KMMH or Mammoth Yosemite Airport
I should first start with the title. It’s is a bit misleading since this review and the X-Codr package covers a bit more then only the modeled KMMH. This package and thus the review covers a lot more, but I’ll discuss all the individual parts of it.
Mammoth Yosemite Airport (KMMH) is a town-owned public airport seven miles east of Mammoth Lakes, in Mono County, California, United States. Also known as Mammoth Lakes Airport or Mammoth-June Lake Airport, it is mainly used for general aviation, but has scheduled passenger flights operated by two airlines, one of which serves the airport only on a seasonal basis during the winter sports season. The airport had 665 passenger boardings in calendar year 2008, 6,157 boardings in 2009, and 19,814 in 2010. The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a general aviation airport. However, the report for 2015-2019 upgraded this status to that of a primary/non-hub commercial airport.
The airport covers 230 acres (93 ha) at an elevation of 7,135 feet (2,175 m). It’s one paved runway, 9/27, is 7,000 by 100 feet (2,134 x 30 m) asphalt. In 2010 the airport had 8,285 aircraft operations, average 22 per day: 68 percent general aviation, 20 percent air taxi, 12 percent airline, and less then 1 percent for military operations.
Mammoth Yosemite Airport has a terminal development master plan that will expand operations, and will be able to accommodate bigger aircraft. The new terminal facilities will include a new terminal building itself, airline parking apron, a deicing apron, access roads, automobile parking facilities, maintenance facilities, and airport offices. (Courtesy of Wikipedia)
Remember, the above is only highlighting the real airport while the X-Codr KMMH package is a bit more then only that. Yes, it comes with a high quality KMMH, but it also includes the nearby town of Mammoth Lakes and the Mountain Ski Resort and if that’s not enough, a large area with ZL16 (Zoom Level) ortho textures is includes as well as the belonging overlay- and scenery mesh files.
As you can see on the above screenshot, an over 120 square mile is covered and highlighted the three areas that Connor included in his Mammoth Lakes Area package. Let’s move on I would say, lets go.
Are you a US pilot or are you the VFR or IFR pilot who loves to fly in the United States of America and in particular near the Rocky Mountains, then this is your chance. Flying near the Rocky Mountains and see famous mountains as well as National Parks from the air. That’s all possible by renting a GA aircraft and use X-Codr Mammoth Yosemite Airport as your home base. Since the unzipped package has a whopping size of 3.3 GB, you can imagine that Conner included also a large area with ortho ground textures, the belonging overlays files and of course, the mesh scenery.
For those simmers who own Orbx TrueEarth North California, you can decide to install this too, but since the ground texture colors of X-Codr and Orbx differ from each other, some “work” has to be done. Anyway, I’ll come back later to this with more details.
Unzipping, installation and scenery_pack.ini
When you download the package, you end up with three ZIP files namely:
– KMMH Airport and Surroundings
– KMMH Mesh
– X-Codr Designs Library Package
Ok, the next step is to unzip KMMH Airport and Surroundings.zip and once unzipped, you will have two sub folders:
– KMMH – Mammoth Yosemite
– Alternate Versions
The same you do for the KMHH Mesh.zip file. This package when unzipped consist of the following sub folders:
– Y KMMH Overlay
– Z KMMH Mesh
And finally, you unzip X-Codr Designs Library Package.zip which is actually a library. You could ask yourself the question why the X-Codr library isn’t included in the airport package, but Connor uses this library for all his airports, so common use. And having a separate X-Codr library also means he saves a lot of disk space – read downloading of the overall size – and keeps the individual airport packages relatively small. Good, the unzipped library folder – X-Codr Designs Library – is copied and paste completely in the X-Plane Custom Scenery folder.
That said, this “copy and paste” is also applicable for the folders Z KMMH Mesh, Y KMMH Overlay and the KMMH – Mammoth Yosemite. This means all the folders go into the Custom Scenery X-Plane folder. The screenshot below shows where these folders should be. The best way to get them at the right position is either manually adding them in the scenery_pack.ini or delete the scenery_pack.ini or when you don’t want to delete it you rename it, and then at the start of X-Plane. X-Plane will automatically create a new ini file and will place the added X-Codr folders at the right position.
