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Volume 2 :  Southampton Port X

Addon Scenery for FSX

FSS is pleased to announce that Southampton Port X (UK) is now available from Flightsim Pilot Shop:  fspilotshop.com

 

Read Bill Stack's REVIEW of Southampton Port X (Link to Bill Stack Review)

if undecided whether to add this Scenery to your FSX simulator

 

(Please be advised that the Purchase Price of Southampton Port X given in the Review is now at a new lower price.)

 

Preface    The Port of Southampton (UK)    FSX Default Scenery  Southampton Port X   Author's Notes       

 

 Preface

 

European & UK Sea Ports UTX is an on-going project as FSS strife’s to further improve the flight simulator experience by providing virtual pilots with some degree of reality to the ‘virtual world’ in which they are flying.

 

Southampton Port X is the second volume of the enhanced Series European & UK Sea Ports UTX developed by FlightSem Software (FSS) for Microsoft’s Flight Simulator X, (Standard, Deluxe or Gold Editions).  Each volume in the Series requires Microsoft’s FSX Acceleration Expansion Pack & SP1 & SP2 Service Packs. The Gold Edition already has these upgrade packs installed.

 

Flight 1 Software - Ultimate Terrain X (Europe) software upgrade & Flight 1 Ground Environment X (Europe) software upgrade are required, although the latter is optional but recommended for best visual affects. Please be advised that without these upgrades, some 3D-objects may appear in the sea, part of the coastlines may become cliffs & landscape will appear in areas where there should be sea (visible also in the default scenery of FSX) as well as other peculiar & undesirable effects!

 

 

Users are also advised that Southampton Port X scenery will not work with FS2004 (FS9) or any of the earlier versions of Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. Users should be aware that the scenery has not been tested with Standard or Gold Editions of FSX and may not blend seamlessly without FSX Acceleration Expansion Pack ( including SP1 & SP2 Service Packs) and Flight 1 UTX  upgrades installed. Off-the-shelf packages, such as ‘VFR Photographic Scenery-Generation X’, ‘FS Global Ultimate Europe & Africa for FSX’ and similar commercial software upgrades, have not been tested with this scenery and therefore might not be compatible or blend seamlessly with a FlightSem Software scenery product.  Please be advised that this software product will perform best on an Intel i7 quad core CPU computer system.

 

Although the scenery is best viewed from a GA-aircraft when flying virtually into the area, the final approach flight paths for the 'heavies' into EGHI is only some 500-1000 feet above the area, thus providing virtual passengers (and pilots) with extremely good views of the ground beneath them.

 

Top of Page    Back to Sea Ports Page    Preface    The Port of Southampton (UK)    FSX Default Scenery  Southampton Port X   Author's Note  

 

   

 The Port of Southampton (UK)

 

 

Southampton (http://www.southampton.gov.uk) is considered to be one of the greenest cities in the UK and is situated on England’s South Coast close to the New Forest.  The City offers unparalleled choice in shopping, entertainment, sailing, sport and leisure activities as well as offering a rich and varied heritage, cultural attractions and beautiful parks. About 10 miles to the North of Southampton at Eastleigh is Southampton International Airport (EGHI).  The airport offers regular scheduled flights to and from various leisure and business destinations, including Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza, Tenerife, Paris, Amsterdam, and Brussels and provides some 200 or so other UK and worldwide connections.

 

Southampton is steeped in history, the sea having played a key role in that history. Perhaps the most famous ship to set sail from Southampton was the ‘Titanic’. Following the tragic sinking of the vessel, the Titanic Crew Memorial was erected in Holyrood Church and the Titanic Engineers Memorial erected in East Park.  Immediately across the road and opposite the northern end of East Park is West Park with its Cenotaph and Watts Statue. Aviation has not taken a back seat either, the work of R.J. Mitchell, the local aviation pioneer who developed the legendary Spitfire, can be seen in the Hall of Aviation in Albert Road South. The 19th century Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, a Member of Parliament for South Hampshire in those days, was commemorated with a statue in 1869 in what is now the Palmerston Park.  A commemorative monument of General Gordon, who lived in Southampton, was erected after his death in Khatoum in 1885 and can be found in Queens Park.

