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Scenery Upgrade : KATL- Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta Intl Airport UHD v2 by Nimbus Simulation You can hardly miss Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport either in real life or in simulation. It is a huge airport, the biggest (currently) in the world until the Chinese build something bigger. In X-Plane scenery terms it came down to one custom version, Butnaru's (now Nimbus Simulation) version that was released in March 2015 and a Global airport version. So here is the upgrade of KATL to v2 from Nimbus which will be soon be up against a FlightSim conversion with Imaginesim's version of KATL that is announced as coming soon. The differences are that Butnaru is X-Plane's own developer and Imaginesim is a crossover developer, so it will be interesting on how that aspect plays out. So over the years Butnaru's original v1 KATL scenery got quite a workout. It is on one of my X-PlaneReview aircraft test routes from KRSW - Florida Southwest to KATL - Atlanta, so I have flown a serious amount of category of aircraft between these two points over the years. As a scenery overall Butnaru's KATL was not bad (for the release period) but it had a few issues... notably my biggest issue was the frameweight of the scenery, it was very nasty in the sheer amount of frames it gobbled up, plus it was always usually have to be set at a render setting of a quite low-resolution because of the sheer weight of the scenery, so it was a lose-lose situation of high frames and a low quality visually, and if you approach any runway you usually got the stutters as the computer tried to process through everything and yes I accept there is a extremely high object count in the scenery, but it wasn't at all that efficient either. Second issue was that Butnaru had done the airport with the "runways follow terrain contours" switched off, which means it was flat, so it also didn't match any other scenery that usually had the contours setting switched on, all early Butnaru sceneries had this setting, which always made them the sort of odd ones out in my routes. Finally there was no active gates (airbridges), so you parked up... and nothing happened, so this sort of took away some of the simulation activity (okay fun) if departing or arriving at KATL. The X-PlaneReviews v1 (original) review is here: Airport Review : KATL - Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta Intl Airport by Butnaru KATL- Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta Intl Airport UHD v2 by Nimbus Looking at v2 you notice quite a few differences from the original v1. First is the airport boundary textures are quite a different shade and design than the rest of the textures... more on that in a moment. Runway, taxiway and apron textures are also a more darker colour than the original more light concrete colouring, but this is not as noticeable on the ground. In the v1 release we had a significant difference in colour between the inner airport boundary and external airport (default) textures. Here in v2 there is now three different texture colours? the inner, boundary and external. Actually the inner and external are the same, but it is the new boundary mesh textures that are a real worry... Worse is that the sharp lines make them stand out more, they all look like bad algae swamps which I doubt is in these qualities in Georgia... .... obviously I prefer the original even if odd colour layout as these coloured mesh things are a serious distraction, the point is why would you do this, as it obviously doesn't look at all realistic at all in any shape or form? some developers just can't seem to match up boundary textures correctly. HDR Dynamics Those Runway, taxiway and apron textures are a darker colour for a couple of reasons.... first they are of a far higher quality, and now also have far better realism details than the originals.... .... secondly they are now also HDR active, or they are reflective of wet surfaces, and so if you get the right lighting conditions they really come alive... ... and yes I absolutely love it, realism 101. Before we look at the infrastructure, then we will look first at some special features. First up is the choice to use the "Static aircraft" provided option, to fill in the gates with static aircraft.... .... or use the WorldTraffic3 (WT3) option (this is done by changing over the "Earth nav data" provided) and all the correct WT3 ground routes are provided as well... so which is which? well the static aircraft are in the image above left and the WT3 traffic is the above right, and it is very hard to tell the difference. One thing that give it away is that the static aircraft have the airbridges connected to the aircraft, were as the WT3 aircraft are not connected, a nice touch... .... Butnaru uses still the older marginal system, and not SAM. But they have been highly customised in detail and have those lovely working hoods, so it is a nice compromise, obviously far, far better than a boring static gate like there was in KATL v1. A note on WT3, in that the provided ground routes and settings are excellent... all the traffic flows for this complex airport are really good and you get a very highly active and realistic working Atlanta Intl. It is a small thing in the larger scheme of things, but a highly important one. KATL comes with a few active features, these are provided by a plugin that is placed in your plugins folder. Personally I don't like scenery plugins filling up the plugins folder, but this one is very good. You select via the plugins menu and you have two selections (the second KATL we will look at later), but first is the "Info Screen". Selecting