The scenery_pack.ini file could look as below ( in bold the X-Codr KMMH packages), but I know already what some experienced simmers will say “mine ini file is much more complex with many entries of other add-on payware, freeware airports or sceneries and so on”. Yes, that makes sense, but this is just an example and more important is there to place certain packages. On purpose – or perhaps a coincidence – his library, his overlay and his mesh are all starting with the right letters namely Z for mesh or ortho scenery files, Y for overlay and X for the library and on top of the ini file your added add-on airports.
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/KMMH – Mammoth Yosemite/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Aerosoft – EDDF Frankfurt/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Aerosoft – EDLP Paderborn-Lippstadt/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Aerosoft – EGLL Heathrow/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Aerosoft – LFMN Nice Cote d Azur X/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Aerosoft – LFPO Paris Orly/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Aerosoft – LPFR Faro/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Global Airports/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/KSEA Demo Area/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/LOWI Demo Area/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/X-Plane Landmarks – Chicago/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/X-Plane Landmarks – Dubai/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/X-Plane Landmarks – Las Vegas/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/X-Plane Landmarks – London/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/X-Plane Landmarks – New York/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/X-Plane Landmarks – Sydney/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/X-Plane Landmarks – Washington DC/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/X-Codr Designs Library/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Y KMMH Overlay/
SCENERY_PACK Custom Scenery/Z KMMH Mesh/
Last but not least, the included manual. The package comes with the KMMH Manual Acrobat file. It’s only a document of 5 pages, but more is not needed. Besides all the special features that are incorporated in this KMMH airport, it also comes with an installation section, credits and licenses and a one page explanation of alternate versions.
I could write down what the Alternate Versions folder means, but honestly, it’s perfectly explained on this manual on page 4.
Ok, let me highlight it shortly. The X-Codr KMMH comes with different flavors. For those who haven’t powerful PCs or Macs, you can remove the grass, shrubs, and animated rain splashes to increase your frame rates, in case they are too low. But it’s also possible to remove the seasons which means removing the different colored tree leaves and winter ground textures.
Not really a part of the manual, but I would like to share with you my own experience when you leave the basic KMMH airport folder as it is and this means with every feature included. So let me first start with the seasons implementation.
The airport and surrounding area ground textures and tree colors – are not incorporated by the Stairport SAM Suite Seasons app. Instead, X-Codr made his own way of seasons and implemented that in this scenery, but how does this work? Very easy, you change to the month you want or season you have in mind, while X-Plane is running, and select from the X-Plane menu Developer – Reload the Scenery. When you selected for example January, then all the leaves on the trees at the airport itself are gone. Or when you select October, you get red and yellow leaves.
But watch out, most of the surrounding trees at the nearby hill or towards the Rocky Mountains including Mammoth Lakes town, stay green, irrespective of the time of the year. Yes, that are pine trees! Next thing to highlight in the basic package are the way trees look like. Are they just the regular X-Plane trees or the new 3D trees which can be seen in X-Plane 12 promotional movies?
These implemented 3D trees can be found at the airport parking lot only, but 3D trees can influence your FPS (Frames Per Second). Oops, that not good, right? That said, Connor implemented these 3D look in a way that when you’re close enough to the airport, you will see the gorgeous modeled 3D trees, but when you move further away from them, the trees return to the default 2D look.
That’s it for the moment. I will first explore the modeled areas – airport, the town and ski resort – with the ortho textures provided by X-Codr and part of the packages. Then after that adventure, I’ll highlight what and how to deal when you want to include Orbx TrueEarth North California.
