It’s only been a few days since tdg’s last file and yet another one came out today, fresh off the press so to speak…and this is the point I was trying to make in yesterday’s post. Payware developers just can’t match this pace of development, yet, in a way, that’s what the market seems to want. I think the problem is obvious, too. How many healthy markets do you know where there’s either no product, or a serious, chronic shortage of new products? Despite the fact that the lion’s share of the market in X-plane is focused on general aviation (estimate is 70% of the current market), how many airports came out this year that were focused on general aviation activities? A couple? And yet, given that X-plane’s Wed object architecture is almost ideally suited to cranking out small GA airports, is there going to be a big market for small payware airports anytime soon? Probably not.
So…my guess is that 70% number represents a soft buyer, a user who is not likely to spend much on add-ons. This guy is more likely to open Xp, find the default Cessna 172 and a few local Gateway airports, then try to get from point A to point B without crashing on a freeway in the middle of Akron, Ohio. Ergo, my extrapolated guess is that the hard market in X-plane, the real market that exists for payware files is a much smaller segment but one that has an almost insatiable appetite for new files, and probably more for new scenery files than new aircraft files. Aircraft have a learning curve, don’t they, while airports become places to use the aircraft you just spent weeks learning to use, so, from a marketing perspective, how do you identify where your market for payware scenery files lies?
Odds are using a database of regular users might not be as easy to interpret as you might think. Let’s just pull a number out of thin air…let’s imagine that half the X-plane users in the U.S. live in Texas and California. So, does anyone really think the safe bet is to only make airports in Texas and California? I don’t. And I don’t because a big part of X-plane’s allure is to fly in exotic locations, and if you want proof head on over to xpfr and look at the file downloaded the most over the last several years. Yup, Tahiti. And rightfully so, too. And if you want to put a finer point on things, there’s more than a little bit of Walter Mitty going on inside the X-plane gestalt, almost a kind of voyeurs perspective – where you might consider that many people like to fly in places they’re very unlikely to get to fly in their lifetime. Fly the fjord-lands of Norway? Or even Tierra del Fuego?
A few years ago my son and I picked up a couple of BMW R1200GS motorcycles and rode from Colorado up to northern Canada, not quite seven thousand miles in five weeks. We thought our next ride might be to try to ride from Colorado to, yes, Tierra del Fuego…until we read more about the risks of riding through places like Columbia and Venezuela. The point, if I may, is that people like to break out of their usual nine-to-five existence when they go places, and my guess is that applies to the time we spend in X-plane, as well.
One thing that’s so distressing about the Rim & Co debacle is that developer had a handle on that zeitgeist…Ayers Rock, St Helenas, Tierra del Fuego, or what you might think of as an adventure travelers wish-list. Can you imagine being able to fly to Easter Island and see those stone carvings? You can fly over places in East Africa any day of the week in X-plane, but can you fly over herds of migrating elephants?
What else can you imagine? And if you can imagine it, odds are you’d like to go there in X-plane and take a look around. I’ve experienced that impulse flying in the Andes, in Columbia and Ecuador, and I found that some of the most rewarding flying I’ve done in X-plane was when I got the chance to fly there when Santiago released his first Columbian files – and it was a blast!
Yes, it’s all about breaking out of your comfort zone, about using X-plane to explore your world, the world you’ve always wanted to see.
Now…how do payware scenery developers get into that mindset? What kind of imagination does it take…?
A new ground handling package for the X-Craft E175 came out Sunday, and this one is aimed at aircraft hooked up to a Jetway and needing less equipment, and no stairs. All in all, a good thing to have, and here’s the file:
The SSG 748i needed, I mean really NEEDED this Etihad Formula 1 paint…
…and yup, here it is, too:
Spent a bit more time in the AFM files this morning, this time in the Ovation III. Very similar performance to the Ovation II – but with a G1000 panel – and seen here departing KTEX for KGCN Grand Canyon…with SkyMAXX Pro doing it’s thing.
There are a bunch of interesting paints included with each variant, and some liveries have different colored interiors to match. Nice…!
So, a new tdg airport, this time in the Aegean/Cyclades (from Wikipedia: the Cyclades are an island group in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece and a former administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around(κυκλάς) the sacred island of Delos. The largest island of the Cyclades is Naxos.) So, southeast of Athens, west of Chios and Antalya, therefore perfectly situated to fit into a route network linking Cyprus, Israel, and Turkey to Athens and points west.
And, yes, it’s a tdg airport so it’s damn good, and he’s gone to great effort to make sure you feel welcome here! My only complaints? Ramps are a little quiet, and a little dim. I’d imagine the real airport is too, so no big deal.
Olympic is the dominant carrier here, and the rest of the action is centered around regional seasonal charters.
Keep in mind that the real airport’s ICAO code is LGPA, while tdg slapped a LPGX label on this file…so we could still use the old airport (located nearby) for other purposes. You can just see the Old Paros Airport from this newer airfield, and you can use it by entering LGPA. LGPX will get you to the New Paros Airport, or this file.
Yup, this freeware file is a Must Have for our burgeoning route network in and around Greece, and you’ll find the file right here, so get ’em while they’re hot:
And try to stay cool while this wretched summer heat bores in. Adios, and take care – A