Review: PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

PILOT'S decided to give some love to this corner of Spain. Almeria is an interesting region for its location despite not having a lot for the heli simmer.

Almeria, produces tonnes of fruit and vegetables every year with the many greenhouses constructed in the eastern section of the city near the airport, and it was these same greenhouses that I first saw dominating the landscape as I departed overhead the airport on my first flight in the area.

PILOTS’ LEAM Almeria, brings us the airport and surrounding area into X-Plane after it’s initial release for P3D and FSX earlier this year.

PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

The team at PILOTS have done a fantastic job converting this scenery and the airport has all of the things you would expect for a modern X-Plane scenery, dynamic lighting, PBR textures. The airport really is the feature of this scenery, as most general sceneries are.

PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

Installation

Pretty straight forward, run the installer, enter either your serial number or your PILOTS login details so it can be confirmed against your account and continue through. One major thing I did have a problem is that the installer is not properly configured and once you finish it prompts you to restart your PC. No. Just. No. The only reason why you might need to restart your PC (and this is less of an issue with Windows 10 as previous versions) is if you are installing a memory resident program that needs to load on boot or you have installed a new driver for some hardware.

This immediately raised some red flags for me but after a bit of research it appears that PILOTS may have not configured the installer software properly as it is quite a common option for installers to prompt about restarting the PC. Regardless though this is sloppy and hopefully PILOTS can fix this issue.

Mesh/3D

Another let down for this scenery is the low quality terrain mesh. One of the historical attractions for the area is the fortress complex of Alcazaba sitting proudly near the docks.

PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

Initially this just seems to be a case where the underlying terrain is coming up through the 3D Object of the fortress, but when we go and have a look at the area on Google Maps.

We can see that there is a lot of detail missing not only in the underlying terrain but also in the scenery itself.

PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

As Heli pilots we are VERY demanding on our sceneries as we are the ones flying around under 1000’ AGL, we’re looking for these details and it can be a little disappointing when those details are missing which in turn can make it very hard for developers to create sceneries that suite everyone as how long do you spend on details that wont often get the attention you’re putting into them.

However, we are VERY grateful to those developers who do invest that time and do pay attention to those details. My guess here is that it was not the initial design goal to create a “exact replica” of the area and that the main consumer for this would be tube pilots flying into and around the Mediterranean.

Textures

Again, textures here suffer from their (assumed) design goals and can be very blurry when we get down amongst it all.

PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

However once we are cruising around at 500’ things look fine and what you would expect with good ortho coverage for the city and surrounds. In particular the texture work on the airport itself is fantastic with gorgeous textures for all objects, runways, buildings and extras.

PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

I want to draw particular attention to the PBR work done on the runway. Descending onto Rwy 07 late in the afternoon rewarded me with gorgeous warm orangy highlights reflecting off the tarmac. Taxing around to the helipad you can see the detail given to the ground markings and everything is crisp and sharp and wonderful.

PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

Buildings

As with the textures, there’s good and bad here, but only a Heli pilot will notice it. Again the main airport area is exceptional, but once we go exploring around the city and start doing silly things that rotorheads do, we find a couple of issues.

PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

Fantastic! Lets land on the sports ground. It’s a fairly safe enclosed landing area with a large cavity and will provide good practice.

After landing though we can see that we have some one-way poly issues and they didn’t think to create the inside of this wall, because MOST pilots, even when flying low overhead, are not going to notice this. So it really comes down to effort/reward, who is going to get the most reward from the effort I expend?

PILOT'S Almeria (LEAM) for X-Plane

Hats off though for creating some great looking regional autogen and spectacular night lighting.

Frame Rate Impact

You should be pretty happy with your frame rates here as you fly around Almeria as on my system (8700 & 1080) with max world objects I was getting a wonderful 60fps on desktop and then half that in VR. Speaking of VR, the quality of textures in the airport made for a great VR experience, though outside of the airport as the texture level dropped, so did that experience (visually, fps was fine all round).

Our rating

Positives

  • Great FPS
  • Good Ortho and great textures on the Airport
  • Good regional autogen
  • Excellent night lighting and PBR on Airport

Negatives

  • Bad initial installation experience
  • Low quality mesh detracts from some features of the area
  • Some poly issues with some buildings when down low

Bottomline

    If you enjoy the mediterranean or have an affinity for Spanish scenery then Almeria will make a great addition and destination for you. The airport is fantastic but some greater attention could have been paid to the surrounding area and it’s that missing attention that won't really be drawing me back to the area.

    GA and Tube pilots dont need anywhere near as much detail in their sceneries as Bush and Heli Pilots. We’re the folks getting down low and slow and checking out all of the hard work you’ve put into your sceneries that we will spend many hours in and not have it as simply a start or tailing of a long haul flight.

Installation 8
Mesh 6
Textures 7
Buildings 8
Frame rate impact 10
Total score
8.4
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More about this scenery

Location

Characteristics

Terrain type Urban
Altitude 21m / 69ft
Helipads No
Bradley Bristow-Stagg

About Bradley Bristow-Stagg

Bradley has always enjoyed flight sims but previously only flew Beavers and other old/bush planes until he found the 429 and X-Plane which opened up a whole new world. A tinkerer and a fiddler, he’s now trying to make a SA341 Gazelle for X-Plane, and has been known to try resurrect old quality helis and bring them back to life.

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