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  1. Scenery Release/Update : Aerosoft update Zurich v2 and release Genoa both with SAM plugin Aerosoft have updated their LSZH - Zurich v2 Airport to v2.05. And released their LIMJ - Airport Genoa “Cristoforo Colombo” for X-Plane11 at the same time. In most cases this is just an upgrade or a new scenery release. But both of these sceneries come with the built in effects of the new plugin from Stairport Sceneries called SAM... or "Scenery Animation Manager", and in the case of Zurich v2.05 it is the main reason for the scenery upgrade. SAM - Scenery Animation Manager Over the last year or so X-Plane has had a few breakthrough's in introducing new ideas to replace the older free but essential elements in the simulator. First it was push back trucks with the excellent "BetterPushBack" plugin that is a brilliant creation to replace the totally wide variety of pushback ideas. Now here is another clever plugin to replace another stalwart but quite basic plugin tool "Autogate" for airbridges by Marginal. When released the Autogate feature was a revelation, it still is very good, but with no updates or newly added features for many years it does feel now quite outdated. Autogate also had a few limitations. As for one it totally relied on the aircraft developer setting the door point in X-Plane's PlaneMaker application, which in most cases the setting had usually not been done (annoying because it was simple to do), so the gate did not work. Secondly was the fact that if you were pushing back (BetterPushBack) the gate was still attached to the aircraft as you still had not started the engines? and it felt a little unrealistic... more so as you only had one autogate to attach to the aircraft, and so for double or triple gates it was really a none issue? SAM installation You can download the SAM plugin for free here: Scenery Animation Manager and the plugin is simply inserted into your plugins folder, you also have to insert a "SAM_Library" into your Custom Scenery folder. All airports (or scenery) that has inserted the "sam.xml" file is then active with the plugin. Jetways, VDGS, Marshaller, Hangars, Wind Turbines are all included, but there is still a fair amount of freedom to utilise and create custom objects and custom buildings around the plugin's systems. The plugin will also be upgraded and enhanced as the developers add in more features and fine-tune the current ideas. LSZH - Zurich Since the extensive update to Aerosoft's Airport Zurich to v2 and it is still one of the best sceneries in Europe, and I use and fly in and out the airport extensively and you will find LSZH has been placed in the many reviews within this site's columns. V2.05 has had an upgrade with the SAM plugin. On arrival at Gate A03 the VDGS "Visual Docking Guidance System" (A-VDGS) looks and activates quite differently than the older Autogate version. You do get a lot of information on the type of aircraft distance and direction pointer detail, and yes it is very impressive. There are several VDGS versions available: Honeywell AVDGS (above), ADB Safegate-Safedock Type 2 (below) and more types of VDGS's will be added as development goes forward. Stand and non-airbridge Marshaller is also present. This is a quality marshal, with great smooth arm animations and far more movements than the marginal version... .... he comes in two versions, with a bright orange Hi-Viz vest or black with yellow Hi-Viz stripes. The best news of all is the Marshaller does not appear until you start your turn into the stand, so there isn't now hundreds of marshallers standing around and spoiling your scenery. The airbridges are sensational. They are fully animated in all directions with not only in the swing, but also the height and extension, they are about as realistic as you would ever need, and they work realistically as well with turning wheels and a moving cab. The only area they are slightly wanting is in the doorway cover extension as that doesn't work, so the cabs do tend to stick up quite high above the aircraft... Double or triple gates are also now available, again sensational they are for realism. The Autogates are activated in two ways. First is the auto-setting which will activate the gate when all the engines are shutdown and then the beacon is switched off. Note: not all aircraft will automatically connect with SAM? First of all there is a list of all current aircraft that have airbridge settings ready for use, but most aircraft should work with the marshaller. Odd ones that need a manual operation are like the FlightFactor A320 Ultimate, which is disconnected