the "Info Screen" will bring up a menu to set your destination ICAO and your departure time... .... the information board will then show you these set details, with the current "on time"... so now you are on the clock for departure, and if you go over your departure time then it will then show you are "delayed" and then your delay time... .... talk about working to your "On Time" pressure! but it is a brilliant feature. Concourses and infrastructure All the concourses and terminals have all been totally rebuilt (remodeled) from the ground up... Terminals and concourses T (Domestic), A, B, C, D, and F (International). infrastructure detail is simply excellent, as all the concourses and terminals are now a world away from the blocky v1 architecture... ... realistic internal structures are a Butnaru specality, and he has worked hard to perfect the idea. This is the best yet internally with not just great detail, but the usual animated passengers, look externally into the excellent activity internally and you really believe you are at Atlanta. All the individual concourse or terminal styles are covered, so again it feels like the real Atlanta... ... right down to the more basic Southwest gates. One thing that threw me with my first arrival at KATL v2, was that I thought I was not actually at Atlanta? Gone are all the bright orange facades that covered the concourses, now they are a faded dirty blue... .... and yes I was actually at Atlanta. Gate clutter and branding is excellent as well, as this is totally Delta territory, but a nice touch is that in some areas they are branded for the airline, like for Southwest. All individual airbridges are numbered (correctly) and the custom detail is really good, note the metal and concrete barriers. Besides the internal animations the external movement is just as good. Butnaru's walking airport employees are everywhere as is the extensive animated service vehicles... so the object count is off the chart. I particularly like the tugs, with the detailed drivers.... great stuff. There is a sort of misterx6 feel about all the detail here, and if you flew between the two sceneries of both developers then you would feel as home in both, and that is a compliment by the way. Control Tower The control tower which is the tallest in the United States, with a height of over 398 feet (121 m) is all new. At first glance it doesn't look much different, but the higher detail and design quality gives it all away, it is well done... .... only comment is on the low-res base textures which are not very pretty in a visual area. Delta Maintenance Base (T.O.C.) The Delta Maintenance Base is all new as well, and all the hangars are now open to revel extensive static aircraft and maintenance platforms, it looks far, far better than the original version. North Cargo One of the most decisive areas in KATL v1 was the North and the North Cargo areas... actually they were horrible, and really just consisted of an island Renaissance Hotel which was lost in an area of flat low-res textures... the north areas in v2 KATL have been completely redeveloped and now looks like part of the scenery. The main Delta administration offices and Delta museum is there and it now all comes with extensive full carparks, the older "Fly Delta Jets" on the museum roof is however still missing. Odd is the nice touch of the Delta museum Boeing 747 and B767, but they disappear with the static aircraft switched off? Overall this area is a massive improvement. The totally unusable General Aviation area is now actually usable as well, it is still a little blank and open as a few static GA's would have been nice to fill it in. South areas and South Cargo South Cargo was more usable than North Cargo, but not by much, again the area has had a significant overhaul and looks as good as the north... .... but there are still areas of low-res textures that are a little washed out, at least they are now fenced in and lit (lighting), so that sort of helps. With the terrain contours now active you also get elevations. On the south side under runway 10/28 they are very realistic and well done, RWY 10/28 is always a great runway to arrive on at KATL, and now it it is far better also from a visual point of view. Lighting The lighting on the original KATL v1 was one of the highlights of that package, so you sort of expected it to be good here in the v2 version, and it is... ... although with ATL's sheer size it does all tend to blend in more with the background from a distance this time around, but the details are excellent. A highlight is the nice brighter lit under building work areas (baggage entrance zones)... the windows are far better here as well, as they don't have that blue tinge at night like at Butnaru's KMIA, but a more natural realistic hue.... .... nice detail is the internal lit airbridge, and on the ramps it is very nice place to work and is well lit. Other zones north and south are also well done, but the Delta Maintenance is a bit bright on the RWY 26L threshold... maybe not all of the hangars needed to be so brightly lit? Second plugin feature is the "KATL" and here you can adjust the lighting dynamics of the Control Tower and Terminal T canopy lighting... slightly odd is that if you use the pop-up menu at night it goes blank? so you have to set everything in the half-light. You have on both items a choice of six colours in: Blue, Red, Purple, Green, White and Dynamic (white) And very nice they all are... canopy There are too many combinations of choice to show here, but you get the idea... personally I'm not sure of the best set up for either the tower or canopy, or just use the plain white... safe. So the lighting is in the details and not in the