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Interview

FSElite Exclusive: Interview with the FlightSimCon Team

With Flight Sim Con 2017 only a handful of weeks away, the hype is beginning to build! We’re really excited to be there front and center come June 11th where we’ll be providing you with plenty of exclusive content. Our team of writers will be on hand to share all the footage, information and pictures as humanly possible. In the mean time, we spoke to Flight Sim Con event organisers Evan and Tom about FSCon 2017.

We discussed the important points of what it’s like putting the conference together, the impact it has on the community and how you can get discount at the airport lounge after the event! They also tell us what they’re most looking forward to at the event and how you can literally fly into the event!

If you’re interested in going, make sure you check out Flight Sim Con’s website for full details on speakers, timings and other things taking place.

Make sure you register for the event beforehand. Tickets now cost $70 for the whole weekend or $35 per day. Student rates are available, but you’ll be required to comply with the restrictions.

Furthermore, make sure you download the Whova app (Android / iOS) as it will make your life at the conference so much easier! Be sure to find us.

You can download the interview for offline listening.

Developer Month – Orbx Developer Ken Hall

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.

Ken Hall, a developer who works with Orbx, took the time to speak to us about some of his past projects and how he managed to get involved with one of the most recognised developers in the community. His work on Catalina and Pago Pago is some of the best and most detailed work you can find in the simming world. Find out how and why he does it below.

Don’t forget, you can read our review on Catalina Airport (KAVX) here.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

I have always loved anything to do with flight, always look up when any kind of aircraft is flying over.
Learned to fly ultralights at Warnervale in a skybox, had an awesome instructor who was so confident in his ability to fix any mess I could create that he allowed me so much freedom at the controls, that I discovered what not to do very quickly. Had my first solo at 10 hours, something you never forget, I concentrated so hard on that cct, still the best landing I ever made. Because Paul my instructor had been a commercial pilot with thousands of hours experience he pushed hard, I’d be setup for a great landing and about to flair and he’d mess things up and see if I could correct it or power on and go round. The skybox was a taildragger and a bit twitchy because it had a VW / Aeropower engine the C of G was a bit forward making the conventional 3 pointers all but impossible so Wheelie landings were preferred

We practiced landing in paddocks, something which proved very comforting during a circumnavigation of Queensland flight, I had a forced landing emergency no far from Rockhampton and managed to get into a paddock, it was a tad hairy but we both walked away safe, replaced a damaged bungee strap on the undercarriage and after fixing the problem continued on to our destination.

Well, after that trip I was determined to get my own aircraft, started with a typical rag and bone ultralight, a single seat fully enclosed cockpit version of a thruster, named her “Red” and had a love affair with her that lasted 5 years, most of the flying done around Mudgee N.S.W. nothing like owning your own aircraft you get to know her so well, she became part of me. We herded goats, did river runs at 50 feet, dropped flower bombs, even dropped toilet rolls out of the cockpit at 5000 ft AGL and chased them down, cutting the streamer with the prop, won spot landing competitions, attacked balloons filled with helium, pretending to be some reincarnated WWII fighter ace, red was the best pure fun flying I ever did. I tried other ultralights at Holbrook ultralight club, most memorable was a B1RD, or Bird.

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Developer Month: Just Flight Developer Martyn Northall 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.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started?

I’m 28 years old and live with my wife and cat in a small village about 30 minutes north of Cambridge in the UK.
My interest in aviation stems from my Dad. He served in the Royal Air Force for 23 years so aviation was always a big part of my life. I used to visit RAF bases, air shows and aviation museums regularly, and after getting my first PC at the age of 8, I started flight simming with products such as ‘Evasive Action’ and other DOS-based games. My first encounter with Microsoft’s Flight Simulator was FS2000 and I became an avid follower of the franchise, and a loyal fan of Just Flight as both a customer and forum member.

I was offered the opportunity to do some temp work for Just Flight on their VFR Real Scenery project in the summer of 2006. Shortly thereafter I joined the technical support team and 11 years later I’m still here! During that time I’ve had a variety of roles including technical support, product management and software development (primarily coding the gauges/system for our aircraft projects). Keep Reading

Developer Month: Vatsim and Cross the Pond 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.

Vatsim has been a staple of the flight sim community for quite some time now. For years, people have used it as a means to create even more realitsic flying thanks to the professional controllers that use the network as the air traffic controllers. Throughout the year, various events take place to test the skill and knowledge of both pilots and controllers. No event is bigger than Cross the Pond (CTP) and we were lucky enough to speak to a few of the event directors to pick their brains.

Both Marc Eijkens and Frans Zwarts from Dutch VACC were kind enough to talk to us to give you some more insight into the planning and preparation for an event as large as CTP.

