Orbx, who doesn’t know this Australian based Flight Simulator company!
Known from their fine looking and highly detailed GA and medium size airports. Oops, sorry … Melbourne isn’t a medium size one!
Anyway, everybody who flies with FSX and Prepar3D, knows for sure add-ons from John Venema and his team, also known as Orbx.
ASN had the opportunity to interview John Venema while he was on business trip to Europe, actually England. Because of the length of the interview, we’ve decided to cut the overall interview into two parts.
Why do customers not have to pay for SBSL’s?
For those who aren’t familiar with SBSL’s.
SBSL stands for Side-By-Sde License, which is applicable for FSX and Prepar3D FTX add-ons.
We decided that if we want our customers to follow us to Prepar3D then we need to remove all the barriers and make is as easy as possible, so it was a simple decision really.
We’re also releasing a migration tool to link.
Orbx goes Prepar3 … can we expect X-Plane add-ons?
Not at this stage, the re-tooling of our tech for a new platform is not something we have funding for.
Does it cost a lot of time to rewrite FSX products to be compatible with Prepar3D?
The main work is in the re-coding of our custom applications and testing of our custom DLL libraries.
With over 45 products on sale right now it’s not a small task but we changed our approach from lots of SBSLs to a single migration tool which will make things easier for both Orbx and our customers.
Is it a matter of time Orbx will produce FSX, Prepar3D and XP10 Add-ons?
As I earlier explained, we’re not really catered for that right now. The investment is not funded and therefore, for the moment, we only provide add-ons for FSX and P3D.
Orbx goes England!
Is this correct and what can we expect?
Yes I announced our series of regions for GB last year, beginning with England and this is the start of our expansion into EU. We have opened a new development studio in Hampshire England and that team is now seven guys working on EU series of regions.
That team will double in size within 12 months and also continue to use other Orbx staff from around the world. We expect England to be on sale before the end of this year.
I am in Hampshire in fact this week (also with Holger Sandmann) and I’ve seen an alpha build in the sim and it looks spectacular!
Orbx started with NA and US sceneries.
Can we expect more?
Of course, we are working on South Alaska and Northern California right now, and then we’ll begin on our first east coast region, New England Martimes. Our aim is to cover the whole of NA but it does take time.
One of the reasons for establishing a secondary region team in EU was to allow our NA region team to focus on more regions. If needed we’ll invest into a third regions team which could look at new areas of the world.
Especially for our Atlantic Canada flight simmers;
Any idea if Orbx will produce for this area scenery too?
Yes, we do really plan to cover all of North America, and the New England Maritimes region is the the starting point for the east coast.
You will be able to do flights from London to the US east coast for instance.
After the success of the Lancair IV-P, will Orbx offer more GA airplanes?
Yes we have two other GA aircraft currently in development, one of which we’ve already announced; the Victa Airtourer. The other one is the new project from Jared the Lancair developer, although we’re not quite ready to announce it yet.
Will Orbx create large American airports too?
We will never so ‘no’ to doing heavy airports again but for now, with our team size and focus it does not fit into our business model to allow 2-3 of our team to spend 18 months making a heavy airport.
But as the team grows we will revisit this product segment again, for sure.
What actually does “FSX Go Tweaker Launch” do for us and is it worth the price?
It’s mainly a tool for those customers who like to set fsx.cfg parameters for each type of flying session they do, and launch FSX that way. For instance we use it internally for our developers so they can launch different performance configurations suitable for testing versus autogen or object placement. With the app it’s very easy for them to change from “dev mode” to “all sliders maxxed” mode to check performance metrics. For under ten bucks, it’s definitely worth it.
Can “FSX Go Tweaker” be used with other FSX Add-ons?
It’s a generic tweaking tool, not Orbx specific at all, so yes it can.
What’s the secret of Orbx’s FTX products?
It is our obsession with creating immersive VFR regions and airports that our customers really enjoy visiting over and over again. Before I started Orbx it was common to download freeware or purchase payware and visit them once.
But they were lifeless, flat, dead and did not give the impression of a living world. You really felt like you were in a simulator without being able to immerse yourself into the environment. But our mission at Orbx from the start was to create a dynamic world where something was always happening each time you land at your favorite airports.
We are slowly getting there, adding lots of new tech to create a much more believable destination and also to create a whole region where every works together as it should.
So the secret is that we spend a lot of time investing in new tech and ideas and making sure we always maintain the minimum Orbx quality in everything we do.
What is the new “ingredient” Snowflow?
Snowflow is when building roofs and other objects at an airport get a covering of snow in hard winter, something not possible using the default FSX texture system.
We create two sets of textures which are dynamically switched depending on the time of the year.