Not so long ago – in Xp version 8 – xpfr’s LFLL Lyon was considered one of the very best airport scenery files we had. And…it was. In fact, there was nothing else quite like it…
But then again, there is nothing else like LFLL. The airport’s architecture is almost surreal, and the integrated railway station – with it’s soaring wing motif – may well be the most stunning airport structure there is – anywhere. Surely this one structure has generated more imitations than any other in the world. It was, and IS, a work of pure genius.
The real airport, the one on the ground outside of Lyon, is continually being improved. New terminal buildings are added here and there, improvements to the taxiways and runways, too – and that only serves to make this airport – one of the busiest in France – a better place. If visiting Provence – from anywhere else in the world – entering via LFLL is a tremendous time-saver – as well as a remarkable introduction to one of the most vibrant cities in the world. The airport has served the city well.
This also makes me wonder why xpfr’s file, created for Xp version 8.64, has not been updated since 2011. It is – according to xpfr’s website – still a version 8.64 file.
And the issue is, it looks like a version 8 file, too.
xpfr’s most recent scenery release, for LFSB Bale (Basel), is a great file, one that looks almost perfect in Xp11. Their LFPO Paris Orly has been modestly updated – yet is still a very “modest” file, while LFPG Charles DeGaulle might rightly be considered an ancient file, leaving many of us to wonder “what’s going on” with xpfr? France’s three most important airports remain woefully under-represented in X-plane, and there’s no word that’s going to change anytime soon. So…what gives?
There’s no point posting images of this v8 file. The main terminal still looks decent, but empty, as in: totally devoid of life. Check static aircraft in settings and you get a couple of old, smeary ac, yet the ramps are otherwise bare. Lighting is pure version 8, and ramp lighting at night is by simple .lit textures, only now the airport is surrounded by Xp11 highways – and highway lighting – that looks gorgeous…thus leaving the airport file looking even more starkly – derelict.
Surely an enterprising developer would be willing to come and create a new file for X-plane? This one would sell, after all. But why shouldn’t xpfr move on this one? Indeed, on all three landmark files?
Well, as interesting as the question may be, this lingering issue is not the point of today’s post; rather, ShaunAT has been posting some extremely well made ‘city files’ over at the .org, and one of them just happens to be for Lyon, France. Naturally, we’re checking these files out as fast as we can, and we’ve mentioned a few already, but looking over this Lyon city file only made the absence of an up-to-date LFLL file all the more jarring.
Anyway, let’s hop in the 407 and take a swing into the city center:
The downtown area around the Gare de Lyon (the central train station) is about 12 miles from the airport, so a nice flight that starts over farmland then moves gradually into increasingly more densely congested urban areas. The tallest building in the downtown area is, predictably, a Radisson Hotel, though the rest of the city remains fairly “old” looking – at least “old” by some standards – and the journey into town is quite interesting.
Below, the Gare de Lyon’s massive passenger yard is not quite modeled. There are tracks but no platforms, and no station details (and no trains when I was here)…and you are right in the middle of downtown here.
Yet the overall effect around this “downtown” area is really quite impressive. Once again, there’s AlpilotX’s v4 mesh onboard, so theoretically OSM data is informing building placement, as well as road and railway accuracy, and from long to medium distances away I’d say this is true. When getting close to certain areas in the downtown area, especially along the rivers, however building density was nowhere near what was showing in GoogleEarth.
Highways look much more organized (I think the corollary is “much less haphazardly placed”), and so far this seems to be one of the biggest changes I’ve noted using these meshes. LEBB Bilbao was dramatically nicer looking in this regard.
Below, the Basilica of Notre Dame is a landmark feature visible from almost everywhere in the city (the taller structure on the left is a radio tower, and this black thing just doesn’t look like what I’ve seen in imagery of the area).
Here’s the real basilica, as seen from the opposite side, or from the river, looking up the hill:
And above, an interior image, just for reference. Below, headed back to the airport, these custom objects do not appear to be lighted.
Now, how about a couple of images with some heavy metal in the scene?
Above, you can see the Radisson Hotel tower through the right-side glass, and that’s the principle landmark you’ll see from 5000AGL on up. It’s a cylindrically shaped tower with a true, four-sided pyramid on top. Hard to miss down low, this building defines the skyline now, for better or worse. It’s just off the right wing-tip, below, with the Gare de Lyon a little aft of that:
And, of course, the hotel is just under the US flag on the aft end of the 763, below.
We’re not meaning to rag on xpfr with this post; those folks have got lives of their own and Xp may no longer be as important to them as it once was. If that’s the case, well, maybe someone else could take the reigns and update one or more of these important files. If not, I hope xpfr can at least get the three mentioned files back onto the production line. Having such good city files makes having a truly good airport file something of a necessity, and with Xp11 doing a lot of the heavy lifting (lighting, highways) perhaps these updates would be less difficult than imagined. Anyway, we can hope, can’t we?
Have a good weekend. We’ll pop a new post if anything new releases over the next few days. Thanks for dropping by, and we’ll see you again soon. – C