Looking around at Mammoth Yosemite Airport
KMMH lies along the 395 (for those who aren’t familiar with US roads, this is a road) which starts or ends at/from Victorville nearby Los Angeles – and that lies along highway 15 – and via Bishop and then far up passing Lake Tahoe and then even further north. Ok, back to the 395 along KMMH. I take the Hot Creek Hatchery Road, then immediately a right hand turn on the Airport Road. After passing a couple of hangars and Levy Restaurants, I reach the airport parking lot. As it is in real also clearly visible; it is really well modeled by X-Codr and then I’m talking not only about the ground textures, but also the trees. I love them, and then in particular when you’re close-by.
The ground textures are, for the areas at and nearby the airport, razor sharp. This means as it in in real too, all the tarmac is cracked and repaired. Besides that, several modeled 3D cars are parked and the trees, as I explained before are, when close by the airport beautiful 3D models. They actually flip from the regular 2D tree to 3D when you’ve approached them closely. And these trees situated at this parking lot are the ones that change with Autumn (red and yellow leaves), Winter (no leaves) and Spring and Summer (green leaves).
Hold on, I’m going a bit too fast. While driving on the Airport Road I’m passing the hangars on my right-hand side, and I see a lot of different types of grass left and right of the razor sharp road textures. I mentioned it before, when the grass is too heavy for your PC or Mac and heavy means it cost you too many FPS, you can remove the grass as described in the manual.
Back to the scenery.
When I have a quick look over the fence and see how well the hangars are modeled, I’m looking forward to see the rest. Why you would ask? The hangar material with the wall profiles in it isn’t modeled which makes sense else it will cost lots of polygons and too many polygons mean FPS reduction. But the hangar walls with profiles although being a photo still looks great and all other objects related to the hangars are modeled like electricity meters, door handles, hangar door grips, lamp units and more of that stuff. So Connor didn’t forgot to add or model all these tiny details. Add to this the belonging aprons, the grass and the realistic photo-real textures used to cover the hangars, I can conclude that it looks as real as it is.
Behind the last hangar several cars are parked and at the same area, I also see many nice modeled caravans however, the license plates are from Germany which seems to me a bit odd. Informed Connor about this and he agreed with this because these are default X-Plane objects. Perhaps some modifications will come at a later time or it’s all solved the moment X-Plane 12 has been released. It’s not really a big issue since you perhaps won’t see it when you fly in and out of KMMH.
As previously said, when I turn at the small, but well modeled parking lot, you and I can spot lots of small- and larger modeled objects. There’s the grass, the ground textures, the static cars, some containers, the lighting constructions, the Mammoth sign in the middle of the parking lot, the 3D trees, the sidewalks around the weird looking tent, and yes, it’s as real as it gets, and that all towards the typical terminal building for the airport. That the sidewalks look pretty new and clean is something I can confirm with real photos. So all together it’s a very well modeled parking area with, I know, I mentioned it before, razor sharp ground textures.
Back to the tent that’s positioned nearby the Mammoth terminal building. It may look weird, but believe me, it’s as realistic as it is versus real photos. By the way, I found on photos that the tent as I called it, is named “The Hangar”. It makes sense that the interior isn’t modeled since it will cost lots of polygons for nothing, but the overall looks good. I’m happy with the way it is modeled and don’t forget, Connor implemented many new features in this airport like all buildings feature ultra high resolution textures (most 4 pixels per inch) and advanced PBR normal maps are included for realistic reflections and bump mapping.
I mentioned this briefly and will go deeper into it later in this review, KMMH comes with detailed ground textures with large scale realistic wear. Although not directly something you can compare, but the surrounding area of the airport comes with realistic 3D vegetation. An other features that can be found with other developers too, is the so called “living scenery”. If they all do it in the same way or with the same quality, is something else. The X-Codr comes with wet ground textures for the airport whenever applicable due to environmental conditions, and your aircraft will be served with ground equipment upon request and animated rain drops.
When walking at the parking lot, or near the buildings, or at the apron, the only thing I miss, but immediately I could ask myself the question if this is fair, are 3D people. Oh yes, you can add 3D people, but static people objects isn’t the right solution, and in most cases their overall quality isn’t good either. So, although I mentioned this “emptiness”, it is perhaps better that no 3D static people are included.
