Another monograph today, another review focused on a single scenery file, and once again focused on a file produced by Finland’s TruScenery. This time out the file in question is Xp11 compliant, and it shows.
EFTP Tampere Pirkkala is located in southwestern Finland and not at all far from Helsinki (80 miles); this is a commercial aviation facility and there are flights from EFTP to Riga (airBaltic), Budapest and Bremen (Ryanair), Helsinki, Jyväskylä, and Kokkola (Finnair), Málaga (Small Planet), and Gran Canaria (Evelop, a Spanish charter operator based at Palma de Mallorca). SAS also services ESSA Stockholm Arlanda from here. There is a Finnish Air Force facility on the airport’s grounds, as well modest air cargo facilities and a GA ramp.
The commercial facility includes two terminals, T1 & T2, and T1 is shown immediately below:
And here is T1 in TruScenery’s file, in Xp11.11, with all rendering options at MAX.
Great attention to detail is a hallmark found in all TruScenery’s files, but this file, a payware product available at the TruScenery store, goes beyond anything I’ve seen from them before. I would say it’s their best effort to date, but I might go a bit farther and add this is one of the very best, if not The Best payware file I’ve ever seen. Period.
Let’s take a slow, close look around.
I think from the moment you land here you’re going to realize this place is something special – even if you are in X-plane.
In the pattern and on final, nothing much will stand out – at least until you’re close to the ground – when the airport’s terminal buildings take on real substance. By that point, the high definition ortho will sneak up on you and details will start popping everywhere you look. Yet look at the image above. Does it look like a simulation to you, or a photo? Now, below? The narrow road with the muddy turn-outs, the tall grass along the fence, the variety of trees and their heights?
When you’ve looked around a little and realize that everything here is modeled and textured with extreme care, and that the presentation of the airport’s facilities in this file is as close as one can get to the real deal, you’ll begin to understand what all the fuss is about. Ever since this file released there’ve been non-stop accolades and more than a few Youtube videos featuring this airport in X-plane. Sure, it’s not KJFK or EDDF – yet the small relative size allows a scenery developer a little latitude to go all out and make certain features really stand out. In this case, TruScenery went all out making sure their window textures were insanely detailed – both night and day.
You’ll realize this as soon as you taxi up and set the brakes in front of Terminal One (T1). The interior of the terminal is literally right there in your face, brightly lighted and as clear as can be. Get too close and you can tell which WC is for which gender…and when you do – try to pick your jaw up off the floor. This won’t be your last such moment, however.
And look at the reflected light on Jack’s 732! Outstanding! Oh, see the fluid stain on the ramp?
If you arrive in daylight the same level of quality and attention to detail will leap out at you.
Just recall, if you come here in winter you’ll see precious little sunlight.
On the west side of T1 you’ll find some truly great details (and let’s just ignore that Audi TT ragtop), starting with a stairway. Yes, a stairway.
First, note the grass (and weeds) and the fence. Lower level windows? Mini-blinds, and get close enough so you can count the slats. Upper windows? Note the reflections? There are two sets of stairs in this image, and we’re focusing on the closer set now. Note the covering on the top landing? The wood ceiling? The three recessed lights? Now let’s look at this area – at night:
Now you can see the lights (on) and the interior ceiling through the upper-level windows. Next, walk past the stairs and around the corner:
That’s a Ladies WC, by the way. Oh, here’s the real terminal again, and the same area:
And this is the same area in the file:
All this detail, as convincing as it is, is created via photo-textures. There’s not one interior modeled, per se; rather…the TruScenery team arrives on site and simply begins photographing every aspect of every building – all with one end result in mind. Build a physical model in a 3D modeling program like Blender, then apply your Photoshopped images to the texture sets. Everything you see in these images is such a creation, and the results speak for themselves. Have you ever experienced an airport in X-plane quite this visually immersive, or detailed?
Now do you understand why we bitch and moan all the time about smeary blue night textures? There IS a better way, but unless or until developers respond to pressure from buyers most won’t do this – because it’s expensive and time-consuming. First, the developer(s) have to get on-site and secure permission to image all the buildings at this level of detail, then they’ve got to either get the airport’s master drawings, or take measurements themselves (or, worse still, interpolate from Google Earth imagery, which is not at all accurate). So, we end up with rotten window textures…night AND day…and this is a phenomenon in all sim platforms, not just X-plane.
Oh yes, window textures in daylight can reveal the interior…but they can, as well, capture reflections of other details…
Such as the cars and trees, and even sky reflections, as seen in the image above. Oh, note the wood ceiling, brick pavers, red tower, and signage. And the benches, which are all there at the real airport. And yes, there are interior details visible inside the terminal. (Or, you can have nice smeary light blue textures.)
This is T2, and Ryanair hangs out here. It’s an older building but has a few neat features (like the little spiral staircase), and it’s textured as nicely as T1 – night and day. Below, the streetside entry:
Lots of windows with white mini-blinds on this building, and sure, go ahead and count the slats. While you’re doing that the rest of us will go and take a look at the main control tower, which is close to T1.
So, how does this compare to the real tower?
In the image below, check out the details on this lower level building. Doors (with decals and/or kickplates), electrical junction boxes, ladders, a/c unit on the roof…does it get any better than this?
Everywhere you look, no detail overlooked. And…what do you think these guys did with the control tower itself? Put up some smeary blue textures up there, like…windows you can’t see through?
Uh. NO. Try sunshades, clutter on desktops, monitors all over the place…and on and on…
Computer terminals aglow, too…day, or night:
Well, so far what’s missing?
Yup. No people. Am I complaining? Nope.
Now let’s look around the other areas…like the air force facility tucked away in the forest across the runway…
Including these semi-hardened revetments near the end of the runway:
Are you getting the picture yet? Is this as good as, or better than the best file you have for Xp11?
Let’s wrap this up with some random images from around the airport…
Framerates? With all settings at MAX not very good, but dial back HDR and AA a notch and uncheck ‘draw shadows’ and all my 737s were purring nicely, the SSG E-Jets too. The 4K Rotate MD80 is a lost cause at an airport this densely rendered on my machine, but the 2K version is workable.
Many airlines, including SAS and Finnair, use this airport to work on touch-and-goes and IFR procedures, so you know the paper on this one is good.
That said – last, but not least…a couple of images from Tampere:
Looks kind of nice, eh?
Well, have a nice time with this one. We’ll be flying from here to EFHF Malmi the rest of the weekend – in the latest v1.6 update for the Thranda Kodiak…checking out the latest version of the Garmin/Laminar G1000. I may try the v1.4 Rotate MD80 here a few more times, as well, after I cut back my rendering settings to smooth her out. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Hasta later – C