Superhero Anthony Vos and his ground-fixing Ground Environment X bring us deliverance from the bane of default FSX textures. Alleluia!
Most welcome, Anthony! A little background, please.
My background is both artistic and technical. I studied Graphic Design and Aviation Engineering in my younger years, so love for aviation and flight simulation began in the early days of the Commodore 64, and then the IBM PCs. With Ground Environment I strive to be very precise in designing textures and Autogen objects, because I wish to provide flight simulator enthusiasts (like myself) with the most realistic scenery to fly over I can possibly offer.
Can you describe the process you go through when creating GEX?
Your textures not only look realistic, they look organic.
Thanks, Jarn. The textures originate from the highest-quality aerial and satellite photo imagery available today. I then enhance them at the best of my abilities, attempting to recreate a realistic and believable image of what, for example, a city or a rural field should look like. I also wish to mention that I relied a great deal on my partner Steve Halpern and the whole Flight1 team, who provided me with the tools, the comfort and the confidence to create GEX.
Their support was essential because of the massive increase in scale compared to the FS2004 version of GE. About a year ago I began working on GEX thinking “how am I going to do this? There are more than 7000 individual texture-tiles of 1024×1024, and four times the amount of Autogen per tile!” Then I guess I set myself a destination point and started climbing the mountain. After many months of literally working around the clock 24/7, with great doses of love and support from Steve and the Flight1 guys (and a quantity of espressos that would make an elephant fly around the moon) I finally reached the point at which I believed GEX was ready for the public.
The product is out but you are working as furiously as during development. Is it about the landclass issues? Have other developers been supportive?
It is work and is also my passion. I am totally committed to solve all the compatibility issues and bugs that pop up so any landclass product people are running will play well with GEX. We cooperate closely with Allen Kriesman and his team, for example, so GEX and Ultimate Terrain X can truly complement each other in ways never-seen in a flight simulator before. Since the release of GEX, support from other developers has been simply fantastic. There is continuous collaboration between everybody to wipe the big and the small issues out of the way.
Now that I’ve seen what you can do I cannot wait for the next batch. It will be Europe, right? And then Africa? Asia? Bring it on, Anthony!
The Europe and Africa edition comes next, followed by the Australia, Asia, South America & Oceania (tropical islands) edition. There will be three editions covering the entire globe. Of course I won’t be specific about the release dates, but I promise you Steve and I are on the job to get Europe and Africa in beta stage as fast as humanely (and sometimes in-humanely) possible. 😀
I liked FSX on release, but I could never stand the default ground textures, so I thank you profusely for GEX.
Neither could I stand those cartoonish yellow-and-amber colours! And the excessive number of diverse Autogen buildings and trees played havoc on the performance. That was unfortunate, because Aces have built a pretty impressive platform for flight simulation with FSX; on the other hand it gave me the opportunity to push the limits of what can be achieved with the ground in terms of performance, quality, sharpness and realism.
I am honored by your kind words, Jarn. As stated before, it’s our work, passion, hobby and dedication to give flightsimmers the most realistic world we can possibly make.