x+s+r // new freeware

XSR 1 10

And still, the payware doldrums continue. No Saab update, no 732v3, but lots of new file announcements. Still, an interesting trickle of new and revised freeware files continues this week at the .org, so let’s take a quick look around. Oh, that’s LSEZ Zermatt above. I got it working again!

A couple of built-up downtown areas emerged early this week, one a standalone file, the second attached to a KPHL Philadelphia International revision. The Quebec area focuses on the downtown area, omitting scenic-tourist landmarks outside of the city, but the quality is good. There’s a Lego-brick airport for Quebec, not particularly good, not bad either, and while it isn’t an AeroSOFT file it gets the job done.

quebec 3

All imagery today is with AlpilotX’s mesh v4 and his Trees & Farms N. America file onboard, as well as MrX’s HD Forest file. Above, the skyline as seen from the airport definitely doesn’t look like auto-gen. Below, the Château Frontenac, built in 1893 by the Canadian Pacific Railroad, is still a stately hotel in the old manner (with one of the best seafood restaurants in N America). Indeed, this part of Quebec City is about as close to pure, old-world ambiance as you’re likely to run across in N America (the French Quarter in New Orleans, I suppose, does too – in a way).

Quebec frontenac 1

The hotel is the focal point of the Ville de Québec, and the original settlement area. 

quebec old city

Oh, here’s the real hotel – at night – and no, there are no night textures included with this file.

fronteac real

There was a Quebec landmarks file back in the late v8 era that included a .lit texture of the hotel, but I seem to recall the overall texture quality was not quite as good as this one.

Quebec 2

The buildings here will be familiar to anyone who’s been in the area, yet the overall effect is marred by an unhealthy dose of Rancho Cucamonga Estates tract housing, right in the middle of the downtown business and government area. Bad OSM, very bad. Still, this ranks as a Must Have file. Very interesting visuals for GA and flutterbugs.

//

Phil 1

The downtown Philadelphia area included with this KPHL file makes this a Must Have addition. The airport itself is an old FsX conversion with a ton of errors showing up – but mainly on the roadway side of the terminal. Lots of missing roads, etc, and holes in the ortho, but it works well enough to use. Still, the overall value of this file suffers as a result. Also, only a few static bizjets parked here, some on the grass, and no stuff at the gates. Overall, the airport could be better executed – as I’ve tried to clean up the file download load/order to no avail.

Phil 2

But get downtown and make sure to bring a guidebook! Photo-quality textures highlight this package, and yes, Virgina, thar be heliports up on them thar buildins! Bridges to Trenton and South Philly included, highlights include Independence Hall and the old Union Station and… Well, this part of the file is a blast in flutterbugs. The airport?

Maybe next time.

//

A trio of really good-looking Lego-brick airports released in New Mexico late today (10 Jan 18), the three forming a fat triangle surrounding KABQ (Albuquerque) – and MrXs wondrous airport file.

KABQ GE

First on my list is KSAF, Santa Fe, an old stomping ground from long-gone days. There’s a great ski area here, the central square downtown with Navajo artisans selling their crafts and, not far to the north, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where most of the late work on the Manhattan Project took place. Further north, Taos, with it’s surviving pueblo culture and vibrant arts community…

KSAF Sct

KSAF 1

And all of this “stuff”  brings in a steady influx of tourists, year-round. Most come through KABQ, but if coming from Dallas, Houston, or Phoenix you can fly direct, usually in a CRJ7 or a smaller E-jet. Jetstreams and Saabs were the order of the day not too long ago, so those will be appropriate to use here, as well.

KSAF 2

Current routes? American to Dallas and Phoenix (red), or United to Houston (in blue). The yellow lines are links to our western regional network, including John Wayne, Sin City and Idaho Falls – which I think would make for a very interesting flight, covering the Wasatch, the Rockies, and some desert terrain, too.

KSAF GE 1

Below, KGNT Grants is a well thought out and nicely constructed GA airport. There’s not a lot out here in this part of the world. It’s devilishly hot in summer and quite cold in winter (elevation: 6500MSL +/-), and the area is just full of rattlesnakes. Then again, put on The Manhattan Transfers Route 66 and just bop along while you take it all in (the highway behind the airport helps, too)…

KGNT

KGNT sct

The last airport in this file is KONM Socorro, NM. It’s lonely out here, not much but ranch-hands and cowgirls, but as the two seem to go hand in hand (at the very least) life goes on out here on the high plains. This airport is as simple as it gets, yet it too looks very good. That tells you about the quality of the art assets now in WED, doesn’t it?

KONM.jpg

One other note of interest – though not included with this file – the VLA (Very Large Array) is located 40 miles west of KONM (see the sectional, below). I bring this up as there was once a file for the VLA in v8 that worked nicely into v10, but it’s either gone from the org now, or I just can’t find it – and I couldn’t find the facility when I flew out west and looked. This would be fun to see again and would be a no-brainer for inclusion in the next version of this file; if you’ve seen the movie Contact, you know what this place is all about.

VLA

KONF sct

Anyway, this is Must Have stuff if flying around KABQ, and KSAF will be really useful for RJs and turboprops, and high-end GA, including small jets.

We’ll see you next time. Hopefully, the Saab will release by then, but if not just take some comfort that this has been the norm with X-Aviation since a little before forever. Cameron and Goran are fastidious & hyper-careful with everything they do, so don’t sweat it. It’ll be out soon enough, and it’ll be worth the wait. We get too used to this whole instant gratification thing, and unless you’ve been involved running an operation like this I doubt you understand how complex all this can be. Every little thing Goran (Leading Edge) executed has to be triple-checked at X-Aviation, then coded for release. It’s labor intensive, and one small goof anywhere along the chain leads to real chaos. The bad kind, btw.

Y’all take care, and we’ll seeya ’round the campfire. – C

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