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AVSIM Commercial FSX Scenery Review

Nice - Côte d'Azur

Product Information

Publishers: Aerosoft

Description: Scenery add-on .

Download Size: Format: Simulation Type:


200 MB Download FSX

Reviewed by: Jon Murchison AVSIM Staff Reviewer - March 18, 2010

Introduction

Nice Côte d'Azur Airport (pronounced ‘niece’ as opposed to ‘nice’) is France’s second busiest airport located on the
Mediterranean coast in the south of France. Nice (IATA: NCE ICAO LFMN) is also located close to Monaco, who has
adopted it as that city-states airport and as a result, are responsible for the extensive helicopter traffic that goes back
and forth between the two countries.

With two runways (04L/22R – 8432ft and 04R/22L – 9711ft) Nice can comfortably handle 50 movements an hour and
has the capacity to handle 13 million passengers a year using two terminals, though it has yet to record numbers this
high. A wide range of airlines, close to 35 in fact deliver and uplift passengers from Nice, which is a popular holiday
destination given it averages 300 days of sun a year. A dedicated cargo ramp can handle 50,000 tons of freight a year
and it’s not uncommon to see 747 aircraft disgorging anything from bread to a Ferrari onto the Nice ramp.

Nice started life around 1913 as an aero club on an area of grassed land next
to the sea. Development proper began in the 1940’s and 50’s when a single
hard surface runway was built and this gradually evolved through the 60’s to
cater to larger and faster aircraft. In the late sixties Nice operated two runways
which were actually sitting on a slightly different angle than the current
runways, but the second was a lot shorter than the primary runway. It wasn’t
until the 1970’s when land was reclaimed did the airport begin to take on its
larger and final form as it is seen today. Because of its close proximity to the
city of Nice, pilots must observe special noise abatement procedures when
flying in and out of the airport. Match this with turbulent air coming of the
nearby mountains and sea and Nice could be regarded as a pilot’s dream, or
worst nightmare.

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When I embarked on this review, the initial release had some serious issues
with texture flickering and for me made the airport almost unusable. It
appeared these issues were limited to users who had Nvidia graphic cards but
after much gnashing of teeth, hair pulling and two releases later, it seems
most, if not all, the flickering has been resolved, at least it has on this
reviewer’s machine. The question I am left with, now the dust has settled, is
why? I own many Aerosoft releases and had never encountered this issue
before, so when the initial suggestions were made on the support forum that it
could be drivers or people should reinstall FSX to resolve the issue, I was not
overly impressed.

At the end of the day, the support given by Aerosoft and the developer himself
were second to none once they understood the flickering was a genuine issue.
The final release at the time of this review, 1.02, incorporates several changes
to the base release that not only dealt with the flicker but also improved
performance. So, well done Aerosoft for excellent customer support, other
developers need to follow your example.

Installation and Documentation

Nice is available from Aerosoft as a download product and comes as a 200 MB


self installer. At this stage there is no indication a boxed equivalent will become
available. Like all Aerosoft products, there is a front end process for activating
the scenery to enable the install process to then complete. All up, the process took no more than 5 minutes for the
installer to gobble up 450MB of hard drive space, adding the Nice Cote d’Azur X folder to others that already sit in a
dedicated Aerosoft folder in the main FSX directory.

As usual, the scenery config is updated automatically so you are set to go as soon as you load FSX. Along with the
scenery, extensive documentation is also supplied. This includes a manual that outlines the sceneries compatibility with
other products such as FS-Global X and three pages of recommended settings for FSX to maximize the user’s
enjoyment. Like all scenery in FSX these settings need to be dictated by your system specs and your own experience,
but a dual core processor and 2 gig of ram is recommended.

The manual is accompanied by five detailed charts that cover both aircraft and helicopter operations, including IFR and
VFR flying. These are great resources and it’s a real plus they are included rather than having to find them yourself and
certainly make for realistic operations in whatever mode of flight you choose. The final item installed is a Mip Map tool
that allows users to add mip maps when they encounter the fuzziness mentioned earlier. So, installation really was a
breeze and the added touch of charts etc, is always welcome and shows polish in my view.

Airport Chart Mip Map Tool

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Chart

Laisse la mouche loin à Nice (Lets fly away to Nice)

My first impressions of Nice were, and forgive the pun but you knew it would come sooner or later, that it was a very
nice looking airport. It appears to me that Nice is a mixture of both classic and modern architecture that spreads across
the expansive area it fills with a natural flow that doesn’t require airport charts to help you figure out where you are. The
airport space is dominated by two large terminals and the control tower. Terminal 1 is the older of the two and has the
tower situated at its end.

The Tower Busy Nice

Ramp Action Terminal 1 Detail

The terminal has 6 jetways and numerous ramp parks. The level of detail is very high with the Terminals distinctive
angled roof captured perfectly. An example of the detail is along the front of the terminal, each door is labeled correctly
rather than using a generic sign and this is on the side away from aircraft operations, so you have to go out of your way
to see it but it’s there. Both terminals use glass extensively but I didn’t observe the use of reflective materials so while I
am sure the scenery is SDK compliant, it looks like the developer has chosen not to implement some of the unique FSX
features. If you use slew like I do to explore, you will find all sorts of places you can go that really highlight how much
work has gone into the modeling of the buildings.

The jetways themselves on both terminals are very well detailed, particularly the staircases that lead to the ramp. I was
disappointed that they have not been animated. When you consider most, if not all, good scenery produced for FSX
these days they have animated jetways included, and most Aerosoft products have this. I have to wonder why they
were not included. As it is, the only way you will see these animated is if you have AES.

