AVSIM Commercial Scenery Review

Lisbon X

Product Information

Publishers:  Aerosoft

Description: Highly detailed scenery package of Lisbon’s main airport.

Download Size:
FS9 - 187 MB
FSX - 107 MB

Format:
Download / CD
Simulation Type:
FS9 & FSX
Reviewed by: Benjamin van Soldt AVSIM Staff Reviewer - July 25, 2009

Introduction

There are some major airports in Europe that are famous for their enormous amounts of passengers and cargo they annually handle. People will automatically think of airports like London Heathrow, Frankfurt Main airport and Amsterdam Schiphol. There are some major hubs in the south of Europe too, and one of these is Lisbon’s Portela airport (LPPT). This airport is what Aerosoft’s Lisbon X scenery package is all about, and this is the airport this review will look at.

The airport is a rather old one, existing pre-WW2 where it was used by both Allied and Axis planes. Because of that, it was used extensively to smuggle people into, out of and all around Europe. In later years, Lisbon’s Portela airport was largely left alone and it continued to increase the annually handled amount of cargo and passengers. In the meantime, it was engulfed by Lisbon itself, bringing officials to the final decision of building a new airport outside of Lisbon. The village of Alcochete was finally chosen in 2008 as the place this new airport would be built, at a former military airbase.

Test System

Macbook Pro with:
Intel Cure Duo2 @ 2.4 gHz
Geforce 8600GT
4GB DDR2 RAM
Windows Vista Ultimate 32bit

Flying Time:
5 hours

Installation and Documentation

Installation is smooth and quick, and is like with any other Aerosoft product. You fill in your registration details to verify your copy, you define the place where Lisbon X should be installed, and that’s basically it. You’ll find Lisbon X to be installed in a new subfolder called “Aerosoft” in your main FS9 (or FSX) directory (if you elected it to be installed in that directory). I also found a folder in my start menu’s program folder containing the manual in English, German and Portuguese, plus an uninstaller and some other notes.

The documentation is quite basic and tells you the necessities. You get some background information on the airport, basic numerical details; stuff like that. In all honesty, there isn’t a lot more to document about such scenery. It’s not like there are any big features that need any explaining, and the nice features that are in the scenery are self-explanatory. When I think about such features, I think of the automatic parking signaling device at each of the gates.

A close inspection by bus

First off, I thought it would be nice to just drive around the airport and see what I come across. After visiting every corner of the airport and taking numerous screenshots, the simple conclusion is that the detail is quite amazing; although I noticed how sometimes the tarmac textures are not always continued over all surfaces that require them. More about that later as I elected to discuss my round trip of the airport in another section.

I started driving around on one edge of runway 03 and continued from there. Over taxiways first, but later over nice, well textured roads, full of details as can be seen below:

Just drove of the runway. Notice the nicely modeled 3D lights, good-looking taxiway signs, nicely textured tarmac, and the grass along the tarmac. There are vehicles driving everywhere, like this bus. Furthermore, notice the good looking and clear stop sign. This roundabout looks great. Notice the great looking signs, and the fact that the vehicles actually drive around the roundabout
The stands are littered with all kinds of static vehicles that all are well textured. The tarmac, too, is a joy to behold. A shot of some of the texturing of the tarmac. All is unbelievably sharp! Crossing the runway, to reach the apron containing the main gates, hangars and buildings. Nice texturing also here.

After having driven around the “normal” apron, where simple stairs are driven to the aircraft, it’s time to visit the hangar area of the airport:

Some more of these parking spots. You can see where aircraft actually stand thanks to the good-looking textured black spot in the middle. A small area surrounded by red/white fences. I love how this looks. The texturing still is great, with tiny details ever so well textured onto these containers This is what I previously told about: this spot here should have been textured with the tarmac textured too, but isn’t. You can clearly see the right part has the detailed tarmac texturing laid over the ground texturing.
Building look good, I love the cars parked across the entire airport. You can again see the tarmac texturing spilling out over the grass, and the road I’m driving on is only textured for three quarters with the tarmac texture. These cars, parked next to the control tower, are blurry when you look from so close by. However, how often will you be that close to such a car? Indeed, hardly anytime. The cars that drive around the airport, which you’ll very regularly encounter at close range have texturing that is much sharper. Wow! You can go into that hangar!
Inside the hangar. So okay, you probably won’t ever spend time in here, but it would have been nice if some more than just this plane would have been in here (plane looks good, though). Back at the control tower. The Air Zaire Boeing 707 has been nicely rendered, but I think it’s the weakest model in the entire scenery. The nose is too pointy, the wings too flat. This could have been better. Nice, static aircraft here. This aircraft does look quite good, and there’s another hanger you can enter.

