In a recent recap video for 2020, our team secretly added a preview of what we've been working on behind the scenes. We've often said that we're working on clouds and buildings however, we weren't at a point we were comfortable with sharing them. That changed in December when 3D buildings made their YouTube debut.
Naturally, many questions arose from the community and we've collected many of them here. There are still unknowns as our team develops these new features and prepares the Infinite Flight ecosystem for some much-anticipated updates. With that, let's get to the questions and their answers.
Are buildings at airports or also cities?
Buildings will only be at airports when we release.
Will a building’s placement be auto-generated or placed manually? If manual, will users have an opportunity to construct airports?
Airport buildings are a mix of procedurally generated and handcrafted models. We are building tools to make it easy to create complex airports quickly but they will remain internal for now. We use OpenStreetMap data to get an initial building footprint to start from. Objects are placed by hand and we will provide more information on this in a future post.
How many objects will there be at each airport?
This depends on each airport and on the level of performance we are able to achieve.
How many airports will have buildings and where will they be?
Our first release will only have a handful of airports so we can ensure it works well before we start scaling to more.
Will buildings have unique details such as logos, decals, and company names?
Not in our initial release but this is something we are considering.
Will the buildings have collision detection?
We have no plans for collision detection at the moment.
Will objects such as jet bridges and vehicles be animated?
Many objects we showed in the recap video have animations but our first release will mostly have static objects. This is so we can ensure a high level of performance before adding more functionality.
Will buildings and objects interact with the environment?
It is our goal to have objects such as windsocks animate based on actual wind conditions. Other items like radars and beacons will animate automatically as we are able to add those items. This may or may not come in the first release.
Will non-Pro subscribers have buildings too?
Yes, non-pro subscribers will have access to buildings that are available in the regions that come with the initial purchase of the app.
Will the subscription price increase when airport buildings and clouds are released?
How will my device handle the new features?
We are working hard to ensure everyone can enjoy this new content. Quality settings will allow users to reduce the numbers of airport objects visible to adapt to their device performance.
Are the buildings streamed like the scenery? Will this impact my data usage?
Yes, but it should have minimal impact on data usage for now.
How does Project Metal influence buildings? Are buildings part of Project Metal?
Project Metal is our effort to modernize our low-level graphics engine. We made great progress in the first half of 2020 but then hit a few roadblocks. This required us to change a few things in Infinite Flight to help with integrating Project Metal improvements. Buildings are helping us do that.
How long have you been working on buildings?
This iteration of buildings has been in the works since late 2019. A big part of it was dedicated to building the required tools and 3D objects.
Are clouds and buildings coming at the same time?
This is something we are not sure of yet. We will communicate as we’re able.
Will the clouds be updated in real-time?
It is our intention for clouds to be synchronized with the live weather when online.
Are the clouds 2D or 3D?
We will simulate a thin layer of cirrus cloud in version 1. We do plan to experiment with multiple layers of 3D clouds in the future.
Does this mean new lighting will also be coming?
Dynamic aircraft and taxiway lighting is something we desperately want to add but are currently limited by our aging graphics technology. We will re-focus on this after the first release of buildings is out the door. This will be another step in Project Metal.
As you may have started to notice, Project Metal is something that is allowing Infinite Flight to evolve and improve over time. It won't be something we release with a long list of new features in tow. As our team updates our graphics pipeline, more features (such as dynamic lighting) will be possible.
In case you missed it, here is the 2020 recap which has a cloud and 3D building preview at the end. We can't wait to see what the rest of 2021 has in store for Infinite Flight pilots!