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    • Scenery Update : KDEN - Denver International Airport HD v1.5 by X-Codr Designs   I'll look at X-PlaneReviews release review of X-Codr Design's sensational KDEN - Denver airport that took 8 months of painstaking work to bring you the most high quality scenery of Denver's mega-hub, the point is I didn't do a review but only a pre-release overview? Now that maybe a strange and interesting thought, but the reality was that when I looked at the scenery and as really good as it was. then X-Codr's Denver was at the time just missing the mark, and mostly in the night textures.    No offence to the developer in that a first scenery is always going to be a huge daunting task, add in the fact that the choice of airport is one of the largest in the mid-west of the grand olde US of A and that alone was always going to be a compromise, another factor is that X-Plane in scenery dynamics is a serious business, get it right and it looks brilliant, but it needs skill to bring out those dynamics and not make everything bland, so huge ambition hit the world of reality.   So obviously there has been a few post-release updates already to KDEN since that release, but here is a big one in v1.5 and it covers almost all of the elements that didn't quite hit the mark on the release version.     Denver's International gateway DIA is a monster of an airport, it is HUGE, even by say Atlanta's comparison. Your taxi fuel accounts have to be as much as a consideration as your flight time fuel loads just to reach certain runway takeoff points or to taxi into the terminal area, I love the taxi aspect, but it can certainly add into your gate to gate time if you don't take this huge sprawl into account, layout navigation is actually quite easy in not getting lost, but at some certain hold points the main terminal area are a set of buildings set out on the horizon. At 33,531 acres (13,570 ha), then DIA is the largest airport by area in the US and the second largest in the world after King Fahd International in Saudi Arabia.     Arrival at KDEN via LONGz1 SID and the DIA airport is showing how really well now scenery can be intergrated into the default mesh...     ...  X-Codr provides two mesh/overlay installations in Y and X (Y has to be set before X obviously) but it works extremely well, and also there are Ortho4xp patches provided if that is your preference. The ortho itself has now been totally recolored to better match the airport ortho and other 3rd party ortho.... and it shows with the differences from every angle. The mesh and airport together are big Gb downloads (1.5gb each) but the detail is worth the hard drive storage. Noted is that there is a lot of refinement that has been done in this update, with now far better compression of over in that 300Mb in disk space and VRAM were saved just in ortho alone, and other refinements are all the way through this update pack.   The south approaches are dominated by the incredible huge (Batwinged?) presence of the Westin Hotel, and it almost hides the DEN iconic circus soleil membrane styled roofing of the main arrival Jeppesen terminal and it is made of Teflon-coded woven fiberglass for strength and is also impenetrable to radar...  all the detail presented here are simply really well modeled and totally highly realistic...     The reflective glass on the original Westin Hotel was actually pretty good, but the problem was it was also far better than the rest of the airports glass and textures. Upgraded in v1.5 is that all the glass areas are now highly PBR reflective and detailed and the scenery now extrudes quality and realism.     Denver International Airport IATA: DEN - ICAO: KDEN - FAA LID: DEN 07/25 - 12,000ft  (3,658m)  Concrete 08/26 - 12,000ft  (3,658m)  Concrete 16L/34R - 12,000ft  (3,658m)  Concrete 16R/34L - 16,000ft  (4,877m)  Concrete 17L/35R -12,000ft  (3,658m)  Concrete 17R/35L - 12,000ft (3,658m)  Concrete Elevation : 5,431 ft / 1,655 m   Denver's airport layout is very typical of most U.S. major hub arrangements, a welcoming terminal then (in this case) three separate huge concourses connected together by an underground rail system.     Concourses are really simple in A, B and C...  A is the closest to the Jeppesen Terminal and is for the International arrival and departures.     Concourse A has 51 gates, which includes several "ground load positions" requiring passengers to exit the main concourse through shared doors to access their aircraft. Concourse A handles all domestic airlines except Alaska, Southwest, and Spirit as well as all international arrivals (excluding airports with border preclearance). There are currently twelve dedicated gates for international arrivals; five of those are equipped to handle widebody aircraft and two are 3-jetway gates capable of handling an Airbus A380. Two airline lounges are currently located on the top floor of the central section of Concourse A: an American Admirals Club and a Delta Sky Club.[26] Concourse A is mainly different from the other two in because it has the pedestrian bridge from the main terminal.     Concourse B, is almost twice as long as "A" and "C", so it over shadows the two other island concourses. Concourse B has 70 gates. United Airlines is the sole occupant of Concourse B. Mainline United flights operate from the main concourse building, whereas United Express operations are primarily handled at the east end of the concourse, which currently includes two concourse extensions for smaller regional planes. Four gates near the center of the concourse are equipped to handle widebody aircraft and each have twin jet bridges labeled A and B. There are two United Clubs on the second floor of Concourse B, situated about an equal distance away from the people mover station: one near gate B32 and the other near gate B44.     Concourse C, has the bonus of having the Main Control Tower as part of the concourse. as 29 gates. Southwest Airlines is the primary occupant of the concourse with only two other airlines, Alaska Airlines and Spirit Airlines, utilizing the concourse. A 2014 expansion added five new gates to the west end of the concourse. The expansion, at a cost of $46 million, allowed Southwest to consolidate all of its operations into Concourse C (prior to the expansion, Southwest was using two gates on Concourse A, which it had inherited from its merger with AirTran Airways). American Express recently began construction on a 14,650-square-foot (1,361 m2) Centurion Lounge in the upper level of the eastern wing of Concourse C. The lounge is expected to open in mid-2020, and will be the second largest of its kind.   Outwardly everything looks the same as the original release scenery. But in v1.5 almost everything in the texture aspect has been completely redone.     The textures have lost their flatness and are now if you look closely are also now quite beautiful, you are seeing here a lot of Misterx6 style and of quality, that same feel is now showing in this scenery and I like it a lot.   A lot of attention has been given to the ground textures here at DEN. The problem with a lot of acres of concrete is that it can look really bland, worse it reflects the light twice back, so it has no feel or depth. No developer can fix highly reflective white glare, but the grunge, oil and rubber dirt has been heightened here at DIA with great success. Yes it was slightly mottled in the original version, but the effects have all been all redone and deepened.     