There is some information making the rounds in some forums about a new project named Andras Field to be released soon. I was curious when i was given a pdf outlining the full scope of the project and was even more curious after reading it. It turns out that it follows an idea that started many many years ago with a product originally released for FS2002 by an Italian company called Lago and that was known as Emma Field.Â It was about a fictional airfield full of daily (automated) Â life and supported by a forum that is actually a living community populated by simmers. EF itself is rather dormant these days as there was never any development finished for FSX.
But here comes Andras Field and it brings the community issue to an entire new level…. now we have an airfield that is ran by an association of owners and those a real people like you and me. Â It hosts property ‘owned’ Â by real virtual airlines, real companies, real you and me’s. So i threw some questions at Mathijs Kok (Project Manager) and Andras Kozma (Developer), read the interview and see screenshots after the break:
Miguel Blaufuks: You send us some interesting images and an outline Â of an airport we could not recognize, is this the Andras Field we heard about?
Mathijs Kok: Indeed it is, we are closing the files this weekend, release next week.
MB: So it is a fictive airport, like Emma field you did years ago?
MK:Â We wanted something on Swiss, German and Austrian border so it would be close to all the nice places. More important we wanted a place where you could land a 737 and a glider but also a place that could handle a big seaplane. Truly multifunctional. Like we found with Emma Field there is just no such place ,so we had to create one.
MB: So simMarket can buy a plot there and build our headquarters inside FSX? Perhaps even show some of our products on some way?
MK: No, you’ll get a prime plot for free from us, we are inviting more friends to join us there. You’re free to build what you want as long as the Andras Field Owners Association does not object and you do not cause a danger to the aircraft (so keep the edge of the terrain free of objects that could damage a wing etc).
MB: Thank you for that! But how would this work for an individual who would like to have his own place in FSX?
MK: The moment a plot has been ‘developed’ we either build something there and sell it or we sell the empty plot so the new owner can build his own place.
MB: ‘Sell’ as in actually paying money for it?
MK: Yes, we think we’ll just put them on eBay. The moment we showed the first images a few people wanted in so there are a few properties that already have been sold. Two have already been resold to new owners. When you buy it is is yours, we put a sign with your name on it.
MB: And other people see that house? And what does a plot cost on average?
MK: Sure, every week or 10 days there will be an update with the new houses and other things. For example somebody who flies model aircraft wanted to know if he could have place where he could show some model flying. So he talked to the boss of the Glider Association and they found a nice corner. So in one update we’ll add that (and remove it in hard winter).
We got no idea what a plot will cost, but right now it seems to hover around â‚¬50 for a nice plot and â‚¬75 for prime location. But we got no control over it, we do take the money but will use it to enhance the place.
MB: But who runs the project?
MK: That’s the key of the project, the customers do. They will select ‘directors’ who in the board of directors decide what’s going to happen. We just provide the setting.
MB: And will there be an online server so people can see each other?
MK: I do think that’s needed but let’s see how the users like to handle that. Ideally we would have some ATC coverage in weekends. Some VA’s already asked if they could host events. We got a lot of parking available!
MB: Will you (or Aerosoft) have its own place?
MK: Of course, with the people I work most with. We decided on a rather stunning property with a large hangar for a Catalina and two GA aircraft, with a apartment and a large terrace Â on top. There is even a helipad on the roof. Though heli operations still have to be organized over the air park, again something the users have to decide on. Nobody wants choppers flying low over houses right? In summer we’ll have soft jazz and BBQ on Friday evenings, all done using the effects of FSX. Come round and have a beer!
Over to Andras Kozma.
Miguel Blaufuks: Andras, Â you are the main developer for this project. You liked working on this strange project? I seem to remember you also did Emma Field.
Andras Kozma: Â Unfortunately I did not do Emma-Field. That was Richard Goldstein’s small marvel.
But seek and dig deeper and you will always find Mathijs behind these type of projects. It’s amazing that most people thought Emma-Field was a ‘real’ location, whereas in reality it was named after Mathijs’s daughter… When Emma came out I was jealous, it was my long dream to do a small highly detailed little scenery, which was even easier at that time, but I always did large cities, even countries, huge airports and the like.
When Mathijs approached me with the idea of this ‘Field’ I had my doubts. But even after more than 36 commercial sceneries behind me, most probably Mathijs is the sole soul on the simulation field I trust implicitly, so I accepted the challenge. He was right – as always – and I came to like this project a lot. I think if people handle it with an open and playful mind, it will be quite successful.
MB: Can you mention some of the highlights from a developers point of view? We love the water/land borders for example, the high grass effects!
AK: Well, because actually there are three different airports in a relatively small location, it was not easy. A small glider-field, a water-based airport for amphibians and an ex-military airport slowly converted to the GA use, gave different challenges. In the main airport there are a lot of old, worn, torn and ugly remains of the past, but it has its new purpose now, so the most challenging thing was to find the balance between the old and the new. Past-present and hopefully the future too, as we plan to develop the airport a lot in the future.
Technically speaking the most interesting part is probably the frequent usage of mocaps (motion capture) files for the humans all over the scenery, which was not really done for FS so far – if I’m not mistaken. There’s also a bad side of the story, unfortunately we were not able to get a good quality aerial photo of the area in high resolution, but it may change in the future.
This scenery was built to be changing almost day by day.
MB: How does it feel to have a project named after you?
AK: Strange. I hated the idea and tried to discourage Mathijs to go forward with this name. But he insisted, so I finally simply accepted it.
Thank you guys, now let’s that a look at the images: