Microsoft Flight Simulator – Fukuoka City & Airport Review (SamScene3D)

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Third-party developer SamScene3D recently released “Japan Fukuoka Wow,” an add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator, featuring landscapes for both the largest city on the Japanese West Island of Kyushu and its airport (RJFF).

It is certainly a very interesting package for those who like to fly in Japan. Fukuoka is a major destination for domestic traffic and also receives significant international traffic, mainly from China, Korea and Southeast Asia.

It is also one of the increasingly rare large, high-traffic airports located right in the middle of a large city, offering scenic approaches in both directions. It is in fact even rarer because instead of being replaced by another outside the urban area (often on artificial islands in Japan), it is expanding with a second runway which is scheduled for completion in 2025. .

Of course, this complicates things considerably when trying to replicate it in a flight simulator. But we’ll get to that later.

First, if you want to see what the landscape looks like in detail, you can watch a video above showing the ILS approach to runway 16. The video below includes a full overview of the airport and the city itself, in a diverse range of lighting and weather conditions.

The add-on is available on SamScene3D’s own store for $ 18.99. Installation requires unzipping the scenes folder in your community, and the developer is very active in communicating updates to their customers via email. Alternatively, you can purchase it from Orbx Direct and take advantage of the Orbx Central client for a completely painless procedure.

If we look at the airport in a functional way, everything is generally running smoothly. The ILS and other approaches are properly calibrated and all SIDs and STARs are present. PAPI lights also indicate the correct glide path if you prefer to land visually.

Taxiways are true to the maps, which means the simulation’s default ATC will provide helpful guidance to and from the runways and AI aircraft will have no issues navigating the airport. The only small problem is that the secondary parking area in the domestic apron mainly used by regional airliners has the ramps marked as general aviation, when they should always be marked as gates.

Ground services are all functional, including the often overlooked tanker trucks that many developers seem to overlook or overlook at Microsoft Flight Simulator airports.

The orthophoto used as the base of the airport is unfortunately quite poor, and the border with the default environment is clearly visible.

The runway, taxiways and aprons have correct markings updated with the latest visual references I could find (although they may use a bit more fading and aging) . The vertical taxiway signs, while functional, do not exactly match the actual airport.

The textures of the concrete and asphalt aren’t bad, but they’re a bit flat and clean. They would require a lot more weathering, dirt and stains to come close to the actual look of the airport.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Airport Review

As mentioned earlier, the airport is undergoing renovation due to the construction of the second runway, which means that it is quite difficult to “freeze” it in time as the old taxiways are removed and replaced by the runway. in full growth. That being said, SamScene3D did a good job replicating a very recent ‘snapshot’ of the airport. Fortunately, the developer is proactive in updating their landscape, so we can probably expect updates as things progress over the next three years.

The terminals are adequate, but not exceptional. The international terminal has a simple modeled interior, while the domestic terminal uses physics-based rendering to give the opaque windows a semi-reflective look, which makes sense since the international terminal is the one that uses the most glass in its architecture.

The same goes for the hangars, tower and the rest of the airport buildings, which sometimes feature textures that are a bit too low in resolution with visible artifacts, although you have to get close enough to notice it. There is also a lot of construction going on around the hangars, and the iconic Japanese Coast Guard hangar has been properly removed as in real life, as the squadron has been moved to another airport. The military apron is (also correctly) always present.

The airport has Microsoft Flight Simulator default gateways. I would really love to see SamScene3D move to custom gateways, as that would definitely add value to its airports. Still, this is probably the wrong airport for such a request, as the real gateways in Fukuoka are indeed very similar to the default ones. As a result, they are doing their job properly.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Airport Review

On the other hand, I would have liked to see a lot more congestion and airport vehicles on the aprons, which are a little empty, especially around the military apron and areas under construction. The developer added building materials to it, but it’s still not enough. Work vehicles like bulldozers, rollers and trucks would have completed the scene well.