The green colored ticketing or airport office is well modeled with eyes for many tiny details. Of course, when you compare it with the real building, a couple of small things are missing or different, but some of these would only increase the amount of polygons and thus reducing the FPS. Therefore, the overall modeled building looks to me realistic.
Time to see and check the other side of the modeled airport. To reach this area I pass thru the gate entrance near the main building to check the cracked concrete apron and the other places including the many objects that are placed literally everywhere. Remember that the airport is mainly used for GA traffic so when you have for example Just Flight Traffic Global installed, you can and will see some GA aircraft or other small airliners that fly to and from KMMH. But right now I’m near the main building and looking to the apron textures tiles. First of all, yes, I’ve said that before, it’s razor sharp, full with repaired cracks and also a stainless steel drain line. That looks awesome.
What also looks awesome are the huge stones that can be found near the main building. but also near the hangars. The hangars can be found on both far ends of the main building. At each hangar, the same as what I wrote before, all tiny details are included. The shaped profile wall plates from the hangars and hangar doors look profiled, but the textures simulate that while the 3D texture is actually flat. It would be useless to model that shaped profile effect as it is in real. Perhaps nobody will see it, and besides that, it will cost too many polygons and as I said before, that means a too much reduction of the frame rates.
I am a huge fan of the apron, the road at this area, the taxiway textures as well as those from the runway. And yes, you can tell me that this is normal, that this is something you find every where, that this is the standard. No, it’s not normal. Connor from X-Codr put a lot of time and effort in the look and feel of these ground textures. All the lines or indications you see on the ground are highly realistic. Yes, I say this since I checked many photos and videos from pilots who flew/fly here. Near the main building you find a couple of cars – BMW SUVs- and a trailer, and, I noticed that a small petrol station has a German sign on it. Oops, that perhaps not a object from Connor himself, which is the same for the German caravans I’d mentioned before.
Although the overall real and thus the modeled airport is basic, it comes with lots of tiny features as well as the high quality textures. When you know all of this, then you’ll love to fly from or to KMMH.
Hold on, I didn’t say anything about how the airport looks like by night, but first I would like to show you how the default KMMH looks like by night versus the X-Codr from Connor. Believe it or not, in the default X-Plane 11 scenery there’s KMMH included, but the reality is far from what X-Codr created. I also noticed that in the default scenery there are lights along the Airport Road which is incorrect. Anyway, check out the following compiled screenshot. On the left-hand X-Codr KMHH with on the right hand the default X-Plane KMMH.
I can’t check if the overall airport lighting is correct since I couldn’t find any evening photos, but that it’s a basic lighting for such a small airport and mainly used for GA aircraft, I can imagine. What I really like is the lighting in combination with the trees at the parking lot. Thats looks awesome and perhaps that’s due to the orange and red trees. It must have been somewhere in September. When you do the same in Winter, yeah, then all the trees are empty, but in Summer it looks OK again.
Generic Mammoth Lakes and Ski Resort
I write on purpose generic since the Mammoth Lakes town with a bit further along the road the ski resort, are not really representing the real village although the ski resort is made with dedicated modeled objects. On the other hand, default X-Plane 11 Mammoth Lakes village and ski resort don’t exist, so everything more then default X-Plane 11 is OK. I have to be honest to myself and to You, my readers, the village doesn’t really look like the real one and although the ski resort is modeled, it’s also situated at the edge of the ortho ground textures included with the Mammoth Lakes package. That said, when you check the ski resort on the top of the hill, you’re at the edge of default X-Plane ground textures and the ortho files belonging to the X-Codr KMMH package. And when you look from the top down into the valley, you can also clearly see where the ground texture border is.
Personally I had hoped this was border with the default ground textures was a bit further out of sight then it is now, but anyway, it isn’t yet the case. There’s however one note I would like to share with you and that are “gaps” between the X-Codr ortho textures and the non ortho textures from default X-Plane.
