Lightman Posted April 5 Report Share Posted April 5 Scenery Review: PAJN - Juneau International, Alaska by Northern Sky Studio By Joshua Moore Introduction Aviation has played a vital role in Alaska for nearly a century, providing essential transportation services such as cargo, charter flights, medevac, airlines, and backcountry flights to remote towns. Juneau, Alaska's capital, first welcomed an aeroplane in 1920—a DH-4 biplane from the renowned Army's Black Wolf squadron. This marked the beginning of aviation in the region, with Juneau's airport evolving over time to accommodate growing demand and larger aircraft. By the late 1920s, Juneau established a basic grass landing strip, and in 1932, Alaska Southern Airways was founded, offering a direct connection to Seattle using a Lockheed Vega on floats. The airport experienced multiple airline mergers and expansions over the years, including a significant expansion project during World War II, which allowed the airport to support larger aircraft. In 1949, the first passenger terminal was opened, and the airport returned to civilian control in 1953. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, airlines like Pan Am, Alaska Airlines, and Western Airlines were operating jet airliners at Juneau's airport. The 1980s saw the addition of a full taxiway, Taxiway Alpha, to the runway. Today, Juneau International Airport is serviced by two major airlines, Alaska and Delta, and is home to Alaska Seaplanes. The airport accommodates around 600,000 passengers annually and transports millions of pounds of food and cargo to Seattle and Anchorage. Northern Sky is proud to introduce a highly detailed Juneau scenery for X-Plane simmers. The return of Juneau's spectacular approach and the surrounding scenery is an exciting development for fans of the region (myself included). First Impressions The installation process for Juneau is straightforward, consisting of one primary download folder for the airport and an optional link for a prebuilt ortho tile that is highly recommended to enhance the overall experience. To install, simply extract the contents into your custom scenery folder, which has a size of 3.81GB—typical for an airport of this size. The installation manual is more of a pamphlet, containing the same information found on the download page in your account. Note: be aware that I am utilizing simHeaven's freely available X-World America add-on in combination with the airport scenery, so please take this into account while observing screenshots of the city and wider areas. Upon my first time loading the simulator with the Juneau scenery, I was pleasantly surprised to see a passenger gazing out at the aeroplane from the terminal. This airport offers a unique feature not commonly found in X-Plane sceneries: a terminal interior. The terminal interior is exceptionally well-executed, featuring high-quality texturing throughout and a keen attention to detail. The inclusion of local artwork on passenger elevators adds an authentic touch, enhancing the overall atmosphere. The art-adorned walls and wooden flooring contribute to a cohesive and visually appealing design, demonstrating the care taken in creating an immersive environment. The superb modelling, combined with the texturing, creates a rich atmosphere in the terminal. One striking element is the impressive hanging bird models on the ceiling, which capture the essence of the local area. Scattered around the terminal, well-designed 3D character models can be found. Although their clothing seems more suited to a warmer climate, these characters add a sense of life and activity to the space. The control tower, like the main terminal building, is well-modelled and displays various consoles used by air traffic controllers. Situated high up, the tower's 360-degree glass windows not only provide stunning views of the surrounding area but also offer a realistic vantage point for those interested in the daily operations of the airport. Overall, the terminal's carefully crafted design elements come together to create a memorable and engaging experience for simmers. Initially, I was concerned about the performance impact, but I was pleased to discover that there was hardly any FPS drop during the daytime. However, the FPS decreased slightly at night due to the extensive light rendering inside the building. In terms of graphics, the scenery resembled Microsoft Flight Simulator (MSFS) airport sceneries, which was somewhat unusual but a welcome enhancement for smaller airports. Exploring The Airport The airport's overall appearance and integration with its surroundings are impressive, and the seamless blending with the ortho is remarkable. Having experienced this airport in FS2004, it is fantastic to see it again with such high-quality detail. The texturing appears well-blended from a distance, and nothing seems out of place. While the water has some graphical issues due to X-Plane's new water handling method, this is an ortho issue with X-Plane rather than a fault of the scenery. The terminal details