The Île-de-France is a region in north-central France which surrounds the nation’s capital, Paris. It is often called Paris - Île de France and, quite often, people think the expression relates to the city and not the region. France VFR recently released their Paris - Île de France scenery for FSX and Prepar3D. It's astonishing.
Paris - Île de France VFR features
Paris - Île de France VFR is the first of a series of add-ons that France VFR are working on. The whole experience will be called Paris Unlimited and it will be comprised of 4 (maybe 5) different add-ons:
- Paris-Ile de France VFR (this scenery)
- 3 airport packs
- 1 helicopter pack (which should be comprised of 23 platforms around the region, about 6/7 platforms at the top of buildings and similar, inside the city of Paris (hospitals, Montparnasse tower) and the helicopter base "Issy les Moulineaux".
- Paris City
There may be a 5th module released for night environment but France VFR is still not sure about how and when they will release it.
I can tell you this: after checking this scenery, I can’t wait to see how Paris City will come out. It’s already that good!
Here is the full list of features of Paris - Île de France VFR as per the oficial website:
- 5 meters (50 centimeters) per pixel texture resolutions made from aerial photographs and improved for FSX
- Mesh detail of 4.73 meters (LOD13)
- Lake and rivers fully rendered and navigable
- Seabed transparency according to the entire scene
- Semi-detailed airports and airfields, including the correction of gates
- Semi-detailed ultralight airfields
- Obstacles and VFR landmarks modeled in the entire territory including antennas, towers, water towers, wind turbines and various other constructions.
- Hundreds of thousands of objects and notable buildings (churches, power plants, silos, castles, industrial tanks, bridges, tolls, cranes, boats, lampposts, road signs).
- Integration of the 3D Automation® technology, which allows for multi-million realistic buildings and vegetation areas adapted to the region.
- Extremely dense and realistic vegetation areas provided through an advanced AI rendering module.
- Additional buildings including specific autogen and optimized 3D variants.
- Enhanced geo-referencing to allow for the maximum compatibility with future add-ons installed in the same area.
- Development process 100% compliant with Microsoft’s SDK, assuring the best compatibility with newer versions of the simulator.
First of all, a heads-up: please note that the scenery was developed for FSX and Prepar3D. FSX: Steam Edition is not officially supported and France VFR will not be able to assist you if you install it on FSX: SE. I tried to install it, though, and had some issues which went away after I reinstalled it again. I may have skipped a file during the process. Bottom line is: if you install it on FSX: SE and it doesn’t work, don’t nag the guys at France VFR.
So, as for the installation goes, it’s pretty simple – although I did manage to screw it up the first time.
Once you purchase the scenery, you’ll be provided with links for all the installation files as well as a serial key. You’ll have to download a total of 7 files for a grand total of over 10GB.
You will then have to unzip the files and run them one by one. During the execution of the first file you will have to provide your serial key. After that, you won’t be bothered again and the subsequent files will install without the need to enter the key. But you still have to run them once the previous finishes.
It’s not too hard but I’m pretty sure I managed to jump over a file when I first tried to install it on FSX: SE (I should have read the requirements). The scenery was all messed up and I thought it might have been because it wasn’t compatible with FSX: SE. So I installed it on my regular FSX installation.
It worked like a charm. Not happy with the first result, I reinstalled it on my FSX: SE and now it worked perfectly. Yep I did screw up somewhere. Make sure you install all the files in the correct order.
All done. Time to do some flying.
I must say I am not actually familiar with the Paris – Île de France area. I do know a bit of Paris and the big landmarks are there. Again: the goal of the scenery is not to provide a true rendition of the city.
The whole area, though, feels “real”. You get a lot of different buildings – and I do mean a lot – a lot of water towers, power towers, communication towers, very dense tree areas, everything as announced. Although I cannot vouch for the veracity of the position (or their existence), the whole scenery seems consistent with the photographs that are being used as texture and all of it has a very natural feel. Flying on this region in FSX, using this add-on, made me feel like I ought to get to know it in real life.
There are a lot of different buildings, churches, power stations, factories, beautiful landmarks from the area. It’s a true bliss to fly using this scenery.
I will spend a whole more time in FSX and, for sure, will start considering grabbing some jobs in FS Economy around this area. France VFR managed to get me hooked to the Paris – Île de France region.
This scenery adds so much to the screen that you would expect a huge impact on frame rate. Although I did feel some impact on my regular FSX installation, decreasing the frame rate by 10-15 frames per second (dropping to an average of 20 FPS, which is still playable). On FSX: SE the drop was negligible, which can be explained by the fact that I have a consistent 60-70+ FPS on this edition).
All in all, you may notice a bit of a frame rate drop but not that much. It’s much, much less that I expected when I first saw the scenery screenshots and after seeing it in-game. France VFR did a great job.
Where to get Paris - Île de France VFR
France VFR sells the product directly at their website: http://www.francevfr.com/product_vfridfx.htm
If you’re not comfortable with the French language, though, you might prefer to get it at SimMarket: http://secure.simmarket.com/francevfr-paris-ile-de-france-vfr-3d-automation-fsx-p3d.phtml
- Great looking textures
- Lots of different buildings
- Scenery is consistent and landmarks are easily recognizeable
- Installation process is not the best out there although not being hard. You just need to pay attention to what you're doing.
- Older rigs may get affected with frame rate loss