There are certainly moments in a simmer’s life, that stand out. Moments, which you remember dearly. This can be an immersive flight or your first perfect three-point-landing. To me, seeing Dolomiti 3D for the first time in my sim belongs to these special moments. That said, welcome to this review of FSC’s Dolomiti 3D by Frank Dainese.
Many of you may know Frank “Master of the Mountains” Dainese for his beautiful Dolomiti 3D freeware for FSX. In collaboration with FSC, an Italian company operating professional simulators and vendor of finest simulator equipment, Frank developed a scenery that is so much more than what its FSX counterpart ever was, taking full advantage of X-Plane’s unique features and rendering engine. FSC have been kind enough to provide me a pre-release copy of this magnificent scenery. Bear in mind that there might be still some visible bugs on the screenshots below. The team is working hard to iron them out and bring the best possible experience to your sim before the release actually happens. That said, let’s jump right into this scenery!
The Dolomites are a mountain range located in northeastern Italy. The Dolomiti 3D scenery covers a large geographical area of this mountain range:
Within this massive coverage area, you’ll find these terrific features:
- 2 airports
- 3 airfields
- 40 heliports (heli pilots, read this review of helisimmer.com)
- 63 reconstructed 3D models of mountain peaks or full peak groups (Brenta, Tofane, Baranci, Sella, Sassolungo, Odle etc)
- two major cities with custom 3D objects
- 85 mountain villages with custom 3D objects
- Orthoimagery (50 cm/pixel in main Dolomites area, 1.2 mt/pixel in secondary areas)
Have a look at the official manual here for all the features, details and more background information about this great scenery!
Let’s take a first look at what this scenery has to offer. The main city of this area, which used to be under Austrian control for centuries, is Bolzano. The languages in each headline are in German, Ladin and Italian, the three languages spoken in this area.
Bozen / Balsan / Bolzano
You might notice that my screenshots are not very sharp. At least not as crisp as the official screenshots here. The reason is, my computer sucks and this scenery can be heavy on frames, especially around the two cities Bolzano and Trento. After I found my personal “sweet spot” in the settings I never had to adjust my visual settings in X-Plane. With this scenery, I was forced to do that for the first time. What you see on my screenshots is what you’ll get with these rendering settings:
To give you an idea, these settings give me at least 20 fps around Bolzano and Trento. In other areas of the scenery this gives me at least 30 fps. To get these frames I had to reduce my Antialiasing settings. With my regular settings (4x SSAA+FXAA) the scenery was unusable to me. As you can see the scenery can affect your frames. However, this is totally justified keeping the massive amount of beautiful custom 3D objects in mind.
Trient / Trënt / Trento
Leaving all that aside, this scenery is just stunning. An unbelievable amount of detail went into this scenery. Whenever I loaded up my sim, I discovered something new. Ski Lifts, alpine refuges, heliports on top of the highest mountains. It is all there and more beautiful than any screenshot can prove. Filippo Nesi, beta tester of Dolomiti 3D, uploaded a video on YouTube, showcasing all those beautiful peaks, cities and villages this scenery has to offer. You should really check it out here.
Hayden / Anpëz / Cortina d’Ampezzo
If you fly into the smaller valleys, the scenery really begins to shine. Beautiful peaks everywhere, with crisp and clear textures. If you’ve ever been to that area (I’ve been there) you will recognize everything. All landmarks are there, everything that’s important for VFR flying, all there. It should be mentioned that this scenery was developed having professional users in mind, such as flight schools, which basically explains all the visual detail and level of perfection. FSC was just kind enough to release this work of art to the general public. Actually there were times when a public release was in danger (see this post). I am more than thankful that these problems are no more and we all can be proud owners of this scenery!
Toblach / Dobbiaco
In case you wonder if you should get this, the answer is a definite YES! It may be expensive (€68.00 is not a bargain) but it is worth it. Never before have I seen such a perfect scenery, and that includes FSX and P3D. The coverage area is huge, larger than most sceneries on the market. It is so big and perfect that you can spend weeks with this without getting bored. All the details will keep you stunned and amazed. There were some minor bugs in my pre-release versions, but all of them should be ironed out before release. I can definitely recommend this scenery!
Get FSC’s Dolomiti 3D by Frank Dainese for €68.00 here.