Interview With Daniel Everman
Conducted by Dominic Smith
When did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?
I started developing for X-Plane in the summer of 2014. I noticed that many of the default airports weren't represented accurately by X-Plane and so decided to try my hand at making an airport. My first project was Fort Wayne International in Indiana and I chose it primarily because of the lack of detail in stock X-Plane. All that was drawn were the three runways and one taxiway running parallel to each runway. I found that pretty odd for an airport of its size and decided to see if I could improve on it.
Tell us about the nature of your designs and what you do?
I primarily create scenery for the larger US airports in X-Plane 10. Up to this point I've used what many call 'legobrick' objects (objects included with X-Plane and scenery library objects) and objects others have created (with their permission, of course). Although the airports aren't drawn exactly as you might see them in real life, I put my best efforts into making my sceneries as accurately as possible. One of the ways I do this is by using orthoimagery and other resources that I find online. I'm currently working on Burbank's Bob Hope Airport and decided to learn how to make 3D objects. It's been a steep learning curve figuring out how to draw them and then texture them, but I'm very satisfied with the end result.
What do you consider your best or most popular work?
As far as most popular goes (in terms of downloads), my scenery for Ronald Reagan National Airport definitely takes the title with over 1000 downloads at the two download libraries it resides in. The popularity of this scenery has surpassed my wildest expectations and is great encouragement. Personally I think that my most recent release, New Orleans' Louis Armstrong International Airport, has been my best work yet. I tried many new techniques while in the process of making it and in my opinion, the end result turned out pretty well.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?
Two things, really. The first one is figuring out which project to do. Deciding on which airport to create is, in itself a challenging undertaking. If I decide on an airport, then there's a couple of steps I still need to take. Is there orthoimagery available for the airport? Is it of good enough resolution? Does it show up in my scenery editing program? Is there scenery available for this airport and if there is, is it out of date or made for a previous version of X-Plane?
The other challenging thing is learning about the airport. I rely almost exclusively on the internet to learn about the airports and figure out what's what. I've worked on a few airports where there has been a real lack of resources which hinders the design process somewhat. I've never actually been to any of the airports that I've created in real life, so Google has (pretty quickly) become my best friend. A short Wikipedia page (reference material) and poor orthoimagery really makes creating an airport a lot harder.
What have been your favorite projects?
Colorado Springs is up there at the top, as it was the first time that I included orthoimagery with an airport, instead of just using it as a reference. In addition, Colorado Springs was the first scenery where I used GroundTraffic and AutoGate in a scenery package. Figuring out how to do all those things was worth the effort, and I now include all three with every airport I create.
Reno and El Paso were also great to work on, and both have been nominated for awards. Neither of them has won, but it was awesome just to be nominated.
As I previously mentioned, Ronald Reagan airport has been my most downloaded airport, and I learned quite a bit from the project too. Making taxi signs for every single gate was a painstaking process but it definitely added to the immersion.