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Scenery Enhancement : ALES Airport Layout Enhancement Solution by Pyreegue Dev. Co.

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ALES_Header.jpg

 

Scenery Enhancement : ALES Airport Layout Enhancement Solution by Pyreegue Dev. Co.

 

Over the last year since X-Plane11 acquired the PBR (Physically Based Rendering) system. You have seen a more realistic environment in the simulator. This is created by metalness mapping in PBR which is just one method of determining reflectivity in surfaces. In other words you can replicate wet surfaces on runways or any flat area in the simulator (Glass is another reflective surface).

 

So very quickly airport developers used the mapping to create more authentic surfaces to adjust to the weathers conditions, and obviously rain and wet surfaces were soon very prominent in the feature lists. But what of all the other surfaces in the simulator, or the default core textures...

 

Laminar Research have been very slow out of the gate to adopt more authentic and wet surfaces, in fact these bitmap textures is one of the areas of X-Plane that has not changed for eons or for at least the last three or for versions of the simulator, as it is a decade or so since any basic textures were actually updated (the lines, stand markings and crossings did however have an update a few years ago). 

 

So in reality it is up to 3rd parties to fill in the gap, or to deliver what Laminar Research hasn't yet introduced to the simulator, and this where ALES or Airport Layout Enhancement Solution comes in.

 

What ALES will do is give you options. Options to have the runway and other surfaces the way you like them and to have more active elements in the scenery.

 

Runway Options

There are three runway options with:

 

  • Used Runway
  • Worn Down Runway
  • Freshly paved Runway

 

First thing to understand is that X-Plane default textures are global, in other words it is the same at every airport, you can adjust different surfaces at different airports under WED or Payware airports, but the main settings are set globally. Here with ALES you can adjust those default textures in the Resources/bitmaps/runways folders, another folder "ALES LIB" is inserted into your X-Plane "Custom Folder" (you also have to change the ALES LIB/decals/Asphalt.detail file if you also change the runway bitmap textures).

 

As noted you have change your default system bitmaps, of which I am usually loath to do, but these are tested... and I didn't have any issues (If you of course update the simulator version, then these custom textures will have to be again replaced).

 

The textures are all taken from real world surfaces for detail, so they are highly authentic in detail, which is a big step up from the ancient Laminar versions, and all textures come in both 2K and 4K resolution quality sizes.. the 2K resolution size is the default and for lighter graphic cards, and so if you have the power then use the 4K- 4096x4096 resolution quality.

 

So lets have a look...

 

The Used and Worn down runways are basically very similar in shade and the visual look, but the detail is different... the lightest (slightly) is the "Used" textures and all three options have slightly different shoulder textures.

 

Used

The Used option is very similar to the Worn, But they have a stony asphalt mixture than a pattern. General wear and tear is focused on the lighter highly used tyre tracks to the darker outboard of the runway surfaces.

 

ALES_Used 1.jpgALES_Used 2.jpgALES_Used 3.jpgALES_Used 4.jpgALES_Used 5 LG.jpg

ALES_Used 6.jpgALES_Used 7.jpg

 

Overall the used are the closest to the standard default textures in colour and design.

 

ALES_Used 8 LG.jpg

 

Worn Down

The Worn Down is different from the Used in that the surfaces are ribbed, there are other slight variations like the main runway touch down zones and it is the medium in colour brightness range of the three...  and surfaces are mostly natural right across the whole surface.

 

ALES_Worn Down 1.jpgALES_Worn Down 2.jpgALES_Worn Down 3.jpgALES_Worn Down 4.jpgALES_Worn Down 5 LG.jpgALES_Worn Down 6.jpgALES_Worn Down 7.jpg

 

In areas you have oil patches and general wear and tear. The ribbed effect is very effective and the most dynamic of the two lighter greys.

 

ALES_Worn Down 8 LG.jpg

 

Fresh Paved

The "Fresh" paved option is the most dramatic, but it comes with a cost...

 

ALES_Fresh 1.jpgALES_Fresh 2.jpgALES_Fresh 3.jpgALES_Fresh 4.jpg

ALES_Fresh 5 LG.jpg

ALES_Fresh 6.jpgALES_Fresh 7.jpgALES_Fresh 8 LG.jpg

 

...   as the settings are global, then every single global airport is then set in the heavy darker texture setting? It looks excellent, the best of the three options, but in reality you can't use it? in certain airports yes definitely, but not in a total global sense. The surfaces are ribbed as well for maximum benefit.

 

Reflections

I was expecting in ALES for the runway and taxiway surfaces to have that PBR dynamic effect (wet), but the reality is some airports do work but most of the global airports don't...  The problem again stems from the original ancient textures, they are that in being totally out of date, and can't be used with current dynamic lighting. All is not lost though.

 

X-Plane11's dynamic lighting will generate some reflection, and the higher quality textures used here do reflect that effect (deeper) far better than the default textures.

 

ALES_PBR 1.jpgALES_PBR 2.jpgALES_PBR 3.jpgALES_PBR 4.jpg

ALES_PBR 7.jpgALES_PBR 8.jpg

 

All linage is reflective and is very effective, so that is some compensation. The linage is high quality and as noted reflective.

