Update: Rereading this post, I'm very aware that it is a bit glib, and didn't mention at all the seasonal issues. The screenshot below was shot in summer, as the aerial photos I use are summer only. As there are no seasonal textures in Real New Zealand NZCH, the other seasons do not blend so well.
So, why doesn't the Real New Zealand scenery include seasonal textures? There are two reasons:
- The release version of Real NZ NZCH is a 3.34GB download. To add seasonal textures would increase this to over 12GB. This would put it out of reach of a lot of my customers, who would find it difficult to download this much data.
- The aerial images which the scenery is built from is almost always shot in summer. Repainting it with seasonal textures may be possible, but is not something I'd undertake. The result would always be a compromise, and would decrease the realism of the original image.
In the past, I've aimed for a reasonable compatibility with the three main 'base' scenery choices -- default landclass, Orbx NZ regional landclass, and Vector LandClass. Now, the most common by far is Orbx NZ, for obvious reasons -- it's a very nice package! It is a 'full' region, with most scenery aspects improved to some degree. However, as it is still a landclass scenery, the seasonal variations are not always realistic. I suspect that only locals would notice this, but since I'm a local, I'm very much aware of it.
So, what's the solution?
I could just build airports, but this has never been an attractive choice for me. The concept of 'Real New Zealand' is by nature photographic, taking real aerial photos of the actual area, and dropping them into the simulator. This relies on the base landclass to handle the spaces between the photoscenery areas.
Another option is to develop for a full-coverage photoreal New Zealand. However this doesn't exist, and is far too big a project for me to undertake, on my own. Recently, Orbx announced that they want to build a 'TrueEarth' New Zealand, which would be built on the available aerial imagery. This would be the ideal solution, they have the resources to do this, and, based on what I've seen of their previous TrueEarth products, it would give a base that I'd be happy to drop airports into.
One other great advantage of TrueEarth is that is can use the same photo base for any and all of the available simulators. So please encourage Orbx to get onto TrueEarth NZ!
In the meantime, I'll continue to include a large area of photoscenery in any Real New Zealand release. Based on the feedback, I may look at an airport-only version of Real New Zealand NZCH, which would be aimed at those outside New Zealand, who prefer Orbx's pretty but unrealistic representation of NZ seasons. I did originally plan this, but the feedback was 100% in favour of photoscenery. This is probably because I only asked locals.
Here's the original post, which doesn't mention seasonal variations. Sorry about that, it was written in haste.
I've had a couple of queries asking whether Real NZ NZCH/Christchurch blends well with Orbx NZSI, so here's a couple of shots showing the edges of the photoscenery. Note that although the scenery is called 'NZCH/Christchurch', it does extend further than the city of Christchurch, in fact it covers a slice of Canterbury between the Ashley River to the north, and the Rakaia River to the south.
This is actually Prepar3d v3, as I don't have Orbx NZSI installed in P3Dv4, although this will probably change as most of my customers use Orbx as their New Zealand base.
If it wasn't for the waves, you probably wouldn't notice the blend, but I had to include the waves as these were part of my childhood -- these were great waves!