My week in Christchurch...

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My week in Christchurch...

Postby toprob » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:07 am

I've never been a big fan of NZCH, partly because I was born and bred in Christchurch, so all the nice airports were 'elsewhere'. On the other hand, I wouldn't be doing what I do now if not for Ian's original NZCH for FS2000(?), which blew me away being able to see what was really there. This was one of two scenery releases which got me hooked in those early days -- the other one was Christian's elevation mesh for NZ.

I always tried to get Ian to do another NZCH, as his early version didn't work in the new sims. So I always considered NZCH his property. However in 2009 I did make a start, just because it was about to undergo a huge development, and I wanted to preserve it the way it was. But there were so many issues it just wasn't funny. Of course it's a noisy dusty place, with really poor access, and actually getting airside access was a real battle. By mid 2009 I was finding it a real struggle to get out there and take pictures, and by the end of June I was diagnosed with my heart problem. So NZCH was shelved permanently, it has already tried to kill me....

Since then a lot has happened in Christchurch, much of the city was damaged by the earthquakes, and I've since moved away. I have mixed feelings about the city now, sometimes it breaks my heart to see the state of it, but I am starting to see some really great work done on rebuilding. And of course the airport development is now completed...

I spent the last week taking photos of NZCH, and although I still can't get airside access, the airport suggested that their contracted photographer could take the photos. Last week I finally met up with him, and his wife, and it does look like this arrangement could work out well.

The initial NZCH scenery work is partially funded already, which makes it a priority. So it looks like the possibility of a flash new NZCH is closer to 80% than 20% now:)
NZCH is still dusty and awful in parts, but looking at the photos I've taken this week, I really have most of the photo resources I'd need, excluding airside which are being supplied.
The best thing about NZCH is that it would be the ideal project for the multi-sim development -- it is certainly needed for FSX/Prepar3d, and I have all but decided that any X-place scenery would be airports only. It would also be a great addition to Aerofly, although I do have other great plans for this sim.

I've posting this here as a sort of heads-up for NZFF members, it isn't an official announcement or anything, as it's far too early for that. Still, I am quietly confident that I can pull this off, without the normal delays which have plagued me lately, due to lack of resources and funds. There's just one rule though -- every time someone asks when it'll be released, I add another month to the development:)
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby Roy » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:26 am

This is exciting news Rob,can't wait. >nzflag<
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby MichaelBasler » Sat Dec 02, 2017 12:37 pm

Great News Rob, I'm all for it. And no, I do NOT ask when it will be ready ^_^

All the best, Michael
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby jpreou » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:03 pm

Awesome :)
-- Jeff, Rolleston, NZ
P3Dv4.x and a bunch of add-on stuff... some 'global' products, but otherwise NZ-only
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby Charl » Sat Dec 02, 2017 10:27 pm

:clap:
Are we there yet? :D
Oops...
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby deeknow » Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:14 pm

Great stuff Rob.
you may have to issue it when released with two sets of textures, one dusty, one less so :)
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby toprob » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:01 pm

Here's an update, I have occasionally mentioned progress/otherwise on NZCH, but this thread is designed to be a bit chattier...

I have been a bit blocked lately, as I didn't quite have the photo resources I needed. When I was originally contacted by the aero club about a NZCH scenery, I said it would never happen, it seemed unlikely that I'd ever get enough photos etc, but the aero club guy was very keen to help, so I agreed on the condition that they would get me access to the airport for the photos I needed. In the end I wasn't able to get access, but the airport did offer their photographer's services. The other piece of the puzzle was the airside detail which their photographer couldn't reach with his vehicle-mounted camera rig. So we agreed that the aero club would fly me to Christchurch, and we'd do a flight to get the features which were important to them, but also let me shoot the detail I needed from the runway line.

However this never happened, a change of management at the aero club kept delaying it, and I wasn't quite sure that they were still as keen to get this done. When I finally delivered a 'beta', though, I think their interest was rekindled... Next week they are going to pick me up from Timaru airport, fly me to Chch, take me for a local flight, then bring me back. I really have my fingers crossed that this will give me all I need, short of one more road trip to fill in the details I inevitably missed.

