Review: TropicalSim Rio De Janeiro 2012

In 2016 the Olympics will be held in Rio De Janeiro. I bet there will be allot of virtual pilots in that area over the next few years so it’s only fitting that we review TropicalSim’s SBGL scenery package.

Rio De Janiero is a hotspot for tourism and hosting the Olympics will only add to this reputation. Rio has two major airports. SBRJ, Santos Dumont, handles domestic traffic while SBGL, Galeao International, handles international and domestic traffic. SBGL is situated on the Guanabara Bay not far from SBRJ so departure and arrival procedures are to be adhered to.

Here’s the SBGL default scenery…

and here’s TropicalSim’s…

That’s quite an improvement. Here’s a satellite view.


There are two files. FS2004’s (FS9) file is 61 mb to download and expands to 208 mb when installed. The file for FSX and P3D are the same. The file is 264 mb to download and expands to 430 mb. The major difference is the detailed ground texture in FSX. It takes up almost 190 mb. The installation process is typical, using a license key, and you will have to add the scenery to your database manually. This is easy as it’s all in one folder.

The filenames are easy to follow so if you come across an AFX file that you prefer you can easily rename TS’s version and paste your custom one inside. You can also rename the photo textures so they don’t load and take up your resources.

I’ll be concentrating on the FSX version here. The FS9 version is the same without the photo ground textures.

Airport Environment

When looking from afar the terminal doesn’t look much better than the default scenery. It’s when you get closer that you notice the big differences. On the land side of the airport you’ll see parking areas, gates, and other eye candy. For me, those are just that… eye candy. When piloting you will not see those from your aircraft so I’d rather see more detail on the air side, but that’s just my opinion of course. On the air side you will see allot of things such as detailed lens’s on the lights over the terminal, a parking area for the bus, various vehicles and buildings which all add to the feel of the airport. These are done well. Especially the terminals.


The textures on the buildings are good in most cases with the exception of the terminals where I expected to see clear glass rather than a flat look on the airways. Compare these to BluePrints version and you’ll see what I mean.

There’s one glaring issue that I cannot get out of my mind. Look at the pictures below and you’ll see a taxiway that’s a bridge over a highway where there’s a big gash in the taxiway before the bridge. When I first saw this I wondered, “will I fall onto the highway” and it took a leap of faith to carry on.

When you are on the bridge your aircraft tires are sunk into the bridge. This is disappointing especially from TS who I’ve grown quite fond of over the years.

There was a framerate hit for sure, as is expected. I lost about 30fps with the scenery enabled. My settings are pretty high so the impact will probably be less on your computer but if you’re peaking at 30fps already then this scenery will bog you down for sure.

Ground Textures

As it is with most ground textures, TS’s look good from afar but up close they are very blurry especially on the landside of the airport. What I do like is that they took the time to line up everything with the ground textures, the taxiways in particular. When this is done correctly it really looks great.

I did see a line in the texture in one location but you have to be looking for it to really notice it. The night apron textures are questionable. It’s a nice attempt but areas below lights are not lit while other areas without lights are bright.

Finally, here’s a few more shots that may help you to decide.

The oil stains above are not from my 737. I am taxing into the gate here, not out. Just in case my boss is watching.


The asking price for this add-on is 18 Euro’s or $23 Canada/USA which is reasonable considering you get versions for FS9 and FSX (and P3D). However, they have competition from BluePrint who, in my opinion, has better night lighting and gate textures from comparing screenshots.  I don’t know about the bridge issue as I don’t have BluePrint’s version to verify. However, they charge for FS9 and FSX versions separately which makes theirs 4 Euro’s more in total. So, if you want only the FSX version take a look at BluePrint before making your decision.


Developer: TropicalSim

Price: 18 Euros or $23 Canada/USA

Filesize: 61 mb for FS9 and 264 mb for FSX/P3D

Where to buy?: Simmarket

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