Drzewiecki Design Warsaw City
What did you miss of the surrounding area when you bought Frederic Chopin International Airport or perhaps you’re more familiar with its code EPWA?
Perhaps this does not ring a bell, but the answer is the ‘surrounding Warsaw’ area. In that impression I wrote that the airport, more or else like other payware airports, comes standard with ortho ground textures that cover an area that stretches out beyond the airport fences. In fact, this airport comes with a relatively large additional ortho area as well as the airport scenery, but as you all know, it never seems enough. You and I always want a much larger ortho area than just the airport itself. Adding ortho ground textures is for the most part not the problem, it’s more the 3D objects that take time and effort to create.
Because of this and because Drzewiecki Design is a Polish organization, they have developed Warsaw City which fits perfectly together with the EPWA. Yes, yes, nice words, but if you decide not to spend more money on a city, what will you be missing, and suppose you like Warsaw City, is it worth the investment?
I think it’s time to investigate Warsaw City. Are you ready?
Hold on ….. what does the Drzewiecki Design Warsaw City XP offer?
According to Drzewiecki Design our product, Warsaw City XP, gives you a possibility to fly over an extremely large area of Warsaw city. We have included a high quality photoreal ground textures of about 5000 square kilometers. The city centre has hundreds of custom buildings modelled, there are all VFR-important landmarks on the whole included area too. We have also created 13 variously detailed airports and heliports for the project:
A base for low-cost carriers, with 2500m concrete runway and a modern terminal.
The largest GA airport in Poland with a massive traffic and a 1300m concrete runway, located close to the centre of the city.
One of the oldest airports around Warsaw, currently being used by ultralights, paragliders and skydivers.
A modern, private airstrip constructed as a part of a luxury housing estate and a golf course.
Constructed in 1994; International Air Picnics were organized at that airport for many years. Unfortunately this airport will be replaced by a shopping mall soon.
A private airport owned by an aircraft dealing company.
A private, nicely located modern heliport with a hangar for two Robinsons.
A small private grass runway with one tiny hangar.
A former military airport – for the last few years the small grass runway is used by private ultralights and paragliders.
Trebki Nowe (lite)
A small grass runway next to a farm, used by paragliders; very close to Kroczewo airport.
Wincentów 1 (lite)
An unregistered private airport, used mainly by paragliders and ultralight trikes.
Wincentów 2 (lite)
An unregistered private airport, used mainly by paragliders and ultralight trikes, very close to Wincentów 1.
Zabia Wola (lite)
440m grass runway surrounded by trees, difficult final approach with a lot of turbulence.
That’s a long list and it’s up to me to give you an inside look at what to expect. It won’t be an easy task because of all the airfields and/or heliports. We’ll see where it ends!
The Warsaw City pack
Although this impression is based on a Mac OSX installation, the output shouldn’t be different for a Windows package; however the installation process between Mac OSX and Windows is totally different. While the Windows installation is done via an automatic installer, for Mac OSX and Linux a manual installation is required.
According to the ‘Warsaw City XP MacLinuxInstall’ Acrobat manual, you need to install the package by following these steps: ‘In the *.ZIP file, where you have found this manual, there are also several folders with the scenery files. Simply move all those folders into your X-Plane 10/Custom Scenery folder. In that directory there is also a scenery_packs.ini file with a list of all installed sceneries. The new scenery folders directories will be added there automatically in a correct order at a next simulator launch.’
When you do it this way, I have my doubts about the location of the sub-folder ‘ZZZ DD Warsaw City XP Terrain’ in the scenery_packs.ini file which should be somewhere positioned at the end of this file. Since I had already installed Chopin International Airport in the X-Plane Custom Scenery folder, I copy and pasted the following Warsaw City folders to it:
– DD Warsaw City XP Layer 1
– DD Warsaw City XP Layer 2
– DD Warsaw City XP Layer 3
– ZZZ DD Warsaw City XP Terrain
– 000 Drzewiecki Design Library
But after I started X-Plane, still parked at the Chopin airport, the complete airport was gone. Perhaps I did something wrong, but it looks like that the order in the scenery_packs.ini file isn’t correct which has resulted in a missing airport. After reorganizing the contents of my scenery_packs.ini, I had both the airport and Warsaw City back, but was this the right way? A better option was to delete the scenery_packs.ini file first, open X-Plane and while X-Plane is starting up, it automatically provides the correct arrangement of ‘ZZZ’, add-on airports, libraries etc, while creating a new scenery_packs.ini file.