One issue was the funding, NZCH development is part of the Kickstarter funding campaign, plus a contribution from the aero club, but as I'd aimed for 10 months (with an October release) but it has been delayed by 2 or 3 months, I ran out of money. This came to a head when I became very aware that I probably couldn't afford to take a taxi to/from Timaru airport, so I was planning to hitchhike! I've mentioned before that my son is helping with my rent, thankfully. It's just the other stuff which is tricky, including getting the finishing touches done. My daughter -- and the tax collector -- suggested that I talk to WINZ, and I was coming around to this as a last resort. Then on Monday I suddenly remembered that when I got to this position trying to finish Dunedin, I'd offered the 'pre-pay' option. I am aware that the concept of 'pre-pay' is weird, but really it is simply a way for those who know me, and therefore know that I'm not great at getting things finished, to help out. So thanks to those who pre-paid, it has helped immensely. Most of you in this position have helped me out before, a number of times, so I'm acutely aware that many of you go above and beyond what would be considered suitable to get some nice scenery! I truly appreciate that.

The goal is to get back to being able to fund development fully myself, which was meant to be after Dunedin was released, but Dunedin wasn't a big seller, for a number of reasons, some of my own doing. I'm glad I did Dunedin, and I fully expect sales to pick up once people have NZCH, and need somewhere nice to fly to, but it isn't of much interest to most of the world as a stand-alone NZ airport in the middle of nowhere.

One problem with Dunedin was that there have been no reviews published. A few people/sites offered to review it, but it never happened. One of the best ways to get interest is via word of mouth, so reviews or other things like posted screenshots etc are always welcome. A few screenshots on one of the big flightsim sites has a huge impact on my income!
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby cowpatz » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:18 am

Shame about the release delay Rob. It would have been good to have tagged that lucrative Xmas market.
Still....can't hurry an artist.
It's looking fantastic.
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby toprob » Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:52 am

Yeah, Christmas would've been good, but now I'm thinking that if Flightbeam release NZWN for Xmas, by the following month people will be SCREAMING out for another big airport to fly to:) And, I mean, who wants to compete with Flightbeam anyway?

However there were a few things which I had on the 'list', that won't make the release. For example, I get a lot of requests for an airport without the surrounding photoscenery, mainly from Orbx users, and I did plan to look at that for Christchurch, but really it would add to the development time, so it probably won't happen this time. I will have to see when it is all finished, what would be involved to release another version. I almost said 'lite' version, but it certainly won't be cheaper than the 'full' version!
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby airnz515 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:26 pm

How much longer do you expect the pre-pay option to be available for? Really want to help you finish the project, but will have to get some more money to buy the pre-pay. Otherwise, I will be defiantly buying NZCH when it is released :D .
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby toprob » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:38 pm

Another 6 pre-pay sales before I reach my target, but have no idea how long that'll take, or even if I'll reach it. The last half-dozen are always the hardest to sell:)
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby toprob » Tue Feb 19, 2019 2:45 pm

I did report in another post here that I finally got to fly around NZCH, and the various Aero Club reporting points, but had camera problems, so I was very annoyed. However the photos I did take turned out to be very useful, and I'm managed to get past my 'block' and make some progress. The plan at the moment is to spend March tidying up things, and then do the first proper beta. Tidying up could turn out to be a big job, though, taking into account some niggly little display issues with P3Dv4.4 -- for example, the Z-buffer problems are back, this shows up when you zoom in from a distance, so I need to go around the entire airport and zoom in on everything just to check this:( Fixing it can be difficult as well.
Lighting is another thing left to the end, night lighting is always tricky, so I just recommend that you don't fly at night -- it's dangerous! I mentioned that unlike Dunedin I haven't modelled inside the terminals, as I couldn't get access, so there is nothing to see through the windows at night.
Other things needed tidying up -- the photo scenery has had a complete redo lately, even though I did have this all finished for the last year.... There are some edge issues which need fixing still, so don't let me forget. I've also been meaning to add some cars to the VLC Library, as there are only a handful to choose from, but this is one of those things I keep putting off. I was hoping some petrol-head here on NZFF would decide to do a complete car library, but that hasn't happened. And I need to do some fire/security vehicles, the security area looks kind of lacking at the moment, but it is impossible to get access there.
I also have plenty of half-finished models around the city, most of which I'd completely forgotten about. (I still haven't finished the Cathedral after starting it 10 years ago.)
I will be asking for more beta testers soon, so if you have prepaid for NZCH, or contributed to the Kickstarter, please think about helping out when it's ready. I'm looking for a couple of folk without the normal Orbx-based system, but also one or two who are happy to test a scaled-back install, just the airport and city, but you'd probably need Orbx NZSI at least to get this looking ok.
Don't hold back if you think you don't have the skills to test -- I need a range of skill levels, and I promise if anything breaks I'll try to fix it:)
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Re: My week in Christchurch...

Postby Ex ANZ Eng » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:26 am

Hi Robin,
as always, happy to be a tester.
I am still running FSX with NZSI.
Cheers
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