At last! JustSIM has released EBBR Brussels Airport, and it’s about all we could hope for in an airport file for a major European city. Also, we have another file from ruifo Down Mexico Way, but actually not very far down at all, but we’ll get to those in a minute.
Like a lot of folks, I was waiting anxiously for the HotStart TBM900, but the introduction has been marred by several “bugs” that have affected not just Macs (as was the original rumor), but other OS platforms as well. Reading over the various forum posts at X-Pilot it’s not hard to catch the tone of resigned patience giving way to outright frustration as Saturday gives way to Sunday, as we’ve gone from v1.0 to v1.01 to v1.02 in quick succession. Anyway, here’s my two cents.
The real TBM is a complex aircraft, yet its systems are coded for one CPU/GPU combination. HotStart’s TBM is a complex simulation, quite possibly more complex that has ever been attempted before (especially where engine component wear is concerned), yet this simulation has to work on three OS platforms, and with each platform having multiple operating systems out there. Think Windows XP to 10, or all the various incarnations of MacOSX. Now, factor in all the various GPUs, each with their own arcane drivers, many so old no one uses them anymore – or so new the drivers are almost unknown – and yet the developer has to make a complex plugin that accommodates all of them. Again, in a simulation that’s going boldly where no one has gone before.
It was a weekend, yet the developer and the team at X-Aviation worked their tail feathers off to get multiple revisions up and tested and then posted, then rode through more gales of complaints as more bugs popped up. Well, yes, there are more bugs to quash but knowing Cameron and Co they’ll get the job done. It’ll take a few more days, but they’ll get there.
In the meantime, if you haven’t picked up your copy yet start reading the forums at X-Pilot to get a feel for where the project stands.
Me? Am I disappointed? No, actually I’m not. This stuff happens. And the more complex the file the more this stuff happens! Two weeks from now we’ll all be flying in our TBM900s and we won’t recall all this sturm and drang, so sit back with your coffee and enjoy the day. Then…let’s head on over to Brussels!
EBBR Brussels Airport is the largest airport in Belgium and the 23rd largest in Europe. As Brussels is not merely the capital of Belgium but the de facto capital of the E.U., Brussels has assumed a role in global affairs larger than it has in hundreds of years, and the airport has evolved to serve the region well. From a passengers point of view its an easy airport to get around in and so a favored gateway for tourists coming to Europe on holiday, and with that in mind you should look over the list of airlines and destinations served closely, because just about every good payware airport in X-plane is tied to this airport.
And this is the latest file by JustSIM, so right off the bat you know this is going to be an extremely good reproduction of the real facility. Let’s take a look…starting in the pattern.
JustSIM’s file sits on a well-detailed ortho, and all paved surfaces look nicely weathered. Most roads are made up by ortho imagery, though some elevated roadways are modeled; parking garages are completely modeled and have object/cars on top, not smeary orthos. Terminal roofs are similarly modeled and detailed.
Comparing the file to overhead imagery you find a very close match, right down to forested areas. Ramps aren’t supper cluttered but are plausibly busy.
Jetways and surrounding ramp areas are very well detailed. Note electrical junction boxes, ductwork, and support structures, as well as bollards and knee-walls to keep wayward baggage carts from causing damage…
Interiors are NOT modeled but interesting window textures dominate the scene at night. It’s an immersive scene and a technique that preserves frame rates – which, by the way, are very good here.
PBR materials, including reflective window materials, highlight the work, so DO turn on HDR rendering here.
There are facilities for every type of aircraft here, from 748s to Saab 340s, and everything in between. Night ramps are a little dim but operations do not suffer.
Runways are will lighted, as are taxiways and aprons. Also, there is one small air cargo area and a small military transport facility opposite the main terminal. Very limited biz jet ramps near the main terminal complex.
All-in-all, JustSIM’s EBBR is a solid effort that hits all the right spots with well executed detail. Despite not having a modeled interior this airport feels right in the air and coming up to the gate, so it easily earns a 10 out of 10. It’s a Must Have file for European regional flights as well as transcontinental hops to the US, Canada, South America, Oceania, and Asia…and the file is out at the Org Store now for a reasonable 25 buckeroos.
ruifo’s latest is located on the Sea of Cortez just south of Arizona; this is Mexico’s first privately funded airport and as yet there are only charters to several domestic destinations, yet the coastal area is filling rapidly with gringos headed south looking to stretch their retirement dollars…so that will change, and soon.
Modeled facilities are small but interesting, so the overall feel is almost of a compact airport…which this is…but there’s also room to grow. There’s also a small AFB on the north end of the property, complete with KC10, SAR flutterbugs, and some old F4s…yet there are as yet no facilities for airmen or maintenance ops. Coastal development is provided, and an ortho handles the waterfront/beach area.
And that’s all for now. We’ll be back soon with more on the TBM900. Hasta later –