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Calum Martin

Aerosoft Mega Airport Berlin Brandenburg (EDDB) Review

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When Aerosoft announced that Berlin would be created for Flight Simulator, I made a little noise that can only be described as a pig being scaled with a boiling rod, whilst on helium. I was quite excited. When I then heard that two of my favourite Flight Sim developers would be the ones to create this important airport, my heart nearly came out of my chest. Whilst it was exciting to see what LimeSim and 29Plams would do to faithfully bring Berlin to the Flight Sim world, I was also extremely nervous to see if they could pull it off. Essentially “two” airports in one, a mass amount of taxiways, two runways and huge terminal buildings, I was worried performance and VAS would be unbearable without sacrificing some of the eye-candy I’m so used to.

 

Berlin Schonefeld opened in 1934 and has since become one of the most important airports in Germany. Home to many airlines including Air Berlin, GermanWings and EasyJet, Schonfeld has easily become the must-go to destination for low-cost carriers. Due to popular demand, and less constraints over its brother airport, Berlin Tegel, it was decided that Berlin Schonfeld would expand into creating one large airport, closing Tegel, and would eventually be named Berlin Bradenburg. Delays, construction issues and poor management have prevented the airport from yet opening, despite a near complete airport. Although due to open in 2015, Aerosoft and the team have decided to give us a faithfully constructed version of both SXF and BER.

 

 

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Already on my first piece of praise for this airport. Instead of creating two separate add-ons and charging twice, Aerosoft have created a wonderful representation of both airports in one package. Whilst you may be thinking this is ‘unrealistic’, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The reality is, is that both airports currently exist, but BER is not currently in operation. Luckily, 29Palms and LimeSim have included a great tool that allows you to either have both SXF and BER active, or just the currently used SXF. If using just SXF, BER doesn’t ‘disappear,’ but instead textures and modelling change to reflect its current state as opposed to its proposed opened state. It’s really quite innovative and I’ve never seen anything as flawless and as in-depth in Flight Simulator before.

 

Still looking at the scenery manager provided, there’s a wealth of options that allow you to change certain performance impacting features. You can chose the amount of volumetric grass, the number and intensity of the lighting as well as easily change your FSX CFG maximum texture load value. It’s easy to use, great looking and adds a lot of value to the product, giving you the flexibility and freedom to find what suits you best. It’s certainly the future of scenery expansions and developers should take note. I’m fed up of being told to ‘delete’ or ‘rename’ this file just to remove certain features.

 

Once you’ve booted up BER, you’ll immediately be positioned just to the side of the active runway. At this point, I was already blown away. Despite having texture resolution to 2048, high levels of traffic and all of the bells and whistles thrown in, my frame rate still held solid at 30fps. I panned the camera, moved at high speeds down the runway and no matter what, that frame rate was not moving. That’s right a Mega Airport with lots going on had held a steady frame rate.

 

 

Consider me sold.

 
 
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Thinking it was too good to be true, I threw in weather, high-end aircraft and even more traffic. I wasn’t expecting miracles, but regardless, the frame rate was still in the mid to high twenties and more than playable (or is that “simable?”).

 

You may be thinking that if the frame rate was so good, then there must be poor looking textures or ugly looking buildings. Well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As per the usual standard of these two quality developers, the texture and modelling work is of an incredible standard. Super sharp, super rich and super smooth – nothing seemed out of place. Writing on buildings, adverts and even road signs were all clear as day to read and all the runway markings were in tact.

 

Having flown into Berlin for work more times than I can shake a stick at, the layout, and texture work on the runway and taxiways were spot on. It’s clear these guys had spent a good deal of time perfecting their ability to accurately place current and correct markings. Not only that, but they’ve added a great deal of detail in the dirt and other environmental effects to enhance your experience. It’s a good thing, too, as it’s a long taxi from stand 64 to either runway!

 

 

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During my time with Berlin, I was constantly being impressed. After spending hours looking at every nook and cranny in SXF, I ventured over to the new BER terminal. Straight away you notice a difference. The tarmac and apron are crystal clean white / grey and everything looks new and shiny – obvious seeing as it’s not opened commercially yet. It’s interesting to know that this is the same airport – it really does feel like you’re getting two airports for the price of one!

 

The runway textures are completely different – there are no bumps, cracks or skid marks and you feel almost guilty for running your dirty tires over the clean concrete. Not only does the runway look clean, the jet-bridges, approach lights and hangers look incredible, crisp and clear. I cannot wait for this new airport to open in real life and begin real-life operations.

 

Moving away from the airport, as usual, 29Palms and LimeSim have created an incredible looking surrounding area. Using custom texture work, hand-placed autogen and a range of other techniques, they have created a realistic and believable airport perimeter. It’s as sharp as a knife and adds infinitely to the immersion. I was most impressed by the fantastic use of ‘car’ traffic and also the moving trains surrounding the airport. They are all equipped with lights, sparks and other events, which are so believable they can cause distractions during finals. It’s a shame they didn’t manage to get any further afield than they’ve created here to help further create the sense of flying into Berlin.

 

As the day draws to a close, the airport lights turn on, the approach lights begin to flicker aircraft in and the terminal buildings are all lit up. It’s a wonderful sight and the airport looks even better than during the day. Ground textures light up as they’re supposed to, the light emitted from the flood lights is breath taking and ground lights at BER react to aircraft movements flawlessly. The techniques used are unique to these guys and I’m sure they won’t be sharing the secret anytime soon.

 

 

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It’s obvious that I am a massive fan of the work 29Plams and LimeSim have managed to achieve here. There’s so many things these guys have done right it’s hard to pick out any flaws in the product at all. The detail is some of the best in any airport in the Flight Sim world, the performance is incredible (and adaptable to users’ needs) and it’s faithfully recreated. The fact you get two airports in one, have the option to change at your own will, future proofs Berlin for years to come. These guys have set a new standard in the Flight Simulator world and I think it’s going to be hard to beat.

 

 

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Purchase Aerosoft's Mega Airport Berlin-Brandennburg 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 - Aerosoft's Mega Airport Berlin Bradnenburg Airport
Aircraft - Aerosoft's Airbus X Extended A320/321

Utilities - REX4 Textures, Active Sky Next, SteveFX DX10 Fixer (Also tested with DX9), FTX Global

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