Update 23:00z: We’ve tided this up a bit and included the images from the forums to replace our screen captures. Original forum post is here.
John Venema took to Twitch earlier today to give the community a huge insight into what 2019 looks like for the Orbx team. 2018 was certainly an exciting year with many new technology releases (TrueEarth and CityScene) along with a bunch of airports for both Prepar3D and X-Plane.
2019 will be just as exciting for the team. With the new IT Center now firmly established in Melbourne, and their new UK base opening soon – it’s going to be non-stop.
I think it’s worth noting that any product screenshots are from various stages in development: pre-alpha, alpha and beta testing. Also, it’s safe to say that any software development can be impacted by things outside the control of a company, so whilst this is the plan for 2019, it it’s a guarantee.
There was a lot announced, so here’s it all in a nutshell:
- FTX Branding being dropped in favour of simply just ‘Orbx’
- Orbx Central will be coming in 2019 with support for Windows, MacOS and Linux. This will replace the current FTX Central V3
- OrbxDirect (main website) will get some new features over the next year
- OpenLC Africa was previewed and will continue to be back in development as of January. A release soon after.
- NZNV Invercargill was announced. Developed by Tim Harris
- St George Regional Airport announced. Developer is Misha Cajic.
- SODE Jetways will be implemented at all Orbx airports.
- Channel Islands Alderney was previewed. Being developed by Turbulent Designs and Russ White
- CityScene Honolulu was confirmed with the main city being developed with photoreal scenery and landclass.
- Australia V2 was shown lots of love with new high resolution imagery, over 800 airports included and will be only a small fee to upgrade versions
- Australia V2 will also have a CityScene of Melbourne
- Global BuildingsHD was shown off showcasing how various buildings will look vastly different depending on their region
- KSUN Sun Valley is being developed exclusive for Prepar3D V4 by Turbulent Designs.
- LEAS Asturias is in the works by Marcus Nyberg.
- Stockholm Arlanda is getting a 1.3 update free of charge. New buildings, new HD textures and SODE jetways
- CityScene Orlando announced. Biggest CityScene project to date including Disney, Lockheed Martin HQ and more.
- CAE3 Campbell River Water will be released as freeware.
- CityScene Cote D’Azur previewed.
- 61B Boulder City confirmed to be in development by Ken Hall.
- LIEO Olbia City and Airport announced – will come with SODE jetways.
- KBUR Burbank Bob Hope Airport confirmed to be in development by Matteo.
- KDAL Dallas Love Field in development by Bill Womack.
- TrueEarth Great Britain South previewed. Will include everything in SP1 from X-Plane 11’s version update.
- TrueEarth Pacific Northwest shown off; will be released in 3 parts
- TrueEarth Netherlands North is currently facing an online poll at Orbx forums
- TrueEarth GB North is awaiting some data, which will soon be delivered to Orbx developers. Once they get that, it’ll be nearer completion
- Jarrad Marshall will be bringing Eagle County Regional Airport and Innsbruck to X-Plane 11
- EGSG Stapleford coming to X-Plane
- John confirmed that all 150 legacy Orbx airports will eventually be ported to X-Plane 11.
- Orbx Global (formally FTX Global) will be coming to X-Plane 11.
- Aerofly FS 2 will also get some love in the form of Sedona Airport in Arizona.
- There’s a competition to win ALL Orbx products released in 2018
- John answered some questions revealing that:
- PBR will be down to the individual developers to work on for their airports. Doubt it will be applied to their legacy products
- Would love to see TrueEarth Caribbean, France and Italy in the future
- Large UK airports are in the works
- Orbx Direct may possibly be a publisher for other products in the future
FTX Branding being dropped
The FTX branding has slowly been phased out from Orbx. Whilst at the time the product line Full Terrain Experience has been successful, Orbx are keen to make their product range names consistent across the board. The website has already been updated and no longer FTX.
FTX Central V3 was a revolutionary new way for people to get their Orbx purchases downloaded and installed onto their PC and in their sim. In 2019, a new product designed from scratch will replace it. Called Orbx Central, the platform will work with Windows, MacOS and Linux.
This means people who use X-Plane 11 on Mac and Linux can now have the same experience as those on Windows today.
Ben from the team will be sharing more details in a huge announcement in the future, which will describe all the great new features that will be coming with Orbx Central next year.
The website itself will be having some changes to it to make the experience much more user friendly. Some things have already been added such as currency conversion and filter by simulator and region.
Prepar3D V4 Airports
John made it clear that the majority of content being worked on is for Prepar3D V4. He wanted to express that whilst there has been a lot of focus on X-Plane lately, the team were fully committed to P3D this year with 20 new product releases. Over 70% of their customers use P3DV4.
He mentioned that as we head into the future, support for FSX will phased out.
