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Scenery Review : EGSS Stansted by Boundless Simulations


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EGSS Stansted Header.jpg

 

Scenery Review : EGSS Stansted by Boundless Simulations

 

There are six airports that service the London area in the United Kingdom. Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), City (LCY), Luton (LTN), Southend (SEN) and finally Stansted (STN). Breaking them down, then Heathrow is the biggest and the capitol's main major hub, Gatwick services the south and is another major gateway. The rest though are really satellite or even regional hubs...  except LCY, but then London City is really only a commuter airport with serious runway restrictions on the type of aircraft that can get in there and then get out of it again. In the north it is Luton and Stansted that are the closest. Both are major LCC (Low Cost Carrier) hubs, LTN for Easyjet, TUI and WizzAir (UK) which all have a big presence.

 

Stansted however has always been the interesting airport. Again it is another huge LCC hub with Jet2 and Ryanair dominating, but also a few of the majors are also having a look in with British Airways, Emirates and even SAS all flying into here. But Stansted has one major advantage than any other of the London Airports, and that it has space, around it, and lots of room to grow...  and so it has. Stansted has come from an airfield opened in 1943 and was used during the Second World War as RAF Stansted Mountfitchet, to one of the fastest growing airports in the London area.

 

Stansted was placed under BAA control in 1966, but even in the early days the airport was only used by holiday charter operators wishing to escape the higher costs associated with operating from Heathrow and Gatwick. It was the opening of the current terminal building which was designed by architect Norman Foster and built between 1988 and 1991, and more importantly as part of the development, a railway branch was built into the airport, and like the new terminal, Stansted Airport railway station opened in 1991. These developments set out the basis for Stansted to become a third major player in the London environs, and that significant progress and expansion is still going on today.

 

EGSS London.jpgEGSS London North Airports.jpg

 

Boundless Simulation have actually only been around releasing scenery for the X-Plane Simulator for only a very short time (about 18 months), but the output in that time has been simply prolific. Birmingham, Isle of Man, Kerry Airport, Alderney Airport & Island, Shannon Airport and you can now even throw in a few Irish helipads and even a hospital (Hull)...  and now EGSS Stansted.

 

You could debate if in that much development, and delivered out in such a sort time is a cause of concern? Certainly a few of the earlier releases were a bit basic, but a few updates lately have done a lot of corrections to the quality to bring them up to a better standard, EINN Shannon though was a breakthrough for Boundless in quality and came with nicer detail on another level. I am always of the adage though of quality over output. competition is fierce and users will only pay out on quality over quantity, as average work is then only in competition with freeware work, so you have to be on that extra level to get someone to actually commit to buying the product.

 

EGSS Stansted by Boundless Simulations

 

EGSS Stansted_Head 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Head 2.jpgEGSS Stansted_Head 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Head 4.jpgEGSS Stansted_Head 5.jpg

 

London Stansted Airport

IATA: STN - ICAO: EGSS

EGSS Charts.jpg

04/22 - 3,049m (10,003ft) - Grooved Asphalt

Elevation AMSL - 348 ft /106 m

 

First impressions of Boundless's EGSS Stansted is very good, it fits in very nicely into the surrounding landscape and default textures, the join is hidden well also via the boundary road system (and a few trees) and that allows it to do a pretty good transition and the scenery has also ORBX TE GB South compatibility.

 

EGSS Stansted_Head 6.jpgEGSS Stansted_Head 7.jpgEGSS Stansted_Head 8.jpgEGSS Stansted_Head 9.jpg

 

For all the expansion, EGSS Stansted still has only one runway 04/22 (3,049m/10,003ft) and that huge massive single Foster + Partners terminal.

 

Terminal modeling is very good by Boundless, but not what you would call exquisite, as there are plenty of examples out there of some beautiful work in this sort of lattice work design...  FSDG's FALE-Durban is one. But the overall shape and design elements are very good.

 

A major expansion programme to the Main Terminal took place between 2007 and 2009, adding nearly 5,900 m2 (64,000 sq ft) of floorspace to give space for additional baggage carousels, a new immigration and passport control hall, and a hypostyle arrivals hall with improved facilities.

