Tenerife is a childhood favourite destination for me. I used to travel there all the time as a kid and have often visited it since. It’s a beautiful island down in the Canaries, which sees frequent visitors to the volcanic beaches and resorts. Thanks to the year-round sunshine, and mid to high temperatures, it’s the perfect destination in both winter and summer. As a result of this, I have waited a long time to be able to experience some of the routes to the Canary Islands, and suddenly two scenery packages for Tenerife come along in the same year (there’s also a third one, but that was supposed to come out in January with no updates since). This type of ‘duplication’ of projects is becoming increasingly frequent in the flight sim world, but this also inspires healthy competition and gives users choice. In this review, I’ll be looking at Digital Design’s efforts on the brilliant airport.
For those that don’t know already, Digital Design is a relatively small development team who focus on delivering high quality products. Based on their previous work with the likes of Salzburg, you know already that their work on Tenerife is going to be excellent. The biggest question however, is how it compares to the competition.
Arriving into Tenerife, you immediately notice the detail that the team has gone into creating an airport that feels right. There’s no drab use of colour here, but instead, lots of bright and varied tones. One of my favourite elements of the product is how vibrant everything looks. The colours ‘pop’ brilliantly just like in real life. It’s great to see a stark contrast between various forms of vegetation and demonstrates the attention the developer has put into creating something a little more unique than we’re used to. The buildings are presented in a wonderful colour with plenty of wear and tear throughout. There’s a huge amount of variety in the texture work. For example, ground markings have dirt embedded into them along with a mix of washed away signage and things that clearly have just been repainted. It adds a new level of realism for virtual pilots to enjoy.
While I was impressed with the variety of types of texture work used within the product, the overall quality did let me down a little. Ground markings indicating gate or aircraft type are of a lower resolution than I would expect. It’s frustrating as there’s elements of the ground texturing that looks stunning.
The use of SODE jetways and integration with GSX enables users to enjoy a seamless experience from arrival to departure. Furthermore, the use of ground objects has been done really well with Tenerife. Catering trucks, aircraft steps and baggage carts all make up little niceties dotted around the airfield.
Modelling is of a really high standard. One of the highlights has to be the air traffic control tower. The way it sounds above the airport with its unique design really has a striking and dominating effect on the scenery. The terminal itself has crafted with exceptional quality also with a few little areas also containing interior modelling. There isn’t much of it so it has little to no impact on performance.
What is impressive is the use of night lighting. The island has been given full attention, giving a really nice effect when transitioning near to the airport. It has been done very well and gives a sense of realism throughout the island. In particular, it works very well at the airport. The use of dynamic lighting does impact performance, but this is down to the sim itself, as opposed to the developer’s techniques. The way the lighting illuminates onto the scenery is done very well and complements the scenery rather than lighting the objects for the sake of lighting it.
Moving our attention away from the airfield, Digital Design has also done a super job at recreating the departure and arrival section of the airport. From real world advertising boards to fully recreated bus stops help to immerse you further in to this virtual airport. Again, it’s details like this that allow Digital Design to push beyond your typical developer. Furthermore, the variety in texture work emphasis the incredible detail here.
From a price point, this is the cheapest version of Tenerife currently available. With the reduction in price, comes with some benefits missing. For example, the coverage outside of the airport is limited to just a few miles either side. There was a very obvious moment when the sim went from default scenery (or in my case Orbx OpenLC Europe) to the airport terrain. Competing products include whole island coverage, to help prevent this from impacting on the experience.
Both sceneries provide great choice for the consumer. When it comes down to preference, it’s hard to say. Digital Design’s version exceeds in details in the airport vicinity. I also prefer the colourisation used and feel that it performs a little better in terms of performance. However, the competing products pack in more features and impacts the whole island. Regardless, Digital Design’s have created another great product that will provide simmers an excellent version of the Canary Island.