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DRZEWIECKI DESIGN – MIAMI CITY 2012 X for FSX review

This group has been busy over the past couple of years releasing some high quality Polish airports for FS2004 and FSX. Miami City 2012 X is their first venture into the territory of cityscapes first releasing a version for FS2004 and now this one for FSX.

Miami is the 42nd largest city in the United States with a population of just over 400,000 inhabitants. It is located on the Atlantic coast in southeastern Florida in Miami-Dade county which is the most populous county in Florida and the eighth-most populous county in the United States with a population of 2,500,625. It is a major center for such things as finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade and is also home to one of the largest ports in the United States. With everything the city and surroundings have to offer you will find this to be a very interesting area to explore.

Installation

The file size for this addon is a rather large 1.1Gbs. Installation is as simple as it can get. Launch the installer executable, agree to the licence terms, verify the path to FSX and the rest is history as they say. When it is done the scenery will have been installed and added to the FSX scenery library. All that is left for you to do is enjoy the Miami area in all of its glory.

Configuration

The only configuration options available for this scenery consist of enabling or disabling any of the individual FSX scenery library entries that make up this scenery, they are: Miami City 2012X – The City, Miami City 2012X – KMIA, Miami City 2012X – KOPF, and Miami City 2012X – KTMB.

This scenery addon is fully compatible with LatinVFR’s KMIA scenery. If you have it installed and want to continue to use it you will need to disable the Miami City 2012X – KMIA scenery library entry.

Documentation

The product includes a three page PDF document, the first page is all about the city of Miami and each of the three airfields, KMIA, KTMB, KOPF plus the seaplane base X44. The second page is all of the technical stuff such as installing the scenery, features, compatibility, performance, etc. The final page is all of the legalize and credits. The document is brief but a worthwhile read.

Scenery

Drzewiecki Design has recreated approximately 1000 sq kms of the beautiful ocean side city of Miami and its surroundings. By using a base of hi resolution photo ground scenery and then populating the entire area with a combination of custom and standard autogen they have given the entire area a complete makeover. Bounded by KOPF Opa-Locka Executive Airport to the north, the Everglades to the west, KTMB Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport to the south and the Atlantic coastline to the east the task of recreating this entire area in the amount of detail that they’ve included must have been a monumental task.

There is plenty to see throughout the entire scenery coverage area but where this product excels in my opinion is in the recreation of the city’s downtown and shoreline areas. You can really see how the various scenery elements such as the photo ground textures and custom autogen come together.

Depending on your vantage point certain aspects of the scenery will jump out at you. I spent a great deal of time flying around at lower altitudes and this is how I was able to get the best look at all of the different buildings, the animated road traffic and  the detailing in the photo scenery. Taking off from the seaplane base X44 in a small floatplane the first thing that caught my attention were the large cruise ships docked at the cruise terminal. They are an imposing sight from the cockpit of a small float plane. From here I went up and down the coast and then inland admiring everything this coastal playground had to offer.  This is truly a very beautiful area and offers so much more than just a city scape; the landscape is quite diverse with residential neighbourhoods, a downtown core with high rise buildings, the Florida Everglades and then the oceanside beaches. This to me is a great reason to want to buy this product.

The quality of the photo scenery base was also something I looked at, the ground appeared crisp and detailed. This was more noticeable away from the downtown where the density of structures was not as high. Both Biscayne Key and Virginia Key were ideal to show off these qualities.  There are roadways, green park areas, golf courses, residential areas and some light industrial areas; each one different and clearly discernible.

The qualities I mentioned above also worked together to make departures and arrivals at any of the three major airports much more interesting and realistic. Approaching from an easterly direction, as an example, I was on an ILS approach to runway 27 at KMIA, seeing the coastline come into view and then the high rise structures appear, I was blown away by the realism of the view I had from the cockpit. I mostly fly the 737 and having this type of visual enhancement makes a tremendous positive difference when flying in and out of an airport.  I mentioned the ILS to runway 27 but the same held true for westerly approaches and departures as well to any of the three large airports.

Flying at lower altitudes I did notice a problem with scenery elevations along the coastline, there were some places where the buildings looked as if they were being swallowed up by their sandy surroundings.

