"Willkommen in Innsbruck", with another stunning airport from Jarrad Marshall, this being his fourteenth work of art for Orbx, and his first foray into Europe. Not just content with giving us Innsbruck Airport, he has also included a massive 2,500sq km of fabulously textured photo real scenery.
Innsbruck Airport (LOWI), also known as Kranebitten Airport, is the largest international airport in Tyrol in western Austria. It is located approximately 2.5mi from the centre of Innsbruck. The airport, which was opened in 1925, handles regional flights around the Alps, as well as seasonal international traffic to further European destinations. During the winter, activity increases significantly, due to the high number of skiers travelling to the region.
ORBX LOWI Innsbruck Airport is available from Orbx via the FTX Central application. It is priced at AUD$39.95, or the equivalent on currency cross rates. Download and installation took no more than a few minutes with the process being incredibly quick and simple using FTX Central 3. Since FTX Central upgraded to Version 3 and Orbx have set up their own direct online store, there is now no need to go to any third-party reseller. All purchasing and downloading happens from within FTX Central. Simply click on the scenery you want, pay for it, then FTX Central 3 does all the work for you, even placing the scenery in the correct location within your scenery library.
With a massive 2,500sq km of stunning photo real scenery, ranging between 1m, 60cm and 30cm resolution, this is, by far, the largest scenery coverage from Orbx to date. Notwithstanding the already huge expanse that includes Innsbruck airport and the surrounding mouth-watering Austrian Alps, Orbx have also included a whopping extended coverage area stretching as far as 275km east to west. As indicated in the pictures here, Innsbruck Airport is within the blue area and that area alone stretches for approximately 80km east to west.
The features of LOWI Innsbruck Airport include:ultra detailed rendition of LOWI;
LOWI Innsbruck Airport is brimming with features that you are able to enable or disable within the huge control panel for this airport. I have a tendency to begin with everything enabled and see how my system performs, only then do I (if necessary) start to disable various items. At the time of writing this review, I have not encountered any performance problems to warrant this though.
Jarrad has captured LOWI Innsbruck Airport in all of its outstanding beauty. From the busy airport to the stunning surrounding landscape, the attention to detail is truly remarkable and once again stands testament to the commitment and passion of the Orbx developers. From the lone aircraft spotter/enthusiast and his camera, to the crisp detail of the surrounding mountains, no detail has been overlooked nor left to the imagination.
The list of custom buildings and objects is seemingly endless, but some of the more notable ones are landmarks from past winter Olympics, including the terrifying Bergisel Ski jump complex, stadia, churches, including St Johns Church in Axams to the west of Innsbruck. This church is a visual reference to begin your turn onto right base when approaching Innsbruck Runway 08 from the east. There are also hospitals, including Innsbruck University Hospital (LOIU) helipad, a working helipad upon which you can land. I will talk more on this later. Jarrad has also include animated trains which add to the overall realism but are hard to spot whilst you are on approach unless you are flying light aircraft - a nice touch though. All this adds up to make a very well detailed airport. There are also beautifully rendered seasonal and full night textures, which also include some superb night lighting effects, adding to the atmosphere of flying in and out of Innsbruck.
Another area that Jarrad has more than excelled in with Innsbruck is the ground textures. In and around the airport the textures are extremely clear and crisp. With a 30cm pixel resolution around the airport, the details on the ground really do pop out at you. The clarity is the crispest I have seen yet, as you can see here. There are tyre marks, oil spills, water puddles and more.
Added interest comes to LOWI Innsbruck Airport in the form of some 30km of animated railway lines and associated rolling stock. These trains can be seen doing their daily journeys throughout Innsbruck and include some very highly detailed trains.
Other animations include the Orbx PeopleFlow technology, although I did find that the same people were in position despite the time of day or season.
Adding more detail to the airport and the immediate surrounding area are a multitude of various vehicles, airport clutter, and aircraft. The quality of these assets is simply amazing. Jarrad has modelled most, if not all, the major landmark buildings of Innsbruck. Innsbruck hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and again in 1976 and because of this there are numerous buildings and stadia that remain as part of the cities infrastructure. These have been modelled by Jarrad and can be seen spread over the city. The models are all of a high quality, which not only add character to Innsbruck, but also play a vital role in visual approach landmarks.
The two buildings above are visual references to opposite approaches to LOWI Innsbruck Airport. St Johns Church is your visual aid and turning point onto right base to Runway 08 when on the donwind leg for that runway, whilst Adlers Hotel is your definitive cue to being on final approach to Runway 26 when approaching from the east. These are two very good visual aids. Other models worth mentioning are the monastery or 'Stift Wilten', and as mentioned earlier, the Bergisel Ski Jump. With his expert blending of 3D models and photographic textures Jarrad has brought LOWI Innsbruck Airport to life.
