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Scenery Review : Miami City XP by Drzewiecki Design

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Miami City XP_Header.jpg

 

Scenery Review : Miami City XP by Drzewiecki Design

 

Call up your inner Sonny Crockett and lets blast through the cityscape to South Beach, all vice in Miami Vice. Yes I remember it well, all the pastel suits and sock less shoes...  and all to a brilliant rock soundtrack. Yes we knew how to live in the 80's, it was all style and substance.

 

Cityscapes are to a point a new thing to X-Plane, the first was actually a Parisian scenery that came from FSX, and it was very good if in the wrong scale. But one of the first dedicated X-Plane cityscapes was from Drzewiecki Design with Miami City that was released as far back as in September 2012. So this Miami City XP is not actually new, but updated and reconfigured. The original was okayish, but was quite heavy on the graphic engine, or on the sort of lame power you had back six years ago, it had also a strange boundary line that was highlighted pink that took a few years to be fixed, it was a shader issue, but it was distracting...  otherwise from that the scenery has sat in my Custom Scenery Folder all those years, and yes it was used quite a lot, but it still was heavy on the framerate in every time you wanted to use KMIA - Miami International. So you are going to be really curious of how the new version stacks up.

 

Miami City XP_Head 1.jpgMiami City XP_Head 2.jpg

Miami City XP_Head 3.jpgMiami City XP_Head 4.jpg

 

First views of Miami are spectacular, as this cityscape is a far cry from the original view, but there are various changes in the years that have done this total transformation, overall you now see how far we have come in X-Plane as a simulator...  cityscapes were the simulator's weakest aspect, to a point it still is, but we are finally getting there.... but we are slightly getting ahead of ourselves.

 

Installation

Download is via an installer, and Drzewiecki Design provide an installer for both Windows and Mac... here I am using the Win version.

 

Miami City XP_Install 1.jpgMiami City XP_Install 2.jpgMiami City XP_Install 3.jpgMiami City XP_Install 4.jpg

 

Make sure if you have the original DD Miami City scenery then remove it, you also have several options to use other third part scenery (say Nimbus - KMIA) or the lite versions with the Miami City XP scenery, and they cover three airports with KMIA - Miami International, KOPF - Opa-Locka Executive Airport and KTMB Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. Second option is to use the Photoreal textures under the scenery, and with this you have four options of both combinations, with either all showing or not, just the lite airports and no Photoreal, or the Photoreal and no lite airports.

 

Once selected DD installer will install the scenery and manuals into your custom scenery folder, and it will ask you finally if you want to reset your .INI scenery order, of which I don't want to because I have already a lot of custom ordered scenery. If you want to change your options then just rerun the installer.

 

Resolution

As with all Drzewiecki Design sceneries you have to consider the resolution setting. There are a huge amount of objects in the scenery and they all take a lot of processing power to achieve the desired result. Another factor is the autogen, and you will need your autogen (World Objects) set at the maximum setting.

 

All images in this review are supplied at the Texture Quality setting of "High"... in that setting you have a graphic load of 4525 Mb, which is borderline for any 4K Graphic Card (below left)...  Bump it up just one setting to "Maximum" (below right) and the graphic load is now a whopping 11296 Mb and killing even my 8K Graphic Card. So the MAX setting here is for only the fortunate few... I always stay in the HIGH setting anyway, and obviously can't change settings mid-flight, so we are stuck with the HIGH setting and the average quality. The differences here are really minuscule anyway as we will see.

 

Miami City XP_Graphic 1.jpgMiami City XP_Graphic 2.jpg

 

Miami Beach

The Photoreal textures are very good, but are lighter and a little overexposed as all these photo textures usually are (which is what I don't really like about these photo images as they can clash with the default textures)...

 

Miami City XP_City 1.jpgMiami City XP_City 4.jpgMiami City XP_City 2.jpgMiami City XP_City 3.jpg

 

....  and where there are spaces you get those bright flat buildings, but overall the Photoreal here works fine...

 

Miami City XP_City 5 LG.jpg

 

From Bal Harbour all the way down to South Beach on the Miami Beach island is fully represented, the scenery goes far south to Key Biscayne and so the coast coverage is very long and even impressive, and on the inland coast the scenery is covered all the way down to Pinecrest.

 

Miami City XP_City 6.jpgMiami City XP_City 7.jpg

 

Miami City

I see a lot of new Miami City skyline buildings that have been added into the scenery, and it is now actually quite comprehensive in the number of buildings that are now included.

 

Miami City XP_City 8.jpgMiami City XP_City 9.jpgMiami City XP_City 10.jpgMiami City XP_City 11.jpg

 

If you have DD's New York City scenery you will know what to expect here...  There is a slight dullness to the buildings and in a many cases the detail is a bit smudged, we are going for efficiency here and not detail, like with New York even if you rack up your texture quality it still isn't absolutely detailed but again a smudgy outline of the details....   at the FULL Maximum setting it looks like this....

