When did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?
I started publishing airports less than a year ago. FSX had a lot to offer, however X-Plane lacked a few good airports in key areas. My first involvement at the early stages of X-Plane 9 was to convert FSX files for my personal needs, but I was quite disappointed by the results, so I began to make some adjustments using the "Overlay Editor", a precious tool offered to X-Plane fans. I have to admit there was a time when I populated my favorite destinations with objects collected here and there with no fear for copyright issues, since I've never shared my early productions.
I was still using "Overlay Editor" when I created my very first airport. I even considered uploading it to the official X-Plane platform. I could have selected a Belgian airport to start with, since I was born there, but I chose Baton Rouge instead. Baton Rouge is my home of 20 years and it is where I became a proud American citizen.
In a sense, my approach can be compared to what motivated me to write French novels, the ability to escape from the real world by creating my own microcosms. Baton Rouge KBTR, for instance, had a USAF section in its first release, although it doesn't exist in reality. Houston KIAH has an Airbus A380, just because I thought it would be nice to have it there.
In other words, I like to accommodate reality to my imagination and scenery development is one part of this approach.
What French novels have you've written and where might be able to find them?
One novel has been published so far: Baron Rouge: 19-59 was published by Tintamarre Editions, Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport, 2006. It is the only French novel written in Louisiana since the mid-19th century.
It's the story of that guy who was 59 and reversed his aging process after a bath in the O'heo Gulch Pools, aka the Seven Sacred Pools, in Hana, Maui. It is written in French.
The second one "Saisons Eternelles" (Eternal Seasons) is still in the making. It tells you the story of a man visiting paradise. Eventually, he will have an affair with the goddess in charge of the universe at that time (gods are so numerous, they take turns). But after a while he expressed some regrets about life on Earth, so he was sent back with a mission by the goddess in charge.
Tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?
As a teacher of French literature and language (or French as a second language), I lacked the technical skills to go deep inside the mysteries of airport editing. Nevertheless, I became quite popular in the X-Plane community for being a pioneer in Lego brick airports where you use only non-customized buildings. I became a mentor for quite a few followers, and others enjoyed teasing me for the simplicity of my designs.
Over time, I developed new skills which inspired revisions of earlier versions of my airports. Quite recently I teamed up with a German fellow, Hans H. Gindra, a former licensed GA pilot and ATC controller at Frankfurt/Mannheim. Hans is my custom buildings architect, I do all the rest but still listen to his expertise, and follow his reality checks in signage, radar placement, etc.
Since last week, a former Belgian Air Force fighter pilot, Marc Leydecker (Belga12345), is in the process of teaching me SketchUp. I hope this will help me to get rid of my reputation as the Lego bricks guy.
What do you consider your best or most popular work?
I don't have one. Every single production for the next day, the next month, the next year will be my best.
I might have become popular with Houston KIAH, but when I fly there, I still see improvements needed. Eglin II with Hans was most certainly our best achievement since every single object in the orthoscenery had something significant on top of it.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?
Sometimes I am facing quite a few technical issues, but there are always friends out there to help me out like Brian Godwin who just released Dallas-Fort Worth KDFW. I can go through a lot of frustrations when things go wrong or when I cannot find the right answer in a fashionable matter of time.
It can be minor issues like USGS not delivering orthoimagery for Hawaii, an ugly layout for KECP Panama City, or a new beta scenery tool I would adopt in the middle of a development, causing problems.
What are some of the more unique or special aspects of what you create?
I basically create for my own pleasure and personal use. Eventually, I share it with the community of simmers. In general, although I can take liberties with airports, I like to make them look as true to real life as possible, an accumulation of abundant objects and junk. I could be described as the baroque scenery developer.
What have been your favorite projects?
I have a special interest in Hana, Maui, PHHN, since this is the setting of my first novel, Baron Rouge 19-59. It was recently upgraded and uploaded to the Org and FlightSim.Com. I plan to return in three years, for my 20th wedding anniversary, where I plan to take a lot of pictures and make it the best airport frede ever made.
What software packages and tools do you use to develop?
I am a Marginal's WorldEditor addict (WED) and in particular I like his GroundTraffic tool a lot. I faced quite a few difficulties with his ATC taxi and traffic flows. Like I said before, I'm very excited to use SketchUp in the near future.
Who would you consider to be your mentors or inspiration in the development world if you have any?
I consider the Australian guys of YSSY (Chris K.), etc., as the epitome of perfect developers.