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Interview

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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Developer Month: Drzewiecki Design 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.

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.

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Developer Month: Interview with Orbx Developer – Marcus Nyberg

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.

Marcus Nyberg, the developer behind the upcoming Orbx Bilbao took some time to talk about how he developers, what we can expect from the new scenery and much more!

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

I was born & raised in a small town called Falun 3 hours northwest of Stockholm, in Sweden. I’ve always been interested in aviation, my grandad was an engineer that, among other things, was designing military planes. Since I can remember I wanted to become a pilot. Don’t really know why it was so attractive to me. My parents took me to a festival that existed back in the days in Stockholm, called the Water Festival where we watched the air force having a show. The main attraction of the show was Jas 39 Gripen, the flagship of Swedish aviation at the time (and maybe still I guess?). It lost control in low altitude and crashed in the middle of Stockholm with thousands of people watching. It was so lucky nobody got hurt. My dad asked me as we watched the flames across the bay if I still wanted to become a pilot. I can’t have been more than 8 years old or something at the time, I just replied ” When I’ve grown up they will have fixed that problem”.

However, I never became a pilot. I started with Flight Simulator 2000 I think as my new neighbour also was into aviation. We were young teenagers, running across the backyard to each other’s houses and checking different planes and downloaded different freewares that we tried out together. Sometimes we convinced a store in the town to import some boxed paywares for us, can’t remember why we simply didn’t ask our parents. However, we have since then shared this hobby.

I studied 3D during a year at University and really enjoyed it. One of the reasons I started studying 3D was to be able to make my own airports and I released a quite mediocre version of Dala Airport for fs2004 at this time. At this time I was still set on becoming a pilot so I did my medical exams and started a PPL. Quite soon ( 5 hours flight time to be exact), I realized I found the whole flying-thing a bit boring. Surprisingly.

I became a photographer instead which is still my main profession.

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

The reason I started developing was simply because I wanted some airports in the sim. I’ve always enjoyed being creative. Pierre (the neighbour I mentioned) & I gathered all information we needed to do Dala Airport (our local airport). He was amazing in getting access and talking to people and I was more the dude who then built the 3D models and did the creative part of the work.

We gathered all the information and references we needed to make Stockholm-Arlanda but it was just such a big project. It never took off. But it was a dream project as well. It is the biggest airport in Sweden and I’ve flown from there a million times. We often went there to plane spot during a period as well. Anyway, A few years later I decided to have a look at it again and Philip Schall joined the team and it really made some great progress. Then we joined ORBX.

The main reason why I still develop is just because I love the creative part of it and to see airports I would like to have nicely rendered in the sim, being developed. I would never take on a project I would not love to fly to myself in the sim. I’m just a simple flight simulator dude that has been privileged enough to be able to make the airports I feel is missing in the sim.

 

How many of there in your team and what are your backgrounds before becoming developers?

Our team is basically Philip Schall & I. He is really the genius of the two of us. Nowadays Pierre Engblom (actually that neighbour I told you about earlier), has joined as well doing autogen work etc and helping speeding up some projects.

 

What inspired you to create Bilbao? Was it the rising increase in popularity from European carriers or due to its interesting approaches and terrain?

I stayed in San Sebastian for a few months back in, uh, it’s been ten years ago now when I think about it. The whole region is such an amazing place and I simply just fell in love with the Basque country. I tend to go back quite often ever since. Most people go to southern Spain, or the east coast when traveling but the north coast is such a different place with the amazing terrain and fantastic nature, not to mention the food. So, I’ve been to Bilbao quite a few times, always tries to add a day at least there to go to Guggenheim and an old venue/bar that I went to first time I was in Bilbao. My wife tells me it’s time we go to new places.

So basically, Bilbao and the whole region is very special to me. Bilbao also has, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful terminal buildings in the world. It’s beautiful from the outside and as interesting on the inside. Airports has a way of pretty much always having the same structure but there is a design element to Bilbao that dictates the rest. I find it very interesting.

The other main reason to make Bilbao is the weather. It’s very shifting and often rainy and windy. Combined with the terrain it makes for very interesting approaches.

It also has connections from all over Europe which is quite amazing considering the size of the airport.

What interests do you have outside of Flight Simulation?

