Review: Boundless Dublin for X-Plane 11

Boundless is known to have recreated many airports on the British isles. Their extensive portfolio consists of airports like London Stansted, Birmingham Airport, or even airports like the one on the Isle of Man. Although the team has cooperated with iniScene on Alderney Airport for Microsoft Flight Simulator, Boundless is mainly targetting the X-Plane community.

Their portfolio has been recently joined by a new project. The team refers to it as to “the most ambitious project yet“, Dublin Airport (EIDW) for X-Plane 11. If you want to learn more about the project itself and how it progressed, we interviewed Lewis from Boundless earlier this year. You can read the interview by clicking here.

In this article, I will talk about my experience and opinion of the scenery. For full transparency, Boundless sent the scenery to us free of charge. While we are thankful, the review will remain strictly unbiased.

Airport Details

Dublin International Airport is the busiest and the biggest airport in Ireland. It serves as the main hub for Aer Lingus and Ryanair. Currently, it is undergoing some changes. The airport was opened 82 years ago, in January 1940. Aer Lingus, the Irish national carrier, was the airline to operate the first flight from Dublin to Liverpool by their Lockheed Model 14.

In November 1945, this flight was joined by another flight to London. A few years later, the airport was already operating flights from all around continental Europe. Initially, the airport was designed to cater just 100 thousand passengers a year. Since 2010, the airport is capable of handling over 30 million passengers every year.

Passengers can fly to many destinations across the world from there. The most significant ones are Toronto, New York, Cairo, and Dubai.

First impressions

When I started the simulator, I was very impressed with how the scenery looked at the first glance. The scenery gave me a wonderful idea of how Dublin Airport looks, and I can say that it is very accurate to my eye, as I’ve been to Dublin Airport myself.

What I also liked is the modelled 3D interior at Terminal 1. If you’re an old-time reader, you might have noticed that I am a big fan of this feature, in general. The 3D interior at the Terminal 1 looked very authentic to me. What’s more, the modelling seemed superb as well.

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Performance

The scenery was not really good for me in the terms of performance. I tried running it on my system with RTX 2060S with 8GB of VRAM, 32GB of RAM and Ryzen 5 5600X and was getting around 20 frames per second when looking at the terminal and the main runway. On the other hand, I also tried it on a different system, which also had Enhanced Skyscapes installed and was running it on OpenGL as well. There, I was getting around 50 frames per second.

To sum things up, the performance you get may vary from one system or another. Or, alternatively, it is just me having terribly optimized simulator on one of the setups. However, I haven’t had similar problems in many other sceneries.

Surrounding area

The surrounding area is not very extensive, nonetheless, I wouldn’t take that as a huge disadvantage, even though it is a nice-to-have feature. The scenery covers the construction area of runway 28R/10L, a few fields behind the new tower, a chunk of Swords Rd., and the ALSAA Sports Club situated just outside of the airport area.

What also surprised me are handcrafted 3D models of the already mentioned ALSAA Sports Club and the Radisson Hotel, which I both expected only to be generic X-Plane models, but the opposite was true.

Speaking of the entrance area of the airport, there are buses modelled, which are authentic to the airport area. There are also many cars there, which at first I thought were taking performance, but turned out they didn’t. In my opinion, this area of the airport seems very busy, as it is in real life at the airport.

Modelling

Interior Modelling

There is a 3D interior at Terminal 1 and at some parts of Terminal 2, which are all modelled in great detail. The tower is also very comprehensive and includes a 3D interior among others.

There are even 2D people in the terminal, which makes it feel a little more alive. Even though they look very odd to my eye, it is just a slight detail which is not important to many virtual pilots. Majority of flight simmers don’t spend their time going through the terminals.

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Exterior Modelling

Exterior-wise, the scenery is what one could expect from Boundless. It is very detailed and there are not many polygon connections visible. However, I feel like the check-in area building of the Terminal 2 is a little more detailed than the duty-free area building.

Boundless created the static aircraft model in very good detail. However, the engine models are a little bit clunky in my opinion. Especially on the Boeing 737 model.

Moreover, there is a KLM Boeing 787 parked at Terminal 2. This seemed unusual to me at the first glance, but under further investigation, I found out that one KLM 787 diverted there back in 2019. However, KLM operates their flights from Amsterdam with either Embraers or Boeing 737.

The models of jetways are satisfactory. The Aer Lingus jetways appear to be a little more detailed than the others, but that might only be my personal preference.

In short, the modelling is very nice throughout the scenery.

Texturing

Boundless has done a great job with the textures on this rendition. They used PBR materials at this airport, and I am a big fan of them, I am nothing but happy. Regardless, the detail of the ground textures is very immersive resulting in them looking very good.

Speaking of the vegetation textures, I feel like they are done to a much greater extent than they should’ve been. I know this is a very uncommon thing to say, however, I believe the developers should have spent more time on other textures, and not on 4K trees.

While the overall experience from the textures is positive, I think that Boundless should’ve focused more on the terminal textures, as they sometimes lack detail and they are quite repetitive. On the other hand, I don’t take this as a huge disadvantage, as it is only a cosmetic feature and many people might not even notice it. But for a freak for details like me, it makes a difference.

Visual effects

Speaking of the visual effects, I couldn’t find any, especially during stormy weather. Boundless have promoted it as their most ambitious project yet, which brought up the expectations of various small features and details like the previously mentioned effects that are missing. It would have been a nice touch to see them featured, but them missing is not a deciding factor.

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Night lighting

The night lighting in combination with the PBR effects creates an immersive night experience. The lights behave as one would expect in X-Plane 11, everything is properly lit up and the reflections of PBR materials create a very realistic effect. The taxiways, runways and aprons have detailed and visible night lighting as well.

Also, Terminal 2 offers purple ambient lighting, which is there in real life as well. But at the time I’ve been to Dublin Airport, it was blue.

I also noticed this shadowed ground texture. It looks very impressive in my opinion.

Despite all of the lighting being good, the 2D textures take the immersion a little bit away, this can be seen especially at Terminal 2 apron, where the building has way too bright and blue lights and it doesn’t blend perfectly with the night environment of the rest of the airport.

Conclusion

Overall, this scenery is definitely worth its price tag of approximately €23.64. Boundless created a great scenery, which is accurate and the developer also promised to gradually update this rendition as there are many parts of the airport under construction at this moment.

Even though the airport has some smaller cosmetical flaws, it is the most comprehensive Dublin Airport rendition currently available in X-Plane 11. I might even say it is the best rendition of Dublin Airport for X-Plane 11 currently available.

The airport models are decent, it represents the airport properly to its current state in real life, which is the biggest advantage over the other sceneries which have rarely been updated. I also like the ground textures and the 3D interior of some parts of the airport. On the other hand, the developers should have spent way more time on certain terminal textures.

If you’d like to read more about Boundless Dublin, you can take a look at our exclusive insight into the development. You can get the scenery itself from the Boundless website for the previously mentioned price of €23.64.

Patrik Read more

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