Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cayo Coco MUCC test

The prolific teams of taxi2gate and Intersims have just released Jardines del Rey airport in north of Cuba a couple of days ago. Screenshots don't show that but MUCC has a very long runway of 9842 feets. Heavy liners can land there without a problem. The scenery itself is just made of a few buildings. The main terminal is well depicted (especially the front side) with some photorealistic textures on windows figuring passengers. Okay its not the state of the art but the place is beautiful, with flowers and trees everywhere (at full autogen). I did not see any AFD file for Ai traffic but My traffic put 2 regional aircrafts on the parking.

The airport is a good start for a lot of destinations ; Montego and Kingston, Nassau, Caymans, Miami and Tampa and others cuban airports. The weak point : it is surrounded by a lot of fences which tend to flicker and sparkle, especially where they are side by side. It might be my settings but developers (who will possibly read this post) are totally free to comment and explain this effect.

Quality 7/10 FPS 9/10 Interest 8/10 Package 7/10

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tampa rebooted hot test

Watch out. Tampa Rebooted is likely to show us a new standard. Traffic, bridges, tunnels everywhere. Fly Tampa overtakes here Fs Dreamteam last production (KDFW). Maybe just for a couple of weeks until KLAX release. But the work is impressive. Quality is in the amount of buildings, roads, parkings but also in small details : light signs on jetways, flags, etc.
The scenery covers the airport of Tampa Intl and its surroundings until 3 km.
I give a 9/10 for interest as Tampa airport was not very often described in FS univers (i barely remember 1 or 2 sceneries).
Two minor problems noted though : once in the scenery at the airport, it takes 2-3 seconds to load everything.
There is also a slight "flickering effect" on airport ground as the aircraft leaves the area. It can be my settings or a minor conflict with Ultimate terrain USA.

Overall quality 9;5/10 Interest 9/10 FPS 9/10
Overall package 8/10
Short video test below

Sunday, December 26, 2010

About AirdailyX

Here are the last set of pictures from my Geneva trip. From the blogger stats, i can just guess that new visitors came in, intrigued by last pictures. Airdailyx is not I do not have a heavy images database. Airdailyx has one purpose : to give news on flight sim market. The thing is everybody is working on their projects (and i assume, taking some rest before new year). Despite Barcelona X, Stuttgart and Tampa surprises, i think it is gonna be quiet until then.
These pictures are free of right.

1) Swiss air Airbus landing in Geneva.
2) Swiss and french alps (Mont-Blanc in center, swept by heavy winds).
3) Airbus Air France A-380 taking off from Paris De Gaulle.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Drzewiecki design hits again

Polish development team Drzewiecki design just announced Vol.2 for FS 2004. They are releasing the new product on december 24th. A FSX version will be released in march/april. The volume 2 include EPSC, EPZG and EPLL.

Friday, December 17, 2010

US Cities coming back !

We thought the serie was over with New Orleans. It's not. LimeSim studios works on a US Cities Las Vegas, an extended version, including Boulder city, several airports (Nellis AFB, Henderson etc..). A total of 3 930 buildings are expected, including on the strip. The famous restricted Area 51 will also be reproduced. Us cities, as usual, comes with extended road traffic and sounds. According the screenshots disclosed on Aerosoft preview forum, the project seems well advanced. There are still questions about third parts softwares compatibilities but the scenery will be working with the remarkable FS Dreamteam KLAS (i said compatible, not framerates-high-performing).
Release date : shortly, maybe for december 31.

NB : night lights textures of buildings will be implemened this time (it's Vegas !) but this will come a bit later in a free update.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Why Aerosoft is changing its model ?

Last year, the german designer Aerosoft had a portfolio of about 20 FS9/FSX projects mainly focused on sceneries. Twelve months later, there are more aircrafts projects (seven) than sceneries (six or less). Here is the fact : Aerosoft is changing its model.
The first reason is that the designer might need to secure its activity in the new Microsoft "FLIGHT" environment. According to persistant rumors, FLIGHT will not be sold as a stand-alone but as a licence granted to access the network service providing the environment and maybe sceneries, aircrafts etc. As other competitors, Aerosoft must be recognized as a top-level company with blockbusters products. This is why the company has invested in some heavy projects like Airbus X. There is another reason to develop aircrafts. Margins perspectives are certainly better on these products than on sceneries, more subject to piracy. A good aircraft is sold 40 to 60 dollars and at that price, this worth developing an anti-thief protection. Last but not least, Aerosoft is eager to design its own flight simulator. In order to do so, he needs to master aircrafts design.

This article is a B2B essay. Its only purpose is to give some clues to understand the flight sim market.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Montego bay under a microscope

Don't be misguided by the title. Latin Vfr's Montego Bay scenery is a pretty large area in a 20 x 10 km square, from the Montego bay itself to the Rose hall resort along the coastline 15 km east of the airport. This time, the designer added a lot of resorts hotels along the hills, giving a pleasant place to land (in a larger airport than Norman Manley).
Considering the work done, the price is decent. Considering quality, i would say that next time, Latin VFR might try to raise its standards. Just to point out my idea, i put a picture to be compared with the real one. I would say that some time, textures color choices seem unfortunate but one possibility is that developers did not get all photo materials, except for this one. Anyway a lot of us were waiting for this MKJS airport. It is winter, enough of icelands (hmm..) and let's go look for the sun.
Overall quality 7,5 FPS 7,5 Interest 9 Package 9,5

Color of these bricks don't match with real ones.

Left : very nice details of grounds
Right : a lof of resorts added everywhere.

! These pictures are not the best (see Latin VFR forum) but these ones are there to point out relevant details.

