UK2000 is known as one of the longest running and most impressive looking one-man scenery teams in the ESP world. With back to back scenery creations that look fantastic and run even better, combined with a surprisingly low price tag, UK2000 is never one to disappoint. So, it should come as no surprise then that when UK2000 decided to revisit Manchester with 2016/17 updates, it turned out to be a fantastic little product, all bundled up in a very cheap package. Let’s dive in and take a look.
Manchester airport (like most British airports) came to light as an RAF base during the second world war. After the war ended, it was converted into a civilian airport, and it’s footprint began a gradual expansion for the next long while, including a new runway expansion project in the 90s to accommodate more airplanes.
Today, it stands with three main terminals, and two parallel runways. T1 is the largest, and houses most flights to other European and North American destinations. T2 operates similarly to T1, although it is smaller. T3 is used mainly for the low cost carriers (Ryanair and FlyBe.)
The installation of this scenery is the standard installer affair. Once it’s done you get a scenery configurator, a link to the NATS website for charts, and a readme and uninstall utility. In the simulator folder the scenery comes out to a very respectable 380Mb. Overall, the installation gives no hassle, comes with everything you need, and works out to a very small amount of space. Nice!
Boot up the sim to any gate and you will immediately recognize that this is a UK2000 scenery. The signature look and feel that you get from one of his sceneries is in full effect here in Manchester.
We’ll start with the terminal buildings, which while compared with “high end” scenery developers look rather poor, give off a nice effect, and I found myself not minding them nearly as much as I did some other sceneries. The texturing lacks minor detail, but it makes it up in superb 3d modeling and overall effect.
We’ll move to the ground markings, which (if you’ve followed me for a while now you will know) I am a huge sucker for. Luckily, this scenery knocks it out of the park, with superb detail, and convincing wear and tear. While I imagine some minor details might be missing from the markings, they do it for me, and I truly enjoy looking at them.
When the sun dips below the horizon and the lights turn on, this scenery becomes an entirely different place. Superb taxiway and runway lighting that any UK2000 fan would recognize combined with fantastic lighting in and around the terminal area make for a fantastic and convincing experience. I personally prefer the night look so much that I go out of my way to fly into this airport at night. Truly astounding.
VAS & PERFORMANCE
It looks great, but does it run great? The answer is an astounding yes! I had VAS in the 50% range using the AS A320 and GSX while parked at the gate. And almost 5 fps above most other payware sceneries I get my hands on. I encountered no stability or polish issues, and couldn’t find a single missing/misplaced texture or marking on the entire scenery. I guess the upside to being a little less complex is the ability to be really stable!
So, this scenery looks great and runs great, but at what cost? Frankly, it does lack a fair bit of detail that othr more premium developers would include. No 3D terminal interiors, and some of the night lighting on the runway looks a little low res. We also have no option for a “Winter Wonderland” texture pack, it’s always gonna be clean out there. But then why am I impressed by it? Price. This scenery is only $21. That’s about $10 cheaper than most other big name sceneries. Once more, if you had v1, you can upgrade for half off! That would bring the price down to almost $10. For a fully fledged detailed scenery complete with 3D objects, static airplanes, and moving airport vehicles. And you get safedock on all of the terminal buildings! Should you buy this scenery? Yes, of course you should. It might lack some of that minuscule detail, but it really is a steal at this price point.