AMA with John Goering

October, 24, 2020 by ,
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Please welcome John Goering for an AMA “Ask Me Anything”!

John is the developer of several fantastic third-party apps for use in both Infinite Flight, other flight simulators and games. He’s the creator of the In-Flight suite of apps that include In-Flight Assistant, In-Flight Operations, and In-Flight Instruments. His most notable and latest creation though is SmoothTrack, a mobile app that is the best input source for the free OpenTrack software which enables you to use head tracking in your games.

You have to check out each one of these apps individually. We highly recommend them as they can provide a ton of extra immersion and functionality that you may not have known you were missing.

You will be able to ask John question right now. Leave an aviation, software development, or general question in the comments below.

Kyle Boas is the Founder of the IFATC Education Group. He is an IFATC Supervisor and Infinite Flight Appeals team member. — More
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John Goering
1 year ago

Well I’m done for the day! This was a lot of fun, thanks so much everyone!

Zachary Friedman
1 year ago

What inspired you to create such a fantastic app for IF? Why didn’t you choose another flight simulator?

John Goering
1 year ago

What inspired you to create such a fantastic app for IF?

My first thought was just “What is the simplest app I can make with this API?” and I thought “It’d be nice to have something that warns me so I don’t get overspeed warnings.” so I made a co-pilot warning me. I posted a video of that to the IFC forum and everyone freaked out. I then added things from there. 🙂

Why didn’t you choose another flight simulator?

Because no other mobile flight simulator offers an API to make add-ons for! Infinite Flight is the only one. The other PC flight sims already have a bazillion add-ons, so another thing that has been really cool about Infinite Flight is that it’s sort of a wide open space with a lot of attention given to the very few add-ons that exist. 🙂 It’s also a great, encouraging community that is very healthy and very cool to be a part of.

Dakota Brown
1 year ago

Hi John! Thank you for your hard work and dedication!

How difficult was it to create a third-party app such as IF Assistant? Do you have any background in aviation? How meticulous was it to add all the different V-speeds for every aircraft for varying weights?

John Goering
1 year ago
Reply to  Dakota Brown

How difficult was it to create a third-party app such as IF Assistant?

The biggest hurdle was getting the networking straight – the API itself was quite straightforward once you figured out how it worked. Using Cam’s sample app was the easiest way to figure it out. Back then virtually nothing was documented. Nowadays there’s quite a bit more API docs, so it’s all even easier.

Do you have any background in aviation?

No, not at all, just an avid interest in flight simming since I was a kid.

How meticulous was it to add all the different V-speeds for every aircraft for varying weights?

I first started with a shared Google Sheet that I posted to the community and lots of people helped with. That kind of became my foundation. But then the footwork of actually testing each aircraft I outsourced to my 4 kids. They got extra pocket money for trying out the different v-speeds. Win-win! They are very meticulous, they come after their mom. 🙂

Pingu
1 year ago

What inspired you to make Infinite Flight Assistant? Are you satisfied with the way it turned out and the amount of people that utilize it every day?

John Goering
1 year ago
Reply to  Pingu

What inspired you to make Infinite Flight Assistant?

See my answer to Lawin for the answer to this.

Are you satisfied with the way it turned out and the amount of people that utilize it every day?

I am completely blown away by the interest. Originally I had just wanted to make a little, fun app for myself but at this point, many thousands of people have had a fun time using the app, and that feels very rewarding! Seeing the positive feedback always makes my day. I’m really thankful to have been given this opportunity.

Charles
1 year ago

Hi John,

Regarding IF-Assistant.

1) Would you consider in the future adding more passenger sounds, like boarding and disembarking?

2) Will it someday be possible as captains to record our own PA announcements, which can be replayed in the cabin to passengers and flight attendants?

3) Will other languages (like Spanish) be added for passenger announcements?

It would also be pretty neat to have a passenger-related app, in which a list of passengers and their details are randomly generated for any given flight, and we are able to see their mood throughout the flight (sleepy, hungry, happy, anxious etc.).

What are your thoughts on these questions/ideas?

John Goering
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles

Would you consider in the future adding more passenger sounds, like boarding and disembarking?

I would definitely consider this but at this point I’m very swamped with SmoothTrack – it is requiring more of my attention because it is getting ~10x more downloads, so there is a lot of support I need to do for it.

