Monday, November 28, 2005

Classic Wings.

Classic Wings is a nice little site, by Craig Richardson, that flight sim enthusiasts might like to check out. I notice that it will focus on aircraft from four periods in aviation history from 1903 to 1960.

Current projects available for download include Airco DH.2, Sopwith Tabloid and Schneider, HM-14 Flying Flea, Lippisch IV Wasp, and Fairey FD2 Delta.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Aerosoft Beech 18 Preview.

Simflight have previewed Aerosoft's new Beech 18 for FS2004. Definitely worth a look .... I particularly like the interior shots.

Silver Wings

Yet another new freeware download from AVSIM to check out, Lynn and Bill Lyons Silver Wings for FS2004. The package appears to comprise replacement autogen scenery and ground textures in addition to new reflective water treatment, new weather themes and low frame rate hit clouds. The package is primarily aimed at those who like to fly low and slow in FS2004.

[I'm downloading now :)]


Rick Piper's Argosy 200 now available.

The eagerly awaited Armstrong Whitworth 200 series for FS2004 has been released and is available now in the AVSIM library.

Boeing 747-8 | The Shape of the Future.

Boeing have established a promotional website introducing their new 747-8 airliner.

There are two models of this new airliner; the 747-8 Intercontinental and the 747-8 Freighter. To quote Boeing - 'both models combine the exceptional comfort space of the 747-400, the contemporary and award-winning architecture of the 777, and the breakthrough technology of the 787.'

The website is well worth a visit and requires Flash 7.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Over Flanders Fields Release Date Announced.

Mark 'Winding Man' Andrews has announced the release date of Over Flanders Fields also known as OFF, as being 18 December 2005.

The news has yet to appear on the OFF website. Here is the text of a forum announcement at Sim-Outhouse.

'OFF PHASE1 will be released on the 18th December.
We are currently looking into the server and CD swap systems.

PHASE2 and PHASE3 will follow in 2006.

Both PHASE2 and PHASE3 will not only expand to the full 14-18 war but will also see extra craft for 17/18 period and a few other things that will not be ready in time for Xmas and Phase1 release.

Also moving frontlines and improved ground unit damage modelling with persistent village damage as the lines move will feature in Phase2.


Over Flanders Fields is an add-on for Microsoft Combat Flight Simulator 3. For further information please check out the Over Flanders Fields website.

New Photo Stream at Flickr

I have finally got around to uploading a few photographs to Flickr. There are a couple of aviation photos in the current stream. RSS feed

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Couple Of Photographs

As those of you who may occasionally read my other blog will know, I am a fairly keen photographer.

In recent days I have been sifting through old slide boxes and negative envelopes and doing a fair bit of scanning for a couple of upcoming personal web sites.

Here are a couple of scans of slides originally taken at Amberley, Queensland, Australia c. 1980.

The top picture is Lockheed L-12A Electra Junior, VH-ABH. The second picture is a Fokker DR-1 replica. Unfortunately I have no further info on the latter at this time.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Food For Thought.

Mike 'Taildragger' Gilbert has just posted an interesting article on his blog, titled 'Are You Missing Out?' This article was inspired by a thread at AVSIM pointing out that out of millions of copies of Flight Simulator sold, only a very percentage of users actually added add-ons. The originator of the thread suggests that MS could possibly direct people to the hobby rather than just sell off the shelf. I invite you to check the thread and Mike's article for yourselves.

These topic subjects are dear to my heart, as both the freeware and payware markets are very important to me as is also the FS product. I was going to suggest that the relationship between MS and add-on developers, or rather the flight simulation communities, was a symbiotic one. However the situation is more complex than that and requires further thought.

I would like to briefly mention my own experiences in being attracted to the allure of flight simulation. Despite being a simulation genre fan back in the 1980's and early '90's, it was not until the advent of FS2002 that I returned to the 'fold'. I had in fact set out to buy FS98 and FS2000 on earlier occasions, cash ready in hand, only to be directed to possibly more alluring games, by the salesperson in the computer games store. European Air War got the money on one occasion and various Jane's products on other occasions. Admittedly MS was not exactly renowned as an entertainment software producer, at that time, being better known for its O/S and productivity software [which are only really fun if one is a developer or power user of these apps.] Thus I did not associate the word 'fun' with Microsoft back in those times.

