• Interview With Justin Tyme

    Interview With Justin Tyme

    About You

    Tell us a little bit about yourself and the sorts of things you have done or enjoyed besides flight simulation?

    First, the Earth cooled...

    No, oh geez, long list. Born in western Pennsylvania to a preacher/farmer/pilot and his wife, my first love was baseball, being the first draft pick in the Indiana (PA) Little League draft in 1963 as an 8-year-old and dreaming of the majors. I had a cannon for an arm, could throw a baseball through a barn if I could hit the side of it. The first pitch of my career, while nearly defying the radar guns of the time, sailed over the backstop. I took several no-hitters into the fifth inning, while walking 12 and striking out 10 and typically be behind 4-0. I was also usually the smallest kid on the field. But, as they say, dynamite comes in small packages (are we allowed to say "dynamite" these days without drones buzzing? lol)

    I eventually settled into a highly-successful baseball career through high school, American legion ball, and into the local adult leagues--many championships, nearly a state championship. I entertained the dream of someday playing in the majors. Several tryouts ensued where exceptional speed, better-than-average-arm and a quick, surprisingly powerful bat graded well, but being around 135 pounds soaking wet, the scouts passed and there was no minor league contract forthcoming.

    So then the dream morphed into being an author and a poet. To keep a roof over my head over the next couple of decades worked everything from Crackerjack Toy Stamper, coal miner, sailor, accounting clerk, salesman, taxi-driver, typesetter, and factory worker. Many enjoyable years were spent simple and free, driving a cab, meeting people on all walks of life from all over the world, and writing notebooks, journals, sketching ideas, but poetry took dominance from 1976-78 then again in 1983, as a volcano erupting out of nowhere, reaching some sort of explosion in 1987-88, but the muse then fled by the time I found myself the single dad of two toddler boys five years later.

    All along I wrote much during daily downtime, a journal, notes, a few story outlines, and a movie treatment submitted to Stephen Spielberg during the production of "1941" in 1978 that had a very familiar appearance when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out three years later. The names and literary devices were different, but the story was intact. Oh well, and continued writing regularly. Along the way about ten-thousand lines of poetry escaped onto the pages and today I am a self-published author having composed Rants & Poems from the Future, now available for the Kindle on Amazon.com, and at my personal web site www.thetymebeing.net.

    Someday I'm certain the muse will revisit once I am able to unravel my involvement with a system that I don't fit into very well in order to continue on a road less-travelled. Once tucked into a mountain cabin with solar panels, a good spring nearby, a greenhouse and garden full of food, a pond with good fish, a good woman, a pen and paper and a tablet with a 4G connection, the muse will return and have her final say.

    When did you first get involved with flight simulation and what got you interested in it?

    I first became involved with computers back in the DOS days working in a typesetting shop in Ann Arbor, MI during the late 1980s. By about 1994 I obtained my first personal (maybe a Gateway?) computer from Rent-a-Center while working a factory job in Frankfort, Indiana, a single dad building display cases for some new-fangled device called the Apple Newton. Next trip to Wal-Mart browsed the software and found FS4, took it home, installed, and was immediately hooked on flying over the pool-table with putt-putt sounds from Meigs Field to Champaign, Illinois. But eventually decided to move back to my hometown of Indiana, PA (Jimmy Stewart and I share the same hometown) to raise my young boys after 20 years living from Florida, Arizona, a stint sailoring the Pacific, living in Hawaii, a brief stay in Hollywood, then Houston, Ann Arbor, and near Kokomo, Indiana.

    So I went home with two little offspring in tow, and decided it was time to establish some roots somewhere, albeit maybe later in life than usual, and sold vacuum cleaners then became a groundskeeper while my application to Indiana University of Pennsylvania worked its way through the channels. I was a full-time student again by the fall of 1995.

    I bought an early Packard Bell with 33 MHz processor, half a gig of RAM, 850 MB hard drive to create and store my schoolwork, and of course, took another visit to Wal-Mart where I found FS5.1. Shortly thereafter got my first internet connection and one of my first web searches in Netscape was, of course, "flight simulator."

