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Review of PAULO RICARDO FSX – MEGA ROUTE RIO SAO PAULO AND NATAL CITY PACK 5 for FSX

Feature image

I have said this on numerous occasions, that FSX is a wonderful vehicle to explore the world and experience places we might never have a chance to visit otherwise and this scenery is another great example of that.

Brazil, known officially as the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and the Latin American region. Brazil also happens to be the 5th largest country in the world with a geographical area of 8,515,767kms sq and an estimated population in 2012 of 193,946,886.

To summarize just what this package gives us here is a paragraph taken from the developer’s product page at SimMarket. It is a very brief outline of what this scenery is all about.

“This scenario covers the entire city of Rio de Janeiro and SDU (SBRJ) airport, as well as the region of lakes and coastline of São Paulo, and also as a bonus the city of Natal RN (With Airport SBNT) is the capital of the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Norte and is located in the Northeast region of Eastern Brazil and in the Northeast.”

The main focus of the scenery is Rio de Janeiro which is also the capital city of the State of Rio de Janeiro. Rio, a name commonly used to refer to the city, is the second largest city in Brazil with a population of approximately 6.3 million people.

Installation

The file size of the scenery addon is very large at 7.93Gbs. Luckily it is split into six files making it manageable even if you aren’t on a high speed network.

Installation was straightforward however you will need to be connected to the Internet as you will be getting an authorization number to continue with the installation. The installation process is explained on the SimMarket site with a link on the product’s page.

Running the executable you will be prompted for the email address used for the purchase plus the serial key provided at the time of the purchase. This will in turn generate an authorization number which you will input in the next step of the installation process. You might want to write that number down if you need to reinstall the scenery. Next you confirm the folder path for where the scenery will be installed and the program shortcuts in the Start Menu Folder. After that you simply let the installer run, it will add the scenery to the FSX scenery library. There are actually six entries; LitoralSPterrestre_LandClass, MeshTerrain_Rio_SP, Rota_Rio_SPaulo, MegaSPaulo, MegaRiodeJaneiroX and SBNT_2012.

Configuration

There are no configuration options available.

Documentation

They include four documents; two in Portuguese and two in English, each language has a PDF and a Word document both containing the same information. Reading the documents I found that the information for the most part appeared to be outdated or irrelevant for the download installer. They make reference to folders on a DVD as well as asking you to move folders. I normally recommend users read the documentation that comes with an addon but in this case I’d say that users might be more confused after reading them.  

Scenery

The amount of land area this scenery covers is very extensive and this is well illustrated in the next few screenshots. One area is in the Natal – Rio Grande do Norte area which happens to be the eastern most point of Brazil and then the area along the Atlantic coast further south between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo area Natal - Rio Grande do Norte Area

Below are screenshots of these same two areas but this time they show how these same areas appear in FSX.

FSX default - Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo area FSX default - Natal - Rio Grande do Norte Area

The scenery is built upon a base of custom mesh to give realistic and detailed elevations, photo scenery textures for the ground and then to top it off they’ve included a mix of custom and generic autogen and objects.

Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo Area

I couldn’t help but be awe struck by the beauty of this coastal city and all the work that the developers have put into this geographical area. It has certainly paid off to the benefit of FSX simmers, hands down this is my favourite part of the scenery! The area was stunning for both the natural beauty of the terrain and for the many manmade landmarks they included.

This by far is the most densely populated part of the scenery when it came to added objects. A large portion of the city from Santos Dumont Airport and along the coastline moving south has an abundance of autogen/objects filling the city skyline and with that we truly get the sense that this is a large bustling metropolis.

Overview of entire Rio de Janeiro city area Another view of this beautiful city Rio in my sights Top down look at high quality photo imagery showing lots of details Sugerloaf mountain in my sights Mountains looming over Rio de Janeiro Copacabana Beachside buildings

One of the most famous pictures in the world is that of the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado Mountain. This landmark has been recreated and is quite stunning.

Christ the Redeemer on top of Corcovado Mountain

Another natural landmark that is quite famous is Sugarloaf Mountain. Their inclusion of custom mesh has meant that the mountain looms over the city is it does in real life. The cable cars that take people up and down the mountain are animated and can be seen traveling along their cables.

Close up of cable cars Cable cars going up and down Sugarloaf Mountain

Most of the remainder of the city is filled with buildings with a good mix of both custom and generic type structures. In amongst this mass of structures there are some that stand out. Here are as few examples; the Brazilian Naval School, the Maracana Stadium and Rio Niteroi Bridge. There are many others and I’ve included some of them in the following screenshots.

Brazilian Naval School with Santos Dumont Airport in the background Maracana stadium Castle of Fiscal island Rio Niteroi Bridge Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian

Being next to the water they haven’t forgotten to populate it as well and have added a variety of boats and also some off shore drilling rigs.

Marina filled with pleasure craft Naval ships docked Offshore drilling rig

Santos Dumont Airport

The city of Rio de Janeiro city is served by two airports; Santos Dumont Airport and Galeão International Airport. Santos Dumont Airport, ICAO: SBRJ, the smaller of the two was given some significant upgrades in this addon and is definitely a scenery highlight.

In 2012, the airport was ranked 6th in Brazil in terms of transported passengers at just under 9 million and aircraft operations of approximately 136,000. The airport has two runways; 02R/20L @ 4,341ft and 02L/20R @ 4,134ft.

If you are looking for a home base while flying at Rio de Janeiro this is the one you ‘ll want to pick. Unlike the other airports in the scenery they used high resolution photo textures for the hard surfaces rather than the default FSX textures. The structures have been created using high resolution graphic imagery along with extra detailing.

