Turbulent Designs Idaho Falls Regional Review

Coming in hot on the tail of their critically acclaimed MBS airport, The team over at Turbulent Designs pulled an impressive feat once more, and released KIDA for the ESP platform. Idaho Falls is yet another small regional field that you wouldn’t exactly pass by on your morning commute to work. While this airport is a bit out of the way, it serves as a great hub for both business jets and regional flights alike, and with the recent release of the Aerosoft CRJ, that seems to be the sweet spot in terms of scenery. So, have Turbulent pulled a miracle again so soon after MBS? Let’s dig in and find out!

INSTALLATION

This scenery can be installed with a single exe file (around a gig in size) and the whole installation process is seamless and quick. Give the installer your details, let it install what it needs to, follow a few prompts along the way to install DirectX and SODE, and boom, you’re plopped into the excellent Turbulent Designs addon manager utility (Turbulent Terminal,) where you can customize every little facet and nook and cranny of your airport to fit your performance and visual needs.

VISUALS

I considered saying this before, but I wanted to wait and see if Turbulent could repeat their MBS act before I said it. Now that they’ve followed their act in spectacular fashion, I feel comfortable saying that these guys are legitimate ORBX competitors, if not maybe even somewhat better than ORBX. We’ll start by looking at the main terminal building of this airport, which not only is covered head to toe in ultra high res textures, but even has a modeled terminal interior (although not as big as MBS had.) Outfitted with two SODE compatible jetways, this terminal can facilitate up to five seperate commercial airplanes (3 on regular stands in addition to the two connected to the jetways.) Every bit of the terminal building can pass all of mymajor quality inspections, even the parking lot out front, the drop off zone in front of the terminal, and the entire part of the terminal that isn’t even facing the planes. If you were stuck in the cockpit, you would never see these parts of the airport, yet they look better than some other modern sceneries’ highlight areas. Sign posts denoting instructions for driving in the correct planes to pick passengers up read crisper than some markings on addon airplane. I am dumbstruck by this detail.

We can move away from the main terminal now, passing some fantastically detailed airport buildings scattered around, to the GA ramps (yes, two) where we find the same level of detail and attention. Unique hangars like one that has a wooden style really give the scenery a character that very few sceneries can actually have. All of the hangars, whether they be wooden or metal, have a very nice rustic/worn look. Rust building along the edges of hangars, and dirt accumulating on the most commonly moved parts of the doors are an amazing touch that truly denote a seasoned and talented developer. Outside of both the regular terminal and the GA hangars the developer has added static models, which mostly all look fantastic (with the exception of the United CRJ outside of the main terminal, for something that central it aught to be a bit higher rest I think.)

We can also immediately notice the inclusion of so much foliage in this scenery. The team at Turbulent do foliage like no other, and it truly shows. Trees and grass look truly volumetric, and are probably the single most impressive foliage additions to a scenery to date. They’re truly amazing, and I know that word gets tossed around to describe otherwise mundane things, but these things are truly, actually amazing. They even managed to fit this kind of foliage into the surrounding city (where they’ve put loads of custom autogen as well as surrounding photoreal textures, as if the regular airport wasn’t an impressive enough feat.)

The ground textures also received the same “4k is for the weak” approach, and little cement lumps covering cracks in the tarmac look sharper and cleaner than my just sharpened kitchen knife. I can’t say I was surprised, but once again Turbulent pulled through with something truly amazing.

Turn off the lights and you’ll find that this scenery looks just as good as ever during the night. You can choose to have lighting in your textures, or to use v4 dynamic lighting, but either option gives the scenery a warm and inviting glow that puts a smile on my face every time. Approaching the airport at night in a private jet listening to 30,000ft by Ben Rector is an experience I wholeheartedly believe is worth the entire price of the addon to begin with.

PERFORMANCE

You’d think that all of this detail and scale would lead to performance issues, but nope, Turbulent have solved that too. Performance is on par with most ORBX ports of a similar scale, if not slightly better. If you find yourself struggling to keep pace with this scenery though, the excellent config tool lets you fine tune this scenery to squeeze those few more precious frames out of your sim if you so desire.

CONCLUSION

I’d be remiss if I didn’t start this by pointing out that this scenery isn’t perfect. The aforementioned static models still haven’t improved, even after MBS, and the foliage around the airport sometimes doubles on top of eachother (seen in a couple of photos above) and the only solution is to close out the sim and restart. There are also some clipping issues with the river outside of the airport. But, those small bad things are so far outweighed by the good that calling them problems seems like an overstatement. This scenery is the best one that Turbulent have put out to date, and that sentence will always mean good things, since it means a new bar in the entire flightsim industry. This airport truly is a wonder, and I think showing it running in a 32 bit environment like I had it would be enough to turn heads in Silicon Valley proper.., it’s just that good. Go give Turbulent your money, because they have truly earned it.

 

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