The wait is over and VOZ day is finally apon us. While you are downloading, I hope you have taken my advice and subjected yourself to a little default scenery. If you haven’t there is still time because to truly appreciate VOZ, I think we all need a little reminder of what life was like before VOZ.
I have tested VOZ 0.99 extensively and I can honestly say I have not even scratched the surface. With such a complete product in VOZ 0.99. I couldn’t help but wonder weather it was even possible to significantly improve it. If they can improve on VOZ 0.99 surely it will only be by a small margin right? Wrong! VOZ 1.1 is a major upgrade with a long list of features and enhancements and I will try to impose on you a sense of those enhancements in this review.
The new switcher is a vast improvement in both looks and function.
The most notable changes are the extension of the SE textures to cover
Tasmania and the Northern Tropical textures covering the Northern
Territory. They have also changed the names of some of the regions.
South to South East (SE) and West to South West (SW) with small
descriptions giving insight into the conditions of each region.
As before, we have the normal VOZ and UnVOZ buttons, but they have
also included a FLY button that will load up FS2004 without you having
to close the switcher.
Under the surface of the VOZ Switcher, they have made improvements
as well, the loading of textures is now a little faster and the
unloading of textures a lot safer. When you UnVOZ the switcher
automatically backs up the default textures incase any problems arise
such as a power failure that restarts your computer.
Custom Splash Screens
VOZ 1.1 comes packed with 4 new splash screens depicting the 4 regions
of Australia. North, South, Central, and West. When loading up your
Flightsim using the Switcher I believe the corresponding splash screen
will appear depending on what region you have selected. This however
was not the case in the beta gold version provided to me for the
purpose of this review. I am told this has been addressed and fixed in
the final release version.
Region Texture Enhancements
VOZ 0.99 Featured highly detailed Northern textures and left the
Central, Southern, and Western textures requiring a little more work.
VOZ 1.1 addresses those few short comings and vastly improves the new
South Western and South Eastern regions. There has obviously been a lot
of time spent on these two regions with massive improvements notable in
all areas. The SE and SW region now boast some of the most stunning
rural textures in the game with life like representations of wheat
fields and open country farms. The West Australian Wheat Belt and the
Market Gardens of Victoria come to life with amazing atmosphere and
presence as you fly low and slow over the rolling hills. There is
almost zero noticeable repetition in textures even on the longest
The updated textures capture perfectly the
colour and vibrance you expect to see when looking out the window of a
plane and I have no doubt these regions will now become very popular
locations for the scenic VFR flights across our country.
Sunrise & Sunset Textures
In VOZ 0.99 they changed the sunrise and sunset textures and while the
new sunset was very popular with its atmospheric glow. The sunrise
textures in my opinion needed a little more work. I found myself
spending very little time flying at that time of the day because for me
it was a little too pink. VOZ 1.1 has come to my rescue and fixed the
sunrise textures to more accurately reflect a crisp summer morning.
This new improvement is sure to spark new interest and a flurry of
screenshots posted on in the VOZ forums.
The new urban textures are a real treat to the eye. With more detail
than ever you can quickly identify the difference between roads,
highways, and freeways. Suburbs, roundabouts and median strips are all
visible and with a little local knowledge you can easily navigate the
major highways of you local capital city. I failed to find the moving
cars that were depicted in a movie released featuring VOZ 1.1 but that
could be just a movie trick, as it is not mentioned in the features of
Koorby has included a partial version of his night lighting textures.
City night lighting is often a forgotten part of the texture process
when developers create there scenery and Koorby has addressed this
short fall with his own set of night lighting textures. Most notable is
the Tokyo styled city billboard lights around Sydney CBD. Although a
little repetitive from a distance the new lighting effects are better
than default and add the feel of a night life to what otherwise has
been a dead looking city at night. There is also some added street
lighting effects and a nice yellow glow over a few streets and
highways. The best place to view Koorbys night lighting effects is
Brisbane, Brisbane is by far the most influenced city by these new
lighting effects so make sure you check them out.
Over all the new lighting effects are welcome additions adding
atmosphere to the dull night experience of the default textures. I am
looking forward to the finished product that will be included in VOZ
1.2 if all goes well.
