Here are a few ways I’ve found to make the world even more impressive looking in FSX:
1. If you fly inland a lot, consider replacing the OceanHeight20FieldLayer.dds file. The one I’ve been using is from a French site, so the instructions for use are in French, but it’s a no-brainer to install. Just unzip the DDS image to your root FSX/Texture folder and you’ll have smaller, more tightly spaced waves, making for realistic inland water. Don’t forget to back up your original file, though! Download at LibertySim (click Télécharger la texture)
2. Replacement Trees! There’s a good set of replacement tree textures in several variations on Avsim. Look for TreeX v.1.1. The package not only offers good looking photo-realistic trees, but has several sizes, so you can choose performance over quality, or vice versa.
3. Shameless plug for payware: If you fly in the conterminous U.S., Justin Tyme has just released his U.S. National Landclass file for FSX. It helps the FSX world conform more to the one under out feet. It’s a good companion to his high-res North American Terrain mesh, which is spectacular. http://www.fsgenesis.com/
By the time FS9 reached the zenith of its operational life, I had replaced the environment files (sky color, water texture and colors), the terrain textures, the autogen textures, the mesh, the vector features such as hydrology and coastlines, and the landclasses. Finally, everything looked so immersive you’d swear you were in the real thing. FSX is so new that some of these items aren’t available yet, but given the short time it’s been on the market, the additions and tweaks you can already find are fairly amazing.
Please, feel free to add to my list with your comments. I’d be very interested in knowing what other tweaks you’ve tried to make your digital world a little less “virtual”.