It’s been a noisy week inside my head. Just last night, I realized with a groan that Friday was coming on like a freight train, and me with nothing to write about. That’s how it goes sometimes, you know? One week, I’ll have hours to browse forums and take the pulse of what’s happening in our hobby, and bammo, the next I’m head-down on a bunch of demanding projects and can barely stop to eat. The good news about this week is that things are reaching a fever pitch, scenery-wise. Stark’s Twin Oaks is nearly done, and Emma Field is ramping up. Huge thanks to all of you who visited this week to see the Emma building renders, by the way. You smashed every traffic record for this blog. Utterly.
Anyway, I did manage to take note of a few interesting developments…
Just in time for the mainland blizzards, FS Dream Team has just released a new FSX version of their PHNL Honolulu International Airport scenery. I have nothing to go on but their product page and some forum preview pics, but if this one is anything like their previous releases, it’ll be a hit. My wife is from Hawaii, and we try to make it “back home” at least once a year, so I sort of feel like HNL is my second home airport. It’s a delightful mish-mash of old and new buildings that traces the history of Hawaii’s rise in status over the decades, from sleepy island getaway to tourist mecca. The rumor is that they’ve also included some other island airports in this package, so I’ll have to get it just to see if a certain other field is there. It definitely looks like a worthwhile get.
Tiger Moth Preview Pics Posted
I’m a biplane nut. If it’s got an extra wing, I’m generally inclined to download it and give it at least one go. The most recent kite on the block is Anthony Lynch’s DeHavilland Tiger Moth for FSX (and I presume FS9, but I’m not sure). It looks like a gorgeous model, and I’m sure it’ll quickly become a fanboy favorite. Apparently, it will also be free, which will only serve to get it more play. Here’s a quick shot, and you can head over to the Sim-Outhouse forums for a more substantial preview.
The teasing doesn’t stop with the Tiger Moth, oh no. Michael “MCDesigns” Carr has also let slip with a single shot of his upcoming “Otter Run” bush airport, which is designed to fit neatly within the Tongass Fjords X package. He’s a man after my own heart with those details… you can practically hear the fish jumping. If you can’t afford a tropical vacation, at least you can stay down on the ranch with your trusty Piper Cub floatie. Nice.
A Wonky But Useful Scenery Design Tool
Just last night, I was monkeying around with Twin Oaks, trying to find a way to add a few hundred custom trees to the filbert orchard next door to the airport. It’s a daunting task, placing rows of perfectly spaced trees over several acres, while not making them look like cookie-cutter clones. Daunting, that is, unless you’ve got Don Grovestine’s FenceBuilder Pro in your arsenal.
The latest version allows the user to place a row of custom scenery objects without making them look unnaturally even. The trick is in the randomization. In my project, I made six variations of filbert tree from pics I took at Twin Oaks last summer. Then I gave FenceBuilder the starting and ending points of my tree rows, and instructed it to randomly place one of the six trees every 20 feet or so, while also randomly changing the heading of each tree, and the scaling +- 25%. The result is a very natural looking orchard. In fact, it’s so easy to place massive amounts of vegetation this way that you could quite easily bring the sim to its knees. In a 30-minute period last night, I must have planted a couple thousand trees, easily.
I don’t know if this version of the orchard will make it into the final release, but if you ever need to place terrain hugging walls, fence, or rows of objects like this, FenceBuilder can save you oodles of time. Thumbs-up!
Alright, I’ve got to get back to my design work. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: go have some sim fun this weekend.