Dear friends, users the community!
It has been a very long time (if I recall correctly, approximately 11 years) since I have joined this fantastic, and ever growing (now even flourishing) X-Plane community and started development. Out of joy, curiosity, and driven by enthusiasm to visualize better, and better stuff (and ever improving, more-and-more freely available geographic data) in a continually improving simulator environment.
It all started with forest scenery projects in X-Plane 8 and 9 with a fantastic guy called Albert Laubi (whom I want to explicitly thank for his great help, fantastic insight in many areas, and being a good companion all the time). Then continued with the development (as a freelancer for Laminar) of the completely revamped Global Scenery in X-Plane 10. After that quite long (almost 3 years I think) process came the many, many offspring like HD and UHD Mesh Scenery (going trough 4 version iterations!), and some special projects like “Tree lines and Farms” (2 versions) and the very special new Zealand Pro Scenery. Quite a lot of things to fill those many years. And not only – at least this was my impression – give joy to the community, but also allow me to learn a lot of new things, evolve my skills, and simply have fun doing really cool things (which not many do / did around the entire planet). Finally, not to mention the many, many great people I – virtually – met over the internet (and a few of them I would now call friends)-
But life is also about change! Nothing is static, and everything around us is in a never ending process of change. Some of them we see quite openly, many of them we do not realize or only very slowly … but nevertheless, they are there, happening every second. For quite some time (just to underline that this “saying goodbye” didn’t came to me over a sleepless night) I was already feeling, that I am coming closer to a point, where I need to change … where all the dedication is not as (emotionally) rewarding anymore as it might once have been. That the work I do is more “just” for the community (which nevertheless always was a big motivation!) and not so much for me … anymore. A point, where I feel that its time to re-focus and give myself more time for other things in my life.
Add to this – as already pointed out above – that continual change happened and happens to me lately quite intensively in real life too. A very intense time, but one which opens up ones mind, where you get much better access to your own wishes and motivations … Simply, a very good point, where I can easily and without regret say : goodbye and thanks for all the fish!
I also have a very positive feeling about X-Plane. I went along with this sim for a really long time. Trough many years where it was a marginalized product (but which didn’t stop us enthusiasts to believe in it and support it) and now seeing how it – finally – begins to thrive / flourish and get the attention it always deserved. This also brings a lot of new developers, which will surpass my work and fill in the “gap” easily … So, I do not even need to feel “guilty” for leaving you.
What does it all mean practically? Simply put: I will stop (didn’t do it anyways lately) any kind of future development for X-Plane (and no, I will neither go to other software!). I will keep up this website for the foreseeable future (its not that expensive) and existing files will stay hosted at the fantastic partners (as long as they want to host them). I will also try to answer your E-Mails (and maybe even drop by in the usual forums from time-to-time), but maybe not at the same rate (or not even all of them) as I did before and also my options to help you out might become more limited than before (yes, I will even part from all my old hardware). Thus, an important note: if you still intend to donate (as long as I keep that option up), it should only happen if you really, really enjoy what you already have(!) and works for you! Never ever consider to donate – anymore – if you only want to motivate future development (which won’t happen), or you hope to get better support!
Dear friends, users the community! Don’t be saddened! Enjoy what you have now, be happy with X-Plane. But also, never ever forget your real life over this sim, and enjoy life to its fullest! Also, the future is an unwritten, open book … we never know where, or how our trajectories might cross again.