Commercial FSX Scenery Review
|Description:||Commercial airport scenery package of Anchorage International Airport (PANC)|
|Software Source/Size:||Download or Boxed version / xxMb|
|Reviewed by:||Benjamin van Soldt|
|Published:||January 30rd, 2012|
Computer / Software Specifications
|Computer System:||- iMac 27″
- Intel i5 Quad @ 2.8gHz
- ATI Radeon 5750
- 12GB DDR3 RAM
- 1TB Hard Disk @ 7200RPM
|Software:||- Real Environment eXtreme
- MyTraffic 5.3
- Ground Environment USA, Europe, Africa/Middle East
|Overall test time:||- Ground testing: xx hours
- Flight testing: N.A.
I like cold places. Cold places, such as Russia (in winter), Finland, Scandinavia, Canada and last bu not least, Anchorage, all have kind of the same look. Beautiful pine trees, snow, rocks… It’s the weathered look of these places that generally tends to attract me so much. Recently, Aerosoft has released their first Alaska airport for FSX with FS2004 on its heels. The FSX version will be reviewed here.
A word of warning on the FSX/FS2004 deal
It should be well-known by now that FS2004 use is declining, and FSX use is increasing. This is according to statistics from Aerosoft. These statistics have had their influence on how Aerosoft markets Anchorage. The new way is to sell one version for the full €24,95, and if you want to buy the other version, you’ll pay half: €12,50. This of course angered some people. But these are tough times for FS2004 products. Like all products they need to be sold and Aerosoft needs to know that it will return the investment. We will see now if there is a chance for that to happen: what’s the detail and performance of the scenery?
Aerosoft Anchorage is one of the sceneries that use the new protection system. This means you start out by installing the scenery as per usual. You start the installer, enter your email and serial number, and wait for the scenery to be installed. The scenery has an option for those that installed Ultimate terrain Alaska, which is nice.
The second step is installing the Aerosoft launcher, through which you will activate the scenery for use in FSX. This was a breeze. If you have filled in your email and serial number correctly, everything will be trouble-free and automatic.
There are two separate passenger terminals at PANC. One is the international terminal, the other is the domestic terminal.
The domestic terminal contains three concourses: A, B and C. We will start our tour of the airport here, then move on to the international terminal. See the screenshots below for the domestic terminal. From left to right it’s concourses A, B and C.
Modeling is really nice. It has good detailing but without overdoing it, thus keeping the performance favorable. It’s mainly details on the roof that weren’t explicitly modeled, so, more often than not you wouldn’t see them anyway. The walls are very nicely textured, the textures being crisp and good-looking. There is a variety of modeled lamps, both on posts and hanging from the terminal’s walls. There are also traffic cones and other ground equipment. Overall, a good-looking terminal.
The international terminal is a short distance away from the domestic terminal, and is just a long, slightly drab structure. The modeling and texturing are as good as on the domestic terminal, although there are considerably less details it seems. To me it looks like that’s because there are no details to model though, which is of benefit to the scenery’s performance. A bit more ground clutter might have been welcome, but overall it’s another nice terminal, not only from the planeside, but also from the passenger side, where we can see several cars, bushes, poles and lampposts.
Finally, let’s look at the ground around the terminals. I find the satellite image around the terminals rather blurry, as can be seen on the passenger side of the terminals. However, on the planeside, layers of detailed surface textures completely, or almost entirely mask this by providing good looking concrete tiles, runway markings and taxiway markings. The only evidence of blurriness can be witnessed on grass patches.
While the passenger terminals are an important part of the airport, the cargo aprons are the heart and soul of PANC. It is known worldwide as THE cargo airport of the world. As such, we can expect to see cargo aircraft all over the place, and that’s indeed what we find.
The cargo apron is huge. Warehouses and other buildings are scattered around the edges, showing prominent shipping companies’ logos, such as FedEX and UPS. Not a coincidence then that their respective planes can be found right at the respective company’s warehouses and storage facilities. All buildings look good. The texturing is nice, and while the modeling seems a bit simplistic, the truth is that there doesn’t seem to be that much to model on these warehouses. I really like the ground clutter, such as boxes, cars, stairs, etc. It truly adds to the atmosphere. And as I said, this is one of the biggest cargo airports of the world, and so I’m happy to find a Volga-Dnepr AN-124 over here too! One could just sit and watch the cargo planes from literally all over the world fly in and out of PANC.
Lake Hood Seaplane Airport
Here’s another nice thing about PANC. It lies directly next to the biggest seaplane airport of Alaska. Not only is PANC great for normal passenger planes, not only is a dream for those that primarily fly cargo planes, it’s also an exciting place for GA lovers, what with the giant Lake Hood GA and sea plane airport right around the corner. What I find so nice about it, is how it’s “wrapped around” Lake Hood. With a taxiway going all around it, with GA parking spots, offices and hangars. The modeling here is pretty nice, what with all the tiny cabins and piers. The addition of GA aircraft models is also very nice, and truly livens up the airport.
Miscellaneous areas and structures
ATC towers in the US are surprisingly uniform. Go to an airport in the US and the chances are roughly 60% that the ATC tower will be familiar. Not surprising, since so many ATC towers have roughly the same, or completely the same architecture. PANC’s not really different in that respect. The drab, grey column on which the control tower is placed reminds us of half a dozen other well-known airport’s ATC towers all over the US. Even though this ATC tower is very generic, the modeling isn’t. It looks really good, especially with the beautifully rounded edges of the radar (?) dishes. Texturing is also very nice.
Next thing to look at is the moving train. Yes, PANC has modeled the train that goes to the airport! You can even hear it thanks to special sound effects, although I do think that these sounds can be too loud now and then. Still, I think it’s a very nice addition.
Now follow some shots of areas all around the terminals and the airport itself. For all of those areas, the modeling and texturing is rather good, even if the photoreal ground scenery is a bit blurry and not as crisp as you might want to have it. The detail layers over the aprons, taxiways and runways more than make up for that though.
Finally, the night scenery. Overall I’m pretty pleased with what I see here. The lighting looks authentic, being a bit silvery, with soft edges to the lit-up areas on the tarmac. See below.
Anchorage by Aerosoft is a very nice scenery. The modeling is good, the texturing is very nice, and everything looks and feels authentic. Thanks to the nice blending of the photoreal ground scenery with the water, landing and departing at PANC is always a pleasure. The performance has also been rather good for me, giving me the FPS you may expect from such an international hub. It certainly does not underperform! For those that love doing cargo flights, I can only recommend this airport. Also those that like bush flying will find a major GA hub in this scenery add-on.
And finally, for those that like doing passenger flight this might not be the most glamorous airport to fly to, but if you have it together with Aerosoft’s Dutch harbor scenery, you will have found yourself a few truly interesting flights. This is one of those sceneries that will be interesting to everybody. The type of flying you do doesn’t matter.
Benjamin van Soldt
This review is written for Aerosoft News Service and published via the Aerosoft website.
While the reviewer has complete journalistic freedom, we ask the reader to keep in mind where the review is posted.