What to Expect?
That’s a good question, but oh my goodness, it makes a huge difference having Warsaw City installed and for those who haven’t bought it yet I’m not just talking about the many objects included in Warsaw City. OK, let’s first have a look at the following four screenshots which show you the default X-Plane scenery.
This is when you haven’t Warsaw City installed, while the next four screenshots are taken at the same geographical position and show you a totally different Warsaw area. And it’s not only the ortho ground textures and the huge amount of ground objects, no, it’s also the perfect blending of EPWA with the surrounding ortho ground textures and the huge square kilometer area included in this City package. Although you don’t see this in detail in the following screenshots, Warsaw City isn’t only ortho ground textures with Warsaw downtown, the package also comes with several small and medium size airports, but let me first show you the differences when compared with the previous ’empty’ Warsaw City. The screenshots are represented in the same order as the ones above. However, this time Warsaw City has been installed.
And … what is your impression?
Although these comparison screenshots reveal a huge difference compared to the default X-Plane scenery, how large is the covered area of Warsaw City? The problem is, as the name implies, you’re just dealing with a city package which isn’t really fair because it offers much more. First of all, EPWA is perfectly blended in with this package, and with the included ortho ground textures, it covers a huge area around Warsaw city. This is ably demonstrated in the following screenshot taken from a high altitude. You can clearly see the overall area and also where the ortho ground textures end. Just to give you the idea how large this area is, I marked EPWA for you in this screenshot.
A Closer look over Warsaw City | Part I
The only way the find this out is to rent a GA aircraft, and fly around the modelled Warsaw and its suburbs. I think you need to bear in mind that due to the huge amount of 3D objects frame rates could easily drop too low. That said, it’s perhaps an idea to lower your rendering settings and when the frames are OK, then you can increase the settings a little bit and see where it’s acceptable for you to fly VFR with reasonable frame rates. I never appreciated that Warsaw with its suburbs was that large and spread out over a significant area. As a result, there’s a lot to see and although many buildings aren’t landmarks, it’s impressive to notice the difference when flying over Warsaw without the package. The package includes many landmarks, many of which can be seen on the following screenshots.
Ok, let’s go for a short VFR flight. I’ve decided to takeoff from runway 15 and once I’ve pass the cargo area, I make a left hand turn towards Warsaw suburbs. What I see is what you get, but since I’m not familiar with Warsaw area I’m not sure if every house, flat, factory, offices, etc. is in fact reality. Most likely autogen is providing these objects except for the landmarks. Still, it’s impressive to see what a package can do with ‘what you see is what you get’. While climbing out to 3000 feet, I notice on my left a race track or at least something like that. I’m heading for what looks to me like a coal or electrical power centre. I’m not 100 percent sure what it is, but from a distance it looks nice and it’s certainly a landmark. The closer I come, I see less objects but the ortho ground textures are clearly visible instead and show me that no houses, offices or other types of buildings should be placed here.
After I’ve passed this landmark, I’m heading for the river Vistula and from here I follow it in a northerly direction. As well as the many objects I see on this virtual flight, it’s worth highlighting the passing of the Siekierkowski bridge. Although Warsaw has many bridges, this one is worth mentioning since it’s taken a little more work to model and worth the end result. I’m happy to report that the borders of the Vistula look realistic: not a straight line, but following the included ortho ground textures. Before passing the second bridge, I see on my left side something that looks like a football stadium. No no, this is another landmark and then the red/white National stadium on my right hand side. In between the objects, I see another nicely modelled Goodyear flat or office. With so many 3D objects, I’m becoming overwhelmed. I don’t know where to look especially for those typical Warsaw landmarks.
