Saturday, April 6, 2013
Mini-review: Frank's Dolomites
I love my country (Italy, that is)! Surely it has its own share of problems, but it is a wondeful and incredibly diverse and culturally rich country.
Unfortunately for our hobby, the great variety of the landscape means that it is not easy to develop complete scenery for the whole country - let alone the ugly FSX default rendition that looks nothing like the real thing (colors, vegetation, buildings...everything is not only ugly, but completely wrong).
Several people tried to create very large sceneries to cover the whole country - but failed. On the other hand, few dedicated developers created wonderful sceneries for specific parts of Italy - which resulted in true masterpieces, like the freeware rendition of Isola d'Elba and Northern Tuscany, or the amazing rendition of Venice from Aerosoft.
In this scattered coverage, Frank Dainese's wonderful rendition of the Dolomites is an authentic masterpiece. Frank has been developing mountain sceneries for quite a while, and its sceneries are works of pure love for our mountains.
His sceneries are simply breathtaking: detailed, crisp and amazing. With an almost unique feature: 3D modeled mountains. That is, instead of relying on FSX's terrain engine, most of the mountains are sculpted in 3D and then textured with high-resolution pictures straight from Frank's camera. The result is incredibly realistic and the washed-out effect of the default engine at high slope angles (where the engine must stretch the photo-texture) is gone!
Also, its sceneries are completely covered with Autogen buildings and trees (both accurately placed down to the individual building) and there are lots of custom building.
The current scenery covers the airport of Bolzano (which is however on a corner of the scenery), the airstrip of Dobbiaco and the (abandoned) airport of Cortina D'Ampezzo (a much popular winter resot whose airport has been closed and abandoned for several reasons, including the fact that the approach is challenging and dangerous - it is worth googling for its story!).
Frank is also constantly upgrading and expanding his sceneries, which however are only distributed privately by email.
- 3D sculpted mountains with custom, high resolution textures are incredibly detailed and realistic.
- The whole scenery is covered with accurately placed Autogen (including alternate textures for better color match)
- Custom buildings where needed
- Freeware does not get much better than this
- As with all photoreal sceneries at a certain point it comes to an end. And this means to see the ugly FSX default.
To get this scenery, you must go and visit Frank's blog, navigate to Frank's profile and send him an email requesting the scenery. Frank's blog address is this: