Work from home, they said. Be your own boss! Set your own hours! Sounds good, doesn’t it? Only I’ve been doing the freelance thing full-time for six years now, and the promise of freedom is a whole lot sweeter than the reality. On a typical day, I’m up early, racing around from project to project, working way harder than I ever did as a salaried employee. Sometimes, when I’m feeling burned out, I have to remind myself that one of the supposed benefits of being self-employed is not having a jackass for a boss. So, I let myself punch the alarm, roll over, and go back to sleep yesterday. All of which is a long way of saying that Fanboy Friday has become Sim Saturday for one week only.
So what’s being going on in the FS universe this week?
Meet Me in Brisbane
The biggest scenery hoo-hah this week is the release of Orbx’s new FTX AU scenery: Brisbane International Airport (YBBN). If you follow Orbx, you have a pretty good idea of what sort of quality level to expect (hint: ultra high). The pre-release video by Jaggyroad Films below gives an excellent impression of the scenery, and if that’s not enough then the product page should answer any other questions you might have. Thanks to their continuing research into better modeling methods, this is not only one of the largest, most detailed airports they’ve done, but is also a much better performer than their previous large release, YMML. The difference is their so-called “Textureflow” technology, which has been retrofitted to YMML and their other airports as well, another sign of their commitment to continual improvement.
YBBN is of particular interest to me, as I’m currently working on KPDX – a similarly sized airport – for FTX. It’s always good to know where the bar is, quality and performance wise.
I’ll Be The One in the B-17
Heard enough of me crowing about the Accusim-enhanced A2A B-17? Too bad. ;-) Maybe it’s because I get in a whopping hour or two of flying for fun each week, but this baby still has that new plane smell for me. As an update to last week, I managed to memorize the engine start and preflight procedures, and have progressed to buzzing around the pattern. Actually, I set out to do a short cross-country last night, but some bizarre technical glitches with my onboard sound card brought the flight to an abrupt end. Before I got dumped to the desktop, I did have a chance to finally experience the radio man picking up a little music and piping it to the cockpit for me. That is exactly the sort of touch that makes A2A’s stuff a cut above the rest. And in case you hadn’t noticed, the repaint masters have been dialing it up to 11 in the livery department lately. Check out the A2A site and Sim-Outhouse for some beautiful repaint pics.
Or Maybe Something Smaller…
Oooh, the thrill of anticipation. Sometimes it’s better than the actual payoff, you know? Only in this case, I’m betting the flying experience will still trump the waiting. The previews that have my attention right now are all three GA (surprise!) — two from Carenado, and one from Milviz, who are doing their first self-branded plane after supplying models to several other well-known devs for a while now.
If I had to guess, the closest one to actually releasing is Carenado’s F33 Bonanza. They trickled out a few more screenshots a couple of days ago, and have announced that it’s officially in beta. Can it be long now? Man, I hope not, ’cause look at that VC. Mmmmm…. Plus, the outside’s not too shabby, either. It’ll be a welcome change from the Cessnas and Pipers I’ve been cruising in lately.
In other Carenado news, they announced their next project after the Bonanza. Drum roll, please. It’s the Cessna 208 Grand Caravan. This is an interesting choice for them, as it’s substantially larger and heavier than their typical fare, and a turboprop to boot. One variant I’m hoping they’ll make is a cargo version without the side windows, as flown in large numbers by various freight carriers like FedEx. Like a lot of ‘simmers, I enjoy simulating flights that I have more experience with, and the skies over my house are abuzz every evening with swarms of FedEx Feeder 208’s, making their return to KPDX. It’s early days yet, but the renderings look promising.
Last but not least, Milviz (who’ve mostly remained behind the scenes up ’til now) are staking their territory with a new Cessna 310 model to be released under their own brand. Their modeling skills are well proven, and apparently they’ve added talent in the gauge coding and flight dynamics arenas to their roster as well. This will definitely be one to watch.
If I’m Late, Here’s Why:
I might only get a couple of hours of “fun” flying in each week, but that doesn’t mean I’m not spending a ton of time in FSX. The project du jour is, of course, Emma Field X. This week, I’ve been concentrating on dialing in the ground textures for Emma itself (herself?). It’s a curious challenge: try to create what is in essence an aerial photograph of a place that doesn’t exist. The fiction writer in me enjoys the world-creating that’s involved, especially working out the logic of things like how the roads would be laid out, where there would be forests, and where the trees would have been cut to facilitate approaches and landings. The trick is assembling the various photographic bit in Photoshop to make groundwork that’s convincing in the sim. I’m happy to report that things are definitely looking good, although I’m not quite ready to show shots. Soon.
The fiction writer in me has also been busy, er, writing fiction. The goalposts for finishing my current novel manuscript move constantly, but I’m doing my best to fix them in place. This is the month, I tell myself, that the first draft comes to a conclusion. And for the first time since I started writing this piece over two years ago, that actually looks doable. For those who are new to the blog, I’m working on my second novel-length manuscript right now, working title: Last Thursday. It’s a murder mystery set in the Portland, Oregon arts scene. Once this draft gets done, I take a breather, finish up Emma, and launch into re-writes.
So that’s what’s going on in my world. What’s up with you?