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Developer Month

Stories from Developer Month 2017

Developer Month: Ryan Parry vPilot AI Creator

VPilot AI Developer Month

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Ryan may be a member of the FSElite team, but before us, he was developing plenty of tools to help the community in different capacities. Ryan is well known among the Vatsim community for his controlling and piloting mostly across ‘Murica. In Delta colors. With that passion in mind, Ryan embarked on an adventure to create a realistic and reliable rule set for vPilot – all for free. Visit the forums here for more information and instructions on downloading.

You can read his story below.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

I’m 24 years and I am an aircraft dispatcher in the United States. I got started with FS when I was about 12 after taking my first flight on a plane (Frontier, N927FR). I landed in a record setting snow storm after a few missed approaches and I’ve been hooked since. I picked up FS2004 that came with a model of the Wright Flyer (which I still have) for $10 at an office store. Little did I know that $10 purchase would change so much in my life.

How do you use your real world aviation experience to help with people in the Flight Sim community?

Well, when people will listen I like to explain different flight planing things. I see a lot of silly stuff thrown around, and a lot of ridiculous stuff filed in flight plans on Vatsim. I can’t blame anybody though, Dispatching isn’t as sexy as flying and so very few people take the time to learn about it despite how important it is.

What made you decide you wanted to develop for Flight Simulator and why?

I’m not really much of a developer, at least in my opinion. I’ve dabbled in repainting, scenery design, and some other stuff, but I’ve never really gotten very far with it. I don’t like taking enormous amounts of credit for my vPilot AI pack, I feel that is a disservice to the devs that have pourd many hours into creating models and stuff. Really, I compiled this together and setup some XML rules as a resource to better the community. In addition, it’s really an honest attack on SkyAI which has just out right stolen everything.

How many of there in your team and what are your backgrounds before becoming developers?

It is just me doing me. I’ve considered asking for help, but I feel like I’ve got this covered right now. I could use somebody that can make me a cool installer application that can do updates as well. But I’m dreaming there.

What inspired you to create models for AI traffic within the Sim?

I’m a picky person that likes realism. I like to connect to Vatsim and see the right aircraft and the right paint. Especially at the regional level. In the US, regional airlines operate for multiple airlines and I wanted to make something that would show me the right paint for the flight.

What is the most challenging aspect of creating a model pack?

Getting everything together and managing the rule sets. I’m looking for a Tomson 787-8 and -9 paint for the FSP model and I can’t find it. I’ll probably end up painting this one myself. I have a list of “needed” paints which I’ll start working on myself going forward. That will likely be the hardest part, painting the stuff I can’t find.

Tell us a little more about your Vatsim experience?

I’ve been on Vatsim for over 10 years with more hours than I am comfortable admitting to. I’m a controller and a pilot and I’ve found that doing both really helps you learn. Vatsim created the backbone which I used when I got my dispatch license, and for that I am thankful.

What interests do you have outside of Flight Simulation?

I like the outdoors. Hiking, biking, fishing, those are things I really enjoy, though I haven’t been able to do any for a while now.

Tell us what your typical day is usually like.

Hectic, that’s all I got.

Favourite power drink and why?

You spelled favorite wrong, but I disgress. I like Gatorade. No reason, that’s just what I have always had as far as power drinks go.

Favourite snack and why?

It really depends on my mood to be honest. I like pistachios, I like cheetos, I like a lot of stuff that isn’t healthy (‘Murica).

When development gets tough, how do you continue to motivate yourselves?

As I said before, I don’t see myself as much of a developer. It doesn’t really “get tough”, just overwhelming with how many airlines need to be added, updated, corrected. The XML rule sets are diffiult because sometimes airlines operate different aircraft under the same callsign and I don’t know how to setup a flight number range. For example, there is an airline that oeprates domestic and passenger 747-400s under the same ICAO and the flight numbers don’t vary greatly like you’d expect.

If there was one thing you wanted to see developed for Flight Sim, what would it be?

It would be a high level simulation of the 767-400. Though my first real flight was on an A319, I’ve flown on many A318’s and have always been attracted to the odd planes that aren’t popular. The A318, B736, B753, B764. I think the 764 is a great mesh of the ever so amazing 767 and 777 that never relly gets any attention. It is one of my favorites and I’d love to be able to fly it. On a more realistic note, I think an MD80/90 line would be great. Please come back to us Leonardo.