This is to make way to use new technology such as PBR and larger texture sizes. Although we have already started seeing this phase-out with the likes of TrueEarth and Tyabb Airport being P3DV3/V4 only.
New previews were shown off. Been in development for some time but put on hold as there was a strong demand for TrueEarth GB South for P3D.
It’ll be back on track in January and release soon after.
NZNV Invercargill – P3D
Tim Harris is working on another iconic airport for New Zealand. NZNV will be a fully modelled airport featuring the new terminal, 540km sq of pristine photoreal imagery, full city of Invercargill with many POIs, Bluff Harbour including the town and seaport, Flat Hill windfarm and the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.
St George Regional Airport Announced
Coming from developer Misha Cajic!
SODE Jetways Confirmed
Soft announcement that SODE jetways for Orbx airports. Jarrad will be doing a big announcement soon.
Channel Islands Alderney
It was confirmed last Summer that Orbx purchased Earth Simulations imagery and John shared that the first of the Channel Islands will be Alderney. Handled by the team at Turbulent Designs, it is expected in early 2019. Russ White is modelling the terminal buildings.
Jersey, Isle of Man and Guernsey also coming.
Holger and Frank continue to develop their impressive CityScene products. This time it’s the complete coverage of the Honolulu area.
Australia Version 2.0
One of Orbx’ oldest products is getting a huge revamp. John shared numerous images of how much higher quality the new version of Australia will be.
All 400 default airports will be upgraded as well as over 400 grass strips. All of that work was done by Neil Hill before he sadly passed away. John defined it as ‘payware quality’ all included for free!
Coming to both FSX and P3D.
People can upgrade for a small fee. John said between AUD 9 – AUD 15. John who wants to make it affordable.
Melbourne Cityscene Model
Included with Australia V2 will be a brand new CityScene for the city of Melbourne. Still in early development, it will cover the CBD and beyond.
A project that seemed very quiet over the past year, but John shared a bunch of new screenshots and details regarding the Global BuildingsHD project.
John said that in early 2019, it will be finished and ready for the community to enjoy. Quite simply, BuildingsHD will transform every single town and city autogen building into a more realistic looking environment. The screenshots shared from the various locations around the world clearly demonstrate that these will be more region specific then ever.
John said that the FPS impact of BuildingsHD is almost zero. There’s no 3D elements, it’s just textures.
KSUN Sun Valley
Developed by the team at Turbulent Designs, Sun Valley will be a Prepar3D V4 exclusive airport. It will use sloped runway and taxiways, dynamic season textures, light reflection in puddles, custom autogen and numerous points of interest.
Developer Marcus Nyberg confirmed that his next project will be Asturias (LEAS). The Spanish airport will be very different to his previous projects such as ESSA Stockholm Arlanda Airport. Should be out reasonable soon.
ESSA Stockholm Arlanda Update 1.3
Speak of the devil and he shall appear! The service pack for Stockholm Alranda will bring a wealth of new models and textures, along with updates to the airport that have been changed since the original version was produced.
No performance loss.
100% free upgrade.
Stockholm Arlanda will come with SODE support. Be out within a week or so.
John said that this is the biggest CityScene project to date. Developer Allen Kriesman is working on ensuring the future host city of FlightSimExpo is given the treatment is deserves. There will be a lot of photoreal scenery, include two airports (not sure what is meant by that) and also Lockheed Martin’s headquarters. Even Disney theme parks have been recreated!
Over 170 high rise buildings have been modeled.
CAE3 Campbell River Water Aerodrome
CAE3 Campbell Rver Water Aerodrome was confirmed to be in development.
This is a freeware product.
CityScene Cote D’Azur
Like BuildingsHD, this is another Orbx project that seemed to get stuck in the mud. Developer Maurizio Georgi continues to craft together region in the South of France.
This product is being done completely by hand.
John confirmed it is most certainly going to be out in 2019.
61B Boulder City
61B Boulder City was confirmed to be in development. The will be photoreal scenery coverage and over 30 points of interest included in the release. The release from Ken Hall will be based off of photos taken just after FlightSimExpo 2018.
LIEO Olbia City and Airport
Moving back to Europe, John confirmed that Matteo Veneziani is currently working on Olbia. Covering both the city with large photoreal textures and other points of interest, he’s working hard on creating a great rendition of it. It will come with SODE jetways!
KBUR Burbank Bob Hope Airport
Confirmed to be in development as Matteo’s second project for 2019.
If I remember rightly, this was announced for last year’s roadmap. Either way, ENBO continues to be developed. Focus is currently on the airside stuff right now, with other features to be added as development continues. The developer decided to start again from scratch to really make it as special as possible.
KDAL Dallas Love Field
Bill Womack is confirmed to be developing Dallas Love Field for Prepar3D.
TrueEarth Great Britain South
Not a -new- product, but confirmed to be entering beta very soon. Lots of screenshots to come. John shared some from an Alpha build. Beta testing starts tomorrow morning!
