• Interview With Manfred Muller

    Development

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

    It all started because I wasn't particularly happy with the default (empty) airports in X-Plane, and the included Aerosoft add-on airports didn't really satisfy me either. Also, the scenery created in earlier versions of X-Plane, by numerous other developers, did not cover airports that I was that interested in.

           

    I know that a large part of flight simulation is about aircraft and flying, but I personally feel that take-offs and landings should occur at properly populated airfields. This should, in my opinion, include a certain amount of buildings and static aircraft. So, in mid 2012 I tried to do something about it. After reading countless tutorials and comments on this subject, and having both WED and OED to hand, I gave it a try.

    Tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?

    The most important thing about an airport scenery for me, is that the airport should seem to look alive, even if nothing moves within the scenery. The object libraries available for X-Plane have a lot of great objects, and to use them to create realistic sceneries is quite easy if you know how to use WED/OED. Often in X-Plane, a default airport layout needs some adjusting before any buildings or aircraft can be placed on it, but once this is done, you're ready with the objects.

    Out of my eleven created airport sceneries, the first nine contained only buildings from WED and other object libraries. The name given to these types of sceneries is 'Lego brick'.

    For my latest two sceneries, I tried to create custom buildings with the aid of free software. The reason being, the objects in the custom libraries didn't really have anything which resembled the control towers, etc., which I required.

           

    3D modelling and texturing is extremely difficult if you haven't had the time to learn it properly, so this was where tutorials came in very helpful.

    Later stages of creating the scenery, such as placing the taxiway signs, adjusting taxiway lines, or adding taxiway routes are easy and fun (at least for me). When this is complete, you're ready to add your objects. These can be objects such as static aircraft, fuel tankers, cars, parking lots, fences, lights; you name it, there are so many! These amazing and growing object libraries make creating sceneries in X-Plane possible.

    What do you consider your best or most popular work?

    I would have to say, that the last scenery I created, EDXW Sylt Airport, is my favorite scenery so far, as it's all custom built. I also really like EBOS Ostend Airport, and if I'm honest, all the others in between! I think popularity is determined by download counts, even if you can't tell if a given scenery has been downloaded and then installed. Popularity also depends on the location of the airport and where the majority of X-Plane users like to fly.

    What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?

    For me personally, to actually develop something which hasn't been created before in the X-Plane world is a real challenge. To see that it works and is then enjoyed by others (even though it might not be perfect or 100% accurate), is one of the things I enjoy most about creating scenery; as is the feedback I receive from users.

           

    What have been your favorite projects?

    My favorite airports are the smaller and less known airports of northern Europe. Many of these airports and airfields have lain idle for many years, but even though some of them are not in use anymore, they do not deserve to be forgotten; like some of the airfields in eastern Germany (former GDR/DDR).

    What software packages and tools do you use to develop?

    I always use the most up to date version of X-Plane, coupled with WED (World Editor), OpenSceneryX, ruscenery, r2scenery and finally the Overlay Editor. For the creation of custom buildings, I use SketchUp, SketchUp2XPlane and also XPL TaxiSign Generator. I also use Google Maps and as many photographs from the internet as I can, so as to make comparisons with the real scenery.

    I try to use freeware tools as much as possible as, more often than not, they are a lot less complicated than a lot of commercial software. Using freeware might also encourage other X-Plane users to try their hand at scenery design.

    Who would you consider to be your mentors or inspiration in the development world if you have any?

    I don't really have any mentors to speak of. My wife though is my inspiration and 'mental coach' and gives me encouragement and support when my developing progress comes to a halt or is in danger of deletion because of some temporary and limiting ability.


    2 Comments
    1. DominicS's Avatar
      DominicS -
      Great interview Manfred. Thanks for all your wonderful work. With talented freeware developers like yourself; X-Plane becomes an even more attractive simulator.

      Thanks again.

      Dom
    1. flightplanes's Avatar
      flightplanes -
      I agree with Dominic.. with more people developing in the brilliant 64bit graphics xplane offers then more and more customers will buy xplane. We hope lol

      steve
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