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ORBX

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!

Orbx San Diego International – Full Project Details

A little while ago, Orbx teased some excellent images of their upcoming San Diego project. Since then, multiple images were available on the forums to view. Today Matteo Veneziani has shared more details including that the project will span 1800km^2 of photoreal scenery, hundreds of points of interest and of course a “very accurate” rendition of San Diego airport.

As you can see areas covered include Bostonia, Imperial Beach and the city centre itself. All of which have been highly optimised to give a great experience in the sim.

Being an Orbx project, this will obviously be compatible with the recently updated FTX openLC NA pack as well as FTX Global.

I’ve posted the screenshots below and make sure you leave a comment as they look simply amazing!

Product Update: Orbx FTX openLC NA 1.20 available

Quick post from us on behalf of Orbx. Quite simply, load up your version of FTX Central V3 and it will prompt you update to version 1.20 of FTX openLC NA. Fix list is below. Just make note, some corrections will be available via FTX Vector in a future update for the Caribbean coastline.

– Corrections to the LandClass in the Caribbean area (Bahamas, Guadeloupe, etc.)
– Added more than 2,000 settlements in Mexico
– Adjustments to other landclass textures
– 86 corrections to Caribbean airports by Neil Hill

Keep an eye on the forums for further updates.

Don’t forget, we’ve interviewed TWO Orbx developers over the past few weeks. Make sure you read them!

Alex Goff

Marcus Nyberg

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.

Keep Reading

More Orbx Innsbruck Previews

Another week and another set of screenshots from Iain showing off the stunning Innsbruck from Jarrad at Orbx. Nothing specific to look at here, just a collection of various images of the airport and various helipads dotted around the Austrian mountains. As you can tell, it looks stunning and will be a must-have for any simmer serious about challenging and stunning approaches.

We’re confident release will happen in the next week or so, so make sure you check back with FSElite for the latest news and reviews when it’s out.

Also, just to mention, Jarrad will be stopping by for Developer Month a little later on, so make sure you keep an eye out for that! If you can’t wait for that, check out our interview with Marcus Nyberg.

Orbx Innsbruck – Iain’s First Shots

Orbx product’s typically follow a similar release cycle. They’re announced, they’re previewed by the developers and once Iain gets his hands on them, you know you’re pretty close to release.

And this is exactly why we’re so excited to share even more screenshots of Jarrad’s latest product: Innsbruck. Iain has posted his “first” shots today on the Orbx forums, and as usual, they look stunning – really showing off the beauty of the product.

I’ve posted them all below, but be sure to keep an eye on the forum itself.

We will have an exclusive interview coming up soon with Jarrad who will talk to us about Innsbruck as part of Developer Month. If you’re interested in Orbx developers, we also interviewed Marcus who’s currently working on Bilbao. You can read that here.

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.

Orbx Innsbruck (LOWI) previews

Its been quite some time since we last heard something from Orbx about their scenery for Innsbruck. So you can only imagine how happily surprised we were went just a moment ago we finally got to see something from it again. And it looks amazing. Orbx have put an immense amount of effort into Innsbruck and it is showing. I have never before seen an airport packed with so many details! From the hang gliders club to the apron and the terminal building: everything looks super busy making the airport feel really alive. The surrounding area of the airport that can be spotted in some shots also looks beautiful. We don’t have a release date yet, but here’s to hoping it won’t take much longer! Can’t wait to start making that dreaded turn into LOWI again!

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Orbx Will NOT Be Charging for Upgrades to Prepar3d V4

Prepar3d V4 rumours and information have been rife lately, and today, Orbx CEO John Venema adds to that. Based on his previous statements [Editor’s note: sorry, couldn’t find the original post], Orbx have today announced that there will be NO UPGRADE FEE for when Prepar3d v4 is released.

This is excellent news as many people have been worried that the new version, likely to be 64-bit, will mean that many developers would charge additional upgrade fees. Not only will Orbx be updating their entire library free of charge, it’ll be done ‘magically’ through FTX version 3 without even having to download gigs and gigs of data.

John wants to remind everyone to not pester people on the Orbx team as they are all under strict NDAs, but wanted to reassure the community they are as committed as ever to bringing the best scenery to Prepar3d.

You can read the full forum post over on the Orbx forums, but we’ve pretty much covered it all here.

Orbx announce FTX Auroras

If theres one thing I really miss in all my weather addons that create super realistic effects, clouds and more, its seeing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Luckily we’re getting some addon developers to create this amazing phenomenon for us. TOGA Projects recently released Envtex which adds this effect to our sims, and now Orbx announced that they are working on it as well! FTX Auroras aims at giving us an even more beautiful experience around the North- and South Pole and the first screenshots look impressive! The project is currently in beta so everything is still subject to change.

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