overall experience, but KATL v2 is a great place for an after-hours arrival. I have left the best feature till last, and it is not even a published feature.... On arrival at KATL you always brace yourself, as how bad will it be this time?... .... so you are waiting for it, waiting for it.... and waiting for it? .... the hell zone of framerate shudders and the slideshow of a landing, only this time..... nothing happens, as you just glide in and land as normal. No fall of the framerate, no sinking feeling of a ruined landing as it is all now quite perfect... can this really be KATL? At first I thought I was landing at the wrong airport, but no this is ATL and I am landing in Atlanta. Yes the framerate dipped into the 30's and high 20's, but hell with the obscene object count here that is a miracle, and yes I am not greedy with my texture settings that helped, overall I am just ecstatic that I now have a workable KATL- Atlanta that I can use. Summary The original version of Butnaru's KATL-Atlanta was released in March 2015 and by the standards of the period it was very good, but this new v2 KATL simply blows that version out of the water, this is no simple update, but a highly developed new airport that is full of dynamic features. All terminals and most of the more important infrastructure has been redone from scratch with custom airbridges and (visible) internal details, all the outer North and South areas that were sorely lacking in the original have now also been filled in and completed. Dynamics are everywhere from the HDR runways (reflective, wet) to internal and external animations (vehicles, walking ground staff), clever interactive gate boards and active changeable lighting on the control tower and Terminal T canopy. Highly refined WorldTraffic3 (provided) ground routes with the option of static aircraft if you don't want the WT3 dynamics. Airbidges are now also active, they are however Marginal sourced and not SAM, but custom detailing and animated hoods are excellent and makeup any shortfalls. The move from contours off to contours on, gives you compatibility now with other airports and elevation details. Lighting is overall excellent, but a bit bright in areas. Better and far more refined framerate with far more objects finally makes the airport usable and effective. Niggles... those horrible algae boundary textures, which are highly visible on all approaches and really the only significant negative in the scenery, Delta Museum aircraft disappear when not using the static aircraft setting? and lighting Delta Maintenance is a bit bright and distracting, some areas still have visual low-res textures. Nimbus Simulations epic KATL UHD v2 is so close to an absolute five star rating, except for those weird boundary textures, they are an eyesore you just don't need here... otherwise this is a totally sensational scenery, epic in scale, but more so epic in framerate and usability, a final note is that any purchaser that has the original v1 version can get US$10 off this highly upgraded v2 KATL, and it is well worth the investment. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! KATL- Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta Intl Airport UHD v2 by Nimbus Simulationis is now Available from the X-Plane.Org Store here : KATL - Atlanta International UHD v2 Price is US$28.95 Customers of KATL v1 can get $10 off this new version: Coupon code can be found in your original invoice. Features: Terminals with 3D interior and people HDR lights New 4K textures with PBR materials for the main terminals Night lighting New ground textures with PBR materials New high quality vehicles with PBR material 3D trees Parking lots full of cars Ground markings on each gate and runway Numbered jetways Files for empty airport or static planes World Traffic 3 ready (files included) Fully Animated Airport World Traffic 3 ready (files included) GroundTraffic (plugin by Marginal) AutoGate plugin with custom highly detailed jetways Animated people inside the terminals NEW!! - Information screens that shows time, pressure, temperature, destination airport, departure time, delay and the amount of delay ______________________________________________________________________ Installation Download is 669.20mb and the three folders are placed in order in your X-Plane custom scenery folder: Nimbus Simulation - KATL V2 - Atlanta - Roads Nimbus Simulation - KATL V2 - Atlanta Nimbus Simulation -Z- KATL V2 - Atlanta "Nimbus airports V1" plugin to be also installed in the X-Plane/resources/plugins folder Total scenery installation is 1.74gb Marginal AutoGate - Animated jetway and docking guidance system is required (plugin) Choice of static aircraft ON/OFF (show or don't show) is provided (Earth.nav.data) and full sets of WorldTraffic3 groundroutes and Parking defs Requirements : X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 4 GB VRAM Minimum. 8 GB+ VRAM recommended Download size: 670 Mb Current and Review version : 2.0 (November 1st 2019) Documentation: basic (half-completed) README!.pdf is provided ______________________________________________________________________ Scenery Upgrade Review by Stephen Dutton 6th November 2019 Copyright©2019: X-Plane Reviews Review System Specifications: Computer System: Windows - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit - 16 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - GeForce GTX 980/SSE2 - Samsung Evo 1Tb SSD Software: - Windows 10 - X-Plane 10 Global ver 11.40 Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini : Headshake by SimCoders Plugins: WorldTraffic3 US$29.95 (recommended) : Environment Engine v1.12 by xEnviro US$69.90 : - Boeing 738 by Laminar Research - Default with X-Plane11