However all that changed back in 2002. I had to cancel my annual sojourn to the Australian East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, and fortunately I was able to sell my ticket. At that time I had recently read of FS2002 in Brisbane's Courier Mail, and that the pro version of FS2002 included gmax, which provided the ability to build one's own aircraft. With the proceeds of the ticket I decided that this time around I would definitely buy FS, and buy FS2002 I did. I soon discovered AVSIM and many other sim communities, along with a wealth of freeware aircraft, scenery and other downloads. I was amazed. I was even more amazed that I had been online for 6 years and the allures of MS flight simulator and the existence of related on-line communities had remained hidden from me all that time. All the more amazing considering my earlier passion for the genre. Of course the flight sim bug got to me and the rest is history.

I am not trying to blame anyone for anything but it took a combination of events and accidental discoveries for me to discover the allure of MS Flight Simulator and later Combat Flight Simulator 3. The fact that I have now rekindled my passion for this genre goes without saying.

At the same time I ask myself why was I left to accidentally discover all this? How many other people have yet to discover the allure of simming?

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, times are changing. The FS survey is still ongoing as far as I know; MSFT are interacting with FS enthusiasts via their blogs and occasionally forums; the next incarnation of FS is in development and MS appear to be taking their time to hopefully get things right, before it is released. As the song says 'We're headin' in the right direction....' well hopefully.

PS. There is no need for all the current angst about the payware market. It will sort itself out and take care of itself. More on that in the future.

Feed Problems?

I have had reports of problems with the blog feed.

The free version of blogger, which I use, only provides an atom 0.3 feed. Blogger recommend Feedburner for RSS. I corrected an error caused by a special formatting character introduced by the blogger editor. Feedburner now tells me my feed is valid.

Please let me know if there are any further problems.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

2 New MS Bloggers

Two new MS Flight Sim related bloggers to keep an eye on ;) Z [Mike Z] and 'Noraneko' join the ACES blogroll

A few pics.

I just posted a few pics on my miscellany blog, of some backyard wildlife and an unidentified bird of prey.

Sloped runways

Mike Gilbert has posted an interesting article on sloped runways in FS.

Will be slowing down a bit........

I'll probably be slowing down on posts on The Wing Fell Off blog for a few weeks. I have to spend more time on my Bristol F2B project which will probably hopefully be released with the CFS3 add-on Over Flanders Fields, if not for the initial releases, then shortly after in one of the add-on paks. Then follows the FS2004 version which will involve a little more work as FS2004 uses a different gauge system.

I also will be creating a couple of personal web sites and have much planning and scanning to do. I will also be posting a few pics to my 'miscellany' blog Island Times and, of course taking a few photographs if not on a daily basis, then very frequently.

When and if I come across any interesting snippets of news I will post them here. Though I will be spending less time on-line.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Captain Sim Opens Forum

So far the forum only deals with PayPal issues.

New Project Open Sky E 767 Download

The latest Project Open Sky Boeing 767 variants are now available for download from AVSIM.

The E variant of the Boeing 767 is the military AWACS version. These releases feature the JASDF version along with a POSKY house colors variant.

The current uploaded versions appear to be wing view versions only with virtual cockpit versions to be made available at a later date. The models feature rotating radomes, flexing wings that respond to turbulence and many other features.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

New FS Blogger

Brian Hunt 'Habibi' joins the roll of ACES bloggers. Brian works in the user experience team at MSFT, and hopes to start a dialogue with his readers on the their approach to helping users in enjoying flight simulator.

Monday, November 07, 2005

New unofficial Captain Sim Support Site at AVSIM

As Captain Sim currently do not have their own support forums, AVSIM have kindly setup an unofficial user support forum.

Ocean Swell

Came across this interesting post at Sim-Outhouse. I have yet to check this out for myself. It would be interesting to know if the apparent realistic ocean swell was there by accident or design?

