I’ve scrapped the earlier work and have decided to use the new Terminal Kit, objects, and lettering available in the X-Plane 11.1 beta libraries. While this means the Tampa International I’m designing for the Gateway won’t work with X-Plane 10, I prefer to design for the future. And the new Terminal Kit is much more flexible and powerful than the old terminal facades. There is still much to do on Terminal F, but I’d say this is looking pretty good already.
It is KTPA Tampa International, using only default objects for Gateway upload. This one is going to take weeks, but I’m just going to chip away at it one section at a time. First bit is getting the multiple tarmac textures set to match the satellite imagery. Then we’ll go to buildings – although I already couldn’t resist cleaning up the off-terminal jet parking ramp (and I notice the parking stripes are backwards – I’ll have to fix that).
One of the things I’ve missed about P3D is AI traffic. While flying on PilotEdge fills the skies with aircraft (drones and those piloted by real people), the default AI system in X-Plane simply is not very good and is a CPU hog to boot. So I’ve followed the release of Classic Jet Simulations’ World Traffic 3 with interest. I was finally able to download it yesterday and begin working with it. It has a small learning curve, which is no problem, but my initial impression was that it was too hard on frame rates – I felt I was losing 5-10 FPS. But after some more time with it today I was able to enjoy KTPA filled with taxing, departing, and arriving aircraft and Tampa-area skies full of aircraft en-route, while holding to my usual 30 FPS. I’ll try to post a video tomorrow, but it seems like a winner so far.
There’s a modified lights.txt file in the XP11 forum at x-plane.org, and I must say it produces some stunning results with no performance hit so far as I can tell. Thanks to Dave for pointing me to the file, and here’s the link (the file is about half-way down on the first page).
I shot this quick and dirty with my iPhone last night, so there’s no audio and about 20 seconds of the 4:21 are out of focus. But you’ll get the gist. It really transforms the already spectacular X-Plane night environment, so much so that when I first looked I said, “Wow.”
As I’ve mentioned, we moved to Tampa about two months ago, so we have spent the past two weeks dealing with Hurricane Irma. Several readers had wished us well in the comments and via email, and we appreciated it very much. We did have to evacuate, and ended up on the go from Panama City to Raleigh to Savannah, but we returned Wednesday afternoon and finally had power restored last night. Our home, and the sim, survived unscathed. We’ve had a lot of cleanup to do, but we count ourselves very fortunate. Thank you again for the good thoughts.