I contacted Connor and he informed as follows “those big blue gaps are sadly the result of the poor mesh system in X-Plane. It’s pretty common when a ortho tile (X-Codr) is next to a non ortho tile (default X-Plane). Here it just happens to be in an exceptionally inconvenient place… I wish I could fix it, but all I could do is ship another 2GB tile, and that would only move the seams to another border. Users can fix that by using an ortho4xp tile for the adjacent tile (+37-120) with the included option for 1/3 arc second USGS DEM data.”
While going down the ski resort hill, I end up with a floating ski resort building. That didn’t look right (see also one of the screenshots below) so for this Connor replied as follows “the floating building is also a similar issue, it’s outside the included tile, so without another 2Gb ortho tile, at best I can add a large basement underneath. Maybe I will end up shipping another 2Gb tile. I apparently must have had an ortho tile next to it for my own use when developing as I don’t recall it floating that much, and I didn’t have the gaps.”
Check out the following screenshots.
Now that we’ve seen the three included areas, we drive back to the airport and then it’s time to explain something regarding weather conditions and airport “change”.
I mentioned it already, the X-Codr KMMH package isn’t compatible with Stairport SAM Suite “Seasons”, but instead of this X-Codr has created his own season textures that can be applied by selecting for Autumn, Winter or Spring/Summer. Do a scenery reload from the X-Plane menu and you’ve got your new scenery, but what actually is then different or changes according to the season. Ok, I needed to double check that too, but at the end it wasn’t difficult to find the changes.
The seasons are only applicable for the leaves of the trees at the airport itself. I couldn’t find any other trees that change color. And yes, most trees in this region are all pine trees. Adding the following information from Connor “You have to reload the scenery after changing the season or actually, the month. Fall results in the broad leaf trees changing colors, winter results in the broad leaf trees loosing their leaves, spring and summer are default.”
Ok, let me continue. What else changes at the airport when it starts raining or snowing. According to Connor “When it’s snowing (note it has to be snowing at sea level because that’s the dataref I check for the temperature as there isn’t a “nearest airport temp” dataref), you get snow. Raining, you get rain.” The problem is, you can’t always wait till there’s under real environmental conditions snow or rain, so you and I can also control this via the X-Plane weather menu. When you’ve selected a rainy condition, then it’s not directly visible since the beautiful apron with water splashes is only visible when you have the right lighting condition shining over the apron. Anyway, when you have the right lighting outside, and rain, you even see the drops that splashes on the ground although I find the drops a bit tooooo big!
And when you change the temperature from a nearby airport to minus zero or lower, the rain changes to snow and the apron slowly becomes white as well as the area around it. Keep in mind that Connor offers something else. Although the whole review is written on an iMac, I’m aware that Connor created a program named Winterizer, a tool for snowy orthophotos, that is dedicated developed for Windows 10 and allows you to winterize all used ortho textures to snowy look.
What said, as of this writing, it’s only for windows 10 and not available for macOS which is a shame, but perhaps this note will trigger Connor to try to create such a program for macOS. According to Connor “There have been many great seasonal addons for X-Plane, from MaxxXP’s Terramax to X-Flyer’s wonderful freeware Winter Package. However, there is one thing all these seasonal addons have in common, they don’t work with orthophotos because that would require a separate winter texture for every ortho. Or at least that is what everyone thought. A while back, X-Flyer I believe, came up with the idea of using a decal to add winter textures on the fly without needing a whole separate set of textures. He eventually stopped this project, but I have expanded on this technique, and have added an automated installer for my own winter decals.”
Connor continues “Winterizer is a tool that automatically adds winter decals to orthophotos. It is very simple to use and is available free for all. It allows for seasons to be changed dynamically in the simulator based on weather conditions, or from data from Terramax. It requires no installation, and simply requires 3 Megabytes to install, 500 Kilobytes for each tile it adds winter texture to, and Windows 10. Mac and Linux user may be able to use the program through a virtual machine, though this is untested and not officially supported.”
