Developer Month: Orbx Developer – Alex Goff 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.

Alex Goff, developer from Orbx was kind enough to share his thoughts on the future of Flight Sim and how he managed to get a role with one of the best scenery developers around. Alex has contributed to many scenery packages over the years including flight sim classic Meigs Field (KCGX) and the incredible Goheen Airport (W52).

You can also read Marcus Nyberg‘s interview for Developer Month also.

 

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?
I am a 22 year old developer from Atlanta, GA., currently living in NYC. My day job is developing user interfaces for web applications in the finance industry. I got started at Orbx six years ago after working with the OZx team for about a year.

Can you be more specific in what your role at Orbx is?
I am primarily an airport developer. In the past I have worked on regions teams doing color correction for landclass tiles, and worked on photoreal POI’s. I have a few other side things here and there as well, administrating the forums and Facebook page.

How did you get into your role within Orbx?
I started out in airports when I came from OZx, I got involved in regions between 2012 and 2015 after I got a knack for aerial imagery work. After a few turns on that I went back to only airport work to balance my time better.

What made you decide you wanted to develop for Flight Simulator and why?
It was never a conscious choice to dive into flight simulation development, initially I wanted to improve airports in my area and from there it was a natural progression of learning new skills and sticking with it.

How many of there in your team and what are your backgrounds before becoming developers?
These days most of my work is solo, or with one or developer. In the past when I worked on regions, teams ranged from a half dozen to a dozen developers. Backgrounds vary, but many developers have a technical background in other areas, specifically GIS.

What interests do you have outside of Flight Simulation?
Hiking, cooking, biking, gaming, I play a few instruments as well.

Tell us what your typical day is usually like.
Most weeknights after I get home from my 9-5 I’ll typically occupy myself with chores, relax, do other hobbies til around 8 or so then work on something flight simulation related til around 11 to midnight. On weekends and days off I usually work a little in the early afternoon, and then again in the early evening.

Favourite snack and why?
I try not to snack and work… but when I do it’s Cheez-its

When scenery development gets tough, how do you continue to motivate yourselves?
Take a break! Usually if I hit a block or am working on something tedious it is much easier to walk away for a bit and wait for motivation to strike again than to try and trudge through.

Who’s your biggest inspiration in the Flight Sim community?
I have always tried to emulate Russ White’s development process and ideas. Additionally, our very own Jarrad Marshall is a huge inspiration, I comb through his projects carefully looking for inspiration. I got the chance to meet Mir from FlightBeam at FlightSimCon last year and we talked shop for a bit, he’s an incredibly bright and talented developer.

Favourite add-on (that’s not your own!)?
Any of the vintage A2A aircraft, I can’t fly any competently but they’re fun to play with and look at.

How do you balance your work life and home life?
It’s been changing a bit lately. During college I treated flight simulation as my go-to work once I was finished studying, I tried to log as much as any other part-time job I would have. Now that I’m working 9-5 I don’t put in the hours of a part-time on the weekdays, but I get much more done on weekends.

How do you manage so many projects at once?
I only do one at a time, tried to multi-task years ago and never got on well with it.

Any hints on what’s to come after your next project?
A lot of people have been asking for more airports in this region that never received many. It’s also on a different continent than anywhere I have worked on airports til now, but I was a part of the region team for this area several years ago and it is one of my favorite regions.

Where do you see Flight Simulation in 10 years time?
More VR!