one of its weaker elements, however these custom textures really make the water glorious and more what we would expect from islands that are surrounded by reefs and shoals.
It’s this attention to detail that enhances the scenery and makes it more “real”. Custom terrain, custom textures, custom autogen, custom foliage, custom ground and water traffic! The only thing left that they haven’t done is custom sounds!
I mentioned before that Maps2XPlane did custom everything and with the buildings we have a decent variety of shanties, cabins, luxury villas and other buildings you would normally expect to see. One thing that I really appreciated were the custom ground routes. You’ll often see little golf carts roaming around, much as you would expect if you were there, taking tourists between the different beaches on the islands.
Frame rate impact
As with the Faroe Islands, there is minimal impact to FPS with these sceneries. Perhaps more so with Seychelles as the islands are a lot smaller and the distance between each stretch between 15 to 200nm. My i7-8700 and GTX1080 literally screamed along at 70-80fps in 2D and a VERY healthy 40fps in VR. It really was a joy to fly around these islands, and I’m looking forward to finishing my trek of 1160Nm.