REVIEW UPDATE 3-FEB-2020 @ 21:30z
Thanks to multiple members in the comment section, I was able to resolve issues with the winter textures. After three reinstallations of the scenery, I was able to successfully have winter texture within the JustSim product.
In light of these new findings, we have adjusted the score of the JustSim version from a 4 to a 5. The FSDreamTeam score remains unchanged.
== Original Review 30-Jan-2020 @ 16:00z ==
As the years have gone, we have seen more and more developers create products which represent the same airport already released or in development. In the most recent instance of this, we have FSDreamTeam and JustSim who both recently released EuroAirport Basel Mulhouse Freiburg Airport (LFSB). Both products were released within a relatively short period of one another so we felt it was fitting to pit them together side-by-side so that you can see the differences in product quality.
Throughout this article, we’ll compare texture quality, modelling work, features and overall price. Both products will then receive an official FSElite score – this will be instead of a typical review found on our site.
Both product packages cover the main airport area with little coverage beyond that. Some clear differences you can see above is that the FSDreamTeam version features a significant amount more autogen in the surrounding area. However, upon looking at Google Maps, this is inaccurate and JustSim have better modelled the outer areas with the small town on the right-hand side. There have also been some clear changes to the landclass towards the right of the images improving the overall colouring of the product.
A shot from Google Maps showcasing similar views to the overall airport.
This shot, taken during the Summer, also highlights the better use of colouring of the grass around the runway and taxiway areas with much more vibrancy placed on the grass itself.
N.B. Orbx Global openLC Europe is used in these shots.
I think it’s very much down to personal preference on which sort of grass texture you prefer. Personally, I prefer FSDreamTeam’s, but JustSim’s version does better represent the area as a whole (according to available Sattelite imagery)
Another important element of any airport product is the way in which the ground is represented. Both FSDreamTeam and JustSim has accurately modelled the layout of the airport in its most current form. There are, however, stark differences in overall quality.
FSDreamTeam really outdoes the work from JustSim in this case. Everything from the environmental dirt and weathered tarmac looks much nicer. The colour palette, again, looks much nicer in FSDreamTeam’s version, along with extra details. You can also see that there is more ground clutter in the FSDreamTeam version than that of JustSim’s edition.
For reference, here’s a shot from Google Maps relating to how the real-world airport has the intersection markings (right images). FSDreamTeam better reflects what is happening in the real-world.
Source: Google Maps
FSDreamTeam is the winner for me in this regard.
Airport Terminal and Modelling
JustSim claimed that their version would be “much more detailed” than that of FSDreamTeam. Much of those details were promised in the overall modelling. Compared side-by-side, I think that FSDreamTeam still has the edge over JustSim.
From the front of the airport (passenger entrance), you can see some immediate differences. JustSim’s version has a nice glass effect on the window panels. I also prefer how JustSim has a selection of people outside giving it a busy vibe. I also like how JustSim has modelled the raster on the left-side of the building, which is completely absent from FSDreamTeam’s version. However, FSDreamTeam has modelled some interior modelling, which is visible through the transparent glass.
The terminals themselves actually look similar at first glance. There are some clear differences between the two – much of which comes down to the colourisation of the textures used. However, I do prefer the use of glass from FSDreamTeam. It is more aesthetically appealing and offers better transparency along with actual PBR reflection based on lighting conditions.
Another example of where FSDreameam exceeds that of JustSim’s version is how these areas are modelled. Take a look above and notice the additional details such as the stand number, the FOD bin and the ground markings. In particular, count the number of doors to the building. Now, let us compare to a Google Maps image.
Whilst I could not get the exact angle, you can see two doors to enter the building. Also note that the ground marking in the Google Maps image only has “6A” on the ground above the C stop-line, whereas on the JustSim version, it is also textured to display below.
FSDreamTeam also features interior modelling pretty much throughout the airport. Below you can also see a nice side-by-side of often overlooked areas such the roof-tops of buildings. FSDreamTeam has clearly put effort into the finer details which I very much appreciate.
We’ve already covered how the glass on the terminal buildings reflects light accurately, but another element of PBR is how it is used on the ground. Many developer are taking advantage of the technology to give the ground a wet look during rainy weather.
As you can see, both versions does feature some kind of wet-effect when the skies have opened up. However, the effect is much more impactful with the FSDreamTeam version. It certainly looks more realistic and represents the types of puddles that would form. I would argue that the FSDreamTeam version does overuse the effect and it does look a little unnatural in places.
