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Milan, according to Wikipedia, is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital of Lombardy. It also rests near the feet of the mighty Alps mountain range.
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There are not many options for flying VFR around Milan if you’re looking to go airport hopping. Of the three closest airports in the default FSX library, only two are within the roughly 30 square mile coverage area around the city. One is the international Linate Airport (LIML) and the second is the smaller general aviation Bresso Airport (LIMB).
Looking around the coverage area, I was pleased to find the color balance of the textures to be largely consistent. The only problem I noticed was what I think is the transition from the high-res (0.59 metres per pixel/LOD 16) textures within the city to the lower-res textures (1.19 metres per pixel/LOD 15) used for the surrounding area.
I wish the blending could have been done better. It’s not something you would notice when flying in a big jet, however if you wanted to putt-putt around the countryside in a light aircraft it is.
Additionally, no effort was made to blend the scenery into the default textures, creating a square box of photoreal textures. I made sure summer textures were chosen for the screenshot above. These are the default ground textures; I do not have GEX Europe.
Water masking around the area is well done for lakes, rivers and streams. You might notice a few small ponds here and there missing a mask but I tend to not care about bodies of water unsuitable for float plane landings anyways – the photoreal water looks just as good in these cases.
There is no mesh included with the product but it’s not really needed either – the small river valley to the northeast is the only place of any significant elevation change in the coverage area and it looks just fine with the default mesh.
If you have moving traffic enabled, there is no additional road data for the area but the default road vector data matches up well with the textures and you’ll see movement on the major highways around the city.
Night textures are included, which is great and look very nice. For VFR flying night time is a completely different experience from day time so this adds another aspect to the scenery for light aircraft pilots to enjoy.
There is no seasonal support for these textures.
Buildings and Objects
There are no custom buildings or objects included with this scenery but FSX does have some default buildings around the city, mostly major landmarks that appear when you have your scenery sliders up high enough. Some are well placed, some are not.
If you want to disable them you have to dial back your scenery density slider, but that also has the effect of reducing the buildings and objects around the airports as well, leaving things quite desolate indeed during ground taxi unless you have some additional scenery installed.
It would have been better if the city buildings had simply been excluded (or the option to have them excluded was there) so airport buildings could be kept to make things a bit more lively on the ground in the immediate area.
Speaking of airports, none are redone to align with the ground textures, which is a bit of a shame considering there are only two. Being a major airport, the runways for LJML are fairly spot-on with just the taxiways being off. FSX always has trouble with the smaller GA airports. Why? I don’t know, and the runway is way off for LIMB in addition to the taxiways.
Being just textures, you’re not going to see any frame rate hits while flying around. You may experience longer load times when starting a flight in the area and you may experience blurry textures while flying around depending on your CFG settings and computer’s capabilities but that is pretty much it.
Summary / Closing Remarks
As a VFR pilot, you’re stuck with a very limited area to play around in, with limited options on where to go. As an IFR pilot, you get a better view out the window on final, but that’s about it – once you’re on the ground you have nothing to see.
For $18-$24, I would consider this product overpriced if not for the fact that ground imagery is expensive for developers to purchase and water masking/night lighting is a significant effort. Still, I would trade a smaller area just around the city itself for some buildings, trees and seasons as well as a slightly increased price point.
What I Like About Photoreal Milan
What I Don’t Like About Photoreal Milan
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