 

EGSS Stansted_Terminal 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal 2.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal 4.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal 5.jpg

 

Glass is nice and reflective, but the terminals construction tends to hide this aspect. Note the very nice and creative roof skylighting.

 

EGSS Stansted_Terminal 11.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal 12.jpg

 

So the basic terminal is good, but there are also a lot of elements like ramps and raised elevations that are just modeled around it and are added on, the problem is they "look" added on...   One ramp does not even connect to the ground...

 

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...  and rail entrance to the terminal is simply horrible and not very realistic.

 

The main large terminal building is connected to three separate oblong satellite buildings or concourses, named Terminal A, Terminal B and the newest in Terminal C, or on some maps note it as Satellite A, B and C...  overall they are split via their gate numbers, but for a reference here we will use Satellites A,B and C. Satellites A, B are connected by walkways, but B and C are also connected by a Transit system that is animated in the scenery. An overflow area called the APV connected to the north of the main terminal is also used to carry passengers via buses to remote stands.

 

EGSS Terminal Map.jpg

 

Stansted can cater for the Airbus A380, but the large aircraft is restricted to only Apron A or the south side of Satellite C

 

A - Gates 40-59

Satellite A is used exclusively by Ryanair; this building has all Walkon/Walkoff gates. And it is about a fifteen minute walk from the main terminal.

 

EGSS Stansted_Terminal A 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal A 2.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal A 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal A 4.jpg

 

All the concourse glass is see-through, not a big fan, but it is not bad here in a nice shade of green (a deeper green though would give it far more realism), the internal areas of the satellite is modeled and can be easily seen from the external, but the satellite(s) all look eerily empty (even deserted) as there is only a few items of internal furniture? As noted this is not usually a big issue, but here it is strangely highly noticeable.

 

EGSS Stansted_Terminal A 5.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal A 6.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal A 7.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal A 8.jpg

 

B - Gates 20-39 and Gates 81-88

The B satellite's layout is that the 20-39 Gates are only accessed by the Transit system. The satellite is used by Ryanair and Jet2. Situated in the upper level of Satellite 2 accessed via the second stop on transit from the main terminal. Boarding bridges must be accessed by stairs one floor down (same level as gates 81-88). The transit is around a seven minutes train ride from the Main Terminal.

 

Gates 81 to 88 is accessed via the walkway from the Main Terminal and is used for UK domestic flights, but may be used for international departures; During times of reduced operations, only gates 81-88 are used for boarding and arriving passengers are transferred to Border Control via buses. (Below gates 20-39, and only takes up half of the first floor, but parallel to the bridges, which are also used by gates 20-39. It is around a ten minutes walk from the Main Terminal.

 

EGSS Stansted_Terminal B 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal B 2.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal B 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal B 4.jpg

 

Style wise satellites B and C are very similar, and are well done here, as is the long connecting walkway. Internal areas are also again highly visible and again have that very "2001" in feel and are as empty and sterile as the Discovery spacecraft...

 

EGSS Stansted_Terminal B 5.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal B 6.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal B 7.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal B 8.jpg

 

...   the eight Airbridges use the (Marginal) Autogate system with animated marshallers, gates & SafeDock Systems. The Airbridges are well done but not flashy or have no advertising. There is good clutter, and most is locally or airline branded, for instance the "Blue Handling" of Ryanair. There is a fair amount of good animated airport traffic twirling around as well.

 

EGSS Stansted_Airside 15.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 16.jpg

 

C - Gates 1-19

Used by most airlines, except Ryanair, this separate satellite is furthest in distance, but first stop on transit from the main terminal. Around a four minutes train ride from the Main Terminal.

 

EGSS Stansted_Terminal C 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal C 2.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal C 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal C 4.jpg

 

Satellite C, feels the most sleek and modern, because it is, smaller and tighter than the other two satellite areas. Small it may be, but the Sat C does have ten Airbridges. The internal area has more open space and also again...   very empty.

 

EGSS Stansted_Terminal C 5.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal C 6.jpg

 

APV - Gates 90-93

Used by Ryanair during peak times; The APV acts as a terminal for buses to remote stands. The access to the gates is underneath the main terminal and next to the quiet zone. It is around a four minute walk from the main passenger area. APV is very basically modeled, not even an opening for the transit train or any detail or buses?

