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ANNOUNCEMENT

Orbx and large international airports



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#1 John Venema

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 02:26 AM

Hello all,

I feel it's prudent to update you all on some roadmap stuff and also some decisions about our future development plans.

As you know we often announce projects quite a long way in advance. This is probably more about about a 'land grab' rather than an indication that work has commenced. We do this for good reason - we respect that other developers like Aerosoft, FlyTampa, FSDreamTeam etc invest time and money into project planning and development. So it would be unfair to secretly develop a competing version of the same airport and then spring it onto the market. To us, that's doubling up on FS developer skills better suited to creating a broader range unique airports to be enjoyed by more people in the FS community. Make sense?

So we did 'stake' KSEA and KPDX and also made murmurings about YSSY, YPPH and YPAD.

The reality however is thus:

- Large international or major regional airports take 1-2 developers at least 12-18 month to make, based on the Orbx acceptable minimum texture fidelity, and model geometry
- This makes them too costly to produce, and occupies too much developer resources which would otherwise be free to make smaller airports
- Since we won't compromise on texture fidelity, their performance does not appeal to people with mid-range PCs
- KSEA is surrounded by perhaps the worst performing area in FSX, even using default FSX
- KPDX is similarly surrounded by an area hard on FPS

So our decision is fairly pragmatic and ultimately geared towards delivering the highest quality user experience: we make regions which predominately appeal to the GA/VFR/Low'n'Slow crowd, so we will divert all our resources to delivering the best experiences for that demographic.

This means the above mentioned airports will not be developed by Orbx in the short to medium term. Yes, Bill made a start on KPDX and even has a rudimentary ground photoreal in place and also has a bunch of photos, but the honest truth is that his heart is not in big projects; he loves making $100 hamburger strips so he's focusing on exciting new fields on both the USA West and East Coasts. (Yes, I did mention USA east coast so look for an announcement about that soon)

We also have Russ White joining Orbx as full-time staff beginning July, and let me tell you - some of the projects we're working on with Russ will blow you away. With Russ full-time at Orbx expect to see a consistent level of output from him. I can reveal he's 50% done with 1WA6 Fall City, beginning work on PAKT Ketchikan, and planning for Bella Coola and Stewart BC.

I will also be working with Russ on YMML V2.5, which will add in the much-requested ground poly using the 7cm source material, and also add in the new control tower under construction. That will be a free update. Russ and I will also continue to seek further improvements to YBBN, one of the things being the Brisbane CityScape, which will see the poor performing CBD being replaced with new models and a photoreal city area.

Jerry Smith and Ian Routely are hard at work on YBAS Alice Springs, which we hope will be done in a month or so. Ken Hall and Greg Jones are well into YMMB Moorabbin, also shaping up to be a cracker! Ed Correia is also making great progress on YWOL Wollongong with beautiful Nearmap PR to work with.

The NZ South Island landclass work is well underway and the regions team is aiming for a pre-Xmas release.

Martin Henare already has one foot in Queenstown NZ, which will be his next airport project once YMEN Essendon ships next month.

Jarrad Marshall is 50% done with Anacortes, as is Hugh Johnston with Skagit Regional. Two nice airports close to KORS, 3W5, 1S2, KMCW, 2WA1, and 1WA6 to really produce one of the most beautiful GA flying areas in the world.

To really top off this "epicenter of PNW", Scott Armstong is working with Heiko on OS9 Jefferson County, and Bob Bernstein is making good progress on W16 Monroe Firstar.


So ... lots of new stuff in all the above, but it's still the tip of the iceberg, with a bunch of stuff also in the works we can't talk about just yet. I do intend to update the roadmap page, but it's best to let you know in an announcement post rather than wait for my Photoshop and HTML meddling to catch up :)

I understand there may be some who find this roadmap update disappointing, and others who will support and embrace our max-detail-regional-airports future direction. I hope you will continue to support us the way you've done over the past years; it's truly encouraging to have such fantastic customers!

Yours in roadmaps.


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Regards,
JV


#2 ytzpilot

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 02:41 AM

I am really happy with this. ORBX Scenery is great VFR scenery and great bush plane flying. This is the areas where you get great performance in FSX, away from the large cities. It has been a thrill flying around the smaller regional airports in Australia and now the PNW areas.

Thank-you again John and ORBX team for the great products you produce and I look forward to more of them as these projects now begin to move easterly in North America, as well as the upcoming New Zealand packages.

Cheers :D
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#3 dontworry

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 02:54 AM

This is great news. I don't fly large airports anymore because of FPS issues (I can't go anywhere near KSEA or my FPS plummets). It's great to hear you guys are focused on the GA side of things. Keep it up! :)

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#4 Edward Boyte

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 02:57 AM

Sounds good!

Thanks for the update.

- Eddy

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#5 Woutertje

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 03:00 AM

I'm glad this decision is made. I'm sure there are some people who would have liked to see one big airport done in PNW or somewhere around there, i'm one of them. But to me it always seemed like they were not the main thing for ORBX to do. Don't get me wrong, they are stunning but the level of detail that goes into them just drops performance a lot, too much in my opinion. This is also what i like about ORBX so much, the open communication with the community about what is going on and that they are not afraid to say no to something.
It's a surprise to see there is so much in development already what we knew of and now there is even more announced. I will keep supporting you in the new direction you have taken, i just hope my bankaccount does too.