This is masterful work to get this sort of wear and rubber detail, almost every U.S. scenery developer now has to create the same level of making white concrete actually interesting. The PBR reflective (wet) active textures and burnt-in ambient occlusion are also first-rate, it is a huge jump forward.   Glass is very interesting as well. Reflections are very good, but look closer in the right lighting conditions and there is the wet dirt fall on the glass panels, it is all very good if great detail and highly realistic....     ....  all the different styles of glass are different but highly realistic, note the fantastic reflections on the apron tower windows...  very good.   There was modeled concourse interiors in the original release, but there has also been a lot of revision work done here internally. Plus point is that the waiting passengers are now actually sitting down, a small point but it gives the whole terminal scenario a bit of a more realism feel to it, certainly all the main A,B and C concourses can be explored, and are worth doing so....     ...  moving walkways and even hanging aircraft are well done for the detail shown internally. There is now a required installation into your custom scenery folder a X-Codr Designs Library that is now used for all these higher quality assets, the library is quite a big at a 1.16Gb download so it is quite an extensive package.   The SAM (Scenery Animation Manger) system has replaced the older Marginal autodock VDGS airbridge layout. So all the airbridges have been redesigned and replaced and even the complicated long arm versions are really well done. Also added in are the two and three pier installations and they all work with two door aircraft in say the Boeing 747...     ...   and I really love this three pier arrangement that can be adapted to either an widebody or single aisle aircraft.     The original X-Codr KDEN night texture lighting was a bit average, it was okay but not highly realistic. The night textures have all been redone and the effects now are far better in v1.5...  clear glass is always really problematic at night, however they pass the realism test here.     The Jeppersen Terminal looks however still a little too saturated, and needs a little more calming down, but I like the far better Westin Hotel textures, the originals were horrible grey squares... ugggh! But this image below shows off some of the spectacular lighting at the concourses.... it is incredible of what we can do now in simulation.     Highlighting the detail here is interesting...  There is some of the very best gradient work in X-Plane scenery here, all levels and ground variations are uniquely covered and also highly detailed...     ....  it all makes for some of the best and most interesting arrival and departures experiences in the simulator, the detail is incredible, and the gradients can be seen and felt from the aircraft for that realism factor. Infrastructure detail is really off the planet, it is all a feast for the eyes.     Both United and Frontier maintenance hangars are also covered really well...     ...  and overall you can't be but very impressed by the detail and activity at this mega hub scenery.   ____________________   Summary The original release of Denver's megapolis International Airport by X-Codr Designs was a bit of a tour-de-force, ultimately it was brilliant, but still missing that something in a few areas, there has been a few updates in between, but this is a major update in v1.5, and an spectacular update it is.   This is a maturing update to the scenery, it covers all the aspects that were just a little below par to get the package into that elusive higher quality bracket... but the update here is a great success.   Covered in v1.5 has been a complete texture revision with outstanding results and PBR quality. That brings in more lifelike glass reflections and even better glass detail, night textures needed attention and they have had that with the more realistic look and feel done really well. Ground textures have also had serious changes to make them more gritty or grubby or grungy or whatever you want to note as more realism, but that they are some of the now the best grungy concrete textures around is a still the ultimate aim.   Internal details has now added in even sitting people and the new X-Codr Design Library adds in a huge whole new level of a new library of detailing.   The SAM (Scenery Animation Manger) has replaced the older Marginal autodock VDGS airbridge system with huge benefits of more twin and three pier gates and resulting in even more bay choices, it has also been fashioned to match the real gate systems and is a great addition to the scenery. Note the KDEN scenery covers a large area and has a huge amount objects, you can run the scenery on a 4K board, but a 8K is certainly highly recommended, hard drive space is quite at a premium as well.   This v1.5 update is free to all previous the purchasers of KDEN - Denver from X-Codr Design. If you don't have this scenery then you are easily missing a huge important part and aspect of your North American route network....  Highly Recommended! _____________________________________     Yes! KDEN - Denver International Airport HD v1.5 by X-Codr Design is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KDEN - Denver International Airport HD   Price is US$29.95   Features: Ultra detailed rendition of Denver International Airport Winter and wet rainy versions are included as well Highly detailed custom buildings Most parts of all concourses have detailed custom interiors Detailed yet performance friendly models Normal maps for great bump mapping and glass reflections Ultra detailed ground textures 1 pixel per 6 inch orthophotos equivalent to ZL20 Orthophotos have been cleaned of duplicate flat textures under 3D models (such as traffic and bridges) Extreme detail for pavement, while still maintaining minimal repetition Highly detailed normal maps for impressive specular reflections X-Codr Designs SoundXP Plugin (Windows 10 ONLY) Ambient airport sounds will be played based on your location in the airport - a first in X-Plane Listen to chatter, announcements and other sounds when inside the terminal, trucks rumbling by and beeping when near busy ramp areas, and the drone of traffic speeding by when on the landside of the airport Dynamic living airport Watch heavies, regional commuters and other air traffic bring the airport to life with superb WT3 routes by Brian "Cpt. K-man" Navy (Bird Stryke Designs) Animated jetways using Autogate by Jonathan Harris (marginal) Animated car traffic using Ground Traffic by Jonathan Harris (marginal) Native ground services will service your aircraft upon request Highly detailed custom mesh using Ortho4XP Detailed under and overpasses Sloped runways and taxiways, and ditches   WT3:  WorldTraffic GroundRoutes are provided and overall the airport generation functions perfectly.   Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4Gb VRAM Minimum - 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.8Gb Current and Review version: 1.5 (August 5th 2020)   Installation Download scenery files required are in three downloads, KDEN Airport (1.53Gb), KDEN Mesh (1.61Gb) and the X-Codr Designs Library Package (1.16GB)   KDEN Airport Ortho4xp Patches KDEN - Denver International Airport ClassicJetSimUtils (ground Routes)   KDEN Mesh   Y KDEN Overlay Z KDEN Mesh   X-Codr Designs Library Package (The library Package is inserted into your Custom Scenery Folder)   Total scenery installation is 11.30Gb (yes 11.30GB!)   SAM Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 2.0 is required for this scenery   Documents One extensive manual in English with notes (6 pages) but no charts   Denver International Airport Manual.pdf _____________________________________________________________________   Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 7th August 2020 Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)   Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD  Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41 and tested in v11.50b17 (really good!) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini  Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 Scenery or Aircraft - Default Boeing 737-800 by Laminar Research    
    • Scenery Review : FALE - Durban XP by Aerosoft/FSDG   Only a month after their last crossover conversion scenery of HKJK Nairobi "Jomo Kenyatta", then FSGD - FlightSim Development Group through Aerosoft have now released for X-Plane11 Durban XP or to give it it's full name "King Shaka International Airport Durban". This Durban scenery is also the third scenery released for Africa after GMMN - Casablanca and HKJK Nairobi, of which I am finding that they are all workmanlike sceneries, but certainly not average either. They are however also in bringing the African continent alive, so these sceneries are very interesting in that important aspect.    Starting the review I thought I would just "Hop" on down from FSDG's last scenery in Nairobi, but on checking out the route I found that the simple "hop" was actually 1800nm or around 4h 30m flying time, so that shows the massive size of the African continent, it is doable obviously and I will fly that route, but in reality we need to get on and take a look at King Shaka International Airport.   King Shaka International Airport abbreviated KSIA (Shaka was the leader of the Zulu nation in the early 19th century), is the primary airport serving Durban, South Africa. Located in La Mercy, KwaZulu-Natal, approximately 35 km (22 mi) north of the city centre of Durban, it opened its doors to passengers on 1 May 2010, just over a month before the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It replaced Durban International Airport (ICAO: FADN) and uses the same IATA airport code. So the airport KSIA is very new in a clear field design.     King Shaka International Airport IATA: DUR - ICAO: FALE 06/24 - 3,700m (12,139ft) Asphalt Elevation AMSL93 m / 304 ft     Being modern and a fresh field layout then FALE looks clean and open. The first viewing is actually quite surprising on how good this scenery actually is, as it looks and feels very nice. Intergration into the X-Plane default textures is very good, except for a few areas as we will note later, but the overall approach feel is excellent.   The King Shaka single large main Terminal is quite impressive, detail is very, very good with excellent quality modeling.     Exterior shapes and window blind/shade detail is really good, glass is not bad either, not the very best but very realistic with nice reflections.     Reflection detail is also very nice in the roofing quality, yes modern materials are easier to reproduce, but realism is not...  but that is not case here as it looks very good and real world.   Parking stands A5 to A16 and C3 - C6 all have the SAM (Scenery Animation Manager) active airbridges. A1 to A4 and C1,C2, C3 and C5 are all walkon/off stands.  Zones are Alpha Apron A, Bravo remote Stands B1 to B9 and Charlie Apron C1 to C6.   The airbridge design is really well done here, lovely shape and the glass work brings out the best of SAM plugin, that they work as well is a real bonus, and there are VDGS guidance signs on the Terminal at each gate.     Ground clutter is very good and Swissaport/SkyChefs branded, and there are a few South African buses buzzing around as well like at Nairobi. I found the v11.50 version didn't work with the traffic plugin, I have the updated Vulkan plugin version and it fixed about half of the animations, but they crashed into each other and stopped and started, so the traffic is good, but currently not working correctly?     Landside The other two GMMN and HKJK sceneries were let down by their poor landside detail. Here at FALE is is far better in that aspect and more detailed and that gives it a far more visual realism...       ... again the terminal detail and construction webbing is really good and the animated vehicles give it all a bit of activity as well...  The carpark is just a photo on one side but there is high detail on the other, Advertising and signage is very good and detailed, but the landside is not perfect as the arrival area is still a bit ortho-photo flat, but overall it is far better than their earlier African sceneries.     Infrastructure Overall FALE is a compact airport, so the infrastructure is quite small and separated into two zones. The areas around the Terminal have mostly under cover carparking and a Hotel in the 29º South, which is very good and noticeable from the air as it is set out a distance from the airport.     The Phase 3 section being now built is included in the scenery as finished, this area has two remote parking zones E - Echo E1 to E14 stands and F - Foxtrot F1 to F12 stands and the recreation is very well done, and fills in the former separated empty area between the terminal and cargo sections.     Cargo The Cargo facility is part of the Dube TradePort's TradeZone Precinct, and has a initial size of 15,000 m2 (160,000 sq ft) and the initial capacity for 150,000 metric tons (165,000 short tons) of cargo per year. Long-term expansion could see the cargo terminal expand to a size of 100,000 m2 (1,100,000 sq ft) and the capacity for 1,000,000 metric tons of cargo per year. Notable is the connection from the cargo receiving terminal to the secondary cargo facility.     This is Apron D or Delta with D1 to D6 Parking bays, Detail is very good and for the long cargo hauler a great destination to aim for.     The Field Control Tower is position directly behind the Cargo apron, the tower is not overly modeled or textured, but it is good in context, aerial detail is also helped by the very good mobile cell installation...     ....  tower view is good but set a bit low to the roof of the tower, so there are a few few obstructions in the viewpoint, overall it is fine on both approaches.   To the northeast behind the cargo zone is more of the Dube TradePort's TradeZone Precinct. FSDG did a good industrial park area in the GMMN scenery and this is even better...     Highly detailed with excellent business branding like Shreeprop, PranPark, Schenker and the whole area works really fine, it even includes animated trucks revolving around the estate. The same area adjoining the main A Taxiway is the Fire Station by the cargo area and at the other end is the E -Echo apron for General Aviation parking, but it is a bit bland in detail.     