Favourite add-on (that’s not your own!)?

I really love the PMDG 737 NGX. I gave PMDG a lot of crap when I bought it and tried to move to FSX (sorry RSR), but it has become one of my all time favorites. Another plane I really love and sadly can’t fly anymore is the Leonardo Fly the Maddog. What an amazing add-on that was years ahead of its time.

Any hints on what’s to come after your next project?

No, this is it. I made a resource to help the community out and that is where it ends. If I can ever master scenery creation I might throw out some freeware sceneries, but outside of that, this is it.

Where do you see Flight Simulation in 10 years time?

I’m not really sure, but I think it is going in a positive direction. For a moment there it looked like Flight Simulation was about to die off. Now XP11 is gaining steam, P3D came in and saved the ESP platform, and Dovetail is trying to get in on the action as well. I think as far as platforms go it is in good shape, especially with 64bit becoming a standard (that took way too long).

Anything else you want to add?

I just want to thank those who developed the AI aircraft and repaints I’ve used in my vPilot AI package. I’m doing my best to secure all of the required licensing permission from various devs, but some of these devs closed up shop and vanished. If they ever read this, I just want to say thank you (and email me please).

 

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Developer Month: Why Just Flight Continues to Grow

Vincent Developer Month Image

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Developer Month is coming to a close and FSElite hopes that you enjoyed these 31 days dedicated to the developers who work hard every day to bring your simulator to life all year round. Nonetheless, it is yet time for another instalment of Developer Month and today I am devoting these lines to an aging yet constantly renovating hangar : Just Flight.

Often overlooked, but truly fascinating is the history behind the developers that are now common sights in the Flight Sim community. Before being called Just Flight, the company was known as Interactive Associates CDC. In 1997, Just Flight was officially founded and has kept its original name since then. As you would reckon, Just Flight was not always focused only on flight simulation. It was the mother company of many a branch such as Just Football, nowadays, as far as my knowledge goes, defunct. In 2008, Just Flight was acquired, along with Just Trains, by the Mastertronic Group, originally a publisher and distributor of low-cost computer games. Things did not work out a expected for Mastertronic and 7 years later, in early 2015, Mastertronic Group went into administration and Just Flight faced stressful times. But a silver lining always benefiting those who deserve it most, with the backing of a “private investor”[1], Just Flight went full independent once again. This independence doesn’t seem like going anywhere in light of Just Flight`s recent successes and that, without a doubt, is great news.

As a new member of the FSElite team, I wanted to work on a brand that has been in the simulator world for as long as we can remember, but that has more recently started to concentrate its efforts in carving a name for itself as a leading developer. Although Just Flight has released products under their label in the past, the products were, for the most part, developed by other companies that did contractual jobs for Just Flight (think about their Airbus F-Lite range produced by Commercial Level Simulations). More recently, with the likes of the Piper Arrow III, the Hunter F.6/FGA.9 and the Hawk T1/A Advanced Trainer, Just Flight has shown an indisputable interest in proving their worth as independent developers and, frankly, they succeeded.

Being a real-world pilot myself (GPL & PPL), I had a fairly high initial level of curiosity for the Piper Arrow III when it first came out. Not being the type to pull the trigger without a firm idea of what I am getting myself into, I made the poor decision (in hindsight) to wait out for the first reviews that would ultimately settle the deal for me. Within a few days, a strong consensus was already floating around: Just Flight had done it right with the PA-28R.

To give you an idea of where I stand about GA flying in FSX or P3D, the only add-ons that ever did it for me were A2A`s masterpieces (leaving out, for some reason not discussed here, the other big name that pops in your head when you think about GA). The Piper PA-28R Arrow III from Just Flight is an absolute beauty in every sense of the word. As this is not a review of the aircraft per se, I will cut short on my rhapsodic comments towards the product itself and redirect them to the team behind it. What Just Flight has proven with their first serious entry into the world of GA for simulation is not only their now undoubtable talent, but also something perhaps far more important: that there is a brighter future than expected for single props in flight simulation and also a future where competition is healthy and beneficial to us consumers.

