x+s+r // skyline’s mkjs

xsr mkjs hdr

Adrian didn’t want to touch this one so he left it to me. Thanks. I think. So yes, every now and then a file like this comes along, one that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Kind of like…”I just spent twenty bucks, for THIS?” And yes, THIS is one of those files. If that’s all you need to know then click off and go on your merry way, because that’s all there is to say. No one likes to write a review like this, but someone’s got to do it.

It’s my turn today.

MKJS hdr

So, here we have MKJS Sangster International, located at Montego Bay, on Jamaica’s north coast. The file in question was converted from a LatinVFR FsX file by Skyline Simulations, who last showed up on the Xp scene with another converted file, that for KSNA John Wayne, in Orange County, California.

After looking this file over it’s time to state the obvious: just because a file comes from FsX does not mean the original file is all that big a deal. In fact, what we have here amounts to little more than a mediocre freeware file – one that will end up costing you twenty dollars. It’s called “buyers remorse,” I think. You know…when someone sells you a Mercedes and you find out it’s really a Trabant?

Looking at the first set of images below we have a bunch of trees that are obscuring a woefully inadequate (i.e., blurry) ortho. The “parking lot” in front of the terminal is made by this blurry ortho, though a bunch of cars and objects have been dropped on it; the results are dreadful, and most reputable freeware developers moved away from doing things this way years ago. Next, take away the static aircraft and there’s almost nothing on the ramps. Next item? Want rooftop details on the terminal buildings? Not in this file. Last, how about the entry to the terminal? Well, don’t get your hopes up. What you get is more blurry mess, no lighting, almost no cars and no people. In short, a converted file plopped down on a smeary ortho. No roadway detail. No curbs. No trees. No light towers.

MKJS comp 1

In the end, the entry should have looked a little like this…

real entry

While the terminal should’ve looked a little like this:

real term

And the overall area a little more like this:

ge

…and not a blurry mess.

Turn out the lights and things get better, if only because most of this file’s inadequacies simply disappear. In fact, most of the buildings are so poorly lighted they disappear completely – which is NOT a bad thing, considering. The parking lot and the main entry are huge black holes, the window textures are smeary blue blobs and, as you can see in the last image, someone couldn’t be bothered to line up the textures correctly.

MKJS ncomp

Is it just laziness, or does this developer think people don’t care? But that begs the real question. If people spend money to purchase an accurate reproduction of the original, what have you accomplished when you produce a file like this one? Not much?

Note the first image below? Note where the parking lot is, and the terminal entry – just for reference. Now go to the second and third images and compare these two. Same location, different times of day. The terminal and control tower simply disappear at night. Very nice effect. All payware should be so nicely done.

MKJS comp 2

Again, we’re repeating the last image above for your convenience, so you can compare with the two images just above. There are all kinds of different texture effects being used here, some I’ve not seen since Xp version 8/9; there’s no area lighting around most of the terminal buildings, work areas, parking lots, or smaller buildings. It’s like no effort was made to even bother making this look like an airport. How about lights by exterior doorways? Light posts to illuminate areas in shadow? Lighting in the parking lot? How about terminal building lighting generally so the terminal entry is at least visible at night?

Below, if this file has a good side you’ll find it in daylight and only if you ignore the usual amenities like ground clutter. The JarDesigns Ground Handling package is essential here – if only to break up the monotony. The nice looking building below? If you look at images of the real building you’ll note the colors used here look a little off.

real term 2

MKJS comp 3

The older, “white” terminal building just looks nothing like what’s on the ground. Colors and details are just not payware quality.

For comparisons sake, I’ve included a few images from renair’s freeware file, and while it’s not as well done as some of tdg’s files, it IS at least as interesting as this payware file – and you will save 20 bucks, too.

MKJS FW renair

If you feel like dropping money on inferior files that’s your business, but Skyline shouldn’t have brought this file to market in its current state of development. All this file really has to offer is a huge ortho and some beachside hotel developments; the airport file is, at best, not payware quality.

What this file implies about the market going forward is lost on me, too. Does it mean that just because a file comes from FsX some developers think people will snap these conversions up? Do some developers really feel comfortable selling files that are no better than freeware? ( – and in this case, there are literally hundreds of freeware files out there with much better quality than you’ll find in this file.)

To me this file smacks of an unscrupulous developer rushing a poor file to market, trying to cash in on an emerging market by taking advantage of buyers who may not know better – yet. What Skyline has done, instead, is tainted the market for these files, and that’s not good. So, what has Skyline accomplished with this release, other than to ruin their reputation? I don’t know. Time will tell, but I’m not looking forward to their next file – whatever that may be.

In the end, what this file really represents is a wasted opportunity. When a payware file comes along for an area where there’ve been few files of any sort, it’s really fun when the file brings something new and exciting, and even interesting to X-plane. Skyline’s file brings an ortho and good beachside development to the game, and that may be enough for some people. Others may like this file simply because it IS better than nothing, and it IS a little better than most previous freeware files. In the end, it could have been so much more – but this is it now. This will be MKJS in X-plane, for better or worse.

Good Points:

Looks good – from 2000+AGL and on approach.

Nice ortho with good hotel development scheme along the beaches.

It’s better than no airport file at all, but renair’s freeware file is as interesting.

Small file, performance not an issue.

Bad Points:

Really? Do I need to go there?

Recommended? No, unless you really, really need this airport; in which case, try renair’s file first.

– C

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