 

EGSS Stansted_Terminal APV 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Terminal APV 2.jpg

 

Landside

Before we look at the Landside area, we need to understand the layout used on Boundless Sceneries. Boundless relies heavily on (very) good Ortho-Photographic images, the aim is to make the ground look as realistic as possible, mostly from the view in the air, they are good on the ground, but Ortho-Photo's in this context also come with problems. One issue is resolution, of which is actually very good here at STN. But if poor they can show jaggies and sometimes not even show any actual detail at all. Another issue is they are very flat, and look very flat from and say on the ground perspective, and finally you have burn-ins, which are real objects burnt in flat into the photo images. So the problem is if you want to use these sort of Hi-Definition photos you have to also accept textures that have these particular issues that come with them, in most cases they can make the developers life far, far harder.

 

EGSS Stansted_Landside Head.jpg

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Immediate Landside of the Terminal is a huge drop off carpark, but it is mostly a bus terminal...  it is also empty? (except for a few buses). On a first look it actually feels unfinished, but very odd is that a lot of the remote carparks are actually compete and full of 3d vehicles?

 

EGSS Stansted_Landside 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Landside 4.jpg

 

But not the most important visual area of the main bus/carpark in front of the terminal that is seriously deserted or just not completed?

 

If you do go to the Google maps images the drop/short stay carpark it is indeed empty? but so are the Mid-Term and Long-Term carparks, my guess is that the current Google Map images were taken over the Covid 19 restrictions of an empty airport?

 

The Endeavour House on the approach into Stansted Airport is very good, but spoiled by a lot of burn-ins on the roads, ditto the car rental yards in that some areas are fully filled out, but a lot of the images are simply however just nasty flat burn-ins?

 

EGSS Stansted_Landside 5.jpgEGSS Stansted_Landside 6.jpgEGSS Stansted_Landside 8.jpgEGSS Stansted_Landside 7.jpg

 

Further south there is an aviation industrial park, but the expected buildings are again just flat burn-ins, but the carpark is full of 3d vehicles, and again on the A120, the Premier Inn is well reproduced here, but a lot of buildings surrounding the building are again just flat photos...  There is just no consistency.

 

EGSS Stansted_Landside 9.jpgEGSS Stansted_Landside 10.jpg

 

I am not saying that every building has to reproduced or modeled as that is simply not possible in context, but certain areas DO need filling in, certainly if they have a visual impact on the scenery.

 

Situated just south of the main terminal is the Hampton Hilton Hotel and Enterprise House, both nicely done here.

 

EGSS Stansted_Landside 12.jpgEGSS Stansted_Landside 11.jpg

 

Situated just north of the main terminal is another hotel and this time it is the Radisson Blu Hotel, which again is very well done, further north is a very large carpark.

 

EGSS Stansted_Landside 13.jpgEGSS Stansted_Landside 14.jpgEGSS Stansted_Landside 15.jpg

 

Airside

Most of the Airside structures are set to the south of the Main Terminal and the three satellite concourses. First up is the Stansted Control Tower. Stansted's iconic air traffic control tower was completed in 1996 and was the tallest in Britain at the time of its construction. It is located on the southside of the airfield alongside the main terminal building. It replaced the old (RAF) control tower, which offered poor views of the airfield once the current terminal building was opened in 1991.

 

EGSS Stansted_Control Tower 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Control Tower 2.jpgEGSS Stansted_Control Tower 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Control Tower 5.jpgEGSS Stansted_Control Tower 4.jpg

 

The internal details of the control tower have been done here, and the field view from the inside is excellent. As is the set X-Plane Tower View position above. Construction and detail is also very good, and I like the nice green tinted glass.

 

The main cargo centre is located by the control tower and handles most cargo operations, including aircraft such as the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 and the Boeing 747. So Stansted has a very good and significant cargo operations centre, in front is the field Fire Station which is well done and cargo buildings are nicely FedEx branded.

 

EGSS Stansted_Airside 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 2.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 4.jpg

 

Cargo Apron West has nine parking stands, and the expansive Apron Z to the south has 204, 204F, 213 and 214. Set next to the Cargo area is an open space that is a construction zone, but again there are some buildings that are badly burnt in, but they can also be easily seen from the Taxiway J and worse is the view when parking in Apron Z?

 

EGSS Stansted_Airside 11.jpg

 

At the south end of Taxiway J is a maintenance area with two very large maintenance hangers, one is for Ryanair, and the other is the multi-use Diamond Hangar, which is very nicely reproduced and clad in a metal surface.

 

EGSS Stansted_Airside 5.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 6.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 7.jpg

 

Western Apron

On the southeastern corner (Taxiway G) there is an area called the Western Apron. This area is the remnants of the old RAF Stansted Mountfitchet base. There are mostly now only large  maintenance hangers for Harrads Aviation, Universal Aviation, the very large Inflite, the Jet Centre and Fayair Ltd. Swissaport have offices and support, as well as the airports fuel depot is placed over here and Long Term parking known as "Stansted Airport JetParks". And yes there are some (very) nasty visual burn-ins here also.

 

EGSS Stansted_Airside 10.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 9.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 8.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 12.jpg

 

Located just slightly north of the Western Apron is the old RAF control tower and a mock fire fighting training area. There is a field radar tower here situated here as well that rotates.

 

EGSS Stansted_Airside 13.jpgEGSS Stansted_Airside 14.jpg

 

Ground Textures

The grunge and dirty markings are not heavily noted here at STN, but the surfaces and textures are very good. Nice ribbed runways and stoney concrete aprons are also very good. There are small clumps of 3d grass, but not really enough grass to cover over the flat textures, no grass is also highly noticeable along the runway edges.

 

EGSS Stansted_Textures 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Textures 2.jpgEGSS Stansted_Textures 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Textures 4.jpg

 

The PBR effects are excellent as well, with great reflection detail that brings out the best of all the surfaces with the full occlusion texture baking effects having a nice impact, the concrete ripple surfaces are again the absolute reflective highlight here.

 

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Lighting

The lighting at EGSS Stansted is very good. Both approach and runway lighting is excellent.

 

EGSS Stansted_Lighting 1.jpgEGSS Stansted_Lighting 2.jpg

 

There is a very nice two tone feel here at STN, and it is used very well in not just an all bright Airside, and a toned down Landside, but al the lighting is actuallyl very nicely tuned in together. Main Terminal looks excellent with the bright arrivals area and nicely lit skylight roof.

 

EGSS Stansted_Lighting 3.jpgEGSS Stansted_Lighting 4.jpgEGSS Stansted_Lighting 5.jpgEGSS Stansted_Lighting 6.jpg

 

Apron lighting is good, but not perfect, as overall it is quite dull when working down and around the aircraft. The see-through glass doesn't work either, certainly with their empty barren interiors.

 

EGSS Stansted_Lighting 10.jpg

EGSS Stansted_Lighting 7.jpgEGSS Stansted_Lighting 8.jpgEGSS Stansted_Lighting 9.jpg

 

Infrastructure lighting is good, with a nice lit Radisson Blu and Hampton Hotels. The southern Maintenance hangars look good as well, but it would have been nice to have had the Ryanair sign lit brightly?

 

EGSS Stansted_Lighting 11.jpgEGSS Stansted_Lighting 12.jpgEGSS Stansted_Lighting 13.jpg

 

Field navigation lighting is good, but not ground reflective.

 

EGSS Stansted_Lighting 14.jpgEGSS Stansted_Lighting 15.jpg

 

Summary

There are six airports that service the London area in the UK...  Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), City (LCY), Luton (LTN), Southend (SEN) and finally Stansted (STN). Of the six, it has been Stansted (full name London Stansted Mountfitchet Airport) that has seen the most growth in the last thirty years.

 

This is another Boundless Simulation release, after five airports and a set of Irish Helipads and a Hospital (Hull), in a very short time of only a year and a half, prolific certainly and all great destinations.

 

There has been a few very good freeware Stansteds, including a pretty fair tdg London Stansted Airport, but a good payware version is always very welcome.

