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Guest Marc_EDDN

Landclass comparison XClass vs. SceneryTech vs. Freewar...

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Hello and welcome to my second review!Introduction============When I started with FSX after not having used flight simulators since the 80's, I wondered a lot about the different enhancements available for it. Meshes, landclasses, sceneries, AFCAD all meant nothing to me - in FS2 the ground was green, the sky was blue, and the landmarks were wire frame. So it took some reading to figure out that a "mesh" was what I knew as "DEM" from my map software: information about the altitude of the points at a given place. I understood sceneries immediately, because having some custom buildings and stuff is quite straight-on. But landclasses and landclass sceneries?A landclass gives information about what's there at a certain location in the world. A swamp, a megacity, a forest - and what kind of forest, of course. All nicely filled by FSX by matching auto-generated buildings and trees. It did not take me long to see that the default landclass that comes with FSX is quite unsatisfactory for the places I am interested in. No problem, there are multiple products to change this. I went for the cheap solution and tested some freeware and the inexpensive XClass that comes in quite affordable chunks of the world. Noticing that some locations were not perfectly represented, I went to buy SceneryTech Europe in addition. Also, I noticed that my "German Landmarks X" includes a landclass for Germany. Together with the swiss landclass available in the AVSIM file library, that's a lot of landclass for Europe, and I decided to make a comparison which one I like most, and I decided to share it with you since many people ask themselves what to choose. Products tested===============I have tested the following products that I either bought or downloaded from AVSIM:(A) XClass Europe from cloud9(:( SceneryTech Europe bought at flight1© Freeware Swiss landlass from the AVSIM file library for Switzerland(D) German Landmarks X landclass for GermanyFSX default and Google maps were used as references for comparisonI know that there are other probably excellent products, but I can't afford to buy them all for the test ;-)Test Procedure==============I selected some places in Europe that were easy for me to use. (1)Menden(Sauerland) in Germany (close to EDLA airport) (A)(:((D), (2)Saanen in Switzerland (A)(:(©since it is featured in the Swiss mission in FSX and(3)Palma de Mallorca airport (A)(B) in spain since I was tired and wanted to go to bed and it's a popular holiday spot.For all places, all landclasses that feature the location were selected for the same screenshots. I then compared it to aerial imagery from Google maps, well knowing that no landclass will match this 100%.Menden(Sauerland), Germany==========================This spot is covered by XClass EU, SceneryTech Europe and German Landmarks X. Here's the screenshots first: pictures above are the FSX default.The following pictures are from XClass Europe: you find the same location as depicted in Scenery Tech Europe: Landmarks X delivers the following landclass: comparison, here's the aerial photo courtesy of Google maps for this location: first we notice in the comparison is that the FSX default representation does just show a large blob of city testure beneath a blob of agriculture. It is impossible to recognize any features of the real town.For XClass, the much too large houses chosen for this small town catch the eye in the foreground. But overall, the character of the region in general is much better represented than in FSX default. Also, the town is more ore less at its correct position, only the large houses are a annoying, and some crops are represented as forests.As for SceneryTech, the city center is shifted to the north and significant parts of the town are not represented at all. This gives the place a more rural appearance than it deserves. Here, many of the forests are gone to make room for crops.German Landmarks does a good job in my view in representing the city, and there are no real problems with anything. But the forest areas are a little too large, and some smaller settlements are not represented at all. Anyway, the town is quite recognizable.For me, this round goes to German Landmarks, with XClass EU second only for the "big town" houses where there are small houses in real life. I am a little disappointed with SceneryTech - this was relatively expensive, and I had high expectations.Pease see the next post for Saanen/Switzerland!

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