• Interview With Ken Wigginton

    Interview With Ken Wigginton FSX Developer

    Conducted by Dominic Smith


    Ken, when did you start developing for MSFS?

    I began developing for MSFS when I was researching whether to jump from FS2002 to FS2004 or FSX (this was when FSX had just come out). Obviously, the advantage of FS2004 then was that a lot of add-ons had been developed for it; but, FSX was an open architecture platform and looked like the future (P3D has now shown that to be true). After I went with FSX, it occurred to me that there couldn't be that much to the absolutist "incompatibility" claims made by the FS2004 developers about their stuff not working in FSX, so I bought Microsoft Panel Studio (MSPS), took a deep dive into the folder/file architecture of the two sims and started figuring it out. What I discovered was that the only thing incompatible was FS2004's use of FS98 syntaxed C++ gauges. So, I started editing those out of FS2004 panel sets and adapting them to FSX.

    Could you tell us about the nature of your MSFS work?

    Essentially, I'm a panel guy. Where I started (and where I am coming full circle back to) is building panel sets (and companion FDEs) for the classic jetliners. I prefer the photo-real based look, but more importantly, a classic panel set that's realistic will catch my eye and I'll start imagining how to improve upon it and make it work in FSX (now P3D). Probst's 727 and 732 panels got me started.

    Ken Wigginton     Ken Wigginton     Ken Wigginton

    What do you consider your best or most popular work?

    My most popular work is the 787 series of panels I built for the TDS line. There are both FSX and FS2004 versions as I got in early when the popularity/interest of the real aircraft was at its height. My "best" work is yet to come and will happen when I someday rework my DC-10 series of panels for the SGA. My DC-10s were my first uploads and I thought at the time that they were pretty good, having spent a couple of years building panels before I ever attempted to upload something. Now however, looking back, they look pretty rough (that's just how one's skills, and perspective, improves over time).

    Ken, as you're a heavy metal fan, I have to ask...Boeing or Airbus?

    Both. I love building A306 panels as much as B737 panels. I frequently go back and forth to keep it fresh. And that works because they are so different - both in look but in gauging.

    Ken Wigginton     Ken Wigginton     Ken Wigginton

    Design can sometimes be a tricky business. What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of panel design?

    Knowing when to stop; when not to overdo a project. It's easy to keep adding something "more". And, before you know it, you've got a panel with 20 pop-ups.

    You have many finished projects under your belt but what have been your favorite ones?

    The Probst 732's that I've adapted for FSX. I think Richard Probst is a god among developers. All I could do is try to honor his beautiful work by bringing it to FSX (P3D). I certainly couldn't improve on it. Ken Mitchell's L1011's, for the same reason. Ken and Richard have been most gracious to me, and being allowed to adapt their work has been a real privilege. I've also gotten a lot of fun out of adapting the FS2004 built Russian airliners for FSX. Climbing into the complex cockpit of one of these aircraft and then trying to figure out how to get it off the ground in FSX is kind of like being Clint Eastwood in Firefox!

    Ken Wigginton     Ken Wigginton     Ken Wigginton

    Firefox was a great movie! Is there a Russian aircraft you haven't yet adapted, but one which you would love to do?

    Easy...the Tu-144.

    1 Comment
    1. dcmair's Avatar
      dcmair -
      This man is Awesome. His work is truly art, and I own nothing buy Kens panels. And now the peace de resistance, is that he is coming out with the complete packages. I hope in the future he will work on some 727 panels for 3D. Not many of those around. Since I flew on quite a few of them back in the 60's and 70's it happens to be my favorite airplane. Thanx for all you do Ken....David Nault Austin, TX.
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