Is the Devil in the Details?

This is the latest product from ORBX

I invite your attention to the 3rd and 6th screen shot.

The airfield artist/developer has obviously done a terrific job in rendering an exact replica f this airport, however…are the rain barrel/port-a-potty/stacked wooden pallets (3rd) or the dual electric meters really necessary? Are they even observable from the “flight-side” of the airport?

As a FSX scenery designer, I wrestle with “what to include” when developing an airport. My rules of thumb are:
1 - Can you see it from the air? (Flight-side or Front-of-terminal side)
2 - Can you see it from the ground (Flight-side)

If the answers are “No”, I don’t include it because who is really going to see it? Why add unnecessary polys? Why add unnecessary bytes to the files?

Yet as I see more and more extremely detailed scenery, produced by OBX and others I am beginning to question myself.

Is the devil in the details? Is that what folks really want…even when they will likely never see “the devil”?


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Mmm, good points from a designer point of view.

But users in a majority group will most likely want that level of detail at a balance of not sacrificing FPS.

So as long as the GFX engine and code can spread the load evenly and not burn FPS, more is welcomed I believe.

It depends on the SOURCE-CODE and how it processes the GFX engine…because every user will complain about how their system handles FPS and every system varies on FPS depending on spec design.

So you cant design to each spec system out there but pushing the source-code to its best optimal performance leaving headroom for other processes.

I truly understand, however and its another “THOUGHTS?” thread by the way, I would always suggest more detail, because as users we can always upgrade our spec design.

To compare, this is what plagued the the older sims.


Especially as you zoom in @2.35 and also viewing your MFD on your A-G Radar/ TGP/ TFR/ FLIR / MAP Detail etc so to speak.

Also immersion is vital when take-off / landing /flying low / terrain masking / NOE on a low profile POPUP Attack Mission in a combat sim either day or night and when you do look down from various altitudes you want to see life meaning 3D objects that combine as realistic as you would be in the air in real life.

Low flying example…

You can see the debris and grassy / bushy patches clearly as you’re flying by at speed, if you circle around an area of course you are going to see more detail, right!

Also when using Binoculars…

Or night- vision goggles to spot enemy ground fire for CAS missions so on.

Not forgetting to mention Air Shows and ground scenery and simply walking up to the plane as you look around perform your pre-flight checks, startup and taxing around the place even as you take-off you are enjoying the detailed scenery that makes you feel you are there and belong in that environment, not feeling like its void of life.

Especially at those country aerodromes where its not clean and organized its usually old hangers lots of stuff around about the place so on… heaps of FSX / P3D examples of those type of areas that look very detailed as you perform pre-flight and taxiout.

You being the designer is the vital part of the experience that we the users enjoy when it comes to realism and good graphical design of environments and eco systems that somewhat represent the real.

However just adding extra bits of detail is an art form to master for example instead of pallets, I would have added a fuel pump or a tractor to give that better look of 3D objects from the ground and the air.

FSX Example…

Also use real photos and add them in the shared development progress as you post them in Forums or Facebook Social media to show talent… and yeah ask the users what they want or would like to see.

As to…

Why add unnecessary bytes to the files?

That is a given that byte and files size will increase even just having other MAPS / Aircraft so on you gota allow as users / gamers that on your Hard-Drive anyway. People will say again more poly’s as long as the engine-code can handle and not detract FPS.

But for me its “YES”, I want detail that brings about “LIFE” and “IMMERSION” that can be visually enjoyed on the ground and at visual low altitude.

Especially if its a mil-sim where changing camera views to say a tank or ground infantry where the ground detail is a must! Vietnam Theater :wink:

Will post more examples and discussion points as others join the conversation!


I don’t mind extreme detail in some areas because I’m a screenshot guy and often use them for articles. So from that perspective…right on. And I do like lots of detail in my bush strips and fields where I’m taxiing in to a ramp spot. What I will never grasp is a developer that spends time on the INSIDE of a building…like doing the inside of a terminal or Dzerwhiskyfoxtrotdelta making the inside of the White House for instance. I guess some people like that kind of thing, but I’d rather that time be spent on the airport environment.


I wouldn’t mind at all if DCS modelled the inside of the Tromb tower if that meant I could bomb it to realistic effect :devil:


Helloooo NSA watchlist… :wink:


I’m right with you for the BDA.

(Don’t want you to feel surrounded by strangers in the NSA Watchlist @schurem, I’m in there too now.)

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Hence the threads title “Is the Devil in the details”?



Besides all simmers have been…


I’m clear, I hope you all are … :rofl:

Well, I did that for the ENSB terminal and LGLE terminal, but only because both were clearly visible from the flight-side through plate glass windows.

Control towers are another issue. The windows are usually tinted and/or have some reflections. I’ve worked a couple of ideas but have settled down with “people and equipment” dark shapes inside tinted, transparent windows with some amount of reflection. It looks pretty much what you see when you glance up at a control tower.

So the consensus seems to be for detail, with a minority volunteering their names for the NSA watch list…I’ll add them as soon as I finish this email. :astonished:

The crop duster video really reinforced your point…but also add somewhat to my question. At the beginning, you see the plane start up in front of a hangar with a lot a great detail in signs and stuff. Put me into total emersion. Likewise the blue sign about the runway just before you taxi onto the threshold. Awesome.

That said I watched closely. The back of the original hangar is a nice weathered texture and 3 threes…they didn’t put some stacks of crates or old oil barrels, etc. Maybe in the real hangar there isn’t anything there…however, I didn’t feel like I missed anything if there had been some junk they decided not to add.

100% agreement. Mill sims need all the detail from what ever angle they can handle. A quick look at the default FSX BMP will illustrate that fact…its missing the tracks on one side…I try to never use it and if I must, make sure it can only be seen at certain angles.

This is a great discussion. :slightly_smiling_face:

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One thing I’ve learned in programming and then releasing to the hordes is that humans have a knack for doing unexpected things. For me the devil has always been in the details, and “overproduction” paid off more times than not. Makes things harder, but also separates polish from frustration.


You can learn allot by the large studio AAA game titles and how to sharpen your skills as a designer I guess.

Just by visiting so many game Forums you learn allot from experienced gamers and modelers critiquing every area of the game, certainly the most effective way of feedback content.

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Game design mistakes can cost you time, money, and quality! In this video we are going to give you game design tips straight from expert game designers that will ensure you save time, money, and build excellent designs. These are the same tips that we’ve seen used while building smaller indie games all the way up to massive triple-A titles. Want to see more game development mistakes? Check out 8 Game Development Mistakes to Avoid! [- YouTube…]

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