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The Croatian Coastline in my opinion is an area that has been neglected for many years with the exception of a few extremely talented developers. You can imagine then that I was overjoyed to hear that Orbx had announced Dubrovnik, one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean.
Dubrovnik is a Croatian city located on the Adriatic coastline nestled between the high terrain of the Dinaric Alps and the Adriatic Sea. Boasting luscious terrain, shimmering blue seas and a stunning cityscape to boot, along with its combination of old world charm and quirk. Dubrovnik Cilipi Airport, as it’s formerly known, is the third busiest airport in Croatia in terms of passengers – welcoming 1,693,934 passengers in 2015 alone. As a result, it is home to the countries longest runways. Dubrovnik is a major tourist destination for leisure flights with over 40 airlines operating flights during the European seasonal period. Taking all of the above into account I can’t help but wonder why it’s taken so long for a developer to model this incredible region.
The download took mere moments with a file size of 209.03Mb and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to install and configure, especially since FTX Central 2 was released. This is a fantastic feature that enables you to determine which features suit your flying style and computer specs. Within minutes I was eagerly drumming my fingers on my desk waiting for P3D to load so I could put Dubrovnik to the test! Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience! I was, and still remain, blown away by how beautiful Orbx Dubrovnik is. The textures are crisp and sharp, the detailing is exquisite and I was immediately immersed.
Working for an airline that operates flights to this wonderful destination I’m very fortunate to experience its beauty in reality up close and personal, and in particular, I was very interested to see if the smaller details that I had seen in reality were replicated in the simulator. I am very pleased to confirm they are indeed! I even showed some screenshots to my flight deck colleagues and they were amazed at how detailed and accurately modelled not only the airport itself is, but the general area. They both sat picking out visual reference points that they use in real world flying!
Orbx have really pulled out all the stops with this scenery and I feel that no expense was spared! The airfield is a true joy to fly in and out of particularly in VFR conditions and every time I load up P3D, I find another point of interest that is rich in detail. I am truly hooked!
Not only is the detail in the airport outstanding, but I was also incredibly impressed with how detailed city of Dubrovnik is. It’s one thing to include every detail in the airport model, but to accurately model cable cars, helipads, antenna masts and not to mention the historic walled city of Dubrovnik itself in the vicinity is a real testament to Orbx’s commitment to delivering a truly lifelike product.
Whether you’re inbound for runway 12 or runway 30 I guarantee you will struggle to focus on the approach due to the scenery’s raw beauty, I know I did – I just couldn’t help myself! The runway and taxiways have accurate and realistic wear and tear textures with the unmistakable rubber marks on the touchdown zone and tyre marks on runway turn offs. The airport has a very genuine worn feel to it which has been expertly modelled by FTX – Just the right amount of wear and tear. On approach to runway 12 the lead in lights are nestled into the almost life like vegetation and fauna, giving off a luminous glow. The modelling is superb that you can even make out the individual truss joints if you look close enough, making it challenging to land an A320.
Lighting is something I was particularly keen on experiencing. Recently I’ve done a lot of night flying and have learned to appreciate the beauty of approach lighting, the effects of lighting under varying atmospheric conditions and of course the way street/road lighting changes the dynamic of the flight. Dubrovnik did not disappoint in this aspect, as Orbx have done a fantastic job of creating the flood lights and terminal lighting. A feat that can often be overdone leading to unusual textures and rendering. Here though the lighting is soft, beautiful and really brings the scenery to life. Flying the approach at Dusk left me with a feeling of total glee, the lights intensity increasing the closer and closer I got adding to the immersion.
In the last two years flight simulator technology has become more advanced than ever. What with SODE, SpeedTrees, Avatars and 3D terminal interiors to name a few features that are beginning to become the ‘norm’ for most developers. Aside from the obvious graphics and VAS limitations I find it difficult to understand why developers do not animate their airbridges. Taking into account everything I’ve seen so far in terms of the level of detail and immersion, I was very surprised to arrive on stand and find that the airbridges are not animated. Not a major problem, however, it’s always a nice touch to have the airbridge connect after a beautiful flight, it just adds that next level.
Every item in this scenery is fully custom designed, including the vegetation, which I found astonishing. The lengths and efforts Orbx have gone to are the reason why they’re some of the best development minds in the world of Flight Sim. Which again links to my comments about Orbx’s commitment to offering the consumer the most detailed rendition of Dubrovnik to date.