It is not every day that you come across an airport scenery that also happens to include the ENTIRE city that surrounds it. BC Sceneries has done just that, with their payware package for LIMJ Cristoforo Colombo – Genova Sestri airport, which includes the entire northern Italian city of Genova!
An Overview of Genova
Genoa (Genova is its Italian spelling) is a city with a population of roughly 600,000. This coastal metropolis covers an area of 243 square kilometers, spanning from the Ligurian Sea, to the Apennine Mountains behind the city.
The city is home to the Port of Genoa, which sees traffic of approximately 3.2 million passengers annually. This figure eclipses the airport of LIMJ, which has seen upwards of 1.2 million passengers, both internationally and within Italy.
These prime hubs for transportation are fully modeled in BC Sceneries' package, as we are about to see closer.
Like most scenery packages for X-Plane, installation is quite easy. Upon downloading the zip file, you will simply extract the three folders (BCSceneries – Genova COMPLETE A, B, and C) into your custom scenery folder.
That's it. The scenery should assert itself at the top of your scenery_packs.ini file. Nothing further needs to be done.
Once you have done that, you simply punch in the ICAO code of LIMJ, pick your starting location, and go.
This is taken directly from the store page, and is what you can expect with this package:
- LIMJ International airport and the city of Genova complete with all very high detailed buildings and architectural complexes and 3D modeled residential areas (15.000 buildings).
- Several thousands of objects like parked cars, trucks, parked trains, ships, boats, container, cranes and so on.
- Advanced modeling and texturing techniques, most models are prerendered day and night.
- Photorealistic 30-60 cm/pixel ground textures for all the area of the city and surroundings mountains. The most important areas has a resolution of 30 cm/pixels.
- Photographic night environment (ground textures and buildings textures) and night lighting effects (for example the "Lanterna" lighthouse).
- High detailed APRON in the airport area.
- Changing parked aircraft in the airport.
- Moving ground services in the airport.
- In the airport, the various buildings and the Terminal has the "interiors" (cinematographic set style): the windows are transparent.
- In the airport there are two (of five) animated jetways (Autogate plugin by Marginal required).
- 3D volumetric grass and 3D volumetric trees in airport area ("2D" trees for the city and forests).
- Extensive use of PBR materials for both the ground textures (except the residential areas and mountains) and building textures.
- Static people in the airport area (especially in and out of the terminal).
- The airport is been tested with World Traffic 3.0 and ortho4xp. They functions correctly.
- 3D modeled motorway junctions (day and night textures) in all the city.
- Two good detailed railway stations.
- Realistic and accurate ILS offset of 2 degrees.
- LIMJ documentation by ENAV included plus a map of the parking at the airport.
But how does it stack up in performance, you might ask? I am about to explain to you my findings.
Let me preface this by saying that I do ALL my flying in VR. For me it is extremely important to have a scenery that will not unduly tax my frames per second (FPS), otherwise an experience like flying a helicopter becomes an impossibility.
Unfortunately, try as I might, I could not get this scenery to give me any higher than an average of about 12 FPS. I tried it with textures set to medium (which of course sacrifices the high quality of the buildings), and I tried it with number of objects turned down to medium (which removes a lot of the autogen buildings, but also removes some important landmarks).
There was no really good compromise for me. Outside of VR the FPS was not much better, barely hitting the low 20s on my PC. At the airport itself, I have noticed that the grass used in between the runway and tasxiway is particularly heavy, and may be a cause for concern on approach.
In some cases, putting texture quality and number of objects to their maximum, resulted in a full freeze of X-Plane 11, at a whopping 1 frame per second.
I cannot fly that, sad to say. Not when larger companies such as Orbx are able to give me more than acceptable frame rates while in VR, without the need for diminishing the quality.
NOTAM to Helicopter Pilots
In my travels of the area of Genoa, I was only able to locate three official helipads
Two are located at the airport proper, beside each other, and the third is on top of a large skyscraper, that I can only assume is either a hospital or commercial structure. I went all through the urban areas, as well as the outlying hillside villages, but was unable to locate a suitable landing spot that did not leave me wanting to slide down a hill.
It would appear that this scenery was designed primarily with commercial pilots in mind, as once you get up close and personal with the city itself, it becomes apparent that there is little for helicopter pilots to do.
It is important to note that while the orthophotos are at 30 cm per pixel, this does not translate well for low and slow folks who want to get down into the scenery. Those of you who use ortho4xp might be able to get a more refined series of orthophotos to underlay.
The autogen however is well done on the larger buildings and iconic structures around Genoa, so there is definitely something to see at least, as you do your virtual tours.
While I do not know much about Italy, it would appear that BCSceneries did go to great lengths to replicate the city of Genoa, and for this I applaud them. The airport is finely done, and with the exception of the aforementioned grass, it is a delight to visit.
The port area is nothing short of magnificent, with the various cruise liners, and commercial ships being serviced. All the major landmarks for the city are included and can easily be found and seen from a distance.
I would hope in a future iteration of this scenery, more can be added for helicopter pilots to do, as there are very picturesque areas of Genoa that deserve to be explored. Being able to land there and take in the scenery should be just as important (especially in VR), as looking out the passenger window of an approaching airliner on final approach to LIMJ.
If Genoa is your kind of place, follow the link below to purchase this scenery package.
Many thanks to the .org store for the review copy.
- Fully rendered city and surrounding area
- All landmarks included
- Orthophotos for surrounding area
- Meticulously crafted airport and iconic structures
- VERY heavy on FPS
- Orthophotos not great at low altitude for helicopter pilots
- Very few helipads (only 3, 2 of which are in the same place)
Please note: the link above was either provided by the author of the product, the store that sent us the review copy or a personal choice of the article writer. It does not, in any way, indicate an endorsement of HeliSimmer.com to the website hereby linked.
More about this scenery
|Altitude||4m / 13ft|