A few neat paints, and some scenery to take a peek at too…but first, some news to consider.
One über-interesting factoid emerged in comments to last weekend’s post, and this was reference from old chum Dom to a new interview over at flightsim.com with Laminar’s Ben Supnik. As the interview is titled The Future of X-Plane, it may well be of some interest to more than a few of you, but I found it painful reading. I don’t want to recap the entire piece here (please, do read it for yourself), and there ARE some interesting insights into the future the sim MIGHT take, but all in all I found it pretty grim – for reasons that might not be very clear to newer readers but will seem “old hat” to long time readers of this blog. So yes, interesting, and first up a few admissions from Ben, chief among them that they (Laminar) realize the pressing need for European and Asian specific architecture to fill in the auto-gen, but golly-gee-willikers if Mr Supnik doesn’t come right out and ask if, well, wouldn’t some kind third party developers step forward to do this for us? Excuse my French, but WTF? A major omission from the get-go, one they promised to address “soon”, and now a plea for help – from the freeware community, no doubt? And here’s another rich one: they know the clouds are poor too, so go over to X-Aviation and buy SkyMAXX Pro. I’ll switch to Greek now: W-T-Bloody-F is going on here!!! Weren’t clouds supposed to be a major enhancement in v10 over v9.7? And now, TWO years later, they’re going to punt from deep in their own end-zone? Well, holy guacamole. I am surprised.
Because, you see, Ben rode all over us pretty hard for mentioning these things…oh, those TWO years ago (calling us, among other things, trolls), even though we proposed a decent solution at the time: simply HIRE MORE PEOPLE. No, he said. It takes too long to train people to our unique workflow, he said. They’d get to it, just give ‘em time. So…here we are TWO years later and still no clouds, still no plausible global architecture, and now a plea for third-party developers to come to the rescue?
Words fail me.
So. Why no pleas for help two years ago? Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but did they really want to lose development momentum to MicroSOFT and Lockheed-Martin – just for the fun of it? Was that their real game plan all along? That’s the only plausible explanation that comes to mind, because surely these guys aren’t so spectacularly inept? No. I get the impression that what they really want to do is go their own merry way, do what they want, when they want, and we’d be better off to just leave ‘em alone. They’ll handle a few pressing bugs if time allows, but these guys aren’t in the game to compete with any one else.
Laminar’s attitude of “going it alone” is, I think I mentioned way back when (and a few dozen times since), endemic of an enterprise run more like a hobby than a business (and this isn’t an idea that just came to us one dark and stormy night, as many frustrated “old hands” voiced it to us from the start and have over the years since, too…), yet one thing remains crystal clear: Laminar’s is an attitude that exudes little clear vision of a future competing with P3D, or anyone else who decides to enter the game and play for keeps. It’s like these guys get in a dark room and get lost in the code, and the realities of the market soon just don’t mean a whole lot in there. One positive note…Laminar intends to make a fully functional Garmin 430 GPS unit available in the near future! Praise be, but is it enough?
So, to finish up, I think I read somewhere once upon a time that the best time to hire and expand is during a recession, when labor and plant is cheap? I mean, It’s been 40+ years since I took Econ 101, but it kinda makes sense even now. So…what did Laminar do when confronted with a huge backlog of projects and needed help? What, they took the easy way out? They didn’t take on help, status quo ante, and they’ve gone down one rabbit hole after another optimizing code while leaving many core consumer demands unaddressed.
Predictable. Languishing sim. Fading interest. No new FsX developers entering the market, all such attention now sharply focused on P3D.
Well, c’est la vie, because it sure seems like AeroSOFT and PMDG must like dealing with businesses run more like businesses. Who can blame them: after reading this interview my a$$ was so chapped I needed a bucket of hemorrhoid medication to put out the fire. I wonder went through their minds?
Come to think of it…maybe we’ve run across all that’s really wrong with this blog.
Most hobbyist magazines generate prose as mindlessly supportive of new products as their advertisers could possibly wish for. Such magazines are, after all is said and done, funded primarily by their advertisers and “supportive” of their advertisers best interests is a given. This isn’t news to any one, is it? Anyway, so if a car magazine – just to use one example – writes a review slamming a new car, well, they probably won’t see much in the way of advertising revenue over the following months…at least not from the offended company, anyway, so predictably you get PR Department fluff, and not much in the way of the unvarnished truth. You want “unbiased? Go read Consumer Reports or some other similar rag that promises subscriber supported and unflinchingly unbiased analyses – prose, in other words, unsullied by advertiser influence. And hell, I’m as guilty as the next person in this regard, too. I go pick up a photography or sailing or motorcycle magazine and pour over the product reviews with an electron microscope, gleaning the smallest detail and dumping the impressions and stats straight into long term memory, then I go straight out and buy-buy-buy. That’s what you do in a consumer driven service oriented economy, and if people stop and think too much about what they’re doing then the whole thing shudders and grinds to a halt.
So, maybe we should have allied ourselves with some ACF sales organization and started pumping out “objective” reviews and otherwise never rocking the boat…but that wasn’t Simon’s style – nor mine. Still, when you write about a hobby you write for an audience rife with “True Believers”. True Believers tend to not question their assumptions very thoroughly (or frequently, for that matter). Regardless, we chose our path and stuck to it. Anyway, Simon and I have always liked shaking the tree and seeing what fell out, even if more than once we had to jump back from a snake.
So much for the future, eh? Like I said, there’s some interesting “positive news” in Ben’s interview, but it’s those two boners that stick out like a pedophile lurking around a playground. I mean really. Two years of completely lost opportunity. MsFlight imploded, giving Laminar room to run, time to dash ahead of Lockheed Martin. Did the patent-troll affair trash Laminar’s resolve? Is this outfit really just a hobbyist’s pet project, as many old timers assert?