 

Southampton is renowned as a ‘waterfront city’ and is the home of ocean sailing with plenty to see and do along the water’s edge. Ocean Village, which is just a few minutes away from the City Centre, is one of the UK’s biggest marine developments. The Volvo Ocean Race, The BT Global Challenge, The Balloon & Flower Festival and Southampton International Boat Show are, or have been, all major events in the international sailing calendar.  Among other things, Southampton was host in 2000 to ‘Sea Wings 2000’, which staged the biggest fly past of Vickers – Supermarine Spitfires since World War II ended, and to ‘The Tall Ships 2000 Race’.

 

The Port of Southampton is a major passenger and cargo port situated ten miles (16 km) inland, between the convergence of the rivers Test and Itchen and the head of the mile wide inlet known as Southampton Water. The mouth of the inlet is protected from the effects of foul weather by the landmass of the Isle-of-Wight, providing the port with an advantageous sheltered location with close proximity to good motorway and rail network links. Owned and operated since 1982 by Associated British Ports (ABP), the port is the busiest cruise terminal and second largest container port in the United Kingdom. It is a dynamic transport hub and international maritime gateway that operates 24/7, handling one fifth of the UK’s international maritime trade for exports and imports with EU and Non-EU countries alike.

 

The geographical area that is the boundary to the commercial Port of Southampton and ABP’s responsibility to the Harbour Authority for its statutory Port Health Services is shown below:

 

 

The Port is home to a number of well known cruise ships and ocean-going liners including the famous Cunard cruise liners Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth 2. It is also P&O’s traditional cruise homeport. The Mayflower Cruise Terminal was revamped and upgraded to improve and speed up the flow of passengers and luggage and to improve car parking facilities around Berth 106. All of this was in preparation for the new-look fleet of P&O cruise liners introduced in 2003 - P&O cruise liners Oriana, Arcadia and Aurora. The new ship Oriana made her maiden voyage from Southampton on the 9 April 1995, while Oceana made here dramatic entrance into Southampton Water on Saturday 3 May 2003 in preparation for her first European season.

 

A new P&O Ocean Terminal was built close to the Queen’s Terminal on the East docks of Southampton and was completed in 2008 in order to accommodate the new arrivals to the fleet, Ventura and Azura, and to meet the growing public demand for cruising. Similarly, Southampton Container Terminal (SCT), situated on Southampton Quayside, saw an expansion of its terminal during the early part of 2002 with further improvements being carried out during 2003, following increasing trade from the Far East.

 

Top of Page    Back to Sea Ports Page    Preface    The Port of Southampton (UK)    FSX Default Scenery  Southampton Port X   Author's Notes       

 

 

 FSX Default Scenery

 

Flying into Southampton International Airport from the SW-S-SE (and into Bournemouth Airport from the NW – NE) should provide virtual pilots with both nautical and scenic views around the Solent, along Southampton Water and over the City of Southampton itself.  In practice, Microsoft’s default scenery for Flight Simulator X (FSX), like its predecessors FS2002 and FS2004 (FS9), is not at all realistic of the actual day-to-day scenery observed when approaching Southampton. The Port and Docks of Southampton in FSX simply isn't displayed as a realistic virtual Port (images 1-6).

 

Views of Southampton Port in FSX Default Scenery

 

   

 

Images 1 - 2

Southampton Eastern Docks - Viewed from the South (left)

and

Viewed from the North (right)

 

   

 

Images 3 - 4

Southampton Western Docks -Viewed from the South (left)

and

Southampton (Redbridge) Prince Charles Container Port (right)

 

   

 

Images 5 - 6

Southampton Prince Charles Container Port (left)

and

Western Docks, Mayflower Park & Town Quay Viewed from the West (right)

[Views are of FSX Default Scenery - Upgraded with UTX/GEX Software]

 

The above images clearly show that the default scenery is completely void of any easily identifiable ‘true-to-life’ landmarks that is the Port of Southampton. Despite a slightly more ‘true to life’ approach by Flight1's Ultimate Terrain X (Europe) and Ground Environment X (Europe) for FSX, the scenery still falls drastically short in depicting the maritime nature of the port (images 5-6).

