Scenery development in X-Plane seems to be soaring with both new and veteran developers entering the market. Descent2View is one of these new teams but there’s an interesting twitch to it: they are being supported by FSX/P3D veteran company SimWorks Studios.
Now I don’t want to throw any shadows to the release or the review, but I need to address this. SimWorls Studios (which I had the immense pleasure to meet at an event here in Portugal) is a company that has been dedicated to another set of sims (FSX and P3D like I mentioned above) but did let me know they were interested in expanding to other sims. Obviously, X-Plane is part of the (very) short list.
The fact that they are supporting Descent2View, seems to be an indication that they mean business and they are serious about expanding their portfolio and offer. While there’s no information about any products being developed by SWS for X-Plane right now, it’s still a clear nudge.
All right then, Chios!
Let’s start with the official description and feature list:
Chios Island National Airport (ICAO: LGHI) "Omiros" (Homer) is an airport on the island of Chios in Greece. Named after the great ancient Greek epic poet who was presumably born on the island, the airport is located at the region of Kampos, south of the city of Chios.
- Many custom buildings and objects
- Animated vehicles
- Custom ground textures making full use of PBR in a range of 4 km around the airport
- 3D night lighting
- Custom runway and taxiways
Let me say that, when I started checking out the screenshots released by the team on their Facebook group I was blown away. The amount of detail seemed impressive and it certainly spiked my interest.
There were a lot of custom built buildings and other structures such as outdoors, ads and vehicles parked both inside the airport and outside.
There’s a lot of detail all over and around the airport. 3D grass was added, and custom fences built as well.
One of the things that a lot of those that were following the development of the scenery noticed was the different texture reflections. When you get the light at an angle on some of the surfaces, it reflects giving you a very nice visual effect which is nothing short of stunning (and quite realistic as well).
The whole airport is very well built, very filled with nice details and it almost breathes life. There are a few human figures around (I could find two) which adds a nice touch and is a very welcome addition.
I would probably like to see more humans a perhaps less cars as a trade-off (to reduce the number of objects and polygons on the screen – more on this later down the review). Overall you do get the feeling of a busy airport with boxes, containers, vehicles and other aircraft. In fact, in such a small airport, it kinda feels claustrophobic as it seems there’s really a lot going on in such a small area. Which is nice, actually!
Descent2View does not offer us the full town of Chios, which is a shame but, according to the store website, they are considering updating the scenery at a later stage, with the town, and also add a new section of the airport that’s currently being built.
So, this corner of Greece might become a bit more complete in the future.
This is where things can get a bit ugly. But do read on and remember: I have a puny graphics card (still, yes).
With my GTX 1060 I’ve had no issues with the scenery whatsoever. That is, until I turned VR on.
When I did turn VR on, all hell broke loose, my FPS plummeted and X-Plane because unusable. I have tried it with 3 different helicopters that I have used in the past (some models are a bit more have on framerates, so I always try with different ones).
The weird thing is that I have NO idea what causes this. Yes, the scenery is filled with objects. There are a lot of polygons. But I get around the same framerates without VR as I do on other scenery (60+) which normally translates to 30+FPS with VR. While far from ideal, it normally allows me to fly without any issues. Not so much with Chios. I am guessing the toll is enough to make the framerate unstable, thus throwing off my VR kit.
While this is not a major deal breaker for those of us that have better graphics cards, it's something to have in mind if you have a 1060 or simular card.
Descent2View offers Chios as an airport-only addon in a place that’s not covered by any other product and, honestly, I find it very interesting. While not actually a region that is particularly interesting for helicopter flying – as there’s not a lot to see and do in the area for us, rotorheads, it’s still a great addition for those that might fly on or across this region in the Mediterranean sea.