Future of Infinite Flight #1: Taxiway Lights


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Future of Infinite Flight: Taxiway Lights
Image result for taxiway lights

Infinite Flight: what once was a low quality, unknown app, has expanded into one of the most advanced flight simulators on the market, slowly becoming a close competitor of even the largest sims. With 15mm, gorgeous scenery covering a large part of a massive globe, live ATC coverage, and a large assortment of high definition planes, it’s incredible to see what Infinite Flight has achieved on a mobile platform. Furthermore, like everything in life, improvement is always necessary. There is always a way to improve, and believe it or not, there are better ways to improve other than adding the A350. In my new series, “Future of Infinite Flight,” we’ll take a look at some of the ways Infinite Flight can enhance its experiences, through new features and updates.

But first, an introduction to me, and the series. My real name is Taylor, but most know me as “TheInitialVirus.” I’m an editor and moderator for Infinite Flight News. The series itself was an idea of mine, to get a deeper look into some of the most wanted and needed features for IF. I know many will see this as a cheap way of getting vulnerable members excited, but I see it as a coping mechanism for the future, and a satisfactory reminder that big things are to come in Infinite Flight.

For our first feature, we look at something many in the community have asked for. It is the second most voted feature on the Infinite Flight Community, with over 650 votes. We are talking about taxiway lights. The lights that brighten up an aviators world, and show them the path to glory (or the gate. Whatever your preference). They are an important part of any airport and without them, aircraft safety would be at risk. Which is why myself, and many others, feel that should be a main priority of FDS moving forward.

Almost every Infinite Flight pilot can agree that nighttime flying is very dark. So dark that many times you need to change the time to noon to taxi properly. However, when there is a full moon, you can see better. In “FlightCast Live in Las Vegas,” Philippe, a staff member of FDS (Flying Development Studios) said, “…at least when there is a full moon, it looks pretty good, and you can see at least.” Sadly, a full moon isn’t always present at night, which occasionally can cause some pilots to taxi in the grass…

Some mobile flight sims have already achieved taxiway lights, as shown by this picture from X-Plane 10 mobile.

This brings me to the first reason why taxiways lights are not in Infinite Flight yet: scale. The photo shown above was taken from a region smaller than the ones available pre-global. It looks great but put enough of those lights on a globe, and you have a game worse than “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.” Rendering that many lights on a single globe can put a lot of stress on the game’s performance, which is why we have the simple lighting system present in the sim today.

Not only is that lighting system simple, it is also quite outdated. Another quote by Philippe, taken from the same interview mentioned earlier is, “…we need to redo the lighting system, is something that we did, that we coded many, many years ago, we need to recode that…” This implies that the system which deals with lighting in Infinite Flight is outdated. How long does it take to recode a lighting system? I have no idea, but there is some reassurance that an updated system could be coming soon.

“Kevin is working, or almost done working on things that should allow us to do more lights.” Saying this, Philippe took some risk giving us the words “almost done.” We have no information to confirm that these “things” really are “almost done,” but it does give us confidence. Another important thing said by Val, one of the leaders of the airport editing team was, “The lights are already there in the airports I get from the editors, and its kinda ready, but its just in order to add it now it would just be unplayable basically.” This may imply that an implantation of taxiway lights could be quite quick.

However, a lot of this is stretched. We don’t know exactly when taxiway lights are going to be added. The only words to describe it is soon, and soon is good enough for me. The idea of being able to taxi at night, with lights to guide our way in IF is currently a fantasy. The important thing to remember is that FDS is always improving, and whether or not that progress includes the A350, it’s nice to know that they are lighting the way to a more realistic sim.

One thing I wanted to emphasize through this series is that the updates FDS brings us every month or so, are made by people. People who have lives, stress, and priorities. If you head to Infinite Flight’s Instagram, you can see a lot of hate thrown their way. It’s sad to see how unappreciative some people are, and I urge every one of you to not do the same. Most importantly, please don’t use this series as a justification for spreading misinformation. Everything speculative here is taken from what FDS has said or done. Do not use this article as a source.

Sources:
Wikipedia- https://www.wikipedia.org/
FlightCast, Youtube- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDr-5eQNYyRERz1JQsmNUMg
Infinite Flight Community- https://community.infinite-flight.com/