 

ALES_PBR 5.jpgALES_PBR 6.jpg

 

High quality linage in X-Plane from a 3rd party is not new, as FlyJSim did some a few years ago and this is just as good, it is all however very heavy, or mostly solid linage, with not a lot of wear or tear, but again it is in the global setting of one for all, a bit more of a weathered look though maybe have been more authentic, but the reflections are as noted very good.

 

If the airport has however been recently redone or created in a current WED format and the runway and taxiway textures are concrete in the (Draped).POL format, then things are now very different...  This is UKBB - Boryspil

 

ALES_PBR 9.jpgALES_PBR 10.jpgALES_PBR 11.jpgALES_PBR 12.jpg

 

...  and KCLT - Charlotte Douglas in the US.

 

ALES_PBR 13.jpgALES_PBR 14.jpgALES_PBR 15.jpgALES_PBR 16.jpg

 

Where the dynamic textures have been used the wet effects are excellent, and the detail with the quality asphalt is really, really good....  and all the pavement surfaces have been replaced for using the built in X-Plane11 featured PBR that delivers these effects. So the ALES can bring life and dynamics to WED Global airports when adjusted...  note the nice wet foreground, but the dry areas around the working zones of the parked aircraft, even if the actual runways are not reflective then the shoulders are, so it all helps in creating a dynamic atmosphere.

 

ALES_PBR 17.jpgALES_PBR 18.jpg

 

An interesting note is that as (global) airports in WED are updated and use the more modern (draped).POL settings then you will have the correct working tool already installed to take advantage of the changes, as every new airport comes on line then it is now now more active.

 

Heli pads

ALES has also replaced both the asphalt and concrete helipad textures...

 

ALES_Pad 1.jpgALES_Pad 2.jpg

 

Summary

ALES - Airport Layout Enhancement Solution is an excellent tool for getting some depth and quality into your Global Airports, to at least complement the more heavily detailed payware airport textures.

Enhancement is the word here... You can give your runways and taxiways more depth and quality in either 2K or 4K resolution textures, reflection effects on surfaces, reflective linage and signage and runways come in three options of Used, Worn and Fresh.. or light with stony, slightly darker with ribbed and really dark surfaces.

 

Overall this enhancement package is excellent, but the package comes with a few quirks. You have to pick the actual pack you want, so you can't mix and change, so it is one for all. The oddity there is that the Used and Worn are both good, but light, were as the Fresh is very dark but good and you seem to want number three with a more heavy Worn or Used? My pick is Worn with those lovely ribbed textures, but you just want little more depth out of it.

 

Secondly is that the actual runways and taxiways can't use the (Draped).POL format so that means you can't use the PBR effects, this an older dated X-Plane issue rather than the developers missing it out, and they are trying to find a fix. But the rest of the surfaces and especially with the concrete and asphalt and runway shoulders are excellent when the right tools are in place.

 

Overall this a pro tool to enhance the simulator and not a freeware hack, and well worth the investment in bringing the simulator up a level from the basic default settings. Most certainly I look at this enhancement package as a starter kit with more to come, so putting your money in there will benefit in the future as well as more features and details come on line with upgrades..  it is good as well in creating something Laminar Research should have done years ago in upgrading the basic bitmap textures, so why wait when you get that now...  a nice little investment.

 

_____________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! ALES Airport Layout Enhancement Solution by Pyreegue Dev. Co. is NOW available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :


Airport Layout Enhancement Solution

 

Price is US$12.80 (sale)

 

Features
  • 2K/4K Textures
  • Normal maps using X-Plane 11 PBR at its finest
  • All taxilines and other lines replaced (PBR)
  • All pavement surfaces replaced (PBR)
  • All draped signs replaced (PBR)
  • Asphalt Runway textures replaced (3 variants)
  • Concrete Runway textures replaced
  • Asphalt Helipad textures replaced
  • Concrete Helipad textures replaced
  • Asphalt Helipad textures replaced
  • Concrete Helipad textures replaced
  • Wet Textures (Can only be applied to PBR surfaces, (.pol))

 

Requirements:
X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
2GB VRAM Minimum

HDR has to be enabled to unleash the full potential of the package

Current and Review version : 1.2 (June 4th 2019)

 

Download and Documentation

The package download is quite hefty at 1.06GB, install is in the X-Plane Resources/bitmap folders and a folder placed in the Custom Scenery folder. If you want to change textures, then they have to be manually changed within the simulators resources. Full package is 2.74 Gb but includes 4K textures.

 

Documents are a User guide and EULA

 

  • EULA ALES.pdf
  • User Guide.pdf

 

______________________________________________________________________

 

Enhancement Review by Stephen Dutton

7th June 2019

Copyright©2019 : X-Plane Reviews

  

(Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions)

 

Review System Specifications:

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 512gb SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.33

Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini : SimBrief (Free) : Navigraph Charts (Subscription)

Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro v1.07 US$69.90 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free : JarDesign Ground Handling Deluxe - US$14.95

  

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