Before the release, Bill Womack was kind enough to provide us with a heads up: he had added 3 custom buildings with landable helipads on the top. 3 out of the 400 he did. That might not sound like a lot, but the truth is that it actually seems to be.
But first, I’d like to talk a bit about the numbers behind this project. As I researched about it (at the official website, of course) I have to say I was very impressed. Scott Armstrong worked on over 3,860 textures, spanning over 900 texture sheets and Bill Womack created the beforementioned 400 3D models.
All this to replace the default autogen buildings.
This was a job that took them 3 years. Crazy, right? And all this to present us with an equally amazing feature list:
- High-Definition building textures at 4K resolution covering the entire world
- Regionally accurate buildings worldwide, derived from on-location photos taken in many countries throughout the globe
- Brand new 3D building models for complex autogen objects
- Ambient Occlusion shadows baked on to building textures for added depth and realism
- High resolution rooftops derived from drone photos
- Incredibly realistic night textures for an immersive new night flying experience
- Designed to work seamlessly with all Orbx products, including Global, all openLC products, regions, and airports; or without any other Orbx products installed
- Completely compatible with FSX, FSX:SE and P3Dv1-v4
Does it make such a difference?
It does. Especially for us, helicopter pilots, that spend most of our time at low altitudes (around 1000 feet or less).
ORBX’s Global Buildings HD removes the default bland textures and replaces them with much nicer, much realistic, crisp 4k textures. And Bill’s buildings, which pop up now and then, just add up to the awesomeness.
The visual impact is quite big and removes the boredom of the default textures, making FSX/P3D’s scenery shine a bit more.
Zero impact. That’s right: I didn’t find any difference between having Global Buildings HD installed on or off (installed / uninstalled).
Great job, Scott and Bill.
Wait. Go back. Only 3 buildings with helipads?
Oh, right! Indeed.
Like I said, Bill added 3 buildings to the set of 400 buildings he added to this product and you could think that would make it very hard to find them.
I thought so too. In fact, I even thought I had a botched installation when I first tried Global Buildings HD and didn’t find any of those buildings. The truth is: they were there. I just wasn’t looking hard enough.
I found 7 buildings around Lisbon and I found a few more in Madrid and Paris as well. They are not very easy to find but they are there and the fact that we don’t know where they are, it makes for a cool scavenger hunt.
Granted, they are not placed on buildings that exist in real life (that’s how autogen works) but you’re always welcome to ignore it. If you decide not to, you can have a bit more fun doing some building hoping.
ORBX Global Buildings HD improved my default P3D installation. The scenery is not a bit more exciting and realistic. The textures are of great quality and I love Bill’s buildings.
Flying around in a city is no longer as visually boring as before and ORBX achieved this without any FPS loss, which is obviously very important.
Do I recommend Global Buildings HD? I do, yes. Even if you already have the great global (or region-specific) products, ORBX Global Buildings HD will build on top of it and make it even better.