MK Studios is a development team that has been around for a long time. You may not know, but they’re behind scenery packages such as Maderia and Mega Airport Rome. Both of these sceneries, among others, were subsequently published under the Aerosoft brand. Since then, MK Studios has decided to break away from flight sim behemoth and has decided to self-publish their own content. Their first self-published release of Fuerteventura 2017 was released earlier this year and we felt now was a great time to explore the Canary island.
For those who don’t know, the Canary Islands are known for their year-round sunshine, wonderful seaside resorts and friendly locals. This is exactly why for European carriers, it is the perfect destination throughout the year. For simmers, it’s an exciting place to visit as the winds sweep across the islands – usually at a crosswind – and there’s a wealth of routes available to choose from. Not only that, but the islands themselves provide some scenic approaches as you descend to the runway. Fuerteventura is no different and provides you with everything you would need for a great destination to add to your collection.
What is interesting about the release of Fuerteventura 2017, is the fact that MK Studios designed the airport based on Prepar3D v3.4 and Prepar3D v4 – the FSX port came afterwards. From what I can tell, this is one of the first times I’ve seen a scenery package designed in this way. I personally think that this actually benefits the simmer massively in many regards. As a result, MK Studios have utilised many of the specific capabilities only found in the 64-bit sim SDK, which is why this review is focused on that version.
Having flown to the island a few times for both work and pleasure, I have a pretty good IDEA of how the airport looks. If you’ve ever flown to the airport, then you’ll know that the runway appears much darker than most in the world. I’m assuming this is down to the type of surface material used to help combat the year-round heat. The long runways also mean that a range of aircraft can visit the airport easily with minimal fuss. Upon seeing the runway texturing for the first time, I was blown away with how detailed it was. Cracks, dirt and other environmental filters have been applied to make it feel as realistic as possible.
The same can be said about the taxiways as well. Each area has been detailed to the highest standard and look great. It’s some of the best ground poly details and textures I have seen in a sim. Taxiway signage, ground lettering and other markings are realistic and have a weathered effect applied to them. What is more impressive is that these details on the ground come with zero performance impact. I was running MK Studios Fuerteventura really well in both day and night with my high-end settings. Compared to the default version, there was very little impact between the two.
Whilst overall it performs really well, there are some compromises to ensure it runs well. One area that could be looked at in future products is the landside area. There’s some awesome details on the road signage, but the car park and front area of the airport is lacking. The texture quality is substantially less and modelling takes a knock on quality. Not a deal breaker by any means as it’ll be a primarily unexplored area by many. The area you will spend most time, however, looks fantastic. The building models are highly realistic compared to their real-world counterparts and brimming with little quirks to make you want to explore fully.
For example, the airport structures have all kinds of environmental effects littered around them. From the grime and slime taking over the walls to the dents and scratches found on fuse boxes. It’s these little details that allow Fuerteventura 2017 to really shine amongst the competing products in a similar area. Further to that, there are also some design elements included within the structure itself including passenger seating areas and airport signage. From your seat in the flight deck, this adds a bit more immersion to your experience.
There’s a variety of gate options for your airlines and they’re all of a high standard. Those gates situated next to the airport terminal will be able to take advantage of the SODE jetways, whilst those at remote stands will get to enjoy the straight-out taxi options available. Due to the length of the airport apron, you won’t find yourself short of room.
With Fuerteventura 2017, it’s not just the airport that has been modelled – a large portion of the island is also covered with photoreal scenery and custom objects. Take the approach from the south for example. The long final approach course will take you over the tip of the island before passing overhead busy roads, housing areas and even a harbour. Remarkably, the custom objects are highly details and match the look and feel of the island itself. Mountains in the distance are also covered in custom texture work and it all blends perfectly in with the airport itself. Again, all of these impressive features have little to no impact in your performance when flying.
As day turns to night, you’ll be left in amazement at the quality of night lighting. I’ve found lately that some developers use the dynamic lighting system too much to create some kind of disco lighting. It’s often too bright and has huge detrimental impact on your frame rates. Yet as evidenced in the screenshots, I feel MK Studios have struck a good balance between using the lighting to create an immersive environment and considered the performance impact it will have on some users. The colouring of the textures, and the placement of the flood lights provide a real nice warm colour and effect that makes the whole scene feel realistic. The runways lights subtle, yet accurate to what a pilot would see if flying into the airport at night.
At €24.99, MK Studios Fuerteventura 2017 delivers great value for the price you pay. Installation is easy and comes with decent documentation to guide you on your way. The level of detail and route options available to simmers should be enough to entice you to buy it. This is definitely a top tier product from a top-quality developer. You can buy it from either SimMarket or their official store.