Flight Simulator Add-ons:
spent many years reviewing flight simulation
software for 'Aircraft Illustrated' magazine, I
moved on to other pastures in 2009. This page is the
start of an occasional series which I hope to build
upon as and when time permits.
|Bretagne VFR FSX
|Microsoft Flight Simulator X
|49.90 Euros (7Gb download)
What is it?
Bretagne VFX FSX is the latest
product of the well-respected France VFR design team. It
provides photorealistic scenery of the whole of the Brittany
region in North-Western France at a resolution of 2.5 metres
per pixel, as well as a 4.75 metre terrain mesh and autogen
scenery covering approximately 45 % of the area. There are two
extremely detailed zones, depicting the ports of Saint-Malo to
the North and Brest to the West. In addition, the sea bed has
been recreated where it is in close proximity to the shore and
there is animated sea traffic. An area of approximately 31
thousand square km is covered in total.
Brest: Port and surroundings
[click on image to see larger version]
In detail ...
Textures created from aerial photographs from France's
Institut Geographique National (IGN),
Ground textures for Summer only.
Very high-definition 4.75 metre (LOD13) terrain mesh.
Autogen scenery along the coast and around each of the
airports (the autogen provided covers approximately 45% of the
entire surface of the scenery).
New 3D autogen buildings specific to the area.
Autogen vegetation specific for the location and
optimized for smooth fram rates.
Lakes and rivers completely routed with navigable water,
including a systematic treatment of the relief near the banks to
avoid the effects of inclined water.
Coastal sea beds visible throughout the entirety of the
19 airports/aerodromes integrated into the scenery.
These locations have been adjusted to ensure a cohesion with
photographic textures, including precise positioning of the
taxiways, buildings, air bridges, etc
Some detailing of airport buildings, including night
Two extremely detailed 3D zones (the town and port of
Brest and the town and 'Intra Muros' [old town] of Saint-Malo
along with extra detail for the Golfe du Morbihan…
Many 3D objects and visual reference points such as
bridges, lighthouses, dams, ports, marinas and wind farms.
Many effects associated with the 3D objects (e.g.
aqnimated wind turbines).
Sea traffic, including shuttles to surrounding islands.
Scenery designed to enable future add-ons such as
airport scenery to be compatible with this title.
Charts and documentation provided for all the airports
and aprons (48 VAC/IAC/ARR/DEP charts and diagrams).
Ile d'Ouessant [click on image to see larger
My first impression of this scenery was that as a
download it is huge! 7Gb in four files is truly immense; easily
the largest download I have ever undertaken and, while it was a
slow process (presumably down to high demand on the server), it
did occur without problems and instalation went smoothly.
Although France VFR is a french company (no, really!), it is
pleasing to see that its titles come with English documentation
and this makes installation straighforward and without fuss. The
user's manual also shows exactly where airports and other points
of interest are, along with providing a map showing the extent
of the autogen coverage. For those who do encounter problems, it
also has an English section on its support forum, so help can be
gained there, if needed.
Once installed, it was time for a round Brittany tour! I began
in familiar surroundings, namely the airport at Dinard/Pleurtuit
where I was pleased to see familiar buildings such as the
control tower, the hangars on the Northern side and a basic
airport scenery that gave the right feel to the place. It's a
shame that there isn't more detail here, such as static
aircraft, titles on buildings and the like because one gets the
feeling that it's going to cost more for these things later and
will every airport be upgraded when this happens? Departing to
the East, I explored the River Rance and Saint-Malo. The old
town (the 'Intra Muros') looks like the real thing, as indeed
does the nearby port and even the 'barrage' (dam) over the Rance
further West is included. Elsewhere in Saint-Malo the scenery
has been created from buildings which use authentic architecture
and textures but there is an absence of such things as shops,
hotels, garages and churches. Fly high enough and the
photorealistic scenery does indeed come to life and this,
coupled with the magnificent coastal scenery (detailed sea beds,
the odd lighthouse and so on) produce a Flight Simulator X
experience that is truly superb. With no fewer than 19
aerodromes contained within the scenery, there's much to explore
and many different approaches to tackle; even though the autogen
is generally around the coastline, where there are inland
airports there is also autogen scenery in the surrounds so at
least you know you're in the vicinity of your destination when
you fly there!
Parts of Brittany that I know well are easy to recognise and
realistic, be it the promontory of Quiberon, complete with
magnificent coastline, or the Golfe du Morbihan, with its many
islands and yet in other parts the detail is not there - no
bridge or port at Dinan, no menhirs and dolmens, nothing of
those magnificent standing stones that have drawn hordes to
carnac over the years ...
So would I recommend this to you? Well it's around 50 of
our English pounds, so it's not cheap and if your knowledge of
Brittany is restricted to the inner countryside you need to be
aware that autogen scenery isn't to be found there, but if you
love the coastline then yes, I'd say buy it. Not for the
first time, France VFR has produced a title which has unique
features to marvel at and improve your FSX experience. If you've
never been to Brittany, who knows? This might well be the first
step on the road to a lasting friendship with some of the nicest
coutryside that France has to offer.
[Version tested: 1.1, patched using the files recently made
available through the support forum.]
Animated waves against a
lighthouse [click on image to see larger
- Superbly detailed coastal scenery. This has become a
France VFR trade mark and it has done it again!
- Saint-Malo: Even the cathedral is depicted in the Intra
- English documentation as well as French.
- Boats: They are everywhere!
- Golfe du Morbihan: Yachts and islands abound, creating
very realistic effects.
- Animated waves crashing against the lighthouses - almost
like something from one of Mr Plisson's photographs!
- Trees and buildings placed accurately.
Near Carnac: Showing the
superbly detailed coastline and sea bed [click on image to see larger
and also ...
- Away from the detailed scenery areas there is an absence
of shops, churches, petrol stations and other buildings
which would enhance the realism.
- Only 45% of Brittany is covered by autogen; elsewhere
there is just the photographic textures beneath.
- Little in the way of static scenery other than buildings
at the airports.
Quiberon: Airport to the right,
marina to the left. [click on image to see larger
Saint-Malo: Looking towards the 'Intra Muros' (old
town) [click on image to see larger version]
Saint-Malo: Looking towards
the port [click on image to see larger
of use, installation, documentation & support:
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