Scenery Enhancements in Brief
VOZ 1.1 features many new scenery enhancements from airports to city
improvements. The following airports are either new or enhanced with
many new buildings and Gmax models improving on the already impressive
list of airport and city landmarks included in VOZ 0.99.
Bankstown Airport (YBKS), Melbourne International (YMML), Canberra
(YSCB), Parafield (YPPF), Caboolture (YCAB), Caloundra (YCDR),
Redcliffe (YRED), Watts Bridge (YWSG), Sydney (YSSY) and Brisbane
(YBBN). Brisbane CBD, Brisbane Stadiums, Cairns, Gold Coast, a vastly
improved Canberra, Queensland coastline and much more!
The “much more!” was the hard bit for me to find. Without the user
guide that will come with the full version of VOZ 1.1, I was forced to
focus on the enhancements that were made public knowledge and the dumb
luck of stumbling across others as I flew around VOZ 1.1.
Given the number of enhancements in VOZ 1.1, I have decided to
focus on just one major city’s improvements. That city is Canberra, our
Nation’s capital and a fitting first choice for review given the
unmistakable Aussie nature of this product. Until now scenery designers
and Flightsim Pilots alike mostly forgot Canberra. Nobody could blame
you for skipping past Canberra because until now there wasn’t anything
there and even if there was it’s not like you could drop virtual bombs
on parliament house in FS9. Moreover, that would just let the sound of
whining escape from its soundproof walls.
On a more serious note, Canberra is far from forgotten in VOZ 1.1 and
now features an array of new buildings such as bridges, embassies, and
hotels. In addition, the foundations have been laid for Parliament
house to go over the top of the new landclass in future releases.
Over Black Mountain, you will find the home of football in Canberra and
I do not mean Soccer or AFL, I mean the game they play in heaven. Yes,
it is Rugby Union and Bruce Stadium is arguably the birthplace of
professional Rugby in Australia. Bruce Stadium is also located adjacent
to the Australian Institute of Sport which will hopefully make future
VOZ installments. With all the new eye candy around Canberra, it is
sure to be a popular VFR destination from now on.
The only thing detracting from Canberra is Parliament House not being
ready for release by the time this article was written but I guess they
had to save something for VOZ 1.2 We can all cross our fingers that
Parliament house will be completed in time for the next installment of
Pre Selectable Flights
Knowing that VOZ 0.99 has many pre, selectable flights I made a beeline
for that section to see if there was anything new. A quick scan and I
quickly notice more than 30 new additions such as a Perth Flyover,
Mount Hamersley, also known as Mount Nameless by the locals in Tom
Price and Paraburdoo and the QE2 Stadium (Home of my Beloved Brisbane
Broncos) just to name a few.
With so much to look at, I decided to fly around my hometown
first. I selected the Perth Flyover and was quickly airborne over the
Swan River facing the Perth hills. I can see Kings Park to my left and
Perth International Airport in the distance. As I pan to look behind
me, I notice the murky river water breaking out into the mighty Indian
Ocean. I was impressed with how well the river textures blended with
the ocean textures. It made for a some very eye catching and realistic
effects that I’m sure the VOZ guys are very proud of.
Fremantle Harbor is clearly visible in the foreground with a few
ships in the harbor and the new Lighthouses standing prominently at the
entrance. Jandakot Airport is of to my right and with the new Urban
landclass I can make out all the major freeways and highways from
You will also quickly appreciate the new SW textures around Perth,
they are stunning and really add to the feel of flying around my new
home town. . These new textures look life like with that unmistakable
golden dry look that Western Australia gets in the middle of a hot
VOZ 1.1 is fast becoming the only add-on you will ever need to enjoy
flying around Australia. The list of enhancements above is huge but
does not give you the whole picture. I don’t think anybody can, the
fact is VOZ is so complex it will take many months for the average
person like you and me to find everything. I wonder if Koorby was able
to keep track of the plethora of additions, he him self might find a
few new features when next flying around. I can imagine this project
would have been very challenging and it’s a credit to the
organisational skills and dedication of this team. Reviewing VOZ 1.1
has been enough to make this writers head spin. I didn’t even scratch
the surface and you won’t either in the first few weeks.
All of you are going to enjoy thoroughly the latest edition to the
VOZ brand name. VOZ 1.1 is a comprehensive product with detail and
accuracy worth every cent of your bandwidth.
