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Found 13 results

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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****
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Aerosoft are certainly no stranger to the airport of Norway. Often created because of their fantastic, magical and scenic approaches, it’s no surprise Aerosoft have taken on Bergen. As the second busiest airport in Norway, after Oslo, of course, Bergen sees a range of airline traffic. Everything from Cargo operations and domestic flights to long haul international flights. The diversity available for simmers around the world is one of the many compelling reasons to visit this airport. Bergen Airport, situated in Hordaland in Norway, shares its home with several airlines including Norwegian, SAS and Bergen Air Transport. With nearly 3000m worth of runway available, aircraft of all sizes can visit the airport, with some of the largest being an A340-300. Even with heavy aircraft and the fullest of loads, the length of runway will ensure a safe landing. In 2013, the airport saw over 6m passengers, flying to 50 destinations across the Globe. For a small regional, Norwegian airport, it sees a lot of activity – enticing even the most casual of Simmers. One of my favourite features of Bergen X is the inclusion of a configuration tool. Although this should be a standard feature, the number of options to help with performance is amongst the most detailed I have ever seen. Everything from the texture resolution, to the quality of the trees is editable. Even minute details such as runway marking colours can be configured to your desire. (white = current and realistic or yellow = previous colour and often associated with Norwegian airports). Instances such as these separate the developers from other airport designers out there. In flight simulation there isn’t a “one-size fits all” and options such as these allow everyone to enjoy the scenery. Once you’re all configured and you step into the Sim, the first thing you’ll immediately notice is the dominant blue terminal building. Despite its basic properties and dull-looking colours, it’s going to stick with you and become instantly recognisable. This is certainly helped by its fantastic modelling work, and excellent texturing. Even on the lower resolution, the entire building is detailed right down to the last screw. Taking a closer look, you’ll actually notice that the inside of the terminal buildings are also fully rendered too. The glass windows add an extra dimension whilst prepping your flight deck ready for departure. Something else that adds to the realism of the airport is the 3D passengers moving around the airport. With very little frame rate lost from enabling it, I’m surprised more developers aren’t doing it too. It helps to make everything feel like a ‘complete’ package. Unsurprisingly, they’re not the most realistic looking models, nor the most detailed, but in relation to what their purpose is here, it suits the airport perfectly. The airport itself has been wonderfully recreated. Capturing that typical “Norwegian” feel as you approach the shore-lined airport. The approach lights, the runway details and the taxiway signs are all sharp and correct – just as you would expect from Aerosoft. The quality is as impeccable as Oslo V2 – which is saying something. Without a doubt, the developer has nailed the worn-effect of these weather-beaten runways, the dirty grass verges between the taxiways and the weathered effects on the terminal buildings. Each structure is eye-candy and you’ll have to be careful to not verge close to them during taxiing just to get a better view of the detail put into them. One common issue I keep having with scenery currently, is the lack of detail for the ‘landside’ areas. I appreciate in flight simulation, we mostly stick to what we see ‘airside’ – after all, this is where we fly. However, the texture resolution and level of detail lacks quite desperately. Perhaps in an attempt to save on performance, or reduce development time, maybe? Either way, for all of the great looking features of Bergen, it does fall short. The satellite imagery of the car park with blocky 3D cars just hinder what would have been a perfect airport for your collection. During the course of the review, I came across the dreaded micro-stutter. Now, believe me when I say that I have tried everything to rid my micro-stutters before commencing this review. I know it’s a highly detailed airport near a lot of auto-generated trees and foliage. However despite my best efforts of turning the sliders down, turning off the intensive settings in the configuration menu and also switching off auto-gen, I still managed to have micro-stutters occur. To make sure it wasn’t my system, I tried a variety of airports in various locations and none of them caused me much issue. Let me iterate that the micro-stutters were few and far between – nothing to really ruin your experience. Frustrating? Yes. Unflying and unenjoyable? Most certainly not. [N.B. You can see my specs down at the bottom] Bergen was everything I had come to expect from the creative minds at Aerosoft. It is detailed, highly accurate and, for the most part, performance friendly. It’s user-friendly configurator really ensures that everyone can enjoy the scenery to the best of their hardware. A beautiful airport, in a beautiful destination certainly puts it at the top of my radar. Bergen X is certainly value for money and an airport I find myself visiting over and over again. 4/5 | Publisher: Aerosoft | Developer: Aerosoft | Price: 17.95EUR Aerosoft have yet to let me down with their airport sceneries. Bergen X is certainly no exception and proves that Aerosoft really know what they’re doing. Norway was a region that has been neglected up until now and suddenly we’re spoilt for choice! Despite some issues which hampen the experience slightly, Bergen X is a solid purchase with a lot of options to keep systems across the board happy. + Great rendition of a beautiful and scenic airport. + Huge amount of customisation for any system. - Some issues with micro-stutters that appear related to the airport. - Impressive detail stops once you look 'landside' of the airport. Purchase Aerosoft's Bergen X 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 – Aerosoft's Bergen X (ENBR) Aircraft – Aerosoft’s Airbus A320, PMDG 737NGX Utilities - REX4 Textures, FS Global Real Weather, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global, FTX Vector, ORBX's FTX Global openLC Europe