DONT MISS: Developer Month: Just Flight Developer Martyn Northall Interview

With the trend favouring greatly the release of many jetliners, those of us still excited by low altitude flights in our trusty single props trying to get from point A to B with some dead reckoning and good-old pilotage will find it comforting that a major name such as Just Flight is stepping into the game with a firm stance. With the successful release of their Arrow, Just Flight has recently announced that they are now working on two new variants to the Arrow: the PA-28R Turbo Arrow III & IV. The Arrow is getting a lot of care from the team at Just Flight and the two updates released so far have fixed most of the issues one could experience at first. All in all, if the Piper Arrow III is a testament of the work to come from the folks over at Just Flight, we should rejoice, and rejoice again. If you are not yet familiar with the Just Flight Piper Arrow III, I strongly recommend checking out FSElite’s own review [written  |  video].

Although this article focused mainly on the tremendous job done by Just Flight on their Arrow, their other work shouldn’t be left out either. As a matter of fact, I now have the chance to have their Hawk T1 in my library and can’t wait to start digging deep into the introduction manual. Because this is exactly what happens when a job is done well: a guy like me, without any background interest for fighters, has now decided to delve into the complex world of military simulation because I know I can rely on Just Flight to provide me with a complete and quality product. The only thing Just Flight can’t do for me here is teaching me how not to lose control of this new beast. Let`s get to work!

This does it for my contribution to FSElite Developer Month. Just Flight has proven, at least to me, that they are meaning business and that they are worthy of mine and yours. I am already excited for the future over at Just Flight and I’m not worried they will become an even more major actor in the flight simulator community than they already are. I have not had such fun flying an aircraft in a long time and the Arrow is surely going to give me plenty more hours of joy as I discover its ins and outs. Thank you Just Flight, and keep up the inspiring work.

[1] http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/just-flight-becomes-independent-of-mastertronic/0159753

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Developer Month: Orbx and How it Changed My Sim

orbxandmysim

I had to spend some time thinking about which developer I wished to choose as my favourite. There are many great developers out there that I was considering writing about. These include FSLabs, PMDG, Aerosoft, FlyTampa and many others. But above all I think the one developer that I am most appreciative of would have to be Orbx.

My first experience with any Orbx was when I purchased FTX Global, this has to be one of the most vital additions I have ever made to my flight sim. If you have not already experienced this product I would highly recommend it. The default mesh that is provided with FSX and P3D is pretty poor. It has no accurate ground mesh representation with pretty poor autogen. But once you add FTX Global your sim will look far better. That is a promise. This product completely transforms your simulator. If you wish to go beyond FTX Global then I would recommend to either pick up some Open Land Classes or FTX Vector. Open Land Classes are products that slot perfectly into FTX Global. They create a much more accurate rendition of specific areas around the globe. I personally have experience with two Open Land Class products. These are OLC Europe and OLC North America, both products that I would highly recommend to anyone that spends a decent amount of time flying around the two continents. To give you an idea of the size of these products, OLC Europe covers a staggering area of 10 million kilometers squared.

Below these OLC regions you then have countries and airports. These will be smaller areas but will be modelled to a far greater level of detail. Examples of such product include FTX England, FTX Ireland or FTX North Germany. I have just mentioned a handful but there are far more that do exist. I personally do not have any of these products within my sim as I do not think I fly to enough places in one area to feel the need to purchase such a product. The only area in which I regularly fly is England, but Orbx’s EU England is not the friendliest addon performance wise. I think if I had more money to throw around I would certainly pick up some of these areas as I know that Orbx often spare little detail when creating them. However, the list does not stop there. We move on finally to the airports that are created by Orbx. These airports are quite something. Being the smallest area coverage zones, airports are often modelled to an immense amount of detail. I will use an example of Innsbruck. A product that is not yet out, but is expected to release imminently. We have received numerous amounts of screenshots from this airport and they are extremely impressive. So impressive that the developers of this certain airport had decided that creating just the airport isn’t quite good enough for Orbx. Coinciding with the airport itself we will be receiving not just a small coverage area outside of the fence. But a total of 2,500 km sq worth of coverage.

