• Interview With Austin Goudge - OpenSceneryX

    Why do you think it is that third party libraries have become the norm in X-Plane and not so much on the other popular platforms?

    I am not very involved in the other simulators - always being Mac based, one of the main reasons I got into X-Plane in the first place was that for a long time (apart from MSFS, which was discontinued in the 90's) it was the only non-combat sim available.

    Knowing the X-Plane community though, I have always been impressed by the 'hands on' attitude. A large number of X-Plane users like to get their hands dirty fiddling with the sim, aircraft and scenery. Also, the built-in airports were quite minimal in detail for a long time. For these reasons, I think a large section of the community has jumped into scenery building as a hobby, and libraries are a great resource and time saver for these developers.

    The flip side is that the X-Plane community seems to be quite altruistic, so large numbers of designers are willing to contribute their work back to OpenSceneryX for free.

    OpenSceneryX     OpenSceneryX     OpenSceneryX

    Hosting the library must be quite a challenge, especially as OpenSceneryX is provided free of charge, so is there anything the community can do to help with the project?

    Hosting something as popular as OpenSceneryX has its challenges - both the Library and web site used to be on a single server but it got completely overwhelmed so nowadays it's on a multi-tier architecture, including CloudFlare, AWS CloudFront, AWS S3 and Linux servers at Rackspace.

    Although the library is now approaching 8TB of bandwidth / month and 85,000,000 requests per month (which equates to 32 requests / second, 100% of the time), Cloudflare is our saviour - I cannot sing their praises highly enough, without their free plan the hosting would cost an additional £700 per month, and the project would be dead.

    Even so, the library has cost money every year so far to run. Despite being very hesitant to do it, I have had to put advertising on the web site to partially bridge the gap, which means I'm only £10-£20 in the red in an average month. However the library will never be commercial - that would fail every contributor who has donated their work, past and future. So all I would ask is that if you like and use the library, a PayPal donation goes a long way to helping out!

    OpenSceneryX     OpenSceneryX     OpenSceneryX

    Lastly Austin what plans do you have for the future of the project?

    Now that the library has support for seasons built in, I would like to extend this to as much of the content as possible - imagine all buildings had snow on their roofs in snowy deep winter?

    I'm always looking at ways of improving the online library documentation. At the moment I'm investigating ways we could display 3D previews of all content on the web site, instead of the simple flat screen shots we have currently.

    I want to improve the ease of using OpenSceneryX inside WED and OverlayEditor - for example the hierarchy oddity I mentioned above could be solved if the same category was published to both /objects/buildings/airport and /objects/airport/buildings, so it wouldn't matter which path the user used.

    I have been discussing producing a version of OpenSceneryX for the Aerofly FS 2 flight sim (OpenSceneryA perhaps?), with one of the key members of the FS2 community. I believe this would benefit both flight sims as two communities would be actively contributing to the library.

    Recently, some very generous members of the community have donated entire libraries of their own to OpenSceneryX. Merging libraries is a major task, as I have to be careful to support all the previous library paths, but it's worth it as every merged library is a fabulous boost for OpenSceneryX. I'm therefore very open to any more offers of full library merges in the future.

    And finally of course, I'm always looking to expand the library with more contributions from the wonderfully talented artists in the X-Plane® community.

    Many thanks Austin, and the team and I wish you all the very best with the OpenSceneryX project!

    Visit OpenSceneryX web site

    To find out more about OpenSceneryX, head on over to:

    www.opensceneryx.com


    3 Comments
    1. Roger Wensley's Avatar
      Roger Wensley -
      As an Xplane non-user I was surprised to learn that it was around as early as 2004.
    1. aussi's Avatar
      aussi -
      Quote Originally Posted by Roger Wensley View Post
      As an Xplane non-user I was surprised to learn that it was around as early as 2004.
      X-Plane 8 was 2004 yes, but the first version of X-Plane (v1) was released in 1995.
    1. Prospero246's Avatar
      Prospero246 -
      It would be wonderful if LEGO designers could someday be able to use the resources in OpenSceneryX instead of just being limited solely to the Laminar Research library, which is still very limited.
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