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Calum Martin

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Everything posted by Calum Martin

  1. V3 bonanza... with Bonanza

    Wow, looks amazing. Can't wait to post reviews with new P3D shots!
  2. How can I get more FPS on my high end PC?

    Which Aircraft are you struggling to get 30fps inside?
  3. How can I get more FPS on my high end PC?

    Yeah let us know Hope it helps
  4. How can I get more FPS on my high end PC?

    Try adding [JOBSCHEDULER] AffinityMask=14 to your CFG and switching Bufferpools off? bufferpools=0
  5. How can I get more FPS on my high end PC?

    Can you post a copy of your CFG?
  6. Want To Be Part of the Team?

    Good Afternoon all! We have some really exciting news coming up in the near future. The best thing is, we want you guys to be a part of it. We’re looking for someone to help drive our continued success and become one of the leader Flight Simulator websites out there. We’ve already established ourselves as an informative and reliable source of information for Flight Sim news and reviews, and we’re looking to expand that into something completely unique to us. We want Flight Sim enthusiasts who are committed, willing and prepared to help us in providing up-to-date information for the high volume of visitors we get to iFlySimX each and every day. If you’re interested in finding out about the future of iFlySimX, send us a PM with some of the following information, where we’ll be able to talk further about the requirements of the brand new positions. Name: Location: Primary Language Spoken: Closing date is a 29th July 2015, so apply fast!
  7. Australia is one of the largest countries in the world, yet it has only recently been given the acknowledgement it deserves within the flight sim community. Thanks to teams such as ORBX, there’s some beautiful coverage of the country, yet there were still many airports which, quite simply, had never been given quality scenery. Again, ORBX delivered some stunning airports, but the performance of some of them left a lot to be desired. Fly Tampa have always been consistent with their releases. Airport after airport sees both a well performing airport, alongside unbeatable quality. To most, Valentine’s day is about showing love and affection for partners, but for simmers, Valentine’s day 2013 was the day FlyTampa melted the hearts of their fans by announcing Sydney would be coming to Flight Sim in the near future. Just a little over 2 years later, we’re all ready to go down under. Sydney, as a city is important for many reasons. Being the most populated city in Australia and the State Capital of New South Wales obviously attracts visitors from all over the Globe. It’s home to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and of course, the Sydney Opera House – quite simply, it’s a beautiful and rich city. The airport itself is the only major airport within the city, and sees nearly 40 million passengers a year. It’s amazing, it has taken this long to be faithfully recreated within our Flight Sim products. To be perfectly honest, when FlyTampa announced their development on the primary hub for Qantas, it just all felt perfect. I couldn’t think of a better developer to bring this huge airport to life. Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (YSSY) has three runways, with a maximum length of 12,999ft – meaning that long haulers will of course comfortably be able to fly their long distances. Being on the far east of Australia, expect to be able to fly direct to the West Coast of the USA, New Zealand and Hawaii quite easily. Even direct flights from the middle-East and Asia are all possible in your long range aircraft. As a result, VAS and Frame Rates are normally at the forethought of people’s minds. After extensive testing and a range of settings, I can confirm that it should not be a worry. Providing you use ‘appropriate’ settings, and it’s relative to your hardware, you will have similar frame rates to that of other FlyTampa scenery. Thanks to the configuration options, you can easily select what features you want on or off. Find that 3D grass gives you poor performance? Turn it off. Want to see little fishermen on the coast during approach, turn them on. You have plenty of options to fine tune it to suit your system, which is definitely a win-win solution for everyone. In regards to VAS usage, I had no troubles. I have modest settings (but my Simulator still looks fantastic), and I have installed the LITE package (sets textures to 1024, instead of the default value of 2048). Even with VAS heavy add-ons such as the PMDG 777 and MyTraffic 6, I never got close to being out of memory. It’s a little more intensive than some scenery packages, but you have to remember exactly how much detail FlyTampa have gone with Sydney. Speaking of detail, remember those Fishermen I mentioned? Well, how would you like to add sharks, moving traffic, static aircraft, traffic lights and much more to improve the visual quality? There’s so much attention to detail it is unbelievable. There’s moving fans in the rooftops of some buildings and plenty of puddles along the taxi ways. Dirt is spread throughout the airfield, as well as stones and concrete to really immerse you in the experience. Texturing aside, the modelling is quite simply, the best I have ever seen in a Simulator. The famous control tower at Sydney has been authentically recreated, and to the finest of detail. You genuinely could mistake it for the real thing. It has the perfect geometry, scaling and texturing. I remember when the first image of the control tower was released, and I had a hard time guessing which was the Sim and which was real – I still have that same problem now. Alongside the configurator, is the opportunity to change the seasons accordingly. Texturing changes depending on the month you chose, which again, just helps to differentiate FlyTampa from the rest of the competition. Not only have they done an excellent job with the airport, but they’ve also worked hard to make sure the surrounding area also. There’s plenty of satellite imagery that has been used to create some really good and detailed ground textures. There’s also been some work done to the nearby buildings within Sydney. Although it doesn’t extend too far from the airport, it’s enough to keep you immersed during the approach into Sydney (and also the departure). It is obvious that I think FlyTampa have done a remarkable job on Sydney. With a range of terminals fully created, beautiful artwork and texturing and mind-blowing model work – this ranks as one of the best created add-on packages for Flight Simulation. With excellent performance (considering its size and location) and moderate memory usage, Sydney will be the new number 1 spot for short and long haulers alike. It may be far away from home (for some of you), but it’s certainly worth the trip. See you down under! Purchase FlyTampa’s Fly Tampa Here
  8. Located in the heart of the Dominican Republic, Gregorio Luperon International Airport (MDPP) is one the most frequently visited airports in the Caribbean. With flights coming from all corners of the Globe, and being the Forth busiest airport in the Dominican, can DreamFlight Studios bring this vibrant airport to life in the world of Flight Simulation? Let’s start with location. Being so important to the tourism industry within the Domincan, it stands to reason the airport sees a lot of activity. As a result, the airport has been built with this in mind. Capable of holding 3 Boeing 747-400s at any one time is incredibly impressed for a Caribbean airport. With a range of airlines visiting, it’s easy to find a route you’ll enjoy flying to and from the beautiful and sunny destination. After the harsh winter months and bitter cold, it makes for a wonderful change to fly into such a hot airport. No wind sheer and not a cloud in sight to ruin your views of your beach approach. As for the airport itself, DreamFlight have done a great job at surrounding the airport in plenty of autogen, that lends itself nicely to the over grown nature of the island. The runway is almost lined with tropical bushes and trees that gives excellent views on your final approach. As you come in over the waves, you will notice the special attention DreamFlight have given to the coastal areas. During a sunset, it’s really quite the experience and I urge you to try it out. The airport itself is masterfully done. Despite being fairly new to the game, DreamFlight have created a detailed and well performing airport. The texturing is of a high standard and the modelling is near-life-like. Although the static and bland airbridges could use some much needed cosmetic work to really wow me with the attention to detail. The iconic red-roofed buildings are present and give the airport that rustic Caribbean feel their airports are renowned for. One problem I do have is the lack of detail outside of the airport. There’s a rather basic car park area, with low-res models of cars and coaches, as well as a few hangers and buildings. It’s a shame really, as there’s a small town just to the South of the airport. Instead the default autogen makes up for it, which as we know, is certainly not that impressive. It would really add to the beautiful approach and prove that DreamFlight mean business. Night lighting, on the other hand, is really well done. As mentioned before, approaching in the sunset really brings the airport to life. There’s some great work done on the texturing of the terminals during the darker hours, and the approach lights look truly beautiful. The night lighting with Puerto Plata Airport is one of the best features of this airport. Turn of the lights and go flying at dusk! Trust me, it’s worth it. Gregorio Luperon International Airport (MDPP) is a great airport at a reasonable price. With so many aircraft flying in and out of the airport daily, it’s easy to understand why DreamFlight chose to visit Puerto Plata Airport. With some excellent texture work and good modelling, it’s a great airport to add to your Caribbean collection. However, some short-comings from lack of detail in some key areas of the airport and the surrounding area stop me from saying this a must-buy. PURCHASE PUERTO PLATA X AT SIMMARKET
  9. It’s been a while since my last review, and as a result, I’ve had some wonderful down time to revisit some of the older airports released over the years. One such airport was Copenhagen. At the time, I forgot how much I enjoyed the quick hops from the UK over to the Danish city. It is also one of those destinations where the weather can either be on your side, or cause havoc to your flight planning. Over the last few weeks, I’ve had it all – everything from glorious, crispy sunny mornings to the CAT 3 landings. However, despite how beautiful it is, it’s never really been properly captured in the flight simulation world. Until now, however. It’s been no secret that FlyTampa have been crafting Copenhagen with support from Flight Simulator Development Group. FSDG are a relatively new developer on the scene of Flight Simulation products. I remember not that long ago downloading their fantastic Sharm El Sheik and Heraklion projects. Both were wonderfully created, frame rate friendly and breathed a new lease of life into these locations. Earlier this year, they released, quite possibly, their best project yet: Thessaloniki. A medium-sized airport, surrounded by a sprawling city. Despite everything going on, it was pretty much flawless. It had charm, atmosphere and easy on the simulator. As a result of their clear talent, FlyTampa made it clear that these guys would be great to partner with to bring about their latest airport – Fly Copenhagen. It’s immediately apparent that the best of both teams come across in the scenery. The texturing around the airport is amongst the best FlyTampa (hereby FT from now on) have ever delivered. If you’re a fan of anything from FT in the past, then you know the quality to expect here. If you think back to Dubai (their last release) and how breath-taking it all looked, then imagine the quality factor turned up by 10. The screenshots here don’t really do the scenery justice. Mostly because JPG compresses the images to a low quality level (hence why night shots look a bit bad…), but also because it’s impressive to see the detail move at a surprisingly good pace. The screenshots have been taken with the settings taken at the highest quality so I hope you like them. As for the texturing itself, it’s clear that everything is crystal clear. Taxiway markings and signage are all looking excellent. But again, it’s the attention to detail that makes it stand out to other developers out there. Scuff marks on the ground, dirt tracks and even stones can be seen on the ground. The immersion with the scenery is just remarkable. As usual, the modelling is near perfect. Every single building within the airport is present and are all high quality. There’s been no compromise on “less” important buildings or those that you may not use / see on your day-to-day flying. However, this hasn’t stopped the guys from ensuring every building looks as impressive as the last. Even the inside of the buildings have been given the now-norm 3D interior effect. What impressed me more was the fact that each section was accurate to the real airport and not just a generalisation of what you would see at an airport gate. For example, if you were at gate F5, you would see the signage on the inside clearly mark the passengers were at the same gate, with additional signage pointing to other gates. Again, all accurate and certainly not a copy and paste job. It’s this level of detail that separates FT and FSDG from the others. As you can see, I started off with the evening screenshots first. If you’re a frequent reader, then you will know, that these normally come last. However, in this instance, I felt that the night lighting here is the most impressive night lighting ever to grace a Flight Simulation airport. Words can’t describe how much I love the lighting [editor’s note: please find some, we need to boost the word count somehow!]. There’s no light that over exaggerate what the scenery is trying to show off. Nor is there a single block colour that covers the whole airport. There’s a huge variety of lights and shadow that really showcase the beauty of Copenhagen airport. The taxiways and runways look glorious on those evening approaches – certainly helpful when flying an autoland in fog. One complaint with the lighting, however, is the slow loading textures when panning around. Similar to the effect of Aerosoft’s Heathrow earlier this year, when the scenery isn’t in view, it’s somehow ‘flushed’ out of the Simulator to enable better performance. However, one downside of this is the effect of the textures taking a few seconds to load up. Not really an issue in general usage, but if you’re one for taking photos, this will become noticeable. It certainly won’t spoil anything for you and by no means something that should put you off from flying at night. Outside of the airport, Copenhagen is renowned for its beautiful surroundings and of course, the famous Øresund Bridge. For those of you who don’t know, the Oresund Bridge is the longest combined rail and road bridge in the world. It’s a beautiful landmark and makes the approach into Copenhagen that much more exciting. Luckily, the two teams have wonderfully created a fantastic replica for us to fly around (or under!). It looks great, and the moving traffic certainly makes it feel very much alive. Of course, it wouldn’t be a FSDG airport if there wasn’t the inclusion of a surrounding city. Again, the team haven’t disappointed. There’s literally hundreds of houses, buildings and other environmental obstacles that litter the surroundings of the airport. It takes a bit of a hit on performance, but for the sheer number of objects and the quality of each one, it makes it a very fair trade off. Thanks to advance techniques and an easy-to-use configurator, the impact is minimal and can be adjusted to your preferences. 2014 has certainly been the year of developers taking on board that every user has a different machine, and as a result, a different expectation as far as performance goes. FT and FSDG have jumped on board with the idea and Fly Copenhagen is the first scenery to support FlyTampa’s latest configurator. Everything from season texture, amount of traffic and whether you use the default or custom autogen. It’s highly detailed and allows any user of any powered machine to get the most from their scenery. In my opinion, the ease of use and the number of options available makes me hope that this soon becomes the standard for all scenery developers. Fly Copenhagen is truly the best scenery FlyTampa and Flight Simulator Development Group have ever created for the community. The quality is ripping from the seams and not a pixel looks out of place. As a result, there’s a relatively high price tag associated with it. However, you get bang for your buck – a huge, and highly detailed airport and a sprawling city which expands over the sea and more. If you need a winter destination for your Christmas stocking, then this is it. You’ll have a range of aircraft to fly from here, and you will never have two of the same approach thanks to its ever-changing weather conditions. Fly Copenhagen is the airport of the Winter! 5/5 | Publisher: FlyTampa | Developer: FlyTampa / FSDG | Price: 33.22EUR PURCHASE FlyTampa’s Copenhagen HERE! A fantastic effort by combining two excellent developers. The texturing, modelling and atmosphere shadows any other Copenhagen currently on the market. Although pricey, the huge amount of area covered is impressive, all whilst ensuring a smooth experience for your Simulator. An absolute must buy for a winter destination. + The best modelling and texture work from FlyTampa yet. + Huge amount of detail and coverage with minimal performance impact. - Slow loading textures can sometimes be irritating. - Pricier than most other scenery packages out there.