It is these levels of detail that in my opinion place Orbx far further forward than any other scenery developer around. Yes of course you have your FlyTampas and Taxi2Gates but they are running an entirely different game when it comes to scenery. They create very high quality scenery addons but they extent of coverage does not often progress much further than the perimetre fence. Orbx have completely destroyed this stereotype and create sceneries that are, in my opinion much further ahead in the world of flight simulation development. One of my small gripes with developers such as FlyTampa is the use of repeat textures. By this I mean that many of the ground textures you find at Copenhagen can also be found at Amsterdam. This would not or is very unlikely to occur at any airport made by Orbx. No matter what size the airport is, Orbx still manage to blow me away everytime. Whether you like flying long international flights or simply want to have a good time flying some VFR then Orbx pretty much have you covered. Orbx are especially well renowned for the creation of a huge amount of VFR sceneries. These sceneries can be found in all corners of the world whether that be in South Wales, Australia or the West Coast of America. And the best part about some of these VFR airfields? They’re totally free. Of course not all these airports are free but there are some excellent VFR airports over on the Orbx website that will cost you nothing. A very good gesture on Orbx’s behalf for offering such high quality sceneries for the price of nothing.

Orbx are lucky enough to have a wide range of developers on their team. This allows them to run more than one project at a time. Currently, they are making some pretty needed airports within the sim. I know these off the top of my head so are the only ones I can name. Some of their upcoming airports include Innsbruck, Bilbao and San Diego. All airports that are in pretty decent need of new scenery. Bilbao especially. Most developers would only have the capacity to work on one of these products and to a much lower level of detail than Orbx. It is this flexibility and ability that allows Orbx to pump out sceneries at a faster rate than any of their competitors. Although to many it may seem like they are rushing just to get more sceneries out, this is not the case. Every airport is created to the same high standard of detail as each other. Whether that be a small grass strip in the middle of nowhere or a large international airport.

However, the most important factor to many is the price. I personally think that the Orbx pricing system is very fair. Every product I have ever bought from them always seems to live up to its cost. Whether that be FTX Global or Stockholm Arlanda. For instance, the price of FTX Global is just £61. I say just as you have to consider just what you are buying. When you purchase FTX Global you are buying a product that will transform how your entire sim looks. All across the globe you will now have a far better rendition of the ground that lies below you. The many other products that Orbx sell can leave a large hole in your wallet if you choose to buy multiple products. But you shouldn’t be expecting cheap prices for top quality sceneries like this. As I said, I am always more than obliged to fork out the cash for these products as I know what I’m buying and I know that I can expect a top quality product. If you haven’t yet purchased any of Orbx’s products due to the fact that you simply do not want to pay that much, I urge you to do so. If you are just starting off as a simmer I would not say that Orbx’s products are 100% necessary. There are of course more vital products needed for one’s sim such as weather and aircraft etc. But if I were to be a new simmer once again, Orbx would certainly be very high up my list.

Orbx are truly an incredible company. They set a standard for flight simulation sceneries that many have failed to reach. Their name is associated with high quality in the simulation world. You know what to expect with Orbx. An extremely detailed product whether that be FTX Global or Welshpool airport in Wales. There are many reasons why I love Orbx but I have just summed up a few within this article. I hope you have enjoyed our Developer Month. You can find various interviews with Orbx developer as part of Developer Month!

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Developer Month – Orbx Developer Ken Hall

orbxdeveloper_ken-hall

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Ken Hall, a developer who works with Orbx, took the time to speak to us about some of his past projects and how he managed to get involved with one of the most recognised developers in the community. His work on Catalina and Pago Pago is some of the best and most detailed work you can find in the simming world. Find out how and why he does it below.

Don’t forget, you can read our review on Catalina Airport (KAVX) here.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

I have always loved anything to do with flight, always look up when any kind of aircraft is flying over.
Learned to fly ultralights at Warnervale in a skybox, had an awesome instructor who was so confident in his ability to fix any mess I could create that he allowed me so much freedom at the controls, that I discovered what not to do very quickly. Had my first solo at 10 hours, something you never forget, I concentrated so hard on that cct, still the best landing I ever made. Because Paul my instructor had been a commercial pilot with thousands of hours experience he pushed hard, I’d be setup for a great landing and about to flair and he’d mess things up and see if I could correct it or power on and go round. The skybox was a taildragger and a bit twitchy because it had a VW / Aeropower engine the C of G was a bit forward making the conventional 3 pointers all but impossible so Wheelie landings were preferred

We practiced landing in paddocks, something which proved very comforting during a circumnavigation of Queensland flight, I had a forced landing emergency no far from Rockhampton and managed to get into a paddock, it was a tad hairy but we both walked away safe, replaced a damaged bungee strap on the undercarriage and after fixing the problem continued on to our destination.