Of course, there’s so much more to learn about Vatsim, so we’ll be sure to cover it in the future.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started with Vatsim?

Once upon a time I did selection for real air traffic controller. After some exams I was not elected to participate with the new group starting that year. So I said the dream farewell. But I discovered VATSIM and their vACCs. So I began to control on VATSIM as a Delivery controller. Nowadays I have the responsibility to communicate with the outside world as PR manager.  

Tell us what your typical day is usually like during the Cross the Pond event?

Getting up. Having a look on the weather for a forecast which runways to expect that day. That morning we will receive the last briefing for that day. Of course enough to drink and eat, however due to all the razzle dazzle during the event there is no time for drinks.

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Developer Month: Orbx Developer Misha Cajic

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.

Orbx developer Misha Cajic has been working hard now on creating Santa Barbara for flight sim. Although announced last year, things have moved on slower than he liked. That comes down to changes in his life and his work-life balance. All of this information he detailed below.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

I was originally an avid young simmer just like many others, and a huge fan of Orbx and was always totally mesmerised by scenery design. So back in 2011 when the opportunity arose for some beginner scenery designers to do some freeware Aussie scenery with OZx, I jumped onboard in the hope of learning a few things about the craft. I never imagined I would end up joining them, but that’s how it kind of just happened.

What interests do you have outside of Flight Simulation?

Recreational flying of course – I just got my sports license mid last year – as well as travelling, coding (just started to learn this and having a ball), and a casual interest in many other things, especially physics and the universe.

Tell us what your typical day is usually like.

Currently my life is dominated by university, so my typical day is filled with that. Otherwise on the weekends or weeknights I’ll hang out with mates, go flying, or just relax at home and do a bit of casual work when I’m feeling the creative buzz 🙂

Favourite snack and why?

Guacamole on toast, it’s just so smooth and tasty. I eat a plantation of avocados every week.

Santa Barbara looks to be your biggest airport yet. What challenges have you faced with creating this scenery?

Absolutely the main challenge has been simply managing my time. As usual, I completely underestimated the amount of time the project would take, considering I’ve been travelling for the past half year and didn’t really have my mind on the project. If the project was smaller I would’ve had the motivation to finish it much sooner, but I’m hoping to get it out as soon as I can. It’s really shaping up to be a spectacular scenery.

With a limited number of airlines operating into the airport, how do you sell this product to the flight sim community?
This airport actually has the most airlines flying into it out of any of the sceneries I’ve created, so I’ll be selling it in much the same way as I did the rest of my projects. The main crowd it’s aimed to is definitely the GA crowd, as it’s always been with me, but the guys that like to fly the smaller CRJs and Boeings/Airbuses are more than welcome to join in and fly either existing routes or make up their own 🙂
What drew your attention to creating Santa Barbara?
It has a spectacular location and architecture, particularly the main terminal area. I was also looking to get out a scenery that people could use as a base for their flying in SCA. Plus I love palm trees.
Are there any interesting features in Santa Barbara you can share with us and the community?
I’m hoping to include animated jetways at the terminal, something that has been requested a lot by the community. I’ve also modelled the interior of the terminal in great detail. Aside from the airport area, I’ve included all the Channel islands national park islands off the coast, where there are a few pretty cool little bush strips 🙂

When scenery development gets tough, how do you continue to motivate yourselves? The main thing would be just looking at the results of previous projects – I know that if I continue to apply myself I can have those same beautiful, scenic results that so many will enjoy.

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

29Palms and FlightBeam always blow me away with their products, and I love to just crack them open and study how they did their magic. Within Orbx, I’d say Jarrad Marshall – His product pics always have my jaw on the floor.

If there was one thing you wanted to see developer for Flight Sim, what would it be?

A detailed Aeroprakt A22 Foxbat LSA – This is the plane I fly in real life, and it’s such a versatile yet simple aircraft, with insane STOL capabilities.

Favourite add-on (that’s not your own!)?

Even after 4 years, I still gotta say Skiathos from 29palms continues to hold this position. Everything about that scenery is sensational.

How do you balance your work life and home life?

With great difficulty, especially now with university. I can’t say I ever really planned out the way I worked or had a balance, it was always either a lot of work and nothing else, or a lot of home life and no work. I would like to find a balance now, however.

Any hints on what’s to come after your next project?

I genuinely haven’t a clue – there are a couple of things I’m finishing off still with Orbx, but after that I might move back to some smaller projects – they’re just far easier to manage, which is what I need now.

Where do you see Flight Simulation in 10 years time?

