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Calum Martin

FlightBeam - Denver International Airport (KDEN)

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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.



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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?



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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.



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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.



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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.



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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


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