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.
Today, we take some time to check out Drzewiecki Design who just released Washington DC for flight sim. Enjoy the interview:
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started?
Although Drzewiecki Design company was established in late 2008, our first scenery project came out in 2003 (it was a simple airport for FS2002) and the brand itself was created around 2004/2005. The first flight sim I used was FS2000 and later it simply became fun to be able to create own content. Obviously in the beginning it was just fun, nothing more. In 2006 I met Jakub Paczek and the development started to be more serious resulting in the first freeware project released in 2007. It took us almost two months to complete as we were learning most of the tools and techniques from scratch. Today it would probably take 3-4 days…
How many are there in your team and what are your backgrounds before becoming developers?
Currently we have 6 members of the core team but we cooperate with up to 30 other individuals from all over the world – from autogen specialists to video makers.
What interests do you have outside of Flight Simulation?
General aviation flying is probably the biggest of all but I am interested in many things. In our team we have former sports-men, truck drivers, musicians etc. but we all share the same passion for aviation and virtual reality.
Tell us what your typical day is usually like.
There are no typical days when running an own business. Sometimes I get up at 3am and work till 8pm, sometimes I don’t work at all. I love working at early mornings (which is actually called “night” by some people). One of the advantages is that I can still reach guys in the US before they end their workday (my office is located in Warsaw, Poland).
When scenery development gets tough, how do you continue to motivate yourselves?
We do love what we do – this gives us enough motivation. I am a part of the great team – with some members I have been working for more than 10 years already. It is a big pleasure to work with them and to create something new that has never been created before. This is exactly what we are trying to achieve with each new release. Each product we produce has a newly-created technological innovation, new technique, a feature never used before etc.
Who’s your biggest inspiration in the Flight Sim community?
There are indeed “angels of flight sim” that give their knowledge to others for free – for example Arno Gerretsen from FSDeveloper with his amazing tools like MCX. There are also flight sim companies that inspire me with each of their releases.
With Moscow, New York and Baku in your library, it’s clear you have a fondness for large cities with interesting structure. How do you pick which scenery area to develop next?
Our newest release is Washington X – it came naturally after Moscow. Actually our first city scenery was made in 2004 (it was a concept city) and since that time the idea was growing release after release. I think that developing and simulating large areas of terrain around detailed airports is incomparably more realistic than just airports with almost no surroundings. Obviously it takes much more time to develop such a product, even up to a year, so such products must also be more expensive. The selection is motivated by various factors. Our next product will be the Seattle area with 3 detailed Boeing fields, 4 seaplane bases, heliports and obviously the detailed downtown area and other interesting areas (like Microsoft headquarters or Mount Rainier). It will definitely be the most massive product to date. It is needless to say that close attention will be put to performance, just as it was with Washington X, which performs very well in terms of VAS and framerate. We are also working on the new version of our New York Airports package which will a new product in 90% – most of elements are developed from scratch for the best performance and visuals.
Favourite add-on (that’s not your own!)?
I would say VNLK Lukla. The airport is nicely done but the location beats all others – it is almost unrealistic to put an airport there. In Poland we have one nice airport located at a mountain side with a very sloped runway (EPZR Zar – called Polish Lukla by the way) and it is very thrilling to land there as go-around would be very hard or even impossible. The vertical path must be well-planned and executed. But landing at Lukla at 10 thousand feet altitude, next to the highest mountain on the globe, must be a lifetime experience in the real life.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
The balancing is quite difficult as there are no working hours – the whole day is available. I work at home like all my coworkers and I simply try to travel with my family to some distant places from time to time. This is the only effective way to really get away from work for a week or two without thinking about it.
Where do you see Flight Simulation in 10 years time?
I think it is really hard to predict. The difference between Flight Simulator 98 and FSX was much larger than between FSX and P3Dv3 (10 years difference in both cases). Today we definitely have two strong platforms and one growing. Lets hope they will continue growing. I am looking forward to a really good VR in flight simulation, this might really change the experience, but effective control of all cockpit equipment must be accessible – with precise hands/fingers motion tracking. The only problem is that you really need to physically touch switches, buttons and knobs to make the experience realistic but I am sure FS hardware companies will be able to manage that task – for example by providing very simple, even non-moving aircraft panels made for reference only. Touching them would be the synchronized with hand movement in the sim. For example – you make a “rotation” movement on a 3D-printed plastic, non-moving element on a 30usd MIP of a 737 but in VR you change the heading selector. A stand with changeable panels would be practical in this case. Bored with 737? Replace it with a 20usd C172 panel, load a C172 into the sim and enjoy it in VR. Just an idea to make you feel being inside a cockpit without spending many thousands of dollars. If someone makes it I would be very interested to see it in action!
Thank you to the team for taking the time to chat to us. Come back tomorrow to hear from another Orbx developer.