Ground Textures The ground textures are very good, but like most of FSDG's work not that ultra ribbing detail we expect now, but the textures are hare very good with PBR reflective (wet) and burnt-in ambient occlusion and all is done here far better that the GMMN and HKJK surfaces.     Again no 3d grass also adds in to the blandness of THE acres of Lo-Res textures that needed to have been broken up, in one airport that needs 3d grass it is here again at Durban, it is amazing how much difference a simple thing like no grass can make to a scenery?     Lighting The lighting at FALE is excellent, to really, really good. Approach lighting, runway and yes even in darkest Africa there is taxiway centre guidance lights!     But there is an important note to make. On the final approach to Rwy 24 there is the "Tongaat Toll Booth" noted on the N2 Tollway (arrowed), the red and white lights of the Toll Booth have been known to confuse pilots with the runways PAPI lights and created some confusion on the approach...     ...  the Toll Booth is not modeled here, and the so called lights are missing, but that is also taking away a big local effect of the arrival into FALE, how hard can it be not to model that effect? On a brighter note the whole of the section of the N2 Tollway is nicely lit and adds in well to the scenery.   Main terminal and apron areas are really good...     Apron lighting is brighter in tone than Nairobi and even better and I liked the HKJK lighting a lot, but it is nice to work down here, however a few areas could do with some secondary fill lighting.     Landside is really, really good (those words again!)     The Terminal lighting as a sort of Heathrow Terminal 5 feel about it, it looks lovely in the right lighting conditions, the night glass textures could be a little bit brighter to be perfect (as a side note I hit the photoshop and increased the main terminal lit a few points higher, I think it is now about right..  below)     but they are still overall very good. The lighting variation is excellent with the Landside in contrast to the Airside, and again it feels just about right.     Dube TradePort's TradeZone area is also very good, with nice street lighting and a few dropdown set lights...     ...  the only blight on the copybook is that the signage on the front of the Cargo Terminal and the 29º hotel is unlit, and you really miss both items even though they are quite small?     Taxiway navigation signage are excellent and reflective, this aspect always adds in nicely to the experience when arriving or departing an airport.   ---------------------- Summary It seems that with every release from FSGD - FlightSim Development Group (distributed by Aerosoft) that their crossover conversion scenery goes up a notch. This is their third scenery for X-Plane in Durban FALE in South Africa and it is their best scenery yet in every department.   Africa is has always been a low point for quality X-Plane scenery, but FSDG has been releasing to date three sceneries with Casablanca, then Nairobi and now Durban it at least give you some very interesting and quality destinations within the African continent. Durban is also part of the key airports for domestic services throughout South Africa, serving the "Golden Triangle" between Cape Town International Airport, O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg...  FSDG does have a FlightSim version of FACT in Cape Town, but no Johannesburg, but that is better than nothing if it is released.   Instantly I saw a very good scenery here from FSDG, as noted everything has sort of gone up a notch in the excellent modeling, quality of the textures, lighting is really, really good and so is the intergration of the SAM airbridges which are excellent as well, the layout also includes the new stage 3 remote parking stands of Echo and Foxtrot areas and the Cargo, northwestern infrastructure is also very well filled out, there is not a lot to discredit here because it is very good, even the usual FSDG Landside weakness is covered here. There are a few wobbles, in the main terminal lighting textures are too slightly dark, and the missing signage lighting is missing like the important Toll gates and the traffic animations don't work correctly (in "yes I know it is a beta" v11.50) and the visual aspect of no 3d grass, but otherwise FALE is a really good solid scenery.   It is rare for a crossover from FlightSim scenery developer to improve on every scenery, mainly because they are just replicating the old to the new, but to understand the dynamics and improve to match the new platform has to be admired, obviously it is not an X-Plane developer, but this is really good X-Plane scenery...   kudos to FSDG....  Recommended! _____________________________________     Yes! FALE - Durban XP by Aerosoft/FSDG is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : FSDG - Durban XP   Price is US$22.99   Features: Extremely realistic rendition of King Shaka International Airport, Durban, South Africa, and surroundings Realistic shadow and light rendition Animated ground traffic Future Foxtrot apron and extended Bravo taxiway already included Includes Dube Tradeport PBR ground and dynamic lighting Optimized for great performance and visual results Animated jetways (SAM plugin required) Compatible with all known add-ons including ortho4XP Manual included   WT3:  WorldTraffic GroundRoutes are not provided and a generation is required, and overall the airport generation functions perfectly.   Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows or Mac (not compatible with Linux) 4Gb VRAM Minimum - 8Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download-Size Windows: 600 MB Download-Size Mac: 1.6 GB Current and Review version: 1.0 (July 31st 2020)   Installation Download scenery file size is with the full installation of three folders is installed in your custom scenery folder with a (Windows Installer) Mac is zip   FSDG-Durban_XP_1 FSDG-Durban_XP_2 FSDG-Durban_XP_3   Total scenery installation is 1.26Gb   SAM Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 2.0 is required for this scenery   Documents One extensive manual in English with notes (6 pages) but no charts   Manual_FSDG-Durban_XP.pdf _____________________________________________________________________   Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 6th August 2020 Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)   Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD  Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41 and tested in v11.50b17 (really good!) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini  Plugins: None Scenery or Aircraft - Default Boeing 737-800 by Laminar Research    
    • You have missed the point. FS2020 or no FS2020 then Laminar was already faced with a major texture overhaul, the textures are two generations old as they came in with XP10... so work was already started, obviously the game has been raised, but I never ever underestimate Laminar in what they can do with so little... rumors abound on small details, but I think there is a surprise coming.    
