FSX

Review: France VFR – Bretagne X

After having reviewed this FS2004 version of this scenery package I was excited to fly the FSX version.  For those of you who may not be familiar with this area of France, Bretagne or Brittany is a large peninsula covering almost 34,000 sq kms. It is located in the north-west of France situated between the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south and has a population estimated to be around 4 million.

Installation and Configuration

Due to the large size of the scenery file it has been broken down into two separate files, 1 at 4.2Gbs and the other at 3.1Gbs.  A fast connection is definitely a plus when downloading these.

Installation is simple but does involve several steps.  There are four files all of which need to be executed in sequence to install this scenery. As a final step to this process the installer will add the scenery to FSX.

As far as configuration goes the manual gives recommended settings for both basic and advanced setups. I found this scenery to be very frame rate friendly and required no tweaking.

Documentation

The scenery comes with no shortage of documentation.  There is a scenery manual, a two page chart index and then 48 separate documents that relate to the 19 area airports, they include all manner of charts for both VFR and IFR flights.

The scenery manual is five pages and is in the usual PDF format.  It consists of an introduction that gives you a brief description of the region and scenery features, they also include a map showing such things as autogen and 3d object coverage areas and specific airport and landmark object locations. This is great if you are not familiar with the area as there are so many airports you can choose from. They then go on to the installation and recommended display settings and optimization. Finally they give you the location to access the documentation and charts via your program directory and how to get online support if needed.

As I mentioned previously they have given the simpilot a wealth of different charts pertaining to the airports.  If you click on a hyperlink in the “bretagnevfr_charts” document it will display that document on your screen or the alternative is to print them out which is what I normally choose to do as I like to put them in a book for ease of use when flying.

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Flying the Scenery

With a file size of just over 7Gbs you expect to have a large area of scenery coverage and with this package they deliver just that. Once installed you will have over 31,000 sq kms worth of photoreal ground textures, a large variety of 3d autogen objects that cover almost 50% of the entire region. There are 19 airports that have been precisely placed and seamlessly integrated into the landscape. Some further enhanced with additional buildings and structures.

For the ground textures they’ve used photoreal textures rendered from aerial photography supplied by the IGN (National Geographical Institute) not satellite imagery so the look is a bit different than the hi-res satellite imagery that other scenery developers tend to use. I thought that the final product looked less detailed and crisp than areas I have flown where they use hi-res satellite images. I don’t feel that they took full advantage of the capabilities of FSX.  This difference is most noticeable at low altitudes, as you climb higher it is less apparent.

To give you accurate terrain elevation they also provide optimized LOD13 custom mesh.  As you fly along the coast or follow one of the many meandering rivers you see that everything lines up nicely and you don’t get water sneaking up the sides of river banks or shorelines.  You also see definite subtle differences among the various topographic features as you fly the scenery.

Being a peninsula the region borders on water so the coastlines and surrounding islands are a very important part of the experience and it is striking. I never tired of flying along the coast, enjoying the diversity in scenery and the abundance and variety of objects.  The coastlines and numerous islands are accurately portrayed and the shorelines are quite detailed. Looking at the scenery map you will notice that it is along the coast where you will find the autogen regions and VFR landmarks.  They have added lighthouses, marinas, bridges and wind farms to name just a few of the different types of objects you will encounter. If I had to pick my favourite part of the scenery this would be it hands down. In addition to having autogen they have taken three areas; the old town and harbour of St Malo, Brest harbour and the Gulf of Morbihan area east of Quiberon and created what they refer to as extremely detailed areas.  Here you will find many more VFR landmarks specific to these historic areas.  To further enhance all of this and help in bringing the area to life they have included boat traffic to and from various islands as well.

Another important factor for an area such as this is the water, it must look realistic or it can ruin what may otherwise be a great scenery package.  Once again I have to say that they have a done a great job. My preference was to fly at low altitudes because that is how you get to appreciate all of the details they put into their product; and they deliver.  You get a real sense of depth with the subtleties in water colour and the various patterns in the sand and rock on the bottom that are visible through the transparent water along the shores and river beds.