  10. Rome Fiumicino is an airport that people have been waiting patiently for an incredibly long time. Ever since its initial announcement, FS2004 users have been treated to many months of exploring a great looking rendition of the popular Italian airport. Fast forward and after many promises and great anticipation, Aerosoft officially cancelled the project - claiming that the quality of the product just wasn’t up to expectations. Since then, DreamFactory Studio has decided to self-publish through SimMarket, allowing countless fans the chance to finally explore one of Italy’s largest and greatest airports. Were Aerosoft right to cancel their contract? Let’s find out. Rome Fiumicino is also home to several airlines, including easyJet, Air Italia and many more. Large international carriers such as Emirates and United also fly into the airport daily. Its location and size make it an ideal destination for both business travellers and holiday makers. It’s little wonder why so many were looking forward to such a sought after airport for Flight Sim. Before we begin, allow me to clarify a few points: · I always use a clean FSX.cfg along with the simple [bUFFERPOOLS], HighMem fix and widescreen set to true. This allows consistency with the reviews when it comes to performance. · I always use the same settings within FSX and Nvidia inspector for each review. This was stress tested at several payware airports (E.G. UK2000 EGLL) with payware aircraft (E.G. PMDG 777), all achieving roughly 30-35fps. This allows me to judge performance based on other add-ons. · I will disable and lower settings to what I believe to be minimal if it means I achieve greater performance for the review. However, this is last resort as I believe if my machine can handle the point above, then it should be able to handle a simple payware airport. N.B. I never lower them lower than the minimum stated in a products manual. · I perform my tests with and without DX10 (using Steve’s fixer) and enable / disable FTX Global and similar products to test for compatibility. However any incompatibility will be noted. NOTE: I don’t regard it to be a compatibility issue if the surrounding terrain colours don’t match, but will do if the airport or the add-on then breaks because of it. · I use a variety of add-ons, weather engines and so forth in 3 stages whilst testing: minimal use (minimum to enjoy the scenery), Normal Use (a typical flight scenario) and a Stress Test (turn on all features, bells and whistles). · I solely use FSX as my platform of choice. With that out of the way, let’s jump in… As with any airport, one of the first things you will notice is the texture and modelling work of the airport. After all, it’s the primary reason why we purchase an add-on airport for our simulations. From initial impressions, it was clear to me that these were created for an FS2004 product. Certainly not as bad as FSX default, but lacking the detail and refinement so many of us of used to seeing. Computers are much more capable of displaying high resolution graphics now, and many developers are utilising new techniques. Small things such as dirt, dust and water spillages are all part of the ‘norm’ now for developers creating payware scenery – so to see a lack of it with Rome was disappointing. Clear distinctions between the taxiway and runways, and the ground markings are accurate and impressive. Modelling on the other hand looks great. The terminal buildings (and there’s many) are all rendered with a lot of precision. It’s fantastic to see so much attention placed in the architecture of the product. Everything from airport terminals and hangers to moving trains and office buildings all correct and present. There are even animated cars bringing the airport to life. In terms of placement and design, DreamFactory Studio has done an excellent job. From scanning Google Earth, everything from changes in tarmac colour and building placement has been given the upmost attention. It’s great to see a true-to-life airport in the heart of Italy. For example, car parks, runways now used as taxiways and airport development is all present with Rome. Like so many other developers, however, once you leave the airside operations of the airport, things take a turn for the worse. Texture work outside lacks as much detail and the low-resolution terrain allows the immersion to suffer. To me immersion is one of the most important aspects of any add-on scenery to me. We want to feel like we’re really taxing down Taxiway ALPHA before holding at runway 09. We want to see the nearby towns under the wing as we drop the gear down for our final approach. It’s the increase in immersion that justifies our purchase on virtual airports. The sad thing is, I felt that immersion just didn’t exist. As soon as I booted up Rome Fiumicino I noticed some strange terrain issues. Admittedly, after switching off my FTX products, the sinking stopped. However, another cause of concern cropped up. That concern, and of course it would be, is the Frame Rates. I appreciate it is a HUGE airport with a lot going on. Everything from a huge amount of taxiways, runways and buildings are all reasons for a drop in frames. However, as described above, I achieve excellent stability at high end airports from a range of developers. So you can imagine my surprise, disbelief and disappointment when my frame rates initially started in the mid-20s, before dropping to 8-12 when I panned my view near to the main terminal buildings. As time passed, it seemed go get progressively worse! Even after fixing my terrain issues described above, again, they seemed to get worse. Although no-stutters seemed to be present, if a system such as mine couldn’t handle the airport, I very much doubt a standard user would be able to. In this regard, it would seem Aerosoft were right when they claimed the frame rate would be unacceptable for most to use. Despite everything I liked about the airport, this was a killer blow for me. Switch to nigh-time and I saw frames barely reaching 5fps. Unacceptable. On the other hand, if the developer decides to go back to the project, re-work some of the code to optimise it for FSX, then this would be a good add-on for those looking at having Rome as part of their collection. There are some great little quirks about the airport. There is some lovely looking satellite imagery surrounding the airport as well as some great looking texture work on the nearby buildings. The lack of build up around the airport mean you’ll be approaching over the sea and then some local farm – it’s certainly a scenic approach and one I enjoy making. Despite its pick-me-ups, Rome falls short of expectations. The lack of manual, strange issues with PAPI lighting and a broken ASELite Menu (clearly from the old Aerosoft project) makes me wonder if this project was finished when it was released. DreamFactory Studio has done a good job at creating a life-like project of the airport, but the poor performance issues and lack of FSX-quality detail stop me from recommending Rome Fiumicino. With a few fixes this could be a worthwhile purchase, but until then, be prepared to be disappointed. 1/5 | Publisher: SimMarket | Developer: DreamFactory Studio | Price: 20.50EUR Despite some nice looking texture work, the poor performance make the airport almost un-flyable. The massive drop in frame rate and the incompatibility make it a really hard recommendation. Despite being the only option to fly into Rome Fiumicino, DreamFactory Studio have really done a disservice to the community. An unfinished and poor performing product - an update is really the only thing that can salvage it. + Good looking models surround the airport. + Some areas have some nice texture work. - Massive performance issues make the airport almost unflyable. - Incompatibility with FTX products, no manual and a broken options menu. PURCHASE DREAMFACTORY STUDIO'S ROME FIUMICINO HERE --------- UPDATE 20AUG2014 Since our review, DreamFactory Studio have released an update that appears to FIX the awful frame rate issues. I can no hold frames around 25-30, but suffer from stutters almost every few seconds. I was also able to fly at night now, but the frame rate was still poor, achieving only 18-25fps. Other issues I noted during the review are still present, however, it is at least in a more stable state. Any further updates to the product and I will revise my review and will let you know. ------- My Specs: Processor - 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-3770K Ivy Bridge (OVERCLOCKED TO 4.8GHz) RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 12800) GPU - GeForce GTX 780 FTW 3GB GDDR5 Mother Board - ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard Hard Drives - 2 x 128gb OCZ SSD + 2 x 1tb 7200RPM HDD Operating System - Windows 7 (64-bit) Add-ons Used In Screenshots: Scenery – DreamFactory Studio Rome Fiumicino (LIRF) Aircraft – Aerosoft’s Airbus A320 Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global, FTX Vector, ORBX's FTX Global openLC Europe. ****HAD TO REMOVE FTX PRODUCTS FOR AIRPORT TO WORK AS INTENDED****
  11. Aerosoft are always providing Flight Sim users new experiences. Be it from the excellent Airbus range of products they have produced or the countless number of fantastic scenery packages. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past few months, Aerosoft have released a new kind of package that covers vast amounts of area with brand new night lighting. This doesn’t fix the awful FSX lighting inside the engine, but does provide areas with new ground based light fixtures. Appropriately named, Night Environment adds a whole new dimension to local areas. Let’s delve deeper to see if it sparks new life into FSX or needs to fade away into the night. The night lighting within FSX has never amounted to anything particularly pretty. With literally thousands of miles of road and other street lights, it would seem almost impossible to be able to track down and place each light individually. Luckily for us, the team at Aerosoft have discovered an effecicant way of depicting data and converting lifeless roads and giving them sparks of life. With a huge variety of different light features and effects, there’s a diverse look for each city, village and major motorway or road. Cities are truly brought to life with Night Environment. Suddenly they are no longer dull and grey as you fly past them on approach into their nearby airport. It’s not the most detailed of lighting, but to cover such a huge range of land is quite the feat. The orange and yellow glow off of the older lights and the white lights from newer buildings create a collage of vibrance that is only enhanced further by adding bloom lighting. In most scenarios, adding bloom will blend the colours together to create a truly night-time experience. Because of the accuracy of the placement of the lights, Aerosoft have now made it possible to truly simulate VFR night flying. Wanted by many, and now possible, you will be able to boot up your favourite plane and jump from landmark to landmark, following roads and paths during the night. It adds a new dimension to night flying for both IFR and VFR, so all flight simmers can get their teeth sunk in. In terms of performance, this is where things become hit and miss for many. With so many different ground texture developers out there, Aerosoft must’ve had a hard time figuring out how to accommodate to so many different variations. Luckily, they’ve catered for those that use Photo Real scenery as well as ORBX or GEX products. By switching the level in which you wish to use the lights is incredibly easy. Simply turning on or off your selected levels will re-load the lights into your sim. After a few minutes of configuration, you’ll eventually find something that works for you. Of course, like with anything in the Flight Sim World. The higher your settings, the more resources it will take from you PC. Of course, the high the settings, the better looking your night flying will look. It’s a hard balance to adjust to, but I found the number of options available will accommodate to anyone. Base+Level 0+Level 3 is ideal for those who don’t want default FSX lights and use ORBX products. This is truly high end and will impact you a lot. However, all those options are adjustable in 3 levels giving you maximum flexibility. It’s difficult to describe a product like Night Environment apart from saying it enhances your night time flying. It does exactly what it says on the tin, with minimal fuss. The array of configuration options means anyone can give it a go without seeing too much of a performance drain. It looks fantastic in action (my screenshots don’t do it justice due to the way FSX takes night shots) and really adds to the immersion of Flight Sim. Split into multiple regions, and with many more to come, there’ll be something for everyone. The low-cost, the amount of coverage and the detail added, it’s hard to not recommend Night Environment to anyone. 4/5 | Developer: Aerosoft | Publisher: Aerosoft | Price: 13.95EUR PURCHASE NIGHT ENVIRONMENT COLLECTION HERE A healthy investment to spruce up your night-life in FSX. With many options to configure and change depending on your system, it really is a platform for anyone to use. Great look lights that allow you to even fly at night VFR is truly revolutionary within FSX. Great Britain is a great place to start, but with many more regions to choose from, there is something for everyone. + Millions of lights make the night come alive. + Good performance despite the increase in lights. - Having to turn the feature off for day flying. - Be nice to see specific building lights.
  12. Aerosoft Airbus A318/A319

