Stephen Posted July 27, 2020 Report Share Posted July 27, 2020 Scenery Review : KLAS - LasVegas by FlyTampa One person and one person alone created the Las Vegas we know today, that desert gambling paradise that shines in everything that is "Sin City", and would send any woke person into hysteria of everything that is wrong or from another perspective right with the western developed world. First thoughts would shout "Frank Sinatra" and his in famous "Rat Pack" and the mob investment. But crooner Frankie and his pals where present in the early late fifties and early Sixies and by the late sixies Las Vegas was already feeling like a doom town, almost broke and empty with the glory days that were already noted and lost. But an icon of the 50's came to town to resurrect his own career, the artist needed Las Vegas as much as the town needed him and so a deal was made at the still being built International Hotel for a four-week summer engagement in 1969, the whole thing was a gamble, the new and the largest hotel at the time was off the famous strip and also away from the older downtown area, but everything came together to create history, and it put Las Vegas back on to the top of the entertainment map, and to start one of the biggest roll of the dices building extravaganzas ever known and it created the current LAS VEGAS as the vacation hot spot of all time. The artist was Elvis Presley and he would go on to perform a total of 636 shows at the hotel from 1969 to 1976, with every single show sold out. Many would argue the Sinatra was the icon of Las Vegas and not Presley, but the fact that Presley attracted the huge family market (mostly the mothers) that changed the perspective of the town moving to more a expanded outlet and to cover the wider family base and their financial income, the International soon became the Hilton also then brought in another large demographic with the conventions, as the Las Vegas Convention Centre (CES!) was built adjoining the hotel, Elvis, Conventions, Buffets and gambling then all came together as one and created a modern desert mecca that has ruled now for fifty years... "Viva Las Vegas". Las Vegas in X-Plane has mostly been dominated by one scenery (plus a few default icons from Laminar) in the Tom Curtis "Glitter Gulch" package that was in 2013 certainly the best of the Las Vegas sceneries. I remember that review very well, the actual scenery for the time was sensational, but X-Plane in comparison itself struggled to create a plausible scenario. In reality it should have been easy as Las Vegas is set basically deep in a sort of extensive crater, so you only had to replicate the inner environs, but it failed very badly as the autogen failed, the addon ortho-photo didn't match up either, and so it was all a weird looking setup... with this lovely glowing central custom scenery basically surrounded by "ugggh". I did several tutorials on how to at least try to make it all workable, but the whole situation never really worked. And so here we are with the latest Las Vegas scenery from FlyTampa and has X-Plane overcome it's weaknesses to create a plausible "Sin City", to note that this scenery is not just the airport or McCarren Field, but also the layout of Las Vegas itself as they are both literally interwoven and linked together, we will however start with McCarren Field first. McCarran International Airport IATA: LAS - ICAO: KLAS - FAA LID: LAS 01L/19R - 8,985ft (2,739m) Concrete (ILS 01L) 01R/19L - 9,775ft (2,979m) Concrete 8L/26R - 14,510ft (4,423m) Asphalt (ILS 25R) 8R/26L - 10,526ft (3,208m) Concrete (ILS 25L) Elevation AMSL 2,181 ft / 665 m In reality KLAS is split into two terminal areas and the runway setup is interesting, with the two main runways 8L/26R - 1R/19L with 8R/26L - 1L/19R as secondary (smaller) runways. The interesting part is that all three converage at the single one point and when departing you can hold from both sides of the taxiways F and D with also taxiway E between the the two left runways. There are two terminals in Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, but the D gates of Terminal 1 are placed directly in front of Terminal 3 so could that facility be noted as Terminal 2, well no as Terminal 2 was the old Terminal 3, it sorta makes sense. Terminal 1 Terminal 1 is split into three very different sections of Concourses A, B, C and D. The original 1963 design are the two concourses with both the A and B round satellite gates. These branch concourse satellite gates are anchored in the middle by a central arrival hall that was inspired by the TWA Flight Center that was designed for Trans World Airlines by Eero Saarinen and Associates at JFK, New York. Sixteen A gates noted as "North" and Seventeen "South" B gates are mixed numbered, the system used at LAS is not the usual U.S. style in airline terminal branding and allocation. AS at McCarran it