24.4.2024 – 17:40z

Review: TaiModels – Oslo-Gardermoen For X-Plane

TaiModels released Oslo Gardermoen for X-Plane 12 in August last year. This scenery recreates Norway’s primary aviation hub, providing a new experience for virtual pilots. In this review, I will take a look at it and present its strengths and weaknesses.

My Setup

I’m pleased to mention that TaiModels kindly provided me with a copy of the Oslo Gardermoen scenery for this review. My review is based on X-Plane 12 version 12.0.9-rc-5. While my PC setup is relatively new, it represents an entry-level performance, featuring an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card, an Intel Core i5-10400F processor, and 16 GB of RAM. Notably, my GPU has four gigabytes of VRAM, falling below X-Plane’s recommended specifications. All of that could impact the quality of the screenshots showcased in this review.

About The Oslo-Gardermoen Airport

Oslo Gardermoen Airport (ENG/OSL) was opened 25 years ago on the 8th of October 1998, replacing the previous airport, Oslo Fornebu. It is located relatively far away from Oslo’s city center, about 48 km (30 mi) heading north. It is a hub for Norwegian Air Shuttle, Scandinavian Airlines, and Widerøe. In 2023, over 25 million people went through its gates, making it the busiest airport in Norway. It is also one of the busiest airports in Scandinavia, heading neck and neck with Danish Copenhagen Kastrup Airport.

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Most of its connections are domestic and European. Nonetheless, the airport has some long-haul flights to countries in Asia, the Middle East, and North America. In the future, there are plans to extend existing runways and create a third runway as part of a project nicknamed “The Gate to Europe.”

First Impressions

As I loaded to the scenery for the first time, I had positive feelings for it. The whole airport looked nicely modelled, and the textures were detailed. The only issues I noticed were the blurry ground markings and gate numbers. However, most likely, it is a problem on my side rather than an issue with this add-on.

Performance

With a smaller aircraft, such as the default Cessna 172, in clear weather, I was getting around 30-40 frames per second. More harsh weather, such as rain or thunderstorms, didn’t create any significant drop in performance. In a bigger aircraft, such as the Boeing 757, there was a notable drop in smoothness, with frames per second setting at around 15 to 20 in clear weather. On the other hand, during rain, the performance dropped even further.

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The smoothness also depended on where I was; near the terminal, the performance was significantly worse than in remote places, which also affected ‘the lag.’ Without the scenery installed, on a default airport, frames per second were around 10 to 20 higher. With that in mind, I think the scenery is not excellent when it comes to performance, but it is not too terrible either.

Modelling

Exterior Modelling

The modelling is very impressive. The terminal looks just as it should and definitely represents Oslo Gardermoen Airport well. Each part of the terminal is excellently modelled, with none standing out from the rest. The other buildings were a bit less detailed; however, like the main part, they clearly showed what they were meant to be without losing their importance.

The entry to the terminal is also well-made. TaiModels even reflected a sculpture in front, “Utkas,” created by Norwegian artist Kåre Groven, which is one of the most famous parts of the airport.

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Interior Modelling

The airport’s interior lacks detailed modelling, leaving it feeling more like a 2D structure with minimal depth rather than a fully realized 3D space. It features a basic check-in area, scattered seating, a few stalls, and an abundance of chairs.

In my opinion, the most interesting part of the interior is the sculpture “Gladiator,” created by Eva Rothschild. It is made out of seven triangles and is located in the domestic flights area. This sculpture is the only good thing about interior modelling, which itself is one of the worst things in this scenery.

Around The Apron

Besides the terminal, we can find many other nicely modelled places. For example, the military terminal with the sign ‘Gardermoen Fly Station’ on its west side, many hangars, and the SAS Technical Services hangars south of the airport.

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Texturing

Most of the buildings and ground are textured using PBR (physically based rendering) to bring them as close to real life as possible. I have to say that these textures can be seen in many places, especially on the main terminal and ground.

The main issue with texturing is, also mentioned in the first impressions section, really blurry ground markings and gate numbers that sometimes are unreadable. However, it is more likely that my PC is an issue here rather than the scenery itself.

Night Lighting

The night lighting is really good, and the terminal and surrounding buildings are well-lit. The terminal’s inside has no lightning, giving a feeling of a quite empty and abandoned place. The gate area and the terminal’s outside, on the other hand, had a bright light, illuminating everything around as it should. Additionally, windows on the roof feature some lightning, giving it a really interesting effect from above.

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The night lighting on the road and the parking lot close to the terminal’s entrance are also very realistic. Speaking of realism, I have to say I was impressed by the taxiway and runway lights; they really caught my eye as they were some of the best I had seen.

Surrounding Area

As the Oslo Airport is located in the suburbs, there’s not a lot around it, and the surrounding area is mostly trees. Most of the roads and buildings are implemented by TaiModels using ortho tiles. They don’t seem to have a high zoom level and get a bit blurry and pixelated. However, they still look better than a default ground.

Additional Features

As is fitting for good scenery, TaiModels Oslo is connected to SAM 3, giving it animated jetways. In my opinion, every scenery should have something like this. The ground texture depends on the season, meaning that during winter, snow will be on the ground.

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Life at the airport surprised me a lot. While we don’t have any workers or passengers on the ground, there is a lot of ground traffic. The most interesting fact was that during the winter months, on service roads, there is a snowplough driving around.

Worth mentioning are also static aircraft. Some are very smartly placed near the hangars or de-icing stands. It gives the feeling that the airport isn’t empty at all, yet they are not standing at the gate area, allowing us to fly on VATSIM without worrying about saying, “Uhh, tower, can we get another gate, please? We have a static aircraft here.

Conclusions

Overall, the scenery is great, and the price tag of $24.49 is fair for a scenery like this. It has many great features, such as an auto gate or smartly placed static aircraft. The modelling is also amazing, and to my liking, a few of the famous Gardermoen sculptures were added. The night lighting is wonderful, which is a good thing for an airport where it’s usually dark.

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While there are a few issues with performance or with a few textures having problems loading in, with a more powerful device than mine, it shouldn’t be an issue. Now for the question: Should you buy this? The answer depends on your setup. For users with a less powerful PC than X-Plane’s recommended hardware, the scenery is unlikely to run smoothly. Nonetheless, if you have better hardware, I can definitely say that this scenery is worth its price tag.

If you want to get one, you can buy it for around $24.49 at the X-Plane store, at simMarket, at the Orbx store, and at the iniBuilds store.

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