 

Photo-realistic scenery upgrades does, however, improve visual reality and actually provides a more ‘true to life’ VFR experience to the virtual pilot - but only at altitudes of a thousand or so feet above sea level and at the expense of 3D-scenery objects. In fairness, Microsoft and the redundant ACES development team could not have been expected to cover every single city, town, coastal feature and countryside with precise topographic detail. Microsoft and the ACES team in their wisdom, left enhancements such as this to the world of 3rd party scenery designers and professional software houses.

 

Top of Page    Back to Sea Ports Page    Preface    The Port of Southampton (UK)    FSX Default Scenery  Southampton Port X   Author's Notes

 

 

Southampton Port X Scenery

 

 

Image 7

Southampton Port X : Aerial View of Southampton Port X

 

In the design and development of this scenery product, generic and custom made 3D-objects, as well as digital and satellite imagery of the Port of Southampton (UK), were used. Night lighting features were applied to all custom and collada2 adapted 3D-objects. Although the Port of Southampton X may not be absolutely ‘true-to-life’ in every respect, the scenery does try to maintain a balance between reality and virtual non-reality features with good frame rates (fps), level of detail (LOD) and minimization of ‘draw-calls’ kept in mind.

.

 

Southampton Port X Scenery depicts well know landmarks in and around the Port of Southampton, including:

 

 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

Prince Charles Dock - situated at the most westerly end of the Port of Southampton the dock forms a part of the main Southampton Container Terminal (SCT). The scenery includes:

 

 

Image 8

Southampton Port X : Prince Charles Container Port seen from the West

 

● Vehicle & Container Dock

● Berthed generic & customed Cargo & Container Ships

● Car Transport Ship

Port Cranes and Gantries

● Regular Land Vehicles

Moored small Sailing Craft, Yachts and Pleasure Boats

● Millbrook Water Purification Plant

● Generic & customed Ship Containers & Cargo freight (different types

 

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 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

 

Western Docks - an approximate 585 acres situated on the Western side of Mayflower Park and to the East of Prince Charles Dock. The dock supports both a working commercial Container Terminal Port and an Ocean-going Cruise Liner Terminal - the Mayflower Terminal Berths 104-108. The scenery includes:

 

 

Image 9

Southampton Port X : Western Docks seen from the East

 

● Passenger Ocean Cruise Terminal

● Cruise Terminal Port - berths 104-108

King George V Dry Dock

● Cruise Liners - berthed alongside Mayflower Terminal (Births 104-108)

● Generic & customed Ship Containers & Cargo freight (different types)

● Berthed regular & customed Cargo and Container Ships

● Ship-to-shore Passenger Gangplanks & Passengers

● Static & Animated People

Port Cranes

● Barcardi Building

● Rank Hovis Flour Mill

● Car Parks

● Static Land Vehicles & Buses

 

 

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 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

 

Mayflower Park - situated between the Western Docks and Town Quay, the Park is the main area and venue for spectators and special events associated with the Cruise industry and sailing fraternity. The Park sits on the water's edge and is adjacent to the Isle Of Wight Ferries terminal. The scenery includes:

 

● Mayflower Park

● Kuti’s Royal Thai Pier Restaurant – originally the Royal Pier Pavilion Building

● Holiday Inn Hotel - located close to Mayflower Park

● Parked Land Vehicles

Moored small Sailing Craft, Yachts and Pleasure Boats

● Boat Show Marina facilities

 

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 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

 

