x+s+r // red dawn

red dawn news hdr

Whoa there, partner! Red Dawn? What’s goin’ down…the North Koreans invading again?

Well, no, but SkyMAXX Pro is sure actin’ up…too much curry in that recipe?

Seriously, this whole red dawn thing in SkyMAXX Pro (SMP) is a little overdone, I think. It would be tolerable if it came on fast and lasted a minute or so, but man-o-man, this red sky lasts about a half hour in XP11 and sometimes the colors are just plain funky. That said, I’ve always liked technicolor dawns, and sunsets too, and this is with the RED-High Contrast sky color setting too, but most of the sky color settings in SMP tend to generate a very reddish dawn. Oh well, c’est la vie, verdad?

So, after dropping by Ollie’s corner of the X-plane universe yesterday I downloaded a few scenery files from some sources I’ve not used before, and then dropped by XPFR and picked up their latest airport file. With those on-board, I picked up some Moscow sceneries too, then, finally, a few liveries to round out the weekend’s flying – and here are a few impressions…

LFBD 1

A Sky Story’s LFBD Bordeaux is in beta, and with World Objects at MAX setting these ramps are almost bare. The textures used on the windows are bright enough, yet a little fuzzy, and the ramps need brighter painted markings, and more of them. Beyond that, what I saw looks promising, and I’m looking forward to the finished product.

LFSB 1

XPFR has always been our “go-to” source for all things France (in XP, anyway), and their latest airport, LFSB Basel Mulhouse, may be their best yet.

LFSB 2

Ramps are noisy, full of activity (just the way we like ’em) and the terminal buildings are spot-on accurate. I’ve flown in and out of here a few times, and they’ve nailed it. The airport is just about where Switzerland, France, and Germany meet, hence the three names, but I’ll pass along a warning now, too. If you’ve got a real weather connection going in XP then you better watch out…this airport sits in a valley surrounded by water and the fog here is just legendary. Oh, I tried the latest iteration of the Airport Navigator plug-in that morning, and it’s still a useful little doo-dad…

LFSB 3 airportnavigator

…great for showing you where your aircraft is (in real time), and how to get where you’re going. The new ground nav app from Flight Factor looks promising, too.

We blew out of Basel bound for Stuttgart in the EADT 737-7, and SkyMaxx Pro put on a real show for us.

skymaxx 1

We ran through a fairly thick layer of cumulus between 1000AGL and 12,000, and the sky was just perfect.

skymaxx 2

skymaxx 3

Until we started fiddling with the time and the sky turned all Red Dawn on us again!

skymaxx 4

Got to learn to leave well enough alone! Anyway, that’ll never happen, so we dropped into EDDS Stuttgart and called it a day…

skymaxx 5 EDDS

Then we got our latest downloads sorted out and installed before heading over to UUDD Domodedovo. And NOTE: this is the freeware version – and not the payware files from the Org, and we also downloaded the accompanying Moscow City scenery files (mesh and objects), then double checked World Objects were set to MAX and dropped in for a visit. Between the airport file and the other two add-ons, you’ll spend about a Gig on downloaded data, ending up with 1.6Gb of uncompressed scenery. Installation was beyond simple, just put all three in CS and open XP. You’ll find something that looks a little like this…

UUDD 1

It feels like this file has been around a while, though it looks good enough in XP11, and you’ll appreciate that while this is a Russian airport, almost all the major European airlines – except Air France – fly here…and do note: this also appears to be the one airport in existence where Ryanair does NOT fly.

This file is finished well enough, with good clutter, including little construction jobs here and there, and while I haven’t compared it to the payware version I’d say it’s a good enough file to have, even if you don’t fly in this part of the world all that often. It’s about 550 miles to Riga or Tallinn, 1300 to Dusseldorf and 1600 to London Heathrow, so depending on how many hours you want to fiddle in X-plane, there’s a decent option available to you here.

The draw with this site is that team offers a series of airports in and around Moscow, as well as greater Russia, and many include terrain mesh files as well. Moscow, of course, comes with a city mesh AND a landmarks/city objects file. We opened up here and took the default 738 for a spin around the block, and here are a few of the things we found…

UUDD 2

With World Objects set to MAX, and other rendering options in the moderate range, the default 738 was purring along at 28-35FPS, so these files are well-optimized and very framerate friendly. Above, the 738 is westbound over Moscow at about 12,000MSL, and, from this distance, many of the smaller objects have been dropped by the rendering engine. Also, from this altitude, I couldn’t tell a Citibank ATM from the Kremlin…and I was completely lost…

UUDD 5

About 14,000MSL here, and a lot of detail goes missing…yet the underlying mesh is just about perfect at filling in the blanks.