 

Overall this is a very good scenery of Stansted, certainly in the Main Terminal building and the three satellite concourses, the cargo area is excellent with nice detail of the maintenance areas and the many carparks surrounding the airport. All hotels in the Radisson Blu, Hampton Hilton and Premier Inn Hotels are all represented as is the Western Apron. Ground textures are very good but not overly dirty and grungy, but the lighting is very good in the required variable tones. EGSS uses the (Marginal) Autogate support with animated marshallers, gates & SafeDock Systems, and ORBX TE GB South compatibility is possible.

 

Boundless do the high resolution ortho-photographic approach to making scenery. Although it creates a great field and surrounding airport environs detail, it also creates a very flat visual aspect, with a lot of burnt-in ground detail. In this case a lot of the burnt-in detail has not been covered over or removed, giving the scenery a sort of patchwork feel. On approach or taxi, there is a lot of visual open burnt in objects. Internal satellite concourses are modeled, but not filled out with furniture to create detail, so they look empty or not finished, I am not a big fan of the terminal see-through look anyway, but anything helps, and again very flat field is again noticeable with no 3D grass to break up the plain view, there are however small clumps of 3D grass that have no effect whatever. Modeling around the excellent Main Terminal is however quite basic and even crude and needs a rethink.

 

The question comes down to quality and detail to make this scenery a purchase over freeware versions of Stansted...  priced at US$24.00 it is quite high, and this STN version only just delivers at that price...  with a bit more detail and more development, then I think that Boundless's Stansted can be the scenery required to fill in this crucial slot of workable London area airports, but at this moment it falls a little short, but the basics are certainly already built in there ready to deliver a top quality scenery.

_____________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! EGSS Stansted by Boundless Simulations by JustSim is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

EGSS - Stansted

Price is US$24.99

 

Features Include:
  • 2020, HD 12.5cm resolution ortho, manually color corrected & sharpened
  • Accurate runway, taxiway & parking layout
  • Thousands of accurately placed custom objects
  • HD textures on all buildings
  • Various buildings include HD Photorealistic PBR textures
  • 4K PBR custom ground textures
  • Custom night lighting
  • Custom UK style road traffic (including many UK & Stansted specific vehicles)
  • Custom animated airport ground traffic
  • Includes animated Stansted Monorail and Stansted Express Trains
  • Custom night lighting
  • Nearby A120 road fully modelled, includes custom traffic & bridges etc
  • All nearby carparks fully modelled
  • Terminal interiors modelled
  • Realistic runway contours
  • Full Traffic Global compatibility*
  • Full ORBX TE GB South compatibility
  • Full Autogate support (animated marshallers, gates & SafeDock Systems)

 

Requirements:

X-Plane 11
Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 967 MB
Current version: 1.0 (April 13th 2021)
 
Installation
This is an extensively large download of 966.90Mb download install in your Custom Scenery folder.

 

The Install (INI) order is:

  • EGSS - Standsted Airport_Boundless

 

Total scenery install is: 1.69Gb

 

AutoGate plugin 1.72 is required for use with this scenery

ShortFinal Global SFD plugin is highly recommended with this scenery.

 

Documents

None

___________________________________________

 

Scenery Review by Stephen Dutton

21st April 2021

Copyright©2021 : 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) All Rights Reserved

 

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 v11.52

Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose  Soundlink Mini 

Plugins: Traffic Global - JustFlight-Traffic (X-Plane.OrgStore) US$52.99 : Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90

Scenery or Aircraft

- Zibo Mod Boeing 737-800 by Laminar Research
 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I purchased  this scenery couple months ago. It ran poorly fps wise and for lacking a lot of definition I was surprised. Yes I'm  running Orbx TE Britain but I run big airports from orbx without big issues except for eglc. I have since uninstalled it and use the previous freeware version which to me looks good enough. If it gets a big upgrade I will try it again. Wished UK2000 made XP11 version.

 

 

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UK2000 have departed the Xplane space and therefore you might well have to consider their Xplane offerings as abandonware. I run this with TE and get good frame rates but I do think some of the other Boundless sceneries are better. Its a good subject though and was a missing airport in the payware space.

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