  7. Weather engines for the world of Flight Simulation have always been of great debate. X engine looks really snazzy, whilst Y engine has all of these neat features. Z engine uses real-world data to create my weather patterns. The debate goes on and on. The big contenders at the time were Active Sky and REX. Even OPUS was a major contender, but all of them had flaws or something that some users just did not like. Then, out of the blue, Pilots, typically known for their Mesh packages, released a brand new Weather Engine, claiming to be the best available. Whether it still holds true following various updates from other developers, we will now find out. The installation process is very straight forward and it gives you a range of language options to choose from, catering to a range of users from all over the world. The clean UI is consistent throughout the installation process. One thing I was pleased to see was the inclusion of an update list. Using this, you will be able to easily identify the changes made to the latest version of the software. Handy to ensure you have the latest and greatest version. At this point, you’re then presented with the main User Interface. A clear, clean and easy to use system with logic applied throughout. Unlike some weather engines, everything looks great and is systematic. You want to inject the selected weather, just hit the button to do so. Want to find options, just find the options tab and select your sim. It’s easy and intuitive to use. It sounds petty that I am commented so highly on the UI, but it’s surprising how you miss such intuition when switching to other add-ons. Once you have selected whether you want to download either current weather or historical weather, it will take just a matter of seconds to download the data. Once it has, you can search any airport for its current conditions. If you don’t know where you want to fly from, you can also filter the different kinds of weather you want to find. For example, if you want to try some CAT3 approaches, you can search very specifically for those conditions. It will then give you a list of airports meeting your weather requirements. Simply load up the sim, import the weather and BAM, there’s the weather conditions to go flying in. It’s all very intuitive and each to use. Once in the sim, you can see clearly the effect Pilot’s FS Global Real Weather is having on the environment. Clouds form giant overcast conditions above you and you can almost feel the breeze of the winds around you. Often one of the biggest complaints is the way in which the clouds form above you, in that they form in a pattern-like way. I’m pleased to say Pilots have managed to avoid this and have created an elegant solution. You can see cloud formations above and for miles away. No longer will you see the same FEW or SCT surrounding you, even if the nearest airports are experiencing something completely different. You can see from my screenshots, that each cloud formation is unique, different and carries a real sense of realism. For those interested, I’m using REX4 clouds. One of my favourite features for the weather engine is the ability for the developers to create, what they call “Local Weather Effects”. This fantastic feature allows you to experience forces, winds and tremors experienced by real pilots as they approach airports known for their unique weather. For example, as you approach Funchal, Maderia, the surrounding terrain and high cliffs cause the wind to get extremely turbulent on final approach. The FSGRW Weather Engine and the “Local Effects” simulate this exact behaviour based on the current weather at the airport. It’s not random and is incredibly realistic. There are loads of “Local Effects” programmed into the software, with more released with each new build. There’s a full list available on their website. It’s certainly my favourite feature and one that can make that challenging approach even more challenging. Further options include the ability to reset the AI traffic, to not cause any inconsistencies whilst on the ground, and also the ability to change the ‘look’ of the clouds from big, fluffy and picturesque, although less realistic, to a more realistic and flat look. This ability really gives the user the freedom to create scenarios they want. Another nifty feature is the ability to tell the engine what aircraft you’re flying, and at what altitude, and it will give you a fairly accurate en-route weather report. It will give you information such as head/tail wind, as well as a rough flight time, based on the aircraft’s performance. It’s all these extra features that set FS Global Real Weather apart from the rest. Incredibly, another Weather Engine add-on manages to impress me. Further improving the user interface and adding some incredibly unique features, Pilots have created an immersive and realistic weather engine. It’s fast, easy to use and allows for some smooth weather changes. It’s clear that Pilot’s mean business and with their frequent updates and compatibility with several simulators in one package, it’s clear that FS Global Real Weather is a serious contended in the crowded market. Final Summary text version: 4/5 | Publisher: Pilot's | Developer: Pilot's | Price: 39.99EUR Packed to the brim with features, FS Global Real Weather is a fantastic contender with the likes of Active Sky and Rex. Although it may be just a “weather engine”, it’s Local Weather keeps the software fresh and inviting. The easy to use set-up and speed the weather gets injected certainly gives Pilot’s the edge they need against the competition. + Easy to use and quick to install. Also very quick to inject the weather. + Great local weather effects based on surrounding terrain and weather. - Some problems when flying payware aircraft against strong crosswinds. - Not as visually appealing as other weather engines. Purchase Pilot's FS Global Real Weather 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 - UK2000 Scenery's Bristol Airport (EGGD), UK2000 Scenery's Heathrow V3 (EGLL), Flight Beam Washington Dulles (KIAD) Aircraft - A2A's Piper Cherokee, PMDG 777-200LR/F Utilities - REX4 Textures, FS Global Real Weather, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global
  8. REVIEWERS NOTES: Some of the screenshots represent a lack of FTX Scotland Scenery. You will notice that some terrain issues primarily near to the cliff edges look out of place. I can confirm that Sumbrugh works without FTX Scotland, but you will receive the most out of the scenery if you have it installed. Please always read the relevant information before making a purchase. Before Orbx or 29Palms had announced they would be bringing Sumbrugh airport to Flight Simulation, it had always held dear in my heart. Knowing closely people who flew there on a regular basis had always made me intrigued by the difficult approach, and short, bumpy runway. I had watched countless videos displaying detailed approaches and take-offs from the airport, and even had the chance to spend a day up there to watch aircraft come in and out. It was thrilling. Seeing the larger dash 8 aircraft land on such a tight runway was almost as exciting as seeing a 747 land at St. Maarten. You can then imagine my excitement when one of my favourite developers posted a teaser video showcasing they would be heading to the Shetland Isles and recreating this magnificent airport. I will be taking on this review from a much different style. I will be walking you through “a day in the life of…” showcasing the many