AVSIM Commercial Utility Review

Airport Enhancer HDX

Product Information

Publishers: CieloSim

Description: Replacements for airport textures.

Download Size:
127 MB

Format:
Download
Simulation Type:
FSX
Reviewed by: Allen Lavigne AVSIM Staff Reviewer - September 14, 2010

INTRODUCTION:

What is it?  An airport texture replacement and management tool. Made from real life DSLR photographs, these are bound to enhance the airport environment.  At these higher resolutions of 4096x4096, detailed surfaces and refractive wet effects are much more detailed than are the default FSX ones.

HDX Features list: (edited from Cielosim's website)
Runway Textures: Includes the detailed runways at 4096x4096 pixels.
Taxiway Textures: Includes a wide variety of detailed concrete and asphalt textures.
Parking Textures: Includes detailed airport parking spaces.
Jetway Textures: Includes two new jetway textures.
Lighting Textures: Includes brighter and more focused runway lighting and airplane lighting. 
Gate Textures: Includes remade gate textures 4 times more detailed than the default.
Marking Textures: Includes two new taxiway and runway markings matching the ones found in real airports.
Grass Textures: Photoreal perfectly tiled grass texture.
Sign Textures: Features remade signage matching world standards.
Wet surfaces: Surface refraction texture more realistic.
Single Interface: All textures managed from one GUI.

INSTALLATION:

Fairly straightforward, you only need about 400 MB of space to fit this application anywhere you chose on your computer. You will be asked to verify the path to FSX and your configuration files (easy). You will finally be asked to register,r which is a good idea as this is the way to be automatically notified of any updates. There is a short 5 page manual.

Do not forget to do the backup of your original textures before you go ahead and check out the new HDX enhancements! I also like to make a backup of the backup afterwards just to be safe.

Backup
Paths
Register
Max Texture
Configuration updater
Texture previewer

Since FSX always defaults to 1024 for its maximum texture load, you either have to substitute the 4096 value yourself into the configuration file or you can get HDX to do it for you as shown in the two pictures above. This is a considerate addition for the novice or unprepared to edit types.

Texture management is as easy as pie.  You can leave sections ON/OFF or chose from five types of concrete or asphalt runways, six types of concrete or asphalt taxiways, three types of parking, two types of markings and/or jetway and customized terminal gates, grass, airport signs, and surface refraction, as seen in the snapshot above. To help you decide, there is a convenient preview pane in the lower right corner.  In the snapshot, I am previewing the terminal gate.

THE TEXTURES:

I took snapshots of some of the textures and these are presented here:

Asphalt Runways: The majority of runways in FSX are of this type. I am at my home base CYQM for these snapshots.

Concrete Runways: These concrete runways are not as predominant in FSX. I had to search for an example and found one at EPPW.

Asphalt Taxiways: Here are some nice taxiway textures for you to choose from. They can match up well with some of the custom runway and parking textures.

Concrete Taxiways: These are abundant in FSX and were not hard to find at all. Again from CYQM.

Parking and Marking Textures: Parking at Heathrow.

Parking textures compared Airport Markings compared

Jetway / Terminal Gate / Signs: Again at Heathrow.

Once installed, I could not revert to the original FSX default for the terminal gate object. Maybe I did something incorrectly?

I had never taken notice that in the default FSX, they had the little windows in the wrong place. At any rate, the enhancements are minimal, except for the galley door and window. There were no enhancements regarding night textures, which were of similar illumination for their respective textures.

Grass: Since I have GEX installed, I am not showing any comparison snapshots of the enhanced grass texture as these may be too similar.

Surface refraction: Shown below on the same runway texture (HDX) is the enhanced wet refraction effect.

Textures Not enhanced:  The sets provided represent the majority of airport textures you will encounter in FSX but there are a lot they left untouched as well. For instance: dirt airfields, gravel, and cement, bituminous, and the one and only steel runway in FSX at KNJM.  Granted, these are oddities, one of a kind airfields, and as such were not that necessary to enhance.

Test System

Windows 7, 64-bit
Q6600 @3.4G WC / 6G RAM
BFG GTX260  896MB max res 1920x1200x32      
UTX, FEX, ASE, FSGenesis

Flying Time:
24 hours

PERFORMANCE:

I did not notice any adverse affect on frame rates nor graphic quality with this product. Making up strange words for some of the ordinary looking textures did not improve those textures.

SUMMARY/CLOSING REMARKS:

It's always nice to improve your view, after all: what you see is what you get.  This product offers you textures of higher resolutions (4096 compared to 1024 for default) for your airport environments. We do spend a good amount of time on the ground so why suffer through default textures that are repeated endlessly around the globe.

With HDX's management tool you can preselect your textures before each flight to wear down on this default's monotony. It would be nice to be able to have a different texture set at each airport or be able to change textures on the fly, but there are limitations inherent in FSX disallowing such pliability and are not of the developers design.

What is offered here is a limited selection of textures that in my opinion could have been made more realistic.  There is no mention in the manual of where they got the ideas for the different color saturations and why they are called as they are.

 

What I Like About Airport Enhancer HDX

  • Enhances the texture quality to high resolutions.
  • Easy to use.
  • Automatic tweaking of the configuration file.

 

What I Don't Like About Airport Enhancer HDX

  • Too easy to replace backup by mistake.
  • Unrealistic mirror imaging of skid marks (i.e. all perfectly aligned to the center line).

 

Printing

If you wish to print this review or read it offline at your leisure,  right click on the link below, and select "save as"

Airport Enhancer HDX

(adobe acrobat required)

Comments?

Standard Disclaimer
The review above is a subjective assessment of the product by the author. There is no connection between the product producer and the reviewer, and we feel this review is unbiased and truly reflects the performance of the product in the simming environment as experienced by the reviewer. This disclaimer is posted here in order to provide you with background information on the reviewer and any presumed connections that may exist between him/her and the contributing party.

Tell A Friend About this Review!

2010 - AVSIM Online
All Rights Reserved