A question that often comes up is why we do not design highly detailed airports such as the likes of Fly Tampa. Before we can answer this question, we first need to take you through the process before any physical designing starts.
Before we start with any airport project, a financial analysis is performed. We need to sell our creation and we need to make sure that we will be able to generate an income from it as compensation for the time we put into this project. In the past, we just designed airports with the hope that they will sell which often lead to disastrous results! Our Mauritius 2002 package was such an example where we spend six months developing it and in the end, we only sold 10 copies!
We also need to consider what the average South African user is willing to spend on an airport package. Charging 35 to 40 US Dollars for an airport package in South Africa is suicide. Very few people will buy it which will severely diminish sales. If we were to spend let’s say two years on a project and then sell it for 15 US Dollars, that will not make it worth our while. Price versus time spend on the project is therefore an important factor for us.
Another factor to consider is the piracy factor. Unlike popular believe, piracy is not motivated by price. There are people in this world that believe that everything should be free and if they cannot get it for free, they will steal it! The more expensive the package, the more copies will be pirated. With every software package you buy, you pay a percentage so that someone can get his for free. That is unfortunately how life works! We therefore must account for the loss of income through piracy.
We must also look at the limitations of the Flight Simulator program the scenery is for. It is real great to have an airport with all the bells and whistles, but the package is useless if you cannot fly in and out of it! Very few uses use the default aircraft in the Flight Simulator program and we want our clients to be able to fly in and out of our airports using their PMDG aircraft! Some airports are so detailed that you can only use the default trike in Flight Simulator to view all the detail. Using any of the PMDG aircraft in and out of the airport is impossible unless you severely turn down the detail in both the scenery and the aircraft. We just don’t want that for our clients.
One of our clients asked us for help after buying a commercial airport from a well-known developer. As soon as the airport would come into view, his Flight Simulator would crash with an out of memory error. He eventually adjusted the scenery settings of both his PMDG aircraft and the airports scenery to such an extent that he could land at the airport and taxi to the gate. On stopping by the gate, his Flight Simulator would crash with an out of memory error. That is what we are desperately trying to avoid and why we do not want to go full detail on any of our airport packages.
We pushed the envelope with our Port Elizabeth and George airport packages and that is about the maximum detail we could do and still allow you to use your PMDG aircraft in and out of an airport. That kind of detail is just not possible at larger airports such as Johannesburg, King Shaka and Cape Town.
As you can see, developing airports is not as easy as it seems! Hopefully you will understand now what the diving factor behind some of the choices we made are. Smaller airports like Viginia can be developed in full detail without any repercussions, but care must be taken at the larger airports.