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Interview: Brad Allen


Interview: Brad Allen - Return To Misty Moorings

Conducted by Dominic Smith







Brad, could I start by asking you where the inspiration for RTMM came from?


Well I grew up in Florida, the son of a US Air Force veteran who reached the highest enlisted ranking of E-9. My father spent most of his career as a maintenance crew chief working on a lot of aircraft from the Korea and Vietnam wars. He was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL. I occasionally spent time with him at the base and he'd take me out on to the flight line and I got to sit in some aircraft as a little boy. So I've been around airplanes and helicopters all my life. As a youngster, I liked to build model aircraft and hang them from my bedroom ceiling. It wouldn't be too far off the mark, if I said that I've wanted to fly all my life.


I became interested in personal computers when they arrived and my first flight sim software was in 1988 with Microsoft FS3. The hobby has advanced a lot since then and I've stayed active with all the editions that have followed. In 1998, I got serious about flying and started taking private pilot lessons and soloed. I impressed my instructor because I already knew a lot of the terminology. Things such as radio communications, the phraseology used, VOR and NDB navigation tracking principles, and how to do some basic flight manoeuvres, were all second nature due to my simulator experience. I soloed and did several solo cross country flights. My logbook (which I still have) has 29 hours in both C152 and C172 aircraft. However, just before testing, my finances were suddenly redirected and regretfully, I've not yet been able to pick it back up again.










At that time I had FS2004 and flew on VATSIM, up high and in fast movers. As the scenery detail increased in realism I wanted to be closer to it, and so I began flying "Low and Slow". When I got my hands on "Misty Fjords" by Holger Sandmann, it was exactly what I was looking for. Doug Linn had created the "Misty Moorings" web site back then as it was affiliated with "Misty Fjords". The team at "Misty Moorings" had created a fantastic web site, one with an emphasis on bush flying, and all for free.


When the flight simulator community migrated from FS2004 to FSX, "Misty Moorings" got left behind. When the incredible Pacific Northwest and Pacific Fjords regional sceneries (created by ORBX/FTX) arrived, the scenery bar, in terms of detail, was set to a whole new level. In late 2010, I contacted Doug and asked him if he wanted to revive "Misty Moorings". He was kind of hesitant until I showed him how great the area looked in ORBX/FTX and FSX. I asked if he would at least let me recreate the old MM scenery for FSX. Eventually he agreed to work with me on my idea. I came up with the name, as it really was a "Return" to Misty Moorings. Looking back, it was that little email conversation that Doug and I had that really started RTMM.


Brad, is it still possible for users of FS2004 to enjoy the original Misty Moorings scenery?


Absolutely. The old FS2004 scenery designed by the original developers at Misty Moorings is still available on our site. Doug still maintains that area of RTMM for anybody still using FS2004.














As many will know, the world of RTMM is a collaboration of many talented developers. With that said, could you tell us a bit about your team and what roles they play?


Okay here goes. I come up with the ideas for scenery, enhancements, group projects, scout for locations, create scenery, make flight plans, recruit new talent and organize the team for any combined projects. Doug Linn does pretty much the exact same thing, except that he also maintains the homepage and its daily upkeep and chores. He creates ideas as well, like the trip tickets and much more. He's the boss! Dan Linn helped design the look of the webpage, its control interface, monitors our forum software and keeps our server space up and online. Guy "Spud" Maricich does all of our quality control, testing and troubleshooting. He's also the first one who will offer help in our forums and welcome our newest members to "Misty's Place".


Dexter Thomas is our main AI traffic designer and audio expert. He is one of the best at this! Rod Jackson develops large scale scenery projects and creates interface utilities like our RTMM Season Switcher tool. Klaus Troeppner creates aircraft and helicopter repaints and is our helicopter operations manager. He's always reminding me not to forget the helicopters. I won't forget Klaus!














Jeff Greene does mission creation, watercraft and watercraft operations. He's always helping us with testing and dabbles with panel design. Jeff is an invaluable asset for our forum support requests and troubleshooting needs. Steve Weinkamer is our object library specialist and creates scenery and objects. Rod and Steve converted each object and made our current libraries usable across all of our simulator platforms.


Robert Pomerleau is our video producer and helps promote RTMM on various simulation web sites. Dieter Linde maintains our navigation database waypoints for "Plan G". He also translates email communication and documentation into German. This is incredibly useful for non-English speaking German developers working with us. Other developers we have working with us are Murray Bremmner, Mike Broemme, Urs Burkhardt and Dr. Thomas Menzel who created our "Alaska Power Project" which is very popular. Gary Kinch is our newest contributor and we like what he's bringing to the table so far. We're always looking on adding more developers to the team.