    Flight Simulation went an age without a decent Airbus series of aircraft. Sure, some developers created visually appealing models, but nothing with systems and flows that made any sense. Never mind the complexity that comes with the vast ECAM screens and the FBW system. Of course, as Simmers we want realism, but that comes with a cost: a long development time and a performance hit – two things that every developer and simmer out there dreads. Luckily for us, Aerosoft saw a great opportunity and ceased it. Their visually appealing Airbus A320 X released several years ago began a trend for the publishing giant. They realised they could create a visually appealing aircraft, with minimal systems, yet immerse Simmers just enough to satisfy their lust. Sadly (or thankfully, depending what side of the fence you’re on) demand for a deeper system became priority for everyone. As a result, in 2013 Aerosoft released, what was known at the time, The Airbus X Extended (or AXE for short). Suddenly, fixes to the FBW, MCDU (Editors note: Nearly called this the FMC… too much Boeing on the mind) and visual improvements made this THE airbus to fly. It was well designed, light on the user’s machines, but included enough depth to the systems to allow the Simmer to follow a typical, standard flight – and at a bargain price. Unfortunately for Aerosoft, despite their persistence and hard work, after a few more months, we all got restless yet again! We all knew it was their plan to release the A319 shortly after the A320, but what we didn’t expect was for them to add even more to the overall package of the Airbus. Here we are in 2014 (and three paragraphs into the review already, without even touching up on the review), and Aerosoft’s most ambitious project has been released for sale. As you step into the Flight Deck for the first time, you will notice an all familiar location. Everything looks pretty much the same from the A320 Flight Deck, however, Aerosoft have completely redone the Virtual Cockpit to improve draw calls to help improve the frame rates significantly. Not only that, but the resolution is higher and the displays are much clearer than ever before. Despite being clearer than previous aircraft, once you zoom in just a bit, text becomes a bit blocky. After having experience inside of a A319/320 flight deck for a long time now, I feel the refresh rate inside Aerosoft’s ‘Bus to be a bit slow. It may save on performance, but having the option would allow users to adjust based on their machine. With dimmable displays and more functionality, this already feels much more realistic. Something that was missing from the previous Airbus products from Aerosoft were fire tests and a realistic APU start up time. After being requested constantly, Aerosoft have listened and delivered. Something that is still missing if the inclusion of an LBS function for our American friends. There’s a huge Airbus in operation over in the states, yet they have to convert all of their weights in KGS. No issue for most, but something I would have expected to be achieved by now. Modelling on the outside of the aircraft has also been vastly improved too. There is no longer any debates over the size of the engines, the angle of the flaps or any other complain initially had with the Airbus series. This is their most impressive work yet, and even all of the texture work has been upgraded to a more high resolution giving simmers even more opportunity to take shameless amounts of screenshots of their new baby ‘bus. Another added feature is the addition of external nav, beacon and strobe lighting reflecting off of the ground. Again, this was the direct input of the community and Aerosoft have listened. If anything has impressed me with the A319/318 collection, is the upgrades Aerosoft have put into the software. I remember when they first announced that Airbus Xtended X, when they announced it to be a medium-range aircraft. Similar to that of QualityWings – a great looking model but only limited functionality. Enough to allow the simple Simmer to enjoy the day-to-day procedures of the Airbus. Whilst this is most certainly the case, the added functionality is very much welcomed as even basic MCDU functionality such as range arcs has now been included (missing before). It’s all these included extras that make the upgrade price such good value for money. Speaking of the MCDU, a lot of new functions have now been made available. Things such as HOLD and OFFSET are now included and provide an excellent tool when planning for bad weather. Also, now when you change the route in the ‘preview’ mode, the nav display will now highlight your new adjusted route in yellow – just like the real thing. Small, but invaluable improvements such as these make the A319/318 feel like a more complete package than ever before. Just as before, only the left MCDU is functional, but the right side allows for users to configure their Airbus – but more on that shortly. One of my new favourite features is the fact you can now load fuel, and payload directly in the Airbus via the right MCDU. If I hated anything from the previous airbus collections, it was the external fuel loaders. I hate them. They are a pain to work with and complete spoil any and all immersion. Thankfully, Aerosoft realised this and have given you the option to either instantly add fuel or payload, or in real-time, complete with appropriate ECAM memos. I finally can plan my flights before, operate a 4 sector day and never leave the Flight Deck. Failing that, external fuel loader-lovers can also plan and load fuel just as before. As I mentioned above, you can now use the MCDU to plan for any approaching weather. Of course, this would be pointless in the world of Simulation without some way of knowing where the weather was on your course! For those living under a rock, PMDG lead the way earlier this year by releasing a service pack for their 777 series which allowed users of Active Sky Next to use a fully working Weather Radar within the Nav display of their aircraft. Well I am happy to say that Aerosoft’s Weather Radar (which can be used with ANY Weather Engine, or even default FSX weather) works incredibly well, with very little impact on performance. From a time where developers were adamant that a WX Radar was impossible to having two products in one year with finally claiming accurate information, Simmers have truly been spoilt. Having a Weather Radar is a fantastic piece of equipment. Within the sim, you will be able to adjust the gain and tilt of the radar to pick up returns up to a very large area in front of the aircraft. As a result, you can detect clouds with precipitation within them, which includes storms and other activity. It can really make a difference to how you fly, adding both an extra challenge and thrill to a typical flight. What really impresses me about Aerosoft’s Weather Radar is the fact that any weather engine is compatible. Finally non-users of Active Sky Next can experience a true to life weather radar, complete with ground returns. It’s easy to use, immersive and impressive – everything I would want from a WX Radar. In addition to the WX Radar, a new feature has been added to the Nav display, which takes Aerosoft series far beyond their initial medium-spec’d outset. With a click of a button, you will now be able to see a completely accurate terrain database appear, to allow you to avoid conflict with nearby terrain. The level of detail in both the weather radar and the new terrain database is easily on PMDG level in terms of complexity and quality – and this is a $30 add-on! Everything else with the product feels incredibly fine-tuned. The IAE engines are now accurate and have the correct displays. The FBW settings of the aircraft have been fine-tuned, and even the taxi model has been adjusted to consider the poor friction of the FSX/P3D world. Finally, single-engine idle taxis are now possible (with a light load of course). Even the aircraft’s sound-set has been updated. Everything from start-up sounds to the impact of landing has been adjusted for a more realistic and immersive quality. Further to just improving their aircraft and systems, Aerosoft have spent a considerable amount of time on improving their co-pilot functions. Apart from fixing some issues from before, new commands and flows have been added. Again, Aerosoft realise how important it is to be immersed into your product. Although I’m not a fan myself, I can assure it works splendidly. It’s certainly a great feature to be built into the aircraft and one I hope other developers push in the future. Aerosoft are consistently fine-tuning fuel and flight dynamics. During the course of this review, they have released several updates / hotfixes which fix general issues. The on-going development work from the team is something Aerosoft have defined their business on and continues to be the best in the industry. As you can see, I am more than impressed with Aerosoft’s brand new A319/318 update. It adds so much more than just a model and slightly different flight dynamics from their A320/321 series. The improved performance, the added functionality and impressive Weather/Terrain displays easily justify the expense of upgrading. Whether you use the A319 for short/medium haul, or take the 318 for a spin across the Atlantic, you’re going to have an incredible experience. I have poured countless hours already into the Sim and you will do too. If their continued support and range of updates is anything like we’ve seen from Aerosoft before, the A319/318 will be an ever-growing project. 5/5 | Publisher: Aerosoft | Developer: Aerosoft | Price: 39.95EUR | 16.16EUR PURCHASE AEROSOFT'S AIRBUS A318/319 HERE! The sheer number of improvements, optimisations and additions to Aerosoft’s Airbus family is staggering. Everything from improved texturing to improved systems warrants not only the upgrade price, but even a full priced product. The weather radar is excellent and the new sound effects immerse me completely in the product. With more features to come, it will remain in my hanger for a long time to come. + Impressive new range of features and at a bargain upgrade/full price. + Performance friendly, even with new features inc. Weather / Terrain radar. - Still no inclusion of LBS for our American friends. - Refresh rates and texture quality of displays should be higher.
  13. The expression “blink and you’ll miss it” almost seems to ring true for the development process of anything from Taxi2Gate. Just WEEKS ago, I was reviewing their last airport, Doha, and already, I’m writing the review of their next airport. This time, however, Taxi2Gate have ventured back into the sunny Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Clearly to have some down time, the development team like to focus on their Caribbean airports. After all, they’re significantly smaller and thus less complex, shaving huge chunks of time off of development. It must be a good way for the developers to have some down time whilst still actively working. However, is this trend from Taxi2Gate healthy or has quality dropped because of it? Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport serves the nation of Saint Kitts and was recently renovated in 2006. Since then, it has become a major airport within the Caribbean, being able to handle up to 6 wide-bodied aircraft at any one time. The airport has gone from strength to strength and currently handles over 400,000 passengers per year. On top of that, it has a vast Cargo operation, which is handled by several major airlines, including DHL and FedEx. My main concern with any Caribbean airport is and always will be the atmosphere of the airport. I’ve been numerous times to know what they should feel like, and I think having that atmosphere is just as important as having high definition textures. I mean, why look like the real thing if it doesn’t feel like it. So as soon as I stepped into the Sim, loaded up St. Kitts, I immediately felt like I was exploring Robert Bradshaw International airport. Staggeringly, Taxi2Gate seem to nail this feeling each and every time. As soon as you step into the airport, that warm breeze will hit your face, you will hear the sound of the exotic birds and taste the sea air. It’s incredible that by providing high quality texturing and correct colouring, you can actually feel like you’re there. The team are able to pull this off. Once you step into the flight deck, this all becomes apparent. It comes as no surprise that Taxi2Gate have developed a really believable looking airport. All buildings, taxiways and signs have been given the attention they deserve. Again, everything is in beautiful resolution and looks just as impressive as their larger airports. Compared to Doha, St. Kitts looks far more worn-down and used and as a result, there is dirt everywhere! Despite the same developer, the differences in texture work ensure you know exactly where in the world you are. Something that did disappoint me is the lack of work from the surrounding area of the airport. With the vast area covered in Doha or even Istanbul, I was shocked to see so little of St. Kitts covered this time. St. Kitts isn’t exactly the most built up of islands in the world, so it would be a case of creating imagery sets to ensure that the area around the airport would be fully covered. Instead, for some odd reason, on the approach over the coast, you get a few hundred yards of default scenery, including the costal area. For something so prominent in the airport itself, I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth. Did the developer run out of time, money or resources? Either way, for such a renowned developer to cut corners on something so important leaves me wondering if this was rushed to market. In general, I don’t believe enough of the island has been covered with custom terrain that we’re used to seeing from a developer such as Taxi2Gate. Even