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Review: Zinertek - Enhanced Airport Graphics For MSFS


Enhanced Airport Graphics

Publisher: Zinertek

Review Author:
Michael Hayward

Suggested Price:
$16.99

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Zinertek is a well-respected sceneryenhancer development team for FSX and P3D. Recently they have releasedtheir first enhancement pack for Microsoft Flight Simulator, "EnhancedAirport Graphics", which provides a complete texture replacement forall default ground textures within Flight Simulator's airports. Inthis review, we take a look at the all-new add-on from Zinertek andsee how much it enhances the default airport environments forMicrosoft Flight Simulator.

Installation

Installation of Zinertek Enhanced Airport Graphics was simple andonly takes a few moments. When purchasing from the FlightSim.Com Storeyou are given a zip file and an activation key. Run the installerwithin the zip file, input your key and point the installer to yoursimulator's "Community" folder.

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This will create two folders, Enhanced Airport Graphics 1 and2. When running the simulator these replace the default textures andis where the enhancement files are stored. This makes it easy tomanage your simulator without the need to overwrite default files,instead side-loading them on top of what MSFS already uses.

Airport Environments

Enhanced Airport Graphics replaces all default airport groundtextures with all-new high-resolution ground tiles and markings, andare much closer to what you would expect to see at real-worldairports. This includes a variety of different textures for differentmaterials used.

Runways and taxiway surfaces are greatly improved on with all-newmarkings and base textures for all styles - tarmac, grooved concreteand tiled concrete. Runway touchdown zones have more pronounced tiremarks from where aircraft touch down and weathering has been appliedthroughout. This has the effect of taking away that clean and newfeeling that Microsoft Flight Simulator has by default. Airports aregenerally not pristine environments with fresh new ground paving, butare weathered from the constant movement of heavy jetliners and propcraft and other fast-moving traffic that cross through theirfacilities.

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Colors are also no longer flat. Instead of a single shade of greyused to define what kind of ground you are on, these now have smallblemishes and imperfections which you will see over a large surfacearea. This adds life and variety to the scene and ensures that no twoairports will look the same. Each has their own layouts, tweaks anddifferences which help with differentiating airports, and eventuallyadds a sense of familiarity to them.

Gates and stands are also enhanced with staining and cracks addedwhere spills and damage have taken place in years gone by. As beforewith taxiways and runways, adding age and weathering to the scenerybrings more life into the simulator where planes have been managed,worked and turned around at high-capacity over several decades.

Ground markings, numbers and details have also been improved on.For example, taxiway centerlines have two distinct styles to them, aplain yellow line and backed black border. This also applies to runwaymarkings and boundaries which are marked and stand out (much more thanthe default textures). When combined, markings are more pronounced andhelp greatly in guiding your taxiing aircraft from stand to runway andvice versa. The shade of each color too has been carefully picked sothat it not only looks good, but also fits in with the scenery.

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It is worth saying too that Enhanced Airport Graphics only changesthe textures of airports and not the layout directly. Taxiways,runways and stands are all in their same positions, however, thetextures that define each, as mentioned above, have been greatlyimproved on so as to add character and variety. Add-on airports thatcome with their own textures sets are also not affected by thisadd-on, only touching those that are within default airportenvironments.

Lighting on taxiways and runways still follow the same defaultpatterns and don't appear too different at night, but when looking upclose at the light fittings and how they interact with the groundterrain, this too looks far better than the default layout with bulbsmuch more visible thanks to the difference in color when compared todefault. This makes for a fantastic night scene with improved groundtextures still featuring in the glow of your aircraft lights andground lighting fixtures.

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If there is one thing I feel could have been included, it would bereplacement textures for terminal buildings. The updated groundtextures look fantastic within Microsoft Flight Simulator, but it isalmost a shame to see the terminals and facilities left in theiroriginal state. Perhaps we will see an update or a new pack release inthe future that will cater for these, but for now, this is not thecase.


Seasons And Weather

One thing that Microsoft Flight Simulator excels in is thedepiction of weather and snow. These are all shader-based and rendereddirectly on top of the simulator scenery.

With Enhanced Airport Graphics, these weather patterns stand outmore, and thanks to the high-level of weathered detail added, verymuch add to the scene. As raindrops onto tarmac or as snow settles atthe side of concrete tiles, everything fits together to form alifelike scene, something you would expect to see when travelling tothe airport when the weather is a little worse for wear.

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Ground reflections are also enhanced by the high-resolution groundtexture underneath. On a wet surface where water has settled, and whenviewed from a low angle, reflections emerge from the ground and paintthe scene of your airport and any movement that is taking place. Withdetailed ground textures and blemishes, these add small changes tothis scene which adds the impression of life within the simulator.

Opinion And Closing Remarks

So far I have adored what Zinertek have done with their EnhancedAirport Graphics add-on for Microsoft Flight Simulator. Their textureenhancements have always greatly improved the experience of whateverpacks you have purchased, and this has certainly been no exception.

Small graphical details are what have helped Microsoft FlightSimulator become the platform it is today. Visually it is superior toanything that currently exists on the market, so when an add-on comesalong that can take this even further, it's hard to look the otherway. By upgrading the graphical quality of default airports, it addslife and variety to an already vast number of locations dotted aroundthe globe.

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While it would be nice to see a future terminal enhancement to goalongside this, for the price, you cannot complain about what itprovides to the simulator and how much life it brings to tens ofthousands of airports within the virtual world.

The Technical Bit

Minimum Requirements

  • 2.05 GB of hard drive space

Review PC Spec

  • Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020
  • Windows 10 Professional
  • 6th Generation Intel® Core™ i7 6700 Processor
  • 21 GB RAM
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1660
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Michael Hayward

 

Purchase Zinertek - Enhanced Airport Graphics for MSFS 2020

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