What probably stood out most in this patch of the airport is how well the buildings look. The tarmac texturing could have been laid out with more precision but these are only minor gripes. Now let’s continue to the side of the airport you won’t see often, but passengers will see all the time: the highway and parking lots.

Parking lot. Ground texturing is blurry, but then again, you usually will only see this from the air… I love these signs. Notice how the texturing is extremely sharp and clear. I really enjoy the looks of this: the road, with the trees and all, and the parking lot with the cars.
The main entrance to the airport. This looks very well: the building’s texturing is very sharp, truly a joy to behold. The people placed here, along with the cars and busses blows some more life into this scenery, which is a great addition. This is a standard highway, not part of the actual scenery at all, but these cars are: they are moving over this highway and it’s a very nice thing to see when you are landing. This is by no means new to Aerosoft sceneries, but it’s so great: it gives FS9 users the possibility to see an FSX feature without the hassle of clogging FPS all over the world, since it’s only around the airport. Driving around the airport, at the gates. The follow-me van will not actually make you follow him (you need AES for that), but it looks nice, since it’s driving around the airport together with the busses and catering trucks.

That’s the airport from the ground perspective. I am impressed with the detail I have seen. This truly is a product with an Aerosoft amount of detail! Next up, the aerial view.

A view from the sky

After a drive-around, it’s time to go into the sky and see how it looks from above. To do this, I took the default Bell Jet Ranger helicopter to get into the air quickly:

Parking and gates from high above. I think this looks absolutely great! Gates and the hangar/cargo area. You see, from high above you don’t really see anything of the slightly misplaced tarmac textures. It just looks great from up here.
This is the other end of runway 3: runway 21. I love the mown grass texturing. Especially notice the taxiway details, where individual reparations are portrayed with black spots of newly placed asphalt See those short, yellow lines on the runway tarmac? These are notifications to the pilot of what the approximate distance is to a high-speed runway exit. At night (as you’ll see later), lights glow along these lines to give an even better indication. Plus, the lines (and so will the lights at night), point in the direction you can expect the exit to be At night: there is a custom-made highway bridge here. The traffic is driving over it as usual. Simply looks very cute.

Now it’s time for some general overviews of the airport:

That looks great I think. The amount of detail is good, although some of the texturing on the roofs of these buildings are blurry, but the roofs will only be seen when you are flying. In that case, you will surely see them sharper, so that’s not really a problem. The parts that you’ll see while driving around the airport (which is mainly the sides of the buildings) are much sharper.

Lisbon X at night

After studying the airport mostly at daytime, let’s take a look at the airport at nighttime. To do this, I did approach into LPPT at night, albeit an somewhat clumsily and amateurish. I’ll mostly look at the night lighting and parking system at the gates in this part of the review. First though, a comparison of the airport in day and night textures.

The lighting is extraordinarily good, as you might have already noticed. I honestly have no idea how they pulled this off, but first of all, these are not the standard lights being used. It’s also not the Shockwave lights redux package you’re seeing: these are custom lights you get with Lisbon X, and it looks stunning. When far away, the lights stick together, forming a white, beautifully looking band of light and the closer you get, the more the lights appear as single entities.

I’ll show you more of this in the following screenshots. What I was doing here was simply taking my Level-D 767 for a quick take-off and landing into LPPT. You can easily recreate this by taking off from runway 03, turning around and landing on runway 21 in one case, and in the other direction I was landing on runway 03.

Ready for takeoff. Just look how these lights blend more and more together to one white stripe of light. Positive rate, gear up! Some sort of overview of the airport. The lighting truly is great. I’m already approaching runway 21 here. In the course of this and next 3 pictures, I mainly want you to notice the complete greatness of these custom made Aerosoft lights. They are by far the best I have ever seen.
Great lights, closer by… Great lights, still closer by… Individual lights are becoming clearer and clearer, and light corona is getting smaller and smaller…
It’s from here you can well see the lights as being individual entities. Looks great. Also notice the highway with (moving) cars. I also wanted to make a picture of something like this. Touchdown. Notice the high-speed runway exit marking with the three lights, corresponding with the marking having three yellow lines.
Turning of the runway. One last look at these great lights. The apron lighting, which are placed as ground textures here, look awesome. The atmosphere of a warm, dusty airport can almost be touched, even felt just by looking at this gorgeous scenery. Notice the 3D lights along the runway, and the litten-up taxiway signs. Looks good, but the taxiway signs appear a bit blurry, sadly.