Get a building and a runway for 18 bucks

What is the commun point between Leida, Cayo Coco and Weeze airports, recently launched by Tropical Sim, Taxi2gate and Aerosoft ? These sceneries just contain a main building, one runway and a bunch of trees and cars to coat the package. The price ? 18 bucks (15 euros) and a maximum of profitability as these products are often developed on the run. Of course, in most cases, you will not get any charts.
Junior Puente from Intersims studios openly talked about its scenery Cayo Coco because he was wondering if its product had to be droped as a freeware. Considering small companies need to growth, it is okay, i rather like to pay for the work, let's say at least 10 or 12 euros. But misters ! At 18 bucks, this is a very lucrative business. Just to compare these products value with Dallas KDFW (FS Dreamteam) sold at around 30 bucks...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pacific Islands Simulation announces VFR Appalachia

I told you about Pacific Islands Simulation (PIS) a couple of weeks ago. It was to give some news about their Eastern West Virginia airport (KMRB). Well, it appears the team got a hole new idea in the interval. They are going to launch a VFR Appalachia, including KMRB of course, plus at least (updated today 12/13) five more airports in the vicinity. Unfortunately, i cannot insert any of their screenshots as they locked and protected them like gold or somethin'.
The thing is they work nice and i might compare their work with Drzewiecki design team. Graphics are all polished and neat. The only difference comes from their immovable routine consisting of adding horses and cowboys everywhere. So let's say they are the cow boys of the international Flight sim market. hip hip ! (and by the way, I would like a release date this time).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Zoom on Polish airports vol.1

Screenshots were not lying. The three polish airports compiled by Drzewiecki designers almost reach perfection. All textures plates on buildings are made of high resolution, grounds, grass and runways rendition is neat and spotless. The airports, international class (Katowice, Gdansk and Jasionka RzesZow) are all completed by large photo-based textured areas and specific autogen. I was astonished by seasonal textures. At Katowice, one can literaly think that the snow invaded the runway but was sweeped away.

We, foreigners, do not know these places but they have been well chosen for limitless flights possibilities. Gdansk can be our departure point to Sweden, Germany and baltic countries. Katowice is not too far from Czech republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The real Jasionka airport has summer connections to Turkey.

The file has its weight (about .97 gigabit) but the installation is perfect and the framerate is very smooth. One regret : there is no charts nor explanations on approachs patterns.

Overall quality : 9/10 FPS: 9/10 Interest : 7,5/10 Overall package : 7/10

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Orbx CrowdFlow technology... passengers get alive

Last sunday, australian company Orbx disclosed its new animated passengers system. This will become a standard complement in a couple of weeks, in all ORBx airports sceneries. They just need to work on some discipline (lol, watch the video). Anyway, until then, Airport enhancement system (Aerosoft AES) is going to need to work hard to reach this new standard level. This CrowdFlow is astonishing and might offer new opportunities in FS world : people waiting to board, passengers descending from cabin, complex animations of airport services staff. For the very first time, people around airports does not loook like "playmobils" anymore.

Second video this morning : Astonishing !

Monday, December 6, 2010

Surprise...from Montego Bay !

Scoop from Latin VFR... Montego Bay Sangster MKJS to be released shortly.
I really like Latin VFR. Maybe they could not restrain themself from making noise over Tropical Sim (who just released LEBB). Anyway, it is a nice surprise. More screenshots on their forum.

Flightbeam's KSFO for FSX

Flightbeam has almost finish and is near to release its San Francisco airport. The product is a payware and will be delivered from their website. A FS9 version is already planned. Development team made all efforts to maintain framerates at a good level and checked compatibility with third-party applications.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Bilbao : our test

Tropical Sim has patiently work six months on this project. On my opinion, they know that some of their older sceneries were - quality speaking - a bit questionable. So, they take the time to master new functions. A first surprise comes from the extensive photoreal ground texture all around the airport, in the manner of Latin VFR. The naked Bilbao (defaut scenery) is nice with its bay and surroundings montains but there, with the addition, it is marvelous. Compared with some sceneries, as Cancun, the buildings are much more worked with an effort on textures, every where. Finaly, the complex architecture of the terminal itself is expressing designers fresh ingenuity.

The airport is a challenge. Its main runway is about 2600 meters long, a 500 meters more longer than Toncontin Tegucigalpa for instance.

Overall quality : 8/10 FPS : 6/10 Interest : 9/10 Overall package : 7/10
A nice quality product. The scenery gives poor FPS performance on low end machines but Tropical Sim has established a list of removable .BGL files (you can give up a lot of trucks here and there). Overall packages : score 7 because of the price.

How to take best habits from competitors...

Tropical Sim really took care of the buildings

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A gloomy wednesday

As Flightbeam is polishing its San Francisco KSFO, he shows interest in a San Diego airport project. KSAN is actually done by Cielosim for FS9 until today. Anyway, Flightbeam will start a poll to estimate simmers requests. Fly Tampa has confirmed he will doing a Montreal CYUL after its Athen LGAV. (-> updated december 2, Cielosim confirm a FSX version too).
Another scoop (is it ?), Wilcopub launchs its E-Jets V2 with new Embraer models 175 and 195. A lot of people are found of the E-jets, me too. Their FMC is really amazing but Wilcopub and Ariane Design, these guys are too smart. From one aircraft engine, they sell dozen of versions. It is 95 % of the same aircraft and rest assure, it is 100 % the same price. Oh, by the way, some of us are still waiting for A-380 and Boeing 777 service packs. There are also questions about Wilco corrupting dll.xlm files. (had the case myself installing PMDG 747 after the excellent PIC B-737).