UUDD 6

Coming back to UUDD for a flyby, above, mainly checking out the surrounding areas and checking NAVaids.

UUDD 7

Above, the airport is in the left winglet’s tip, a little village around the tail, and the mesh reveals all kinds of farmland around the airport.

UUDD 8

Flying back towards Moscow at around 3500AGL and it’s time to go back to…

UUDD 9

Red Dawn! And the city down there in the gloom looks a little like a landscape right out of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula! But really, has there ever been a better Dracula than Coppola’s? It’s like the Godfather, without the garlic.

UUDD 10

I was puttering over the city at 170KIAS and about 3500AGL, flaps 10, and the 738 was almost wallowing at these speeds – so, kinda fun. The city is lighted at night, BTW, but that’s not so apparent in these ‘nautical twilight’ shots (nautical twilight is a celestial navigation term for sunset plus or minus 30 minutes – when you’ll likely find these funky colored skies), but more on that in a bit…

UUDD 11

Off in the distance, that’s UUWW Vnukovo, the second airport file I downloaded, but more on that one, too, and in a minute or so.

UUDD 12

Flew a hands-on VFR approach as I couldn’t get the AP to couple, though the GS and LOC were active, and I don’t know what I messed up as I’d just done a few earlier. Anyway, let’s take a short look around here before moving on…

UUDD 14

Full facilities here, including Jetways at the passenger terminal, a cargo facility as well as bizjet ramps. Lot’s of RJ ramp parking too, however, there was very little traffic at the Jetways…as in, few static aircraft.

UUDD 15

The terminal is well executed, with crisp textures and lots of clutter around the ramps. Excellent, in other words.

Now, let’s hop across town and look at UUWW Vnukovo, and hang on to your hats, ’cause this one is an eye-opener…

UUWW 1

You’d better open this file at the highest settings your computer will allow, and don’t bother flying around this one for a while. Just look around, poke your nose here and there, get the feel of the place before you try to fly around this part of the city. And please note, at lower rendering settings this file breaks down into mush, so just bite the bullet and eat the framerates for a while. This one is kind of special.

UUWW 3

The main terminal is just off the charts kewl, like the architects ate a bunch of magic mushrooms and decided to see who could draw the most ‘far out’ building…

UUWW 2

And don’t even get me started on the whole Freudian symbolism thing…

UUWW 4

The funny thing is…it works. And it’s just a great addition to the X-plane universe.

UUWW 6

If there’s a downside here, it’s the night textures. They work…from a distance…

UUWW 7

…but get close and the effect kind of falls apart a little.

UUWW 8

Yet, at twilight, the building just looks spectacular, and the window textures have a little more depth.

So, my two cents worth here. The developer ought to ditch these window textures and finish out the interior, make the interior completely visible as you taxi up to the gate – because the interior is almost completely wide open inside, with huge, vaulted ceilings and a riot of criss-crossing truss-work. All that could be lighted and produce the most magical effect in XP. Framerates? Who cares! By the time any developer finishes this project we’ll all have 20GB video cards, and so maybe it won’t even matter!

As it is…run, don’t walk…and get this file – before someone wises up and starts charging for it!

Now, another thought here. This airport is much closer to the city center, so the skyline is much more visible…

Moscow 1

These buildings are all lighted, of course, yet the effect is muted. Some effort could be taken to brighten this effect a little? At least a few buildings here and there? It needs depth, more vibrancy…dare I say it…? More chaos!?

Anyway, to the developers…we salute you! Spectacular effort here, and it’s most appreciated…! Once again, these files are available here.

Oh yes, a footnote. We used a new S7 livery on the default 738, and it’s available here.

UUDD S7

And we have one more livery to share with you today, for the new Carenado Dornier. It’s called the Lehman Brother’s livery, and it’s offered (cough, cough) in clean and dirty versions. Here’s the clean:

Lehman 2

Note the Mouse, in the clean version, is cleaned up? Well, check out the dirty version…

Lehman 1

…uh, well, look a little closer…

Lehman 3

I was half expecting the pilots to be wearing fishnets and heels, too.

Anyway, that’s all from Chaos Manor. Thanks for dropping by, and we’ll see you again soon. – C

This entry was posted in Scenery: Europe and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to x+s+r // red dawn

  1. Pingback: x+s+r // uuee + 2 smaller russian airports | x + sim + reviews

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