Delivering possibly one of the last high-profile releases of the year, Marcus Nyberg shared his version of Sweeden’s second-biggest airport Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport. Released earlier this month on Orbx, the scenery was the result of tremendous hard work and passion, Marcus then agreed to sit down and chat to us about the development of the scenery.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
Hey there! So, my name is Marcus Nyberg. I’m a 34-year-old freelance photographer & scenery developer and dad to my 2-year-old daughter Nour. Happily married to my wife Ylva and pretty tight with our dog Pluto that is my eternal source of inspiration. After spending quite a few years in Berlin we nowadays live in Stockholm in the suburbs close to the highway which can sound a bit like the ocean if you have a good imagination.
How did you get into scenery development?
I started with flight simming 20 years ago now together with my neighbour, with whom I’m still good friends. He is the guy doing all autogen for my projects these days. Back then we wanted to make Dala Airport (ESSD) as it was our home airport. This was in the era of when FS2004 was the thing, and I released a half-finished freeware version of it back then. At the same time, I studied CGI for one year at the university, partly because I wanted to make that airport (I also made a few short videos that I still am quite proud of that is on Youtube but might be a bit tricky to find). In the end, I ended up as a freelance photographer which is still part of my day to day job. It took a few years before I got back to developing when I decided to take on ESSA, and since then it has been a big part of my everyday life trying to make sceneries and improve my work.
How does working in a big team like Orbx help with scenery development?
I’ve got a lot to thank the people at Orbx for. It sure helps to be in a context where it’s easy to share ideas and get help with troubleshooting by brilliant developers. Over the last few years, Jarrad Marshall has been more or less a mentor and a big part of my progress is for sure thanks to his guiding. It’s hard to thank him enough for all the hours he has put into my projects contributing with his knowledge, troubleshooting and being constructive about ways to improve my work.
What support do you get from them to help you create products?
Usually, it’s just a great thing to have the knowledge close-by. There is always someone that can answer and people like Holger Sandmann, Philip Schall, Tim Harris, Misha Cajic has been key to even get my sceneries to work. And big kodus to the beta team and Ed & Ben for that matter. When it comes to the direct-developing part, I am for instance pretty solid when it comes to modelling & texturing but useless when I have to figure out vectors, roads or terrain issues, or to animate my gates for that matter. It’s very convenient to have that knowledge on speed-dial and be able to outsource tasks that I simply don’t know how to do. I would say though that the community, in general, is very helpful in most parts and developers, both experienced and newcomers, tend to share ideas and tricks which I think is such a great attitude.
Why did you decide to recreate Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport?
It’s been on my mind for years, simply because it’s the second biggest airport in Sweden and has surprisingly many international routes. It’s also from a 3D perspective an interesting place as I could already at the planning stage feel that the structures and materials could turn out very nice in a 3D environment. It’s also kind of an aged place (well that’s partly about to change) with focus on metal and concrete and I could see lots of resemblance with parts of Arlanda.
When did development begin? How do you set yourself personal goals to hit specific scenery development targets? (e.g. all 3D models completed)
We had the official start of the project at the end of August, so prior I had a little break after my Asturias scenery was finished when I was on parental leave. I had made a schedule, trying to be a bit more organized than earlier, which really helped. The project got divided into different areas where for instance the land-side buildings could be one task, or the signs airside another one. I then simply had these tasks split up in days of work and then split it up by the weeks of work I could invest in the project. Trying to mix repeating tasks with some of the more fun ones was important. For instance, the tower is usually lots of fun to model, so I saved it as one of the last buildings to complete. I can’t say I hit the deadline spot on but I was not that far off. It really helps to have a project schedule. Just having it all written down lets your mind focus on the task ahead. It easily gets becomes a lot to keep track of and hard to focus when you freestyle a project this size.
How have you taken feedback from past projects and injected it into Gothenburg?
First of all to keep it simple and set the focus where it matters. I try to think about how the scenery will be used in the end and therefor where the focus needs to be. It’s easy to get stuck on details that no-one will notice or care about when the time instead can be spent on adding features in ways that people will enjoy. I also heard a lot of good things from my Kiruna-package regarding the winter representation and that was something I was keen on taking a step further. But I also just have ideas on what I think would look great in the sim and I get a lot of inspiration from other developers and try to push my work a little bit further with every project.
Tell us 3 things about this scenery that you love and want to tell others about?
I’m very proud of the overall texture work, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get the buildings to have a feel to them and not feel bland. Over the last few years I’ve found a way of working that fits me very well and lets me have used for skills I use in my photography and retouch but also in the same time being very efficient time-wise. So that’s for sure what I’m most proud about.
I’m also quite happy about the 3D-snow effect and the general ambient winter feel to the airport. I kind of get depressed being at the airport in the simulator on an overcast semi-rainy-snowy December day, which is exactly how most swedes feel about this time a year so that’s weirdly enough what I was aiming for and at least partly nailed!
As a third thing I’m proud about I would have to say performance as it was something I was slightly worried about earlier in the project when I didn’t want to hold back on 4K textures or the modeling. The general conclusion seems to be that the performance is great which I’m very happy about.
Did you face any challenges when creating the product? How did you overcome them?
The main challenge was getting the airside representation to stay close to real life. We didn’t get any permission to go airside and do reference images and it is weirdly enough quite limited online with photos from some parts of the tarmac. People say everything is on the internet, well people I can tell you that Landvetter is partly a black spot. In the end, we got some contacts working at the airport fillings out those blanks. I’m very thankful for the people that helped me out.
The snow was also a great challenge. I feel like it may be at the boundaries for what P3D was intended to do, not in a bragging way, just was very hard to get it to look ok and every adjustment created other issues, but I think the end result is quite nice.
Other than that it was pretty much straight forward. I learnt a lot about setting up a workflow and to handle certain issues with my Asturias project which I could have used for in this project as well. I also outsourced some tasks like autogen and vectors, where I know developers that have a better skill set and would make a better job than I would. So asking for help sometimes is also a key thing, and enables you to focus on where your skills makes most use.
How do you celebrate the release of a new product?
My initial plan is always to buy champagne and just take some time off, thinking about other things, go to some exhibitions or just binge-watch Silicon Valley. But as always, I just tend to stick to the forums and hoping that the release goes well and everyone is happy and not too many issues arise.
I will add though that due to earlier planing we were actually off the day after the release the whole family to go to the Dalarna region where I grew up. We go there every year to visit my siblings and bake bread together the whole weekend, a small Christmas tradition we’ve got going. So that was a great way of celebrating. Except that my iPhone now is slightly damaged from dough and flower from my every second-minute check-ups at the forums.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would like to take the opportunity to thank FSElite for having me and for those who are interested in my work and how it is behind the scenes. It’s thanks to all you people that I have the privilege to have one of my main hobbies as my job, and for that, I am very grateful.
Thank you all!