Well, after that trip I was determined to get my own aircraft, started with a typical rag and bone ultralight, a single seat fully enclosed cockpit version of a thruster, named her “Red” and had a love affair with her that lasted 5 years, most of the flying done around Mudgee N.S.W. nothing like owning your own aircraft you get to know her so well, she became part of me. We herded goats, did river runs at 50 feet, dropped flower bombs, even dropped toilet rolls out of the cockpit at 5000 ft AGL and chased them down, cutting the streamer with the prop, won spot landing competitions, attacked balloons filled with helium, pretending to be some reincarnated WWII fighter ace, red was the best pure fun flying I ever did. I tried other ultralights at Holbrook ultralight club, most memorable was a B1RD, or Bird.

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Developer Month: Just Flight Developer Martyn Northall Interview

justflight-martyn

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started?

I’m 28 years old and live with my wife and cat in a small village about 30 minutes north of Cambridge in the UK.
My interest in aviation stems from my Dad. He served in the Royal Air Force for 23 years so aviation was always a big part of my life. I used to visit RAF bases, air shows and aviation museums regularly, and after getting my first PC at the age of 8, I started flight simming with products such as ‘Evasive Action’ and other DOS-based games. My first encounter with Microsoft’s Flight Simulator was FS2000 and I became an avid follower of the franchise, and a loyal fan of Just Flight as both a customer and forum member.

I was offered the opportunity to do some temp work for Just Flight on their VFR Real Scenery project in the summer of 2006. Shortly thereafter I joined the technical support team and 11 years later I’m still here! During that time I’ve had a variety of roles including technical support, product management and software development (primarily coding the gauges/system for our aircraft projects).

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Developer Month: Vatsim and Cross the Pond Interview

vatsimctp

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Vatsim has been a staple of the flight sim community for quite some time now. For years, people have used it as a means to create even more realitsic flying thanks to the professional controllers that use the network as the air traffic controllers. Throughout the year, various events take place to test the skill and knowledge of both pilots and controllers. No event is bigger than Cross the Pond (CTP) and we were lucky enough to speak to a few of the event directors to pick their brains.

Both Marc Eijkens and Frans Zwarts from Dutch VACC were kind enough to talk to us to give you some more insight into the planning and preparation for an event as large as CTP.

Of course, there’s so much more to learn about Vatsim, so we’ll be sure to cover it in the future.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started with Vatsim?

Once upon a time I did selection for real air traffic controller. After some exams I was not elected to participate with the new group starting that year. So I said the dream farewell. But I discovered VATSIM and their vACCs. So I began to control on VATSIM as a Delivery controller. Nowadays I have the responsibility to communicate with the outside world as PR manager.  

Tell us what your typical day is usually like during the Cross the Pond event?

Getting up. Having a look on the weather for a forecast which runways to expect that day. That morning we will receive the last briefing for that day. Of course enough to drink and eat, however due to all the razzle dazzle during the event there is no time for drinks.

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Developer Month: Orbx Developer Misha Cajic

ORBX_developer_MISHA

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Orbx developer Misha Cajic has been working hard now on creating Santa Barbara for flight sim. Although announced last year, things have moved on slower than he liked. That comes down to changes in his life and his work-life balance. All of this information he detailed below.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

I was originally an avid young simmer just like many others, and a huge fan of Orbx and was always totally mesmerised by scenery design. So back in 2011 when the opportunity arose for some beginner scenery designers to do some freeware Aussie scenery with OZx, I jumped onboard in the hope of learning a few things about the craft. I never imagined I would end up joining them, but that’s how it kind of just happened.

What interests do you have outside of Flight Simulation?

Recreational flying of course – I just got my sports license mid last year – as well as travelling, coding (just started to learn this and having a ball), and a casual interest in many other things, especially physics and the universe.

Tell us what your typical day is usually like.

Currently my life is dominated by university, so my typical day is filled with that. Otherwise on the weekends or weeknights I’ll hang out with mates, go flying, or just relax at home and do a bit of casual work when I’m feeling the creative buzz 🙂

Favourite snack and why?

Guacamole on toast, it’s just so smooth and tasty. I eat a plantation of avocados every week.

Santa Barbara looks to be your biggest airport yet. What challenges have you faced with creating this scenery?