different aspects of the scenery package from day to night. Date: June 1st 2014. Time: 1600z (1700 local) Location: Sumbrugh Airport (EGPB) Mission: To fly around the island, preform several touch-and-gos and then a full stop landing before heading home. The mission log: 1602z: The day starts out just like any other. The sun is shining, the birds are out, and there’s a lovely temperature of 14c in the air. Perfect conditions for flying, with a light southerly breeze of around 4-6kts. As I approach my beautiful Piper Cherokee, I can see my reflection from the edge of the wing tips. I straighten out my hair and begin my pre-flight checks. Everything with the aircraft is in order. As I approach the door on the right, I find myself tripping over some of the stones resting on the floor. I then climb in, cozy myself up and start the engines. It’s at this point, that I realise just how well maintained the airport apron is. The taxi-way signs are all there, the markings on the ground are clear and easy to use and reflect exactly how I remember when I last visited Sumbrugh. 1609z: With the engines primed and ready, I release the breaks and begin rolling towards RWY27. As the aircraft bounced around, up and down the hilly taxi-way, I notice the airfield is extremely busy today. Must be all those holiday makers escaping during the school half term. There’s plenty of aircraft to see today; Dash 8, Cessna aircraft and more. What made the airport even busier was the contestant stream of vehicles. I saw firetrucks, op support vans and fuel trucks. None of these distractions caused me to deviate through the airport’s well laid out taxi-ways. The signage was clear and precise. I was particularly impressed with how maintained the surrounding grass was kept. Plenty of it everywhere, really creating a sense of forestation. I soon managed to find myself at the holding point where ATC had instructed me to hold short. 1612z: “Line up and wait,” I was told over my headset. I switched on the strobe and landing lights. Apprehensively, I closed the window to the side of me and lined up. At this point, a few butterflies fluttered through my stomach. I could see just how sloped this runway was. Although no traffic was able to land here, this immersion factor was far greater and created a much more nerve-racking and exciting take-off. The runway ahead sloped up, down, left and right. “Cleared to take-off,” as I then take a deep breath and pushed forward on the throttle. “80knts” I thought to myself, as I glanced down the short runway to see how much I had left. Now that I got myself airborne, it was time to breath a sign of relief. The bumpiness of the ground below me was a thing of the past and with a knock of two here and there from the light breeze, I was ready to explore this beautiful Shetland Island. 1614z: Even straight after take-off I was left speechless. The airport was now a distant memory, but the same quality persisted all over. The huge cliffs created a slightly surreal shadowy effect, but suited the style of this island, whilst the nearby fields were brimming with colour and radiance. I could clearly define the coastlines and found I could watch the tide break into the giant rocks below all day long. Although I had planned on doing some circuit training, I found it more thrilling to explore as much of the island as I could. I passed over villages, small towns, various roads, beaches and lakes. There was a huge variety of things to ‘wow’ me as I soared over it all. Nothing looked blurry or out of place, and I found the whole experience to be smooth and fluid (no stutters). The locals have cleared invested in a lot of time perfecting their unique style. 1657z: After being sucked in with how beautiful Sumbrugh looks, I decided to start flying some touch-and-gos. I managed to snap a few shots of the several approaches I made, and as you can see, they’re all pretty entertaining. Some over land and one over water makes each visit different. I was lucky that ATC let me chose which runway I could land on. Approaching runway 33 was by far my favourite. You will need to fly the initial approach from the West to avoid the tall cliffs that sit just south of the runway. I can imagine that during low visibility or high winds, it would be an incredible challenging approach. Couple that with the small village and hills below you, I would have to be even more cautious, regardless of whether I was flying IFR or VFR into the airport. 1835z: With several touch-and-gos completed, I send my little baby back to the hanger for some much needed rest (and a change in spark plugs…whoops). It was a very tidy looking warehouse, but looked great nonetheless. Before my flight hope, I decided to take one final look around the airport and its vicinity. Everything looked great. I was surprised at how well the airport looks considering it doesn’t hold strong for the best weather award. As I passed busy workers cleaning and sweeping, I headed for the huge carpark, just outside the perimeter fence. Again, a lot of work has clearly been put into the airport to make sure it’s ready for passengers. The road layouts and signs were clearly marked. I certainly didn’t get lost finding my way back. 1918z: As dusk took over the skies, I managed to hitch a ride with one of the ground ops personnel who was kind enough to take me over to one of the coasts found inside the airport area. It was a wonderful sight to see the runways and aprons lit up so nicely, with the sun just peeking through the clouds. As we drove down the runway, I couldn’t help but feel slightly blinded by the amount of bright lights. I imagine that during the evening, the airport is just as beautiful and just as rich in character. It was just a matter of time before my flight home was due to land, and just as this thought crossed my mind, the beautiful looking Dash 8 -400 came hurtling down the runway. 1950z: With the night sky ahead of me, it was finally time to board the flight home. It had been an incredible experience. Everything from the dirt tracks in the tarmac, the hilly runway and the greatly detailed surrounding area made flying around Sumbrugh one of the most exciting small airports I’ve seen. Being able to explore so many possibilities will ensure Sumbrugh remains an airport I can revisit time and time again. As I close this log entry, I can honestly say that without a doubt I will be returning. This time, I plan on tackling some IFR flying in rough conditions, but in the meantime, I will be recommending to all my friends to give it a shot at Sumbrugh. Final Summary text version: 5/5 | Publisher: ORBX | Developer: 29Palms | Price: $30.68 29Palms have done it again. Yet another remarkable and highly detailed airport. With its excellent flexibility thanks to the detailed control panel, users can enjoy all the aspects of this excellent release. The great use of the sloped runway and taxiways make for a challenging and realistic approach, and the superb ground details represent another achievement for the developers. Regardless of flying style, Sumbrugh has something for everyone. + Fantastic texture and modelling work, with detailed airport and area. + Exciting approach and challenging runways - Some terrain issues with taxiing on the sloped runways. - Ocean mismatch too obvious from scenery to FSX colouring. Purchase Orbx's Sumbrugh Airport (EGPB) 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 - Orbx's Sumbrugh Airport (EGPB) Aircraft - A2A's Piper Cherokee, Majestic Dash 8 - 400 Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global
