No Money Mondays: SFD Hakodate Airport
February 28, 2021
On this week’s edition of No Money Mondays, we will be taking a look at ShortFinal Design’s Hakodate for X-Plane 11, released on the 28th of November 2020.
MisterX is famous among flight simulation enthusiasts for his numerous high-quality freeware sceneries and more recently, his payware releases under the name Short Final Design. Just under a month ago, SFD previewed their latest project, version 2 of the popular Boston freeware, check out our article covering the progress.
Hakodate Airport is located on the Japanese island of Hokkaido, near the city of Hokkaido. Known for its port and cultural landmarks, the city also serves as a transit point for many tourists travelling to the Japanese Alps. The airport is mainly served by Japanese airlines, however, some foreign operators remain from different Asian countries. Equipped with a 3000 meters runway, the airport can handle anything from a Cessna 172 to a Boeing 747.
The installation process is extremely smooth, simply drop the two files containing the airport and mesh. Ortho4XP users will need to patch the scenery using the included instructions. The SAM plug-in is required for the animated jetways to work, however, jetways will still appear if the add-on is not installed.
Approaching Hakodate for the first time, I was not only impressed by the scenic landing path thanks to Ortho4XP and MisterX’ own Japan Pro. After touching down and putting my TBM-900 in reverse thrust I was fascinated by the level of detail. Most of the buildings seemed to be reproduced at a high level of detail.
The main terminal is beautiful, both the exterior and interior of the building are reproduced. The avid-flight simmer can visit the boarding room or the spotting terrace. The entry is also fantastically reproduced, a “kiss and fly” area is here reproduced. The texturing and 3D modelling is simply gorgeous, the developer makes outstanding use of physically based rendering.
Many other buildings are modelled including warehouses, airport buildings and the Japan Coast Guard station at Hakodate. All of these are faithfully reproduced in SFD’s package. A parking area in front of the airport is also included, the road markings are truly authentic and the cars parked are all Japanese style. It does seem like a few buildings are missing or displaced when comparing it to ortho imagery.
The ground textures are very nice, the yellow runway markings typical of Hokkaido island are useful during the winter season when snow is everywhere. The pavement also uses PBR, which is especially noticeable at sunset and sunrise. The 3D grass also adds a touch of realism, which is what in my opinion many sceneries lack.
Numerous objects are included in the freeware package, the trucks and airport vehicles use custom textures to fit the airport with for instance ANA liveries on the loading vehicles. This truly enhances the simulation, we know that we are in Japan.
All of these details would appear to be quite heavy on performance, especially for users with lower-end computers, however, thanks to the small size of the airport and the heavy optimization done by the developer, I obtained a very satisfying framerate on my rig (i7-8800k 3.7Ghz, RTX2080S, 32Gb 3000Mhz).
Overall, the scenery is very good. I can not emphasize more on the quantity and quality of detail provided by MisterX, as always with his sceneries. There are a few missing minutiae here and there but I don’t expect anything to be perfect, especially when it is available for free.
ShortFinal Design’s Hakodate for X-Plane is now available on the X-Plane.org Forums free of charge.
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