Moving just under 59 million passengers annually, and ranking as the 3rd busiest airport in Europe, Amsterdam (ICAO: EHAM) is an instantly recognizable staple of the aviation world. It’s a hub for KLM and it’s regional affiliate Cityhopper, as well as being a focus city for many an airline, including Singapore Cargo, Vueling, and many more. The airport is often attributed to having a bustling character unlike any other airport on earth.
FlyTampa are the developers behind some of the ESP platform’s most detailed sceneries. Among the elite crew made up by FSDreamTeam, Flightbeam and FlyTampa, FlyTampa is best known for being the main developer of the three for European scenery. Their Schipol project was announced almost 2 years ago, and has been hyped up ever since. So, how did they do this go around? Let’s find out.
The installation of this scenery came with an exe file for installation, and a dat file to hold everything it needed to install. The total package came out to around 1.5GB before install. After installing using the sim-agnostic installer, the full file size became about 3GB. It’s big, but not unreasonably massive given the detail of the airport. The installer also gives you a configuration manager to pick your texture resolution, snow textures, and a multitude of tiny knick-knacks to improve or decrease performance based on your PC’s specs, and how much VAS your sim likes to use. It also came with a pdf file that had some interesting facts, as well as a tutorial in case you’ve forgotten how airports work. Overall, the installation was seamless, simple, and quick. Just the way it should be.
FlyTampa are known as the top dogs for visual fidelity in the scenery world, and Amsterdam is no exception. You can choose between 3 different texture packs for the airport. High (for people with P3D and $2,000 to blow on a PC.) Medium (for the regular old flightsimmer.) and LITE (for people who need that little VAS edge, mainly in FSX Boxed.) I used the Medium/Normal texture pack for this review, which still provides beautiful and crisp 2k textures throughout the scenery, with a few 4k textures thrown in.
The 2k textures were simply gorgeous. Sitting at the gate doing pre-flight chores is now one of the most fun parts of the flight. You get to look around at the over HD everything, and get to gawk at the superb modeling of the buildings that the textures cover. None of the buildings have sharp edges or rough corners, everything looks like it was meant to be the center of attention.
When night falls and the lamps turn on, this airport truly comes to life. Everything that is right about the daytime textures is cranked up past 11 when the sun sets. Every single light casts a convincing and beautiful beam upon the superb ground textures. And the lights that guide you along the taxiway are bright and large, as not to let you lose your way. While the lights on the taxiway were large, they left a bit to be desired in their overall look. They seemed to be a bit too big and bright and “stretched out,” even if it does mean it is easier to find your way around the airport at night.
Speaking of finding your way around the airport, the ground markings! With wear and tear that is on par with AAA video games, these textures are extremely convincing and entertaining to look at. A convincing “lived in” feeling is a tremendously difficult feat to accomplish, yet FlyTampa seem to do it with ease with every scenery they release.
Another aspect of the scenery that makes it so convincing is the amount of nitty gritty details they put in parts of the scenery you would never usually notice. Take for a example a model Fokker 70 with the Cityhopper livery sitting upon a roof, or the Heineken beer cans as a small sculpture a little further down the roof. Or the fact that (using EZDok) you can “walk” inside of the jetways, where the floor is modeled as well as the glass walls on either side.
Another important aspect of a scenery is that it must run well. What’s the point of buying a brand new fancy scenery only to discover that it’s powerpoint simulator 2017. Well, there is no need to worry with this scenery. I personally got FPS around the 3o mark in the Airbus A320, but for those of you who can handle more stuff, or want more frames, the scenery customizer allows for a wide variety of tweaks to be applied to your scenery, everything from the amount of static stuff you want to which roadways have animated cars to the amount of traffic you want on the highways. You can modify the amount of airport vehicles, the amount of cars parked in the parking garages, and even whether there are animated people walking around on the apron and such.
For this test I mainly look at how my VAS usage shaped up, and how many errors in the scenery I could find. My VAS usage stayed below 70% while just cruising around the airport, and I still managed to keep that magical below 70% number while using it in a full flight (mainly in conjunction with Aerosoft LIMC.) This airport is impressively well tuned given how detailed it is.
And while VAS usage was okay, I did find a few minor places where textures collided or shadows disappeared and re-appeared. There were also a few gates at the airport where the SODE jetways refused to connect to the airplane. These moments were rare, but they did kind of knock me out of the moment when they happened.
Overall Stability: 8/10
So, should you buy it? The question everyone came to ask. Well, let’s do a quick recap. The scenery is class-leading in the visuals department, and will truly wow you every time. It comes packed with a useful scenery manager and a host of features therin. Performance is on par for a complex airport, and while VAS usage stayed low, there were a few bugs yet to be ironed out. Overall Score: 8.8/10. Recommended? Yes.