uses the Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) system, becoming the first airport in the country to do so as with the multiple airlines now serving the McCarran airport and so it became inefficient to have separate facilities for each airline. CUTE allows for shared use of ticket counters and gates and any airline can overflow to inactive facilities during peak periods. So there are no Delta, AA or even Southwest allocated terminals. The FlyTampa detailing is very good here, but the harsh desert lighting can make it all look a little washed out Glass is again very good and very realistic with PBR (reflective) coatings and are see through, overall the modeling is very good to excellent and all comes with detailed textures. If you demand that absolute detail quality then it is there in close up, but you have to get in close to absorb it. Internal terminal details are excellent, but only in Lo-Res. All areas are completed with seating, vending machines and the in-famous Vegas Slot-Machines in every satellite waiting area... The concourses can be explored as well with like at FlyTampa's Copenhagen Kastrup, you can look around and follow the internal detail. The SAM - Scenery Animation Manager system is installed here and as usual it is very good, noted that there are no marshaller or VDGS (there is VDGS guidance at T3) at the gate so you have to position the aircraft at the right parking bar, and the changing green to blue SAM marker is a help? The airbridge extensions at some gates are simply excellent. Airbridge wear and tear (in other words rusting) is really good and for some sheer detailing then note the lovely inner airbridge lighting and walkways, some airbridges on the joining to the main terminal section are however a bit gappy, and not set too close to match correctly. The C Gates extension and the first line of the people mover system was opened in 1987 and branches off the Central terminal building and Concourse B The design of C Gates extension is very different from the earlier layout and really just a very big concourse with great colour and concrete aspect, and the long thin internal layout is also well covered if in Lo-Res. Gates C1 - C25 are in a clockwise allocation. D Gates The separate northeast wing of the D Gates opened in April 2005, along with a 160 feet (49 m) apron movement tower at the center of the X style concourse. Gates are 1 - 59 in no particular order, just grouped around each concourse. Gates D21/D22 were converted into the only 3-jetway gate at McCarran; this was done to provide a proper accommodation area for the double-decker Airbus A380, but there is only a single airbridge here at that D21 gate? Again a very different design and from a distance D Gates looks bland, but the huge detail is there up close, with nice glass and modern cladding. The apron tower is excellent in design and is festooned with antenna and lovely detail Central hub arrival hall is excellent with really good internal detail with palm trees and a "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. All internal areas are walkaround and are all well detailed. Terminal 1 landside is dominated by two massive and garlish coloured carparks completed in 1991... it has to be bad to be garlish in Las Vegas? Automated People movers are the Green line, connecting Terminal 1 with C Gates, Blue line, connecting Terminal 1 with D Gates and the Red line, connecting Terminal 3 with D Gates, all tracks are completed and the trains are animated in the scenery. Terminal 3 Terminal 3 opened on June 27, 2012.The project was announced in January 2001 as a way to accommodate rapid growth in passenger traffic, The Terminal 3 cost $2.4 billion to build and is one of the largest public works projects in Nevada and it replaced Terminal 2 or the Charter/International Terminal, and in providing more international gates and a larger U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. With seven domestic gates, the terminal also eases congestion at Terminal 1. Again you need to get in close to see the detail, in which it is very good... again great glass and cladding, gates also have VDGS guidance. Central offset arrival hall is well done. Landside has a lot of detail, including concierge arrival desks and signage, but let down by some really average lo-res road textures. Internally Terminal 3 is as good as you would expect it to be, in being highly detailed and walkable. Glass reflections are also excellent in the right lighting conditions. Control Tower In May 2011 construction began on a new air traffic control tower. The tower is 352 feet (107 m) tall and replaced a shorter tower that only opened in 1983, it was later demolished. The tower replication here is excellent, with a lot of detailing even on the ground based buildings, the tower podium has that aluminium cladding that is very well reproduced for