    From then on a new world opened up as I discovered the online flightsim community through the IUP Flightsim Mailing list (what a coincidence to be attending IUP!) and ftp.iup.edu as well as on CompuServe. I became familiar friends with many of the early freeware developers, and especially with Alfred "Cover the World" Grech, who helped me place my first airport using Enno Borgsteed's hacked BGLGEN compiler, and who is probably most responsible for introducing me to scenery design nearly two decades ago.

    I moved onto SCASM and did some work with FSASM and became involved in the design and testing of Peter Jacobsen's Abacus Airport & Scenery Designer, at the time a cutting-edge graphical airport and terrain designer for FSFW95. While still in college I released my first few freeware products through ftp.iup.edu and a fledgling FlightSim.Com, which comprised multiple enhanced airports, hand-drawn polygonal mountains for Delmarva and West Virginia, and by the time FS98 came out I decided to design the entire state of Pennsylvania as my first payware product PANJ98. That is when FSGenesis was born during the summer of 1998. By the time FS2000 was released I discovered the terrain mesh SDK and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Do you have any real world aviation experience, fly any planes, or own any aircraft?

    Some of my earliest memories are in the back seat of a Taylor J-2 buzzing our farmhouse and landing in a nearby field outside of Kittanning, Pennsylvania. My Dad had obtained his PPL a few years before I was conceived and we would often take Sunday afternoon flights together over the rolling countryside of western Pennsylvania.

    He later became a CFI, flew a twin turbo hauling freight and charters, managed a small airport in Ebensburg Pennsylvania. Unfortunately during that period of time I was off exploring the world living as a bohemian poet, and regretfully couldn't make the opportunity to obtain my own pilot's license, but I have a few hours flying from the right seat with my dad as an informal instructor. I remain convinced that I could get a small plane down in an emergency in such a way that I could walk away, though perhaps might bend the plane a little.

    Though most of my flight experience is in the virtual world, general aviation and the yearning for flight remains in my veins. I expect to someday fly a Jetsons car.

    Who do you consider your mentors in the flight simulation development world and why?

    Most definitely Alfred Grech, Konstantin Kukushkin, and Peter Jacobsen, as well as many others lost in the cobwebs. I also have to mention Arnie Lee at Abacus as many bills were paid from performing tech support on Airport & Scenery Designer, as well as more than a few commercial projects released through Abacus over the years.

    Later when I became involved with the beta testing program at Microsoft, many of those working at Aces Studio, especially Adam Szofran, were very helpful in answering questions concerning the FS2004-FSX terrain engine. Of course, one always has so many teachers along the way, it's impossible to mention them all and to all those not mentioned, my apologies and thanks.


    28 Comments
    1. btwilks's Avatar
      btwilks -
      Thanks for that article - a very interesting read.
    1. zarfot's Avatar
      zarfot -
      Just - in - time
    1. flibinite's Avatar
      flibinite -
      It looks like a takeaway is that no further development of mesh terrain is planned. That's too bad. South America was slowly being developed, and the Nordic area was never finished, I don't believe. Sayanora to the Galaxy subscription
    1. b3burner's Avatar
      b3burner -
      I find Justin's contribution very valuable. Mesh terrain that's quality is important to me, and Justin delivers the goods as promised.
    1. iainsmith's Avatar
      iainsmith -
      Quote Originally Posted by b3burner View Post
      I find Justin's contribution very valuable. Mesh terrain that's quality is important to me, and Justin delivers the goods as promised.
      He doesn't. I pre-paid for his Scandanavian mesh and he has not finished Finland!

      Iain Smith
    1. ftldave's Avatar
      ftldave -
      Quote Originally Posted by iainsmith View Post
      He doesn't. I pre-paid for his Scandanavian mesh and he has not finished Finland!
      Moral of the story? Maybe it's to never prepay for anything from a Zen-minimalist on the path in search of his soul.
    1. gwillmot's Avatar
      gwillmot -
      Quote Originally Posted by iainsmith View Post
      He doesn't. I pre-paid for his Scandanavian mesh and he has not finished Finland!

      Iain Smith
      I noticed a long time ago a drop in Justin's production. It coincided with his desperate and frantic pleas for cash and him practically giving away his product to pay for his personal expense problems. I wrote to him about his wisdom in continuing on such a track, and it actually might be better to shut the door than to continue begging.

