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Aerosim’s Kansai International Airport
Reviewed By: Benjamin van Soldt
Overview of Kansai International scenery
As you can see, the bridge between Kansai International and Osaka is also modeled. The modeling of the bridge looks very good and it’s a really nice sight while approaching the airport. Even more remarkable is what you see when you end up at Osaka: there is extensive photoscenery coverage here.
For obvious reasons, most of this review will be about the populated half of the airport. It would be nice if, when the time comes, Aerosim will release an update to this scenery, to get it on par with the then-current state of the airport. That is, however, an issue for the future.
Overview of the Kansai International terminal building.
The terminal building is a modern glass and metal structure, with a wave-like roof. Over the wings drive small, red trains that have multiple stops along each wing, enabling passengers to quickly reach their gates. And all of this is modeled in the scenery. We will move a bit closer now.
The terminal and its jetways.
There are a couple of things to be noted in the above shot. First of all, note the ground textures. These look to be at least similar to default (note that I use REX!), although there is a huge array of custom ground markings, which all looks very good. The relatively high resolution textures make up for the defaultish look of the ground.
Trains on the terminal roof.
On the other side of the terminal, we can see the trains drive up and down the two wings. About half of the wings feature a flat roof, with two distinct “gutters” in which the trains drive. In this scenery, these trains actually move, and stop at their respective stops. This is a very nice touch and sure is a welcome addition in an otherwise rather static scenery.
Kansai International features only one type of jetway, unlike Fukuoka, which sports at least two types. It’s a very good-looking model however. The texturing is very detailed and adds a level of detail to the model that in principle isn’t there. For example, the texturing makes you believe that the jetway has wavy, metal walls, like on shipping containers. This is however not part of the model; it’s just the texture that makes it look like that. Finally, these jetways move by pressing Ctrl-J, which is of course a welcome addition: it’s possible this way to make it work with FSDT’s GSX.
Entrance of the terminal building
Passengers have to get in and out of the terminal building. The entrance is located at the big, middle structure. Here we find two pick up and drop off locations: an upper one for dropping off passengers for departures, and a lower one to pick them up from arrivals (at least, that’s what I assume. At most airports, that’s the way it is). You can see that both levels have been modeled, although the upper one is more detailed, featuring roofs and busses. The modeling here is okay, although it’s more simplistic than the rest of the terminal. It shouldn’t be too surprising, as you won’t really see this anyway during most operations at this airport.
The cargo area at Kansai International.
The cargo apron is large and takes up approximately a third of the entire apron at the airport. It doesn’t seem like it has that many parking stands though. Again, we see a lot of what appears to be default apron textures, but with lots of good-looking, custom ground marking. The various cargo related buildings can all be found adjacent or close to the cargo apron. Amongst these are various companies’ headquarters, some large warehouses and several hangars.
The cargo apron
The cargo apron itself is, sadly, as empty as the passenger terminal’s apron. There is no ground equipment of any kind, leaving only the lamp posts and the ground markings, which ultimately makes the whole area feel really empty. The various warehouses you see along the cargo apron look okay, but they seem a bit bland. The textures seem hand painted, which in essence is no problem, but here it doesn’t look that good. Perhaps if the buildings were more detailed, like at Fukuoka airport (reviewed previously), the textures might have looked better too. I’m also not sure what’s going on with the large, dark patches. I assume these are shadows of the buildings, but the black seems too “solid”, making the shadows loose some of their realism.
Some distance away from the cargo apron, we find several buildings with clear signs as to what company they belong. As such I have dubbed these “companies’ buildings”. They seem to be primarily belonging to the Kansai airport authority, with names like “Air Catering”, and “KIC”, which I assume stands for “Kansai International Catering”, or perhaps “Kansai International Cargo”.
A final thing that I wanted to show at the cargo apron, are these antennae. These are a testament to the kind of detail you can come across at Aerosim sceneries. At Fukuoka airport (reviewed previously) the amount of detail seems significantly higher, but you can see that Aerosim has learned much since doing Kansai, for Kansai already shows much of the ideas and skill of the Aerosim team, and these antennae show them particularly well.
These runway textures in essence look really nice, but I wonder if they are the default textures or not. The detail of the texture is remarkable, leading me to believe that it is in fact not default, plus the ground markings, which are more detailed than the default textures, would feature. I think it’s safe to conclude that the textures are not default, but I do find it a pity that no more variation was introduced to these textures, by which I mean that all taxiways and runways look identical.
Since Kansai International is built on an island, there is no room for the lead-in lights on the land. So, they have built these kind of metal structures on which the lead-in lights have been placed. The attention to detail is really good, showing all kinds of metal crossbeams and such. It’s a pleasure to fly over them!
On the populated half of the airport, we find this off-shore array. It’s a metal construction, similar to the lead-in lights, on which there are some small buildings and antennae. I’m not quite sure what it’s supposed to do, but I do know that the level of detail is quite remarkable. The very structure and pattern of the metal beams and grids has been reproduced, in the majority of cases it being transparent where necessary so that you can see the water flowing under it. The texturing of the buildings is a bit bland, though.