Anyway, the next landmark is the Świętokrzyski bridge. Nothing to complain about, especially when you compare this modelled bridge with some real photos. I see the Royal Castle and far away the Palace of Culture and Science, but oh my goodness, there’s so much more to see. Too much for this impression. But I’ve also spotted textures for houses and offices that are blurry or totally incorrect places on the walls. I’ll fly further along the river till I’ve reached the next electrical power station. From here, it’s a good idea to visit one of the airports included. I’ve decided on EPBC. This means, I’ve to fly a little further along the river, passing the last bridge, and then turn left to this medium sized GA airport. I’m aiming for runway 10R. It turns out that this airport, as expected, is well equipped with everything you may expect from what I’ve seen from typical Drzewiecki Design airports. That said, it’s fully integrated with the surrounding houses, flats, offices, road, etc. It’s a better description to say that this small airfield is completely enclosed. From my approaching altitude you can see the ortho ground textures that are included – of course – and on my left hand side I do notice some hangars too. Time to investigate, right?
A quick look at EPBC, EPMO and ……
Let me first start with a quick reminder of Babice EPBC. This airfield is the largest GA airport in Poland with a massive amount of traffic and a 1300m concrete runway.
Using taxiways to the Babice EPBC ramp isn’t really using the package properly since there’s only grass and for this section no 3D grass. I’ve decided to taxi towards the old looking Aeroklub Warszawski Sekcja Samolotowa hangar. Near the hangar I see many static GA aircraft, some people talking together, and when approaching close-by the hangar, I must admit at the 3D modeling is carried out with great precision. Although it’s just a simple hangar, it looks realistic and it seems to me the walls, roof and interior are all covered with photo real material. Overall a very nice part of this Warsaw City. And I can tell you that this level of quality is applied to every other hangar at EPBC. Like EPWA, some places at the airport have 3D grass, and almost hidden away at the other side of this airfield you’ll find some more parking places for your GA aircraft; however there is no hangar here.
Shall we go for another hop to EPMO? Modlin airfield/airport is the base for low-cost carriers, with 2500m concrete runway and a modern terminal.
The airport may look simple when compared to Chopin. However, it has everything onboard including a completely realistic modelled passenger terminal with parking lot and a life-like looking control tower (although it seems simple, it looks great). There’s of course also a fire station, taxiways and runway and needless to say ortho ground textures that blend in perfectly with the surrounding area. Oops, almost forgotten are the hangars at the far end of the airport. They look old and feel old, and therefore I’m not sure if they are still in use. Used or not, they look nice for such a small airport.
These quick airfield/airport impressions are just to give you an idea as to what is included within the city package. Of course, it’s not the same as my EPWA impression, but that was a medium to large sized airport with lots of things to see and to discuss. These two small places are – whatever you want to say about them – nicely modelled and worthy of inclusion. But I think it’s time to visit downtown Warsaw once more, but this time I take the car. Only problem is that I first need to pick up my things at Chopin airport before heading off to downtown Warsaw.
Yes, what about the other airports, airfields or heli ports?
While asking myself this question, I contacted Stanislaw Drzewiecki and ask him if he could give me some background of the development of Warsaw City XP with all these airports, airfields and heli-ports included. According to Stanislaw “Generally I was developing Warsaw City XP during my PPL training, and it could also function as an aid for my flights in the area. This is why the modelled “area” is so big – over 5000sq km – and also why all the airports are created to. Those that could be landed with a Cessna C152, are all modeled with high detail. Usually people are only interested in the downtown of Warsaw, but this is exactly the area where we can’t fly… The closest you can get to the downtown is above the National Stadium, other side of the river. Also the usual flying altitude is about 1500-2000ft (traffic pattern at EPBC is performed at 1800ft).
