Sorry folks. It’s not out of choice that I’m not updating the site or publishing new pages or updates, it’s simply down to the fact that life ain’t a whole lot of fun right now.
For those who don’t know (and are vaguely interested – otherwise, you might want to skip to the next article!), I’m currently unable to work due to back muscle spasms which wrench half my upper body around, usually when I least want it to. This post isn’t intended a whinge or moan, it’s just intending to explain the lack of progress a little.
Having gradually got worse over twenty-something years of constant pain and increased instability, that’s led to a number of mental health issues, not the least of which is clinical depression which, while primarily under control, sometimes pops up and kicks me firmly in the thought processes. Right now, with the FS world in the state it is, I just really don’t know what to do with this stuff and every time I sit down and try to update something, or even just take screenshots to show the current state of an aerodrome, I end up just sitting wondering whether, actually, there’s any blinkin’ point in doing it at all.
Although I develop for FSX, I’ve also put these scenery files into other sims, to test or tweak them as much as I can. That list used to be FSX+Acceleration, FSX-SE and P3Dv3. Now we have two whole other new “MSFS based” sims to deal with – P3Dv4 and DTG Flight Simulator World – both of which are 64-bit, have different texturing/rendering systems and require major differences in workflow from FSX. In the case of FSW, we don’t even know what that workflow will be yet, let alone know whether it will be an easy change to make or not and there’s no sign of Dovetail’s FSW team wanting to tell us. I think I know why, but even if they had confirmed it to me, I wouldn’t be allowed to say. I can say that their Train Sim products have the same issues, and the same solutions will probably apply to FSW if we’re ever allowed to develop stuff for it!
The next problem is that the P3Dv4 SDK, right now, will only allow developers to use Autodesk’s £3,500-a-year 3D Studio MAX package to develop models.
X-Plane, with version 11, is now also a viable platform to develop for at last, so should I switch completely and go down that route? I can use Blender, it has significant advantages over all the MSFS based platforms, but also some weird limitations and there are exactly zero XP11-native WW2 aircraft available.
Right now, I can’t afford to throw money at this hobby. We don’t have that money to throw. Even if people used the little donation button on the site’s front page (it was last used almost two years ago, entirely understandably!) 3DS MAX is absolutely out of the question. Yes, people are still using FSX, probably quite happily and thus they’re not telling people that they are. The vocal groups have moved on – usually to P3Dv4 – and want everything redone to work in that. The same will happen with FSW as and when that becomes a viable primary simming platform. So which way should I go? What path should I follow up and learn how to develop for? I don’t know and I don’t think anyone else really does, either.
All I do know is that even the $10pcm for a P3D developer licence (I’d need one for v3 and one for v4, right now) is almost impossible to justify for no return at all, even if I wasn’t then also limited to modelling in 3DS MAX. I’ve stopped even looking whether new WW2 aircraft models are being released for any platform, because if they are, I can’t afford to get them, I’m not in a fit state mentally to concentrate on details and be a valuable beta tester, so again what’s the point? I’ve covered, one way or another, pretty much every WW2 aircraft that I’m aware exists – the Alphasim He111 and Aircraft Factory Uhu being notable exceptions, that I’m very aware of.
I will – slowly – plod through this stuff. If anyone has reached this far down and is still reading then a) you have too much spare time on your hands and b) please still do get in touch if you want anything done. Yes, I’m struggling. No, the site isn’t getting update, but that doesn’t mean that I’m doing nothing. Even a tiny spark of inspiration right now can push things forward… Like last night, while trying to fault find creating a Google Earth XML file to show the location of all the current files, I stumbled on a document that gives me forward motion on two Luftwaffe airfields I’ve wanted to do for years. This morning, I got the kml file to work for the most part, then updated the background polys of Fliegerhorste Venlo to show the full extent of the (massive) area and laid down the primary taxiways. So don’t give up on me just yet, but if you’re developing a model that would fly from one of my airfields, or would like an airfield done for something you’re working on, or even just because your Grandad flew from there, prod me, remind me, I’ll still try and get it done!
Right. Sorry for the long ramble. I need to go and collapse for a bit, then kick myself back into “site update” mode.
Hey, this is an update, right? Even if it’s not one of any use to you lot… 😛