When I think of Scotland I tend to think about castles, bagpipes, and William Wallace. Now, that may be an indictment of the American education system or it could be that Scotland just rocks when it comes to those three things! The cool thing about writing reviews for Avsim is that you get to “see” what else a country has to offer, outside of Hollywood; well, at least in and around its airports.
Edinburgh Xtreme is the latest airport scenery from UK2000, building upon the initial release back in 2007. Edinburgh is the busiest airport in Scotland and sees some 9.4 million passengers per year. You’ll find a host of different airlines flying to destinations throughout the world: including British Airways, Ryainair, Flybe, Lufthansa, United Airlines, and many more.
The airport owes its origins, like many throughout the United Kingdom, to the conflicts in World War 1 and 2. Established in 1915, it hosted Westland Wapitis, Hawker Hinds, and Supermarine Spitfires over the years before fully turning the facility over to civilian control in 1960.
Installation and Documentation
Installing into FSX is a breeze and the executable finds your FSX via the registry. One of the things I like about UK2000 is the numerous options they give you when doing the install. I can choose to install static models, airport animations, or even the hundreds of cars parked in the parking lot. Having this myriad of options really opens up the scenery for those of us with fast, slow, or run of the mill machines.
Obviously, you have to close FSX before you make a change but selecting the options themselves is quick. We’ll talk a bit more about this feature further in the review.
The options menu
The documentation is comprehensive and well-put together. This is probably true of most sceneries but pay close attention to the recommended display settings. This setting should be set to MASSIVE or you can get some blurred textures. You can find a link to the document by clicking on your Start button and finding the UK2000 folder under your program listings. You’ll also find a link to the UK2000 website, NATS charts, and find the ability to uninstall the program.
Inside the Airport
As FSX opens up Edinburgh, the first thing my eye is drawn to is the FPS counter in the upper left hand corner of my screen. Now, I know this number isn’t the “end-all-be-all” of performance but I like to see it high and steady. It stays in the high 20’s at the start of the runway. I run most sliders to the far right, including AI traffic so as I lift into the air (using the default Bell 206B), I am anxious to see my FPS as I head toward the terminal. The counter stays in the high 20’s (it’s set to a maximum of 31) even with a mix of Lufthansa, British Airways, and various biz jets parked around the scenery.
Perhaps this isn’t a fair test of scenery given that any of our AI aircraft could cause stutters or low FPS but this is how I normally start my reviews. This is the way I enjoy my scenery…with loads of AI aircraft moving around! If I had seen low numbers I would have investigated my setup first and then moved onto the scenery. That’s obviously not the case and now I know that this product can handle what I would throw at it under normal use.
A really cool tower design. I’m a sucker for cool air control towers
The higher gate numbers this side of the airport
British Airways at the gate. Note the RBS signs!
Fuel farm with taxiing aircraft in the background
Fire station; perhaps the least detailed building
Nicely detailed hangar
Tower near the cargo area
Hangar area for the business jets. These are statics
As I hover around the terminal buildings I start to notice a beehive of activity below me. There is a lot of vehicular traffic moving around and interacting with the AI. Baggage, fuel, pedestrian cars, buses…you name it. All this buzzing around really brings the airport to life. This type of action is important to me because there’s nothing I notice more than a lack of activity at an airport.
Hector International Airport in Fargo, North Dakota may be kind of dead but I am certain Edinburgh is not. I also see that there are lots of low-poly cars in the parking lots…again, giving the place a sense of being inhabited and used. All of this traffic and parked cars and I still don’t notice a performance hit.
I pull around to the front of the terminal and at this point I am going in to slew mode and taking a closer look at everything. When I say the front of the terminal, usually I am talking about where the airport sign is located. This main building is nicely done and there looks to be lots of detail. I can’t tell if the models are complex or the textures are that good but it doesn’t really matter does it? It all works well and looks really good. There’s lots of signage for the Royal Bank of Scotland so if you bank with them I reckon you’ll get a kick out of seeing it.
You can even see smoke rising out of the….well, I have no idea what these areas are called where I would expect to see a jetway. It’s a nice effect despite my ignorance. The aircraft parking areas are well done with realistic looking lines and an appropriate amount of static equipment.
The tower at Edinburgh
Static aircraft at the gates
More statics with the heavy lifters in the background
Biz jet statics
Moving around to the south-southwest side of the airport I see the fuel farm and other sundry buildings. All of these are very well done and detailed. You have the requisite amount of vegetation, fencing, people…everything to complete the picture of an airport. In my setup, I do see one warehouse with some trees growing through the roof but perhaps it’s Christmas time or the Scottish enjoy indoor trees. I am sure I can fix this with a small exclude file.
The commercial and general aviation areas look great and there is room in the AFCAD for lots of visitors. There’s a sweet little Air Contractors hangar with several static aircraft. In general, I don’t care for statics but these look pretty good and don’t take up any parking. Across the airport is the cargo area and like the rest of the scenery, it is very detailed and looks great. Amongst all of the buildings on this side are a number of TNT trucks and warehouses. You can see that bright orange color from far away!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with UK2000, they offer up a configuration or option application where you can make some changes. As seen in the picture above, there are lots of things to play with. As I mentioned earlier, performance was great so I did not experiment with turning off service vehicles or getting rid of the 3D cars…the scenery performed admirably with all those options turned on.
One thing I did look at though was turning off the AI-based AFCAD and turning on the static aircraft. I have to say that all of the statics looked great and it was difficult for me to tell at a glance, the statics from a real AI aircraft. There was also a great selection of planes from the appropriate airlines. If you are one of those flight sim enthusiasts who use FSX with no AI then I think you will be pleased with this offering.
I think most scenery tends to have acceptable to good night lighting and this one is no different. Nothing is overdone and the colors and vibrancy seem appropriate. The runway and taxi lights have a nice, realistic shine to them.
Interestingly enough, performance from a FPS standpoint, was a bit lower at night. I mean, FPS was in the low 20s and was very consistent. It was nothing I noticed unless I looked at my counter.
Night time over Edinburgh
Just outside the airport perimeter
On approach at night time
Close up of the taxiway lights
More great lighting
Air Contractors hangar
Edinburgh sign lit up
Lights on at the warehouse
I have a pretty decent machine (at least, it was when I built it two years ago) so I am almost always getting good frame rates with the newer sceneries. I was surprised, though, at how little the performance hit was when using this scenery.
Developers like UK2000 are using every trick in the book to get maximum performance out of these products and it shows. I’ve also run the scenery for up to 48 hours with no ill effects.
Relatively light day on the biz jet ramp
Lots of cars in the parking lot today
About to land at Edinburgh
Taxiing pas the cargo area
Parking at the gates
Trucks waiting for cargo
Customers waiting to board their business jet
A large parking area in front o the terminal
| Test System |
• i5-2500K 3.3GHz OC to 4.0
• 8 GB DDR 1600 RAM
• Windows 7 64-bit HP
• Dual GTX 460 video cards
• FSX SP1 + SP2 (Gold)
• Logitech Extreme 3D Pro
Test Time: 10 hours
Format: Download (96MB)
Reviewed By: Danny Martinez
What I Like About Edinburgh Xtreme
- Easy to install
- Beautiful modeling and textures
- No performance hit to speak of
What I Don't Like About Edinburgh Xtreme
- No castles are included.