    • Hm. Seriously? No Linux support? Ok. Sorry for that, but since the Vulkan-beta the frame-rate is so much better on Linux than on windows... it will cost me presumably one generation step of my graka... perhaps more... sorry. Too expensive. I have no frames for give-away.
    • I totally agree that LR seem to have rested on the merits. FS2020 clearly shocked them as well. I think LR will not be able to compete with FS2020 on ortophoto-AI-autogen-3D-scanned-city level. Austin seems to see that as well even if disappointing for us.   But I think with Vulkan they have the technological basis to vastly improve the look of X-Plane. IMHO if they would do the following points with XP12 then they would be able to be competitive:   * volumetric clouds * better water visuals * UHD mesh * Regional autogen * improved ground textures   Especially with the great planes like MD-11, A300, Dash8 Q400, etc that are in the pipeline for this year or starting next year.  
    • Scenery Review : EDDV - Hannover Inernational by JustSim   As an area covered by quality airports then with the efforts of both Aerosoft and JustSim, Germany is getting to be now a pretty well filled in country. But there is always room for another one, and here it is with Hannover/Langenhagen - EDDV from JustSim.   Hanover is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony. Its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the 13th-largest city in Germany. Hannover/Langenhagen Airport is 11 km (6.8 mi) north of Hannover. The airport has flights to European metropolitan and leisure destinations, and serves as a base for Eurowings, Condor, SunExpress Deutschland and TUI fly Deutschland.   Hannover Airport Flughafen Hannover-Langenhagen IATA: HAJ - ICAO: EDDV 9L/27R - 12,467ft (3,800m) Concrete 09R/27L- 7,677ft (2,340m) Concrete 09C/27C - 2,559ft (780m) Asphalt Elevation AMSL183 ft / 56 m     First impression of EDDV - Hannover is very impressive. The intergation into the default mesh of HAJ is faultless and it is highly realistic in detail and the perfect overall view. In reality EDDV has only two usable runways as 09C/27C is very short and even for a GA. Runway 9L/27R is really the main operations runway and the one you would usually use. The original 9R/27L is for regional or propeller based services, but I do love the layout of Langenhagen.     The original two modern terminals were opened in 1973, of which they became famous because of their compact design. They also became the archetype for the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. These original terminals A and B are still in service today.     Detail and reproduction in JustSim's version is excellent, really good. Not only with the modeling but in the finer detail and the great reflective glass. Unusual though and noticeable is that there is no ground traffic around HAJ? no plugin either, and you miss that bustling activity aspect. Clutter though is excellent and well done, but not branded and only generic. Gates are 1 -12 with 1A, 2A, 5A, 7A, 10A and 11A being set for narrow and wide-body aircraft.   Terminal, C, was opened in 1998 to handle more passengers, adding on 8 more boarding gates and 3 bus departure gates. Up to 33 aircraft can be handled simultaneously at Terminal C, of which 20 can use aircraft stands equipped with an Airbridge. The extension terminal is larger than the original sections, but as it is done in exactly the same same style and so the terminal blends in perfectly. Gates 13 - 20 with the same 14A, 15A, 17A, 18A and 20A layout as the first section.      All Airbridges use the SAM (Scenery Animation Manger) system and is excellent, the only slight note is that the VDGS or Visual Docking Guidance System is set a little high, well done so no doubt, but you have to get low when you get close to the final stopping (parking) point.     I particularly like the gate co-ordinates on each system, overall SAM intergation at HAJ is excellent.   There is the additional Terminal D to the east of the main terminals, which is a rebuilt hangar that is exclusively used by the Royal Air Force to transport British troops to and from Northern Germany.     Landside There is really great detail landside...     ...  there has been given a large amount of attention to the entrance to the terminals, and all the work is not at all wasted here, nice flags, banners, loads of cars and great (puppy) Sixt advertising. Highlight is the TUI Fly childrens play area that is really nicely detailed, for once there are no landside low-res textures in sight!     There are 10 carparks at HAJ with 14,000 parking spaces that are available. And everywhere you look here there is a carpark!     Short - long, expensive concierge, cheap and even Kiss & Fly Zones, Hannover has all your parking needs covered...     All carparks are really well done, with advertising, 3d vehicles, branded radars, but what is the most well done aspect is that it is clear and sharp and not just background terminal filler. Hotels covered are the Martime and Leonardo.     Cargo The cargo zones are split into two areas by the taxiways F and L. The earlier area is quite small with only a two bay 27 (27A, 27B & 27C) and 28 parking stands layout...     ....   the second (larger) zone opposite a large remote parking area (stands 45 -52) has six stands 53 - 63 (four are cross stands). Both areas have excellent facilities with the second area dominated by DHL and rear warehousing.   Control Towers There are two control towers at EDDV, the earlier version is set between the terminal A and the older cargo facility...  in use or not is debatable by the greyed out windows...     ....  the second newer 68.0m tower is central of the DHL facility and was completed in 2002, detail on both towers is excellent, and the detailed construction (boxes) on the newer tower that is really well done with very good intimate detailing, a rotating radar works on top as well. Tower view setting is also spot on, with approach views on every runway just perfect.     Airport Infrastructure East of the terminal on taxiway A1 is a partially dismantled large hangar, that is well done, then further east are two large maintenance hangers for TUI Fly and ACC Columbia Jet Service, the main TUI Fly offices set just behind the dismantled hangar.     Taxiway M has a lot of facilities along the long taxiway.     Situated besides a very Germanic looking building (there are a lot of these Gemanic style buildings in the scenery, which adds in a lot of local flavor) is the General Aviation Zone 1, Zone 2 is for remote GA parking opposite...  note the excellent three H Pads in the foreground.     General Aviation area 1 is great with some nicely done hangarage set to the east, but you feel it needs a few GA statics to fill both of these areas out.     Further east is another (larger) ACC Columbia Jet Service facility...     ...   and an area far east that looks like an old military (German) barracks, now they house private aviation and administration offices.   There are loads of detailed buildings that cover the area between what you could say is the front and rear of the airport and far too many to cover here, but they are all very well detailed, but the highlights that stick up like a small radar tower, chimmeys and remote parking cover structures give the scenery a great depth of detail.     