 

Miami City XP_City 12.jpgMiami City XP_City 13.jpg

 

....  obviously marginally better, but still not what you would call a purely detailed object or anything close to the great detail of Laminer's own Landmark series, but then they usually only supply a few buildings whereas here you have a full spectrum of the city skyline. One surprising omission is the old waterfront "Miami City Hall" (white square below) as it is a significant landmark and also still missing are the important Art Deco District and Miami Seaplane Base.

 

Miami City XP_City 14.jpgMiami City XP_City 15.jpgMiami City XP_City 16.jpg

 

But overall the city skyline works very well and for the scale it is quite light now on your framerate.

 

The biggest change here is not the the work however of the developer. But of the autogen system of X-Plane11 itself. The original Miami City scenery had virtually no help at all that left the buildings almost isolated in the background, it worked to a point but not to the effect of what is required for VFR flight.

 

If you know your autogen buildings then you can see the huge contribution the autogen is making to the scene, mostly in the medium buildings and urban aspects...

 

Miami City XP_City 17.jpgMiami City XP_City 18.jpg

 

... the clever trick from the developer is merging the two areas together as a whole, and at Miami you see that aspect in it's full glory, and very, very good it is. And this tool was always the ultimate goal in creating or perfecting excellent and efficient X-Plane cityscape vistas.

 

Only problem is that if you go past the autogen boundary then the visual changes are not pretty, and certainly with those overexposed photoreal textures... 

 

Miami City XP_City 19.jpgMiami City XP_City 20.jpg

 

... but this is an X-Plane limitation, not the developers, and I am hoping that the better processing of Vulkan/Metal will allow Laminar to move on beyond these limitations. This is really on how it used to be, so again the sheer contribution and changes that we have had in X-Plane here shows it's worth, and put it all together and the vista is pretty impressive.

 

Miami City XP_City 23 LG.jpg

 

Only blight on the whole scenario is the depiction of Dodge Island, which is basically just a huge wharf in the middle of Biscayne Bay and here it is absolutely flat and only surrounded by shipping... yes it is also really relatively flat with mostly just low lying warehouse buildings, but where are the distinctive cranes and the loads of containers to fill out the spaces, it looks awful for such a center piece of an area. It is also a real head scratcher as well because Drzewiecki Design did fit out the similar wharf area in their Seattle City scenery very well.

 

Miami City XP_City 21.jpgMiami City XP_City 22.jpg

 

Nighlighting

The Miami City lighting is very good. In reality it is trick lighting that highlights the main city areas from below and lighting the buildings to sort of glow, it works well from a visual aspect and I like it a lot...

 

Miami City XP_City Lighting 1.jpgMiami City XP_City Lighting 2.jpgMiami City XP_City Lighting 3.jpgMiami City XP_City Lighting 4.jpg

 

....  arrivals and departures are spectacular and very realistic from this Miami, as you feel you are coming and going from a highly active area.

 

Miami City XP_City Lighting 5 LG.jpg

 

Airports

As noted there are three lite versions of three airports included, including KMIA - Miami International, KOPF - Opa-Locka Executive Airport and KTMB Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport.

 

KMIA - Miami International

From a distance KMIA looks quite good and detailed and fits in very well into the surroundings...

 

Miami City XP_City KMIA 1.jpgMiami City XP_City KMIA 2.jpgMiami City XP_City KMIA 3.jpgMiami City XP_City KMIA 4.jpg

 

....  get closer and the "lite" becomes very apparent, as the poor resolution textures are really quite average. The custom quality airbridges (Marginal) jar also heavily against the poor resolution textures and all look more of an addon than part of the building, it feels so bland down here...

 

Miami City XP_City KMIA 5.jpgMiami City XP_City KMIA 6.jpg

Miami City XP_City KMIA 7.jpgMiami City XP_City KMIA 8.jpg

 

....  so why didn't DD use far better resolution textures just for the airports, crank them up to deliver a punch at a higher resolution setting or at least give the airport a better quality, as the overall framerate hit would have been negligible in the larger picture, so in this case if you have another 3rd party KMIA scenery or even a good default Global Airport, then both are far better options than this.

 

Miami City XP_City KMIA 9.jpgMiami City XP_City KMIA 10.jpg

 

HDR lighting on ground textures do produce the wet effect, but it works oddly here and certain areas stand out with other dry areas, so it is noticeable in certain conditions, not really very good either.

 

KOPF - Opa-Locka Executive Airport

Opa-Locka is slightly north of KMIA and 10 miles (16 km) north of Downtown Miami. Again overall KOPF blends in really well with the surrounding scenery... it looks good if nothing else.