from the X-Plane system (pure plugin driven). A coming feature will allow the airbridges to go almost to ground level for regional Jets, which is a missing item on all current X-Plane airbridge systems. Menu The second option is via the SAM menu panel that is sited within your X-Plane "Plugins" menu. There are currently three menu settings: About, which is the plugins details. Settings, which selects the options for switching off the noted "Auto Connect jetways" and to adjust the sound volume. The third option notes the current active airport, and In this case it is Aerosoft LSZH - Zurich. This shows all the gates and the ones that are active... ... and at the bottom of the menu are any other effects that are available at this airport, noted here the Rega Hangar, and two entry points, we will look at those in a moment. Click on the airbridge selection you would like to connect with the aircraft and... it start the warning lights and goes into a very realistic operation. When done you can then select if you want to remove the airbridge from the aircraft at your wish. Here with the A350, I can use both airbridges to L1 and L2 doors. The auto-connect is fine, but as I am a control freak I love the total manual access to the airbridge operations. Other options include open/close of hangar doors (hangers are provided)... ... another feature is the VFR Entry point marker, which can be activated to line up your runway approach. SAM Authoring Unlike the Marginal system, which was quite tricky and even a bit laborious to set up and use. Sam has it's own built in Authoring system, or more like a construction set. It covers all the aspects of adding in the different elements to the airport. Obviously it is focused on ease of use with even has built in utlities to help you align the elements you want to use. The system is scaled as well to add in new features and ideas as the plugin grows. Any negatives, not really but the glass in the airbridges hide the aircraft (scenery is fine)? but this is an Laminar/X-Plane issue and we are still waiting for the bug to addressed. LIMJ - Airport Genoa “Cristoforo Colombo” Aerosoft airports can a be a bit of a hit or miss. Many are excellent like EGCC - Manchester and ENGM - Oslo Gardermoen. But many fall into the "made ages ago, but even when updated still dated" category like with their LIRF - Roma. But this LIMJ Airport Genoa, sort of slips into the middle. Genoa Airport Aeroporto di Genova "Aeroporto Cristoforo Colombo" IATA: GOA - ICAO: LIMJ 10/28 - 2,916m (9,564ft) Bitumen Elevation AMSL13 ft / 4 m What is it about the eccentric Italian airports. What of all the red and white stripes and very odd looking controls towers and terminal designs that range from weird to the down right bizarre, nonconformist and individual... but yes I do love them immensely as landing in Italy it is like landing on no other planet. This scenery from Aerosoft delivers certainly all that, but I will note up front that the original scenery delivered here is still the old traditional Aerosoft design, buried beneath an X-Plane wrapped wrapper. Italian airports are all usually vast parking aprons set with a kinky terminal design, and you get both aspects here at Genova. The airport is surprisingly small, a small aircraft carrier layout area set out in the middle of Genoa's port zone, but again that is LIMJ's attraction... it is different and it is visually it is exciting to arrive or depart from the Aeroporto Cristoforo Colombo. Let us look and at the old first... Certainly this sort of texturing and modeling was first rate back in the days of early FSX, nowadays it looks like what it is, boxy and heavyhanded. But subtle changes have been made.... all the terminal glass is reflective and the see-though balcony glass is X-Plane new and also transparent. Filler port warehousing and factories are also have FSX heritage, they are what they are... fillers, but the blue never looked good, even in FlightSim. LIMJ's Control Tower is an Italianate work of art... you couldn't be anywhere else but in Italy. Tower view is set, but both approaches are obstructed by railings. Even a year ago you would have discounted the Aerosoft scenery as just a conversion of the original FSX LIMJ, with those blanked out gates. But there is another subtle difference that changes and it is that aspect that turns this scenery on it's head. Here the SAM plugin has been used to convert the airbridges to active. The really clever part here is how well the new (SAM airbridges) have been intergrated into the older chunky scenery, and in the process redefines not only the activity but how it modernises the