realism, tower glass is of course also very good. Tower view is correct, but has aerials and other roof mounted detail in the viewpoint, but most approaches are clear of the obstacles. Cargo and East There is a good cargo centre over to the east of the terminals. With six AC7 parking bays, but you could fit a small regional freighter in the non-marked bay. Overall it is very good with some nice branded cargo clutter, UPS, AA Cargo, Southwest Cargo and FedEx are all branded... .... cargo landside is pretty averages with just a few FedEx trucks to fill out a bland carpark, could have been better... The McCarran Marketplace shopping Mall behind Cargo is very well represented, but the hugely washed out Lo-Res textures are really, really average and spoils (destroys) the overall effect of the area. General Aviation and West The western boundary is the main area along Taxiway H and parallel to Rwy 01L/19R covers the fixed base operators and private jets. And they are all very well represented here. Split into four regions: General Aviation South, Customs/AECOM, EG & G Ramp and General Aviation North. General Aviation North has two main facilities, with Atlantic Aviation LAS and JSX (JetSuiteX) being the main tenants, and Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters also run from here, the rest of GAN is mostly hangarage. There is a lot of detail which to be honest is required in this GA section to make it all realistic, and it does very well.... There is a lot of money to be made in poker machines in Vegas, just look at their flashy facility. Infrastructure and government defense contractor AECOM have a large facility here with a customs section as well. Las Vegas Sands Corp Hangar is also a large presence, their personal aircraft are even larger!... god the money in Vegas! Gulfstream have a servicing base and Sundance Helicopters service the huge joyflight tour market that is available in Vegas, Grand Canyon flights start around US$440 - $2000, lunch is thrown in free! General Aviation South gives you a lot of GA parking space (note the Harley Davidson Motor Cycle dealership), and the Signature Flight Support LAS is well represented. Far south of the GAS area is Maverick Helicopters... the "most bad-ass tour in Vegas!" Overall this western boundary area is very well done, but again on the landside it is all very weak in the ground textures. NV-171 Central to the scenery is the NV-171 highway, also known in this section as the "McCarran Airport Connector" the highway cuts right through the centre of the scenery and separates the two main terminal aprons. The intersections and roadways are well done and are very realistic when seen from the aircraft while taxiing... ... NV-171 eventually turns into Paradise Road and one of the main entrances to (the old Vegas), along the Paradise Road section there are loads of well done billboards promoting Vegas attractions, all are well done and with great features presented. Overall all the infrastructure set out around McCarran is really good and gives the the airport that filled in feel, as early Las Vegas sceneries just mostly ended at the boundary of the airport itself, but here it is very well filled out for quite a distance with nondescript infrastructure. The trick with really good scenery are not the actual airports or building related to the area, but on how well the surroundings are completed to compliment the visual aspect and FlyTampa certainly cover these outer nondescript areas very well. Ground Textures I really loved the ground textures at FlyTampa's Copenhagen and I am not disappointed here either. They are first rate. LAS is about 95% concrete, so there is very little asphalt here, but it is done very well with the different types of concrete surfaces all being used, from ribbed to stoney and the concrete slabs are well defined. Dirt, oil and rubber markings are again excellent in the detail, you just can't fault them, only note is that there is no 3d grass? which is a shame as it was very good at EKCH, the point is that nothing would really grow in the rarefied air of the Nevada desert, but it would have been still nice to even some half-dead flowering. All surfaces are PBR active with effective burnt-in ambient occlusion, the surfaces are simply gorgeous in the right lighting conditions that brings out all the surface effects, sadly it doesn't rain much out here, so heavy rainfalls don't happen that much to get the most effective conditions to use them. Viva Las Vegas Any Las Vegas scenery is as much about the actual Vegas city vista as just about the airport, both are situated absolutely side by side and morph directly into each other, the Vegas skyline is iconic as well, so you can't simply have a Las Vegas scenery without a comprehensive Vegas city as part of the package. In reality there are two Las Vegas, the older original 50/60's "Downtown" and the more