Absolutely the main challenge has been simply managing my time. As usual, I completely underestimated the amount of time the project would take, considering I’ve been travelling for the past half year and didn’t really have my mind on the project. If the project was smaller I would’ve had the motivation to finish it much sooner, but I’m hoping to get it out as soon as I can. It’s really shaping up to be a spectacular scenery.

With a limited number of airlines operating into the airport, how do you sell this product to the flight sim community?
This airport actually has the most airlines flying into it out of any of the sceneries I’ve created, so I’ll be selling it in much the same way as I did the rest of my projects. The main crowd it’s aimed to is definitely the GA crowd, as it’s always been with me, but the guys that like to fly the smaller CRJs and Boeings/Airbuses are more than welcome to join in and fly either existing routes or make up their own 🙂
What drew your attention to creating Santa Barbara?
It has a spectacular location and architecture, particularly the main terminal area. I was also looking to get out a scenery that people could use as a base for their flying in SCA. Plus I love palm trees.
Are there any interesting features in Santa Barbara you can share with us and the community?
I’m hoping to include animated jetways at the terminal, something that has been requested a lot by the community. I’ve also modelled the interior of the terminal in great detail. Aside from the airport area, I’ve included all the Channel islands national park islands off the coast, where there are a few pretty cool little bush strips 🙂

When scenery development gets tough, how do you continue to motivate yourselves? The main thing would be just looking at the results of previous projects – I know that if I continue to apply myself I can have those same beautiful, scenic results that so many will enjoy.

Who’s your biggest inspiration in the Flight Sim community?

29Palms and FlightBeam always blow me away with their products, and I love to just crack them open and study how they did their magic. Within Orbx, I’d say Jarrad Marshall – His product pics always have my jaw on the floor.

If there was one thing you wanted to see developer for Flight Sim, what would it be?

A detailed Aeroprakt A22 Foxbat LSA – This is the plane I fly in real life, and it’s such a versatile yet simple aircraft, with insane STOL capabilities.

Favourite add-on (that’s not your own!)?

Even after 4 years, I still gotta say Skiathos from 29palms continues to hold this position. Everything about that scenery is sensational.

How do you balance your work life and home life?

With great difficulty, especially now with university. I can’t say I ever really planned out the way I worked or had a balance, it was always either a lot of work and nothing else, or a lot of home life and no work. I would like to find a balance now, however.

Any hints on what’s to come after your next project?

I genuinely haven’t a clue – there are a couple of things I’m finishing off still with Orbx, but after that I might move back to some smaller projects – they’re just far easier to manage, which is what I need now.

Where do you see Flight Simulation in 10 years time?

With all the new VR and AI technology being developed, flight simulation could well and truly be a fully immersive virtual reality experience within 10 years. Especially with all the new development on sims, you only have to look at how much other games have progressed in the last 10 years to see that that kind of progress is inevitable. I will be more likely that not specialising in AI and VR technologies in later years of my Computer Science degree, so I might have a lot more to say about it then 🙂

Anything else you want to add?

Just want to add a quick thank you to anyone who has ever bought any of my products or even just downloaded my freeware scenery and spread the word over the last few years. Scenery design genuinely changed my life, and every single aspect of my life was affected by it to some extent. I have no idea where I’d be now or what I’d be doing without it, and even though I’ve had to slow down, I hope that I can bring more products for you all to enjoy over the coming years!

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Developer Month: FSLabs A320X – Bringing Work Into Simulation

FSLABSA320x

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

I personally work for one of the biggest airlines in the world. That particular airline uses the Airbus family exclusively for their entire operation, which makes things super easy to learn and remember. Of course, this means that when it comes to flight simulation, I’m always looking to see what add-ons recreate that feeling of being at “work” all the time and I have a good feeling when something is or isn’t accurate.

You can imagine then, my appreciation for FSLabs who have worked tirelessly over the past few years to bring the community the most realistic and in-depth Airbus aircraft to date for flight simulation. There’s no question that the level of detail in the systems surpasses anything else in the market to-date and the immersion from the sound and modelling is exceptional. I spoke a little about sounds from the A320X during my first impressions article, and even now, I still agree with what I wrote. I don’t believe any other aircraft brings me closer to ‘work’ than what FSLab’s A320X does.