terminal as well... this is great design work. The important point to make here is that how the SAM plugin can be used to not only be able to be flexible in the vastly different airbridge designs, but how to be also retro-fitted into existing scenery to make the scenery more modern and active. I could list a lot of Aerosoft sceneries that would benefit and certainly be much more contemporary by utilising this plugin's system. The SAM marshaller is also intergrated well on the remote stands as well. Two hangars with the Guardia di Financia and the Piaggio Hangar also have had the SAM hangar door open/close treatment and again the intergration is very well done. The airport's hangar and administration buildings are well represented, and the detail on the hangars is actually good. But there isn't much fill in between areas but the flat washed out photo textures. But the Sheraton Tower Genova Airport Hotel & Conference Center, is very well done and detailed. (the TripAdviser reviews are however not great) Ground Textures LIMJ also benefit's from having to use X-Plane11 new style textures and ground layouts, that updates on and over the older Aerosoft textures... ... but there is the odd "RWY STOP" signage that is duplicated. Aerosoft famous 3d grass is also present, but not right through the scenery, but it is still a nice to have feature. Genoa Port and City The actual scenery does stretch along the northern Italian coast for a considerable distance and covers most of Genoa and it's very complex port system. There is a fair amount of detail in here, but it does really show it's age compared with say Drzewiecki Design's Seattle. The average slightly washed out ground textures don't help with the detail either, so mostly this is all fill. The X-Plane11 autogen does do an extraordinary job is filling in a lot of the areas and the gaps at the required full "maximum" object setting, as this scenery would be simply awful visually with this vital autogen missing. The famous Genova Lanterna, renaissance lighthouse of Genoa which was built in 1543, is well represented, as is a little of the city... ... but don't go looking for any real Genova detail, because there isn't any, not even the Monumento a "Cristoforo Colombo". Lighting LIMJ's Lighting is passable but in reality old and average. Not even X-Plane's effects can really save it? Approach lighting and taxiway lighting is okayish and useable... .... the aprons are nicely lit... but? Why didn't the developers use the correct lighting structures (arrowed)? as they are all dark? and they would have been far more effective than the smaller placed poles? The terminal lighting is frankly well... horrible and yes another throwback to the early FSX age. The Lanterna lighthouse looks very nice on the harbour, and the lovely night textures on the office buildings are the only standout quality lighting. Summary This review is really two elements but they are highly related to each over. One is the new SAM or "Scenery Animation Manager" from Stairport Sceneries, and the second is the LIMJ - Airport Genoa “Cristoforo Colombo” Aerosoft scenery and the LSZH - Zurich v2.05 update. SAM This is an outstanding plugin, that will certainly evolutionise X-Plane and updates significantly one of it's main original features. Everyone has a lot of respect and affection towards Marginal's brilliant original tools, but they getting very long in the tooth, with no updates or no new features for years. SAM wipes them all out sadly in one swipe as the original tools will no doubt be mostly replaced by the newcomer. Brilliant animations and excellent effects with a full menu control for Jetways, VDGS, Marshaller, Hangars and Wind Turbines is not only very adaptable to all sceneries, but is also very expandable and versatile to new features and the ease of use in converting new or old scenery to the features of the plugin. You will see this plugin spread very quickly throughout X-Plane... finally it advances the X-Plane simulator with another great outstanding tool. Airport Genoa XP - LIMJ - Airport Genoa “Cristoforo Colombo” Aerosoft do repackage their old FSX sceneries for X-Plane11. Depending on their age or the quality of their developer then they range from brilliant to average. So how does Airport Genoa fair? It is a fair question. Overall it just slides through, but the heritage of the original scenery and the washed out photographic textures do show through. the lighting is very poor in design (no lighting on the main lighting structures) and those original blue window textures (glass maybe a reach too far) are horrible, but pure FSX. But the X-Plane11 