Garry J. Smith Interview
Conducted By Dominic Smith
Firstly an introduction - I am Garry J. Smith - ageing rapidly towards 64 years and have been tinkering in flight sim artwork since 1998.
I maintain a free downloads flight sim site at: http://www.gjsmith.net
I also provided a repository for both Mike Stone's and Milton Schupe and team's fantastic and prolific flight sim work since they retired from flight sim development.
Both these sites also contain free downloads:
Mike's stuff can be found at: http://www.gjsmith.net/Mike-Stone/
Milton's stuff can be found at: http://www.gjsmith.net/Milton_Shupe/
My current main project is the Ford Tri-Motor Project at: http://www.ford-tri-motor.net
One thing I must make very clear from the beginning; I am not an avid sim user. I use the sim mostly to check my aircraft texture work or create my scenery projects. I have never flown a serious flight from point A to point B in all the years that I have been doing flight sim artwork.
Shame on me, you might say, but after reading the contents below you will discover that my focus is on doing graphics within a media that just happens to be flight simulation.
All the technical flying stuff is not something that enthralls me, however the challenges of graphically altering the aircraft and the flight sim environment certainly appeals to my nature and enabled me to enjoy those challenges whilst enjoying my graphics hobby.
Now the responses to the questions:
When did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?
I first started in FS graphic development way back in 1998 on textures for FS98. This was at a time when everything was 256x256 pixel images and only 256 colors.
What got me interested? Well that is a hard question, but basically I had been tinkering in graphics right back to the days when you had to do most of the artwork in binary or hex code using old DOS machines.
The advent of Microsoft Windows opened up a new era for me in graphics. I tinkered with the first (line drawn) Microsoft Flight Sim programs but these were a bit boring in the early days. When FS98 came out flight sim graphics became far more interesting.
With my many years of application development, I ventured into creating a set of programs that allowed easy access to the image editing of FS98 aircraft. Hence my first commercial FS venture - Control98 - followed by Control 2000. By that time I was hooked on FS graphics.
I now not only do aircraft repaints but also create flight sim scenery models and build scenery across a very diverse range of needs.
Tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?
When it comes to flight sim graphics, design is a dynamically changing environment - particularly when you have to adapt to the techniques of different development methodologies by other people who create the aircraft you are working on.
Each is a challenge and a learning curve to discover and utilize the various textures and their mappings to the models. In some fortunate cases I have been able to work alongside aircraft model developers and jointly created the texture maps with the modeler.