current "The Strip". Most Las Vegas scenery developers only do the "Strip" but that is a mistake as the "Downtown" is from a VFR point of view is just as important. Here in FlyTampa's version both have been recreated and it looks excellent. Downtown or DTLV is Vegas. Based around Fremont Street and the long animated roofed Fremont Street Experience, this is still the core of gambling in Vegas. You have a sort of boxy representation of DTLV, just basic boxes with textures plastered over them, it works but overall it feels a bit old fashioned in a scenery design approach, the very poor washed out ground textures really don't help out at all here, they could have made it at least interesting, but it actually ages the scenery by default? You can pick out the Fremont Street long awning, but the actual individual casinos are a bit of a challenge, as a note the original Golden Nugget is now part of the Fremont Street Experience. The World Market Place building does however stand out, overall it sorta works. The Strat Hotel, Casino and SkyPod (formerly the Stratosphere) is situated in the centre low section between DTLV and "The Strip". The 1,149 ft (350.2 m) Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States, and the second-tallest in the Western Hemisphere, surpassed only by the CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. Detail of the Strat is very good with the nice observation glass levels done really well. The International/Hilton/Westgate Hotel is well represented, when built in 1969 it was a huge distance from DTLV, but now is just part of the skyline... ... the monolithic Las Vegas Convention Centre that is next to the Westgate is well represented and the monorail connecting both the hotel and Convention Centre to the Strip is really nicely animated as well.... and yes "Elvis has not yet left the Building!". Now we are getting into the main "Strip" of Vegas... Several first are what as known as off strip in "Circus Circus" and the garlish Trump Tower. "The Strip" refers only to the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that is roughly between Sahara Avenue and Russell Road, a distance of 4.2 miles (6.8 km), but that boundary was overrun decades ago. Because of high land prices in DTLV, most wanting to develop mega resorts went for the out of town for the cheaper desert blocks, The first casino to be built on Highway 91 was the Pair-o-Dice Club in 1931, but the first casino-resort on what is currently the Strip was the El Rancho Vegas, which opened with 63 rooms on April 3, 1941 (and was destroyed by a fire in 1960). Its success spawned a second hotel on what would become the Strip, the Hotel Last Frontier in 1942 and the first mega casino was Caesars Palace which was established in 1966. Since then it has been the biggest or the most outlandish building race every year. The Wynn and Encore are excellent, and note the amazing reflections. Venetian, Harrahs and Mirage Casino with it's well done forecourt are really good... ... Linq, High Roller and the Flamingo are on the east side and the colossal Caesars Palace is also well represented opposite... ... Bellagio and it's dancing fountains that are animated and the water is well done and next is Bally's opposite, Bally's was originally the first MGM Grand Hotel and Casino which opened in 1973 with 2,084 rooms. And at the time, this was one of the largest hotels in the world by the number of rooms. Paris and it's huge replica Eiffel Tower and decorated balloon is perfect. Planet Hollywood, Hilton Vacations and the second MGM Grand Hotel that opened in 1993 are well produced here with loads of flashing animated advertising, in fact the whole strip has loads of these flashy moving and neon signs that give the area a real extravaganza feel. New York, New York is excellent with great detailing, and the Tropicana opposite shows it's earlier 1957 strip design really well. The most famous casino on the lower strip is the Luxor, after the same in ancient Thebes in Egypt. The pyramid-shaped 30 stories high resort has an all metal-and-glass exterior. The Great Sphinx of Giza and the Obelisk are all recreated in detail. Note again the excellent glass reflections... ... the huge Mandalay Bay which has 3,209 hotel rooms looks striking in it's gold covering, and again the reflections are simply excellent. The Delano Las Vegas (adjacent building) is also represented... Final note is on the "High Roller" 550-foot tall (167.6 m), 520-foot (158.5 m) diameter giant Ferris wheel behind the Ling casino. You simply can't count every casino or attraction here in this scenery package, but it is very comprehensive in the city's detail... Las Vegas is mostly noted as not only a gambling city, but also an all nighter alive experience, so we will cover the lighting with Las Vegas first and not McCarran Airport. Update v1.1 In only a week after their original