• Suvarnabhumi Airport By Armi Project

    Review: Suvarnabhumi Airport For FS2004

    By Bill Stack (5 August 2010)


    Screen shots by Armi Project



    Suvarnabhumi Airport (VTBS) is the primary commercial airport for Bangkok, Thailand. Opened in September 2008, it replaced Don Mueang International Airport, which is still used for some commercial aviation. The name "Suvarnabhumi" means "golden land," and it is roughly pronounced "Su- Varn -na-bu-mi" according to scenery developer Jirayu Tanabodee.

    This huge airport's two parallel runways and 120 gates can handle 76 flight operations per hour, including the massive Airbus A380 airliner. It is designed to handle 45 million passengers and 3 million tons of cargo annually.

    Photos available on the Internet show how stunningly beautiful this airport is. I have flown in and out of major, minor, and medium commericial airports all over the United States, but I have never seen anything as architecturally, artistically, and naturally beautiful as this airport.

    Armi Project offers these features, among others many, in its Suvarnabhumi Airport:

    • Custom Gmax ground texture from satellite photos
    • Main terminal and concourses made with detailed 3D metal frames
    • Visual-guide docking system
    • Animated ground service vehicles
    • Real 3D ALSF-2 landing-light system
    • Fully detail jetways and bridges to concourse



    PURCHASE FEATURES

    Instant download from the Pilot Shop

    YES

    Installation program

    NO

    License key required

    YES

    Copyright acknowledgment required

    NO

    Manual included

    YES

    Uninstall program included

    NO




    AIRPORT LOCATION
    Screen shots by Bill Stack



    Visual Features

    This scenery is as dazzling as few others I have seen. It's more extensive, detailed, and animated than any only one or two others I have reviewed, downloaded, or purchased, yet it doesn't harmfully diminish frame rates. Frame rates were in the teens while I low-passed right down the middle of the main terminals at about 500 feet AGL, and they rose to high 20s and low 30s immediately after I passed the airport. There was no jerking or stuttering anywhere at any time.

    I didn't make many comparative screen shots because this airport is too new to have been included in FS2004 &#8212 there isn't anything there at all in the default FS2004 scenery. Everything you see in this scenery is part of the package, except the normally autogenerated objects in the area.

    In addition to scenery objects on and immediately around the airport, there are objects such as hotels, office buildings, houses, and roads miles from the airport. According to the product description, these are Thanacity Golf Course, King Mongkut Institute of Technology, Logistic Center, Airport link station, and Burapha Vitae Expressway. As a result of scenery development in outlying areas, we see realistic urbanization in the surrounding area when we fly to, from, and around this airport instead of flying over nothing until we get within eyesight of this airport.

    Some users might complain about the 2D car-park lots outside the airport, but I like them. We either can't or don't need to see 3D vehicles from several hundred feet aloft, so 2D representations are more than adequate, and they don't impair the frame rates.

    Some rendered areas inside the terminals seem needless unless we're going to taxi our aircraft through them, such as the baggage handling area and the artwork. But being able to see inside those airy terminals and concourses while taxiing around the ramps and taxiways gives a genuine sense that we're really there.

    Airport signs and pavement markings are precise and everywhere they should be.

    The animated vehicles are dazzling, and they add to the real feel when we taxi or fly to or from this airport. There are buses, cars, trucks, and trains operating all around the airport and miscellaneous airport vehicles operating on the ramps.

    Night effects are among the better I've seen. Most of the objects seem realistic, and illumination from light poles is perfect.

    I could go on and on making screen shots and still not get even a small a fraction of what's in this scenery package.



    THE AIRPORT

    Screen shots by Bill Stack




    VIEWS AROUND THE AIRPORT
    Screen shots by Bill Stack



    Technical Features

    This scenery package is available for instant downloading from the Flight Sim Pilot Shop.

    It is available for FS2004 only, and the developer is working on a version for FSX. Not promise date was given.

    With no installation program, users must extract the folders and files from the ZIP archive directly into the FS2004 Addon Scenery folder. Users who are unfamiliar with this process are wise to follow the installation instructions carefully. However, I departed somewhat by first creating a folder called "Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport VTBS" and extracting the two scenery folders and explanatory documents into that folder. That way, I have a single scenery folder containing everything for this airport scenery instead of two folders.

    A six-page manual in English and Thai explains product features, installation instructions, and performance requirements, replete with color screen shots.

    The manual and text files contain the following caveats: "This scenery is incompatible with Jan Martin’s VTBD. It may cause runway and taxiway disappear or ground poly flickering. Other scenery regarding VTBS should be removed, including VTBS photoscenery by myself (Jirayu Tanabodee) VTBS by Jan Martin, VTBS2006 and VTBS2008 by Siamavsim. This scenery is fully compatible with Prasong’s VTBD from Thaiflight.com."

    Also according to the manual and text files: "The lowest spec PC should be at least Pentium 4 2.8 GHz ram 1 Gb. Video card memory should be at least 256 mb Our beta-tester can get 14-16 fps without any AI and clear sky. We recommend new CPU with multiple cores such as AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ processor - 2.6 GHz, socket AM2 RAM 4GB ATI - HD4890 can get more than 40 fps. Mine is CoreII 253 GHz RAM 2GB (without shadow, AI, clear sky), I can get 40+. But with AI, shadow and cloud to max, I can get 22-23. I would recommend, if you have lower spec computer, to turn off shadow and adjust AI to suit to your system."

    Important information such as this should be available to customers before they buy the product so users don't inadvertently buy a product they can't use.


    NIGHT EFFECTS
    Screen shots by Bill Stack



    Nice Features

    Highlighting features that are nicer than others in such a spectacular scenery package seems impossible, but four items are particularly noteworthy:

    • Animated doors on the Thai Maintenance Hangar can be opened by dialing Nav-2 radio to 112.00.

    • Runway guard lights can be turned into green by dialing Nav-2 to 113.00.

    • The elevated train tracks and expressways with pavement markings are a splendid touch.

    • Seeing inside those airy terminals and concourses while taxiing around the ramps and taxiways gives a genuine sense that we're really there.



    VIEWS AROUND THE AIRPORT
    Screen shots by Bill Stack



    More Information

    Learn more about Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport at these websites:




    VIEWS FROM AIRCRAFT
    Screen shots by Bill Stack




    THE MANUAL
    Screen shots by Bill Stack



    Summary

    This scenery is among the top two or three I have reviewed in the last 18 months. Its extensiveness, detail, accuracy, and realism while having little impact on frame rates make this scenery stand out from almost all others. The attention to detail and quality control is quite noteworthy. It definitely reflects the real airport's grandeur. Its developers say they spent two years on this project, and that's fully believable. I don't think my raving will disillusion buyers into expecting too much. The price is surprisingly low for a scenery of this quality. Too bad this outstanding scenery package isn't available for FSX! An FSX version is in the works, but no promise date has been given.


    Bill Stack



    Learn More About Armi's Suvarnabhumi Airport for FS2004


    Bill Stack is author of several books about flight simulation, a regular author in flight-sim magazines, and a contributor to Flight Sim Com. His website is www.topskills.com


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