Infrastructure on the southern boundary is also excellent. There has been a lot of attention given to this industrial areas with loads of well done factories, warehousing and business parks. JustSim are always good at filling out the visual aspect of their sceneries, and not just recreating the actual airport, but doing the whole concept of the area around it, and here at Hannover it is very good with local branding and custom buildings as per the real structures.      Ground Textures I really, really like the ground textures here at Hannover, great detail and the various surfaces are all mostly concrete in modulation. Ribbing is done really well and you notice the realism and wear from the cockpit, I love taxiing around EDDV just to look at the textures. Note the nice shiny detailed metal grids.     The PBR reflective (wet) and burnt-in ambient occlusion can be seen even in bright sunny conditions, add in the right lighting and it gets even better.     It is how good developers are creating these surfaces now, as they are so highly realistic. There is some nice 3d grass as well and the coverage is wide across the whole airfield, only north of 09L/27R does the grass line stop abruptly, and it looks a little odd from the air?     Lighting Overall the lighting is a bit hit and sadly miss...  main overview of EDDV however is very good.     Apron lighting is very good, but those Terminal textures are simply horrible? All are orangey, samey and all the bland not dissimilar at all...     ....  worse is that excellent landside detail is hidden with no lighting at all? There are street lights set but they are not lit? So something has been overlooked or not finished? I also checked my graphic settings and no they are set at the highest setting for the lighting, so it is not me but the way it actually is.   Advertising signs and carpark drop lighting (internal carparks are nicely lit as well) is really good, but heavily let down by the rest of the lighting.       Approach, landing and taxiway lighting is all very good and the highlights are the lovely realistic reflective navigation signs.   ________________________ Summary Between developers Aerosoft and JustSim they have both covered Germany with a lot of quality scenery, this is another in Hannover/Langenhagen and when it is this good then why not use another good choice to fly into or out of Fatherland.   And very good it is, but not perfect. On the positive side there is a huge amount to really like here, modeling and texture detail is excellent and extensive, the surrounding infrastructure is also excellent and that includes the off-field detail as well as the complex actual airport detail, all infrastructure is really well developed and it all comes with high quality, extensive detail. Ground textures are simply first rate and has very nice surface detail and realistic reflective activity, and they look spellbinding in the rain, as a EDDV - Hannover recreation this is a great scenery.   Minuses are weird in a way...  missing airport traffic is a head scratcher, and so is the non-lit landside lighting? It is just not like JustSim to miss details like that? But the overwhelming thing that I didn't like were those night Terminal textures, we have moved on a long way from these sort of night textures, I admit they are hard to make realistic, but they just don't work here at all and spoil any night time operations at HAJ.   This Hannover review got pushed aside a few times to cover more extensive sceneries that were released, but in the mean time I based my operations here and used the scenery extensively over the intermediate few weeks period. The results were that I absolutely loved using this EDDV - Hannover scenery, and it was a really great base for European operations. I loved leaving but also totally loved arriving back at the airport, and it became quickly a firm favorite, that is a big one because I love Hamburg and especially Düsseldorf which is a firm favorite (Frankfurt and Munich are a bit too big for my route needs), so on wanting to add in HAJ to my route network speaks volumes.   So how can you beat the fact that if you want to use a scenery as much as using Hannover EDDV then it is a really worthwhile investment, the sheer realism here and the JustSim detail and quality makes it a must have for me...  Highly Recommended! _____________________________________     Yes! EDDV - Hannover International Airport by JustSim is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Hannover International Airport   Price is US$21.50   Features: Detailed airport objects and vehicles Custom textured taxiways, runways and apron Custom surroundings  Custom airport lights Compatible with X-Plane 11 features Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on terminal and other airport buildings High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Excellent night effects Realistic reflections on glass World Traffic compatible X-Life traffic compatible Optimized for excellent performance   WT3:  WorldTraffic GroundRoutes are not provided but overall the airport functions perfectly with a generation. Traffic Global works fine, but with not much activity   Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac, Linux  4 GB VRAM Minimum . 8 GB VRAM Recommended Download Size: 780 MB Current and Review version: 1.0 (July 17th 2020)     Installation Download scenery file size is 7.34mb. With the full installation installed package is 1.79gb in your custom scenery folder. Only one folder is installed..   EDDV_JustSim_v1.0   SAM Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 2.0 is required for this scenery   Documents No documents, and only incuded is an installation text.   EDDV_INSTALLATION.txt _____________________________________________________________________   Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 4th August 2020 Copyright©2020 : X-Plane Reviews   (Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)   Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD  Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41 and tested in v11.50b17 (really good!) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini  Plugins: None Scenery or Aircraft - Default Boeing 737-800 by Laminar Reserch    
    • Thanks for the comment...  very thought provoking and true. Developers are needing help as piracy is a bigger problem than FS2020, no sales no developers, it is that simple 🤔
    • It is pleasant to read a more balance review of the new microsoft product. Over on the .org forum there is a constant stream of drivel with some posters putting up multiple videos each day and in some cases the same video to multiple threads all calling for the death of X-plane. Then there the other up until now Xplane sites that now have podcasts with the presenters all thrilled with the opportunity that the new, greatly enlarged flight sim community is going to give them in terms of new viewers for their online videos.    So we wait until the opening day when the vast majority of those who have pre-purchased find out that either its going to run like a slide show or you have to turn down the eye candy and what you’ll get doesn’t resemble what those marketing videos show.   Hardware will catch up, it always does, but the kind of hardware that’s likely to be needed for great eye candy, heavy duty add on planes and scenery won’t come cheap for a long time yet.   Some have said that competition is good, and there’s some truth in that. Provided of course that Microsoft doesn’t kill the industry around flight simulation. So many software developers are turning their back on their current customer base as they hurry over to the pot of gold that’s going to come from supplying add ons for MSFS. If things don’t turn out to plan it’ll be the death of many of those providers.