the mountain to the side of the airport lacks any custom work. Admittedly, the work they have done looks fantastic, which is probably why I’m craving for more from them. However, what is covered, it all looks amazing. Everything from the 3D grass to the nearby harbour makes everything feel realistic and offers great views during the approach. Despite being a small Caribbean airport, there is still a great amount of variety for Simmers here. With British Airways visiting a few times a week with their triple seven (after a 20 minute flight from Antigua – always a challenge), American with their smaller Airbus’ and also some GA traffic, there’s plenty for you to try out here. Performance, is, as usual, fantastic. Not a fault can be said about it. VAS usage is low and framerates are high, but yet again, there’s a lack of options for the user. Apart from just ‘deleting’ files, there’s no way for users to gain better performance or even change the texture set. Even though their scenery performs wonderfully, we’re in a time and age where users like to change their settings to best match their system and I think it’s time Taxi2Gate began to realise this. Whilst I enjoyed the scenery and believe it to be of a high quality, just some aspect seem to be lacking compared to previous work by Taxi2Gate. The lack of surrounding custom terrain and the poor quality in their custom autogen makes me wonder whether this was produced by the same developer. They clearly have a highly skilled team, but St Kitts seems to suffer from a quick turnaround time. Despite some issues, this is an excellent airport with many positive qualities. From a reasonable price, to fantastic looking texturing and modelling work. As far as Caribbean airports go, this is a must, but be prepared to not be blown away as much as you were the first time you stepped into Doha for the first time. Purchase Taxi2Gate’s St Kitts Here! 3/5 | Publisher: SimMarket | Developer: Taxi2Gate | Price: 17.84EUR Taxi2Gate’s quick development process is both a Godsend and also its biggest downfall. Despite having fantastic texturing and excellent modelling, St. Kitts comes as a disappointment for those expecting the same detail and quality as their previous work. Regardless, this is an excellent Caribbean scenery, and with diverse routes to and from, it shouldn’t be missed. + Great value for money with great performance. + Fantastic use of colouring and texture work. - Lack of detail surrounding key areas of the airport’s approach. - Night lighting isn’t as strong as previous work.
  14. When SimWings / Aerosoft announced that they were hard at work at creating a brand new Heathrow, it was met with a massive “well what is the point” from the community. Not only was UK Airport Developer Gary from UK2000 scenery hard at work at creating a brand new version of Heathrow, but it was very close from being released. However, the community suddenly perked some interest when the first screenshots were shown. Suddenly, things were heating up, and with anticipated release dates for both sceneries within spitting distance of one another, it gave consumers a massive headache – which would be the better of the two. Just as people were getting their heads around it, SimWings delayed theirs and Gary released his. At the time, it was obvious: if you wanted the most up-to-date and frame friendly Heathrow on the market, Gary’s was the way to go. However, the choice is now much more difficult as we have two excellent products on the market (let alone the numerous versions of the exciting airport from before!) As a result of this direct competition and the angst amongst you all to find out which product you should spend your money, I have divided this review into several sections allowing you to read what you want to read which will help you decide. The sections will be as follows: THOSE WHO HAVE UK2000’S HEATHROW V3 AND ARE NOT SURE WHETHER TO UPGRADE THOSE WHO HAVE NEITHER AND UNSURE WHICH TO PURCHASE THOSE WHO HAVE CONCERNS OVER PERFORMANCE AND VAS USAGE CONCLUSION All sections will cover and answer the questions that most have about SimWing’s Heathrow and how it stacks to the competition. My specs are at the bottom of the page and all my settings are pretty standard. All screenshots were taken in ‘normal’ conditions for me, so no bullshot to mislead you. I RECOMMEND READING THE WHOLE REVIEW FOR A GOOD OVERALL REVIEW ON THE PRODUCT. Let’s start: THOSE WHO HAVE UK2000’S HEATHROW V3 AND ARE NOT SURE WHETHER TO UPGRADE So you have UK2000’s Heathrow V3 - a fantastic product in its own right. It’s detailed, accurate and the most up-to-date Heathrow on the market. Not only that, but Gary is a solo developer that relies on repeat business and has always gone from strength to strength. I really enjoyed Gary’s edition of Heathrow. It was surprisingly easy on the frame rates and the VAS usage was controllable. But how does it compare to Aerosoft’s / SimWing’s Heathrow Xtended? As you can see from the screenshots, Aerosoft’s Heathrow looks stunning. It is immediately noticeable as to how different it looks compared to UK2000’s Heathrow. Everything from texture work and objects are completely different. In my opinion, the texture work from SimWing’s out does Gary’s work and then some. The texturing is much more detailed and colour accurate. Something I didn’t like so much with UK2000’s Heathrow was the ‘yellow-ish’ tint that seemed to cover the airport. Taxiways and runways all looked a bit off-colour. However, SimWings have done an excellent job at creating a much more realistic and believable colour pallet. The grass verges, the runways and taxiiways all look incredible and are streaming with detail. There’s clear definition between every single object and light within the airport. I love the way that there’s clear contrast between terminal buildings and the more generic buildings of the airport. As a result, you feel like you’re actually taxing through Heathrow’s huge apron, passing distinctive and recognisable buildings. As you explore, you will notice even the finer details that make this the most up-to-date Heathrow currently on the market. For example, the Virgin Atlantic hanger is now equipped with its current logo, something already outdated in UK2000’s Heathrow. Sure it’s a small thing, but if you’re after accuracy in building placement and design, Aerosoft’s Heathrow is for you. Further to the defined texture work and new buildings, the night lighting compared to UK2000’s Heathrow is vastly better. Every single taxiway is lit up now, and the apron really comes to life with yellow tints spread throughout the airport. Compare that to the dimly lit and lacking night lighting of UK2000’s version, you will see an immediate difference. Quite simple, Aerosoft / SimWings have NAILED the night lighting and approaching the airport during dawn/dusk is simply stunning. When you install UK2000’s Heathrow, you’re given many options to help increase performance. The screenshots you see in this section have my settings on the low-amount setting offered by UK2000. Why? Simply because I wasn’t achieving an acceptable frame rate. As soon as I turn it up to High or even EXTREME then my frames sunk drastically into the low-teens. Unlike UK2000’s version, Heathrow Xtended has no options (besides the ability to turn off AES Lite around the airport) for increased performance. However, I achieve similar frame rates as I do with the current LOW setting of Gary’s Heathrow. So I am able to achieve what essentially what EXTREME would like, but with solid and acceptable frames. This alone is reason to buy it over UK2000’s Heathrow. So should you buy Aerosoft’s / SimWing’s Heathrow despite owning UK2000’s? YES --- THOSE WHO HAVE NEITHER AND UNSURE WHICH TO PURCHASE So you’re fed up of default Heathrow and are unsure which Heathrow to buy. Sure, that’s fair enough with so many different Heathrow add-ons out there to buy. SimWing’s Heathrow Xtended is not the cheapest option out there. UK2000’s undercuts Aerosoft’s by just a bit, but in this money saving culture we live in, is it justifiable to spend extra for an increase in quality? If you’ve read the section above, you will know that I had a lot of praise to say about the increase in quality between the two products. There are a lot more objects, a lot more detail in the textures and the airport is much more up-to-date in terms of structure changes and signage. If this is important to you, then I recommend you spend the extra money on Aerosoft’s Heathrow Xtended. It’s easy to think that newer is always better, because for some people it may not be the case. If you wish to use things such as the airbridges (which Heathrow has a lot of), then you need to be prepared to buy AES from Aerosoft as well to enable them (also bearing in mind it’s not out yet). Yet, with UK2000’s, airbridges work by default and stick to your aircraft wonderfully. Furthermore, as far as I’m aware, the texture work of Aerosoft’s Heathrow have been designed with ORBX’s FTX Global in mind. I’m lucky enough to be in possession of both products and have it merge in wonderfully with Global and FTX England. However, UK2000’s doesn’t merge as nicely, it does however, merge nicer with default FSX. So again, if you wish to have all the perks and benefits of SimWing’s Heathrow, then you’re going to need to spend extra money. Suddenly spending a few extra pounds/euros/dollars has resulted in your spending more and more. Of course, if you own ORBX FTX Global / England and are prepared to use a few AES credits, then you’ll have no problems. That’s not to say however, that you MUST buy all the extras for the scenery, as it still looks wonderful without it and functions as intended. So should you buy SimWing’s Heathrow over the competition? YES – as it offers the best value for money in terms of performance and high quality visuals. -- THOSE WHO HAVE CONCERNS OVER PERFORMANCE AND VAS USAGE Every time a new Heathrow is released, one of the most requested features if a high frame rate and a much more managed VAS usage. In the day and age of extensive add-ons, high resolution textures this is a reoccurring problem for developers and consumers alike. We all crave the most realistic experience possible, but with that, we must take some sacrifices and the same has to be said here, with SimWing’s Heathrow. Much attention was given to the amount of VAS and how the scenery performs on people’s systems. There isn’t much to ‘review’ on VAS usage other than I can tell you that it only uses roughly 500mb of memory. This is nothing compared to the number of parking stands and sheer amount of detail the airport covers. Not only that, but being near London also makes it prone to an increase in VAS usage. 500mb is a completely acceptable amount, and I’ve not experienced a single OOM with the scenery as a result (I am using DX10). As always, disable any unused scenery (it takes like 2 minutes) and be conscious of the number of AI you’re using, the resolution of your textures and other OOM-causing scenarios. It’s all about compromise. In terms of performance, this is single handily the most FPS friendly Heathrow for Flight Simulation (aside default…) Ground texturing and modelling is top class, however there have been some shortcomings, which I imagine is an attempt to reduce the impact on performance. For example, taxiway signs (and there are a lot of them), aren’t quite the same high quality you’re used to seeing. Also, despite the large amount of coverage, there is a distinct lack of draw distance on the satellite imagery used. Another compromise that you’ll have to deal with is the slow-loading textures of most of the buildings. Despite loading correctly and accurately, when you start to pan your view around, you will notice that buildings are textured jet-black, until eventually they load up again. If you pan around again, wait a few minutes and look back, you’ll have to go through the same process. I imagine this is totally intentional from the developers to help keep performance as high as possible. After all, if you’re in the Flight Deck, you can’t see what’s behind you so why have it niggling away in the memory. A clever developer trick, but may affect the immersion for some. So is Performance and VAS usage a cause of concern? No! -- CONCLUSION As you can see, even when splitting down the review, the conclusion is always the same. Without a doubt, this is the BEST version of Heathrow currently on the market. Everything from the accurately placed buildings, the updated models for the new terminals and structures and the impressive texturing and performance for the airport. Heathrow is an exciting airport and will always be relevant in aviation. With so much to see and do, it’ll make for a perfect hub for so many people. Aerosoft have done an excellent job at creating a well-balanced and fantastic looking scenery. It’s fairly priced and blends in well with other popular add-ons. Despite some issues with texture loading and a lack of snowy textures during winter, there’s very little stopping me from saying this is a near perfect example of how a large scale airport should be done. 5/5 | Developer: SimWings | Publisher: Aerosoft | Price: 27.95EUR PURCHASE AEROSOFT'S MEGA AIRPORT HEATHROW XTENDED AIRPORT HERE Heathrow is and always will be a tough airport to develop for Flight Simulator. Its location and size presents headaches for pilots and developers alike, but luckily, SimWings have created a well balanced and well performing scenery package. Whether you’re new to payware for Heathrow or upgrading from alterative products, this is the defining Heathrow for Flight Simulation currently available. + Very frame and VAS friendly package. + Wonderful modelling compares to the real thing. - Occasionally slow-Loading textures when panning views. - Pricier than alternative Heathrow packages.
  15. Aerosoft Mega Airport Heathrow Xtended (EGLL) Review

