Developer Month: Matt Davies of projectFLY Interview


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.

projectFLY has really taken off lately thanks to its great web design and easy to use interface. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s a great tool to track and log your flights from any sim on any platform. The brains behind it all, Matt Davies, has joined FSElite to share his story on development struggles and what he plans to do in the future!

Further to projectFLY, Matt also works on his Youtube channel. He is currently producing a great show called SimCast. FSElite are pleased to announce that we are working with Matt to provide the best news available for SimCast. Make sure you watch it!

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started?
So, I’m Matt. I live in a small village just north of Manchester, I make YouTube videos, I live stream on Twitch and I’ve just recently released projectFLY. I started simming at about the age of 12 – it was actually my Dad that got me into it. He had a friend who had (at the time) the most legit PC setup ever – 3 screens, joystick & pedals – it was amazing. I used to visit his house and he’d let me fly. It was incredible. From that point it was an addiction and it only got worse (or better, depends which way you look at it)!

What made you decide you wanted to develop for Flight Simulator and why?
Firstly, I’m a Software Developer by trade. About 3 years ago, I was looking for an inclusive solution to tracking/logging flights in real time – nothing really seemed to exist. There are plenty of websites out there that let you track and log your flight, but it all seemed to be run on similar software, it definitely wasn’t real time and there was just nothing that struck me as unique. So I decided to hone my skills and along with a few people we created projectFLY.

How many of there in your team and what are your backgrounds before becoming developers?
We’ve had developers come and go over the 2 years we’ve been building projectFLY, however our current developer count stands at 7. We come from all weird and wonderful backgrounds, but at the core we’re all Software Developers with our own unique skill set – we work together really well and I think that shows in the newest version of projectFLY.

What interests do you have outside of Flight Simulation?
Ha, you think I have time for a life outside of Flight Simulation? I play piano when I get the chance, that’s about it.

Tell us what your typical day is usually like.
Wake up, code, eat, sleep, repeat. (Occasionally remind my family that I exist)

Why did you start ProjectFly?
Firstly, I’m a Software Developer by trade. About 3 years ago, I was looking for an inclusive solution to tracking/logging flights in real time – nothing really seemed to exist. There are plenty of websites out there that let you track and log your flight, but it all seemed to be run on similar software, it definitely wasn’t real time and there was just nothing that struck me as unique. So I decided to hone my skills and along with a few people we created projectFLY.

ProjectFly has been through some interesting development over time. Can you tell us what challenges you faced and how you overcame them?
People. More specifically “developers”. The problem is, not just in this industry but on the internet as a whole, there are lot of people who promise more than they can deliver. If we’d of had the team we currently have back when we started, projectFLY would be completely different. Protip to anybody out there who is starting a project with volunteers – make sure you do your research, some people are nasty pieces of work.

What can you tell us about the upcoming Career Mode?
You start with nothing, you can gain everything. We give you an environment where you start as a rookie pilot with zero, take out a bank loan to pay for your flying lessons and then work your way up to having a full blown license – then you get a type rating and hope one of the airlines hire you. Once you’ve done that it’s time to pay back your debts and climb the career ladder to your ultimate job. Sound simple? It’s not. We’re including so many different ways of doing things which are all true to real world, that you can screw it all up before you’ve even started – do your research 🙂

What other features make ProjectFly unique to other Flight Log trackers out there?
I believe our radar is unrivaled. It’s inclusive of all networks and updates in real time. Our tracker is also pretty amazing too – everything we have has been made from scratch, so we have complete control of which direction we take it. Remember though, this is essentially only 2 months old – ask me the same question in 12 months from now and I’m sure i’ll have a completely different answer.

Favourite power drink and why?
If I can deal with heart palpitations for the rest of the day, sugar free Redbull.

Favourite snack and why?
lol pls.

When development gets tough, how do you continue to motivate yourself?
The rest of the team. We always seem to find ways to pick each other up – it’s a great dynamic.

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

If there was one thing you wanted to see developed for Flight Sim, what would it be?
I want a study level biz jet – something like a Global Express. I’m bored of Airliners.

Favourite add-on (that’s not your own!)?
FSLabs A320, hands down.

How do you balance your work life and home life?
I’m 25 and single – I don’t. 🙁

Any hints on what’s to come after your next project?
We’re developing a new eCommerce platform called “Simstall”. Think of Steam, but for Flight Sim (for now anyway, we may branch to other sims). It’s an all in one solution for everything flight sim – I can’t wait to show it off.

Where do you see Flight Simulation in 10 years time?
Without a 32bit program in sight.

Anything else you want to add?
I suppose I can go full sellout and plug my stuff – Youtube, Twitch, Twitter & Facebook – feel free to come say Hi 🙂

 

Thanks Matt for joining us. We’ve got another Orbx Developer joining us tomorrow. We won’t ruin the surprise so you’ll have to come back and see!

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