A few months ago I posted a reviewof x-plane and compared it with ms flightsimulator. My conclusion was that while x-plane is technically superior, ms flightsimulator looks better because of the quality of the included scenery with ms flightsimulator and the lack of proper v8 scenery for x-plane.
Well, they fixed the problem: Global Scenery. The people from global-scenery.org have processed terrabytes of information from all sorts of sources and have come up with a mostly autogenerated scenery pack for x-plane of close to 60GB. It ships on 7 (seven!) dvds. Check out the screenshots. It’s advertised as the most detailed scenery, ever. I believe they might be right … for auto generated scenery.
You can get scenery for ms flight simulator based on the same data for some areas. But here the technical differences enable x-plane to draw far prettier landscape then ms flightsimulator. Of course ms flightsimulator also has lots of non autogen scenery with e.g. the statue of liberty and the empire state building looking more or less recognizable when you fly over New York. X-plane on the other hand has lots of buildings of more or less the appropriate height aligned with the very detailed roads it generates from actual map data. In other words, you’ll see every block in manhattan with buildings inside them. The result definately looks like New York.
I’m planning to buy this software as soon as I have a new PC. I’ve had lots of fun with x-plane already. My current hardware is too old to properly enjoy all this new stuff but I will make sure the replacement will run this stuff well.
Oh yeah, this is just a 1.0. More features (3d forests, more planet surface, custom objects) are planned.