The terminal is custom built and shows features such as the detailed roof, transparent jetways and the curved glass walls of the concourse that leads to the jetways.

Jetways and connecting concourse Overlooking terminal and main apron Detailed terminal roof top Detailed jetway

The airport has several hangars next to the terminal; both are open and have static aircraft parked inside.

Check out the corrugated roof One of two detailed hangars

This was the ideal airport to upgrade as it accommodates small and large aircraft and gives every pilot a great base from which they can explore the city.

Leaving the city and heading south along the coast towards the Sao Paulo area the views were amazing. With Rio behind me the scenery shifted from cityscapes to the beautiful landscapes of this coastal region. This is another area where the custom mesh and photo scenery come together to give some spectacular visuals. This was true for the entire coast going down to the Sao Paulo area. Except for some small villages or settlements the mountains and coastline are largely uninhabited. Some of the settlements that do exist were augmented with autogen/objects but that wasn’t always the case. This lack of objects was not much of an issue here because these settlements were isolated and small.

This part of Brazil has some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve seen. Some areas are breathtaking and it is the high quality photo imagery and mesh again that allows us to be able to appreciate and experience them. This part of the scenery definitely warrants time in a small GA type aircraft to be able to take it all in. The landscapes range from sandy beaches all the way to mountainous terrain.

Love the detailed coastlines and islands More beautiful landscapes Forest covered mountains Rugged beautiful coastlines Distinct boundary between FSX and scenery coverage  area Custom mesh shows off rugged terrain Detailed coastlines Leaving Rio behind

Natal – Rio Grande do Norte Area

After exploring the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo areas and really enjoying what I saw I have to say that Natal seemed somewhat underwhelming. The product obviously gives us a much more realistic representation of the city and the coastlines than what we have in FSX. They use all the same techniques as in the other areas of the scenery but unfortunately I just found the area to be uninteresting. They inject lots of generic objects to represent buildings and houses but it still doesn’t have the visual punch that Rio had. The best part of this area was the photo scenery base and the best way to appreciate its quality was at higher altitudes.

So, flying over at the higher altitudes it all looked quite good. The high quality photo imagery allowed me to easily see the differences between the urban and rural areas and also to see some fine details.

Natal coastline Some buildings added to photo base textures Flying over Natal

They did include a few recognizable local landmarks such as the Newton Navarro bridge and the Mãe Luíza lighthouse.

Mãe Luíza lighthouse and Natal skyline Newton Navarro Bridge

The airport that serves Natal goes by the name of Augusto Severo International Airport; SBNT and it is located in the nearby city of Parnamirim which is 18 km from Natal. Like the remainder of the Natal area scenery it was given some attention but unfortunately except for a few enhancements it lacked the visual punch that would take it to the next level.

The airport’s most noticeable upgrade was the main terminal building. It is a modern looking structure with a distinct and interesting multilevel curved roof. This architectural feature was given the attention it deserves and was recreated to show off this feature. The exterior received a few more upgrades in the way of transparent walkway walls for the jetways and some unique overhead light poles.

Main terminal building

Also keeping with the terminal, along the apron service road nestled between it and the building there are some vehicles, baggage carts and flight activity display monitors.  

Vehicles and baggage carts along front of terminal buildingThey also put a great deal of effort into modelling the interior of the terminal. There are advertisements on the walls, multiple floor levels and even an escalator. Some interesting features if you feel like exploring the building’s interior. Unfortunately this was pretty much the extent of the airport’s upgrades. The remainder was basically FSX default quality.

Terminal interior showing escalator

Night

Just as with the daytime experience I found that I enjoyed the Rio de Janeiro area much more than the Natal – Rio Grande do Norte Area. It was much more immersive and realistic in appearance. Lots of this had to with the fact that in the daytime Rio had so many more objects and so they were there in the night time scenery as well, only now they were lit up as you’d expect them to be. Flying in and out of Rio at night from Santos Dumont Airport and seeing the statue of Christ the Redeemer looking out over the city was quite a sight.

Augusto Severo International Airport terminal and parking lot Beach lights Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio at night Natal at night Rio de Janeiro night skyline Santo Dumont Airport all lit up

Performance

I had my scenery settings sliders fully to the right and experienced no issues with performance. This includes the Rio de Janeiro area which has the largest concentration of autogen/objects in the scenery addon.

Final Thoughts

The city of Rio de Janeiro and its surroundings are stunning! We now have the opportunity to experience what it feels like to fly  in and out of one of the most beautiful cities in the world. On the other hand the Natal – Rio Grande do Norte Area, in sharp contrast, appeared to be somewhat of an afterthought and lacked the same visual quality found at Rio. In spite of this I will be keeping Rio de Janeiro on my list of frequently visited destinations.

My Ratings

Installer: Good. Straightforward and simple to use.   

Documentation: Poor. Incomplete and inaccurate.  

Modelling: Massive amount of autogen/objects with little impact on frame rates.

Extras:

Download Size: FSX 7.93GB split in 6 files

Price: EUR 34.90 without VAT

Developer Homepage: http://www.pauloricardofs.blogspot.com.br

Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/paolo-ricardo-fsx-mega-route-rio-sao-paulo-and-natal-city-pack-5.phtml

Test System:

Intel i7 960 OC @ 4.2 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, EVGA GTX560 Ti w/1.2 Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, Ultimate traffic 2, REX Overdrive, GEXn, UTX, AES, GSX, FSUIPC.

Richard Desjardins

 

 

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