My final advice to you is make your self comfortable because you
will be spending a lot of hours discovering what VOZ has to offer. Grab
a beer, clear your schedule, and enjoy immersing your self like never
before in this Great Southern Land.
Congratulations to everyone involved with VOZ 1.1. On behalf of
the Flight Sim community, I thank you for enriching our flightsim
experience.VOZ Team and Koorbys Credits
John “koorby” Venema
John is the man behind VOZ and the reason it’s in your hands today. Prior to VOZ John helped get BirdsEyeView (BEV) to market and has also released his Koorbygen as freeware and bundled with GE2006. John is in his 40’s, lives in semi-rural Victoria, is married and has three teenage children that keep him very busy.
Matthew is a meticulous tester and co-developer of the textures for the North region.. A lot of why VOZ in the North looks accurate is due to Matt’s critical eye. His Australian Native trees autogen are a masterpiece of texture design. Matt is a Queenslander, so his bias towards the area means you benefit from his work in that spectacular region.
Ross is a perfectionist. His scenery clearly shows that. Just fly anywhere near the Queensland coast and you will see his beautiful work out of your cockpit. He lives in Brisbane. Ross has updated his work extensively for the VOZ 1.1 release.
A thorough beta tester and the maker of the awesome landclass on which VOZ gets its basic instructions to paint with. John is based in Canberra.
A Sydneysider and proud of it, Clive has made the wonderful extra scenery for Sydney harbour and surrounds. Clive is a great asset to our team with many years of FS scenery design under his belt and lots of files on AVSIM. He’s added more to VOZ 1.1
Steve has contributed the fantastic Parafield scenery for this release. He is a well known designer of previous Australian sceneries. He will be adding more to future VOZ releases, such as Adelaide CBD and Adelaide International reworked in gMax.
Marty is an expat Kiwi working at YMML, and therefore an undisputed authority on how it looks like. He’s updating his famous YMML Phase I as we grow the VOZ project.
Derek hails from Perth, which is like another country for us easterners, but he’s half of the team which is Westsim Design. We are lucky to have them onboard and their SW Australia LC and Jurien sceneries are wonderful – thanks fellas!
The other half of the Perth-based Westsim Design team, Jarrad makes fantastically detailed scenery with Derek, some of which is nearing commercial release for 2006. Again, we’re privileged to have JM on the team.
Jason is training for his full commercial pilot’s license. How he finds time to crank out scenery is beyond us, but we’re grateful for his efforts. Jason and Koorby will be collaborating on incredibly detailed Melbourne city scenery coming in the future releases, plus also a detailed Ballarat scenery.
Bruce hails from the nation’s capital Canberra and has contributed many new objects to VOZ 1.1 including the lighthouses, TV Towers and much more.
Jim is a quiet achiever and has contributed the superb Brisbane CBD, Gold Coast and Cairns to VOZ 1.1 We hope to see more additions to VOZ over time.
Jay is our “server guy” who provides a truckload of server space and bandwidth so the world can freely download VOZ. He’s known to work entire weekends to keep the servers up and running in a crisis. Thanks a bunch Jay!
Marty is our code cutter and VB programmer extraordinaire. He whips up bug-free, rock solid code faster than anyone we know, and he’s always finding a way to tweak and make it better. He is the man responsible for coding the VOZ switcher.
|Terry "Teecee" Carr, Wayne O'Dowd. Greg Free, Steve James, Rafael Ramos, David Ransley, John Tavendale, Steve Coplin, Ben Simon, Maurice Smith, Stian Rolandsen, Max Kraus, Peter Milroy, Christian Stock, Adrian Musto, Shaun Snyman & Leonardo Andrade
||These guys ROCK! Apart from some of them being established scenery
designers, aircraft painters, award winning video makers, and FS
community leaders of outstanding reputation – these guys have put in
long selfless hours of testing to ensure that any quirks have been
fixed and bugs squashed. Without the beta team VOZ would not be
anywhere near the quality you see today. Simple as that. Thanks a
million guys! Also a special mention to Stian Rolandsen and Maurice
Smith for their awesome beta screenshots and also to Adrian Musto, Max
Kraus and Leonardo Andrade for their pro quality, wonderful videos.
Thanks for reading, now go play.