Town Quay - approximately 90,000 ft2 situated on the Eastern shores of Southampton Water-own Quay accommodates a number of restaurants and commercial businesses. The Southampton to Hythe ‘White Horse Ferries’ ferry service operates from the quay and connects the town of Hythe, set in the heart of the Waterside on the edge of the New Forest, with Southampton - a 15 minute journey across Southampton Water. The Isle of Wight ‘Red Funnel’ ferries and fast catamarans (‘Red Jets’) both operate out of Southampton Town Quay, (situated between the Eastern and Western Docks) and provide regular passenger and freight services across Southampton Water to the Isle of Wight. Scenery includes:

 

● Regular Restaurants & Cafes

● Harbour House – Edwardian listed baroque-style building converted to a Nightclub & Casino in 2003

● Southampton - Hythe Ferry Terminal

● AI-Southampton to Hythe Passenger Ferries (two liveries)

Red Funnel Ferry Terminal - Southampton to Isle-of-Wight (IOW)

● AI-Red Funnel Vehicle & Passenger Ferries to IOW

● AI-Red Jet Catamaran Ferries to IOW

● Town Quay Car Park & Parked Land Vehicles

● Town Quay Mini-Marina

● Porters Lane Building & Old City Wall

● Maritime Museum House

 

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 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

 

Eastern Docks & Ocean Terminal approximately 170 acres situated on the Eastern side of Southampton Waterfront, the dock operates a working commercial dock as well as a cruise ship terminal area - the Queen Elizabeth II and Ocean Terminal Cruise Terminal Buildings. The export storage grain silos, close to the ABP Control Building, are prominent features of the Eastern Docks. Scenery includes:

 

● Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) Control Centre building

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 - berthed alongside the Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Terminal

● Generic Cargo & Cruise Ships

● Ship-to-shore Passenger Gangplanks

Port Cranes and Gantries

Export Grain-Silo Terminal

● Normal & Multi-storey Car Parks

● Parked Land Vehicles & Buses

 ● P&O cruise ship Azura – arriving & departing from Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Terminal

● Passengers at the entrance of Ocean & Queen Elizabeth II Cruise Terminals

 

   

 

Images 9 - 10

Southampton Port X : Day & Dusk Aerial Views of Eastern Docks

 

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 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

Ocean Village Marina – situated on the mouth of the River Itchen and to the north of Eastern Docks, the Marina is a mixed-use development area. The scenery includes:

 

● Ocean Village Marina

● Moored Yachts & small Boats

● Civil engineering Construction Crane

● Public Cinema

● Dock Gate 4 Offices

Pilgrim & Union Castle Building

 

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 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

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Additional Scenery & Effects

 

Moored Sailing Craft, Yachts and Pleasure Boats in Southampton Waterway

● Cargo Ships in Southampton Water & the Solent awaiting Port Authority clearance

● Cruise Ship in the Solent - awaiting Pilot Boat before navigating Southampton Waterway

● Animated buoys correctly positioned in Southampton Water and in the entrance to the Solent

● Calshot Spit Light Boat

● Power Pylons

● Redbridge Gasometer and High-rise Tower Building

● Apartment Building in Winkle Street – Alongside Porters Lane City Wall & opposite Harbour House

Animated Port Traffic

● Cruise Ship & Ferry Smoke effects

● Ship, Ferry & Catamaran wakes

● Static & Animated People & Seagulls

● Custom Objects & Car Parks display Dawn, Dusk & Night Lighting effects

● South Western House - The South Western Hotel served many passengers using the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) in 1840 via Southampton Terminus railway station which served the docks and City of Southampton. The rail line was later extended into the Ocean Dock Terminal to allow boat trains to terminate on the quayside. Today, the South Western Hotel offers modern day apartments.

 

Schedule Firework Displays - Spectacular pyrotechnic displays can be seen over the port each year during Guy Fawkes week (5th November) and on New Year’s Eve.

 

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 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

 Scheduled Scenery AI-Objects

  

AI-Red Funnel Ferry Service - Vehicle & foot passenger ferries taking 55-60 minutes from Southampton to East Cowes on the IOW.

AI-Red Jet Catamaran Ferry Service – Passenger catamaran ferries that generally take less than 30 minutes to travel between Southampton Town Quay and West Cowes on the IOW.

