FSX

Review: Sandspit Missions

SanspitMissionsLogoHello fellow sim-pilots! This week I am writing about another mission based program called Sandspit Missions. This add-on is made by RDJ simulations. It’s a small program, and to be honest it’s cute, but somewhat under whelming.

The problem with writing this review, is if you were to go to www.simmarket.com, look up this program and read the “pitch” about the product, you would know everything there is to know. I usually carefully try to explain the premise of a mission based add-on or scenery add-on without spoiling anything within the program, but by going to the site, you would know all there is to know. There are three main missions. You’re told exactly what happens on them. They’re not very challenging, so obviously a good choice for a beginner pilot. If you are unfamiliar with the Grand Caravan or the DeHavilland Beaver, this would be a program to get you familiar with them, and they are excellent planes. The Beaver is actually one of my favorites to load up and fly in either missions or free flight. The problem is, that’s it. Two planes. So you had better like them. The scenery is nice, although quite repetitive. This of course hurts me to say as I am a native Canadian, but the beauty of British Columbia is unbelievable, and this program, while taking great pains in attempting to reproduce that beauty missed the mark badly. The missions themselves are also cute, but I would be lying if I said they were challenging, and unfortunately again while great effort was made, the mark was missed by miles. It’s too bad, because this program did show great promise.

When I started, I began to think hmm these guys are onto something here, I had of course done my research, read what promises were made by the programmers. I looked at the screen shots and read the descriptions of the missions. Unfortunately, as I flew the missions, I realized that I could have stopped at the research point. If you have ever read one of my reviews, my fear is to be a spoiler and tell something about the program that you as a consumer deserve to discover yourself. Well, somebody forgot to tell that to RDJ Simulations. They tell all and they show all. There are very strong hints at a “serious challenge thrown your way.” Despite four times flying through the scenarios, I have yet to discover this serious challenge. Well, to be even more honest, I believe I have discovered it, but it was not a “serious”, or really very interesting challenge. Again if there was a target market for this product, maybe a brand new sim-pilot with next to zero experience may find a water take off and landing a challenge. Gaining altitude in a small amount of space may also challenge a beginner, but really folks. That’s it.

There are three missions, which are somewhat multi-phased, and then you have the option to fly all three areas as a free flight and as the web site information explains, the good old mission pointer will remind you where “home” is. Everything has a mission pointer with arrows. You could turn them off, but you would either never find your objective, or worse, spend the time to find it blindly and find yourself wondering why you tried so hard for the lack of reward.

The voiceovers are well done, and you can tell that there has been a real effort made, but for some reason, either time constraint or budget, I don’t know what the reason, I was not there, but it just doesn’t go anywhere to make you say or think wow, or that was so cool. (Yes it’s true…another snapshot into this proud sim pilot geek’s mind, I do think things like that and again, I hope nobody was injured or emotionally scarred by reading that last bit).

Fortunately, this is not a super expensive program, but in this economy every Dollar/Euro counts, and unless you are a serious collector who must have all add-ons of a certain area, I would have to be honest and say wait a while on this one, because as I said earlier, while showing great promise, the end product just isn’t top notch. This is my first RDJ Simulation program, and I will most definitely give them another chance because of the great promise shown when I first began flying, but for me to recommend buying this add-on would simply weigh too heavy on my conscience.

Okay, I will stop here so you can stop reading what I say, checkout the web site info (and you will know all you need to for yourself).

1:  Not a good value for the cost. The graphics are good and the frame rate is excellent, but that is as good as it gets. Uninspired missions. Average graphics. Lack of challenge.
2: Installation: EXE. No problems with installation.
3: Documentation: Average. Just read the web site info.
4: Textures and presentation: Average.
5: Extras: None.

So in conclusion, I do want to reiterate that this is my first and only experience with RDJ Simulations, and I did somewhat enjoy the free flight options around the Queen Charlotte area, so please do not judge all of their products on just this review. I am just being honest about this particular product and I know for a fact that there are better, more diverse, interesting and challenging programs by many companies, with more staying power than this one.

Doug Zabizewski
zmanff

At a Glance:

Installer: EXE — Easy installation.
Documentation: DOC — Average. See web site.
Modelling: FSX Format — Good.
Texturing: BMP — Average.
Extras: None.
Download Size: 193 Mb
Price: EUR 14.27 without VAT EUR 11.99
– Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/rdj-simulation-sandspit-missions.phtml

Test System: Intel Core2Duo E2220 @ 2.40 GHz-2.40 GHz, 4Gb RAM, Nvidea Geforce G100, Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 (DX9)

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Doug Zabizewski
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 23:33

I am glad you agree. I believe there is a lot of talent there, with good imagination and tons of potential. I would hate for him to throw in the towel, but maybe he can create some country “loops”, which can be sold on the internet to supplement his income and take the time to develop the programming talent to its full potential. (Unfortunately you do have to start with a few freebies along the music track as well), but I believe he could do it.
Doug Zabizewski

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 11:05

Ron (the developer) is a country singer and a very nice person. But in the end it was exactly what you are describing that made me ‘pull the plug’ on publishing his work. Just not up to par with our other products and basically ‘nice’ for beginners, maybe. Since he did get some special effects and things to work, there is talent available to make more of it…. but that needs time and NOT trying to cash in too soon. A few years of freeware development before taking the jump would be my advice, really. For now his music is… Read more »