    UPDATE 18SEP2014: 17 NEW IMAGES ADDED
  16. Taxi2Gate's new Hamad Int'l (OTHH) (FSX video)

    Great video. Where did you find out how to change the traffic to appear at OTHH? I have MyTraffic 2013 and I'm unable to do it.
  17. When I began reviewing Flight Simulation products, one of my first airports I was lucky enough to fly with was JetStream Designs’ Marseille Provence Airport. If you go back to that review, you’ll see just where this fantastic developer started. Although detailed, it lacked that polish and ‘wow’ factor that so many developers had been achieving for a while now. Shortly after the release of Marseille, JetStream Designs announced that they would be covering Little Rock National Airport over in the States. To my surprise, the quality between before and after was as clear as night and day. With that in mind, has further development research mean that Metz-Nancy-Lorraine (shortened to just Metz-Nancy Airport from now on) is JetStream’s best work yet? A little research into Metz-Nancy suggests that this isn’t your typical large regional airport. Instead, this middle-ground airport replaced two previous airports in the Lorraine Region of France. As a result, in 1991, Nancy-Essay and Met-z-Frescaty airports closed its doors. Many cargo carriers then used the airport as a hub due to its great location and easy access. However, in 2006, DHL stopped using Metz-Nancy airport and it was feared the airport would be of little use. Luckily, thanks to a runway expansion, larger aircraft could now visit the airport. As a result, many airlines operate seasonal flights to and from, providing a nice array of destinations for the 300,000 yearly passengers to fly to. Despite being a great location, for Flight Simmers who enjoy operating realistic routes to and from airports, this really is a shortfall for the scenery. The lack of high-profile airliners and range of routes will find limited use for the airport. Albeit some typical European destination, there’s very little to cater to. Unless, of course, you enjoy flying Freight routes, then the large cargo areas in the airport will be of great use to you. It all depends on your flying style as to whether you use Metz-Nancy frequently. As the sun raises over the hills of Lorraine, JetStream proves itself already with some excellent night lighting. This is by far their best representation of night-lighting yet. Everything has a nice glow of orange from the nearby light fixtures, but provides enough shadow to blend in nicely with the dark skies. The ground near the terminals are lit up extremely nicely and again, provides a wonderful glow. Lamps, taxiway signs and runway lights are, again, textured extremely nicely. It makes waking up early to enjoy the beautifully done texture work worthwhile. After the first wave of departures leave and the internal flights begin to arrive, daylight has already hit Metz-Nancy airport. The detail on the new runway extension far exceeds anything JetStream Designs have managed to achieve before. The texturing is clean, clear and crisp. The yellow and grainy tint from their previous work is now gone and it finally feels like a ‘real’ runway. I can almost envisage that this is what the runway looks like in real-life – and I can assure you that this isn’t easily done. The surrounding texturing and satellite imagery is also very detailed and the highest quality yet from JetStream. The greenery, dirt and nearby fields are all visible during the approach and matches the atmosphere of the airport perfectly. From my screenshots, you can see an obvious difference between the airport’s satellite ground textures and ORBX’s FTX Europe OpenLC. Now whilst I don’t expect every developer to create ground textures matching the colour tone of every product out there, I would expect some blending to be accounted for, at least for default FSX. A quick try and saw that there was a stark difference in texture colour. Maybe we can see an improvement on this part next time from JetStream. Something that did impress me greatly was the attention given on the landside sections of the airport. Although secondary to the airport, the detail given to nearby buildings and the car park is greater than most payware developers currently. Maybe the smaller sized and simplicity of the airport allows for performance, but it’s great to see a smaller developer take on the task and raise the bar. As usual, the modelling work from JetStream is detailed and performance friendly. Everything from small little houses to the large main terminal buildings have been faithfully recreated here. The detail is also improving on each release. You see each window, door and air vent has been carefully created to the highest standard. Improving on their techniques, Metz-Nancy is incredibly easy on the frame rate both day and night – so regardless of your flying style and your machine, Metz-Nancy will work and look great. Without a doubt, Metz-Nancy Airport is JetStream Designs’ best work yet. The level of detail, the fantastic performance and the accessibility of the airport definitely demands the attention of any Simmer who is serious about their French sceneries. The improvements the team have made over the last year has been nothing short of amazing and I encourage anyone to check out Metz-Nancy. A few short comings with blended texturing certainly won’t stop me from doing a few circuits around this fantastic airport. UPDATE 04SEP2014: After speaking to the developer and also referring back to the manual, had noticed that my settings for some of the screenshots weren't high enough to display some of the ramp activity and a few of the buildings. After fine-tuning my settings, I can confirm, with a high scenery complexity, you will have some wonderfully rendered static aircraft populating the otherwise barren airport. You'll also have a few more well designed buildings, which provides a more realistic, and life-like representation of the airport. Of course, because JetStream have done such a great job, this comes at no performance hit whatsoever. 4/5 | Developer: JetStream Designs | Publisher: SimMarket | Price: 14.95EUR PURCHASE METZ-NANCY-LORRAINE AIRPORT HERE Developer JetStream Designs have really stepped up their design with Metz-Nancy-Lorraine Airport. Everything from the excellent night lighting to the new and improved ground texture work ensure that JetStream are a developer to keep a close eye on. Regardless of their next project, I’m sure I’ll be there. + Fantastic performance with such a detailed airport. + Texturing and modelling work is excellent. - Limited number of airlines / routes for ‘realistic’ simmers. - Ground textures don’t blend into FSX well.
  18. UPDATE 04SEP2014: After speaking to the developer and also referring back to the manual, had noticed that my settings for some of the screenshots weren't high enough to display some of the ramp activity and a few of the buildings. After fine-tuning my settings, I can confirm, with a high scenery complexity, you will have some wonderfully rendered static aircraft populating the otherwise barren airport. You'll also have a few more well designed buildings, which provides a more realistic, and life-like representation of the airport. Of course, because JetStream have done such a great job, this comes at no performance hit whatsoever.
  19. SimWings Heathrow Vs UK2000 Heathrow?