Sunday, November 06, 2005 Boards

Just discovered a new [to me] useful resource for low polygon modelling. Boards

Flight Sim addons and the perils of e-commerce

Captain Sim appear to have attracted possibly more than their fair share of controversy in recent times. As I have yet purchase any of their products I cannot really comment on the merits on some of the forum debates but do offer the general observation that there appear to be many satisfied users of their products in addition to some somewhat vocal critics. If anything may be said in all this Captain Sim have certainly received much in the way of publicity. If publicity were dollars then Captain Sim would be rich.

Unfortunately with the latest fiasco afflicting Captain Sim, one thing they do not appear to have received much of as yet, is $$$$ for their rather nice looking Legendary C-130 package. The latest dilemma, which involves also involves PayPal has been well covered in various forums. The story is basically that PayPal have frozen Captain Sim’s PayPal account and they [CS] have yet to receive any money, via PayPal, for their C-130 sales. Captain Sim have fueled further controversy by requesting purchasers of the C-130 package to request a refund from PayPal and re-purchase the product via credit card to receive product support. This latter move has attracted much criticism in the forums as essentially Captain Sim are involving a third party, their customers, in a dispute with a finance provider. I am not going to add what has already been said on that issue but offer the suggestion that this request, by CS, is only going to cause more confusion to add to that which has already occurred. It’s adding another layer of knots to untangle, for CS, PayPal and the customer, in an already confusing situation. It would have perhaps been best for CS to come to an agreement with PayPal before making any requests of their customers.

Apparently it requires very little to have an account frozen by PayPal. Internet fraud, rip-offs and scams are a major problem in this day in age and companies such as PayPal have to implement a number of safeguards to counter this. In the case of PayPal many of these safeguards appear to be automated. In an interesting thread at Sim Outhouse one of the posters directs us to an article on The Enquirer’s site where a charity account was frozen after allegedly receiving $20,000 in less than half a day and there were a few complaints. I invite you to read the article for yourself. Of course we do not know the whole story, but at first glance if these situations are taken at face value then perhaps PayPal should involve real live people in sorting out these situations at an early stage of dispute, rather than apparently relying on automated process. For more on PayPal a quick Google search may prove useful. The Wikipedia article on PayPal is well worth a read.

There was an interesting and at times heated thread on this situation, at AVSIM which has disappeared. Tom Allensworth provides an answer to its disappearance in a subsequent thread, and of course the debate continues. A long running thread at Sim-Outhouse is also interesting and covers multiple issues such as payware pricing.

Hopefully this somewhat sad situation, for all concerned, will be resolved soon.

I also wish to note that this unfortunate situation will not deter me from buying the Legendary C-130, if it becomes available locally on CD. The positive comments on the forums seem to out number the negative though the latter are somewhat louder. I tend to buy on add-on products on impulse anyway and then usually packaged products in a normal retail store.

As an afterward I offer the suggestion that when purchasing on-line, one should always check to see if the vendor has a refund policy. More often than not, in the case of software they do not. It is up to the developer/publisher to decide if they have a ‘no satisfaction’ refund policy. These are usually purely for marketing reasons rather than any statutory reasons.

There is an element of subjectivity in what might be satisfactory performance in an add-on product anyway. What might be satisfactory to one person maybe totally unsatisfactory to another. One only has to look through a few of the more controversial and heated forum threads to see this.

I have never purchased an add-on product that I can say I am 100% satisfied with anyway. They all merit a few criticisms. However this does not prevent me using or enjoying these products. I have yet to buy a complete dud but if I did, given the relative cost of add-ons, I would be somewhat philosophical, make a mental note to be wary of buying further products from the developer concerned, and would possibly contact the developer and let them know of my concerns.

