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    REVIEW - KMIA and KEYW by LatinVFR for FSX/P3D


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    Review

    by Marlon Carter

     

    LatinVFR Miami International Airport KMIA v3

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    Introduction

    If one were to compile a list of all of the most well-known airports in the U.S, it is without a doubt that Miami International may be at the top of the list. KMIA has a very rich history that stretches all the way back to 1920sand today it serves as a primary gateway to Latin America while also handling more European carriers than any other airport in the U.S.

    Within the context of Flight Simulation, KMIA has also proved to be a popular airport for a number of reasons and throughout the years there were many attempts to recreate the look and “feel” of this airport for all to enjoy. One of the developers who are now on their third attempt is LatinVFR. Many of you will recall that a few years ago LatinVFR released their first version of KMIA which was a very popular product, but it also suffered from performance issues which prompted the release of version 2 sometime later. With the vast improvements in airport design and features, LatinVFR saw it fit to continue making improvements to this popular airport with KMIA v3. What can weexcept from this new product? Well here is a list of some of the feature.

     

     

    Features

    Miami Int'l Airport KMIA modeled with significant attention to detail.

    Texturing in HD mapping for all buildings, shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all buildings.

    High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures.

    Surroundings extremely detailed with dozens of customized buildings.

    80 square miles of photo scenery with thousands of hand placed autogen.

    Animated trams.

    Custom animated (CTRL+J) jetway and static.

    Custom vehicle (apron) animations.

    Static aircraft.

    Fully AI traffic compatible.

    Optimized for excellent performance.

    Excellent night effects.

    Inclusion of manual in PDF format.

    FSX, Prepar3Dv2, Prepar3dv3, support.

    Much more!

     

     

    Additions since V1 and V2

    New ground textures and designed polygons (runways, taxiways, aprons, smoothing taxiway lines) updating new markings, new taxiways and new taxi denominations.

    New HD photo scenery and , with added coverage and autogen to the west for more realistic approach (normal from the west) photo scenery increased from 125sq KM to 175 sq kilometer.

    Corrected taxiways, parking position positions.

    Re-texturing of all buildings with new and more detailed textures.

    Re-design of concourse J terminal.

    Re-work of Concourse G-F and E. (fixes)

    Re-design of north terminal (Concourse D) with sections of interior modeling.

    Addition of animated (Ctrl J) jetways

    Re-work of the terminal night texturing, and adding new flood lights to lamps.

    Re-design of the old National Airlines hangar (old Pan AM)

    Re-design of the main control tower.

    Re-design of the General Aviation international terminal , Landmark aviation center.

    Addition of the new LAN airlines MRO hangar.

    Re-design of the airport entrance road.

    Addition of sorroundings, the magic city casino, Ocean Bank (rwy 30 app) Walmart, new over passes 836 & 826 etc (rwy 09 app) new objects near Lejeune Rd (rwy's 26 app) Downtown Doral buildings (rwy's 08 app) addition of buildings on 36th Street.

    New radar tower.

    Addition of holding point warning lights.

    Addition of optional volumetric grass.

    Addition of the service road tunnel.

    LatinVFR Miami Int'l KMIA v3 manual

    Updating library objects, clutter new vehicles, static aircraft.

    Updating airline gate assignments (November 2015)

    New animations, Concourse E tram, North Terminal tram and People mover.

    New apron animations

    Further performance optimization removing old FS8 codes.

    Configurator tool that allows you to add/remove scenery elements.

    Lowering of VAS usage.

     

    From the list of features outlined, it’s quite clear that V3 isn’t simply a patch for v2. While this may not have been a complete rebuild, the added features truly bring KMIA to the standard that we all expect today. Not only do Flight Sim enthusiasts want a product that looks good, but they also want a product that is filled with options that create an immersive environment.

     

    LatinVFR Key West International Airport

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    The next airport we will be featuring in our review is another updated airport that tends to be more popular with the GA crowd. Key West International airport is yet another airport that his a rich history going back to 1913. With an approx. 4800ft runway located near the southern coastline, this airport sees both GA and Commercial traffic on a daily basis. A few years ago, LatinVFR released their first rendition of this airport which was an instant hit for simmers that are fond of flying in Florida.  However, as was the case with KMIA, over the years there had been many developments and improvements in scenery design and LatinVFR saw it fit to give this popular airport a facelift. What can we expect from v2 of KEYW? Well here is a list of new features that are quite similar to the new KMIA v3.

