REX4 | Texture Direct is an add-on texture library engine for FSX/Prepar3D by REX Game Studios in Phoenix, AZ. Texture Direct is one of many programs offered under the REX4 suite. Currently the suite options include Texture Direct, Weather Direct, and Weather Architect.
This software replaces the texture library features of the legacy software REX Essentials Plus w/ Overdrive I also own.
ORDERING / PRICE (in US Dollars)
$30 – Purchased online at the Flight Sim Store – Jan 2014. Their site stated I was supposed to get a $5 discount for already having REX Essentials, but I never saw it applied.
SHIPPING / PACKAGING
This item was delivered digitally so no shipping was involved. The installer file is in ZIP format containing a security wrapper built by Flight Sim Store and is approximately 6.25 GB in size. The Flight Sim Store allows you to download the product as many times as you chose.
DRIVERS / MANUALS
No drivers are required. Once installed, the manuals are created in PDF format inside the installation folder you chose. They are concise, full color, and cover the installation and operation well.
ASSEMBLY / INSTALLATION
No assembly required. Installation is pretty straightforward. Run the setup, enter your order number, registration code, and order date, and then it should detect your FSX installation and do the rest on its own.
TIP: Your fsx.cfg or Prepar3D.cfg file needs to contain the line TEXTURE_MAX_LOAD=4096 under the [GRAPHICS] section to enjoy the full resolution textures Texture Direct can offer.
INTEGRATION / OPERATION
Texture Direct replaces many of the default non-landclass textures with new high-resolution versions. These new versions update textures like clouds, lightning, sun and sky effects, runways, taxiways, surface water, waves, and airport signage, jetway, and parking areas.
NOTE: Texture Direct should only be used when FSX/P3D is not running!
During configuration, you will need to tell Texture Direct where to find the FSX/P3D executables and give it the opportunity to back up your current textures. I did this before installing any textures in case I wanted to return to stock. You can also select your external weather program here and Texture Direct can start it after you finish selecting textures. Since Texture Direct is basically a standalone program for installing new textures, I do not use this feature.
TIP: Once you find textures you enjoy, you do not need to open Texture Direct again unless you want to change them.
One thing to pay attention during configuration is the resolution and compression of the textures you use. Texture Direct can install them in various resolutions including 512, 1024, 2048 and 4096 bit and compressions from 32-bit to DXT5/DXT1. The higher the texture resolution and compression, the more load on your system.
I started at the lowest settings and moved up from there. With my current PC, I ended up with 2048 bit clouds and 1024 bit runways/taxiways and DXT compression across the board with very good results.
Texture Direct supports DX9 and DX10 for FSX and DX9, DX10, and DX11 for Prepar3D. I still use DX9 in my FSX setup, but DX11 in Prepar3D.
Now comes the fun part. As you browse through the different texture categories, you are presented with pre-defined sets of textures. Pick the set that you like! There are usually over a dozen different options to choose from in each category. Then, as simple as pushing the ‘Install’ button, these choices are pushed into the simulator’s textures library. The install process itself is quick and painless.
There are a couple of replacement sound effects for in-game precipitation, thunder, and wind. I use Precipitation Set 1 here as I enjoy the metallic ping of the rain on the fuselage before starting up the aircraft. You can build and save ‘themes’ and store different textures options in them depending on your mood or your flight that day. Simply call up the theme you want and click ‘Install’. There are also ‘community’ themes where you can see what others have put together or create your own to share. All in all, the updated textures are fantastic, from full-bodied clouds to the oil stains on parking spots. I flew by hurricane Andrew in FSX earlier this year as it neared Florida. With Active Sky Next weather and the REX4 textures, it was easily recognizable as a large hurricane from the air. I really enjoy the feeling I get knowing that what looks like bad weather ahead actually is. For example, I recently began a descent into Heathrow airport and even from 80 miles out, I could see a massive thunderstorm underway with tall cumulonimbus clouds and frequent lightning. Needless to say, the landing was quite exciting!
I originally used REX Essentials which combined textures with a weather engine. The weather engine was OK, but I have since upgraded to HiFi’s Active Sky Next for weather injection. The textures of REX Essentials were a good upgrade from FSX stock, however, when Texture Direct was announced I had no doubt in my mind I would upgrade to it. Now, my texture library is separate from my weather engine.
After picking my various textures and loading them into FSX/P3D, I have never looked back. The textures are rich, beautiful, and really shine on flights with radical weather or just beautiful viewpoints. I love being able to see lightning crackling in distant clouds and seeing the water pool on the runway in the rain. I have not had a single issue with this software and the results have been stunning. For these reasons, I give REX4 | Texture Direct a score of 10 out of 10.
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