Unless the product being sold is an out and out obvious rip-off, scam or fraud, the goods not received by the customer, the card was incorrectly or wrongly charged or an unauthorized transaction, then credit card companies or other financial organizations are not really interested in problems associated with the product’s performance. It is not their concern or problem. When applying for a merchant account with a bank, one of the first things they want to know along with the vendor’s business plan is the vendor’s return/refund policy to factor in the possibility of credits/chargebacks. If the vendor’s policy is not to provide refunds if the goods are received, [that is usually stated at the time of purchase] and the goods are downloaded and received then that is generally the end of the matter*. There is usually no comeback against credit card company or vendor if the purchaser received the goods as advertised. Essentially you are buying at your own risk once you receive the goods. Complaints such as ‘frame rates suck’ or the autopilot is flawed are not usually grounds for complaint to a credit card company or the likes of PayPal. [Though there are possibly a few people who might beg to differ.] Such complaints would only add a lot of unnecessary of noise and confusion.

Remember in these situations the vendor has to be protected as well as the consumer. There is nothing to prevent someone downloading a product, installing and using it, and subsequently claim the product is flawed and claim a refund. If the product is not flawed and a refund is falsely claimed then that would be an act of fraud in many jurisdictions.

*In some instances that is not the end of it. Many software products include an End User Licence Agreement [EULA] with which one clicks acceptance or non acceptance, during the software’s installation process [click wrap]. With some boxed software packages, if one decides not to install, then the purchaser can return the product in its original packaging in good condition. I do not know what the online equivalent of this as the purchaser downloader would require to prove that they did not proceed with the installation. EULA’s are usually governed by the laws of the product’s originating Country/State.

If a product is really bad and you consider it seriously flawed and the developer/publisher/vendor is unhelpful, then consult your local consumer affairs or fair trading regulator for advice. Also be cognisant that consumer laws differ from country to country and state to state.

Make sure that you know what you are purchasing, whether the developer has a good track record, that the product will run on your computer and if you have any doubts try and avoid being an early adopter of a product until reviews appear, or comments filter through some of the forums. Some times the latter can be confusing given signal to noise ratio in the forums.

In summary then in making an on-line purchase of add-on products you are usually buying at your own risk unless the vendor states otherwise. Be aware of what you are purchasing, the vendor’s refund policy, and make sure that the product will run on your system. Avoid making complaints to credit card companies or PayPal if you download and actually receive the add-on. If the product does not work as you think it should discuss the issue with the developer/publisher/vendor. If that fails then consult your local consumer affairs/fair trading office or a legal professional for further advice.

[Disclaimer: These are my personal observations. I make these comments as an educated lay person to perhaps ease some of the confusion that occurs from time to time. I am not legally qualified. Most of it is just plain common sense. If you experience problems with a vendor or would like to know more I recommend consulting a qualified legal professional or your local consumer affairs regulators.]

Saturday, November 05, 2005

WW1 Aerobatic Manouvers

For those interested in WW1 aviation, Dave Schaffner has written an interesting article on WW1 flying training and aerobatics, and posted it at the Third Wire Forums. [free registration required if not already a member]. So climb into your SPAD and start practising.

PS .... if you require a SPAD S.7 to practice in, I recommend checking out Stuart Green's nice little SPAD s.7 for FS2004. Stuart's other WW1 aircraft for FS2004 are worth a look too.

An Audience

I appear to have attracted a few readers already .... a pleasant surprise at this early stage.

Steve Lacey appears to have enjoyed the article on MS blogs, online communities and the rumour mill. Likewise with Pixelpoke [ Jason Waskey] If you enjoy art you might want to check out Jason's site too. I am pleased you found the article interesting guys.

BTW as Jason states on his post, I am not affiliated with or employed by Micrsoft. As far as writing this blog goes, totally indepenedent... just a hobby. I do enjoy online forums for many reasons and probably spend more time than I should, reading, and occasionally posting on them.

As I mention in my blog article, I started the essay before I discovered the cited threads. I see that the AVSIM thread on the 777 has continued... an interesting and amusing thread.

Look forward to more articles on a variety of subjects.

Site Feed

I have just added Atom & RSS feed links in the sidebar. I invite you to try out and let me know of any problems.

Friday, November 04, 2005

New Blog - The Biff Diaries

I have commenced a new blog chronicling the design, philosophies and development of my Bristol F2B project. It deserves a blog of its own for continuity's dake.

The Biff Diaries.

F4U-1D Corsair WIP thread at Military Meshes

Military Meshes forums are always worth the occasional browse especially for those interested modelling 3D Aircraft. It is aimed more at high resolution modelling for rendering rather than 'creative' modelling for real time systems.