It was therefore our goal that there is much more to discover rather than the downtown itself, especially for real world pilots. All VFR points are perfectly recognizable, all approaches are realistic, airport layouts are up-to-date etc. Some buildings include interior modelling, although not at obvious places, for example a control room at EPSJ Sobienie airport although you can’t see this from the outside. Many hangar interiors are also modelled. There is also the first airport we have ever released, back in 2007 as far as I remember, EPGO Goraszka, which is the closest one to our office, which is also modelled.
It’s also worth to mention that all the airports are photoreal, there were thousands of pictures taken. I even did a skyjump to legally get to some parts of EPNC Chrcynno airport.”
Ok then, let’s have a look at the other modeled airfields or heli-ports.
My first quick look is at Chrcynno/Nasielsk EPNC. At first instance you might think “this is somewhere in the middle of nowhere with only grass runways”; however, the airfield does have some realistic looking hangars, a very basic but as real as it gets control tower with grass apron, car parking, and hidden in a forest, the offices from a skydiving club. And almost forgotten, there’s a lot of 3D grass to give it that look and feel what you may expect from this airfield.
Next quick visit is Sobienie EPSJ.
Although this airfield also has a grass runway with lots of 3D grass everywhere added, it feels to me that it has more to do with GA Cessna aircraft flying. On the road to the airport, you’ll find some look alike hangars with a huge flat, not sure if this is as in real. After you’ve parked your car, you’ll recognize immediately that this airfield is the home from the Sobienie Krolewskie Flying Club. This thought will be confirmed by the opened and well modeled, also internally, hangar and apron that has a lot of static flying club aircraft parked. Although it’s not more then this, it’s well modeled and remember, it’s all included in the Warsaw City XP package!
Following visit will be Góraszka EPGO.
The small airfield is, the same as the others I’ve seen, with precision and a lot of details modeled. One of those details is the use of photo real textures which is by the way also applicable for the other airports/airfields. The surrounding airfield grass area is filled with 3D grass. Near the very well modeled control tower, I see on both sides a couple of hangars and containers. All look nice and covered with photo real textures. Although it’s a very small airfield, it gives you immediately a good feeling, at least, it does with me.
What can be found at Konstancin-Jeziorna which is a private airport owned by an aircraft dealing company and at Konstancin Heliport, also a privately owned airfield, nicely located modern heliport with a hangar for two Robinsons.
Although very small and basic, I find the airfield Konstancin-Jeziorna very interesting. It comes with a relatively large hangar with entrance/office, open hangars doors and with lots of static Cessna models inside. The grass areas are filled with 3D grass, the area has a fences around it, some cars can be found and many trees. How simple and basic this airfield is, how realistic it is. The heliport is basically of the same setup.
All the other “lite” modeled airfields are just as the words says, “lite”. I had a quick look for them, but basically all these lite airfields don’t have more then a grass strip, sometimes a small hangar, windsock and a ultralight model. On the other hand, they are included in this 5000 square kilometers scenery package.
A Closer look over Warsaw City | Part II
From Chopin airport, I take the Zwirki Wigury road (634). At the crossing with the 717 (Aleje Jerozolimskie Warszawie), I turn right to first visit the Palace of Culture and Science. There’s so much to see downtown in real life, so let see how this central area is modelled. Taking the previously mentioned roads I reach the new downtown. The old central part is also modelled and we have already seen one of the buildings while flying along the river.
Although there’s a lot 3D modelling carried out to create the new downtown area which comes with many offices and houses, and having Google Earth as reference, I must conclude that some buildings, for example the Palace of Culture and Science, are very nicely modelled and they look extremely realistic. However, the walls of come offices have weird textures. They are not the same as seen on Google Earth, but even assuming Google Earth is also not right, then the textures aren’t correct in my humble opinion. Let me give you an example, the Regus Warzsawa. It is situated opposite the road where you find the Palace of Culture and Science. As far as I can see, the 3D modelling is done well but the textures are so blurry that it is not really worth checking out more. Although nearby ‘landmark’ buildings and/or offices are modelled, the textures aren’t always sharp and , while driving through the city, I noticed the presence of houses being placed in the middle of the roads or even blocking the road completely. While writing about these issues, I’m wondering if this is perhaps an incompatibility problem with the packages from Andras Fabian. That said, I think it’s a good idea to check Warsaw City XP with a clean X-Plane 10.42 with no other custom scenery add-on packages installed except OpenSceneryX.