Others who've contributed in the past include; Xavier Carre', Jacques Alluchon, Rob Abernathy, Chris Losh, Loic "Amentiba", Terry Carr, Chris Brisland, Harald Gabler and Kim Gowney. There's also Jan de Jong, who helped out with some custom ship repaints for our RTMM shipping project. I must also give credit to Holger Sandmann, Francois Dumas, Bill Womack, John Venema and the team at ORBX/FTX who have been very supportive of RTMM. Other contributors, include the late Jon Patch and Bill Dick. I'd also like to thank the many talented freeware object designers who have shared their work with us, like Mark Lee and Ken Hall from their OZx days. All these talented individuals, past and present, make what we do possible. Without them, the world of RTMM would not exist.














How do you go about creating the scenery at RTMM?


First I go out and fly around the regional base sceneries we work in. By doing this, I am able to search for areas I like the look of or find interesting. These are places where I think a small unimproved airstrip or lakeside cabin might work. The important thing here, is that any enhancements, must not (in a major way) detract from the original look of the base scenery. Due to the location of RTMM, there is a multitude of great looking geographical locations. The RTMM scenery sits in a treasure trove of plateaus, valleys, wide open spaces, coves, lakes, bays and fjords. There are simply so many places to discover! Because of this, it makes choosing one area over another, even harder.


When it comes to creating objects or airstrips, I leave this to the professionals, as I don't really have a clue! The only way I can build scenery is with my imagination. I've been using "Instant Scenery" since version one and with it, I place objects into my scenery creations. The only objects I use are objects from our own libraries.














Does RTMM have a virtual airline or online presence?


We currently have two VA's that we are happy to have as partners! Both Alaska Adventures and St. Paul Airlines use our scenery for their bush pilot operations. I like VA participation and think it brings an important amount of realism to the flying experience. We've had some online flying and multiplayer presence before but it's something we would like to expand into more. We've not had anyone really take on that role yet. We're looking into a new online TV idea called "TwitchTV" and Doug's been experimenting with our own channel on that network. People who are interested can tune into our channel and follow along on virtual flights, project development, etc.


Brad, what aspect of RTMM are you most proud of?


One of the things I'm especially proud of is the substantial amount of free content that the team has created over the past five years, much of which, is of payware quality I might add. This makes myself and the team at RTMM immensely proud, not just because of the quality of work, but because of the fact that we're able to give something back to the community.














However, the thing I'm most proud of, is the way we've managed to assemble such a great team of people, a team that works incredibly well together. This in my mind is what makes our webpage so unique. Not only do we all share a common passion for this type of simulated flying, but we all enjoy flying in this part of the world. RTMM is a result of that joint effort.


Before an individual can enjoy RTMM, are there any special requirements that he/she should be aware of?


At RTMM we put a lot of time and energy into creating each file and as such, all we ask for in return is that people take the necessary steps and time to install our collection of object libraries.


This is the first and most important thing a person can do at the start, as without these libraries, the various sceneries will not function as intended. Yes, it is quite time consuming, but we will gladly assist people looking for help. All they need to do is stop off at our friendly forums and inform us of the issue.


Before asking for help though, it's recommended that new users of RTMM, read our included installation documents. These are located inside each zip archive and include specific information relating to that file.














The requirements for RTMM call for FSAddon's Tongass Fjords, plus three ORBX/FTX regions to be installed. The regions are: PFJ, SAK and the PNW. These are used as our base sceneries. The additional scenery which RTMM offers, is built on top of these regional sceneries. You don't have to have all four base sceneries installed, but if you do, then you're ready to enjoy RTMM to its fullest.


Once the necessary requirements have been installed, the next thing to do is to pick a location from our scenery library. Each scenery has its own storyline. Reading these, enables you to get an idea of what the place might have in store for you. Our numerous sceneries also include their own flight plans and maps. With these, you'll have no excuse for getting lost!


When you're ready...take to the skies and enjoy the wonderful world which RTMM offers. Go slow and don't be afraid to deviate off the flight plan if you happen to see a nice little bay tucked away inside a fjord! Explore. There may be a hidden scenery down there, one that you might never have known about had you continued on with the flight plan. The vast amount of scenery you're able to explore, means you may never pass that way again.














Is RTMM for FSX only, or can users of FSX Steam Edition and P3D enjoy it too?


Well, thanks to our team and their combined efforts in converting such a massive collection of library objects, RTMM works with Microsoft Flight Simulator X, FSX with DX/10, FSX "Steam Edition", plus all of the variants of Lockheed/Martin's Prepar3D (at time of writing).


The installation procedure is basically the same for all four of the current flight simulator platforms!"


For the pilot who wishes to do more than explore the scenery, what can RTMM offer?


"From Here to There" that's our motto. Our primary focus is taking the user on a journey, a journey that doesn't just have a departure and destination point but one which also contains a story that you can interact with along the way. A flight which includes a nice pristine little lake at the end is great, but it would be so much cooler if you could discover and see hidden gems along the way.














Some of these gems include; seeing a cruise ship journey up Glacier Bay, a school of dolphins jumping in the water, a pod of Orca, flocks of birds and jumping fish. There are many more, but this gives you an idea of the level of immersion that RTMM offers.