 

Miami City XP_City KOPF 1.jpgMiami City XP_City KOPF 2.jpgMiami City XP_City KOPF 3.jpgMiami City XP_City KOPF 4.jpg

 

On the ground it is again pretty bland at the "High" setting, as textures are heavily blurred with no detail and with a few statics thrown in. I have a KOPF from seven years ago that is better than this, so KOPF in here is barely a pass.

 

KTMB Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport

Kendall-Tamiami is 13 miles (21 km) southwest of Downtown Miami and is marginally better. The new extended runway 9R/27L is also included here.

 

Miami City XP_City KTMB 1.jpgMiami City XP_City KTMB 2.jpgMiami City XP_City KTMB 3.jpgMiami City XP_City KTMB 4.jpg

 

I am still trying to work out what the mess is in the eastern side of KTMB, it is not the custom scenery however, but the autogen gone mad?

 

Miami City XP_City KTMB 5.jpgMiami City XP_City KTMB 6.jpg

 

Again the textures are quite average and X-Plane had these sort of visual airports way back 10 years ago and X-Plane9, we have moved on a lot since then... but to use as a working scenery then Kendall-Tamiami is not to bad of the three. KFLL - Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and KFXE - Fort Lauderdale Executive are not included in the scenery.

 

One aspect west of Kendall-Tamiami is the edge of the Photoreal (sic) because although for a large part of this custom scenery the autogen hides the join, but here it is highly exposed...

Miami City XP_City Photoreal 1.jpgMiami City XP_City Photoreal 2.jpg

 

... it isn't pretty either and even amateurish on the pronounced edges of the scenery, again X-Plane has moved on from this sort of average detailing, and blending it in or even correcting the colour balance would have certainly helped out the cause, and it spoils an otherwise great immersive scenery.

 

Summary

This is an updated version of Drzewiecki Design's original Miami City XP release from 2012 to X-Plane11. In context a lot has been added in to this XP11 version in objects, but overall it requires the detailing and high setting of the built in X-Plane11 autogen to complete out the vista. In this aspect the scenery is very good and even good enough for VFR flying.

 

With the actual Miami City and Miami Beach areas they are well covered here, but don't expect much detail as with the famous Art Deco District, Miami City Hall and Miami Seaplane Base are all completely missing and the central Dodge Island wharfs are simply an eyesore. So detail is not the high point here, but just a plausible city skyline.

 

Photoreal teaxtures are included, but they are as much a hindrance as a benefit, good while buried under the autogen, average when exposed, and if more refinement had been given to the Photoreal in colouring and transparency edging it could have been a far more a realistic scenery.

 

Three "Lite" airports are included including KMIA - Miami International, KOPF - Opa-Locka Executive Airport and KTMB Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport. But overall with the HIGH texture setting they are all quite bland and basically average, even dated as old by today's standards, and we know that Drzewiecki Design is more than capable of far better airport scenery.

 

So considering the time the scenery has been on the market and it's original age, this is really an average upgrade, worthy enough to help out with the area around Miami with say a good third party KMIA,-Miami International, but in reality it is not really up to the mark of the quality we expect for the X-Plane simulator, at least the buildings at night are now lit for nice night arrivals, but overall this Miami City XP is not up to Drzewiecki Design's usual standards.

____________________________________________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes!...  Miami City XP by Drzewiecki Design is Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Miami City XP

 

Price is US$25.00

 

Scenery Features

  • Fully compatible with X-Plane 11
  • Complete area of Miami including Miami Beach, North Miami, Coral Gables, Key Biscayne etc.
  • Whole area photo coverage with autogen, roads, railroads and other X-Plane native features
  • Hundreds of custom-made city buildings with photoreal textures
  • Up-to-date airport layouts
  • Each airport includes HDR lighting

 

Requirements :

X-Plane 11 (not compatible with XP10)
Windows, Mac, Linux
4GB VRAM Video Card Minimum. 8GB+ VRAM Recommended
Current and Review version: 1.4 (June 19th 2019)
Download Size: 800-900MB
 
Download and Installation
Installation :   Download file size is 789.90Mb and an installer provided will insert the scenery into your X-Plane - Custom Scenery Folder. Installed file size is 2.20gb. Package comes with installers for both Win (.exe) and Mac-Linux, and be sure you download the correct version for your system.
 
You can option on/off both the Photoreal and Lite airports, recommended with a 3rd Party KMIA - Miami International
 
Extras and Documents:
 
  • Miami City XP MANUAL.pdf
  • Mac and Linux manual install - Russian.pdf
  • Mac and Linux manual install - Polish.pdf
  • Mac and Linux manual install - English.pdf

______________________________________________________________________

 

Review by Stephen Dutton

28th June 2019

Copyright©2019 : X-Plane Reviews

 

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this preview 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 - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.25r2

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.10 US$69.90

Scenery or Aircraft

- Boeing 737-800 - Default X-plane by Laminar Research
 

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