I am the lead scenery developer for X-Plane; my main work area is the default scenery, the scenery tools and file formats, and the rendering engine. I also work on modeling issues because the same rendering code draws airplane models and scenery models. I don't work on the flight model or physics - that and about a billion other things are all Austin - heck, I don't even know what makes an airplane fly.*
My professional background is programming; I came very close to becoming an Air Traffic Controller - I went through a CTI program in California, but by the time the FAA called me for the next step of the process, over a year had gone by; I was deep in X-Plane already and the FAA was experiencing personnel turbulence. I think I really would have really enjoyed being an ATC, but my personality is definitely better suited for a small company like Laminar Research than for a big government agency.
This blog is primarily targeted at authors who create scenery and airplanes for X-Plane, and also for users who want to know more about the "guts" of the sim. It is not tech support; I will not answer tech support questions posted in the comments sectio -- sorry. Please contact X-Plane tech support - they are there to help!
There are a few website resources for third parties that provide reference:
- The X-Plane scenery website - contains all the file format specs and LR's tools and code.
- The X-Plane Wiki - contains information on authoring planes, scenery and modeling.
- The X-Plane Plugin System has its own wiki.
- Robin manages our airport data - see his web page for downloads and file format specs.
- The X-Plane user's manual is available on the contact page, just in case the version you have from your DVDs is not as recent, or you are trying to use Plane-Maker in the demo.
There are also a number of mailing lists - the scenery and plugin pages list the appropriate mailing lists for those audiences. I definitely recommend the mailing lists for developers and authors - traffic isn't too bad and there are a lot of knowledgeable users!
I can be reached by email via bsupnik at xsquawkbox dot net, but I must warn you: my in-box is on the verge of complete structural failure! I try to answer everybody, but if your message gets lost, you may need to try again.
* This is actually not true - when I was in ground school, our instructor told us the real force that keeps an airplane in the air: money!