  9. FlightBeam has always been perceived as the bar to strive for when creating quality add-on scenery for Flight Simulator. No other developer has been able to produce consistently polished, fantastic looking and silky performing scenery like it. After the release of Washington Dulles (KIAD), expectations of FlightBeam were high for the announcement of Denver International Airport (KDEN). Were we worried? I should hope not as FlightBeam have raised that already high bar even higher with their latest release. Before I dig deep into the review, I just want to point out something a lot of developers avoid: the availability of a demo. Just as with all previous FlightBeam products, there is a free full demo available for anyone to try out the scenery. Although there’s an imposed time limit, it’s a fantastic opportunity for anyone to test it on their system before opening their wallet to FlightBeam. You can test performance, see if it’s an airport of worthy quality and also just fly around, having some fun with. Although it doesn’t directly affect the quality of Denver itself, it’s just another way in which FlightBeam stand above the rest and is excellent customer service. Always a plus to me. Denver International Airport (KDEN) has always been on the top of many simmers ‘Most Wanted’ lists for quite some time. The sprawling runways, Central American location and great architecture make Denver a very attractive airport for airliners from all over the world. Its high elevation and often warm temperatures also provides an exciting challenge for real-life pilots, especially if you’re taking a heavy aircraft. Because of the high temps and elevation, Denver also boats the longest runway in the United States, measuring roughly 16,000 feet in length, and although only the 15th busiest airport in the world, Denver sees over 52 million passengers a year. Another important piece of trivia is the fact that Denver covers the most service area of any airport in the US… So how does that translate into the performance-delicate world of Flight Sim? Unbelievably, performance is of very little concern. Something I want to focus heavily on in this review, as it is clear that if produced, and developed correctly, a massive airport, with hundreds of air-bridges, tens of taxiways, several runways and a range of buildings and terminals can run extremely well in the Flight Sim world. It is nothing less than impressive that a developer with very little resource can produce an add-on with as much detail and style, yet still be open to the mass market because of its easy-going performance. How Mir from FlightBeam has done it is something other developers can only hope to achieve in the future. As for the airport itself, as you would expect, the detail is breath-taking. I had initial concerns that the detail would be taken down a little to keep performance stable, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. I would even bet to say that FlightBeam have added more detail than that found in Dulles. Volumetric grass is a plenty, the terminal buildings have a great range of detail within them and the markings on the runways and taxiways are all so realistic. As you taxi around the airport, various puddles of water and/or oil spread on the concrete. It isn’t just one or two instances of this either as you can find it throughout the airport – all relevant and all realistic. Another finer detail is the attention given to the insides of the terminal buildings. All transparent and full modelled, you can see right in and through – really immersing you into your new virtual role. Each seat, stand, plant and flight information table is easily identified and legible. Again, bare in mind that all these details are present and your performance will remain almost untouched. One of the greater innovations not seen in many add-on sceneries with Denver is the inclusion of custom elevation terrain. As I said earlier, Denver is quite high above sea level. As such, the surrounding terrain is quite uneven and full of dips and hills. All of them have been faithfully recreated flawlessly within the sim thanks to FlightBeam. As you taxi through the vast airport, you’ll notice hills drop to the side of you, the terrain ahead of you raising above and numerous hills blocking your view ahead. It is simply the most realistic rendering of airport terrain I have ever seen within the Flight Sim world. The airport just gets better and better the more you explore and appreciate the work that has gone into it. The modelling work is exquisite. The Telfon-Coated Fiberglass roof of the airport is depicted beautifully, and the famous Jeppesen Building has been created with the highest attention to detail. Texture work has also gone up a notch since Washington with even more environmental effects and wear and tear adding to the immersion. The airport just feels alive. Moving traffic travels through the airport’s inner and outer roads, fantastically modelled static models occupy the freighter gates (all of which have been beautifully modelled) and thousands pieces of 3D grass and foliage flood the airport. It’s certainly interesting flying in at night – the high terrain and lack of lights from cities nearby will lull you into a false sense of height. Once you see the approach lights from the airport, the same quality texture work and attention to detail will hit you. It’s certainly one of the prettiest airports I’ve flown into at night. The blue glow from the Jeppesen building, the hundreds of hand-placed taxi and runway lights and the custom designed 3D apron lighting will make landing during the hours of darkness an absolute joy. Something that I discovered late in the review and screenshot process was the availability of downloading a separate texture pack for those using FTX Global (like I am). Before I knew this, I was already impressed with the level of detail, but a bit disappointed at the lack of merging with nearby land texturing. However, this really does put into perspective the level of commitment from FlightBeam. Upon installing you’ll immediately notice how perfectly it blends in with FTX Global. Want to revert back to the default textures, then go ahead. I have been blown away time and time again by Denver International Airport by FlightBeam. Everything from the custom elevation terrain and the environmental effects to the flawless modelling work and stellar performance make KDEN a must buy regardless of what region you’re from. The vast array of flights operating in and out of the