I live in Berlin with my wife and dog. The reason why we live here is simply because our main hobby is to eat & drink. I love trying out restaurants and getting a nice glas of wine at one of the million nice spots we have in our city. Photography is my main passion in life and I really enjoy traveling. I play some guitar as well.

 

Tell us what your typical day is usually like.

I have a studio spot where I try to spend most of my day. As a freelancer you are always at work in some way, a bit like when you study at university. There is always spare time but you are never off work in the same time. Well, anyway, me and Pluto (our dog) usally goes to the studio, spend the day here, maybe go to the gym. When my wife comes home from work we often go out and get something to eat, sometimes stops for a drink at some nice bar. We try to watch some tv-series but watching tv has always been a struggle to me, but I’m slowly learning to just sit there and watch.

When scenery development gets tough, how do you continue to motivate yourselves?

I hit those situations all the time. I tend to do something else for a while until I get my motivation back. Development issues can sometimes take forever to solve. We had one issue that I spent almost 1 month full time on. It can break the spirit. I go out for a run sometimes when I’m too frustrated.

It’s important to find a way to keep developing fun, and sometimes it can really be hard to move forward. I think it might be hard to understand how many hours are put in to the projects of most developers and how much a single issue that the end customer never see, can take weeks to find a solution to.

 

What makes Bilbao special compared to your other projects?

First of all, Bilbao & Basque is a love of mine. So, it’s very special to me personally. Philip also seemed fascinated about the place, we agreed very quickly to do this project. From a production point-a-view the terrain has been a huge challenge and Philip has really put in tons of hours getting it to work properly. We haven’t done such a big complex place before. Valdez was big but it was mainly mountain areas, Bilbao is a city with a huge harbour and complex terrain that we have spent very much time on getting right. It’s rare with such a fascinating airport, located in such an interesting region. I have no clue what to do after Bilbao that is equally fascinating. You get both a crowded international airport, fascinating architecture and a whole city plus interesting approaches and terrain. It’s one of a kind.

 

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

I’m a big fan of several developers. Some people at ORBX are really pushing the limits of what is possible and they are a huge inspiration. Also, developers like FlightBeam, Flytampa, FSDG, 29 Palms, Dreamflight and Jetstream are really big inspiration. People like Arno at Fsdeveloper deserves a lot of credit as well, without him I doubt there would even be a flight simming community or industry.
Favourite add-on (that’s not your own!)?

I don’t spend that much time flying these days but my absolute favourite of all time is Quality Wings Avro.

How do you balance your work life and home life?

I try to spend as much time with my family as possible. I have the luck to work with my two passions in life, photography and 3D. Still, it is essential to give your mind some rest at times.

 

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

I have a list of stuff I would like to do but nothing is decided. It is actually one of my main hobbies! I sit at Google Earth and try to find airports that seems nice and start looking up departures and other information, reference work, etc, and if some criteria are met I put them on my list. I tell my wife I wish for satellite imagery for some projects for my next birthday. She is wise enough to ignore that. Anyway, I really like to work with these small/mid-sized airports so it will probably be something in that range. It will not be Heathrow-sized or a GA-field, that’s all I know.

 

Where do you see Flight Simulation in 10 years time?

There seems to be a lot going on in the industry now. Hopefully the interest for flight simulation will be strong in 10 years time. Seems like it can take many different routes, there are many different companies releasing different platforms these days. Maybe the future is a bigger selection of niche simulator instead of how it used to be basically one that everyone used. I have no clue really.

 

Are there any interesting features in Bilbao you can share with us and the community?

Maybe a cheesy answer but the most interesting feature about this project is probably the project itself. Bilbao is simply a damn cool place.

 

Anything else you want to add?

I hope we all can be happy about that we have this hobby in common. It’s amazing how much joy it brings. I can still spend hours reading up on new projects and put stuff on my wishlist, searching through freeware libraries or reading reviews on the flight simulator stores. It’s a business always in progress. If someone would have told me when I started out 16 years ago, that I would still spend hours every day on this hobby doing basically the same thing I was doing back then, I would have probably found it hard to believe.

 

Thank you to Marcus for taking the time to answer our questions.

Check back tomorrow we share a quick story on why Aerosoft are one of our favourite developers.