After starting up this new simplified X-Plane package it turns out that I come across the same issues as previously described. So I have to conclude that it has nothing to do with being incompatible with the packages from Andras Fabian. I will just go back to Drzewiecki Design about the problem and this package will undoubtedly be updated unless I’ve done something wrong.
While in the new central part, I will have a quick look in the old downtown. In reality and also in the modelled version, the old downtown isn’t really big and a couple of historical buildings are modelled and covered with, I think, real photo material to give them a realistic look. Next to the Royal Castle they modelled the Bazylika Archikatedralna. Sorry if I’m wrong! The 3D bazylika looks not bad, but the blurry textures make it for me a disappointment.
Undoubtedly I missed other 3D modelled landmarks but the majority I’ve seen are OK but the textures on them aren’t always what you may expect. On the other hand, when you make a VFR flight, you won’t look that closely at these buildings to see the issues I’ve just described. Is it then fair to mention these issues? I think it is since you don’t get the package for free and for sure, when time and material permits, Drzewiecki Design will bring out an updated package.
A Warsaw City Evening look | Part III
Although Warsaw downtown isn’t the same as NY Manhattan or Paris, Drzewiecki Design tried to put a lot of effort in creating a nice evening atmosphere there. It is therefore, when you fly to or depart from Chopin airport, worth checking out Warsaw during evening. I’m not sure if a evening VFR flight is really allowed, and certainly half an hour before sunset VFR flying isn’t permitted, so you need to switch to IFR, then fly IFR over the city. It’s worth it.
That wasn’t an easy job. It’s different from reviewing an airport or an aircraft. It’s describing a complete area with ortho ground textures, a large city with autogen objects and many landmark objects. Then it also turns out that the package comes with many airfields and heliports. I explored a couple, but the rest ….. there should be something left for you when you explore Warsaw City XP if you decide to buy the product.
Although I’ve seen a couple of issues, I’m confident that these will be solved. I still think that the overall look and feel of Warsaw City XP and in particular with Chopin Airport is worth it.
When you fly IFR to and from the Chopin airport, then the package will offer you as pilot or passenger, a magnificent view of downtown Warsaw as well as a large area outside the city center and not forgetting the presence of the ortho ground textures. When you only fly VFR, then you’ll enjoy the package even more in my opinion because additional details will we visible due to the lower altitude, and the fact that you can easily hop from one airfield to another.
More information about this airport can be found at the dedicated Aerosoft eShop web page (http://en.shop.aerosoft.com/eshop.php?action=article_detail&s_supplier_aid=13577&s_design=DEFAULT&shopfilter_category=Flight%20Simulation&s_language=english). This impression is based on version 1.2 and tested with Mac OSX El Capitan 10.11.2 and X-Plane 10.42.
Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this impression. You can reach me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com.
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Payware Drzewiecki Design Warsaw City|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | Aerosoft | Drzewiecki Design|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of Warsaw City and surrounding airports|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 2.9GB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||December 19th 2015|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac 27″ 3.5Ghz Late 2013|
|- Intel i7 3.5Ghz / 3.9Ghz during Boost Mode|
|- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4096 MB|
|- 32 GB 1600 MHz DDR3|
|- 1 internal 1TB SSD (El Capitan 10.11.4)|
|- 3 external 1TB SSDs|
|- Saitek Pro Flight System|
|Software specifications:||- El Capitan (10.11.4) | Yosemite (10.10.5) | Mavericks (10.9.5)|
|- Windows 10 Professional|
|- X-Plane 10.45c | X-Plane 10.45m|