airport, the somewhat difficult take off and approach mean you’ll forever be finding new things to brag about. Final Summary text version: 5/5 | Publisher: FlightBeam | Developer: FlightBeam | Price: £22.15 Despite the size and scale of the airport, FlightBeam have managed to create an immersive, impressive and performance friendly airport. Combining new techniques, utlising beautiful texture work and excellent attention to detail in the modelling, Denver surpasses all of FlightBeam’s previous airport add-ons. This is potentially the Airport Add-On of the year and a worthy airport of anyone’s collection. + Custom elevation terrain innovates and introduces new challenges. + Performance takes very little hit and sets a new Sim standard. - No tool provided to change texture sets. - Not enough static models included. Purchase FlightBeam's Denver International Airport (KDEN) 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 - FlightBeam's Denver International (KDEN) Airport Aircraft - Aerosoft's Airbus A32X / PMDG's 777LR/F X Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global
  10. When Taxi2Gate announced that they would be releasing Pointe-A-Pitre, located on the Caribbean island of Grande-Terre in Guadeloupe, everyone was a little shocked it would be released so soon. Announced on a gloomy Monday morning, the package went live on Wednesday evening. Immediately everyone rushed to download it to see if it matched the quality of their recent release, Istanbul. So far, I am equally, if not more impressed. TFFR is in a fantastic location, and an interesting airport. Situated in the Caribbean, Taxi2Gate return back to where some of their earliest work originated. Seeing nearly 2.5 million passengers a year, it makes it the second busiest airport in the Lesser Antilles, which is just behind Barbados’ Grantly Adams International Airport. The airport is capable of housing the A380 and with frequent Air France flights taking place, it’s a great chance to try a somewhat challenging approach for the big bird. As you circle around the airport’s northerly runway, high terrain blocks you from a straight in approach. Instead, you need to fly through various waypoints to avoid the danger, circling from left to right – during the right (or wrong) weather conditions, this could be a case of cloud-dodging from approach to landing (or even result in a go-around). As you do swoon in for the final approach, you’ll either come in from over the sea, or glide past huge amounts of forestation underneath you. Even as you roll down the runway, your wings will almost be brushing the surrounding vegetation. It’s obvious that this is a Taxi2Gate scenery package – they have a very distinct art direction. It’s certainly not a negative, as they manage to blend just enough artistic flare and realism to provide clear, crisp and clean visuals which balance perfectly in the world of Flight Sim. I am a big fan of their art direction. The clarity between apron, taxiway, runway and landscaping is so well executed that it makes it a joy to just taxi around aimlessly looking for the next surprise they have in store for you. It’s so colourful, yet very realistic. Something that also really impresses me, is the ways in which these guys manage to breathe new leases of life into their scenery. In this instance, it’s the wild life and shrubbery that really immerse you into their airport. Birds are flying around the airport constantly, just as they would in a real Caribbean airport, palm trees, bushes and foliage sprawl from all around the airport and through the cracks in the runway and taxiways. It’s so refreshing to see a developer not only focus on the realism of an airport, but also the atmosphere. Not only does the airport have frequent visitors from big airliners, it also serves as a hub to one of the Caribbean’s biggest island hopper and air mail airlines. Frequently using the diverse Twin Otter, it gives Simmers the chance to do small trips around the island flying at low altitude. Whilst Taxi2Gate didn’t recreate the whole island, it’s still a wonderful opportunity to try a challenging and somewhat different approach and landing for the little aeroplane. Backtracking a little and heading back to the quality of modelling and texture work, the team have put in, the terminal buildings and surrounding housing looks as impressive as ever. Air-bridges move with the CTRL+J key and connect nicely to your aircraft of choice. As you check the load sheets and program the autopilot, you’ll notice that the inside of the terminal buildings are also nicely modelled. It’s a great perk that helps immerse you even further into TFFR. As dawn approaches, and the low Caribbean sun presides over the airport, the night lighting really takes pride of place in Taxi2Gate’s latest work. The terminal buildings light up elegantly and the runway and approach lights, flash, strobe and flicker just like the real thing. Taxiway signs are lit up beautifully and the aprons are fully lit, just as you would expect in real life. It is astonishing to see how well the teams at Taxi2Gate work. The quality certainly hasn’t suffered and the surprise release have really set Taxi2Gate apart from the rest. TFFR sits amongst one of my favourite airports to fly into – with its diverse range of airlines, challenging approaches and high terrain. I would even go as far to see it’s an airport I prefer over Saint Marteen. An exceptional job from an exceptional developer, makes it an absolute must buy and one you’ll find new and interesting ways to fly into each time. Purchase Taxi2Gate's Pointe-A-Pitre Airport 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 Pointe-A-Pitre Airport Aircraft - Aerosoft's Twin Otter / PMDG's 777LR/F X Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global
  11. When I reviewed JetStream’s latest release, Marseille (LFML), I distinctly remember mentioning how talented the developer was, and also how they would soon become the next “Taxi2Gate.” With their release of Clinton National Airport (Little Rock / KLIT from here on out), I can firmly stand by that statement. Through 2009, more than 2.1 million passengers entered Little Rock’s airport, making it Arkansas’s largest commercial airport. By no means the largest airport in the United States, it’s fantastic city scape, lush green approaches and numerous rivers and lakes surrounding the airport, make it a very scenic approach. Served by only a handful of commercial airlines and several general aviation and privately run airlines, it makes for a nice change from the hustle and bustle of the busy international airports. Furthermore, by focusing on a smaller, mid-range airport in the middle of the States, it enables JetStream to really hone in on the finer details of the airport, and also give those with slightly weaker machines a chance to explore an incredibly detailed airport with their favourite US Airline. As I approach the airport from the south, fog, dense cloud and rain clot up my view of the approach lights. Just as I change to weather to better