Staff reviewer Rick Desjardins is back with yet another review, this time he looked at a new product from a new developer: Â Wonderful Scenery Enhancer 2009 (yes, that is ‘Supression’ with one P only!).
In advance.. he is not 100% happy with the installation procedure for example but…. read on for yourself after the jump.
NB: the name of the product was changed to Wonderful Scenery Enhancer 2009 due to name rights convergencies with competitors.
Supression Flight Environment 2009 Review
The installation is straight forward, click on the executable, follow the prompts, enter your registration information and you are done. Sounds simple and it is. However, read carefully and be aware. It does state that it will overwrite your flight simulator files.
Configuration and set up
This application is not configurable in any way except for choosing the installation directory. It simply overwrites existing files, in my opinion that could be a problem. I would have preferred to be given the choice as to which features I wanted to install or enable. After the program is installed if you are not happy with any of the new textures or features there is no simple way to reverse the process. It can also make it difficult to see just what has been changed. There are no desktop shortcuts; nothing added to the program groups and no entry in add/remove programs. At no time did it ask to create a backup of my original texture sets nor was there any way for me to select which textures I would like to install.
If you are leery of the installation process overwriting what you have I would strongly recommend you install the program to its own separate directory and not the FS2004 home directory. This will allow you to see what directories it will be overwriting so you can make your own backup prior to actually re-installing it using the default process or by simply copying and pasting the program’s directories and files.
There are three documents that are available after the installation, the main program manual and two others, one for the Aircraft menu backgrounds and the other for the Splash screens. The latter two are helpful in that they do tell you where to find the various new screens and backgrounds and then how to make them visible within flight simulator. I am sorry to say that the program manual is really nothing more than what you see in the advertising which lists what you are supposed to be getting as far as enhancements and then screenshot examples. There is no technical info provided such as file locations or settings recommendations. As well, no where in any of the documents is there any mention of how to obtain technical support?
Flying the scenery
After installing the software the first things you will notice is that the splash screen and aircraft background screens were different, the installation process replaced the default with fresh new ones. After that the changes become much more subtle but in many cases impressive.
Now to see what this new software brought to the flight simulator. After loading my first flight I immediately noticed a new feature, the aircraft skins appeared to be reflective a very nice touch indeed. As the aircraft moved along the runway or over the landscape you could see the subtle changes reflected on the fuselage. This worked with both default and add-on aircraft.
To see how they were going to improve the realism factor I created flights in a variety of situations. Again I thought everything I was presented with looked real and made a positive difference. Clouds looked realistic, flying through the large puffy cumulus type clouds one did get the sense of depth and that you were indeed in the real thing. Combine that with layers of stratus and cirrus you had the makings of a very interesting and believable portrayal of the sky in all its glory. The sky colours at dusk and dawn were equally impressive; overall the flight experience seemed to be greatly enhanced in any type of weather conditions.
When it came to the new water textures I came away with mixed feelings, depending on your location and the angle at which you viewed the water sometimes you could see vast improvements and other times they were almost non existent. The best results I found were in the tropics but I never did come away with the same level of awe as was the case with the clouds and sky.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment was with the dirt and water landings, for some reason whenever I flew these situations my frame rates dropped from 45 — 50 to 5 — 7 for that brief time those textures were visible. Not sure why, I checked all the textures using Imagetool and there did not seem to be anything unusual. These were the only times I ran into any issues where their textures caused any type of performance hit.
I attempted to create situations were I could have a chance to experience all of the program enhancing textures or features and with the exception of what I have already made mention of the remainder for the most part did not make any big impression with me.
I have mixed feelings on this product. This program tries very hard to improve your flight sim experience and it does. However, I do think that the manner in which it simply overwrites files may be of concern to some. Overall though, I was happy with it despite some of the shortcomings.
Installer: Easy to use but poor because there is no backup made of files prior to them being overwritten.
Extras: Splash screen and aircraft background bitmaps
Download Size: 233Mb
Price: EUR 35.70
Intel i7 920 @ 2.66Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, 8800 GT 512Mb video card, Win XP x64 SP2, FS2004 with UT and GEPro