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Review of SPECTRE – MTPP PORT AU PRINCE FSX

Feature image

Toussaint Louverture International Airport, ICAO: MTPP; located in Tabarre, near the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti. This international airport is currently the busiest in Haiti.

Originally opened in the 40s and known as Bowen Field it was used for both civilian and military flights. The U.S. military also used it as an airbase throughout the 50s and 60s. The current airport was opened in 1965 and was named Francois Duvalier International Airport after then Haitian president, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier. In 1986, the airport was renamed again to Port-au-Prince International Airport, before being renamed in 2003 to its current designation of Toussaint Louverture International Airport, in honour of the Haitian revolutionary leader.

The airport sustained severe damage during the horrific earthquake of 2010. In 2012 a newly renovated terminal was opened to serve the travelling public. The airport has a single runway; 10/28 @ 9,974ft.

The scenery addon coverage area consists of the airport grounds plus the industrial park buildings located near the end of runway 10. If you have a look at the comparison screenshots you can see that although the FSX version has the basic runway and apron layouts the Spectre version has definitely taken the airport to a whole other level.

Spectre MTPP

FSX default MTPP

Installation

Installation is simple but requires an active internet connection to enter your serial key in order for you to receive a personalized authorization code. When these steps are done you can continue through to completion.  It sounds complex but it really is straightforward and easy to follow. The airport is added to the FSX scenery library by the installer.

Also available from the SimMarket product purchase page is an online tutorial that takes you through each screen of the installation process. I’ve included the link below. It is very well written and shows you exactly what you’ll need to do.

http://secure.simmarket.com/installation.html

Configuration

There were no configuration options.

Documentation

There was no documentation with the product. At the very least something should have been included that provided basic airport and recommended FSX settings information. There were no charts either, however I was able to find some after doing a search on the internet.

Ground textures

This product uses high resolution photo textures as the base which gives very good results with lots of ground details showing off the quality of the imagery.

Overhead view showing detailed ground textures and building rooftops

The downside to this is the same as I see in many other scenery projects, many objects appear in the ground textures that aren’t recreated with discrete 3d objects. A prime example of this is in the UN logistics area of the airport. We can see in the photo textures some containers and other objects yet there are none, only some small buildings and sheds.

Objects on ground textures not repoduced in scenery

The hard surfaces were also very good, providing a realistic look that showed signs of wear and tear in all the right places. We can appreciate that these surfaces have been subjected to some harsh treatment.

Hard surface

Buildings

It didn’t take long to notice that many of the buildings and structures at this airport seem to be suffering from the effects of aging, weathering and probably lack of upkeep. Thanks to the combination of high quality images and very good colouring techniques the developer did a wonderful job at conveying this in the addon.

The main passenger terminal building is the largest building at the airport and is centered on the south side of the main apron. For me this was the visual highlight of the entire scenery. It is a building that is relatively simple in design but still gave the developer the opportunity to include some nice detailing such as open staircases, balcony railings and a rooftop with some HVAC units and communications dishes. Combine those details with the realistic textures and the result is a very nice recreation.

Terminal overview Detailed rooftop Excellent stairway and railing detailing

Besides the terminal building and the area immediately surrounding it there are two other areas; the Guy Mamary Aerogare and the UN Logistics area. Each of these areas is populated with small single storey structures. They all have a very realistic look with their own unique details and that rustic un kept look that seems to be prevalent throughout this airport. You could easily see that they put the same type of effort into recreating these ones just as they had done with the larger terminal building.

UN logistics center Very good roof truss detailing Fire station Colonial style building Cluster of buildings near the fuel farm Control tower on terminal building Detailed open hangar Aerogare Guy Mamary Fuel farm Objects and Vehicles

The scenery is populated for the most part with very good quality objects and vehicles. These all help to enhance the overall sense of realism and support the activities that are taking place; the movement of both passengers and freight.

The mix of objects and vehicles was typical for what you’d expect to see at an airport of this size with the majority of them found on the main apron. Here we can see service vehicles and various types of freight and freight handling apparatus. Also included are some of the navigational and visual aids typically found at an airfield.

Freight containers and cargo palettes Apron area with a good variety of objects and vehicles clearly visible

In the category that I like to think of as objects added by developers to up the realism factor we see power poles and power lines in the immediate vicinity of the airport terminal. Their decision to add these types of visual “extras” make a positive difference and help to make the scenery look that much better. In a small and intimate airport such as this these small extras are much more obvious.

Power poles and lines

Sticking with this train of thought I felt that the scenery would have benefited from the addition of some vehicles next to the terminal along the roadway for the same reason, this is a small and intimate airport.

Terminal without any added vehicles

Like most scenery addons there were a few minor problems. With this airport they weren’t too noticeable but they were there. Some of the ground lighting fixtures along the runways and taxiways were missing. They did include the lighting at night but it was minus the fixtures. I also saw a problem with the fire truck image textures; the tires were octagonal instead of round and depending on your viewing angle the tire textures would disappear. There was also a problem with the placement of the VOR/DME when compared to satellite photographs, they had it situated on a service road that ran near the southern boundary of the airport rather than further up near the runway.

VORDME appears to be misplaced Missing ground light fixtures at the end of the runway Tire texture problem

Animations

There were no animations in this scenery.

Night

To sum up, Port au Prince at night was a fun and realistic experience. Looking at the airport from any point of view the work they did was impressive. Each aspect of night lighting was nicely recreated so we had a sense that the airport was a place where activities were taking place.

Night time approach to runway 10 Terminal lighting Runway lighting Apron lighting Final Thoughts

As far as I can tell this was their first scenery release so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect outside of the posted screenshots. Overall this is a very nice product and is well done. There were a few minor visual problems, and there was no documentation which was a bit of a disappointment. Looking past the minor issues I am glad I took the time to experience their work and am very much looking forward to their next product release!

My Ratings

Installer: Very good. Simple to use.

Documentation: None.

Modelling: Very good.

Extras: None.

Download Size: FSX 52Mb

Price: EUR 15.08 without VAT

Developer Homepage: http://www.spectre-net.com/

Link: http://secure.simmarket.com/spectre-mtpp-port-au-prince-fsx.phtml

Test System:

Intel i7 960 OC @ 4.2 Ghz, 12 Gb RAM, EVGA GTX560 Ti w/1.2 Gb video, Win 7 Ultimate 64, FSX w/acceleration, UT2, REX Overdrive, GEXn, UTX, AES, GSX.

Richard Desjardins

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