With all the new VR and AI technology being developed, flight simulation could well and truly be a fully immersive virtual reality experience within 10 years. Especially with all the new development on sims, you only have to look at how much other games have progressed in the last 10 years to see that that kind of progress is inevitable. I will be more likely that not specialising in AI and VR technologies in later years of my Computer Science degree, so I might have a lot more to say about it then 🙂

Anything else you want to add?

Just want to add a quick thank you to anyone who has ever bought any of my products or even just downloaded my freeware scenery and spread the word over the last few years. Scenery design genuinely changed my life, and every single aspect of my life was affected by it to some extent. I have no idea where I’d be now or what I’d be doing without it, and even though I’ve had to slow down, I hope that I can bring more products for you all to enjoy over the coming years!

Developer Month: TOGA Projects 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.

TOGA Projects stopped by FSElite and talked a little about their most recent product ENVTEX. Alongside how the team started, there’s also some great content in terms of their personal lives! Don’t forget, you can read our ENVTEX review here.

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

It is a long story but I will try to summarize a bit: I started flight simulation about 10 years ago with FSX, I didn’t have a great computer at that time and I went back to FS2004 that I have enjoyed for more than 8 years, 2 years ago I started to move again on FSX for beta testing purposes for a well-known aircraft developer and last year I definitely moved to P3Dv3. I still have all of them installed though.

During the 8 FS9 years, I created a lot of textures for my own use and even created a freeware package called “Full Environment 9” to compensate the lack of new add-ons of the old but gold FS9, and the idea of a complete environment rework for several simulators slowly came to my mind.

During that time, flight simulation got me into a real passion for aviation and I became a real pilot. I got my ATPL and CPL in 2014 in a small ATO but unfortunately didn’t find a job quickly and I had to move forward in my personal life. Not meaning I have abandoned the idea to get into a 737’s left seat!

As Steve Glinel, a friend, and I were creating repaints, I decided to create “TOGA projects” in summer 2015 to share our creations. After that William Musculus joined us to provide more repaints and I decided Envtex in the beginning of 2016, for personal reasons Steve and William couldn’t be involved in the development of this project so we searched for a good developer and Florian came to help us creating the user interface.

Currently we consider more TOGA projects as a community hub than only a development team, as we have several “teams” focused on different things. We are 2 in the development team, Florian and I, 3 of us are creating repaints and freeware contents and our Beta team now counts 6 members that I would like to thank again: Brandon, David, Enzo, Louis, Steve and William. We also received the help of Jannie Roelofse and William Bithrey.

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Developer Month: Soarfly Concepts 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.

Soarfly Concepts are a relatively unknown developer who has worked on various projects in the past. Developer Month isn’t just about those developers who are regarded as ‘popular’, but also to highlight the hardwork of the smaller ones who are very much part of the community.

Read our interview from Mark Piccolo from the developer who gives you some great insight into both a freeware and payware model!

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?

Well Soarfly Concepts started out just me, creating my own little additions to airports, I added a few things to Avsim Library and eventually I added a team member and over time started taking scenery requests.

Me and Dan have been using Flight Simulator since the early 90s. The very first scenery released by Soarfly Concepts was a fictional airport, the Thames Estuary Concept. We don’t sell payware for a source of income it’s simply there as a method of support so we can buy things like higher def ground images and design tools. Not a lot of people know this but we also offer a free service to other devs like making installers, models and beta testing.

What made you decide you wanted to develop for Flight Simulator and why?

I have always been a massive aviation enthusiast and the idea of making my own airports in flight sim was just too good to pass up. I discovered ADE by Scruffy Duck and learnt how to make 3d models.

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Developer Month: FSFX Packages 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.

Keven from FSFX Packages was kind enough to stop by and give us some insight into the development process of Chase Plane, how they’re finding the alpha testing and what we can expect in the future. Of course, you can check our all kinds of coverage from their products from us – including, Q400 Immersion Package review and our Chase Plane alpha 1 preview.

There’s loads of great stuff from FSFX Packages below, so I won’t hold you up any longer. Enjoy!

Tell us a little about yourselves and how you got started?
In 2006, we started experimenting with visual effects on FSX, right after the release. The platform offered us new tools and development processes and being a curious person myself, I created the first iteration what would be the foundation of our Immersion Packages today. In 2014 we decided to test the market with PrecipitFX and started teasing for 777 Immersion. It was an instant success, leading us to today. We are now the reference when it comes to visual effects in the Flight Sim Community.

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Developer Month: iBlueYonder – 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.

Bill from iBlueYonder was kind enough to get in touch to share some his personal stories about why and how he became a developer. For those of you who don’t know Bill, he’s the founder of iBlueYonder who most recently put together Nantucket Island.

Bill was pretty darn detailed with his replies, so make sure you take the time to read through as it’s really insightful and interesting!

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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.

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