Orbx is certainly no newcomer to the scenery market. Neither are they a newcomer to developing sceneries in the Scandinavian region, having developed a number of sceneries for Norway and Sweden in the past. These include the popular FTX Norway region and the Swedish capital city airport: Stockholm Arlanda. So when Orbx, by surprise, announced Göteborg Landvetter Airport (which they insist on spelling as Gothenburg Landvetter), we all kind of knew what we were in for. No reason to be less excited though, since sceneries in this part of the world always bring with them a wonderful range of seasonal variability. An impressive feature list was released alongside the announcement, which included PBR textures and SODE jetways. In this review we will take a look at one of Orbx’s most recent releases.
Purchase and installation is simple and painless through the new Orbx Direct app. You select your scenery, enter your payment details and you’re on your way. I added it to one of my Orbx scenery libraries, which nowadays use the xml installation method. Gothenburg Landvetter comes with a configuration tool that allow you to customise a small amount of options. Some of these include day/nighttime runway lighting, some other lighting options and you can toggle static aircraft on and off. For the sake of performance you generally don’t have to make a lot of customisations to the airport. It’s located in a pretty sparsely populated and remote region of the world. Thus the performance of this airport is excellent and using this scenery always ends up being a really smooth experience.
For my first flight, I loaded the airport up with the current date and active weather selection, which meant it was late in the afternoon, winter. In this part of the world, that means that the sun has already set (we only get a few hours of that during this time of the year), and the airport was covered in a layer of snow. Coincidentally, it also meant it was raining at that time. Orbx has managed to capture the atmosphere of the time of the year and the weather perfectly. There was a slightly gloomy atmosphere at the airport, with low hanging clouds and a bit of fog. The lighting was on and Orbx has created a very nice, yet realistic looking light glow coming from the light masts. Furthermore, the apron and runway were wet, and you could clearly see the reflection from the lights in the many puddles on the apron.
Weather is pretty much the general theme of this airport, and displays the most eye-catching features. We’ve seen some features like this before with Orbx’s Kiruna, but this airport is another step up from that. And with Göteborg being Sweden’s second largest airport, it has a much larger number of destinations than the aforementioned airport. For example, there is a large number of domestic and regional flights, and an even larger number of holiday flights all over Europe by premium and budget airlines alike. There is also an odd number of flights to Western Asia.
The weather will highlight most of this airports features, such as the fantastic PBR textures on the apron, taxiways, runway and terminal building. The PBR textures make for a very realistic looking material effect. During rain, the textures will appear realistically wet, with the apron forming puddles of water. And during the summer you will see the sun reflect off of these same textures. As more and more developers are slowly incorporating these PBR textures in their sceneries, we have started to get used to them. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t look great every time you see it: it looks really fantastic. Another, very much weather specific feature, is the snow. Orbx has created some absolutely visually gorgeous texture blending here, if that’s the correct term. Gone are the days where your runway will appear like a normal runway and the surrounding grass will have snow effects or textures on them. Orbx has gone above and beyond to display the snow realistically. It’s blown around by the wind and engine wash, and will cover the edges of runways and taxiways. Areas where you’d normally not see so much traffic will still be covered in snow. And on the grass you can even see small snow banks starting to form. The ground textures also have this frozen appearance to them.
The rest of the textures are all really crisp and detailed. Whether it be the terminal textures, or the ground textures and taxi lines. The glass material, also helped with a little PBR, provide a nice little shine and allow you to look into the slightly modelled terminal interior. There isn’t too much to see there, but there are some chairs and other airport signage. A fun little detail that stood out to me here, was that Orbx seemingly got a bit confused about what country they are in. Some of the advertisement signs in the terminal are Swedish (as they should be), but the airport information displays are in Spanish. Not a game breaking thing by far though, and not something I have considered when giving this airport a review score. The textures also show some weathering effects where appropriate, such as on the terminal building, or apron.
Modelling quality of this airport is really high as well. Göteburg Landvetter Airport doesn’t feature any artsy, modern or odd shapes per se, but that doesn’t mean the modelling isn’t of a high quality. There are many details included in the modelling as well, whether it be on the terminal building, the custom SODE jetways or the details that can be found on the apron, such as baggage carts or service vehicles.
Talking about those SODE jetways, here is one of my biggest pain points with this scenery. Orbx has included support for 12bpilot’s SODE VDGS add-on that needs to be purchased separately. Unfortunately, without this add-on you won’t have a working docking system at all. Orbx has modelled static docking systems, but as the name does suspect, these are not functioning and don’t show anything. The SODE jetways that Orbx has modelled are, accurately, t-loaders. However, these require quite precise parking due to their inability to move forward or backward. I have used this scenery a lot, but haven’t been able to park correctly yet once without using an outside view. This is rather frustrating, and severely impacted how much I was able to enjoy this scenery. I think Orbx would’ve done well had they modelled their own VDGS system here.
This scenery also features the surrounding area of the airport. Right off the bat, I have some mixed feelings about this. I will begin with the good things about it: it looks very nice and detailed, and adds some landclass to the airport surroundings to make it more accurate. The colours are vivid, vibrant and feature auto-gen in the form of trees which looks very beautiful. The forests look dense enough, and provide a beautiful lush of treetops when departing or arriving, no matter the season. But, despite the colours looking great, they don’t entirely blend in with the normal terrain. This is particularly noticeable during the night. And during the winter, the custom surrounding terrain is featuring far more and dense snow than the country itself. The surrounding area also isn’t really big, and limited to some forests and lakes close to the airport. It does not feature the city of Gothenburg itself, for example. Its limited size make me wonder if it was really worth it to include in the scenery, if it stands out a bit. There is a mitigating factor though. Göteborg Landvetter Airport is located in a fairly foggy location, 500ft above sea level. So the airport is often covered in fog and/or low hanging clouds, something that I was able to confirm in almost all my flights to and from this airport in the simulator. This often causes you not even being able to see the surrounding terrain of the airport, so the mismatching of colours and terrain textures is hopefully not so noticeable.
- Modelling and textures of high quality
- Gorgeous weather effects and features
- Performance is excellent, even with all features turned on/active
- Mismatch with surrounding scenery
- Lack of VDGS makes SODE jetways hard to use
- Surrounding scenery is rather limited in size