    It's something I'm going to cover in the review I'll be bringing out for it. I haven't managed to download it yet, but if I remember, I'll give some first impressions shortly.
  20. By the time I finally get around to enjoying every last drop of their previous scenery, Taxi2Gate drop a bombshell and release their next airport. Other developers must look at this fabulous team with green eyes, as their turn-around on development time is simply unlike any other developer on the market. Having just 3 months since their last release in the Caribbean, and only 5 months after their last ‘large scale’ airport, they’re back with the much anticipated release of Hamad International Airport (OTHH). Taking over from the previous Doah International Airport in Qatar, the newly built airport can now handle 3 times that of the previous airport’s volume, allowing up to 50 million people to pass through the Airport’s oasis-themed terminal buildings. The sheer size and volume of the airport allows for a large number of airlines from all over the world to fly into Qatar. Building commenced in 2005, a series of delays caused the opening of the airport to be pushed back continuously. Eventually, it opened its doors on 30th April 2014, with all carriers relocated on May 27th 2014. Fast forward, and Taxi2Gate have given us the chance to explore the wonderful and modern new airport for ourselves. As I previously mentioned, the airport was designed around an Oasis theme. Taxi2Gate have really gone above their previous work by really tapping into that theme. Immediately, you will notice the wonderful texture work around the runways. The sand dunes, the palm trees swaying in the breeze and the freshness of the buildings really give the impression of a brand new airport. The taxiways and the runways are clear of any tyre marks and there’s a clear distinction between each pavement slab and concrete block. It’s surprisingly refreshing to see such a clean, almost tarnish-free architecture, as so many airports lately have been battered and bruised. Taxi2Gate have done a wonderful job at presenting the airport in such a way. I found, however, that perhaps the texturing isn’t as sharp as usual. Some gate assignments and the imagery on nearby carts and vehicles lack that sharpness we’re used to seeing from a Taxi2Gate product. Definitely only minor, but does take away from the otherwise excellent job. As usual, each gate, jet-bridge and terminal building have been created in a realistic manner. Cables drop from the jet-bridges as you would expect and each step, window and door have been faithfully recreated. Details inside the terminal buildings are becoming the norm for the team, and yet again, we see just enough to make us feel like we’re staring into the buildings whilst awaiting our passengers. Usually cargo hangers and secondary objects are less detailed than the main airport, but in this case, everything has been given the same care and attention – and it really stands out. The metal grills of the cargo hangers all reflect surrounding light to give a truly defined building. Without a doubt, this is Taxi2Gates most visually pleasing work yet. I talk a lot about how immersive small things can make an airport, and Hamad is no different here. Moving vehicles swam the airport, giving a real sense of life at the airport. As you taxi yourself down the runway, a fuel and baggage truck could be travelling parallel to you, already ensuring you have situational awareness of what is going on. After you take off, you’ll have excellent views of Doah itself. The large sky scrapers are surprisingly detailed and the placement is accurate to that of the real life buildings. Everything from restaurants, office buildings and hotels are all present. Of course, you get these excellent views during the approach as well, meaning regardless of phase of flight around the airport, you’ll have something to immerse you into the product. Taxi2Gate should certainly share the secret to their ability to create highly detailed international airports, with a sprawling and detailed city, yet allow users to have a consistently excellent frame rate. It proves that with the right people, using the right technology and skills, that anything can be possible. Something that I found lacking with Taxi2Gate sceneries is the lack of a configuration system for users with weaker machines. Although the level of performance is excellent, to have the option to switch off certain features or increase it for those with more powerful machines is something I believe should start to become standard for sceneries in Flight Simulation. Another cause of annoyance for some could be the fact that OTHH is actually a brand new airport for Flight Sim. As such, Taxi2Gate have had to add it to the database. Because of this, AI traffic won’t recognise the scenery existing and will fly to the old Doah airport instead. Although this can be changed through documentation, at the time, there was no official statement from Taxi2Gate on how to fix this. However, I was assured that this will be included in a further update. Not so much the fault of theirs, but I believe better communication before would’ve been appreciated by the community. As the sun comes down over the city and the light sparkles over the sea, lights begin to flicker on. Suddenly, before you realise everything around you is dark, the city is lit up and the airport turns into something special. As usual, Taxi2Gate have done a remarkable job at creating subtle, yet an aptly lit airport that serves both purposes of being realistic and also functional within the Flight Simulation environment. Touches such as baked in shadows and glows off of signage really bring this airport to life in the evening. Yet again, I find myself taxiing carelessly around Hamad to explore every light-filled area. It’s simply beautiful. It should come of very little surprise that Taxi2Gate have really become a staple in the Flight Sim universe. Consistently offering fantastic, high-end quality scenery at a rapid rate. Hamad International Airport is no different. The stunning visuals and the excellent performance is a testament to the almost-perfected development process the guys go through. Accurate placement, quality textures and an interesting airport make Hamad International one of the most exciting places to fly into in Flight Simulation. 5/5 | Publisher: SimMarket | Developer: Taxi2Gate | Price: 29.74EUR Without a doubt, this is Taxi2Gate’s best scenery to date. The fantastic work into making sure the product is easy on performance yet look incredible is to be commended. The texturing and modelling is of the highest standard and the airport itself is a dream to fly into. Everyone from cargo carriers to private jets visit, giving everyone a reason to visit this exciting new airport. + Great modelling and texture work + Sublime performance means anyone can us it. - Some small sections of texturing is sub-par compared to the rest - Lack of configuration tool for those who like options. PURCHASE TAXI2GATE'S HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HERE My Specs: Processor - 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-3770K Ivy Bridge (OVERCLOCKED TO 4.8GHz) RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 12800) GPU - GeForce GTX 780 FTW 3GB GDDR5 Mother Board - ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard Hard Drives - 2 x 128gb OCZ SSD + 2 x 1tb 7200RPM HDD Operating System - Windows 7 (64-bit) Add-ons Used In Screenshots: Scenery – Taxi2Gate Hamad International Airport (OTHH) Aircraft – Aerosoft’s Airbus A320, PMDG 777lr/f and 300er Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global, FTX Vector, ORBX's FTX Global openLC Europe.
  21. PMDG 777-300 Walk Trough Amazing Graphics Must Watch