The Airports

As an integral part of the package they have enhanced 19 airfields located within the scenery area.  This gives you lots of choices and the opportunity to begin or end your exploratory journey from any part of this scenic area. With so many airports available you will be sure to find something that meets your needs and tastes. There is a small grass strip, a number of single runway airfields, several military airports and finally for those of you who like to fly commercial jets you will find that there are a number of major regional airports. All of the airports have been optimized and positioned precisely within the scenery to blend in seamlessly with their surroundings. In some cases they have been enhanced with additional buildings and structures, some with night textures and lighting. The airports are well done but don’t expect to find the same quality as those purchased as a separate addon.  My biggest complaint when it came to these airports was with the taxiway and arpon textures. In most cases they are simply a solid grey colour, had they given them a weathered look I think it would have made a huge difference.

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Night Flying

After spending most of my time flying in daylight hours it was time to see how the scenery looked when the sun went down.  Inconsistent would be a good word to describe how I feel about what they have done.  The airport runway lighting looked good and in certain areas there was night lighting but unfortunately as I stated it was inconsistent. As you will see in some of the screenshots many of the points of light inserted into the scenery appear to be misplaced, for example you have an area where there are lights on a beach but the adjacent village is dark, I came across a bridge that glowed white surrounded by black. Although I have misgivings about this aspect of the scenery overall it is still an excellent offering.

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Final Thoughts

Bretagne is a lovely part of France with beautiful rural regions, historic coastal cities, bustling harbours and rugged shorelines. All this has been captured wonderfully and with 19 airports to fly from there is no shortage of variety and definitely something for everyone.  I highly recommend this for any simpilot.

My Ratings

  • Installer: Very good and simple to use.
  • Documentation: Very Good.  Everything you need to fly in the region is provided.
  • Modelling: Very Good even though I have some reservations about the night lighting.
  • Extras: VFR landmarks throughout the scenery.

www.francevfr.com
Download Size: 2 files: 1 – 4.2Gb and 1 – 3.1Gb
Price: EUR 41.93
Purchase Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/francevfr-bretagne-vfr-x.phtml

Test System: Intel i7 920 OC @ 3.8 Ghz, 6 Gb RAM, EVGA 285 GTX w/1Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, Ultimate traffic 2, REX, UTX Europe, AES 2.06

Richard Desjardins

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Sunday, April 25, 2010 21:56

Salut, Quelles soient pour FS 2004 ou pour FS X, toutes les scènes de France VFR installées en suivant la procédure automatique fonctionnent parfaitement. Je me demande quel problème Felidae peut avoir et je m’étonne qu’à aucun moment il ne les a soumis sur le forum France VFR si ce n’est qu’une seule et unique fois pour se plaindre des tarifs et de la dénomination des produits… En aucun cas pour des incompatibilités, défauts d’affichage ou autres soucis techniques… Comme l’écrit François, Felidae doit avoir de grosses lacunes dans le domaine informatique… De plus, pourquoi dépenser autant de “dollars” pour… Read more »

Sunday, April 25, 2010 14:32

Aha, someone with a beef, eh? 😉 I never had any problems with their software myself and think that they deliver a very good value for money. Where ‘value’ is of course depending on what ones expectations are and upon ones purse, obviously. But stating that you invariable have to re-install FSX ‘because’ of FranceVFR products sounds more like your computer skills equal your English language skills 😉 Messages such as yours are just an opinion of a disgruntled and most likely not very skilled user, and fortunately not a measure for the honesty or quality of an FS add-on… Read more »

Felidae
Sunday, April 25, 2010 13:51

Always the same question:what are you paying for? What about compatibility? ACtually new or soon sold elsewhere under an other name?
I’ve spend a lot of bucks for F-VFR products. The results has always been a disaster followed by a complete NEW installation of FsX.
It must not be the rule but with what you try to make money .
OPne day you will kill FsX or what else just because the money is for you more important as the pealpe who are paying for.

Sorry for my badvenglish : my first languages are french, german and italian