Oh well. Onward to XP11. Maybe we’ll have third party global architecture by then. ‘Til then, who cares if Berlin, Germany looks like Berlin, Wisconsin, and maybe Rex for XP12 will finally work on a Mac or even, heaven forbid, a Linux machine. Just fly at night, or under heavy IFR. Or buy another sky/cloud add-on. Simon buys ‘em like popcorn for P3D, so maybe it was too much to ask of Laminar. But two years? Lost? Sure, sure, the sim runs smoother these days, and I know a lot of hard work goes into making this happen, but these were big items, weren’t they?
So who cares if P3Dv2 got just about everything right, and that bug fixes materialize faster than Captain Kirk chasing a skirt. That’s Lockheed-Martin, and THEY have deep pockets. Oh, there’s no irony in that…
Sheesh. Well anyway, no more Greek. For now. Maybe tomorrow it’ll all make perfect sense.
So, a handful of tres interesting paints for the FF 757-200 Profressional, these for the non-wingletted version. Seen way up top and just below, an Eastern AL paint, followed by the old Delta “delta” paint. The Delta “delta”? What’s that? Well, of course you know that the triangle is mathematical shorthand for “change in”, so when you see “delta”-T in an physics expression it means “change in” Time. Anyway, even though the airline took it’s name from routes served in the Mississippi delta region of the American South, the triangle logo came from the mathematical shorthand… Delta promised change!
And I’ve always loved that old DL paint. Classic lines. Like the old American “AstroJet” paint and Swissair’s schemes were classic, and Varig’s paint from the 60s-70s. Eastern’s, on the other hand, was always just plain dowdy, and it never helped that their equipment was almost always filthy – inside and out.
The Eastern paint is by zek0, and can be found here:
The old Delta paint is by Mike V, and is available here:
zek0 also fired off a newer Delta paint for the wingletted 752, available here:
I never cared for this paint. The tail looks faintly Russian, not a bad thing, unless you happen to be an airline operating in the U.S. Anyway… Each of these seems well done and they are of course freeware.
The airport used in the images above is the latest iteration of Renair’s EIDW Dublin Extreme, Ireland. That file is a keeper, too.
Now, let’s hop over to Montana. Bozeman, to be a bit more precise, and let’s look at a couple more 752 paints. The airport: KBZN Bozeman Yellowstone, by vsully. Decent enough, but a little sparse on detail, but this is a nice one to have. In the image below, if you look above the cockpit area to just under the tree-line along the distant mountains (the Bridger Range, to be more specific), that’s where my parents lived for a while…once upon a time. So, a trip down memory lane for me. Before the RJ craze, it wasn’t too outrageous to see 737s and even 757s coming in and out of BZN, and Northwest and Delta were the big players there 20-25 years ago. These days the ramps are more often than not filled with biz jets and a couple of RJs can be seen here and there a couple of times a day, but that’s more symptomatic of the times we live in than anything else… Yellowstone National Park is about 60-90 miles due south.
The old Northwest Orient paint is by zek0, and is located here:
zek0′s Delta Breast Cancer Awareness paint can be found here:
Now a big jump or two. Above, and the next two below are from OE3GSU’s LOWS Mozart/Salzburg, just a short hop SE of EDDM München. Salzburg is a “bucket list” city: if you ain’t been, you ain’t lived, but this is a really nice airport file, whether you’ve been there or not. You won’t want to miss this one if you’re using v10 (v9 users need not bother), and all the painful BS that went along with getting the old v9 version working is gone, too! Anyway, a must have file. Spectacular scenery around here too…mountain flying at it’s best to the south and west.
HaweeG’s v10 only YPDN Darwin is well executed, with nice boarding gate detail and the military field included with appropriate detail. Certainly worth having if northern Oz is in your sights.
Seen above departing Darwin, Jack’s 722 wearing a fresh Breast Cancer Awareness paint in “DownUnder Airways” red, white and pink. Very nice work from PPT.
Above, Renair’s latest for the Norman coast of France, LFRD St Malo, a wicked good GA/RJ airport. If you fly in France or along the Channel, don’t skip this one.
Fly up north? Way up north? Well then, Laddenius’ ESGJ is in Sweden, and ought to fit in with your plans quite well. Another don’t miss file, for v10.
Cami de Bellis continues to fill out her Polynesian rambles with the Marquesas Island Group package, pictured here, NTMD NuKu Hiva. As usual, her custom structures look decidedly nice, the colors vibrant, and feel quite fun. There are three other airports in the package, too. Seen here in v10, the file was made for v9.xx.
Vogon Zarniwoop’s 74S, located near Anacortes along the Washington coast is about an hour’s drive north of Seattle, and is a sweet little GA number enhanced with some local color…a refinery. Well done Vogon!
Last up, my favorite this week. Another sweet little GA field, this one along the southern Oregon coast, near northern California.
KBOK Brookings State is Rik Nilsson’s first scenery file, and it’s a fine effort all around. Seen here in v10, it shows as a v9 file at the Org., so what about night lighting?
Well, there’s a rotating beacon! But that’s all, though the file is a WIP, so who knows, maybe v10 lighting will show up one day. Anyway, GA hops up and down the US Pacific coast are getting better and better as a result of these folks’ hard work, but that’s always been the story as far as X-Plane is concerned. It’s the community of freeware developers that sets this sim apart from the rest, and why Laminar’s ongoing project is worth covering.
Anyway, enough of our ramblings. Time to get out and fly. Thanks for coming along, and we’ll see you again next time. Chip