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Interview : Javier Rollon!


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Interview : Javier Rollon!


X-Plane Reviews has granted access again behind the scenes at X-Plane, with this special opportunity we have interviewed Javier Rollon.

Javier is an all things X-Plane genius! He develops aircraft that we all know and love (CRJ 200) and works for Laminar Research to further enhance our flying experience.



XPR:  So you have two separate involvements with X-Plane, the first is your private aircraft development and the second is with Laminar. First we will discuss your involvements with Laminar. So what is your role within Laminar? What do you work on?


Well, I am a builder (there are others) of some of the aircraft's that are inside of xplane, and also touch some graphics related with the sim, for example, clouds, colors of the days-night, icons. But my principle task is to build the exterior and interior models of the planes. 

They come to me as acf with already the flight model already done, and I have to dress them up. Build in 3D, Make the texture and animate them as well as of course test them. When I finish them I upload to a private server we have in Laminar to test more deeply and include in a future release.



XPR:  How did you become the main aircraft designer for Laminar?


Long ago, I started with a construction of a 3D cockpit for a Free Texan that a spanish guy made for xplane9. I found it easy (but lot of time taking) to do and I understood how to work with x-plane (very nice and smart way by Laminar) so I decided to make my first plane. It was going to be free but it took more time than I expected. It was the Javelin, and because I was in other company working (Spanish Games One) and took too much time, I decided to release the plane selling it to test the market and seeing the result, to continue working or not. 

The plane had good support, so I started another one. The CRJ200. Meantime I decided to ask for a reduced time working in my Spanish game company and they accepted. That gave me more time for my private projects... But the CRJ200 where taking a lot because I didn't know how to program the systems. And didn't find the correct guy to do it.


Meanwhile, I started other projects. The Mentor and Seamax, finishing both before the CRJ200.

Those projects gave me a good "hand" how to work in 3D for XPlane, so I contacted Austin, that I already knew him of some previous emails asking him for help with my personal projects. He knew a little of me, so I offered him a deal. The Space shuttle was going to be retired that year. We both love the shuttle and I always wanted to make a real good one after the ugly one I made for a 3D animation (lol). We had a deal and I finished it really fast as my work in the Spanish company was over.

Austin loved the result and he offered me to work inside of Laminar making more planes for the "future" xplane10.



XPR:  Are there any specific aircraft you are working on for Laminar? When and how can we expect to get them? 


Yes.. there are some.. I cannot talk too much about it, but I think 2015 will come with some little surprises!



XPR:  Who decides what aircraft that are to be developed for X-Plane?


Austin and Ben Supnik. But I have a little word about it, if I like it or not, so it can be changed. In Laminar our opinions are well received and we have a good amount of freedom.



 XPR:  Now, as I have previously said, you also run your private aircraft development 'JRollon'. Your aircraft are absolutely fantastic for example the CRJ and the Jetstream. What else can we expect? How do you decide what aircraft do develop? 


Thanks! The Jetstream let me totally without energy. It was the first plane I programmed myself and had to make a huge effort to release it before Christmas of that year. I decided to stop 1 year... but the born of my first child and the coming of my daughter this one made all possible "free time" out of Laminar task so little to maintain a project. 

I was thinking making a sailor plane deeply done... that wouldn't take me so much time but I didn't find the energy to start it. 

Right now I am not in any private project and the "free" time I have I dedicate to study other planes and give support to the already released ones.

When I want to make a plane, I have to fall in love with it. I never has been in any cockpit of any plane (but a sailor one that I piloted several times....) So It has to be beautiful for me... AND it don't have to fly too high and with lots of automatic management. I love the pilot has to pilot it.. not a computer. Even is difficult to not say impossible to make a FMC-aircraft without help



 XPR:  A great aircraft idea would be a Twin Otter, could that be a suggestion for future development? 


Could be if Aerosoft and other guy were not making one for xplane.

Before making the jetstream32 I was going to make the Twin Otter.. until I saw the images of a 3D model for xplane. Of course I stopped. Still hasn't been released.. but I cannot pay all the time making a model that other may release before and loose the inversion of the 1 year or more dedication in that plane because of that.

Look.... When I decided finally for the Jetstream32 I knew PMDG was going to release something for Xplane. I was too scary that it where their Jetstream42. That would cut all the selling's of my J32, because is similar but better in systems. I decided to continue because I know PMDG are very slow people. Slow but perfectionist. So that gave me time to release my plane and still don't see anything from their work into xplane (that I hope they make the step to xplane this next 2015!!!)

Right now start a new project is tremendous. My family tasks with the babies (now one is starting to be more independent so I have a little more time.. but still her sister is demanding a lot), the idea that the next project has to be better of the last one, and the wildness other people is competing in xplane, makes the decision to start again hard to take.

Better than making another plane, I am thinking of changing to other project in xplane. Something not seen before.. and no one has think before.. and not seen in other sims around. But I would need help. Will see.



 XPR:  Some X-Plane users would like the B747-400 default aircraft to be 'fixed up' is there any chance of this? 


