Happy New Year - late, we know. But the Summer holidays in Australia are still a thing, even if the weather has been mostly inclement so far, but there is still time!
While everyone has had some small amounts of downtime, pondering life and the universe, the Orbx team has been reflecting on 2021, what we set to do and what we actually achieved. As you all know, lately we have been mega busy working with Microsoft on the release of the Australia World Update on Microsoft Flight Simulator and the Fokker. They have been labours of love over many many months, and we are really proud of the results (stay tuned re Fokker as we will be releasing an update with fixes and new functionality). We think the Australian update is the best (and certainly most extensive) so far - if we can say so ourselves!
As a bit of a summary... during 2021 we released 18 Airports (with our HQ in YMEN across 3 platforms), 10 Cities, 22 Indy airports, 3 regions, 1 traffic simulator, 3 missions (the Santa Run, the Halloween Run and the Brisbane River Run) and our first aircraft, the Edgley Optica. Of these releases, 47 were Microsoft Flight Sim products, 8 Prepar3D and 5 X-Plane.
The airport list, in case you need to complete the 2021 collection:
LWSK - Skopje International Airport
EG41 - Fishburn Airfield
EGSG - Stapleford Airfield
YBBN - Brisbane International Airport V2
LFKX - Meribel Airport
KEYW - Key West International Airport
EGTR - Elstree Aerodrome
EGKA - Shoreham (Brighton) Airport
CYBD - Bella Coola Airport
LDSP - Split Airport
S45 - Siletz Bay State Airport
EGHI - Southampton Airport
EGPB - Sumburgh Airport
YBBN - Brisbane International Airport
1WA6 - Fall City Airport
PAKT - Ketchikan International Airport
LDSP - Split Airport
...and as mentioned, YMEN Essendon Airport - for P3D, MSFS and XP11
The cities have been VERY exciting products to make and see in action in MSFS: Paris, Singapore, Brisbane (also for P3D), Adelaide, Frankfurt (then incorporated in the German update), Cape Town, Dubai, Mumbai, and Auckland.
Often we get asked about compatibility and inclusion when the MSFS world updates get done. Holger in particular works on the compatibility once the WUs are out. We don't get to see the final versions of photogrammetry from Microsoft (yes - not even for the AU Update) so we have to wait until those are released and then make modifications. As an aside, a number of people wonder why bother buying add-ons when MS will then incorporate similar changes in an update. My answer here is simple: it's a bit like going to the movies vs Netflix / Prime.... if you want to watch a movie when it gets out (and talk about it at your next dinner party), you pay a ticket now, and then yes maybe it will come out on Netflix or whatever subscription you have, and you can watch it for free. Up to you if you want to be there first, or wait for later. Personal choice. I paid $35 last week to watch the new Dune (awesome BTW), now I own it, and I am sure it will be included on Prime in 3-4 months, and I do not care. Again, personal choice.
Ok where were we...
Let's see what is in store (for the moment) in 2022.
Prague for all sims, first one out will be MSFS (imminent!)
Landmarks Panama Canal is about to be finished too, with lots of exciting features
Updates to both our New Zealand mesh (the promised high-resolution LiDAR data) and Landmarks Auckland
More of our PC-based landmarks products to be adjusted for release on Xbox
OpenLC Asia - tricky as Eugene, the developer, is in the Ukraine and there have been disruptions there, plus this is such a HUGE project and we don't have firm dates yet
A swag of aircraft for MSFS - we will release the names and models as we get closer to getting them out, as it seems aircraft sometimes hit snags due to sim-based functionality
A very special project: YMML aka Tullamarine / Melbourne main airport, which will be led by Ed and Marcus, plus a Melbourne city pack with a number of POIs to make this city great again ;-)
For MSFS, KCRW "Chuck" Yeager, KFAT Fresno, KPBI Palm Beach (also for P3D), VTSP Phuket and KBOI Boise. For P3D and maybe a bit delayed - TrueEarth Eastern Alps. We are looking at making YBBN Brisbane for XPL too, and a special GB North Landmarks pack for MSFS.
Our Indies are also all busy with these new projects.
From Marcus Nyberg we have ESSA Stockholm Arlanda in heavy development. Marcus revisits his ESP classic and brining it to MSFS with all new modelling textures. You can check the progress at The (very cool) Arlanda Journal. https://www.facebook.com/The-Arlanda-Journal-109400158308529
Finn Hansen takes on another Norwegian airport and he has ENGM Oslo in his sights. We hope to see this towards the middle of this year with progress going well with this major hub.
Andreas Hegi takes a visit down to the gateway of the Dolomites with LIPB Bolzano Airport and he’s been bitten by the “interior terminal” bug.
Another that has decided to try out the interior modelling fad is Rasha Tucakov as he looks to wrap up LYPG Podgorica as an addition to his Balkan Peninsula destinations.
After the successful LKSK Skiathos, Matteo Veneziani wasted no time in revisiting KBUR Burbank as he works on a new version for MSFS with reworked models and textures and new groundpoly. This was necessary as we look to use this as the basis for the X-Plane version of the airport and will be available at a discount for existing owners. After that, Matteo will begin work on YBCG Gold Cost as well as look to finalise LIPH Treviso.
Ken Hall is busy on working YMLT Launceston which will be a great addition to his home on the Apple Isle and he is in his element with some of the older buildings and bringing them to life, warts and all.
And over in New Zealand, Tim Harris is feeling rejuvenated with his work on NZNV Invercargill and really pushing the limits on where art meets reality.
Our MSFS mesh wizard, Dmytro Krikunov (if the name sounds familiar, it is because he is the son of Eugene our Global lead developer) is finalising the much awaited NZ Mesh update with 1m LiDAR in selected areas and his next region will be South America! That’s right, the whole continent.
OK that is what we have got for the moment. I know many of you will have suggestions of what we should do next, and we are very happy to hear them (no guarantee though ;-) ).
Hope you are all keeping safe and well. COVID has spread a bit through the Orbx team but overall we have been able to keep going OK. Hope you are too!
Till next time....