• Interview With Alf Denham

    Interview With Alf Denham

    Conducted By Dominic Smith

    Alf Denham

    Development

    When did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?

    If we ignore what posed as a flight simulator on the Spectrum 48K, my first simulator was FS2 when it was owned by SubLogic. This I ran on a Commodore Amiga 500 and later an Amiga 1200. When Commodore folded I then moved to the IBM PC and used FS98 and its later variants.

    When I started using FS2004, as impressive as it was, I became bored with the lack of scenery shown for the small UK airfields and wondered if there was a way to fill in these scenery gaps. I came across the Rwy12 program and started adding items for my own interest.

    When FSX (Deluxe Edition) became my primary simulator I was pleased to see that it included Microsoft's Design Suite (MSFS SDK). I managed to install and use the Object Placement Tool (the rest of the tools are still a mystery to me!). Then AFX came along, which enabled me to alter the airfield data. Now that I had the tools, I started modifying those small forgotten UK airfields. At about the same time, Gary Summons started producing his excellent airport scenery, and then later some of the smaller airfields. These were incredibly well done, but like most good things, came at a price. Flight simulation can be a fairly expensive hobby at times, and not everybody has the resources to have the newest and best, so the idea of creating free variants (which improved on the generic scenery) was born.

           

    Alf, could you tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?

    My first port of call is Google Earth which I use to correct the runways. You can almost guarantee that something has an error, be it position, length, bearing, etc. I can also use Google Earth to measure the dimensions of the buildings which is extremely useful. Later on in the design process, I use pictures (if suitable ones are found), to calculate the height of buildings. Once I have the layout and positions sorted, I construct the 3D buildings with Instant Object Studio and then paint them with the textures from the pictures that I've found. Where pictures only have partial views of buildings or are distorted, I reconstruct the bits I can see using Paint Shop Pro, Paint and Gimp. Where I have nothing to work with, I use artistic license (I have never claimed my scenery was 100% accurate). Once that stage is completed, I then add the other details such as trees and fences etc.

           

    Is there a particular reason why you specialize in UK airfields?

    Yes, I tend to do most of my flying around the UK (GA aircraft) and so wanted to improve the general experience. I originally looked at England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and did do one Scottish scenery, but when I found out that a couple of chaps were already creating small airfields in Scotland and Northern Ireland I decided not to step on their toes. For this reason I concentrate purely on England and Wales. I suppose I should have called them Alf's English (and not UK) airfields!

    What do you consider your best or most popular work?

    Since I started in 2008, I've had just over 169 thousand hits, which I find quite amazing. Of course, this number is a combined total on three flight simulation freeware sites but I still can't believe it. When I look at some of my earlier designs I actually feel quite embarrassed, yet some of the early ones are still being downloaded. The greatest number of hits has been just over 10,000 on my Volume 7, which consisted of Aberporth, Barra (original version) and Eaglescott. Of more recent output, Popham and Old Warden v2 seem to be the most popular.

           

    Tags: alf denham

    6 Comments
    1. mark1930's Avatar
      mark1930 -
      Alf. I have been hunting for your FS2004 creations, but I have had no luck. Could any one give me a link.
      Thank you for the current FSX creations, Alf.
      Mark Burton.
      Canada
    1. flightman's Avatar
      flightman -
      Excellent and informative interview. Fascinating to read about the man behind these beautiful sceneries. Long may you continue in your various hobbies. Hopefully one day there will be an Alf Denham rendition of Shoreham.
    1. morrisman's Avatar
      morrisman -
      Quote Originally Posted by mark1930 View Post
      Alf. I have been hunting for your FS2004 creations, but I have had no luck. Could any one give me a link.
      Thank you for the current FSX creations, Alf.
      Mark Burton.
      Canada
      Sorry Mark,
      I only created 2004 scenery in a small way for my own interest. I only uploaded sceneries when I got into FSX.

      Alf
    1. bermershof's Avatar
      bermershof -
      Hello Alf, Since a few months I have a new pc. It is a pc with Windows 8.1 64b. Since then several programs that I use for scenery design don't work anymore (such as RWY12, Editvoicepack, etc.). Do you nwow what went wrong? Is it the 64bits windows version? To repaire or restore this problem is it better to return to Windows 7?
      Greetings from a very hot Uden city in Holland (Europe).
      Tomahawk
    1. morrisman's Avatar
      morrisman -
      Hi Tomahawk,
      Afraid I can't help you there. I have no experience of using FSX or any of the Utilities in Windows8.1. All mine have been with Windows 7, Vista and XP. It's a while since I used Rwy12 so don't know if it was ever updated, it's quite possible that these old programs are not happy with 64 bit. It would be best if you could track down the originators of these programs and ask them-or try the FlightSim Forum.
      I would just say to anyone reading this, I don't pretend t0 be an expert in these things, just a keen dabbler!
      Alf

      Quote Originally Posted by bermershof View Post
      Hello Alf, Since a few months I have a new pc. It is a pc with Windows 8.1 64b. Since then several programs that I use for scenery design don't work anymore (such as RWY12, Editvoicepack, etc.). Do you nwow what went wrong? Is it the 64bits windows version? To repaire or restore this problem is it better to return to Windows 7?
      Greetings from a very hot Uden city in Holland (Europe).
      Tomahawk
    1. Roger Wensley's Avatar
      Roger Wensley -
      So all started by frustration with Flight Simulator's lack of scenery. I know what he means; I only started because when I was learning to fly I saw three grass fields that were not in FS9. Now, eleven years and 400 airfields later and still not finished.
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