The doors have a modeled visual docking guidance system, but it doesn’t work. This is not surprising, as this is still an extremely rare feature in the Microsoft Flight Simulator landscape (developers have to go through flaws to make it work, and few try), and I definitely prefer this solution. to what most of the other developers are doing, which is just leaving the system out.

The city side area is definitely flatter and more empty than I would like, but there are some shiny elements like lots of Japanese billboards that add flavor and even properly placed nearby stores. I have to admit seeing the CoCo Ichibanya curry restaurant where I had lunch a few years ago and the 7-Eleven convenience store where I bought batteries for my recorder made me smile. I certainly miss Fukuoka. It is a lovely town.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Airport Review

Perhaps the best feature of the package is that it combines the airport with the surrounding city. You will find many monuments like Best Denki Stadium, Acción Fukuoka Sports Center, PayPay Dome, Hilton, Fukuoka Tower, Fukuokashi Seaside Park, Castle Ruins, Hakata Port Tower, Hakata Station and much more.

Additional value is added by the placement of hundreds of high rise buildings like apartments, hotels and shopping malls, which are almost completely absent from the landscape by default. While last year’s Japanese World Update made a courageous effort to replace the smaller buildings you’ll see around the country, it didn’t do much to improve tall buildings and office buildings. widespread in cities that do not have photogrammetry.

The result is that major Japanese cities like Fukuoka don’t look so much like major Japanese cities, almost as if they have been downgraded to oversized residential cities. This addon does a fantastic job of solving this problem without resorting to photogrammetry. Fukuoka resembles Fukuoka even beyond its most iconic landmarks.

On the flip side, I would have liked to see sharper textures and patterns across the board, and a little more attention to traditional buildings like temples and shrines, which could have enriched the landscape even more.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Airport Review

A few large landmarks south of the airport like the Kyushu National Museum would also have been welcome, as well as more work on Hakata Port, with more ships, containers and cranes, in addition to its breakwaters. and headlights, which are completely missing. Still, as mentioned above, SamScene3D’s known proactivity in updating its scenes gives me hope for some additions in the future.

Conversely, it’s nice to see that some of the island’s salvaged city skyscrapers and apartment buildings have been included, as they are just below the approach to runway 16.

Nighttime lighting is competently implemented, and patterns and textures respond well to rain. The only downside with the weather conditions is the snow cover at the airport which is very patchy and could require some work.

In terms of performance, the landscape behaves quite well, especially considering that it literally adds hundreds of buildings. On my PC I am only losing 7-8 FPS (RTX 3070, Ryzen 9 3900x, 32GB RAM) at 1440p resolution and Ultra detailed settings. You can see the difference in the gallery below.

Ultimately, SamScene3D’s Fukuoka isn’t perfect, with overall texture quality and an airport that could be more detailed as the main downsides. Still, it would be unfair not to consider what this brings in terms of benefits.

Add-ons that include both an airport and the surrounding city are rare in Microsoft Flight Simulator, especially at a slightly lower price point than many stand-alone airports of comparable size.

The default airport is so obsolete that it is almost unusable if you fly with human ATC on networks like VATSIM, while the rendering offered by SamScene3D is updated and still offers a very big improvement over what is offered in Microsoft Flight Simulator.

The absolutely huge number of additional buildings in the city and the painstaking work that has gone into restoring its skyline is also very valuable. In conclusion, if you care about Fukuoka and love to fly in Japan, this package can definitely be considered a good buy.

Exam block

Japan Fukuoka Wow for Microsoft Flight Simulator Review Review

Reviser: Giuseppe Nelva | Copy provided by the publisher.

Advantages

  • The city’s appearance and skyline are restored as opposed to the default misrepresentation.
  • The airport is updated and fully functional.
  • Many Japanese brands and a local store add flavor.
  • Lots and lots of custom landmarks and buildings.

The inconvenients

  • The quality of the texture is random in all areas.
  • Runways and taxiways should present more alterations.
  • The airport aprons seem quite empty and more details would have been welcome.
  • Uneven snow cover at the airport.

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