Gatwick has been a constant throughout my flightsim ‘career’. I remember many years ago that it was one of, if not, the first payware airports that I purchased. I recall finding the go-around procedure particularly interesting having seen real-world operators executing that hard left or right turn heading 179 degrees climbing to 3000ft. Not only this, but I recognised this as the major hub of the airline which I grew up alongside and ultimately entered aviation with. Us flight simmers have never been quite as spoilt as we have in recent years with most airports being covered by at least two developers – a double-edged sword if you ask me. Whilst this can offer many advantages to the consumer, it leads to congestion in the market and draws attention away from potentially unique development opportunities where other developers are yet to venture.
UK2000 Scenery has ultimately, for many years, held the fort amongst simmers as being renowned for their renditions of UK & Channel Island airports. Enter Jennasoft. I first stumbled upon the company having known very little about the firm and their developments but had seen renders floating on social media. The renders offered very little information but showcased some brilliant details which I looked forward to seeing in my sim. With the length of time from announcement to the release, I lost track of the project. Then almost out of the blue, Jennasoft released Gatwick Airport with little fanfare. With my in-depth knowledge of the airport and its surroundings, I thought it was high time to see if competition for the same airport does benefit the flight sim community.
Texturing and modelling of the terminal were on par with my expectations having seen the screenshots and I thought that the developer displayed a great eye for detail. Moving onto the taxiways; earlier I referred to satellite imagery in my comparison of its real-life counterpart and this is again an area where Jennasoft have excelled. Walkway markings and some other ramp markings were seemingly emitted from the southside of pier 6. We operate a WIWO (walk-in walkout) process which for our operation utilises both airbridge and steps to aid on-time performance, so I know for sure these details are missing from the scenery. Despite not adding much in the way of flying it is further evidence of the forgotten vibe that I referenced earlier.
Whilst there are many nice details within the scenery, I started to notice some areas that lacked any polish. For example, the 3D grass helps to separate the texturing, but that said the overall grass texture leaves a lot to be desired and learnings could be made from other developers, notably FlyTampa or Orbx.
This comment sounds ridiculous considering one is grass the other tarmac but I can’t help but feel that it they are too level and connected, almost like there is no endpoint where one ends and the other begins. Other elements left a sour taste too. Upon further investigation, I felt that texturing on some of the buildings were different in resolution and there was a lack of consistency in the details in the airport itself.
I persevered and gave it another shot. Having been acquainted with Gatwick for some years now, Jennasoft’s attention to detail had not gone unnoticed. In particular, the texturing of the paving work around the tops of the stands on pier 4 or the work in progress at the Boeing hangar. I also noticed a rather odd green ‘perimeter’ marking presumably the area in which the developers worked, which was rather perplexing coupled with the unusual ground friction led to a rather unenjoyable experience. I feel that more ground clutter could have been added, whilst some stands were inundated with multiple GPUs and other associated equipment, others were almost desolate. Gatwick is a hub and never sleeps, so I expected to see a great deal more life to it.
Lighting is done well and offers a degree of immersion with the inclusion of dynamic lighting. Some areas were textured a bit too brightly for my liking, but I find it was enjoyable to land as the sky takes on a pink-purple hue with the terminal glowing in the background. This is something I think Jennasoft has excelled in here; creating ambience through the use of lighting. Approach and taxiway lighting are modelled in 3D which we’ve come to expect as standard albeit in slightly unusual locations, the latter especially with them sinking strangely into the runway.
I also appreciated the addition of a configuration manager enabling you to toggle certain features such as the seasonal textures, static aircraft and 3D grass. The difference is minimal, but I value any configuration tool if it helps some users out with performance.
I am impressed that a lot of attention had been paid to external landside areas such as the terminal station, concourse shuttle and Detainee reception centre by X Car Park. Also included is the unmistakable St Michael and All Angels Church in Lowfield Heath. Oddly, however, the Purple Parking multi-storey car park on the airport perimeter road which is unmissable on both the approach to 08R and subsequently whilst lining up for take-off is missing in action. These missing details sum up my feelings about their product.
Performance-wise, I experienced a few stutters on the approach but that said I often experienced that with UK2000s version just above the touchdown zone. Other than that, it performed well for the size of the airport.
- Most accurate rendition of Gatwick to date
- Use of SODE jetways
- Nice details on the buildings
- Some textures don't blend well
- Areas of modelling is lower in quality
- Blurry textures just outside the airport
Where are scores?
After listening to your feedback, we have decided that from February 5th 2020, we will no longer implement review scores. We will continue to provide high-quality reviews via our written, video and imagery to help you make an informed decision about a product. You can read more about it on our Review Guidelines Page.