    Oh and @cedarjet201, what clouds do you use?
  22. PMDG 777-300 Walk Trough Amazing Graphics Must Watch

    I would love to go back to ENB as there's a lot more pre-sets available. I have to use SweetFX as the ENB DLL file wont work with DX9. Excellent work again buddy. Will keep that REX theme in mind! I have mine clocked to 4.8 and if you can keep yours stable at the higher clock, you may as well leave it. When you're not using FSX or pushing your PC, it'll idle at 1.6 anyway so it wont cause any issues. Been at 4.8 for like a year with no issues *touchwood*
  23. DreamFactory Studio Rome Fiumicino Airport (LIRF) Review

    UPDATE 20AUG2014 Since our review, DreamFactory Studio have released an update that appears to FIX the awful frame rate issues. I can no hold frames around 25-30, but suffer from stutters almost every few seconds. I was also able to fly at night now, but the frame rate was still poor, achieving only 18-25fps. Other issues I noted during the review are still present, however, it is at least in a more stable state. Any further updates to the product and I will revise my review and will let you know.
  24. PMDG 777-300ER / SP1 Review

    As I type this, I am currently flying the Boeing 777-300ER from London Heathrow Airport to Boston Logan International Airport. Departing 4 hours and 38 minutes ago from gate 532, I currently have 18.6 tonnes of fuel left and cruising just over the YAY VOR. I have approximately 2 hours left until touchdown. At which point, I'll shut down the taxi to stand, shut down the engines and begin the 'shutdown' checklist. Despite having completed the flight, I will already be planning the return journey and be prepared to endure the 6 hour flight time home. But why do I put myself through such long hours for a 'virtual simulation'? Quite simple really: because it's PMDG. Any true Flight Sim enthusiast will know who and what PMDG are. Precision Manuals Development Group are the team behind the revolutionary products such as the 737NGX, the 747X and the often forgotten, but always loved, MD-11. As anyone who follow the group will know, the development cycles of their products are often long, teasing and hyped until most Simmers pass out from holding their breath or by breaking their F5 key. Every update the team bring us, every screenshot on their Facebook page and every like, downvote and comment from a member of their team is followed. It's almost like a simulation on its own. In September 2013, PMDG finally released their long awaited and much wanted Triple Seven. Two variants were released: The Long Range edition and also the Freighter edition. Initially, this update a few people, mostly because the 777-200LR wasn't exactly Boeing's best selling version of the aircraft. With only around 50 or so currently flying in the world today, a lot of people (including me) had to simulate simulating a flight with an 'alien' aircraft. Despite from the same family, the LR/F handle and look vastly different to their bigger brothers. Alongside this, a lot of people claimed to have issues with the Fly-By-Wire system within the simulation, as well as a host of other smaller issues such as wind forecast errors and erroneous caution warnings. Small things, but enough to warrant addressing. Further to waiting for the -300er expansion and also a host of bug-fixes and refinements, PMDG announced that BRAND NEW and INCREDIBLE features would be included, FREE of charge. Of course, we soon learned that we would have a simulated Weather Radar and also a brand new UpLink service within the FMC. After years of companies, including PMDG, stating that a weather radar would be impossible, we finally get one that actually works. Of course, this comes with a little help from Active Sky Next. Nearly a year later, PMDG have released both the expansion and also the Service Pack (currently on SP1b, which fixed a few pause errors and a few missed items). Before I begin to review, please allow me to state I won't be reviewing the T7 as though it's a brand new product. I will be reviewing the addition of the -300er and the new features / fixes of the Service Pack. For me specifically, one of the most immediate new features of the update was the increase in performance. Some may say it is the same as before, I can assure you, after some testing, that the update brings a certain amount of "smoothness" to the product. Before panning the Virtual Cockpit would feel clunky and stutter, yet now, it feels just how SP1C of the NGX feels to me. Silky smooth throughout. Not only that, PMDG have also addresses the issue of incorrect fonts within the VC and fixed small things such as the fact the runway doesn't appear above the ETA on the ND. It's small things like this that have further increased the realism and the immersion. Something PMDG spent a lot of time focusing on was the Fly-By-Wire. As mentioned before, the team was given complaints that it just didn't "feel" right and that trim wasn't as important as it truly is in the aircraft. Numerous times, PMDG mentioned to us that they were so busy trying to get the "feel" right, and after spending a few weeks with it, you can actually tell what differences they've made – just from hand flying the beast. Although I won't explain what is happening (more so that I can't!), it may take some time for the 'pros' to understand how to fly the plane again. Before it was good, now it is great! I'm not technically minded enough to be able to explain how the FBW system works, but I can assure you that the experts and real-life pilots all agree that this now feels right. The refinement here alone goes to show just how far the team at PMDG are willing to go for the consumer to be able to enjoy the simulation to its fullest. Nothing like it has been seen before and I doubt we will for a long time. Another focus point for the team was how well the aircraft handles itself during turbulence. Such a huge aircraft with such a large span, cruising at such high speeds could mean trouble for the FSX / Weather engine. However, PMDG have done it again and developed a model that almost counteracts FSX turbulence and replaces it with their own system. Again, it's one of those things you just notice and just 'feels' more accurate. With the new weather engine, it's obvious that more and more people will purposely try and fly through heavy turbulence in an attempt to experience a thrill. PMDG have done yet another outstanding job on designing and implementing yet another revolutionary piece of kit into their already revolutionary aircraft. [Reviewer's note: This is the point now where my descent has really started and I'm currently at 7800ft with around 40 track miles left to run. I was so heavily submerged into the immersion of checking fuel, inputting my fixes for my alternates and just glaring out of the virtual window, I kept getting side-tracked from writing this review.] So as previously mentioned, the all-new Weather Radar is an inclusion that surprised many. After years of requests for PMDG to include this with their products, the long wait has finally paid off. You do need to use HiFi's Active Sky Next to be able to use the weather radar. Once you have loaded up the sim and have injected the weather, you'll immediately notice the ND light up. Despite confusion prior, a weather radar only picks up returns if there is precipitation in the air. Before where you would fly blindly into bad weather, you're now able to fully see exactly what is approaching you and allows you to tactically avoid it. As you're cruising along at FL360, you notice some lightning out of your window to your left. As you switch the range of the ND up, you then notice some red returns on your display. Switch the view up another notch and you see that red return is now on your route line and also 20 miles to your left. As such, you can actually plan how you handle the situation. In real life, pilots would contact ATC and avoid it by either vectoring or changing its flight plan. Now with the radar able to tell you this information, you can do just that. It completely changes how you fly at cruise and adds some of the exciting flying experiences I have had in flight sim. For example, I spent nearly 30 minutes holding over an airport just to allow the bad weather to pass. As you circled around, the ND would update reflecting on your moving weather. Despite holding for so long, I ended up diverting as it seemed to get worse. Before the radar, I would've approached and attempted to land anyway. Even during the cruise, I would often be vectoring or offsetting myself away from the weather. Suddenly, those long periods of nothingness just became exciting again. As you dodge, dip and climb out of bad weather, you can adjust the weather radar to show more or less returns, depending on the angle you tilt your radar and also the amount of 'gain' you apply. You are in complete control of the radar and thanks to the combination of PMDG and HiFi, you will have a true-to-life experience. There's so much to talk about, that I could probably write a review on the radar alone. Another fantastic new feature that came FREE with the Service Pack was the inclusion of a simulated FMC Company Data Link service. For those of you unsure what this does in the real-world, it essentially pulls in information sent by the airline to the aircraft to make everything more automated and save the pilots manually inputting the information in. For example, things such as route, expected ZFW and cost index are all sent to the aircraft via a Data Link connection. Now before you ask, PMDG are not sending you all this information, instead it is pulled from various sources local on your PC or within the Simulator itself. Just as before, you can type in a COROUTE code and expect to see the outcome exactly as specified. So if you typed in for example EGLLKBOS01 you would pull in the route from that file name. The Data Link works similarly, but now acts a little more automated. Say for example, you typed in EGLL in the destination box and KBOS in the arrival, and hit "ROUTE REQUEST", it will now pull in your route file automatically. Technically, it's the same thing, but the immersion factor has been increased because of it. The same applies to things such as wind aloft and descent wind data. Now pulled from Active Sky Next and your local .wx files (from pre-SP1), you will now be able to update your on-route wind data, on the fly. It means you can keep your ETA more up-to-date and also have a more accurate TOD calculated. There's a range of other quirks using the Data Link feature, but I believe it's quite exciting to experience it for yourself. Of course, one of the more anticipated releases from the Service Pack was also the fact the -300ER would be released on the same day. True to their word, PMDG released the largest in the Triple Seven family together with the new service pack. Now I've never been one to be so excited for