suit my ability to really take everything in for the review, my eyes suddenly caught glimpse of the PAPI lights… then I saw the runway threshold lights and before I knew it, through the all of the low visibility, a fantastically lit-up and dirty runway laid before my eyes. I continued with the approach, with clouds lifting behind me and more and more of the wonderful airport lighting fell before me. It was a sight truly to be seen – it is a major improvement over their lighting work on Marseille. My heart was as captured on this airport as much as my aircraft captured the ILS. Once I taxied myself back to stand, I cleared the weather to see just how impressive the airport looked behind all of the cloud. I was stunned. The detail spread for miles and miles, and the terminals were transparent and full of life. This was really high-end stuff. I quickly set up to fly again, but taking off in the opposite direction as I wanted to admire the beauty of the nearby satellite imagery and hand-placed custom buildings. As I taxied over numerous taxi routes, I noticed the quality of each taxi-sign and marking. The cracks in the pavement meant I could feel the bumps as my forward wheels took a beating – this is by no means a new airport. Dirt and grass stains contaminate the runways and taxiways and the 3D grass really add depth and immersion to the atmosphere of the airport. One of my favourite features of the airport, which has been represented well in the Flight Sim world is the dual taxi-way bridges. The roads underneath have some impressive views of various aircraft going back and forth over them, and all of it has been recreated wonderfully. My only gripe is the change in texture colour from the original taxiway to the bridge. However, for a new developer, it’s quite an achievement. Continuing to the runway, you’ll see various hangers and office buildings throughout the airport. All complete with fully rendered static aircraft, which also look fitting for the regional airport. As you hurtle down the runway, the wear and tear from it is clearly visible from the flight deck windows. Cracks, dirt and tire marks are all present, and as you approach VR and V2, you’ll of wished for a rejected take-off to be able to see the details of the runway for the full length. Once the gear was up, I spent time doing some touch and goes to get a sense a full-visibility approach. Coming in from the North this time, I flew right over the Arkansas River, which was glistening in the sun. You could see the waves crashing against the rocks below. It was a stunning sight to see the approach lights so far out into the river and gives you a real sense of achievement when you reach the touchdown zone. As you do come in over the river, you’ll have a fantastic view of the city to your right. Although not rendered by the scenery, given the right settings, it can still look just as believable as the real thing. Not many airport add-ons can immerse me with default settings as JetStream’s Little Rock has. If you read my previous review of Marseille, you will have read that I was very complimentary of JetStream's use of night lighting. Suffice to say, it was another fantastic improvement seen here in Little Rock. The runway lights are bright enough to look realistic without being blinding. The approach and taxi-way lights have all been redesigned from the ground up and look stunning. With third-party aircraft lighting up the rest of the taxi-way, I've never been so impressed with the night-lighting of an airport. The terminal buildings look fantastic, streaming with light and shadow, as well as the parking aprons. Whilst overall the airport looks and feels impressive, there is certainly room for improvement. Inconsistency with texture work and modelling usage certainly deters me slightly. One area of the airport will look great, whilst the next looks blurry in comparison. I also found performance to be of an issue in some respects. Whilst I appreciate the number of buildings and nearby forestation can cause the autogen to be demanding, I feel that other developers still have that creative edge to create mesmerizing airports without seeing too much of an impact – the developers have also decided not to include an easy way to switch off 3D grass or other special effects. Furthermore, jet ways aren't functional and the airport feels a little empty without any moving vehicles or other environmental effects. As you can tell, I am highly impressed with the work and dedication from JetStream. The new ground texture and modelling system used and the techniques learned from their previous efforts have put their name on the map. Even if you’re unsure Little Rock would be a frequently visited airport, I can assure you that once you fly there once, you’ll be back again and again. 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 - JetStream's Little Rock National Park (KLIT) Aircraft - PMDG 737-700 NGX Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global
  12. London Heathrow Airport. One of the busiest, largest and most diverse airports on the planet. Being one of the most central hubs in Europe, it’s sprawling and ever expanding terminus is forever changing the face of the airport. Now on his third irritation of London Heathrow, Gary from UK2000 Scenery not only updates the package to reflect its real life counterpart, he also brings the modelling and texturing into the current era of Flight Simulation. Heathrow has always had a special place in my heart. I often drive by, marvelling at the sight of hundreds of departures and arrivals on its two long runways. Operating at nearly full capacity, you can always expect to see a departure or arrival into the airport every couple of minutes – regardless of time of day. It’s a sight to be seen and it’s a wonder how pilots, ground agents and air traffic control can keep up with the hustle and bustle of the airport. It’s a concrete jungle. Taxiways twist and turn everywhere, the aprons are far and wide and there are terminal buildings, aircraft hangers and office blocks as far as the eye can see. It certainly takes a skilled navigator to work their way around the maze that is Heathrow airport. With flights spreading all corners of the globe, a Simmer can take off from Heathrow with a huge range of airlines and end up anywhere in the world. It is this diversity and range that has inspired many to give developing Heathrow a shot. Hot off the heels of an announcement from Aerosoft that they would be reproducing Heathrow, UK2000 Scenery announced that they would be updating their Heathrow airport up to V3. Version 3 of their other airports have been a vast improvement of their older counterparts. Version 3 saw Gary use new rendering techniques, different and effective ways of texturing and also improving his modelling work. It’s little wonder that after the success of other ‘version 3’ projects such as Gatwick and Bristol, that we would be excited for this new version. Despite Aerosoft showing their hand first, Gary managed to outpace them and release his