There are little storylines for each location. These stories usually include historical facts, laced together with a fictional narrative. We have AI shipping for users to see along the way, missions to take that follow a theme and trip tickets that are pre-packaged journeys. These include descriptive locations you can locate as the journey unfolds. We even have a boating section where the focus is on watercraft instead of aircraft. On top of all the above, we have an extremely active forum where we cover all aspects of our webpage. That's the place to go for answers. The forums are also a great place to meet others who enjoy this wonderful hobby. As you can see, RTMM is a fantastic and friendly place, a place where you can share your passion of flight with others.


Brad, if an individual wished to create scenery for RTMM, how would they go about that?


Just ask. On our front page is a section that is intended for interested developers to check out. That will answer the specifics. It's really just a matter of letting us know you're interested and then working inside our area of coverage with a focus on the "Bush Flying" side of things. We're always looking for people who like to create scenery, enhancements, and that door is always open. Just let us know you want in.










Brad, I've noticed recently that the team have started to enhance parts of the PNW created by Orbx. Is it possible for you to tell us what plans you have for this area?


We've recently released the first package of a large scale scenery design named the Vancouver Island Project. It will focus on Vancouver Island located inside ORBX PNW. Our first package for the VIP scenery is the "North Island" region and this area has plenty of places to explore. For those who aren't familiar with the area, Vancouver Island is a very large island with many different areas and geographic zones to explore. Our aim is to eventually make enhancement for the entire island.


What's on the horizon that we can look forward to at RTMM?


In addition to the rest of the Vancouver Island Project, Rod is in the process of making another large scale scenery project named Western Chugach Part 2. This is near Seward and Whittier, Alaska and located inside the ORBX SAK region. Now I wasn't quite ready to say this but I'm going to go ahead and announce that we're in the early development process for what will undoubtedly be our largest scenery project ever.










It starts in Valdez, Alaska and then works its way over 800 miles north across the last frontier to Prudhoe Bay. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline! Murray Bremmner and I started forming the groundwork a couple of months ago and Murray's been extremely busy. He's created a library of custom pipeline objects for us to use which will enable the team to actually place each mile of the pipeline (that's above ground) onto the scenery. When completed, you'll be able to follow the actual path from start to finish.


On top of this, we'll be adding or enhancing the pumping stations that are found along the way, enhancing the worker camps, small communities, villages and airstrips that line the route. This incredible scenery will also have missions, custom aircraft repaints, AI traffic, custom sounds and signs. It will also contain a lot of custom objects, all linked together by a storyline. This will focus on giving our users a sense of what it might take to maintain, repair, work for and support the pipeline in one of the most demanding environments on earth. I've even come up with a fictional company and logo that the storyline will revolve around. Basically, it flies company support personnel to and from the pipeline. It'll be a huge undertaking and one we can't wait to see released. Once outside of the SAK region, users who have FTX Global, Vector, OpenLC NA Alaska/Canada and a good mesh package installed, will see the entire pipeline at its best. We're going to try and see how it works in other packages as well.










Looking ahead, what are your thoughts on the future of flight simulation?


Well for us at RTMM, we're extremely positive as we have a huge canvas to create things on. This is due to the incredible sceneries created by ORBX and FSAddon. As well as this, Prepar3D is being updated and FSX Steam has been released, so in terms of simulator engines, we're more than catered for. As far as tech shifts in the hobby go, some of the new multi-screen and panel configurations are pretty exciting, but rather cost prohibitive for some. Looking way into the future, I hope the personal computer still has a market share so our work can live on. It's advanced a lot over the last thirty years, so who knows what lies ahead.


Lastly Brad, what would you like people to know most about RTMM?


That we're still extremely enthusiastic and passionate about being able to give back (freely) to the community. We'd also like people to know that 'yes' we're aware of the work involved in the initial setup of RTMM. People often ask for a 'One Click' installation process, saying that the current procedure is...too much work, takes too long, etc. But here's the trade off. Knowing that you had to learn a procedure so as to gain a reward can often be one of the most satisfying aspects of life. Not that the installation of RTMM is difficult, it's just that it demands concentration and a bit of time. Sometimes the most enjoyable things in life, come from the understanding that you had to learn something new in order to get the finished result. If you do get stuck though, there are always plenty of people in the forums to offer you guidance.










Once you have the library of objects installed and tested to verify they're all active, then you can pick any location from our scenery library and begin your own personal journey into our world.


We're ready to help you get from here to there.


Brad, thank you for taking the time to be interviewed by FlightSim.Com.


It's been my pleasure Dom. And thank you for taking the time to help tell our story. Now let's all go to "Misty's Place" and have a cold one! I'm thirsty!! Newbie's have to buy the first round though!


External Links:

For those interested in more information about "Return to Misty Moorings" and all they have to offer for free, you can visit their web site at:


Return To Misty Moorings


Return to Misty Moorings Forum


Misty Moorings Twitch TV Channel


"Alaska Adventures" virtual airline


"St. Paul Airlines" virtual airline










Recommended Base Scenery:

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