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Every piece of expository writing needs a good opening line. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, there isn’t one for this tome. Nevertheless, I feel the need to codify a couple of sentiments regarding my scenery products.

First and foremost, my self-identification in this hobby is “pilot”. Starting almost 3 years ago with a pretty specific plan, my goal was to become a virtual pilot. Even before starting detailed sim training, it was evident, that to accomplish my goal, I would need a simulation cockpit. So design and build on the pit started very early in this virtual pilot’s career.

What I did not foresee, was the need for sceneries. In my naiveté, I assumed that anyone that wanted to be the best virtual pilot would follow the same educational track as the real world’s best pilots. (There is probably the equivalent of an academic thesis to be written on this subject, but, hey, I would rather be flying.)

To be fair, many of the sceneries existed in an older version of the simulator. These scenery products were juusst compatible enough and juusst descriptive enough for use by the casual pilot in the current simulator version. But those early versions did not satisfy the training needs of a more serious (read: obsessive compulsive) virtual pilot.

Armed with college education in mathematics and cartography, honed by 2 decades of professional work in digital photogrammetry, I dug into existing sceneries and found some good mentors/websites. The existing scenery development community is at a very high state of knowledge and technique. As a result of all these factors, it has been a seductively easy process for me to create sceneries, almost too easy.

But for you, dear reader and possible user of my scenery projects, there are some downsides. Ultimately, these sceneries are designed as training aids for my curriculum. And are freeware training aids at that. You will not see the inside of buildings modeled in my projects (a possible exception might be a hangar). You will see the best FCLP operations I can manage.

The most significant disconnect between my scenery projects and the community as a whole concerns AI and static objects in the scenery. Candidly, I admit to stoking some of this tension, again, by my naiveté and inexperience in the community. The previous version sceneries mentioned earlier were designed specifically for the purpose of AI and had become the gold standard of those sceneries for the community. Even though, the taxiway striping was incorrect, even though they had no FCLP capabilities, even though they did not have ATIS, etc etc.

And here is the “however”….I am not going to do AI or conversion of AI. There will likely be almost no custom static aircraft in any of my projects. It is an area of knowledge that does not meet my goal. Again speaking candidly, autogen will likely not make the cut either. Luckily there are community members who have volunteered to contribute autogen so that the final scenery project will be more like a general use product.

We can debate whether AI is a training requirement or not, in theory, but in my scenery projects it is not. For my training, I use online flying for ATC and interaction with other aircraft.

I am not opposed to making systemic changes to my procedures that facilitate the creation of AI by other contributors. I am VERY VERY happy to include the work of other community members in my projects and to help fully integrate them as integral working parts. But I am not the end user of these features.

All of my scenery projects have been community efforts. Despite all of my mapping/cartography/IT background, I am still very much a flightsim n00b. The feedback from all of you, whether specific pointed comments, casual conversations, or open forum posts, has been an integral part of the project process for me. To state it as explicitly as I can:

I do not have the real world experience to create the training products needed to accomplish my goal of becoming a virtual pilot. I will trade you my cartographic skill and time in return for real world knowledge of places and procedures. I will trade you my cartographic skill and time in return for knowledge of FSX and procedures. With all of our backgrounds combined into one of these scenery projects, we can create the best possible training aid AND general use product.

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