The overall file size will be smaller than that of X-Plane due to the compression.
All SP1 Points of Interest and bug fixes will be included on release.
Cross-platform discount will apply if you own the X-Plane version. 40% discount, confirms John. All upgraded airports (not the payware) is included.
The P3Dv4 version will be the same coverage area as the X-Plane 11 version.
TrueEarth Pacific Northwest
Some previews of a very early build was shown off. All imagery is done. TrueEarth Pacific Northwest will be released in 3 parts: Washington State, Oregon, Vancouver BC area.
A 2019 release is scheduled for TrueEarth Pacific Northwest.
Following the PN region, both North and South California will be done.
X-Plane 11 Products
John said that X-Plane products are selling well for Orbx. With their release of TrueEarth scenery and porting over some of their older sceneries, the team are really happy with how X-Plane users are enjoying their stuff. More to come.
John is very keen to get concurrent releasing to happen sooner than later, but the plan is to keep porting over legacy Orbx airports from P3D to X-Plane 11.
Porting all 150 legacy airports over.
TrueEarth Pacific Northwest will be the first North American region for X-Plane from Orbx.
TrueEarth Great Britain South SP1
The service pack will bring a bunch of new updates including hundreds of Points of interests and a new darker road colour scheme so it better blends into the Ortho imagery.
Hundreds of new POIs coming to the new version.
25CM resolution of imagery coming to various areas. Including Plymouth, London and more.
This is a free upgrade.
TrueEarth Netherlands North
John referred back to the poll currently on-going in the Orbx forums asking the community if they want to see a budget version of just the Northern part of the region released first and then a full blown version so that people can start doing UK – Amsterdam flights with TrueEarth. Once they reach 200 votes, they’ll consider this the green light to continue.
TrueEarth Great Britain North
Work continues to complete the GB range of TrueEarth products. Some new previews were shown off. Orbx are still awiting some imagery and data to complete it – it’s on the way, however.
Eagle County Regional Airport
Orbx veteran developer Jarrad Marshall created Eagle County many years ago. It’s now being ported over to X-Plane 11. The challenging arrival and departure procedures make this an exciting airport for anyone to try out.
Unannounced Project for X-Plane 11
John teased another X-Plane project. The feed went crazy over what the airport could be.
And yes, it’s Innsbruck (LOWI)
Another legacy airport being ported over to X-Plane 11 is EGSG Stapleford.
Orbx Global for X-Plane 11
John saved one of the bigger X-Plane announcements for last. He confirmed that research and development has stated on providing a global replacement tool for the world of X-Plane 11. This follows on from the hugely popular Orbx Global Base Pack for FSX/P3D.
The team are still experimenting at this point and working hard to solve a bunch of technical problems they’re facing.
P3D users will get a 40% discount on the X-Plane 11 version thanks to the cross-platform policy.
When asked about seasons, John said that they are conforming to the X-Plane 11 SDK, but may research how they may be able to do it in the future.
Finally, Aerofly FS 2
Whilst John and Orbx support IPACS with Aerofly FS 2 (he still thinks it’s the best sim for the VR experience), the future is less defined than that of P3D or X-Plane 11. The team will continue at looking to bring airports over to the simulator. Looking to port TrueEarth GB, but not confirmed just yet. Depends on some internal development of cross-platform tools.
Sedona Airport, Arizona
The final airport confirmed on the live stream was Sedona Airport in Arizona. This airport is within the default coverage for AFS2 and includes a range of options for pilots including helicopter spots, military areas and general aviation.
Competition – win everything Orbx has released in 2018!
Aimee confirmed that Orbx are throwing a competition in which someone could win every single product that Orbx released in 2018.
The contest will end on January 3rd and the winner announced on the livestream.
(We’ll update this post with official screenshots now)
Will you add PBR to scenery?
JV: Down to the developer to add it to the airport. They need to get used to the tools, but I’m sure they will in the future. PBR airports will look much better due to the materials. PBR will start to filter down to new releases. Whether we add them to 150 airprots we’ve released, we can’t commit to that for obvious reasons.
Is there going to be a TrueEarth Caribbean?
JV: I can totally see that. Would be nice!
Do we plan on making aircraft again?
JV: Probably not. There is a possibility that Orbx Direct could be a publisher, so if a quality aircraft gets released through that, then maybe.
Any of the bigger UK airports being worked on?
JV: Yes – we are making bigger UK airports.
Any plans for the middle east?
JV: Not at this stage.
Any Irish airports?
JV: We’ll consider Irish airports when we release TrueEarth Ireland (the parts not in TrueEarth GB North)
Are you looking at France / Italy?
JV: Yes, but there’s limited number of companies who do imagery and it’s quite expensive. Would love to do it. (And all of Europe)