Welcome to Developer Month 2019. Between April 8th and May 8th 2019, we will feature a variety of developers, publishers, community personalities and more who will tell us their story. From written interviews and blog posts to video interviews and more, we have curated a range of interesting content to maybe even inspire you to be one of these developers in future years. Please enjoy Developer Month 2019 as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you.
We couldn’t have put together Developer Month without the support of all the developers & publishers involved. Also, huge thanks to Thrustmaster for their assistance in sponsoring Developer Month.
April 26th: MK-Studios
MK-Studios have been developing scenery for ESP sims for our simulators for a while now. Focusing on European destinations, the team have gone from strength to strength taking on community feedback to make their products better. Their last release was a free update to Tenerife South, with plenty more up their sleeves. Today they talk about their past products, what development tools they use and more.
Tell us a little about yourselves and what you do.
Mateusz: Hi! My name is Mateusz and I’m CEO of MK-STUDIOS and another game development company MS GAMES. I’ve been interested in aviation since… I can’t remember honestly. Probably since I was born I’d say. I started by building simple planes with LEGO when I was a child, then discovered the flight simulation world back in 2003 with MSFS 2002.
I have little experience with real world flying as I’m owner of PPL(A) license which I use from time to time to get closer to the airport infrastructure and gain as much information as possible to make our customers experience better.
I work with my colleague Stefano.
Stefano: My name is Stefano, I’m 41 years old. I’m 3D designer. I was a soldier in Italian army sited in Bologna, that’s why our first project as MK-STUDIOS was Bologna X. I remember that I contacted Mateusz and then we started this project together back in 2012 and we continue our cooperation till today. However… our (me and my lovely wife Kasia) best and most important project was ‘released’ just a few days ago. EMMA, this is not the ICAO airport code, but the name of my beautiful daughter.
Where did the name MK-Studios come from?
Mateusz: I think it was back in 2007 when I decided to upload all my repaints to one place. A friend of mine helped me to prepare some stuff and we just used our initials. I continued to develop on my own soon after that but the name remained till today.
How did you first get into scenery development?
Mateusz: That was in 2005 I believe. I always wanted to have my small hometown heliport and surroundings in the sim. I took some photos and decided to give it a try. I remember I used Gmax (something like very early version of 3dsmax for free) and paint to make it. Soon I decided it’s not enough for me and I want to fly as well. I wonder if many of you remember great Mi-2 rendition by Nemeth Deisngs? I even translated the whole 2D panel to match exactly the real one that operated in my town.
Look what I found! Some secret development photos from 2005…
Do you remember your first project and why you developed it?
Mateusz: I feel like I answered that above a little. But let’s speak about something that was actually pushed to the public (besides hundreds of repaints I’ve done that time). That was Bydgoszcz Airport (EPBY) 2008. Actually, it’s still available to download on Avsim.
It’s very small airport, I felt like it may be worth a try.
Is scenery development a full time job for you or is there other bits of work you do on the side in between projects?
Mateusz: It is a full time job for me but I’m also involved in gaming industry since 2018 (as mentioned before) and I expand my activities there. It’s actually nice because all the things I learn there I try to move to the SIM. I was very happy to see PBR in the last P3D release and I can’t wait for future releases that will expand usage of this technology. I think we’ll see some nice and exciting stuff that will get us closer to how modern graphical engines look like. Considering how advanced planes we run these days it’s already amazing!
Tell us about your workspace/environment
Mateusz: My workspace is where… my laptop is and it’s a ASUS FX705GE-EW136. I know it may sound funny but I love to work in the train. Looking outside the window seeing how the landscape change from time to time makes me work 200% more effective.
You expected at least two 30” screens and NASA PC, didn’t you? Sorry to disappoint.
Screen hidden because of TOP SECRET project going on you may expect this Summer! And it’s not announced yet. Here’s a hint: Its an island. Its nice. It has more than one runway. That’s all you’re getting for now.
[Editor’s Note: If you correctly guess the airport in the comments section, we’ll give you a free copy upon release.]
How do you keep yourself motivated and continue to create scenery products?
Mateusz: I just love to do it! What motivated me most is people and their joy of our products. I have been flying since 2006, and I’ve always done airports I wanted to fly to by myself. I love the Canary Islands and have visited them each year since 2013. That’s why we’ve made three islands. Stefano was in love with Madeira, we’ve done it! Our passion is to do what we do keeps us going forward.
What projects are you currently working on? Why do they excite you?
Mateusz: We’re working on XXXX, YYYY and ZZZZ. They’ll be done in the year 2222, 3333 and 4444.
Seriously, we’re about to finish one mega airport soon. It’s not announced yet. What we have announced and what we are working on hard are Dublin, Rome and we’ve done some research for Keflavik (BIKF).
Big projects are different to deal with as development time may sometimes exceed 2 years. Things change in the meantime, like you saw with Tenerife South. Just in one year, all the ground layout was changed, new terminal construction has progressed and more. It took us a few months of continuous development to get it to V2 state and we decided to do it for free to show to people that we don’t drop our products. We do our best to support them as long as possible!
When you start to develop an airport you have to consider possible changes in the real world and decide which state you want to release to the community. If you don’t, you’ll rework it forever and never find other airports to do. Another example is Rome, it’s a little bit old product and our second commercial release. Everything changed! Including our skills from 2014. We’re very excited to bring the most realistic renditions of these airports with PBR, new modelling methods and more.
What feature would you like to see implemented into the core sims that you either find a challenge to implement or simply can’t do right now?
Mateusz: My favorite thing right now is something called ‘height map’. It allows a texture to be rendered as a 3D object. I’d love to use it within the sim as it would make things so much easier. Another thing I miss is more control on the lightning, especially runway lights. This is a very tricky thing we do now to get them right. All in all, I’m very happy to see HUGE improvement Lockheed Martin has done since they initially released P3D V1 and can’t wait for future releases.
What advice would you give someone who’s trying to enter the world of scenery development?
Mateusz: Start with something you like or you’d like to see in the sim. It’ll keep you motivated. When an obvious thing doesn’t work and you’ve already spent at least two weeks doing it all over again… you probably forgot to put a DOT (.) somewhere.
Thank you once again to MK-Studios for taking part.Developer Month 2019 Hub
Stay tuned as Developer Month continues tomorrow. Who wants more Orbx? Good! Jarrad from Orbx will be on to chat all things scenery development.