The ATC tower features some interesting architecture. The round core in which the control room sits is supported by four pylons, one on each corner of a square ground plan. Its representation in FSX is good. I won’t say it’s exceedingly detailed, but the modeling looks nice and the texturing is rather good also. I find the texturing of the concrete, white base a bit bland, and the building behind it, with its array of antennae, also looks a bit bland. I guess that’s the drawback of non-photorealistic textures.
Kansai International is entered by means of a very large bridge. At the start of this bridge we find a rather tall building, a train station and a large highway intersection, all somewhat faithfully modeled. For FPS reasons I guess, the highway intersection doesn’t look as smooth as one would probably hope, but unnecessary detail can only slow the computer down. It’s nice that it has been modeled, even if it’s not at a very high level of detail. Also notice all the autogen in the background. This was added by hand onto the photoscenery!
The entranceway also has a wide highway on the top, with rail tracks suspended from it forms a long, straight line; the sole connection to the main land. The modeling is okay, although the texturing of the roads is on the blurry side. Still, the amount of detail, which extends to individual lamp posts being modeled, is very nice. I will add that that this detail doesn’t extend along the entirety of the bridge – probably to save some FPS.
Once you get off the bridge, you find yourself on a big road, curving around the passenger terminal, crossing under a road. On leaving the airport or entering it, you pass various booths. I suspect this is either to pay toll, or for security reasons.
Along the entry road, there’s a multitude of small and medium-sized buildings, possibly occupied by various aviation-related companies. Overall the modeling and texturing of these buildings is really nice, which is to be expected since it’s right under the approach path of one of the runways, like the entry road that was looked at above. Everything looks really good, but the uniform appearance of the taxiways detracts a bit from the varied appearance of the buildings. I have discussed this earlier, but I will mention it again: it would be good if in future sceneries, the taxiways show more wear and tear, and thus variation. Right now, the taxiways are the same all over the airport.
The road continues towards the passenger terminal. It curves around the big hotel, which is located just opposite of the passenger drop-off point. I find that the scene in the above shot looks very nice. The photoscenery used for the roads isn’t too blurry, so that you can clearly distinguish the various road markings, although if you look closely, you’ll notice that the photoscenery is of a lower resolution under buildings and such.
There is a car park along the road, behind the hotel. It features the same resolution photoscenery of the roads and the multi-leveled car park features to physical levels, with rather thin-looking pylons to keep it up in the air. The upper level also features several well-modeled cars. The nice thing here is that any cars that were imprinted on the photoscenery (like in so many sceneries) have been removed, leaving us with empty spots if there is no physical, 3D car placed on top of it.
The reason for the great visibility of the green taxiway lights is purely because of their proximity to each other and the number of them. Plus, the layout of the taxiways make for a pattern in which many taxiway lights seem positioned right behind each other, so that you get these “orbs” of green light at some runway entries and exits even though there are big patches of blackness between them.
Kansai International is a big airport, and as such, good performance isn’t something I’d be expecting. To my delight however, the scenery returns quite good FPS, possibly by the somewhat rigid control on where to put detail and where not, a consideration which I sometimes find to be a bit lacking with other scenery developers. However, detail isn’t constructive when you can’t see it. As such, too much detailed at an airport’s core where you will never get to with your plane, seems a bit redundant. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, most notably OrbX airports.
Aerosim’s Kansai International airport is a good performer. Sitting on the end of whatever runway at Kansai International, I usually got a FPS count of about 18. Note that I had all sliders pretty much all the way to the right and I was using the PMDG 737NGX. When flying in and out of Kansai International, the FPS fluctuated, but always stayed within 16 and 22 FPS (I have an external frame limiter set to 22, which is why it never came above 22). As such, I had a smooth ride at pretty much all times, and if I were to drop my display sliders to more normal values, I would have gotten much higher FPS.
Yes, Aerosim has done a good job on the performance front!
Summary / Closing Remarks
Kansai International is a nice scenery add-on that performs rather well. It represents the real-world counterpart very well, and many of the passenger terminal-related buildings look good and seem detailed. The jetways look really nice, and the fact that these move, like the default FSX jetways, is something I wish more developers would do.
At night the passenger terminal looks good too, but I wish the night textures would be brighter. Much of this area actually seems rather dark at night. Some more light sources would have been most welcome, although the gold apron lights look pretty good. Finally, there is no ground equipment at all, which results in a very empty looking apron. The addition of these would have been a great plus.
The cargo area is of a lower quality. The buildings are less detailed and as a consequence these can look a bit bland here and there. This is especially true for the buildings that aren’t positioned directly along the cargo apron. All in all though, what applies for the passenger terminal area also applies to the cargo areas: at night it’s a bit dark and more ground equipment would have resulted in a less “empty” atmosphere.
It’s great that so much of the surroundings were covered with photoreal scenery, and that important landmarks like the bridge that connects the airport to Osaka have been modeled. All in all, there is some remarkable attention to detail in the areas close to the bridge, which is logical considering the fact that it is right under the approach path of one of the runways.
Concluding, Kansai International is a very nice scenery. It offers detailed buildings, good texturing, coupled to good performance. The problem and its main weakness is the price: $50 for a scenery is very steep. You’ll have to think for yourself whether you find it worthwhile. If you’re an avid Japan flyer, you will find that it probably is worthwhile. If not, you might want to look at other sceneries.
What I Like About Kansai International Airport
What I Don't Like About Kanasai International Airport
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