• Interview With Roger Wensley

    Interview With Roger Wensley

    Conducted By Dominic Smith

    Development

    Roger, when did you start developing for flight simulators and what got you interested in it?

    Two things happened in 2004, well, probably many things, but only two that are relevant to this subject. First, I noticed that in FS2004 the suburb of Ottawa where I lived (Orleans) wasn't represented in MSFS. Then a little while later, on the Ottawa City web site, I found a mass of aerial photographs of the Ottawa area while looking for something else. At about the same time, I also stumbled across a little program (that opened in Excel) called EZ-Landclass. I was ready to go...or so I thought!

    Roger Wensley     Roger Wensley     Roger Wensley

    Three weeks later I was cursing myself for ever starting the project as it was so boring! I was tempted to stop but that would have meant three weeks wasted, so I went on for another three weeks. When Ultimate Terrain was released for FS2004 I loaded it up and guess what? Orleans was still missing. I contacted the team at Ultimate Terrain and they added the area in their next update.

    The second thing which happened in 2004 was that my wife said to me "Roger, don't you think you should perhaps give up scuba diving?" Thinking about this, I realized there were good behavior bonus points to be earned and I hadn't dived in a while because we hadn't been anywhere warm, plus I had always thought that if I ever stopped diving I would learn to fly. So with this in mind I went along to the Rockcliffe Flying Club. Later, she told me that wasn't what she'd had in mind! In the first two weeks of flying I noticed that there were at least three grass strips near Ottawa that weren't modeled in FS2004, though they were on the aerial photos I had seen. Another coincidence, I was pointed towards a new and user-friendly scenery program for FS2004 called SceneryGenX that even I could cope with, and the rest, as they say, is history. I was doomed.

    Roger Wensley     Roger Wensley     Roger Wensley

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

    I make airfield scenery which (to the best of my ability) tries to replicate the real life location as much as possible. If I can't create the buildings so that they are at least recognizable from the air then I don't attempt the airfield, so the starting point is photographs.

    Scenery creation differs very much from person to person. What satisfies one, might not satisfy the other. For me the most satisfaction comes in knowing that every building uses photographic textures and looks 100% real in terms of looks, size and location, plus all the signs and even garbage bins, etc. Rockcliffe would fit that description; I kept the museum building by Flight Ontario, but everything else about the scenery was mine, even down to the individual taxiway lights with little red flags. At the other end of satisfaction would be an accurate terminal building, plus some hangars which are roughly the same size, shape and color as in real life.

    Roger Wensley     Roger Wensley     Roger Wensley

    Because of this need for photos I usually only make scenery of airfields that I have visited (which means mostly Canada). As I do not fly 737's they tend to be small (landing-fee-free) airfields. I think the only place I have ever paid a landing fee in Canada is at St Jovite CSZ3, near Mont Tremblant in Quebec.

    What do you consider your best or most popular work?

    Sidney Schwartz, a fellow developer and friend thinks my best is Dutch Harbor. The most popular (by downloads) seems to be Dutch or Merrill Field. My Caribbean sceneries (I spent two years living down there) are also pretty popular. Personally I think Aasiaat in Greenland is a nicely complete scenery. Overall, though, my main focus has been on northern Canadian sceneries, such as Pond Inlet, in what was a big empty space in FS2004.

    Roger Wensley     Roger Wensley     Roger Wensley

    Roger, what do you find to be the most challenging aspect of a project?

    The most challenging aspect is all the Photoshop work I have to do so that I can make usable textures from photographs. The difficulty here is that many photographs have cars, planes and other objects in the way which have to be removed. If a photograph is taken at an angle, this again presents another boring challenge. After that, making the actual buildings is a real pleasure!


    13 Comments
    1. gaputz's Avatar
      gaputz -
      Roger deserves an award! I hope he keeps turning out scenery!
    1. louw's Avatar
      louw -
      I have used many of his sceneries. Thanks to Roger, and others like him, flight simming is much more interesting.
    1. Dedl's Avatar
      Dedl -
      A big Thank You Roger for all these great smaller airfields you did for the best simulator ever - FS2004. In all the years they have taken me to places, I never would have known about.