release, then FlyTampa have already published an update to v1.1. In this review the major criticism is on the really washed out textures and that is what has been updated in v1.1. Still lo-Res, and they still don't have any significant ground detail, but the aerial view is certainly better. FlyTampa have not replaced all the ground textures and the line (arrowed below right) is highly visible and you can see easily the difference between the new and the older resolution. Not a complete fix, but better. Lighting One look at the night environment with FlyTampa's Las Vegas and only one word comes to mind... WOW! The interesting aspect is not actually the Las Vegas skyline itself, as we have had a lot of those, but it is the huge fill of lighting in the valley as it spreads out from the colourful centre, but anchors it at the same time... this is what any arrival cityscape should look like in a simulator and an aim for Laminar Research to deliver, it works and it works here magnificently. KLAS - McCarran Airport is almost lost in a sea of light, but that is a good thing and not a negative. The Luxor Sky Beam is the strongest beam of light in the world, it uses curved mirrors to collect the light from 39 xenon lamps and focus them into one intense narrow beam of 42.3 billion candela, well done here but it is a little thick and globby at some graphic setting resolutions, but can be a direction marker of Las Vegas from miles out, which is interesting considering the crater ridges hide the interior city. The old garlish and more modern stylish hotel/casinos can look swish and be brought forward in the different night lighting, one is the CityCenter Las Vegas complex of hotels. Complex, movement, striking, colourful and simply out there... everything that Las Vegas should be and it is here at night, it is sin city in it's full flamboyant mode, and FlyTampa have done a brilliant job in recreating it all. Very good finer lighting details makes work, even non-strip buildings have great detailed lighting and not just the main icons, that is again important to recreate the full scale of the scenery. DTLV looks better as well as the dark hides the washed out ground textures, so it works and adds in colour to North Las Vegas. Off strip casinos and resorts have not been forgotten either... the detail is simply amazing. US Airways had been operating two banks of flights to and from McCarran in the middle of the night.The operation had made US Airways the second-busiest carrier at McCarran, providing over 100 daily round-trip flights, but USAir is now gone, however that does not stop McCarran from being one of the most busiest airports in the US at night, and why not, as after dark would simply be the best time to arrive in Vegas. McCarran just looks simply sensational at night... Aprons are well lit and lovely to work on and note the nice reflective sheen, although the remote holding points are a bit patchy. External and internal terminal views are excellent and quite extensive. Airport environs are very good as well, even the fuel depot is nicely lit... carparks, advertising signage are all really good, but the west GA area can be a bit hit and miss patchy in lighting. One really good aspect is the minute detail of lighting with the off airport environs, mostly to the south, here office buildings are really nicely lit and with lit branding shows real eye for detail, this inconsequential detailing is so very important and really well done here. Approach, field lighting and navigation signage is all very good, but at night you will need an airport chart to navigate around the complex set of taxiways. Overall the lighting here in FlyTampa's Las Vegas is overwhelming in detail... but that is also what you pay for. ____________________ Summary There has been always a load of icons including the default Laminar Research to represent Sin City Las Vegas, but most are just that in being a small collection of brightly coloured buildings in the darkness... the Tom Curtis "Glitter Gulch" 2013 package was the really only great scenery that did the area any justice, but this scenery is now old and even then did not overcome the poor autogen layouts surrounding it. And so here comes FlyTampa, obviously the scenery is part of the original 2017 FlightSim Las Vegas, but add in the X-Plane dynamics in effects and it lifts the scenery (mostly in incredible reflections) to a whole new level. The scenery for it's scale is highly detailed, all the main attractions, hotels, casinos and the off strip, Downtown and most of the glitterati is modeled in this scenery and very impressive it all really is. The only real distraction is the very poor washed out ortho-photo low-res ground textures, maybe a decision on the framerate aspect, but you lose a lot of that ground realism detailing via VFR flight from the air.... and they are really quite bad in the areas