Why would I want to simulate work? I enjoy my job and my passion is and always will be with aviation. And if I’m honest, flying an aircraft isn’t simulating ‘work’ per se, it’s simulating where I work. This is important to me and for my simming style because instead of saying something is immersive because that’s what I believe to be ‘immersive’, but instead with this aircraft, I know if it’s immersive. I think this is why I’m so drawn in by this product. I am so used to working with these aircraft that I know every chime, every crunch and every screech. This is why sound is so important to me and the guys at FSLabs have taken the time to pay close attention to it.

This is why I have chosen FSLabs to be another one of my developers for Developer Month. Not just because they have nailed the immersion factor for this incredible aircraft, but also because they have worked so damn hard on the aircraft over the past 6 years and haven’t given up. There has been plenty of criticism surrounding their lengthy development process and the time between FSX and P3D versions. During the development things changed, were improved and their communication to the community got better and better. The team are actively addressing issues via their forums and other support channels, whilst also keeping us informed of what to expect next.

No development group are perfect and aren’t without their faults. Sometimes it may take a little longer to get back to you, but I know they work hard on ensuring that the product works as intended eventually.

I imagine developing the most technically impressive Airbus aircraft for our simulator has been no easy feat. They have admitted that “development” started over several times, using new techniques and procedures to make the product we have today. Undoubtedly there are still a few issues and areas in which can be improved, but for me, this is a solid, stable and fluid aircraft – one that will be used for years to come. The team are committed to not resting on their laurels and continuously improving their product to an even higher standard. Another reason why they’ve one of my top-picks. People also seem to forget that they also created FSLabs Spotlights during this time as well as provide a few updates to their Concorde series, which just highlights their thoughtfulness towards the community.

Sorry this is short and sweet this time. If you’re not sold on my love for the A320X yet, maybe check out my first impressions article? If that doesn’t help, just hold on a week or so and I’ll have another ‘impressions’ post followed by a review in the coming weeks. Please make sure you give FSLabs the love they deserve for working so hard for the community over the past 6 years!

 

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Developer Month: TOGA Projects Interview

TOGA-projects-envtex

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

TOGA Projects stopped by FSElite and talked a little about their most recent product ENVTEX. Alongside how the team started, there’s also some great content in terms of their personal lives! Don’t forget, you can read our ENVTEX review here.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

It is a long story but I will try to summarize a bit: I started flight simulation about 10 years ago with FSX, I didn’t have a great computer at that time and I went back to FS2004 that I have enjoyed for more than 8 years, 2 years ago I started to move again on FSX for beta testing purposes for a well-known aircraft developer and last year I definitely moved to P3Dv3. I still have all of them installed though.

During the 8 FS9 years, I created a lot of textures for my own use and even created a freeware package called “Full Environment 9” to compensate the lack of new add-ons of the old but gold FS9, and the idea of a complete environment rework for several simulators slowly came to my mind.

During that time, flight simulation got me into a real passion for aviation and I became a real pilot. I got my ATPL and CPL in 2014 in a small ATO but unfortunately didn’t find a job quickly and I had to move forward in my personal life. Not meaning I have abandoned the idea to get into a 737’s left seat!

As Steve Glinel, a friend, and I were creating repaints, I decided to create “TOGA projects” in summer 2015 to share our creations. After that William Musculus joined us to provide more repaints and I decided Envtex in the beginning of 2016, for personal reasons Steve and William couldn’t be involved in the development of this project so we searched for a good developer and Florian came to help us creating the user interface.

Currently we consider more TOGA projects as a community hub than only a development team, as we have several “teams” focused on different things. We are 2 in the development team, Florian and I, 3 of us are creating repaints and freeware contents and our Beta team now counts 6 members that I would like to thank again: Brandon, David, Enzo, Louis, Steve and William. We also received the help of Jannie Roelofse and William Bithrey.

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Developer Month: Airports of Norway

airportsofnorway

Welcome to the FSElite Developer Month. Our theme this year is about delivering for the community and part of that is delivering great content to you all. As part of our commitment to you all, we’re pleased to announced Developer Month – a month themed solely around celebrating our great development community. Over the course of March, you’ll be treated to some behind the scene looks at some of our favourite developers, stories from the FSElite team, exclusive interviews and more.

Anyone that knows me knows that I make no secret about my absolute love for FTX Norway. This region is incredibly beautiful and in my opinion one of the best addons from Orbx. I just love how it’s done. The ground textures are beautiful. The lakes and mountains around it look amazing. The weather in Norway is generally amazing. Wether it’s a bright sunny day or a cold snowy one, Norway looks amazing.

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