• Review: Airport Layout Enhancement Solution

    Airport Layout Enhancement Solution

    Publisher: Pyreegue Dev Co

    Review Author:
    Brunco Esperanca

    Suggested Price:
    $15.99

    Buy Here

    Description

    ALES - The Airport Layout Enhancement Solution, is an enhancement package for X-Plane 11, which replaces default textures with high quality ones. These include: runways (three variants), draped signs, taxilines, asphalt, concrete and helipads.

    The textures in this package are the ones that are unique; these have never been used before in X-Plane. The assets included are 3D scanned surfaces from the real world we live in using cutting edge technology to ensure almost perfect implementation of real surfaces and their properties in X-Plane 11 utilizing all of its PBR features.

    Purchase, Download, Documentation And Installation

    ALES can be bought from the FlightSim.Com Store. The developer is not well known and as far as I could see, this is the first product developed by him. The installation files are equivalent to other texture replacement packs. You will get a zip (compressed) archive which is approximately 1 GB, unzipping to just over 2.2 GB. The zip file I received contained five items inside - three folders, one base pack and two optional, one user guide and one EULA especially for reviewers. I guess there's a separate one for regular users.

    Installation is equivalent to other texture packs, and is quite simple. For example for the base package, inside there's a folder called "X-Plane 11". Simply extract this folder to the folder where your X-Plane 11 installation is located, so that the files are overwritten, and you are good to go! This is of course explained in the user guide, along with a description of the contents and an explanation of the options you have. The options are basically different runway wear, and different resolutions - 2k and 4k.

    System Performance

    Performance should have a small hit, I would say, particularly if you are GPU-bound. In my case, my GPU has quite some headroom still, so I could not notice any impact. To test, I tried all combinations at an international airport which is slightly taxing on performance, Palma de Mallorca (this was during the same time of day and same weather). Four combinations were tested - default, MisterX's AEHDv2, ALES v1.2 2k, ALES v1.2 4k. In any combination, frames were around mid fifties, but the 4k textures are noticeably crisper and better looking to any of the others, so it was an easy choice.

    Look And Feel

    Let me start right off the bat by saying I cherry-pick very carefully where my money is spent. At the end of the day, I do have a couple of mouths to feed, excluding my own, and I am a student pilot at the moment, so normally if there's a free option for something, I take it, and it's not easy to make me take payware for something. Having said that, someone who will try to fly with X-Plane's default ground textures for taxiways, runways, etc. will definitely agree they are atrocious. As you can see in the screen shots below which I have taken for reference, particularly on the runway, the jagged lines are so notorious, it's really not suitable for a current flight simulator. Thanks to the efforts of the popular developer MisterX, we have a freeware that addresses this shortcoming on X-Plane.

    Default X-Plane Textures Screen Shots

    Airport Layout Enhancement Solution - ALES - default textures     Airport Layout Enhancement Solution - ALES - default textures

    Airport Layout Enhancement Solution - ALES - default textures

    We should also quickly talk about PBR. Physically Based Rendering is a technology that was introduced with X-Plane 11 which basically improves the way lights interact with surfaces/textures in a way that mimics the type of material of the surface. Reflection, refraction, diffusion, will be different with different materials such as metal or plastic surfaces. Initially, this technology was mostly used on airplanes and was noticeable particularly on the metal-like reflections on the outside, but more and more PBR is being applied on scenery and ground textures. Orbx has even announced a scenery where all surfaces have PBR.

    As such, default and MisterX's textures also have PBR applied on some of the textures, most notably, painted lines, as you can also see on the screen shots.

    Tags: ales

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