Again, FSDreamTeam takes the edge here. The use of dynamic lighting is much more effective and there’s a lot more variation in tones and colours used. That being said, the JustSim version does beat out the FSDreamTeam version when it comes to the runway and taxiway lighting. Some may prefer the subtle approach, but I feel that runway lighting should be brighter to help compenstate for how the simulator renders lighting.
Finally, let’s look at how the PBR ground wet effects impact the dynamic lighting of the airport in both versions.
As you can see, dynamic lighting placed strategically helps to make the apron look stunning during wet nights. The JustSim version looks dull in comparison with very little use of the technology.
I did, however, find a minor bug with the FSDreamTeam version which placed a few random dynamic lighting points inconsistent to where a light source should be.
Despite the bug, I still prefer how the FSDreamTeam version looks.
Winter Textures (UPDATED 3RD FEB 2020)
After reinstallation of the product, we found there were indeed winter textures included in the JustSim product. Let’s take a look and compare them both.
Looking at the runway screenshot, there’s clearly additional use of the winter texture on the runway itself. Snow drifts are present along the edges of the runway and also present on top of things such as the threshold markers and runway numbers. When we pull the camera out, we can see that snow is resting on the grassy textures within the FSDreamTeam version, as opposed to a very flat and repetitive look in the JustSim version. You can also see the taxiways also have snow scattered on them as opposed to the clear-cut texture work of JustSim’s version.
The JustSim version does a nice job with some of the winter layers on the taxiway areas. There’s a decent amount of build-up on the payment itself, and also in the terminal apron area. I do prefer the effect that FSDreamTeam has done here, however, with the green grass still being a bit present through all of the white fluff.
It’s also important to note that the JustSim version does not include any 3D snow piles as in the FSDreamTeam version, though it has been pointed out to us that this might also not be entirely representative of the real airport
There are plenty of snow-covered trees in both versions.
Winter Comparison **OLD**
Update: Please note that the winter textures below from JustSim were from a faulty installation. We have new Winter textures represented above. This was achieved after reinstallation of the product 3 times
There’s simply no comparison here. JustSim’s version does not feature any winter textures. The same ground textures are used throughout the year, regardless of weather and time of year.
Another nice effect in FSDreamTeam’s version is the inclusion of 3D snow piles. Again, this is not a feature in the JustSim Basel Mulhouse Freiburg product.
For a destination considered as a popular ski resort, and a reason as to why many airlines visit the airport during certain seasons, it’s unacceptable that JustSim’s version does not feature winter textures.
FSDreamTeam’s version features additional features over the JustSim version. As mentioned previously, FSDreamTeam’s version features extensive interior modelling, which is accompanied by animated humans walking through the airport. They can be disabled at your choosing, but their performance impact is minimal as it’s only activated when you enter the building itself. Furthermore, the FSDreamTeam version also features animated SODE windsocks (with PBR texturing) and also gives users the chance to use GSX Level 2 at the airport completely free of charge.
JustSim’s version did not feature anything additional.
This is one area in which the lack of detail and special features helps to benefit the JustSim version. The JustSim version of Basel Mulhouse Freiburg does perform better, though it’s marginal in comparison. It certainly didn’t make me consider using the JustSim version over the FSDreamTeam one for a few extra frames.
The JustSim version retails for €17.90 (excluding VAT).
The FSDreamTeam currently retails for €18.00 (excluding VAT). However, it is important to note that once a “new major version of Flight Simulator or Prepar3D” is released, the price will rise.
JustSim has also confirmed that a Microsoft Flight Simulator version will be in development and users can get the upgraded product for 50% off. Whilst not confirmed from FSDreamTeam, the wording on their warranty suggests that users will pay the price difference between what they paid for the Prepar3D v4 version and the “upgrade” to the new simulator. Based on the current exchange rates, that is around €9.00. That means both upgrade paths are the same.
Considering the quality of the two products, along with the features included, FSDreamTeam’s makes for much better value as an airport scenery. For an extra 0.10, you get seasonal textures, higher-quality ground poly and additional features such as animated people and the chance to use GSX Level 2 for free.
- Modern layout for Basel Mulhouse Freiburg Airport
- Great performance, but...
- ..lacks any attention to detail with poor texture quality
- Winter textures feel bland and missing 3D snow piles.
- Airport feels lifeless and dull with samey colour pallet
- Poor attempt at using PBR and other sim-specific features
- Detailed ground textures make for an immersive experience
- 3D snow piles, PBR, SODE and animated people make for great use of technology.
- Winter textures look great during the colder months.
- Represents great value for money with a fair upgrade path for the future.
- PBR effects put to excellent use throughout the airport in day and nighttime.
- Slightly taxing on performance compared to JustSim's version of the airport
- A few minor bugs with dynamic lighting being in the wrong place.