      I agree totally with G. Putz, you deserve a lifetime award.

      Dedl
    1. Roger Wensley's Avatar
      Roger Wensley -
      You mean a pension?
    1. stevekrumlauf's Avatar
      stevekrumlauf -
      Roger,
      You are a Canadian treasure, sir! I just love your stuff! Thanks for putting our neighbors to the north on the map.
      By the way, Roger's not kidding about wanting e-mails. I've bugged him many times over the years and he's always been gracious and extremely helpful. Great customer service!
      Great interview too!
    1. astroavion's Avatar
      astroavion -
      Roger is probably my favorite scenery designer. I have almost all of his packages. I love 'em and appreciate his attention to detail. Thanks a lot Roger, for many years of fun! Keep it up.
    1. timlee's Avatar
      timlee -
      Hi Roger, I've enjoyed many hours on my Flight Sim flying around Smiths Falls and Russ Beach Airport (CYSH) Your scenery is fantastic. Are you considering doing an update of CYSH for FSX?

      Thanks for all your hard work.

      Tim
    1. Mike Sala's Avatar
      Mike Sala -
      I love all those sceneries. They are really excelent. But I have always the same problem when I use them. When I open the gps window, the scenery crashes and close flght sim. Anyway, I think Mr. Wensley's work is amazing.
    1. Sparky_69's Avatar
      Sparky_69 -
      Without question, Roger is a treasure to our FlightSim hobby.

      A couple of years ago, my house was broken in to and many things stolen including my home computer. The computer was not used for anything except FS, and had the massive collection of sceneries that I had downloaded and added over the years.

      Last winter, I began the painstaking task of re-installing FS2004 and downloading and adding all the great sceneries I had enjoyed. It took a while, but I don't think there is a Roger Wensley scenery that I did not download in the last year.

      Being from Canada, it was automatic. Roger has brought my whole country to life in FS, and taught me so much about the geography of Canada. His sceneries are truly special, and having visited many of his airport creations in real life, I can tell you that he's not kidding when he says that realism is his primary goal when he creates sceneries.

      Last summer, while visiting Vancouver Island, I had the pleasure of visiting Nanaimo, Comox, and Campbell River, and WOW, I felt like I'd already been there.

      Roger, keep up the great work. I look forward to anywhere you may want to take me.
    1. biggers's Avatar
      biggers -
      Roger, perhaps you remember me. I created uvairlines.com and worked with you on suggestions regarding conflicts with PANC scenery a few years ago. While still flying (FS2004) I have never found any good free scenery for CYOW. I understand there is a good PAY one, but have not looked into it. I was wondering why you never took on this scenery challenge as you create beautiful work and I know CYOW would be beautiful as well. Any comments or suggestions?
      Steve Korin, [email protected] , Dix Hills, LI, NY, USA
    1. Firefalcon's Avatar
      Firefalcon -
      Hi Roger, Tonight, today recently I already on post for Forum then Scenery Design on post right now. I got it for that you been designed it FS2004 Scenery--Cold Bay. I would like to call you please reading it on my post about its. Thanks



      Firefalcon
    1. peterlit1's Avatar
      peterlit1 -
      Hello Sir, thank you for your achievements, I'm French and I had the opportunity to make a flight at the aerodrome Lachute, I continue to fly "virtually" in Quebec, and I'll just have a question: you're several creators of scenes for FS2004, and I am surprised that none of you have made a scene at this airfield Lachute, is there any reason for that? thank you in advance, Pier
    1. zswobbie1's Avatar
      zswobbie1 -
      As time goes by, I've realised what an epic job Roger has done, with his hundreds of add-on sceneries.

      Thanks for still supporting FS2004, Roger. It's really appreciated.
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