Flying over the scenery coverage area at higher altitudes was another way to appreciate the product getting a better view of the entire area. The accurate coastlines and small islands of the Biscayne Bay area stood out and were quite beautiful.

Besides being visually interesting I was also impressed by how well the scenery performed. I have tried other similar city scenery products and found this one was less taxing on my system providing a much smoother experience despite the density of autogen.

The airports

Within the scenery area are three major airports, KMIA Miami International Airport, KTMB Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport, and KOPF Opa-Locka Executive Airport, a sea plane base X44, plus 10 heliports.

They state that the airports are lite versions; they are a step up from FSX default quality but if you are hoping for detailed standalone quality airports you will be disappointed. Looking at them in more detail; the runways, taxiways and aprons are accurately placed on the ground scenery and fit precisely in the photo textures. The textures they use for these hard surfaces however are basic and not the quality found in their Polish airports and look like FSX default textures. The quality of the structures are better than those found in FSX airports, KMIA is a good example of the improved structures. Their placement is also accurate so they fit precisely onto the base photo scenery.

Lastly as part of their airport upgrades they include some static aircraft. You have the option of removing them by simply renaming a file and they tell you how in the manual. I chose to keep them as they added to the overall visual appeal with no impact on performance.

I did encounter a slight problem where some of the airport buildings were floating above the ground.

The 10 heliports were pretty barren, in most locations the heliports were little more than a small grey square with an H. Unless you are a dedicated helicopter enthusiast you will in all likelihood go right past these without giving them a second thought.

With the incredible amount of autogen in the scenery it is inevitable that some objects would be misplaced. The most obvious culprits were trees, some were in plain sight along the beach front and others less conspicuous on a few of the major roadways. Considering the size of the area covered and the huge number of objects that are packed into Miami City 2012 X the percentage of visibly misplaced objects is extremely low and for the most part undetectable.

Night

Unlike most other city scenery addons that have been released for FSX this one came with night textures. Ground textures clearly show the bright lights from road traffic and other sources of lighting such as street lights. In this city scenery there are some office towers that are lit up and other that are not. Seeing this type of mix is actually not that unusual as many towers now turn off their lights to conserve energy and cut costs. Having ground textures that portray night lighting is a big plus and does give night time flying a much more realistic feel and look compared to what it would have been had the scenery been completely dark which for a large city is totally unbelievable. Just as with the daytime rendition of the scenery I was especially impressed with the results in the context of how much more realistic arrivals and departures looked.

Final Thoughts

If you look at this product for what it is, the city of Miami, you will love what they have done. The area is portrayed in so much more detail than was ever available before in FSX and has something for every pilot; if you like to fly small aircraft this is a large area with plenty of diversity to keep your interest, if you are a jet jockey having the coastline and cityscape greet you on your approach you will love what you see and all of this without bringing your PC to its knees. This type of scenery is not for everyone but if you are a fan of this genre you need to give this one serious consideration.

My Ratings

Installer:  Excellent. Little effort required, adds entries to FSX scenery library.

Documentation:  Very brief but still informative.

Modelling: Immense amount of autogen with little impact on frame rates.

Extras: Ability to easily enable or disable individual scenery elements.

Download Size: FSX 1.1Gb

Price: EUR 18.49 without VAT

Developer Homepage: http://www.drzewiecki-design.net/

Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/drzewiecki-design-miami-city-2012-fsx.phtml

Test System:

Intel i7 960 OC @ 4.2 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, EVGA GTX560 Ti w/1.2 Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, Ultimate traffic 2, REX Overdrive, GEXn, UTX, AES, GSX.

Richard Desjardins

2 comments to DRZEWIECKI DESIGN – MIAMI CITY 2012 X for FSX review

  • Sebastien

    Did the developer make beta tests with some people to help checking the covered area for such problems of misplaced trees and floating buildings ? The ones who use to overfly during approach to KMIA may not notice it, but the others who want to explore VFR will.. An update is needed

  • Mark

    There is a demo available; just wanted to know if you have used it and how it is activated/implemented. Thanks,
    Mark Colvin