Again, keep up the good work, i'm looking forward to whats coming.

Kind regards,

Wouter

 

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#6 sbflyer

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 03:14 AM

I'm personally very happy with this decision, as I only fly GA and stay away from the large airports.

As an aside, I think there is something very inefficient about even the default FSX large airports such as KSEA. For all large airports, I found that airport vehicles even at minimum settings has a big FPS hit, even if I'm several miles away, e.g. landing at Crest S36 and looking towards KSEA. So I now fly with airport vehicles completely off. Also, some of the default FSX terminal buildings seem very poorly coded. On my old system, FPS dipped from my limit of 25 to 19 FPS just by looking at the default KSEA terminal.

Is 2W3 Swanson still under development?

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#7 John Venema

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 03:20 AM

Is 2W3 Swanson still under development?


Yes it is, but Tim and I are in a hold pattern on that project while we finish off commitments on other things. Still coming though :)


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JV


#8 2110

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 03:23 AM

Hi John & Orbx team,

That's very interesting and it makes a lot of sense, but at the same time don't forget that Software is forever, were as Pc's are not.
Pc's will always be upgraded as funds become available, so I feel large international airports and cities are just as important as the smaller strips.

As you say, only so much can be done at any one time, so thank you for that, it's Orbx or nothing for me.

Cheers Phil.

#9 aviator49

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 03:24 AM

Hello JV,

Thanks for the update. Crikeys, I was hooked first time I seen my first video of the FTX range of scenery. This scenery is no doubt the best in the industry and congrats to all the team for all there hard work and dedication to make our flight sim so real. I also agree that the major airports are good, but I fly mainly away from the big cities as well, thus giving me a much more clarity and less frame drops.
Already have new airports on pre-pay. Just don't tell the Big Cahunna. LOL.

My two Bobs worth

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#10 Martin

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 03:42 AM

John - fantastic to hear that is the new direction Orbx will be taking, I really think one of the main strengths of Orbx scenery is their abilty and passion for doing the small GA strips which in real life are disappearing at an alarming rate. Keep up the great work it is very much appreciated 8)

Cheers
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#11 Frank .A

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 03:52 AM

I like the sneak-peeks of the Aussie airports!
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#12 matsout

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 04:29 AM

Hi team,
Thanks for the update, Although I love my tube flying I find myself visiting the regionals more often, it's just more enjoyable and practicable for me on my system, so I welcome the update to the roadmap. I just love the atmosphere created by Orbx at these smaller places, really looking forward to the future with Orbx
Regards
Matt

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#13 kcgb

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 04:35 AM

Hows Bathurst going?

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#14 ajc

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 04:53 AM

Sounds good to me JV!

I like the looks of YWOL.
AJC

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#15 kcgb

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 05:01 AM

WOW :blink:

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#16 Charlie P.

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 05:04 AM

John V. and Orbx Team, Thank you for this update. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your deep involvement within this community and commitment to adapt and adjust as needed. I think this is a wise choice and will no doubt be a supporter of anything Orbx for as long as I stay employed. I look forward to seeing anything that comes hot off the Orbx press... I think your absolutely right about trying to do an airport that would only compete with others in the industry. I am reminded of something that I heard a few times growing up, which was "It's always better to be really great and have a high quality/specialist hold over a small part of a big market, rather than have a little of everything and loose sight of the standards that brought you to the top initially to begin with." In other words, in my opinion, it's always better to be the "ma and pop" specialty shop in town rather than being the walmart and have have so many different things appealing to such a large demographic that you simply can't keep raising the bar on quality of the product...if that makes any sense. I didn't mean to sit and ramble on here with this, just love being here and am thankful every day that I took a leap of faith and ventured into discovering how great Orbx really was (even all the video's and pic's didn't do you guys justice in my opinion), and can't wait to see whats next. Thanks for the update J.V. and Team!!!
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#17 chris101

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 05:12 AM

I was really looking foward for KSEA & KPDX. So that really sucks.
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#18 Tassie

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 05:13 AM

Hi John, whilst I have PNW I still spend most of my time in OZ scenery. With the announced updates to existing airports and the pending release of some exciting new ones this will probabiy not change. Having said that , bring on NZ :D

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#19 John Venema

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 05:32 AM

Hows Bathurst going?


It's going well. Most of the modeling is done. Tim, Graham and I will complete it before Christmas, that's a promise :)

Some shots:

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Regards,
JV


#20 Aaron Myers

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Posted 28 June 2011 - 05:35 AM

Sure hope we see some more airstrips ramping up in the PFJ area now given this announcement though. 10 airstrips in the PNW area and only a couple "planned" for PFJ so far is a bit of a shame given the beauty of that area and it's potential for the FTX treatment. Will NRM and CRM remain relatively untouched as well?
- Aaron

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