Let’s get this out of the way right up front…JustSIM makes some of the very best payware scenery files in X-plane, and this is one of their best. And that just about sums up this review, but read on, dear reader, if you’d like to see some classic scenery artistry now available for X-plane 11.
The file released today, Christmas Day 2017, and we got it onboard as fast as we could. At less the $20USD and coming in at 502Mb, this file is easy to take, and note the settings used below, which we used for almost all images in this review (higher where noted). We were getting around 30-35FPS and had adequate ramp detail with objects in the mid-range, and with enough static aircraft to maintain an immersive atmosphere. We DID look at the ramps with HDR and Objects at MAX, yet saw no major difference, and we see no reason to amp up settings higher than these.
EDDC Dresden is located five miles north of the city, on a slight bluff overlooking the River Elbe; the city is in far-eastern Germany, and quite near the border with the Czech Republic. This location would, I assume, reduce the incidence of fog and ease noise abatement restrictions.
Here’s the aerodrome chart, and note that current charts include six ILS, six SID, as well as four STAR charts.
And, here’s the location of Dresden in relation to other major airports in the region:
There is no direct service to the US or UK; feeder service by Lufthansa (EDDF), KLM to EHAM, and Swiss (LSZH) will take care of those destinations. Regional service to Köln/Bonn, Stuttgart, Munich, and Düsseldorf are handled by EuroWINGS, and the usual warm-weather winter holiday destinations are well-represented here as well. There is service to Moscow UUEE, too (the arrow pointing NE).
Below, EDDC in Xp11.
(above) GA & bizjet ramps at the south end of the ramps (bottom in this image); while (below) there are heavy maintenance hangers as well as air cargo OPS on the north end. Note runway details, below.
Below, an image of the real airport’s main terminal entry area.
And now, let’s look at JustSIM’s EDDC.
Ramps are subtly weathered, ramp and taxiway markings are legible and generally bright. Ramp clutter is on the light side; there could be more, but this is where the trade-off with performance comes into play. This file IS very detailed, so with HDR and textures dialed UP to MAX performance will take a hit. That said, look at our settings, above. These worked well and detail was impressive even at these settings.
There is ground vehicular traffic, mainly taxis and buses, in the entry areas, but no people.
The main terminal, seen above, is a work of art. Pure, total excellence. From textures revealing brick and metal siding to the tinted windows and roof material, accuracy looks to be near 100%. The skyway extending to the parking garage is perfectly modeled, to:
Again, below, no people noted near pedestrian zones, anywhere.
Look over the area around the gates closely when you get this file. The first thing you might notice, if you’ve never been to this airport, is what an interesting bit of architecture this is. Looking at the exterior in Xp, this is a marvel of design – in Blender, or whatever JustSIM used to make this model. Complex! Yes, and that accounts for some of the performance hit…as every little sub-wall is a surface that has to be rendered.
Again, we did NOT open this file at MAX objects the first few times we used it, so ramps may look a little bare in these images – but you won’t see major clutter even when Objects are increased to MAX.
But most details are seen even at mid-level settings. Note the bollards surrounding light towers near the main terminal, below. Perfection.
The south facade of the main terminal building (below) is a maze of metal truss-work. The gates and fencing look perfect here, as well as the vehicles in this area.
Here’s the same area, different vantage:
Roof details are astonishing:
While (below) these window-louver details are the work of technical masters:
And note the ramp lighting towers. They’re not library objects…no, they look identical to what’s on the ground in Dresden. Again, this is the work of artisans:
Below, the main terminal entry at night. To my eye, it’s a little too dark.
And the view, at night, of the north side of the terminal building.
Rampside, at night, below.
Close up of a gate area, below. Still a little too dark?
Multiple ramp areas are visible in this image (below) and note the two different temperatures of light employed: amber and white.
Next up, two shots of the same Jetway, 1) at dusk and, 2) at night, and from the same vantage point.
Once again, this Jetway appears a little too dark, as if it simply needs more lighting.
Below, the main departure hall inside the real terminal. Could this area have been easily modeled and lighted? If so, this could have been a dramatic focal point for the file.
The control tower? It needs people, even silhouettes of people, and perhaps some equipment visible from the ramp. The emphasis here is on “VISIBLE…”
Because, here’s what’s “not visible” inside that tower:
Note to self: you cannot see any evidence of this detail without moving out of the area where sunlight hits glass. You can’t see well through reflective glass, period. Even if you could, without a taller radar desk, or people, there’s nothing visible to see. Make the radar-desk taller, and get some light on it, especially at night. Even the subtle glow of instruments would be interesting, maybe ceiling-mounted monitors…?
AND…add some people!!!
I mean…you put major effort into this structure, so why not draw more attention to it! Look at all the detail, and it’s going to waste because the area simply looks empty. Lighted doorways? Sidewalk lighting? PEOPLE?!?! How ’bout someone on that stairway? That might draw the eye…
Below: note the glass window-wall separating the walkway from the ramps. Note that the glass is “transparent,” and that you can see the buses on the other side.
Now, look at the 737 below. The glass is only transparent to one class of texture. I’d use another texture. Get those ramps fully visible.
Below, there’s a ton of detail at the commercial maintenance hangers on the north end of the airport. I don’t know if this area hits performance much, but could this area be simplified? Even a little?
Now, here is an image of the ramp area made with World Objects at MAX:
You’ll note: there is no massive increase in clutter, but you WILL see a few more animated ground vehicles. To us, the results speak for themselves: keep your settings in the mid-range at this airport. Textures and Objects are great even in the mid-to-high range, so again, as is MAX settings are just not needed.
Or add more detail.
Just about perfect. A few areas are crying out for people. Some ramp areas are too dark. Beyond that? Not much to complain about.
As we said, JustSIM is one of the best scenery developers out there, and this is, perhaps, their best file for Xp yet. The real EDDC offers a limited selection of air-carriers but an adequate number of destinations to make this a file of interest for anyone operating in Europe. Can you add this file to our Baltic Regional airports network? Heavens, YES! The only destinations that don’t make sense from here are long-haul non-stop service to the US – or, to the UK and France. 757 size aircraft will just work here, and all 737/A320 class aircraft will too, yet Rjs and turbo-props will be most at home here. And the v11 update to the Leading Edge Saab 340 is just about ready to post. Gee…I wonder if…?
Score? 9 out of 10. A “Must Have” file.
Thanks for dropping by. We’ll see you again soon, – A