      He admitted he had made a classic mistake by selling Galaxy lifetime memberships ( I bought one) and that it ruined his cash flow. I recently wrote about failure to pull through on his FS2004 commitments about promised Scandinavian mesh, only to be told about what HAD been done, not addressing what had NOT been done.

      After this article, it is apparent that he will no longer be selling his product directly through FSGenesis, and that his Galaxy members will indeed be stuck. In addition, it appears that he is looking to future products without commitment to finishing past products that were promised.

      I for one will advise people to heed the phrase of "buyer beware". I know Judge Judy wouldn't have much sympathy for this case, but I still think that he is trying to smell good in the middle of a big stink'n mess.

      gwillmot - Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me
    1. Toposim's Avatar
      Toposim -
      Hi All,

      Production is ramping up again after negotiating some rough waters and transitioning to a leaner, more streamlined operation over the past several weeks. Glenn and Ian, Finland is high on the production schedule, only awaiting source data access. All will be fulfilled, just not on the original timetable. And everyone can expect a steady stream of new 19m NEXTMap titles over the coming weeks and months, which I'm sure will restore to polish whatever tarnish may have developed over the recent necessary hiatus.

      I'll be happy to address all the wherefores and whys, or any other questions, comments, or concerns over at http://www.toposim.net/forum/forums/...about-toposim/, a more appropriate place for these discussions.

      Thanks

      Justin
    1. flibinite's Avatar
      flibinite -
      Fair enough, Justin. For the public record, your products have been priced lower than they should be for the quality rendered. I bought a Galaxy membership not so much in search of a deal, but because I thought it a reasonable, additional price to pay in hopes you would be able to afford to continue development. I reached the point where I realized I'd buy all your meshes as they were released.
    1. Toposim's Avatar
      Toposim -
      Quote Originally Posted by flibinite View Post
      Fair enough, Justin. For the public record, your products have been priced lower than they should be for the quality rendered. I bought a Galaxy membership not so much in search of a deal, but because I thought it a reasonable, additional price to pay in hopes you would be able to afford to continue development. I reached the point where I realized I'd buy all your meshes as they were released.
      I appreciate your understanding. The Galaxy membership program was surely an innovative concept, but it should have been capped at some point long ago. Eventually the math catches up when all your best customers have been removed from the future revenue stream. A few Galaxy members did make use of the donation option, maybe 1 in ten, and that was always appreciated, but after 14 years and nearly 1000 Galaxy members, revenues dwindled below a threshold and and the Ed-Sullivan-esque plate spinning ensued. The plates started falling and the act was finally over.

      The business essentially failed because it gave too much way. That said, I still have an interest in FSG Legacy products and will continue sim-development with Toposim, distributed through FS Pilot Shop, so the art will continue but the business, thankfully, will be handled by others. Toposim will continue NEXTMap development of the world-wide 19m product line, as well as perform simmer-commissioned custom micro-projects dealing with airport plateaus and other anomalies that remain throughout the FS virtual world.

      To all Galaxy members, I am truly sorry that the Galaxy memberships in the end turned out to be less than lifetime, but in hindsight the business model was unsustainable from the beginning, but over the ten years when the FSG catalog grew from just a few titles to nearly 200, I hope you still consider that it was a fair deal.

      Here's to going forward again . . .
    1. mfahey's Avatar
      mfahey -
      Wow what a story, I'm not sure if I have ever purchased any of Justin's work - I may have back for FS9, but for a long time I have been in FSX. I will be needing some mesh for the upcoming Orbx Global, so I will be placing some orders soon. Its great to hear a story about someone doing it differently, Justin seems such a character that I want to help him on the path to enlightenment.
    1. Toposim's Avatar
      Toposim -
      Quote Originally Posted by mfahey View Post
      Wow what a story, I'm not sure if I have ever purchased any of Justin's work - I may have back for FS2004, but for a long time I have been in FSX. I will be needing some mesh for the upcoming Orbx Global, so I will be placing some orders soon. Its great to hear a story about someone doing it differently, Justin seems such a character that I want to help him on the path to enlightenment.
      LOL, thanks Mark . . .
    1. davebelsey's Avatar
      davebelsey -
      Justin,

      Good to see this on FlightSim.