X-Codr and TrueEarth US Northern California
It’s not really a part that belongs to the X-Codr Mammoth Lakes package, but I can imagine that there are simmers who own the Orbx TrueEarth Northern California and for sure they also own the Southern part. Anyway, the Northern California ortho textures also cover the KMMH and ski resort area, so you and I can imagine that you want to use Orbx TrueEarth in combination with that massive Orbx TrueEarth package, but when you load them both without any modifications, you’ll see the following.
I wrote it already above, without any modification, it is nice to fly from the California coast to KMMH, but the ortho ground texture coloring differs a lot. I discussed this also with Connor since I don’t know what is the correct ground color; the colors used by Orbx or his color package. According to Connor “As for Orbx True Earth, I don’t have True Earth, but it’s not surprising the color is off as they have done a lot of color correction. I can’t have it look right with other USGS ortho and True Earth. I can however provide a patch to remove the airport ortho, then if using True Earth instead of the included mesh the color will look right.”
You could ask yourself the question what you like more; the Orbx colors or the more relaxed lighter colors from X-Codr. That’s a matter of taste, right? Hold on, it’s not a matter of taste if you fly often in this region, and plan to visit the modeled X-Codr KMMH. Then I can imagine that you take a more red Orbx colored ground textures for love since all X-Codr areas are then perfectly matched with the Orbx ground textures.
Did I cover everything related to the Mammoth Lakes package or did I forgot something? After so many years I know myself. It’s never enough, but I think I tried to cover more or less every corner modeled by Connor, as well as that I included the possibility for those simmers who own and use Orbx TrueEarth North California.
At first KMMH may look a basic airport, but the package offers a bit more then only an airport and I should not forget that the airport comes with lots of features and high quality, read razor sharp apron ground textures. X-Codr implemented lots of features like for example the gorgeous realistic looking 3D trees, or in particular during evening and night conditions, the integral lighting thru the windows of the buildings and offices and the tiny details found at and near the apron and not to forget the roads around the airport.
But what said, the package is not only the modeled airport. It comes with a generic Mammoth Lakes village and belonging ski resort although this is generic modeled which means there’s something, but not as real as it gets, in particular applicable to the Mammoth Lakes village. I noticed a couple of issues, but some are related to the borders between ortho ground textures and default X-Plane ground textures.
Hold on, there’s much more. Besides the airport, Mammoth Lakes village and the ski resort. Connor would like to add the following to this “One thing to note that it’s a little over 120 miles of coverage of custom forests/mostly generic custom building, but the ortho covers the full ortho tile. With just some rough math it’s close to 3500 square miles, but that’s pretty misleading, sounds huge but it’s only roughly 50×70 miles, simpler to just say 1 ortho tile.”
This makes it fun to fly in this region and in case you own Orbx TrueEarth California, then with the small ortho path you can disable the X-Codr orthos at the airport and nearby area and then it all fits perfectly together with the same Orbx colored ortho ground textures.
Although KMMH isn’t s a complex airport, far from that, in combination with Orbx TrueEarth US North California I think it’s a perfect fit and add-on. Together with this “no-ortho” package, provided to you on behalf of X-Codr Connor, you can perfectly integrate X-Codr KMMH Mammoth Lakes Airport, the village with ski resort into the Orbx textures.
I would like to thank Connor for his help, his “modified Orbx ortho path” and his patient to explain all my questions. Thanks Connor.
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Payware X-Codr Mammoth Yosemite Airport|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | X-Codr Designs|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of KMMH Mammoth Yosemite Airport|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 3.3GB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||February 28th 2022|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac Pro
- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Bootcamp Windows 10)
- 1 external 2TB LaCie Rugged Pro SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino
- Honeycomb Alpha Flight Controls
- Honeycomb Bravo Throttle Quadrant
|Software specifications:||- macOS Monterey (12.x)
- X-Plane 11.5x