are exceptional, with an intricately detailed interior featuring a wide variety of textures and polygons combined to create a highly realistic environment on both the roadside and jet side. The modelling is well-executed, and all elements fit together seamlessly. The exterior model is equally impressive, with fine details and a stunning backdrop of the Tongass mountains. The general aviation (GA) hangars maintain the same high-quality standard, with the Alaska Seaplanes hangar open and displaying a few static aircraft. Although I'm not typically a fan of static aeroplanes, they add a nice touch of life to the airport in this case. One minor point worth mentioning is the taxiway signs, which are the default X-Plane signs. To enhance the resolution of the signage, I highly recommend using MisterX's airport environment replacement taxi sign textures. Textures The texturing at this airport is among the best available for X-Plane, featuring high-resolution 2K textures for nearly the entire airport and meticulous attention to detail on various surfaces of the 3D objects. The terminal interior is particularly noteworthy, offering an abundance of textures covering all surfaces. However, the numerous interior lights at night led to a minor drop in FPS on my system. The ramp, taxiway, and runway textures are a balanced combination of default Laminar textures and custom textures by Northern Sky, with taxiway signage defaulting to Laminar. The dirt and weathering effects are well placed, albeit slightly predictable, but contribute to a better overall blending of the airport. The ground poly has a good resolution and integrates well with the provided ortho, serving as an excellent starting point for those new to ortho scenery. Although some screenshots may appear to have blurry textures, this is primarily due to Laminar's ongoing VRAM optimization issues. When I switched to a smaller aeroplane, the textures became significantly sharper. I hardly noticed any major details requiring higher resolution and was overall impressed with the texturing and appearance. It's important to note that any clipping in the water is a result of X-Plane 12's improper handling of orthos, which is still on Laminar's to-do list and will be addressed in the future. Lighting The lighting at this airport is generally excellent, but it does have some impact on performance, particularly in terms of FPS. The ramp is well-lit, the custom approach lights function correctly, and the overall night-time ambience is impressive. However, as mentioned earlier, the terminal interior's lighting causes some FPS drops at night. I experienced a loss of 3-8 FPS depending on my viewpoint, and while this may not seem substantial, it can affect the overall feel of the simulator, given that X-Plane typically runs at 30-40 FPS. It's worth noting that the lighting system by Laminar may be responsible for this performance impact, as it is known to be slightly FPS-intensive and has caused issues in the past. As such, any improvements to the lighting system would likely need to come from them. Conclusion After a long absence of quality Juneau scenery, I am thrilled that Northern Sky Studios has taken the initiative to bring it to X-Plane. As one of the top developers of Alaskan airports, Northern Sky Studios has done a fantastic job creating an authentic Alaskan feel, capturing the airport's atmosphere beautifully with great attention to detail. The airport is rendered in a way that is both detailed and FPS-friendly, making it a welcome addition to my simulator. Priced at $18.00, this scenery offers excellent value for an airport of its size. I eagerly await Northern Sky Studios' next release, and perhaps they will venture south to a certain Washington state city with three parallel runways. Fingers crossed! ________________________ PAJN - Juneau International, Alaska by Northern Sky Studio is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here: PAJN - Juneau International, Alaska Priced at US$18.00 Features: The most detailed replica of airport buildings and vehicles High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures High resolution building textures Compatible with all X-Plane 12 features Custom working jetways Custom mesh for the airport area (Ortho4XP) All materials created for full PBR Shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all airport buildings High-resolution building textures Custom orthophoto for the airport and surrounding areas World Traffic 3 compatible Not compatible with a default mesh (custom ortho link included) Requirements X-Plane 12 or X-plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 3.4 GB Current version : 1.0 (January 9th 2023) Review System Specifications Windows 11 Ryzen 5800x RTX 3070Ti 32GB RAM __________________________________ Scenery Review by Joshua Moore 6th April 2023 Copyright©2023: 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. rudeboy1988 and Kiwiflyer 2 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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