Not too long ago the team over at Drzewiecki Designs released their version two of New York Airports X. The previous version has proven immensely popular for covering a big number of airports in the New York region. Although the addon was great, it was due for an upgrade with our new simulators. And that is exactly what Drzewiecki set out to do. But how good exactly is this addon? You can read all about it here!
Usually my review start at the beginning, the installation. This time however I want to take one step back and quickly mention buying the addon. Previously you could buy the NY Airports X package together for a pretty decent price. The package covered KJFK, KEWR, KLGA, KTEB, KCDW and KLDJ. This time around you need to buy two separate packages. One package features KJFK, KLGA and KTEB and the other package features KEWR, KLDJ and KCDW. If you’re into flying airliners like I am, you will find a disappointment here. You need to purchase both packages to get all the big airports, which is a shame especially considering previously everything was packed into one.
Moving on to the installation process: this is very smooth with, as always with Drzewiecki. A pretty standard installer, no need to hassle with accounts and keys and codes. Just install to your sim of choice and you’re done. There’s even a few installation options this time around so that you can customize the airport a little bit.
The presentation of the airport is pretty well done. KLGA is built in its “future version”, the other airports are very accurate and up to date. This includes the updates to the terminals that KJFK was previously missing. From a distance the airport (KJFK) looks great, accurate and very nice. However, upon closer inspection you’ll come to notice that it doesn’t look that great at all. The textures on buildings, terminals and other things are almost downright ugly and very low in resolution. You can hardly make out windows from doors, let alone text. This is painfully noticeable when you’re parked at your gate. The low detail textures in this package look really bad and are not worthy of being in such a big name airport. The modeling of the airport is very good, with high quality custom models. However, the textures are such a sore point that even the good models don’t manage to balance it out.
One of the first questions you will have about this airport is probably how it performs. A very logical question considering the NY area can be packed so densely with autogen that it will bring any sim and computer to its knees provided you turn the settings up enough. Several developers have struggled with this problem, yet all managed to keep rather decent framerates with medium autogen density settings. Even Drzewiecki’s previous version was rather good on performance.
I wish I could say the same about V2. But I can’t describe it any way other than bad. Provided you don’t wanna get rid of all your autogen, and/or AI traffic, this airport will not play nice and is not for you. I’ve tried tweaking my settings a lot, but my frames were really struggling with it. It doesn’t get above 20 frames, and on approach I was going from around 14 to 8 FPS. That’s not at all good. My sim became a slideshow and approaching the airport was near impossible. This was with medium to low auto-gen density and very low AI traffic. These settings worked fine for KJFK from another developer. I only managed to make Drzewiecki’s KJFK bearable by turning off all auto-gen and all AI traffic. My frames were sitting around 30 FPS, but it’s not a sacrifice I’m willing to make for one single airport that doesn’t perform well.
Keeping in mind that Drzewiecki claimed the performance should be around ‘300% better’, I can’t help but say the performance is horrible. Even the previous version of KJFK seemed to perform better. The installer recommends you to try out New York City X (from Drzewiecki) as well, but I’d advise very strongly against this as your performance is likely to suffer even more.
Below: screenshots of the particularly low texture resolution on terminal and buildings
Drzewiecki’s New York Airports V2 comes with several features. Though pretty standard they are actually rather nice. For every airport there are options to install static aircraft. There are also options for dimmer runway lights and a Global Environment Map: a ‘realistic reflection texture showing an airport-related picture with aprons, taxiways and a distant city’. The larger airports have options for extra details (ground handling vehicles, cars, 3D people, blast fences, etc). These features are pretty nice, well done and help giving the addon an extra sense of immersion.
And there is of course SODE integration. This integration is used for working (dual) gates and automatic season switching. The only thing that bothers me about this is that Drzewiecki, for some reason, insists on using a custom key-bind for SODE (SODE default is Tab+S, Drzewiecki SODE is Shift+D). It’s easy to forget and very confusing that Drzewiecki’s airports will not work with the default SODE menu.
The value of this addon is hard to estimate. Based on the performance alone I would almost say to skip this addon. Especially since these performance problems are not only noticeable on KJFK, but KLGA and KEWR struggle with the same issues. Then there is the low-resolution and bad looking textures. And keep into account that you need to buy two separate, full priced addons to get all of your New York Airports. Sure, the modeling is nice and you can make it work performance wise, but you’ll need to sacrifice so much that your sim becomes downright ugly and you’ve probably spend quite a bit of money on making it look nice.
I wish I could recommend Drzewiecki’s NY Airports V2. But with all its issues it seems the value is really out of touch with nothing to balance it out. This airport, or entire addon package, just isn’t very good.
Intel i7 6700K @ 4.4GHz
Nvidia GeForce GTX 980Ti OC, 1440p resolution