On the topic of animation and Nice, I can sum it up by saying there isn’t any. Nothing in this scenery is animated and
that includes the radar dishes. Given I know what Aerosoft have done with other sceneries in their product line, Mallorca
comes to mind in particular, this was really disappointing. Now having said all this, I don’t consider the lack of animation
to be a hill to die on because at the end of the day the scenery still stands up pretty well without it.

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Ramp Clutter….Nice! Level of Detail

Across the great divide Inanimate Jetways ?

Leaving Terminal 1 behind, the ramp area leads to areas for fuel storage, warehousing and a dedicated cargo ramp that
sits between the terminals. This area also has a few key landmarks with the radar tower and cargo buildings.

The quality of the scenery items remains high across all these areas and attention has been paid to the details, right
down to the large ‘Rock man’ (my name for it) that sits in the middle of a round-about near one of the entrances.
Moving further around we arrive at Terminal 2. This is an impressive building providing 12 jetways and has a complete
glass wall structure providing a full 360 view of operations across the airport. Architecturally this is very striking and I’m
pleased to say the glass walls allow a look inside the terminal building, and of course a good view out at the ramp
operations around it if you are in slew mode.

Radar Tower Terminal 1 Ramp

Rock Man Terminal 2 Gates

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Through the Glass Terminal 2

Inside Terminal 2 T2 Drop-off

Large car park facilities and additional cargo ramps complete this side of the airport itself however there are numerous
other scenery items beyond the airport boundary, such as hotels, that add greater realism and detail. The road outside
Terminal 1 is a busy highway so if you have traffic turned on you will see traffic moving back and forth.

The Nice ramp area has plenty of static scenery items such as buses, push back tugs, vans, cars and the other kinds of
paraphernalia you would expect to find at any large airport. In the middle of the ramp area are a number of aircraft
parks and plenty of blast fences, and sitting here is the red airport fire services building. On the seaward side of the
airport across both runways sits the helipad area. With 14 pads available, Nice caters well to the elite clientele that use
Nice as a stop off point on the way to the city itself or near-by Monte-Carlo.

Nice sits atop hi-resolution photo’s which cover the airport and surrounds. The textures themselves provide a good deal
of detail and create a very realistic environment. I particularly liked the effect achieved with the taxiway and runway
textures that also have signs and 3D lights across them. For those wanting to fly precision approaches, Nice has fully
operational ILS approaches and various other accurate real world navigational aids to assist you. The AFCAD file included
is very well done with all the gates and ramp parks utilized. Both runways operate and on a few occasions when I was
flying ILS approaches, I shared the approach with an AI aircraft landing on the parallel runway.

T2 Car parking Heli Pads

Approach Roadways

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While Nice is an attractive airport during the day, it’s at night that I personally enjoyed flying in, out and around this
airport the most. Nice has some of the best, realistic and most effective night lighting I have seen and with bloom
effects turned on, the effect was enhanced further.

All of the 3D lights on the runway have a wonderful glow to them as do the pole mounted lights spread out across the
airport. Clearly considerable work has gone into getting the lights looking as good as they do across the airport and
surrounds, buildings included.

Seasonally, Nice lives in the summer so the photoreal base textures are used all year round. So now the really important
bit, performance. Overall, I found Nice to be FPS friendly. As you can see in the screenshots throughout this review, I
choose to have plenty of AI aircraft and even with bloom turned on for the night effects, Nice held up well and I was
impressed with this given the level of detail that has been included.

I used several default aircraft along with the Captain Sim 767 and while I did experience variations in my frame count I
didn’t experience any moments when it became sluggish or unflyable.

Airports Lights Surrounds at Night

Heli Pads at Night On approach

Bloom at Terminal 1 Ramp Lighting

Terminal 2 Signs

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It’s pretty evident that LOD modeling has been used extensively to assist with this. I’m reasonably confident that Nice
will run well on your average FSX machine. If you get good FPS across detailed default FSX scenery then you should
have no worries with Nice. As always, adjusting your settings is always going to be the name of the game to maximize
performance, but Nice is by no means a FPS drain.

Conclusion

Once the initial issues with Nice were resolved, I now feel Aerosoft has added another
excellent airport scenery add-on to their collection that performs well. If anything, Europe has Test System
been ‘Aerosofted’ with connecting points across much of the continent now available.

Intel Quad Core 3.2


The lack of animation, even the simple radar dish was personally disappointing because I
2 Gig DDR 3 Ram
really enjoy that level of detail. In my view, it’s an obvious emission by today’s standards but
8800 GTX Graphics
as a complete package I’m actually pretty impressed by Nice. From the included charts to the
Windows 7
fantastic night lighting and detailed buildings, there is a lot to like about Nice and plenty to
explore around the airport and beyond the perimeter fence as well, if you choose to spend the
time. Flying Time:
40 hours

What I Like About Nice

● Easy installation and excellent documentation


● Well constructed airport buildings with excellent detail
● Photoreal base layer
● FPS Friendly
● Night lighting

What I Don't Like About Nice

● The lack of animation in the scenery, especially no animated


Jetways

Printing
If you wish to print this review or read it offline at your leisure, right
click on the link below, and select "save as"

Nice

(adobe acrobat required)

Comments?

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Standard Disclaimer
The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is
no connection between the product producer and the reviewer, and we feel this
review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming
environment as experienced by the reviewer. This disclaimer is posted here in order
to provide you with background information on the reviewer and any presumed
connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

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