what is essentially an add-on for an add-on, but I can claim without a doubt that the -300ER is easily my favourite aircraft within the Flight Sim universe. The extra length, the increased weight and the engines just seem to fit hand in hand. Whereas the 200LR felt very light and fluffy, the 300ER just feels like the engines were designed around it. It doesn't feel too heavy and seeing speeds as high as 180 for your V2 speeds is quite exciting. Taxiing the beast is also more challenging than before due to the extra length. However, a handy gear-cam will assist you here. Although not something I will use often due to the rapid decrease in performance, it's a testament to PMDG for their continued efforts to please everyone in the hobby. I've been asked many times if I feel the 300ER is worth the £20/$30 upgrade. I would quite honestly say the Service Pack alone is worth the extra entry fee. The inclusion of so many new features and a whole host of bug fixes (including new features in the PMDG Ops Centre, which I haven't even covered) justify the cost easily. Throw in a whole new aircraft, with completely different characteristics of its baby brother and you've got yourself an incredibly complete package. Without a doubt PMDG are at the top of their game with the release of the Triple Seven. The continued updates, the attention to detail and the sheer amount of detail the aircraft would last you years and years. I have already had countless hours exploring every nook and cranny of the beautifully rendered flight deck and hope to have countless more. As I head back over the Atlantic to Heathrow, I'm already planning where I will be taking her next. 5/5 | Publisher: PMDG | Developer: PMDG | Price: Base: $89.99 / -300ER: $29.99 / SP1: Included Without a doubt, the PMDG 777-300ER is my new favourite aircraft in Flight Simulation. The ease of use, the diversity in range and routes, the fantastically designed Virtual Cockpit and the incredible depth to the systems keep me coming back for more and more. This is a revolutionary product, that keeps becoming more and more intuitive thanks to new innovations such as Data Link and the Weather Engine. Regardless of cost, the -300er is different enough to warrant an immediate purchase. + Quite simply, the most detailed aircraft currently on the market. + Free service pack update includes working Weather Engine and more! - High price tag for some. - Steep leaving curve for new-comers. My Specs: Processor - 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-3770K Ivy Bridge (OVERCLOCKED TO 4.8GHz) RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 12800) GPU - GeForce GTX 780 FTW 3GB GDDR5 Mother Board - ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard Hard Drives - 2 x 128gb OCZ SSD + 2 x 1tb 7200RPM HDD Operating System - Windows 7 (64-bit) Add-ons Used In Screenshots: Scenery – Taxi2Gate's Hammad Intl. Airport (OTHH) Aircraft – PMDG 777-300ER Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global, FTX Vector, ORBX's FTX Global openLC Europe.
  25. I must admit, Lisbon has always been on my bucket list of places to visit. Both in the Flight Sim world and also in real life. The history of the city, the environment and the country have always been both exciting and thrilling for me. Completely unsure why, but the excitement I had when Aerosoft announced they would be revisiting Lisbon to bring it up-to-date and to current Flight Sim standards, was incredible. I would follow the previews religiously, always seeking the latest updates and trying to poach for a release date. Finally the day came and I downloaded without hesitation. The capital of Portugal is famous for its vibrant city and busy nightlife. It’s also a popular holiday destination, as well as a place where an increasing number of people travel to for business. As such, it has been hailed as one of the best equipped airports in Western Europe and has won many awards for it. In 2013, over 16 million people walked through the several terminal buildings of Lisbon. Airlines from all over the world fly to and from Lisbon, including TAP Portugal, Air France and Ryanair. Its diverse range of airlines makes it a gateway to many destinations. Installation was easy, and once installed, I immediately read through the nicely detailed manual. As expected, everything I needed to know was covered within the 20 or so pages. I set up my Flight Sim to the specified settings and adjusted my settings using the configuration tools included. Despite not being nearly as ‘configurable’ as other Aerosoft airports, there are enough options to satisfy the needs of the many and not of the few. One such option was to adjust the resolution of the textures. You have the choice of either 1024 or 2048. For the purposes of performance, I tested with both and was unable to spot significant differences. However, in today’s modern FSX world, I sacrificed pixels for performance and kept the lower resolution running. Filled with excitement, I loaded up the Airbus and decided to do a short hop from Faro to Lisbon. After take off, I prepared the approach and the landing. Everything was shaping up nicely: the weather was perfect, the nav data matched the charts and I had full Vatsim ATC coverage. Despite some issues on my end setting up the ILS (Whoops), everything was smooth and looked incredible. However, this is where the problems for me started. Turning onto final approach, I noticed my system began to struggle under the load. Was it the newly installed (at the time) FTX OpenLC package? Was it the fact I was online? Did I encounter a bug with the Airbus? Soon after, it was apparent that the newly installed V2 of Lisbon was causing me strange and sever micro-stutters. Enough so that I had to close FSX and start again. Not one to think Aerosoft released a product with these kinds of issues, I was taken back. Did the same flight….same thing again. Turning down all of the settings I could, I soon discovered that having the Mesh and Autogen setting turned up past 19m and Sparse, I suffered really, really bad spikes in my frame rates. This explains why this review has taken so long to come out. I explained my problems to Aerosoft and assured me nothing like this was seen in testing. As such, I performed a clean install of FSX, deleted all cached and temp files and ran a registry cleaning tool. I even dismantled my PC, ensured all my parts were good, and reinstalled all necessary drivers. Despite all my best efforts, I still had the same issues. I tested the product with every possible configuration I could think of. Ultimately, I figured that the scenery was causing these issues, as even the default airport with high mesh and autogen was causing me no issues. My suspicions were confirmed for me by a few LiveStreamers on Twitch. They had the exact same problem as me with similar spec’d computers. Since then, I’ve been waiting for Aerosoft to patch Lisbon, but sadly, nothing appears to be in the works. So why have I focused the first half on these micro-stutter problems? Well, quite simply, because everything else about the airport is nigh-on perfect. The initial impressions on the texture work left me in amazement. This is truly on-par with the best of the best in terms of detail. I could almost feel the aircraft shaking as it taxied over each bump, stone and piece of dirt. The weathered effect on the older sections of the airport are mesmerising and the cleanliness on the newer parts just demonstrates the attention to detail the developer has put into the project. As you approach the terminal and hanger buildings, you’ll again recognise the quality of the project. Everything from air vents to screws has been complete to ensure maximum realism. I was completely blown away by the detail – and you will be too. Despite my high praise for the texture work and modelling, Flight Simulation scenery has certainly come on leaps and bounds in recent times. Things such as volumetric grass, 3D passenger terminal interiors and even 3D people have been implemented in large international airports. Sadly, none of these features appear with Lisbon. Disappointing? Sure. Does it affect the overall quality of the product? Not at all. There was a lot of complaints during development that the lack of surrounding city would put them off from purchasing the airport. However, I can assure you, that despite this, the satellite imagery has been put to excellent use and provides an immersive approach, regardless of runway in use. You’ll recognise the red-roofed buildings, the swimming pools and surrounding tennis courts you should be so familiar with. I did, however, note some issues with it. Some of the mentioned tennis courts are hills and the terrain clearly wasn’t designed around the imagery. In such a competitive market, I believe being nitpicky is what is expected of me as a reviewer. Although I will miss some of the hand-placed buildings from V1, the extra detail in the airport itself is far more important to me. I’m in a tough situation. Aerosoft have done, as expected, an outstanding job on recreating an older product. It’s been updated to reflect the current Lisbon Airport as we know it and it simply looks stunning. However, those awful micro-stutters really hurt the overall enjoyment of the product. The frame rate is incredibly good for such a detailed airport, but something within the code seems to keep loading really badly. If you’re able to look past some small issues, Lisbon is an essential part of your collection. It is a fantastic location and hosts a great number of different airlines, giving you many reasons to re-visit this wonderful airport. 3/5 | Publisher: Aerosoft | Developer: Aerosoft | Price: 24.95EUR Yet another excellent airport from Aerosoft. Its fantastic texturing, modelling and building placement are all top quality and of a high standard. Despite all of the wonderful features of the airport, the micro-stutters drop the quality of the overall product. Maybe in the future we will see an update, and I still believe Mega Airport Lisbon V2 is worthy of a purchase. + Wonderful texture work - crystal clear, yet just enough weathering. + The night textures are some of the best I have ever seen. - Micro-stutters with Autogen and high mesh settings - Some odd placement of satellite imagery. My Specs: Processor - 3.5GHz Intel Core i5-3770K Ivy Bridge (OVERCLOCKED TO 4.8GHz) RAM - 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 2133 (PC3 12800) GPU - GeForce GTX 780 FTW 3GB GDDR5 Mother Board - ASUS P8Z77-V LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard Hard Drives - 2 x 128gb OCZ SSD + 2 x 1tb 7200RPM HDD Operating System - Windows 7 (64-bit) Add-ons Used In Screenshots: Scenery – Aerosoft Mega Airport Lisbon V2 (LPPT) Aircraft – Aerosoft’s Airbus A320 Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global, FTX Vector, ORBX's FTX Global openLC Europe.
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