    • Behind the Screen : July 2020   All is lost!  The day is coming, note that Microsoft has announced the release day and prices for their wonderkind FS2020 Flight Simulator and the momentous day is 18th August, barely three weeks away and the cost is set out in three packages: Standard Edition $59.99, Deluxe Edition $89.99 and the full monty package is Premium Deluxe Edition $119.99, in my currency that is Australian AUS$150 big ones...  gulp!   But there are also a few sort of demo options that is available through the Xbox Game Pass channel and there will also be a physical disc release by Aerosoft at stores throughout Europe. For the rest of us that would be a rumored 120gb download for the full monty, yes that is a 120 big and slow gigabytes of download!   So all is gone, X-Plane will be ruined and thrown on the trash heap of bygone simulators, the heavens will fall in and we will be cast out, be brave my friends.   Only haven't we been here before? Yes it was the last huge hyped out release of a FlightSim by the name of Flight Sim World or FSW, by Dovetail Games and yes within a year the simulator had gone and crashed under the weight of its own hype and expectations. I am not certainly saying that FS2020 will go to the same over hyped and little reward scenario because FS2020 has the might of Microsoft behind it, but we should however though become a little more realistic on what the wonderkind simulator will actually deliver. No doubt in time it will take on the original FlightSim mantle of a huge user base, and FlightSim and X-Plane will probably resume their original culture clashes and boundaries.   Most early reports were under a NDA or non-disclosure agreement and everyone could only say really nice things about the coming FS2020, one user went and made a load of videos on the real reality, but he had a visit from the men in the black suits and ties and was shut down very quickly, quickly cast out broadcast stream land and told to be a very good boy in the future.   That NDA with the release of a beta of FS2020 has now been lifted and some of the reality is now available for all to see. First off the developers in comments are not as overly excited as you would want them to be...  don't get me wrong the new simulator is very strong and well done in the areas of creating a totally realistic flying environment and there are significant notes that the weather engine is excellent, so it is very nice to fly in, but like X-Plane there are well covered areas and the not so well covered areas. I saw a video that gave me a lot to think about, but the nightscapes are like flying over the moon like Neil Armstrong and in trying to find somewhere to land the LEM, X-Plane may not be a lot of things but it has come along way in this aspect.   The developers also complained that the SDK's are awful, these are tools to create the innards, and like the X-Plane WED and PlaneMaker tools, obviously they will be fixed, but not in the short term. These should have been priority and not a last minute fix as they are the guts of the engine that makes it all work, also notes that low down it is what FS2020 is in ortho-photos being just what they are in flat ortho-photos and in a few videos that aspect is also quite visual. Overall the developers were at the time under the restrictions of the NDA, but their comments were interesting, one even admitted to sneaking back over to X-Plane to get some serious flying time, but why would you do that with this over hyped wonderkind, changing the face of the earth simulator? They admit it is good, but as usual the devil is in the details.   The biggest factor in the comments is the framerate, yes our biggest heinous factor is again the biggest issue in the room. With Vulcan and v11.50 X-Plane users have at least a little relief from simulation's biggest headache and money costing exercise, but early reports and you can see the serious stutters on the videos is that FS2020 has a major framerate issue if you want to use all that eye-candy to its full advantage, then you will need a machine that is as good and as powerful as for mining bitcoin as it is for flying aircraft.   I am certainly not going to get into the argument of my simulator is better than yours. X-Plane has a load of disadvantages that Laminar has been a bit complacent about in the last few years with it's total focus on Vulkan/Metal, as good as X-Plane 11.50 is, but the extremely late new ATC, weather and the better textures are getting a bit long in the tooth even for their laid back attitude. And the release or announcement of Microsoft's new wonderkind has certainly shook them out of their contented selves to at least broaden the team to include more bodies that should have been placed there years ago... no this is not a new simulator war, certainly with FS2020 being noted from observers as being not really ready for the August 2020 release... most are calling it FS2021 (some even FS2022!) in before the simulator will be refined enough to be..  well a simulator. Even PMDG, who announced their 737 NDG product, in that it will not be available on the simulator's release but available in early 2021.   As the developers rush over to recreate their products for the new simulator, as they can make a fortune in reselling the stuff they have sold the poor buggers already twice (three times if you include X-Plane) for FSX, then Prepar3D and now all over again for FS2020, and that is at a full price for exactly the same thing "Thank you very much", in most cases all that gigabytes of spent money in their scenery and aircraft folders are simply worth zero again. No wonder the developers are on their jollys, it is Christmas all over again and it all comes with the big rewards with little development. In the end it will not be X-Plane that will suffer, but the real loser here in the FS2020 release has to be Prepar3D, they have nowhere to go as it tries to compete with the same but only a far better simulator above it, at least X-Plane is different in feel and choice.   