I previously mentioned doing an approach to runway 03. Here are pictures of that approach, though I found it less awe-inspiring then the approach pictured above.

Approach: I’m much too high, but that’s irrelevant right now. Notice (again) the lighting. It just keeps being a great sight, doesn’t matter how often I already saw it. Great lighting, again. On the ground now, notice again how the lights blend together nicely.
These are lights when you saw them from the other side when doing the runway 21 approach. When you look at them from behind, you see how a white corona surrounds the lamp itself. It really is a nice sigh to behold. The green taxiway lights are sort of 3D: they extend into 3 directions, as you can see, which gives a nice effect, but it’s not like an actual “bulb” of light. You still can see there is green textured sheet pointing upwards. That said, it’s nice, and certainly better than those default airport lights. The Boeing 707. Doesn’t have any night lighting, although I was expecting it. The buildings are nicely textured this night, though.
There’s my parking spot, with nice ground textures, depicting a soft, orange light, shining on the parking’s tarmac. Love it.

The last of these screenshots ended with me arriving at my parking spot. It’s when you arrive here that you get to see the last of a wide range of features I already showed you. For example, the interactive parking lights that direct you exactly to your position. Do note that I didn’t make the following screenshots at the above-pictured parking spot, rather at another gate.

When you first arrive at the gate, you see either one of these signals. What they mean should be obvious.

You then move around, until you get the signal of the two parallel bars, signifying that you are on track.

Here you can see how the signals change as you come closer. It all works fluidly and I didn’t have any problems.

As a side note, the signs become bigger from left to right simply because I’m getting closer and closer to the sign. They of course don’t magically blow up while they change.

I had parked, and to me a great dissatisfaction, I was all but parked right. I fear that there might be a flaw in the system of these parking signs. It’s probably all about the viewpoint that one has while playing.

The previous shots were all made from inside the VC. If you look at the position of the 767’s cockpit relative to the position of the sign, you see that it’s in one straight line: the VC is “parked” at the right spot, but the rest of the aircraft isn’t.

It’s a great pity to find this previously mentioned flaw in the parking-signaling device. If you look at the signaling device in the last screenshot, what you see is a signal wanting you to move to the right, and the “slow” signal has vanished. This is because the camera viewpoint in spot view is placed at a completely different point. I fear that there is probably no way to change this behavior since it is essentially an FS2004 (and maybe FSX) flaw.

Performance

As a last topic before I conclude my review, I want to look at the performance I had with this scenery. Here’s a small table:

Settings FPS
Night/Level-D767 7-30
Day/shuttle bus 30-40
Day/Bell Jet Ranger 20-30
Night/Bell Jet Ranger 20-30

Yes, I indeed had only 7 FPS at one point and I’m inclined to blame the moving traffic on the highway just in front of runway 03 because it only dropped to 7 when I was close to the runway and it was in sight. As soon as I had flown over it, the FPS jumped back to 25. Overall I’m pleased with the performance but of course I can’t promise it will be the same on your computer as systems, specs and settings will vary.

Summary / Closing Remarks

We have looked at this airport by bus, helicopter and plane, both in the day and at night. Despite the small flaws in tarmac texturing, the blurriness of some objects and the flawed parking signals, I’m impressed.

If you have any interest in flying to Portugal and be a regular visitor, then this is the best you can get. With its great night lighting, awesome all around texturing and amazing attention to detail, this is an airport scenery every simmer would wish to have.

However, if you won’t be a regular visitor of this airport, I can’t give you a good reason to buy the airport scenery. It’s like with all scenery packages, in the end you can’t just move it around like a plane. If you don’t visit the scenery’s location, then you probably don’t have a reason to buy the scenery. For the others, though, the scenery is great.

I know that I, who is not Portuguese nor have I ever been to Portugal, will be visiting this FS airport scenery often and especially at night. I can only say that Aerosoft has produced another great airport as expected.

As a side note, I’d like to point out I used the FS9 version in this review. Because of the better standards within FSX, I assume you can expect Lisbon X to be as beautiful, if not more so, in FSX.

 

What I Like About Lisbon X

  • Nice texturing, buildings especially
  • Good representation of the airport
  • Moving vehicles on the airport and default scenery’s highway
  • Great night lighting!
  • Great attention to detail (traffic signs, 3D lights, etc).

 

What I Don't Like About Lisbon X

  • Parking signaling devicees at the gates are flawed, but I can’t think of a way it can ever be remedied
  • Tarmac texturing not always placed correctly
  • Performance lacked a bit from time to time.

 

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Lisbon X

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