I don't know what is the problem with the plane. Don't have news about that. If it is about the flight model, that is not mine.. it came from the model before. If it is because the modelling.. then that is my part, but I don't know what is wrong with it. I model it the way it had to. 

I know Austin wanted to change the labels of the radio buttons to be named more accordingly with the radios. Not HF1 or HF2 but COM1 or COM2. But the "problem" is that the real one are labeled HF1 HF2 (If I remember correctly) not COM1 or COM2.

When I make a plane for xplane with its full cockpit is because I would LOVE to see that plane fully programmed with all the systems. As you can see the 747 has the default FMC. An FMC that I don't like. I would like to include the real one.. BUT I am not programmer as I said, and in the 747 I just were able to start making some little programming in some functions of the plane. 

BUT xplane is not a deep plane systems simulator. Is a flight simulator platform were other 3rd parties can come and make very deep simulation. PMDG will come with their 747 and will sell it for xplane. I think all the people will be pleased.

Meanwhile any little fix.. or whatever Laminar say to make in the 747 I will fix.. but I am not a guy that likes to return to the past (it is frustrating). I like to work on future. We will see.



 XPR:  The CRJ 200 had to be one of the most significant releases of all time, the CRJ gave X-Plane credibility of use. What are your views on this? Do you plan to further enhance the CRJ? Implement newer ways of aircraft development? Such as mouse scroll? Marshals at arriving airport? 


As I said before.. I like to live in future.. not past. The problem to support a 2.0 of the plane is that the amount of people that would support the plane would be less that the 1.0 Now with PMDG comming all the people are going to go to their boeings.

You know.. there was a guy that told me that was impossible that the CRJ200 couldn't have autothrottle in the default configuration but the reality is that mostly of all the cjr200 outside are without that configuration. He told me that I was a liar about that. I trully decided to make the CRJ200 because of that reason and let the pilot do something more than press a button and put the speed he wants, forgetting to relax the thrust when cruise or descent. Mostly of the problems in the flight dynamics of the plane come this part. The plane was in a roaller coaster once in cruise because people didn't release throttles from max power!! so it starts to climb automatically to preserve from overspeed.. And once it is low of it sink again.... making a nice sinus function hahahaha.

X-Plane was something different some time ago. There was no plane with a custom FMC integrated in the 3D. I decided that was possible to do and demostrate people that xplane could do what other sims already did.. 

It toke me more than 2 years. Not because the deeps of complexity of the systems but because I didn't find the good hands to help... and because I was noob.

XPlane can do whatever other sims can do and better.. BUT still it don't receive the support of all the 3rd parties around. Yes.. Carenado, Alabeo, Razbam are here.. but who were JrollonPlanes, DreamFoil, FlyJsim before producing for xplane. I don't know others.. but I was a only guy that loves to fly with no market experience before. With little support that wanted to create just a 3D cockpit for a plane that liked, because there was no other guy that made before.

Xplane needs people like Orbx (there are things around xplane like theirs scenery), we need PMDG, we need A2A planes like, We need a weather system like ASN, Cameras like Ezdok.



XPR:  What are your current projects, Laminar and Private? Can we expect any new releases soon? 


Already replied above I think... In laminar part, you can expect releases soon I guess... yes. But I don't decide when. Programming is the bottleneck (loved bottleneck)



 XPR:  What are your future X-Plane 10 Dev plans? 


Cannot talk too much. I am making more planes. Laminar will decide where and when release then. I would love to make other thing than planes. I think I have made more than 20 already. Too much wings for me!! haha. (better say too much switches to build and animate already). Do you think maybe sceneries is what is left. Negative. I have LOOOOOOOOOOOOTS of ideas to make xplane bigger and bigger. The problem is some of them are too revolutionary and others cannot be made.

This for example was one of those ideas that was part mine.. but came from Austin and I loved when I heard it. Make an MMOFLIGHTSIM. Something like an MMORPG one.. where you pay a subscription and you fly.. with control everytime.. with planes around you, missions... all ruled the correct way. Something like IVAO and VATSIM together.. or better said, like Pilotedge but all around the world (those guys are making a great work and I have learned from their videos a lot). 

Still It was not done. Maybe because we all are thinking "my sim is better than yours" "I prefer Vatsim than IVAO" or the opposite.. "FSX is better than xplane" or the opposite.

I am talking as a enthusiast of flight sim.. and not as a Laminar guy in this one: I would like to see the best of xplane, FSX, Outerra, Microsoft Flight, DCS Edge, Warthunder, ARMA3 and IL2 inside of a flight sim. I am inside of Laminar to push into that direction. Not only make planes. But that requires support from people. The ideas are easy to have...  and are free. Lets see if we can reach the goal. For now I like what I see in Laminar for the future of XPlane and I love to see that XPlane is still alive and strong.


I would like to thank Javier on behalf of everyone at X-Plane Reviews for having this interview.



Visit Javiers website : jrollon.com


Visit the official x-plane community site : x-plane.org


Interview by Joe Charman


Copyright©2014 : X-Plane Reviews



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