FlyByWire has recently released a new video on their YouTube channel, featuring Mike, the lead texture artist of the A380X project. In the video, Mike takes viewers on a tour of the detailed work that went into creating a 3D model and high-resolution textures for the aircraft. Mike highlights the attention to detail in the A380X project, describing it as “second to none”. In previous reports, it was revealed that the visuals for the A32NX project took a back seat to make way for the A380X, but this video gives a first glimpse of the exciting new freeware jet set to be included in Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The video starts with Mike explaining the team’s decision to aim for a 1-to-1 resolution scale in the cockpit. This means that every surface in the flight deck will have high-resolution textures, making the cockpit more immersive for the user. Mike also mentions that the team made sure that the resolution scale on the UV maps is normalized on every texture set.
Mike then discusses the process of creating the 3D model of the cockpit using Blender software. Blender’s modifiers allowed the designers to add consistent curves to buttons and knobs, resulting in a cockpit that is more accurate in its geometry. For example, Mike mentions that the glare shield curves slightly differently on the left and right sides.
Mike also showcases the textures in the A380X, describing them as his best work so far. He has spent over 3000 hours working on the project, and the effort is evident in the level of detail seen in the textures. The textures are not a single-layered image, but multiple layers that create a sense of depth and wear. In the Microsoft Flight Simulator SDK, these layers are compiled in channels, including the ambient occlusion channel, which determines how light interacts with the textures, and the roughness channel, which shows wear and tear.
Mike also shares some of the reference photos that the team used to compile the textures, which are 45 megapixels in size. He reveals that FlyByWire has also created a texture set for a factory-fresh A380, in response to community requests. The exterior of the A380X has the same level of detail as the interior, with engine wobbling and physically simulated flight controls.
In conclusion, Mike calls out to anyone with experience in modelling to consider joining the FlyByWire team and contribute their skills to the project. He mentions that 2023 will be a fun year filled with exciting developments for the A380X project.