• Review: Alderney Airport And Island For X-Plane 11

    Beyond The Airport Perimeter

    The airport is only a small part of the overall scenery package, and as we've already seen, there's a whole island to explore!

    Boundless advertises a long list of Alderney landmarks that are included in the package. I won't reproduce that list here, if you're particularly interested then the FlightSim.Com Store listing for it contains the detail. What is evident from the list, in that there are no fewer than nine different castles and forts - ten if you count the Odeon (spoiler alert - it's not a cinema), is that the assertion made at the start of the review in respect of the density of fortifications across the island is accurate. Many of these are visible in the screen shot below which was taken looking across the north-east corner of the island.

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 9 - From back to front... Fort Albert, Chateau a L'Etoc, Fort Corbletts, The Odeon, Quesnard Lighthouse, Fort Quesnard
    and Fort Houmet Herbe

    I'll admit to being a trifle disappointed that I couldn't get the Quensard Lighthouse to do what lighthouses do despite changing the time to the dead of night and winding the visibility down to something resembling a good old-fashioned peasouper. Then again, I probably shouldn't be flying in those sorts of conditions anyhow.

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 10 - Church of St. Anne and its surroundings

    Looking a little more closely at the town of St Anne reveals that some of the more significant buildings have been modelled and that these are surrounded by a selection of typical houses and buildings that have been developed and individually placed. The result is a convincing replica of the town. If you decide that the whole Alderney package isn't for you, Boundless has released many of the bespoke objects included in the scenery as a freeware package which can be downloaded from their web site.

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 11 - Alderney Museum and Clock Tower with St Anne Church and the harbour in the background

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 12 - Braye Beach Hotel in front of St Anne's School

    Interestingly Boundless has elected not to lay down roads across the whole island, instead preferring to leave the underlying orthophoto visible. For me, this is a good decision that preserves the realism that the package provides and avoids the rather off-putting situation where a perfectly good orthophoto is ruined by the default roads that the X-Plane simulator currently provides.

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 13 - St. Anne with the airfield behind

    For all its strengths, there are a couple of underlying issues across the whole scenery package which for me, again, expose a lack of attention to detail. These are the misalignment of objects with the underlying orthophoto and the elevation of objects above the ground, and both problems are acutely apparent in the harbor wall.

    Boundless Simulations - Alderney for X-Plane
    Figure 14 - View from Braye Harbour towards Fort Albert

    In the image above, it can be clearly seen that the harbor wall doesn't align with the photo underneath it (the textures on top of the harbor wall object and the ground to the right are identical). Also, from the positioning of the shadow underneath the wall closest to the camera, it's possible to see that this end of the wall is hovering above the ground.

    In Conclusion

    The decision by Boundless to model a whole island with its airport is an unusual one; in the case of an island the size of Alderney, it's a manageable ambition. The package that they've developed delivers a recognisable rendition of the island and its features.

    There's always a question in my mind that needs answering at the end of a review, and that's whether I would recommend product I've been reviewing to other simulator pilots? In the case of Alderney, that's a more difficult question to answer than usual.

    As always, if the airport or the island are meaningful to you, then you are most definitely going to benefit from and enjoy being able to fly into, out of and around a place that you know.

    For me though, taking into consideration all the lapses in attention to detail that I've discovered whilst looking closely at the whole package, it's difficult to wholeheartedly endorse in its current form. Taken individually, there's nothing I've seen that would stop me recommending it as a purchase, but as a collection the multiple small flaws demonstrate a lack of attention to detail that distinguishes a good scenery package from a great one.

    That said, Boundless packages launched prior to this one have seen updates released within months of their initial launch that address the sorts of issues that I've described, and I'm looking forward to seeing version 2 of Alderney.

    Purchase Boundless - Alderney

    Andrew Parish

    Purchase Boundless - Alderney EGJA For X-Plane
    See other Boundless Simulations scenery

    Tags: alderney, egja

    1 Comment
    1. clankilp's Avatar
      clankilp -
      I've had this scenery for a couple months now and have visited a few times.

      All in all I really like it as I mainly bought it as a somewhat fitting place from which to operate the FIS P-38 Lightning.

      In all honesty I never picked off the (now obvious) errors you brought to light. Perhaps if I had gotten around to helicoptering around a bit, i would've...

      my main nit-pick for the scenery is that the orthophoto is so detailed that missing buildings are blatantly apparent (particularly those somewhat separated from town). A fair sprinkling of even simple buildings would go a long way to helping that out.

      Other than that, though, I truly enjoy visiting the island. Though my use case is somewhat unconventional, I consider it money well spent.
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