aspect of new ground textures, grass, amazing autogen in creating a somewhat realistic backdrop to the airport, better glass and reflections, large port facilities and the feature tip the scales into the positive area is the excellent SAM plugin intergration of the airbridges, marshallers and hangar door animations, they and SAM certainly lifts the scenery over into the usability factor... so the scenery gets a pass but just. So fly in, fly out and enjoy the airport surroundings and don't look too hard and you will get a lot of use out of the scenery. LSZH - Zurich Airport v2.05. The Zurich v2.05 upgrade was to just to install the SAM plugin features, but what features they are. All gates are now SAM active with not only single gate airbridges, but double airbridges as well.... marshallers cover all the remote stands. Airbridges are now first rate with glass and great animations, two hangar door features and two VFR entry point markers are also featured. Airport Zurich was always one of the really very best Aerosoft sceneries, and now it is simply first rate. ______________________________________________________________________ Yes! Airport LIMJ - Genoa XP and Airport LSZH - Zurich is Available now from the X-Plane.Org Store here : Airport LIMJ - Genoa XP Price Is US$25.99 Features: High resolution photoreal coverage of 187 km² Includes custom models for the city and the harbours of Genoa Well-detailed, accurate and high-quality renders of Genoa airport (LIMJ), including baked/pre-rendered shadows and realistic transparency of the terminal windows Unique, realistic and accurate airport night light (runway, taxiways, aprons, surroundings) Accurate and realistic ground poly based on photos and satellite images Large number of custom objects dedicated for Genoa airport and city – cars, trucks, buses, airport equipment, boats (many types), static aircrafts, and more Landable helipads at Sheraton Hotel and City Hospital Accurate renders of the harbour and many objects along the approach Realistic and accurate ILS offset of 2 degrees Animated jetways, VDGS and hangars (SAM plug-in required) 3D volumetric grass between taxiways Massively optimised for good performance Animated ships around the airport Custom mesh for the airport runway over the sea (by Maps2XPlane) Custom-made realistic static aircraft, including: Bell 412 SP (Guardia Costiera) Hughes NH-500MC (BredaNardi) Piaggio P-180 Avanti Piper Archer 2 PA-28 Aeroclub Genova Canadair CL-415 VIGILI DEL FOUCO Automatic low visibility lighting World Traffic 3 Configuration files included WT3: Ground routes are provided and the scenery will also generate a set of routes. But there are no parking defs in the configuration files? which is really odd? Under AFRE there isn't a lot of activity, but overall WT3 works fine. Requirements X-Plane 11 Windows, Mac or Linux 2GB VRAM Minimum - 4Gb+ VRAM Recommended Download Size: 1.4Gb - Installation 2.91Gb Version and Review copy is v1.0 (Dec 12th 2018) GayaSimulations - LIMJ Genoa - Airport GayaSimulations - LIMJ Genoa - Mesh The developers note you need to adjust the X-Plane "scenery_packs.INI" so the loading order is correct... and that the GayaSimulations - LIMJ Genoa - Mesh is below the Airport files. ______________________________________________________________________ LSZH Airport Zurich v2.05 Airport Zurich v2.05 Price is US$27.99 Current purchasers of the Zurich v2 Scenery can update for free, by going to their X-Plane.OrgStore account and redownloading the new version. X-PlaneReviews full Zurich v2 Review is here: Scenery Review - Updated : LSZH Airport Zurich v2.0 by Aerosoft ______________________________________________________________________ SAM - Scenery Animation Manager by Stairport Sceneries Scenery Animation Manager Plugin is Free, but the scenery is required to have the "sam.xml" file inserted to be active with the plugin. plugin is inserted into your plugins folder, and you also have to insert a "SAM_Library" into your Custom Scenery folder. ______________________________________________________________________ Review by Stephen Dutton 14th December 2018 Copyright©2018 : 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 11.26 (tested in X-Plane 11.30b6) Addons: Saitek x52 Pro system Joystick and Throttle : Sound - Bose Soundlink Mini Plugins: Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : JARDesign Ground Handling Deluxe plugin : US$19.95 : WorldTraffic 3.0 Plugin - US$29.95 : BetterPushBack - Free Scenery or Aircraft - ToLiSS319 (A319) by ToLiSS (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$69.00
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