There is currently a very interesting WIP thread by Skyraider 3D showing the construction of a F4U-1D Corsair.

Another Recommended ACES blogger

Another very new blog by 'engauged' who works on the gauge development side at ACES studios.

It's full of useful information and tips already.

Steve Lacey & The Blurries

Steve Lacey's blog features an excellent article on FS2004 scenery blurries and why they occur. Definitely worth a read.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Excellent Game Art

On the subject of excellent 3D game graphics I just stumbled across these excellent examples of low poly count artwork by Jason Sallenbach at cgtalk forums. More of Jason's artwork can be seen on his own site

What marvellous textures. Jason paints them at actual resolution too. Next time I grumble at having to work with 1024 textures I won't .........grumble that is. ;)

These are from Microsoft/Ensemble Game Studios new release, Age of Empires III.

As I was perusing the above I recieved a phone call from my local EB Games store to let me know that my pre-ordered Age of Empires has been released early and is in now store waiting for me. :) I'll pop across to the mainland on the weekend and collect it. Something to look forward to.


First the good news - Microsoft have announced the Flight Simulator 2004 Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner Endurance Challenge. Here's what MS Say

To participate, you must:

  • Plan and execute a long distance/endurance flight to London/Heathrow airport.
  • Start anywhere based upon your global flight planning skills and knowledge of the 777-200LR Worldliner performance.
  • Fly your flight plan in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004: A Century of Flight.
  • Capture your experience in an essay and submit your story to us.
  • Complete your flight and submit your story by 2300 UTC, November 7th, 2005.
MS further say -

We will provide the following tools to help you through the event.
  • A modified Boeing 777 for FS2004 with official Boeing Flight Test livery and a -200LR Worldliner flight model.
  • Some helpful links about flight planning and weather to jump start your planning.
  • A template to help organize your story.
  • Other links to learn more about the Boeing 777-200LR Worldliner.
The bad news? Well hopefully not really bad, but as at the time of writing at approx 6:27Pm AEST on Nov 3 the above resources have yet to appear on the FS Insider Site.

UPDATE 10:25AM Fri Nov 4 AEST - The FS Insider Site now tells us the Challenge has been postponed. Mike Gilbert further clarifies this in his blog.

WW1 Sim by Third Wire Productions

For those who do not yet know and who may be interested there is a new WW1 combat flight simulation under development by Third Wird Productions.

To check out preview shots, WIP posts and a whole host of informative posts on WW1 subjects visit their Inside Peek forums [free registration required].

MS Blogs, online communities & the rumor mill

Microsoft is a company that, until recent times, has not exactly been well known for being open or accessible to users of its products. The company has long had a policy of making no comments on its products apart from official news announcements.

One of the consequences of such a policy has been to add to any negative perceptions of the company that some individuals may possess. Another consequence has been to fuel rumour and speculation when it came to Microsoft and its products. Indeed MS watchers abound everywhere. In the mainstream IT press there would be more than a few people earning a living from watching MS. In forums, boards, and online communities, around the web MS watching, commentary and speculation is a major pastime.

People tend to get passionate, and indeed, at times fanatical or aggressive, about the computer software they own and use, regardless of publisher or software type, whether it be productivity software, graphics software or games. Product loyalty has to be commended, and should be encouraged by publishers, but sometimes people go that little bit too far.

Of course everyone has to have an opinion too, and there is no shortage of these in any given online community. And inevitably there are those who know – what they know no-one is really sure of, but they know and they certainly let others know that they know. Then there are those who not only know, but like to hint they have inside information. Hinting such adds to their status of being knowing, knowledgeable people. They may have been product beta testers in the past, some claim to know current or past employees of the company concerned. In a more conventional setting, this is analogous to receiving an authoritative race horse tip from the cousin of the hairdresser of the jockey’s wife’s sister. Sometimes these work out, mostly they do not. Occasionally one comes across someone who claims to be an actual beta tester but then tell us they are under a NDA and cannot divulge any details [in the process of doing so possibly violating the NDA for revealing they are under a NDA]. They frequently use such status to give opinions on a range of topics regardless of relevance to the alleged beta product. Lastly there are individuals who are always right….. you might be right too but they are more right than you are …. They are never wrong [on the rare occasions that they concede they are wrong they disappear from forums for a while…to recover]. We all know people like that.

