Scenery development is a hard craft and one that takes passion, desire and dedication. We are blessed to have some incredibly talented people in our community who pour hours and hours into these creations. It’s why we love hearing stories from the developers themselves. We experimented with Orbx’s last release, LOWI Innsbruck, by providing the community with a little behind the scenes and some more in-depth information about some of the developer’s favourite areas. There was a great community response and so we decided to do it again, but this time with Misha and Rasha, the developers behind the upcoming Orbx LYBE Belgrade Airport.
With that in mind, I will now hand over the spotlight to Misha who talks about some of the challenges creating Belgrade, as well as some of his and Rasha’s favourite areas that you should explore once the scenery has been released (any time now!). Some of the screenshots below are exclusive to FSElite, and some you may have seen before.
Words from Misha at Orbx.
This was a really cool project for me to work on – I’ve spent over a year of my life in the area and have passed through the airport many times, so it was really important for me to nail the feeling of the city and coverage area, and make sure it was as accurate as possible.
The airport is almost entirely Rasha’s handiwork. We have custom painted static aircraft from companies that fly to the real airport, such as Air Serbia, Aeroflot and WizzAir, as well as various custom GSE vehicles, some of which drive around the airport. I found it funny that some of the vehicles literally look like farm tractors. The terminal is beautifully made, with the interior modelled accurately the whole way through – if you look at photos online and compare them to the interior in the scenery, you’ll find they match pretty closely!
One of the things I love about Rasha’s work is how effectively he constructs multi-elevation terrain models that emulate the terrain the airport sits on. This can be found in both our previous Orbx airports (LDDU Dubrovnik and LDPL Pula). In Belgrade’s case, the landside car park sits on multiple levels, with modelled underpasses, stairs and ramps. It really adds to the realism of the airport in my opinion. In this area, we also have custom airport transfer vans, cars, and an articulated bus, which is a very common sight in Belgrade. We also have some extra fun to model details, such as outdoor seating and billboards.
One of the coolest parts of the airport is the air museum. Rasha did a phenomenal job recreating all the different types of aircraft at the museum, including some choppers, MIGs and a DC3. The centrepiece sits at the front of the museum though – an old JAT Caravelle. Static aircraft are quite time consuming to model, so a lot of time went into making this area look as it does.
On this side of the airport, we have the maintenance ramp. Here we have a few aircraft in storage, a lot of junk lying around, and the large JAT hangar that can be seen from all over the airport. It looks quite unique due to its brutalist-style architecture, something that is quite common throughout the whole city.
The city is where most of my time was spent during development. In this shot, we can see many landmarks in the city – The multiple bridges crossing the Sava river, the Chruch of St. Sava, the new Belgrade Waterfront development being constructed, Usce shopping centre and the New Belgrade Precinct, and to the far right, the Beogradjanka tower in the city centre. Normally, I don’t put this amount of detail into the cities that I do, but I felt the need to here since I knew it so well. The shot above contains the result of many hours of researching, modelling and texturing – the last major landmark that I had to model was the Ada Bridge, the big suspension bridge in the background that makes up the logo for this product. At 200m high, it’s by far the tallest structure in the city, and I had to overcome a big mental block to tackle it. Not only is the bridge modelled, but so are its many on and off-ramps, to make sure it fits into the scenery as realistic as possible.
Here we have another POI closer to the edge of the coverage area, the Military Medical Academy. This is very close to where I usually stay when I visit the city, and its where my Grandmother worked for much of her career. It’s quite prominent from the right side of aircraft landing on runway 30 at the airport. In the background on the right, you can also see the largest stadium in the city, the Red Star Stadium. This was quite fun to model, since the field sits about 10m lower than the surrounding terrain – so it looks quite deceivingly small when driving past it!
We have also included details beyond even the photoreal coverage area! Here we have the Avala TV tower beautifully modelled by Rasha. It’s quite prominent from the left side of aircraft landing on runway 30, and on a clear day can be seen from the airport and many points in the city. It also has an observation deck that’s definitely worth a visit on a clear day if you’re ever in the area 🙂
I love this shot because it really shows the varied architecture you can find in the city. This is roughly the boundary between New Belgrade – with lots of brutalist architecture and apartment blocks – and Zemun – which contains many more detached low rise homes and narrower/more disorganised streets. Up until WWI, Zemun was actually in Austria-Hungary on the border with Serbia, and the difference in architecture can clearly be seen here. This also shows a limitation of the sim – autogen buildings work very well for Zemun, but awfully for the apartment blocks. This is why I chose to custom model most of the hundreds of buildings in the New Belgrade area instead of using autogen. This is good news for people with lower-end systems – even if you need to keep your autogen settings low, you will still see most buildings in the city. The models are very efficient, and the whole city uses a total of less than 10 texture calls.
We hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes look at the upcoming Belgrade from Orbx. We are expecting a release very soon, and as always, we’ll let you know once it’s been made available. Huge thanks to Misha and Rasha for taking the time to put this little feature together for our community.
If you’re a developer and would love to do something similar for an upcoming release, we’d love to hear from you. Equally, anyone from the community can help us by letting us know in the comment section any upcoming developers/products you want to get a bit more in-depth detail from.