Friday, October 18, 2013

ADX FirstLook: Voie Bleu Charleroi!

FSX. Greetings again from the Great Land. Contrary to any semblance of sound judgement, D'Andre has allowed me, Captain Hoffen, back here to scrutinize Voie Bleu's rendition of Charleroi Brussels South Airport. So grab a frosty coke as I bloviate for a few minutes about my look at this new airport.

A lot of my "sorties" originate in the London area on some sort of important corporate mission to mainland Europe. Since I refuse to land at a nasty default airport, I am always looking for new destinations to add to my itineraries. So the Voie Bleu (blue route) Charleroi project was one I had my eye on since it was announced this spring here on AirDailyX. Just a quick hop over in the King Air from Luton or Stansted, Brussels South Charleroi Airport provides a new and interesting place to drop off my very self-important persons in pursuit of whatever they may be pursuing. Of course, if you have your NGX all dolled up in Ryanair colors, you now have another piece of the O'Leary route puzzle to swing through and trade out the cattle. For me, that's really this airport's draw, a quick turn and on your way as it's not a large, sprawling facility with lots to explore. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat, well done, and an interesting location for the price with plenty to offer, but the short taxi times and low traffic volume are certainly conducive to a fast turn and burn. If this is your home base, then you can always enjoy some circuits or practice approaches while enjoying the scenery upgrade.

Now, to be clear from the start, this work is not FlyTampa material. Not even close. What it is though, is a significant upgrade from the default airport. And a good first effort from an up and coming developer. A developer who put a lot of time and effort into a worthy project. It's not perfect, but the developer has commented in the past that he will be continuing to support the product, which I hope means continued improvements and fixes to a few issues.

Searching around the internet for images and maps of Charleroi Airport shows a high level of accuracy in the structures and layout of the airport, as well as the markings of the taxiways and ramps. The details around the new terminal are a nice touch and add some interest as you park at the stand. The old terminal and tower are nicely modeled and detailed front and back, too. A good place to park my King Air.

The documentation included is in french only, which doesn't help me much, I can barely even speak 'Merican. It would be nice to have this translated into English at some point, possibly with a future update. Maybe then I could find some fixes for some of the little problems I found. Like the two red patches on the ramp.....and the window reflections for the new terminal are a bit distracting as well. I might have preferred a different approach here, but overall they are passable. The main window textures change for night and it is an improvement from the day, but strangely, the lower level windows retain the day textures. These are pretty much it as far as gripes....oh, and the surrounding ground textures outside the airport are strange and don't match the photo real textures in the simMarket screenshots, but if I knew french maybe I could figure it out.

High Vis ramps?

That's not my jet.

Disparity between the upper and lower levels. 

Some may complain about the use of the default runway textures, but to me, because of the different ground textures and taxiways, I don't notice it. This was done to keep the contamination effect of FSX's wet or snowy runways. Not an issue for me, plus the runway surface has some added tire (tyre for our Brit friends out there) marks on it. 

Somebody's been whippin' doughnuts. 

The night textures at the airport are excellent. Each light pole on the ramp has its own rays of reddish light shining down making for a nice effect. The highlight at night though, is the taxiway lights. In my opinion, these are set at the perfect illumination levels and add a great deal of realism to night operations. Also, the details and lighting of the store and fast food joints are something I missed until I went for a night flight.

Fancy a nugget?

All the seasons are represented including deep winter and a later winter. Very nice. Although some trees and grass still think it is summer in January.

The grass and a few trees don't quite match.

The airport hasn't caught up to its surroundings yet.

The framerates I got on my older i7 rig were good, however, they were about 5-10 frames less than UK2000's Stansted or Glasgow with the same aircraft and settings. Not sure why.

Lots of fences.....D'Andre will be pleased.

Grass is due for a mow.

I am always glad to see new developers who come on to the scene and finish whatever project they started. We do see those who pop up with a promising project and fizzle out or just simply disappear before it's finished and that can be disappointing. But of, course that is not the case here; Manuel at Voie Bleu has produced a good addition to our community and I hope he receives enough support to continue to create more airports for us to enjoy. Maybe LeBourget? 

My recommendation? The price is right, I'd buy it.

Keep the blue on top, 

Captain Hoffen.
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1 comment:

Unknown said...

I received an email from Monsieur Bigot regarding my issues I had with EBCI. He was quick to respond with some answers and will be making continued improvements to Charleroi.

Regarding the trees and grass in winter, there are 3 batch files in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\CharleroiX\scenery that will change the trees to fall/summer/winter with a simple double click. For the grass there are 2 batch files in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Games\Microsoft Flight Simulator X\CharleroiX\texture that will change it to summer or winter texture.

As for my statement regarding the surrounding outside ground textures, well, some were shot using FTX Global and because I have not yet acquired Global, I didn't make the connection. My bad. And he is still working on a new landclass for the surrounding area as well as more autogen for a future update.

So, I strongly encourage folks who have an interest in this area ( I sure do) to pick this product up. My issues were quickly addressed and hopefully we can get the user guide translated as I believe this would help sort a few things out. Plus, it looks like we can expect future improvements and upgrades to this snazzy aerodrome.

Bravo Manuel, and thank you for the information.

Capt. Hoffen.

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