[BTW I am not alluding to any particular individual(s). I have been a participant in various on-line communities and mailing lists since 1997 and have observed these characteristics in many people.]

Online communities are very essential. If run effectively, they are an enjoyable and valuable resource. On the negative side, online communities are a natural breeding ground for myths. If Jamie and Adam run out of myths to bust they need look no further than online communities.

Given the dynamics and processes briefly outlined above, large organisations such as Microsoft who have had a policy of minimal communication and dialogue with users of their products, were a sitting duck in the processes of distortion. No company or large organisation is perfect of free from criticism. However a policy of ‘no comment’ does little to dispel negative perceptions and indeed, given the processes above, would greatly encourage such.

Anyway times are a changing and MS employees are now being encouraged to join the blogging masses. We can now see them at work, rest or play via their blogs…. well sort of anyway… a little bit… just like anyone else who blogs. This new policy of openness is very refreshing.

As far as the ACES team goes we can see there is a new edition of the flight simulator franchise under development [I still encounter guys who speculate whether there will be one LOL…]. The guys provide insights into the creation of FS. They offer the occasional tip. The ACES team obviously browse and read various FS forums. The team share their observations on the community from time to time and give opinions on some of the issues that crop up. They also do all the normal bloggy things. All this and much more folks.

These blogs are certainly worth reading now and again, and I recommend checking them out if you have not already done so. I urge people to read them, first hand, for themselves.

Steve Lacey
Hal Bryan
Adrian Woods
Beatle’s Blog
Just Sebby

These blogs have done much to dispel any myths and concerns which I may have harboured, as to the future evolution of Flight Simulator. [I’d still like to see CFS continued… that’s another topic though LOL]. Hopefully others have experienced this too.

What about the flight simulation communities has there been a change there? My personal observation is that there has been some change of attitude but some people like to cling to old habits.

There are still a few people suggesting that the new Flight Simulator Insider site is a hoax. This is not the first time, as this subject was mentioned in Mike Gilbert’s blog in September. Autodesk’s announcement that gmax will no longer be available as a standalone application and their later partial reprieve has fuelled no end of debate and speculation, which is quite understandable. The ACES team have made mention of the situation in their blogs and that they are looking at a number of options but again we have people in various forums telling us what MS are going to do, probably before MS themselves know. [here and here] I recently encountered a post by a CFS3 enthusiast authoritatively telling us that CFS4 was just around the corner and would focus on the Pacific war. This was most likely a rehash of an old rumour that may have had some some substance once upon a time.

[Stop Press: Just had a look at the evolving thread of the last link…… mmmmm????] [Note: these recent posts did not inspire this essay. This article was started before the posts were made. I use them to illustrate a point. It will be interesting and amusing if they transpire to be correct LOL]

Anyway hopefully the MS ACES team will continue to enlighten us, and MS continue with their policy of openness and indeed the process is further expanded.

[My first editorial type post... Hope there's not too much waffle?]

Low Poly Aircraft Modelling Tutorial

If you yearn to model your own aircraft for MS Flight Simulator or Combat Flight Simulator, and have played around with gmax but do not know quite how to go about building an aircraft, then you may want to check out this tutorial by Gerard Van Der Haast in the Netwings Forums.

The modelling subject chosen by Gerard for this tutorial is the Junkers EF128. This aicraft was on the drawing board at the end of WW2 and never actually flew, though it possibly reached mock up stage. If you are interested in these late war designs there are a number of books on the subject. On-line the Luft '46 site is worth checking out.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Digital Painting Tutorials - Eyes & Hair

For those into digital painting there are a couple of very nice tutorials by Linda Bergkvist on the Computer Graphics Society web site.

Painting Realistic Eyes and Painting Realistic Hair.

Sitting in your sim

This site, Sim Seat Systems, received a bit of a mention on AVSIM.

Build your own cockpit... well at least the start of one. You'll need a few monitors though. [memo to self don't throw away the old monitors... just yet.]

Now this is for people who really are passionate about their sims. I don't know if this would suit me however as I fly a wide variety of aircraft in my sims.

Certainly food for thought.

Good luck guys.

In the beginning

I must confess that, until recently, blogging never really appealed to me. I really could not see the point of it all.  All that changed just over a month ago. I happened to be perusing the x-plane forums and noticed a link in one of the posts to Microsoft ACES Lead Program Manager, Mike Gilbert’s blog. Since then a number of ACES team members have joined the blog roll. Indeed my perusal and reading of blogs has now extended way beyond flight simulation and I now spend at least an hour a day reading blogs covering a wide variety of subjects.

Anyway to cut a long story short all this opened my eyes to the allure of blogging.

People generally write about topics they are passionate about. Being passionate about something is very much a buzzword these days. We cannot just have a mere interest or indeed a strong interest in a topic or field of endeavour. We now have to possess a passion for, or be passionate about our interests and endeavours.

What passions do I have? Well… many to be quite honest, perhaps too many to address in just one blog. For the past 19+ years the world of computer graphics and computing in general have been strong interests [ok then …… ‘passions’]. Digital painting and has been more than a passing interest since 1986. Digital imaging and more recently digital photography have joined the list too. I have dabbled in 3D graphics since 1988, initially on the Amiga platform with software such as Videoscape 3D [the daddy of Lightwave 3D], Sculpt Animate 3D and Imagine, later on the Windows platform, VistaPro, Poser and Cinema 4D. In the last couple of years I have started to get serious again with gmax and more recently 3DS Max. Body Paint R2 has been added to the pipeline but I’ve yet to use seriously. Programming i.e. coding was a strong interest in the early years of my computing interests, however in 1992/3 given the demands on time I decided I could only pursue either CG or programming, not both [these were hobbies btw]. A decision was made and CG won the day.

A few minor achievements were attained in the early 1990’s. Some of my digital paintings and renderings were published in Australian Commodore or Amiga magazines and I won runner up prize at the World of Commodore Amiga in Sydney c. 1992. I deliberately aimed for such, as the first prize was no good to me.

Now another strong interest from a very young age.... about 4 years old, has been anything to do with aircraft and aviation. I lived in close proximity to two airports or airbases in central Scotland, with a third not all that far away. To visit these was an enormous treat at the time. [I hope to reminisce on these years in a later post]. My late father was a very keen R/C aeromodeller, my grandfather had been an observer in the Royal Flying Corps and RAF in WW1 and, of course, I was a very keen [passionate.. LOL] plastic scale modeler from childhood through to my 20’s.

Combine my creative and digital interests with aviation and it’s only natural that one should find flight simulation to be an absorbing and indeed passionate interest. Add the ability to create content for simulators and simulation games [and many other games] such as Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 or Combat Flight Simulator 3 [CFS3] and one has found the natural outlet for a creative such as myself. As with digital art I have possessed a long standing interest in flight simulation and 3D games going back to these early Amiga days. I think I must have owned nearly every simulator or air combat game released on the Amiga platform, including FS II. The Windows platform has been no different and I have owned many simulator and air combat games, though it was not until the advent of Windows XP that all this really came together for me.

In addition to the playing and creative aspects of these simulations much research is involved. This encompasses not only aviation matters, but history as well, another area of immense fascination.

Other computer game genres that fascinate me include Real Time Strategy [RTS] and to a lesser extent First Person Shooters [FPS].

All this then, loosely defines the scope of this blog – digital art and 3D graphics combined with flight simulation, military history with the occasional foray into other areas of digital entertainment and gaming. Much will be spontaneous, shoot from the hip type stuff and will focus on what I am doing now. There may be the occasional article/essay. I may go into soapbox mode on occasion. Of course I will post links of relevance and the occasional heads up as I come across anything of relevant interest on the web. Some of these topics may spin off into blogs of their own.

For a broader picture of where I am at please check out my ‘everything else’ blog, Island Times.

Enough of the introductory waffle…. on with the blog.

Robert Bruce