that should be full of visual detail. Somewhere in here is KLAS - McCarran Airport, but this aviation aspect is not let down either, as the great terminal modeling continues with good internal detail that makes it as interesting on the outside as it is inside, glass is excellent a realistically see through and so are the external building textures with great PBR and burnt-in ambient occlusion textures. SAM (Scenery Animation Manager) is featured here but a lot of the gates don't have the marshallers, VDGS is however sited on Terminal 3. Animations are good from the inter-terminal automated people movers and clever detailed monorails in the city, ground traffic is fine but not overwhelming as is the clutter, again landside is let down by the poor photo textures. Lighting is excellent as it really needed to be here, but great reflections and an immense sets of set and moving animations creates a wonderful realistic day and night vista to enjoy above the average. McCarran Airport lighting is also excellent as well with great apron lighting and even good internal detail lighting, only side field and holding areas are a bit hit and miss patchy in their lighting. A note on framerate... with all this complex detail then when set at high-resolution graphic setting it obviously hammers your framerate down, that is using OpenGL, in Vulkan (beta) you do get a lot of relief, but it is still a heavy draw and the distance detail is blurred (B16), but mostly the scenery can find a balance between use and quality detail considering the complexity and the dense autogen here. 4GB VRAM is minimum but really a 8GB VRAM requirement is needed. FlyTampa have been one of the crossover FlightSim developers that uses the X-Plane dynamics to their fullest, while merging the best detail from the other platforms, so like their Copenhagen XP that was simply also brilliant, again here with Las Vegas XP they deliver another exceptional scenery for X-Plane, but now how many more will we get if they go away and focus only on FS2020, that would be a tragedy for X-Plane, but also very real possibility as the market in X-Plane is also very small... But for now we can "Viva Las Vegas" all we want, and do so in a great scenery "Bright light city gonna set my soul, Gonna set my soul on fire, Got a whole lot of money that's ready to burn, So get those stakes up higher.... Viva Las Vegas!, Viva Las Vegas!" _____________________________________ Yes! KLAS - Las Vegas by FlyTampa is available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : FlyTampa Las Vegas XP Price is US$32.00 Features: Las Vegas McCarran International (KLAS) Airport Addon Airport modeled with PBR materials Detailed internal terminal modeling Animated service vehicles and airport shuttle Dynamic airport lighting Las Vegas city and all landmarks included Las Vegas city animations with advanced visual effects Custom library of animated city vehicles Hand-placed vegetation, and 3D lighting 3D bridges Animated Las Vegas monorail High Resolution surrounding Photo Scenery with custom mesh SAM Animated Jetways and Docking Guidance system (SAM plugin required) WT3: WorldTraffic GroundRoutes are not provided and a generation is required, and overall the airport generation functions perfectly. Traffic Global runs fine Requirements: X-Plane 11 Windows or Mac (not compatible with Linux) 4GB VRAM Minimum - 8GB VRAM Recommended Current and updated Review Version : 1.1 (1st August 2020) Installation You download an Installer, that you then set the X-Plane install address and then insert your email address and the authorization key... the installer will then do the rest (Internet connection is required and fast if possible). Install is five folders set in order: FlyTampa_LasVegas_0_city FlyTampa_LasVegas_0_airport FlyTampa_LasVegas_0_overlays FlyTampa_LasVegas_1_overlays FlyTampa_LasVegas_2_Photoreal FlyTampa_LasVegas_3_Mesh The order above has to be correct to get the right loading of the scenery Total scenery installation is a huge big : 5.71gb SAM Plugin - Scenery Animation Manager - Suite 2.0 is required for this scenery Ground Traffic The Ground Traffic plugin does work in v11.50 (Vulkan). Documents One extensive manual in English with notes (8 pages) but no charts FlyTampa-LasVegas.pdf _____________________________________________________________________ Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton 29th July 2020 Copyright©2020 : 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 - 32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.41 - tested v11.50.b16 (fine but buzzy textures at a distance) Addons: Saitek x56 Rhino Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Traffic Global (Just Flight) US$52.99 Scenery or Aircraft - Default Boeing 737-800 by Laminar Reserch Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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