Macco Simulations is an MSFS-based developer that recently ventured into scenery making. Having broken out with their Manchester and Birmingham airport renditions, the developer has rapidly gained popularity among flight simmers.
I had the privilege of interviewing Max, the lead developer of Macco Simulations, exclusively for FSNews. The discussion ranged from the developer’s ambitions to the upcoming Cancun rendition, as well as any upcoming projects. Before we begin, I would like to thank Max for giving us his time for this interview.
The interview will be split into three sections:
- Part I will be based on the story behind Macco Simulations
- Part II will be based on Cancun Airport, their upcoming rendition
- Part III will be based on the future of Macco Simulations
Part I: Beginnings of Macco Simulations
Q. Can you briefly introduce yourself and your team/studio to our readers?
My name is Max, and I am based near London in the United Kingdom. Macco Simulations comprises me as the main developer and a few others who support the company in many ways.
We are blessed to be backed by an amazing community of people who not only push us to improve, but also some keen people who work at the airports we have recreated, and also support us in any way possible. It may only be me developing these airports themselves, but It most definitely wouldn’t happen without these people.
Q. If you had to describe Macco Sim in three words, what would they be and why?
Transparent – Everything we do we show the community. EGCC was released as a beta preview, meaning it was far from finished. Every single thing we did, we posted about in our blog, as well as having active development lists.
Involved – We don’t do anything without our community. I have made it a company value from the very beginning, that Macco Simulations should never act as a big company does. We are in every Livestream, on our discord and replying to every single person in our community.
Affordable – From day one, I made it very clear that we would not be charging an extortionate amount for sceneries like companies have and still do. If you have a good business model, you do not need to charge as much as people are charging for airports.
Q. How did you become involved in scenery development?
Since the release of MSFS2020, we have known that we want to be a part of the developer community. The visuals that MSFS2020 brings to the table meant that we could finally justify putting the time and effort into making airports, with the final results looking incredible because of the incredible graphics this simulator provides. I personally have a background that aids in the modelling and texturing of these buildings, so the only learning curve for me was the simulator itself, and how it all works.
Although COVID-19 has hit almost everyone on the planet, if it weren’t for its occurrence, I would not have started Macco Simulations. Unfortunately, now that the world is back to normal, development has slowed down an incredible amount. This will also reflect upon the speed of future releases, which is evident in our Cancun scenery which took around a year to complete.
Q. So far, what has been your favourite aspect of working in the field of flight simulation?
The community, by far! Sitting in my office day in and day out modelling and texturing can sometimes become tedious and slow. Without the community on our discord server, Facebook and other socials, I most definitely would not have had the motivation to create Cancun!
Being part of live streams and watching people fly in and out of the airports we make is incredibly rewarding and the content creators who have been by our side from day 1 are truly incredible people.
Part II: Cancun Airport
Q. The flight-sim community is eagerly anticipating your Cancun scenery release! Could you elaborate on the reason behind choosing Cancun?
I grew up in Mexico and left in 2010. Our annual summer holiday was always to Cancun, and therefore has an incredibly soft spot in my heart. We also had the urge to create an airport in a location where a lot of developers neglect. Mexico and the rest of central and South America get virtually no attention in comparison to North America and Europe.
Although we love our EGCC and EGBB, there are some incredible legacy developers who have created airports in the UK for other simulators and are most likely going to port them over. Not only would having 2 of the same airports be a bad business move but there are plenty of airports that haven’t been given love and attention
Q. Did your previous experience in DEVELOPING Manchester help you during the development of Cancun?
Of course! As they say; practice makes perfect.
Manchester was a massive undertaking as a first airport. Not only is it a very large airport, but every single building/terminal is a different style and architecture. In contrast, something like Dubai would be quite a straightforward airport as all the terminals are the same style.
EGBB had a lot more time and effort put into the ground markings (which we later used to update Manchester), so if anything, EGBB has helped more than EGCC!
Q. Are there any revolutionary, interesting, or unique features of the scenery you would like to point out?
We are very proud of our ground markings and our terminal glass.
The ground comprises 8+ layers of projected meshes, all stacked onto each other to give a realistic representation of the real thing.
For the first time, we used a WACOM tablet and pen to manually paint the ground and building textures, which gave us incredible freedom and flexibility.
The building modelling and texturing wasn’t revolutionary, as from day one of the development of Manchester we have created and used PBR materials.
q. Did you come across any bigger challenges during the development of the scenery which would be worth mentioning?
In my head, Cancun was much smaller…
Back in the days when I used to visit, Cancun had 3 terminals and 1 runway. It now has 4 terminals, 2 runways, a new GA area and a plethora of new airside buildings. You live and you learn, and I am sure our future airports will be smaller and more manageable unless we grow as a company and have a team of developers, (which may happen sooner than we think!)
Max is currently working on Terminal 4 for the Cancun rendition. However, he has stated that the Terminal will not be ready upon initial release. Therefore, the Terminal will be added later on in a further update.
q. We’ve noticed one of your team members teased the release soon. Would you be willing to share a little more details with us? Perhaps also the pricing model?
We are so excited to release Cancun to the world! It has been a labour of love and a long year of development, and I am sure that the price of £10.99 will excite many as well!
We don’t like to hold any info back from our community, so unfortunately I don’t have any juicy info for you, but rest assured, I am sure we will see a lot more traffic to the area!
Part III: The Future
Q. Can you tell us anything about your future projects?
Currently, we are still working hard on Cancun. Once we release the airport, there will be 1 or 2 months of work on it still, whilst we listen to feedback from the community. If someone knows a bit more about a certain area or building, we will of course update it.
As for future projects, no. I have a full-time job as well as managing and developing at Macco Simulations. I have a few nights’ sleep and days of work to catch up on, and a period of deciding what next. I am sure our next project will be loved as well, but for the time being, we have no further info as I don’t know myself!
Q. Do you plan on developing also for other platforms, or do you want to stick with MSFS only?
We will always develop for MSFS first. The graphics and game engine is way ahead of any other simulator. Although, we have been approached by 2 companies offering to partner and port over our airports to other simulators. Whether or not this will be a good move for us is yet to be seen.
Note from FSNews team:
If you are interested in supporting Macco Simulations, do check their lovely renditions on their webpage store. If you are interested in reading another interview, check out George’s interview with UK2000’s lead developer, Gary Summons.