AI-Tug Boats – Various tug manoeuvres around the docks. Although port tugs are not as numerous as they once were they are still used extensively to manoeuvre large ship vessels - during 2013 five ‘Svitzer’ tugs operated in the Port of Southampton.

AI-Pilot Launch – Harbour Pilot launch checking Pilotage assistance of a Cruise Liner in the Solent.

AI-Harbour Master Patrol Launch – Cargo ship receiving an inspection by HM Customs in Southampton Water. The Harbour Master operates a Harbour Patrol Launch service within the limits of the Port of Southampton throughout the year. This service is mainly used to escort large commercial vessels safely into or out of the Harbour area to ensure that the main navigable channels are kept clear for the safe transit of these ships. The vessels, having a royal blue hull with white upper works, are easily recognizable by the broad yellow stripe on each side of the bow. At night each carries an all-round blue light at the mast head.

AI-Cargo Ship - Following HM Customs inspected by Harbour Master vessel, Cargo ship sails into Southampton Prince Charles Docks.

AI-Oil Tanker - Cruise liner in West Docks receives a visit from an oil tanker to take on fuel.

AI-Hythe Passenger Ferry Boats – Passenger ferries taking approximately 15 minutes from Town Quay to Hythe Pier on the edge of the New Forest.

AI-Cruise Liner Azura – The P&O cruise liner arrives at Southampton Queen Elizabeth II Terminal from Guernsey around 0650 hours GMT every other day, berthing next to the QM2. Azura departs for Guernsey again at approximately 1710 hours (GMT), the scheduled trip to Guernsey being repeated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Before Azura departs from the QEII Terminal, the ship’s boilers fire-up emitting a plume of black smoke, followed shortly afterwards by two long blasts on the ship’s horn – a fond farewell to the Port of Southampton

AI-Port Gantry – Gantry operating in Prince Charles Container Dock - operates near the dock area where the AI-cargo ship arrives.

 

   

 

Images 11 - 12

Southampton Port X : Day & Night Aerial views of the IOW Vehicle-Passenger Ferry approaching Eastern Docks

 

FlightSem Software add-on scenery 'Southampton Port X' now depicts the waterfront as a working commercial port rather than the non-realistic, built-up area displayed in the default scenery of Microsoft's FSX.

 

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 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

Development Author's Note:

 

The Port of Southampton scenery is not the first serious attempt at trying to rectify some of the deficiencies seen in and around Southampton (UK). The author’s earlier Southampton Project (Southampton & Regional Area Scenery for FS2002 – FS2004) proved reasonably popular with flight simulator fans. The scenery achieving a 'Star Performer and Internet Download Award' in 2003 (Modules 1-5) by PC Pilot Magazine (Issue 25 Nov-Dec 2003). The Project was Dedicate to the Memory of the authors' late Mother and Father.

 

For those who actually downloaded the Modules I hope you were pleased with the outcome. Now, after a personal lapse of some six years in scenery enhancement and development, and under the umbrella of FlightSem Software House, I hope that the virtual flight experience can once more offer a more ‘realistic’ view of Southampton Port and Docks.

 

The Port of Southampton X can be enhanced by FlightSem Software’s 'European & UK Sea Ports Volume 3: Southampton Water X', available for release sometime during the middle to the end of 2015. This scenery (Volume 3) completes the statutory boundary of Southampton Port mentioned earlier in this document and includes Marchwood Military Port, Western Shore Highrise flats, Netley Abbey & Castle, Fawley (Esso) Refinery & Dock Terminal, Oil & Gas Tankers, RWE Fawley Power Station, Calshot Spit, Calshot Coastguard Tower and various landscape features straddled along Southampton Water, thus providing the virtual pilot with an extensive landscape view of the area.

 

 Prince Charles Dock   Western Dock    Mayflower Park    Town Quay    Eastern Dock    Ocean Village Marina    Scenery & Effects   Scheduled AI Objects  Author's Note

 

Preface    The Port of Southampton (UK)    FSX Default Scenery  Southampton Port X   Author's Notes       

 

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