Anthony Dyer has submitted over 250 Gateway airports under the name anthony_d. He’s on a mission to provide 3D scenery for every airport in the UK.
Where are you located?
Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Nearest airfield in X-Plane to my house is X6IN Insch.
Why did you choose X-Plane as your flight simulator?
I did a move from the Microsoft brand to X-Plane 10 pretty much as soon as the demo version of X-Plane 10 came out. The thing that enticed me more than anything else was the run up and previews to X-Plane 10. In particular I was bowled over by the autogen, the OSM roads representations for the whole world and the HDR lighting. The one weakness in quality 3rd party addon aircraft was also addressed with JRollon’s CRJ200, and that was a deal maker for me. When you combine all that with the fact that the team behind X-plane was both small and highly energised, I could really see huge potential for the flight simulator to keep improving. We’ve come a long way since then.
What motivates you to develop X-Plane scenery?
Originally my motivation was driven my a desire to fill in gaps in the airport scenery. My first airports were obviously my local ones, EGPD Aberdeen and X6IN Insch. These were airports with custom 3D buildings that I uploaded to X-Plane.org. They are still there, but they haven’t been touched for a long time.
However once LR was open to receiving airport submissions to improve the default landscape, I tried a few more airports of interest that weren’t represented in 3D anywhere.
It kind of grew, as hobbies do, from satisfying my desire to fill in a few empty airports to the objective of making sure every airport under National Air Traffic Service (NATS) control in the UK was included in 3D. With every airport, attention to detail was important. I wanted to make airports that were enjoyable to fly to repeatedly. So If I could see a detail on the satellite image, no matter how insignificant, it had to go into the flight simulator. I think hobbies in the United Kingdom are things that we treat very seriously, whether it’s gardening, photography or in my case the prior two as well as airport building.
For me when I’m traveling on assignment, it’s been a very accessible hobby and one I can do almost anywhere in the world whenever I have some spare time. I’ve also found that when I’ve showed off my work to friends and colleagues who aren’t into flight simulators, a lot of them appreciate it. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that everyone goes flying on commercial airliners these days, so they can all relate to a particular airport. If they see it in a virtual rendering, it makes them smile and that matters a lot.
Do you have a favourite airport that you have submitted to the Gateway?
ENZV Stavanger. This is probably the airport I most frequently fly in an out of in real life (normally frantically trying to make the 25 minute connection time from Aberdeen to Oslo). The airport has beautifully detailed satellite images which always makes airport building much easier, but also the real architecture of the airport lends itself very well to the art assets that we have in the x-plane library. I’m very proud of the effort I made here, and it was also my first airport where I tried a technique to include striped walkways.
Norway in general has always been a favourite destination both in real life and in the virtual world. So I embarked on a project this summer to ensure that all Avinor airports are 3D rendered in X-Plane. Stavanger is my favourite, but there are many other close contenders.
Do you have any advice for newbie Gateway artists?
Start with a small airport, and learn the techniques there. The large airports are easily 100-200hour jobs, but with some practice you can get a small airport complete with wonderful detail inside 4hours or so. Never neglect the small places in our world. There’s a lot of satisfaction in flying a Cessna to a quiet part of the world and finding that the Gateway community hasn’t neglected it.