new baby first. Gary’s work is always distinguishable from that of any other developer in the Flight Sim world. The clear textures, the detailed models and efficient rendering all make a return in Heathrow V3. As with all UK Scenery airports, you’ll immediately notice the effort that has gone into creating a realistic portrayal of the airport. Buildings are accurately placed and all the aircraft stands and hangers have been faithfully reproduced. Each taxiway, runway and aircraft apron have been included to give you the most realistic representation of Heathrow yet. The sheer scale and size of the airport can mean aircraft taxis of up to 20 minutes. Although it may sound like every simmers nightmare, the beauty and diversity of the airport ensure it feels like a want as opposed to a need. Seeing the custom air-side traffic populate the airport and various weather radars do their magic, whilst taxing between buildings is something you’ll only ever experience at Heathrow. Approaching from the East gives you wonderful views of London and the specific SID and STAR procedures mean each arrival and departure will always be difference. Just be aware of what time you chose to land into Heathrow as during peak times, you may find yourself in the hold for up to 45 minutes (and I’ve done it in real life!) Satellite imagery is used effectively in combination with custom created ground textures and hand-placed auto-gen. I did notice, however, that the occasional default auto-gen snuck into places within the airport where it’s not supposed to be. It’s certainly not enough to off-put me from the scenery. Things such as the approach lights, the PAPI lights and pylons surrounding the airport are all rendered in wonderful 3D and really add to the immersion of the airport. I’ve flown into Heathrow with some of the most beautiful dusk approaches I have ever had. Despite Gary’s best attempt to make sure the airport is as frame-friendly as possible, Heathrow is and always will be a tough dragon to slain in the world of Flight Simulation. Not only is it located in the heart of London itself, but it has an incredibly high number of buildings within the airport vicinity. Add this to the number of taxiways, airport markings, airport equipment and the sheer volume of air-bridges, and Heathrow has become very polygon hungry. Even with my moderately powerful set-up and enhanced configuration, FSX struggles to maintain that sweet 30fps I can manage at most other locations within the sim. I tried to add some AI traffic to enhance my experience further, but this just bought the sim down to its knees. Whilst I can’t blame Gary for this short-coming, I can compare the difference between his previous version and version 3. Design techniques have certainly come a long way since his first attempt at Heathrow airport. The texturing and level of detail is greatly improved over version 2. There appears to be better satellite ground imagery and a massive improvement on how the buildings look. Whilst I am most certainly in favour of these advances, the performance bears not better or worse. Whilst some may argue that improved visuals and not a change in performance is something to praise, if you look at newer version of other airports, it begs the question if Gary’s techniques are becoming a little dated. Look at Mega Airport Oslo. Version 2 was much more detailed and sophisticated and yet performed exceptionally better than its previous incarnation. It goes to prove that it can be done. Continuing with comparisons to other developers who have improved their original designs - and I may be in the minority here - but I feel Gary’s artistic flare is beginning to pale in comparison to the competition. Whilst his work is clear, concise and looks good in the sim, the pallet of colouring is dull and unrealistic to the real world. The aircraft stands look yellow, buildings share similar shades of grey and the grass and taxiways seem to merge into one. It’s difficult to say as we all know Gary is a very talented guy, but standards from other single devs is ever increasing and it’s beginning to look like Gary is in a little bit of a lull. Even with all this in mind, nothing quite compares to his use of night lighting. Each terminal building has excellent custom lighting attached, taxiways light up organically and the aprons have just enough lighting to be both anaesthetically pleasing, but also true to life. It’s something most other developers trouble finding the balance with, but as per usual, Gary has hit the sweet spot. However, despite my somewhat harsh criticisms, Gary has done an exceptional job. He’s managed to design and develop a wonderful, energetic and firm representation of a busy UK airport, all whilst achieving a sharper and cleaner presentation over his past work on the airport. London Heathrow was and never will be easy to recreate, however, overall Gary has done a wonderful job. If you’re upgrading from his previous version, the cost to upgrade is so minimal for the extra treats you’ll be given. If, though, you’re on the fence, I would advise to put yourself in the holding pattern until Aerosoft releases theirs as it could just improve at Gary’s shortcomings. PURCHASE UK2000 SCENERY LONDON HEATHROW (EGLL) V3 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 - UK2000 Scenery London Heathrow Airport (EGLL) V3 Aircraft - PMDG 777-200LR/F Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global
  13. Although being released on Saint Patrick’s day may have been sheer luck or done on purpose, many Flight Sim fans rejoiced at the fact Aerosoft’s long overdue Mega Airport Dublin was finally available to purchase. Whilst many of you jumped the bandwagon and downloaded and installed immediately, some of you have yet to plump down the cash. If you’re unsure, grab a Guiness, chill out and gouge over this mega review for this Mega Airport. The history of Dublin’s airport is pretty exciting. Opening in 1941, it is currently Ireland’s largest airport. 