    Features

     

    KEYW (EYW) Key West Int'l airport completely modeled with significant attention to detail.

    Texturing in HD mapping for all buildings, shading and occlusion (texture baking) effects on all buildings.

    Custom reflection maps and customized global environment map (FSX)

    Surroundings extremely detailed.

    150 square miles of photo scenery with thousands of hand placed autogen, extending from Boca Chica Key to the Marquesas.

    High resolution ground textures / Custom runway textures.

    Landmarks, island buildings.

    Scenery configurator tool

    Custom vehicle animations.

    Static aircraft.

    Fully AI traffic compatible.

    Optimized for excellent performance.

    Excellent night effects.

    Inclusion of manual in PDF format.

    FSX, Prepar3Dv2 support.

    Much more!

     

     

    Now that we have a preview of the features for KMIA and KEYW, Let’s dig a bit deeper to see whether or not these updated airports should be added to your simulator.

     

    Installation & Documentation

    As with most scenery products, the installation of these scenery products was quite simple. For users of FSX, FSX Steam or P3D, you will be happy to know that the installer for this product has numerous options to make this product compatible with your simulator. As far as documentation is concerned, both documents are short and to the point. After providing a brief history of each airport, the manuals go on to high light some of the features, performance information and an FAQ that I highlight recommend you have a look at since it contains some information for you DX10 users. Another very helpful bit of information found in the KMIA manual is a listing of all the airlines that fly to KMIA and their assigned Concourse. This will be very helpful to those of you who want to park your aircraft at the correct gate when flying into or out of KMIA.Ultimately, the documentation provides all of the information you need with no fillers. That being said,let’s have a closer look at these scenery products.

     

     

    The Scenery

    At first glance, an overview of Miami International and its surrounding areas can easily leave you with a smile from ear to ear. Why? Well it seems that after years of waiting patiently for a scenery package that aptly captures the look and atmosphere of KMIA, LatinVFR has finally hit the nail on the head so to speak with v3 of their rendition of this popular airport.

     

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    Starting with the Terminal buildings, it’s quite clear that the developer spent a significant amount of time ensuring that the smallest of details were included. If you previously owned v1 or v2 of KMIA, you will be quite surprised with the updates seen with v3. For example, all buildings were re-textured with improved detail; Concourse J, G-F and E have all been either re-designed or reworked with the inclusion of interior modeling at Concourse D. Other improvements included a re-designed main control tower, National Airlines hangar, GA terminal and Landmark aviation center. If you look closely, you will also see that the new LAN airlines MRO hangar was also included. With all of these improvements, it’s clear to see that this isn’t a simple update to v2. KMIA v3 is an entirely new airport that is vastly superior to its previous versions.

     

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    When it comes to ground textures, once again we see some remarkable improvements with the use of new HD photo scenery with added coverage to the west. What was also impressive is the fact that the high quality of the textures can easily convince you that some of the objects seen on the ground are 3D. This in addition to the high quality autogen allows for a truly immersive experience when flying over Miami. At the airport itself, the ground texture detail was also improved with the addition of new runways, taxiways, aprons and runway markings that give a truly authentic look to this airport.

     

    While on the topic of ground textures, it is perhaps fitting to also comment on the surrounding areas of the airport. Some new features for KMIA v3 included the addition of surrounding buildings such as the Magic City Casino, Ocean Bank, Walmart, overpasses and Doral buildings. We can list numerous features but I think these screenshots speak for themselves.

    At night time, KMIA looks equally as realistic with detailed night lighting that meets the expectations of even the most critical of flight sim enthusiast. While the night time textures are very well done, LatinVFR have also added flood lights for an added element of realism. However, if you want to have the ultimate experience, it is my recommendation to use this product along with UTX USA 2.0 since it adds street lights that significantly enhances the experience of flying over Miami at night. Here are a few screenshots.

     

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    When it comes to special features, KMIA v3 is loaded with extra goodies that were not present in previous versions. As an example, KMIA v3 comes with new animations for the Concourse E and North Terminal Tram in addition to moving people. While there are also special features such as volumetric grass and holding point warning lights, many perspective customers will be happy to know that this scenery also includes animated Jetways. As an added bonus, the gate assignments for most gates are updated and you need not worry about parking your airliner in the wrong spot.