As with all of Jarrad Marshall's airports, LOWI Innsbruck Airport is no exception. The quality of the buildings throughout the airport on both sides of the runway are simply stunning. The detail is incredible and the textures and shadows are sublime. The glass structures around the airport are also a work of art and they are fully transparent from whichever side of the glass you are looking through. Innsbruck Airport is a complex mix of old and modern building styles covering both sides of the runway, but Jarrad seems quite at home developing either style with excellent 'eye candy' detail.
In addition to the main runway at Innsbruck, there are four helipads that you are able to land at. Unfortunately, three of these locations are not active helipads, by that I mean there are no ICAO codes, Hat Tux (LOJT), University Hospital (LOIU), and Fire Service College (LOIN). The fourth helipad is part of LOWI Innsbruck Airport and can only be chosen as a starting point from within the LOWI start positions dropdown menu. Having said that, one of the Orbx community members 'petfy' has put together a ZIP file which tackles this. You will find the file by first logging on to the Orbx Forum and searching for Innsbruck helipad APXs. The four helipads have been given the Orbx treatment though and have some great detail and textures in them. If you venture far enough eastwards along the River Inn, you will also find another unnamed helipad sitting next to the Inntal Autobahn, near the village of Buch.
If you are having any trouble finding these helipads, here are the grid references to help you (thanks to Jarrad for these):
LOJO – 47° 15' 18.05" N, 11° 20' 43.75" E (this can be accessed via the LOWI Airport menu);
LOIN - 47° 18' 31.00" N, 11° 3' 1.82" E;
LOIU – 47° 15' 39.65" N, 11° 23' 5.43" E;
LOJT - 47° 8' 0.42" N, 11° 42' 14.18" E; and
unnamed helipad – 47° 22' 32.16" N, 11° 44' 42.54" E.
Wow! That's all there is to say really. The atmosphere at LOWI Innsbruck Airport when the sun starts to wane over the Alps, is sublime. The sentinel like down-lights cast an almost ethereal glow over the airport. This coupled with the buildings that light up and the general airport lighting adds up to some of the best night lighting I have encountered. All this detail and not so much as a hiccup with my frame rates.
As with any project this size, there are going to be some anomalies found. That's the nature of the beast that is scenery design. I did notice some floating buildings in some obscure places but not where it really matters. Also, I feel if the included helipads had been given their own ICAO codes it would have elevated LOWI Innsbruck Airport even more. A thought for future sceneries perhaps.
A 16 page user manual is included in the download. This manual explains all the user needs to know, from installation, to using the control panel, to configuring your settings for LOWI Innsbruck Airport. A short, succinct manual that does what it says on the tin.
After installing LOWI Innsbruck Airport and seeing just how large the list of items there are to configure, you may be led into believing that there are going to be OOM issues. Wrong! I had no issues with either frame rates or VAS, in fact, quite the opposite. With the amount of detail included in this scenery add-on I was amazed at how stable everything was. How ORBX have achieved this, I don't know, but suffice to say I am more than pleasantly surprised.
At AUD$39.95, I feel this is completely justified for the amazing amount of incredible detail and huge area covered. The work that has been put into this airport has got to be worth this amount of anybody's money, surely.
To be able to use LOWI Innsbruck Airport, you will require at least one of the following Orbx products, FTX Global BASE, and/or FTX Global openLC Europe. If you don't have either of these installed, you will miss the blending of the airport photo real scenery into the surrounding terrain. LOWI Innsbruck Airport is also compatible with FTX Global VECTOR, however this is not a requirement.
The specifications of the computer on which the review was conducted are as follows:
Asus Maximus VIII Hero Motherboard;
Intel i7 6700K, 4.0GHz;
Asus Strix GeForce GTX970 OC, 4GB;
32GB DDR4, Corsair Vengeance, 3000MHz;
500GB, Corsair Force 3 SSD (OS);
2TB WD HDD (Prepar3D);
1.5TB WD Sata HDD (programs);
Windows 10, (64bit); and
Lockheed Martin P3D Version 3.4.
Additional Major Add-ons. Active Sky 2016; Active Sky Cloud Art; FS Global Ultimate; Orbx FTX Global BASE; Orbx FTX Global VECTOR; Orbx FTX Global openLC series; Orbx FTX region series; and Orbx FTX Trees HD.
Orbx LOWI Innsbruck Airport is another superb scenery add-on. The detail, quality, and accuracy of the scenery is amazing. Performance is the key to Orbx's LOWI Innsbruck Airport. Everything about this airport looks terrific, even with settings set very high and everything in the Configuration Panel enabled, performance was outstanding.