19.1 million people travelled through their doors in 2012, which was helped primarily from Irish carries Air Lingus and Ryanair. What makes the history of the airport so rich is the consistent conflict of these two giant airlines. Both have had contestant struggles in becoming the dominating force of the airport. Through sneaky tactics, creating strong advertising campaigns and taking matters into their own hands, Ryanair have tried and tried again to drive Air Lingus out of the airport. Although still bitter rivals, they both have a solid market share in Dublin – albeit using separate terminal buildings. Dublin is also home to one of two US boarder preclearance services. This has meant a lot of US traffic flies to and from the airport. Couple this with carriers from Asia and Europe frequently visiting the airport, Dublin is certainly a popular and diverse airport for real life and sim pilots alike. With AI traffic on, or even flying online, Dublin airport is full of life with aircraft from all over the Globe. Dublin has been sought after by Simmers for years. Aerosoft announced a little while ago one of its internal development teams would be crafting this international airport. Their forums were full of keen simmers eager to get their hands on their home airport. Due to troubles getting Satellite imagery, the project took a lot longer than most had hoped. However, the team have managed to create an airport that hits all the right notes. Let’s delve deeper. Before you even install the scenery, you have the option to install one of two texture packs. One that is hi-resolution (2048px) and one that is of a lower (NOT LOW) resolution (1024px). Although I have the graphical power to harness the hi-res textures, after sufficient testing, I found the lower resolution textures to not only provide much better performance, but also look equally as good. For the screenshots below, they are taken with a variety of resolutions and you probably won’t be able to tell the difference. This goes to show how creative art work and direction can take precedence over pure power. If you’re feeling brave, you can adjust to the higher resolution textures anytime you wish. However, it does involve copying and pasting files, as opposed to a small little installer. It’s functional, but does take away some of the professionalism and ease you would expect from Aerosoft. Once you have loaded the airport, you’ll instantly recognise that this is certainly a far cry from any other rendition of Dublin the world of Flight Sim has seen before. Grass is highly detailed. The runway has skid marks, gravel and cracks to show it’s age. The taxiway signs are accurate and clear. This is Mega Airport Dublin. Nothing feels out of place. The colour depth is what you would expect from a high quality add-on. The grass is nice and green and the ground markings are worn and faded just as you would expect from a busy international airport. Volumetric grass follows you as you taxi from runway to stand and you’ll be forever amazing yourself at the smaller details the team have put into the airport. As you find yourself just exploring the airport, you’ll notice at just how amazing the modelling work is. This is the most impressive model I have seen in a Flight Simulator airport. The old and new terminal buildings are brimming with detail. Every grill and air vent is detailed; the support beams are all there; and windows are placed as per their real-life counter parts. It’s evident the time spent waiting for satellite imagery was well spent creating these mesmerising buildings. Of course, the team didn’t stop at just a few terminal buildings. Air bridges, office blocks, hotels, fire stations and more are all rendered fantastically. Not a polygon was spared in ensuring that Dublin looks as realistic as possible. I spent hours needlessly driving around the perimeter, exploring every nook and cranny to see everything these guys had created. The level of detail in each is unbelievable. One of my favorite moments with using Dublin was approaching on runway 28 during a clear day to see the new terminal building out to my left. It was full of Air Lingus aircraft waiting to depart. I watched a couple of videos of the same approach on Youtube shortly after and was shocked to see just how true to life it’s represented here. Whilst the review, up to now, has been more than positive, there are a few areas of concern. Whilst taxiways, runways and ground markings have been textured wonderfully, it’s sad to see that not as much attention to detail has been put into the majority of the airport buildings. Whilst they’re all superbly modelled, looking at them it like looking into a time machine taking me back to texturing we were seeing in 2010. It’s not bad per se, but after seeing the staggering detail from developers such as Taxi2Gate and FlightBeam (considerably smaller teams than Aerosoft’s internal teams, I would imagine), it’s disappointing that the same couldn’t be reproduced here. This may have been to save on performance and VAS usage, but it begs the question why other developers can manage to do it with huge success. It’s also a shame that Mega Airport Dublin isn’t quite as feature packed as more recent releases from the same brand. Mega Airport Oslo 2.o came with a great NOTAM feature, lots of seasonal textures and also the ability to see through the terminal building. Whilst I appreciate some features are unique to specific projects, seasonal textures are deemed as a must by Flight Sim enthusiasts in 2014. It’s also a shame that some great features were missed out this time. It’s obviously of some interest in terms of how Mega Airport Dublin performs. It clearly depends on the specs of your system and what you’re going to throw at Flight Sim, but overall, the experience is good. It’s heavier in frames than smaller regional airports, but for the size, complexity and the detail, it’s considerably surprising. However, again, I can’t help but compare it to that of other developer’s work. There are some huge airports, all incredibly high in detail, yet their performance is never an issue. Perhaps this is the amount of satellite data used, or the number of rendered buildings, but either way, it still doesn’t fit in with other releases we’ve had this year. Don’t let these negative points throw you off. They’re a few, small, nit-picked issues. It doesn’t compare to all the positive and well thought-out design ideas the team have come up with. If anything, it’s the little touches that really sets Dublin apart from the rest. Cars, trucks and buses all drive around the airport and vicinity. All avoiding each other intelligently, and even indicating (visually) in the direction they will be turning into. Static objects near the runways, fire station and car parks, again, really make the airport come alive. You can spend hours just exploring to see everything Dublin has to offer. Of course, no airport would be complete without an impressive set of night textures. And does Dublin deliver. The apron, runways, terminal buildings and even the surrounding areas are all impressively lit up. Under the right conditions within the sim, it looks almost real. Just look at some of the screenshots in this review. Some of the most impressive night-lighting work I’ve seen. Fans have waited an age for Dublin to come along. It certainly was a reason to celebrate Saint Patrick’s day! It’s hard not to recommend Dublin, especially with all the attention to detail put into the airport. However, the approach and airport doesn’t create much of a challenge to those that have no reason to want to visit Dublin. It’s a solid release and a great addition to the Mega Airport brand – albeit with a few missing touches. So raise a glass, and let’s toast to another successful release from Aerosoft. Happy landings (unless you’re still tipsy from yesterday!) PURCHASE THE PRODUCT AT AEROSOFT 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 Dublin (EIDW) Aircraft - PMDG 737-800NGX Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global
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