     

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    Now that we’ve had a closer look at KMIA, it’s time to hop into our A2A T6 for a quick flight over to KEYW.

     

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    As we approach KEYW, it becomes quickly apparent that this product incorporates much more than the main airport itself. Much of the surroundings extend some 150 square miles to offer the most realistic environment for this amazing airport. One of the things that stood out the most is the amazing high quality texture that also extends to the tropical waters. With custom autogen featuring various landmarks and island buildings this will easily become one of your favorite destinations in Florida.

     

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    As we have a closer look at the Key West airport itself, it isn’t as large as KMIA but rest assured that this product is still packed with stunning detail. Both the main terminal and GA sections of this airport are remarkably detailed incorporating both all signs and other minute details seen at this airport.

    As with KMIA, the ground textures are very detailed and they are perhaps some of the most realistic looking textures you will be privileged to find these days. At night the environment takes on a completely different feel with some of the most beautiful night time textures produced for FSX/P3D. If you are a user of UTX USA 2.0, the street lighting added to this scenery creates an environment that will leave you speechless as it adds another level of realism to this product.

     

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    As far as special features are concerned, KEYW offers optional ground vehicle animations, static aircraft and special night time lighting effect that nicely compliments the detailed buildings and airport layout. These photos nicely showcase this fact.

     

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    By now you must be wondering what about the performance of these airports? Do they use up valuable VAS? Well in the case of KMIA, earlier versions suffered from performance issues that were well noted by the developer. Since then however, older coding and enhanced modeling techniques have resulted in a drastic improvement in performance with V3. In addition to this, there is a configuration tool that allows you to make use of lower resolution textures and the ability to disable some features that may impact on frames and VAS usage.

     

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    With KEYW, despite the significant improvement in quality over the previous version, LatinVFR has been able to also improve the overall performance by optimizing this product as much as possible so that all will enjoy using it. As with KMIA, there is also a configuration tool that allows you to disable features that may help to further improve performance. Personally I was very impressed with the overall performance of both products after testing them in FSX Steam and P3D v2.5. I was unable to test these products with P3D v3, but I imagine that the performance should be the same or better since P3D v3 has better VAS management than v2.5.

     

     

    Conclusion

    In conclusion,I think that both KMIA and KEYW are must have airports if you enjoy flying in the U.S. The notion that these products are simply a minimal upgrade to their previous versions is far removed from the truth. The work that has gone into these products are indeed a labor of love to the FS community who continue to have an ever growing standard of excellence. What makes these products stand out from other scenery products is that it focuses not only on the airport itself, but it is also incorporates the surrounding terrain, buildings and landmarks that create a truly immersive experience. The high quality ground textures and custom autogen presents these products in the best possible light with very doubt that you are flying in the beautiful state of Florida.

    For those of you who are mostly interested in the functionality of these products, as stated before, products such as GSX work wonderfully and with the added ability to control Jetways, LatinVFR has come a long way since their initial offering with KMIA v1. KEYW is also quite a treat both to the eyes and from a functional view point. If you enjoy VFR flying, flying from Ft. Lauderdale to Key West will be quite a treat with the addition of KEYW to your scenery library. From the performance perspective, both products had outstanding performance with the options to remove some features such as static aircraft. In my case, I had all options enabled and I was quite pleased with the smooth performance of both products. When it comes to pricing, you can have KMIA v3 for 24.00 Euros for new customers while owners of v2 prior to June 2015 will be require to pay 10 Euros. Customers who purchased v2 after June of 2015 will receive the v3 update at no additional cost.If you would also like to purchase KEYW, you can do so for 19.99 Euros or pay an 8.00 Euro charge if the previous version was purchased after 1/1/15. With such reasonable pricing that is often lowered for specials you honestly get quite a bargain with these products and you won’t regret adding these products to your simulator. To LatinVFR, a job well done on these products! I honestly look forward to updates for past products such as TTPP, TTCP and other Caribbean airports in addition to your development of new airports.

     

    Acknowledgement

    Special thanks to Ricardo from LatinVFR for contributing this product for review and to A2A for the lovely T-6 Texan.

     

    Links to products seen in this review.

    UTX USA v2.1
    PMDG 737 NGX
    A2A T-6 Texan



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