The first videos also showed were the market really is... Gamers. Most early post NDA videos are awful in gamers showing off their gaming skills, but pilots they certainly are not, in fact the real test is the depth of detail we all heavily expect from our simulations and the pros are not liking in what they are seeing, there is a wide gulf between the users/fliers that the few that spin the aircraft around and the deadly serious gate to gate procedure nerds (hands in the air) of wanting simulation to reward you with that high immersion of fleet or military flying. Shown FS2020 A320 is quite basic and even X-Plane default aircraft have far more simulation depth than this, yes it is easy to fly and yes a lot of users/gamers will love that, but simulation is not about just flying an aircraft in the space above your head.   To an outsider simulation is about as exciting as watching paint dry...  there is no instant adrenaline rush of boarding an airliner and taking out loads of innocent passengers, blood splattering on the roof, bodies falling panicking in the aisles as you turn to take out the crew, bom, bom... bom, no levels to go up as the bloody excitement is usually all over in about 3 minutes, if that is what gets their jollys, then 20min to just set out the Flight Management System and input the full flightplan is going to get everyone getting glazed over eyes and in need of a gun, simulation is not for everyone, and patience is a tool in our toolbox, I have never met a gamer yet with a lot of patience, anxiety yes, but never patience.   So what does get our Jollys, and why do we commit ourselves to the continuous torment of simulation. To get to a level, you have to study, and practise, and in my case for years to get to a high level of competence, just like you have to do in real aviation. You are deadly serious in replicating a skill of completing a highly regarded capability of moving a complicated machine from one point on the earth to another, the trick and why we do it is for just one word... satisfaction. That word is an every longing goal, but do the right procedures and complete that nearly perfect flight and you will gloat for days, high as a kite on satisfaction and will bore everyone around you with the details of how you pulled it all off. Get it wrong or mess up, and you will punish yourself with low esteem for days, thankfully I get the more of the first than the second, and yes I do fly for actual fun and with no pressure to perform over every little detail... but satisfaction and pride in your skills is the end goal. X-Plane as a simulator would never survive unless the satisfaction aspect was strong, it is in that area it has to deliver, deep immersion and deep systems in a realistic world, and it is a never ending road and yes in some areas the coming FS2020 has seriously upped the ante, it is now for Laminar to match it.   In satisfaction an aircraft came back onto my flightline that has been missing for months. FlightFactor's Airbus A320 Ultimate was sidelined because it was not Vulkan compatible, and yes I admit I really missed the aircraft because I flew it a lot early in the year before the beta run had started. Now under a beta (test) release it is Vulkan flyable and yes I am extremely happy to be sitting in the left seat again. I really got into it around Christmas and New Year, and coming back to it I realised even though yes it is very expensive, and yes quite complicated in system depth. The A320U does reward you in one aspect that makes it so good. The aircraft does what you actually tell it to do, your actions are perfectly transferred into the simulation and you may think that is not a very big deal but it is... the aircraft rewards you for flying it really well, your actions are inputted and how the aircraft responds, so you don't have to fly around the aircraft's foibles. How many times have you selected a flap selection and the position to the speed is wrong, this will give you a pitch up (not enough speed) or a pitch down (too much lift), but get your speeds right in the FF A32U and the changes are perfectly smooth, so you don't have to fly around the wrong speeds or flap drag even if you are flying the aircraft absolutely correctly, that is going to create a perfect feedback and then a perfect flight, and yes that gives you a lot of satisfaction...  it is very nice to have the FF A320U back.   Tomorrow 2nd August is another anniversary date for the site. In August 2013 X-PlaneReviews started doing reviews for the X-Plane simulator, that is seven years and now X-PlaneReviews is now going into our eighth year of providing experiences, tutorials, reviews, news and opinion for the simulator and altogether there is about 1800 reviews and notes on this site. Some notably are now old, but still have valuable information. We thought of culling a few of the very early posts, but we are still undecided in that matter, but the biggest impact is really mostly the visual aspects in how much in detail and quality the simulator has changed over the years, images can't lie, but even to a few years ago the flatness of the simulations were still quite pronounced.   Advances and changes are never ending, and the changes coming in the next twelve months are going to be fascinating on a completely new level. I say mostly every year that the next twelve months are going to create the biggest changes yet, but seriously there is no doubt that this next twelve months are going to be really huge and different, and how in like the virus, in that how it will affect us is still up for future debate, but interesting it will be to follow that journey. The one thing that we pride on is that X-PlaneReviews is the will to look at both sides, the good and the bad and even the grey areas in between. In any debate that is always a plus as every perspective can be different. Many only have a blinded side in their views, but good editorial will look at every aspect and not judge, the only common thread through the years of X-PlaneReviews has been to make the simulator and the products better, in that aspect I think we have achieved a certain goal.   See you all next month   Stephen Dutton 1st August 2020 Copyright©2020 X-Plane Reviews      
    • I checked my version and the SID/STARs work fine and I have updated recently up to AIRAC cycle 2008...  the SSG B748i does have an odd navdata arrangement, it overall uses the X-Plane navdata, but there is an on board the aircraft version as well version noted as cycle 1707, there is an installer in the NavData installers folder....   I think you can update this by downloading it from Navigraph
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