      For months I have been trying to get you to fix major errors in your NextGen FSX mesh for Ireland, but all requests have been ignored and posts deleted.

      As a Galaxy Express member I was already aggrieved that a 'lifetime' membership only actually meant 'for as long as Justin deems fit'. Instead you shut the door and embark on a new venture which you hope will make you rich again. Rest assured, I will not be funding your lifestyle any further.

      Please have the decency to now attend to the problems in your existing product and respond on here .... hopefully we will then be able to dissolve our association.

      Dave.
    1. Toposim's Avatar
      Toposim -
      Dave,

      Your requests have not been ignored. We have communicated about this more than once and I explained that my circumstances were such that the trench issue in Ireland could not be fixed at that time, but would be fixed at a later date.

      I've already addressed the unsustainability of a business model involving the Galaxy membership. That's just a mathematical reality. So it wasn't "as long as I see fit" but as long as reality could sustain it. It started with the best intentions and ended up driving the business into the ground. It wasn't a sudden event, but a gradual descent into insolvency playing out over years.

      Sometimes when one is flying along on schedule through calm skies, we can fly into turbulence that requires a change of altitude or course. Life doesn't always go according to the flight plan. Life changes, not always fortunately, emergencies arise, we adapt and adjust, figure out what works and what doesn't, and do our best to land without bending our plane too much. Sometimes we see stuff way off on the radar, sometimes we have limited visibility and have to fly in IFR conditions without the benefit of instruments. If you've been fortunate to be flying through clear skies all along, I congratulate you and hope it continues. but sometimes we have to fly through bad weather and turbulence, fasten our seat belts and hang on for dear life. So sometimes fixing an inadvertent trench in Ireland back in the cabin gets lost in a myriad of emergency procedures you're trying to perform in the cockpit to keep the flight under control.

      Rich? Again? LOL - I just hope to get by while doing something I enjoy. And the "lifestyle" I'm transitioning into doesn't require much funding. There are certain realities of this economy that behoove me to learn to live a downsized simple life with less rather than trying to chase the rats to riches. And these transitions don't come without disruptions in ones work and personal lives. So I have no illusions of riches, and wonder what sort of lifestyle you're talking about after food, paying bills, supporting children, and trying to steal an hour a day to find some daily peace.

      In any case, I'm sorry that you feel ripped off in some way. The trench in Ireland will be fixed when it gets fixed. Hopefully I can get to it soon and I hope then you are satisfied with your $9.98 investment in a whole continent, of which Ireland is just a tiny part.
    1. davebelsey's Avatar
      davebelsey -
      Justin,

      Your reply contains so much BS that I will not even bother to respond to most of it.

      Suffice to say, in the U.K. where I live, we have laws that require a product to be "fit for purpose". By any standards, a trench that is hundreds of miles long and a spike reaching over 20,000 ft in the air makes your NextGen Ireland mesh anything BUT fit for purpose.

      It has been many months since I brought these to your attention, yet you ignore my e-mails and remove any posts that I make on any of your forums.

      You have provided me with shoddy goods which you are failing to rectify, but rather move on to a new venture.

      "will be fixed when it gets fixed" is totally unacceptable, you should be giving priority to servicing existing products before you embark on a new career. Just how much longer do you think it will take you to fix these? Why does it take that long?

      Justin Thyme may be the name that you choose to use, but it is a pity that it is not one that you live up to.

      Dave.
    1. Toposim's Avatar
      Toposim -
      Dave,

      Please just uninstall Ireland and I will refund the prorated amount of 77 cents you paid for the product. No harm no foul.

      Again, sorry for the inconvenience, mental anquish, and irritation this has caused you.
    1. Toposim's Avatar
      Toposim -
      Hey Dave . . .
    1. Toposim's Avatar
      Toposim -
      . . . I'm working on it now . . . will take some time for retooling and digging the source data out of the archives, but I'm working on it.
    1. JSkorna's Avatar
      JSkorna -
      Sometimes it's just not worth it.
    1. davebelsey's Avatar
      davebelsey -
      Sometimes it's just not worth it
      What does that mean, JSkorna?
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