Will it someday be possible as captains to record our own PA announcements, which can be replayed in the cabin to passengers and flight attendants?

That is an excellent idea that I’ve had before and totally could see myself doing one day if I find the time.

Will other languages (like Spanish) be added for passenger announcements?

I did add French already, as you know, so Spanish is just an issue of getting it recorded – if anyone has a good quality audio recording ability and would like to do it in Spanish, let me know!

It would also be pretty neat to have a passenger-related app, in which a list of passengers and their details are randomly generated for any given flight, and we are able to see their mood throughout the flight (sleepy, hungry, happy, anxious etc.).
What are your thoughts on these questions/ideas?

That sounds like an idea for a totally different app that could be very cool – I don’t think I’d add something like that to IF-A. Maybe someone else wants to pick up on the idea and make that app themselves? I’m not sure how much may already be in some of the other third party apps, though.

Zachary Friedman
1 year ago
Reply to  John Goering

Hey, John! Saw your message about Spanish recordings. I am interested!

John Goering
1 year ago

Cool – shoot me an email and I can send you the English script I used for the PA.

Zachary Friedman
1 year ago
Reply to  John Goering

Sorry, not sure why it came as anonymous. Where can I find your email address?

Richard
1 year ago

Hi John!

Which of your apps was the most challenging to develop and why?

What do you enjoy doing to help unwind and switch-off after a hard day of coding and testing?

John Goering
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard

Which of your apps was the most challenging to develop and why?

Out of the apps mentioned, I’d say it was probably the GPWS addon for IF-A – I literally researched the official Honeywell spec for the GPWS system and programmed each of the functions exactly as they were described. That was a lot of work but felt very cool to finish.

What do you enjoy doing to help unwind and switch-off after a hard day of coding and testing?

I love watching Netflix with my wife (Breaking Bad, Americans, Last Kingdom to name a few), but also, setting up a full-blown flight in VR and flying the whole way is really fun and relaxing. For example, I’ve taught myself how to start up the 737 from a cold and dark state in VR and it’s really rewarding when it works without me killing myself and the passengers halfway through. 🙂 Other than that I also just enjoy gaming in general. I just finished Star Wars: Squadrons and it was great! Finally, a good competitive round of Among Us with my kids is a blast – they always think I’m sus.

John Goering
1 year ago
Reply to  Kyle Boas

Is there anything you would like to create but can’t?

Wow, good question. An app I wrote but one that never really took off is called Mindscope, and I kind of wish that I had time to totally rewrite it. It’s basically a hierarchical note-taking app that is visual at the same time. But at this point, my other apps like SmoothTrack are taking all my time.
Re: aviation apps, I will sometimes have crazy ideas but nothing comes to mind at this point that isn’t possible with the IF API.

Alexandre
1 year ago

Hi John !

1) What did you motivate yourself to start working on aviation apps ?
2) Do you have other projects in mind for the future ?
3) Was it easy so link your applications with Infinite Flight ?

John Goering
1 year ago
Reply to  Alexandre

What motivated you to start working on aviation apps ?

Like I said in another answer, two of my hobbies are flight simming and programming, so being able to do both was the perfect match! 🙂

Do you have other projects in mind for the future ?

At this point I’m still in the launch phase of SmoothTrack, which has gone WAY better than I had expected. So a lot of my time is spent thinking through how to get the word out about SmoothTrack as well as improvements I want to add.

Was it easy to link your applications with Infinite Flight ?

It took a bit of networking knowhow to make sure I was handling the requests well – it’s not necessarily an easy project – but once you get it up and working, the API is really powerful and then it was quite easy.
For SmoothTrack support, Laura actually implemented the same API that OpenTrack itself uses (which is what SmoothTrack connects to) so that meant I didn’t have to do anything for SmoothTrack to support head tracking in IF! It was amazing. Laura has been so great and supportive, it’s really awesome.

Lawin
1 year ago

Hello John! I’m very pleased to ask questions to you since I’ve never thought I’d do lol. Now onto the questions.

  1. What made you consider to make these apps?

  2. How did you get interested in Infinite Flight?

John Goering
1 year ago
Reply to  Lawin

What made you consider to make these apps?

It was primarily when I realized that Infinite Flight has an API – programming is really one of my hobbies, so it immediately got me thinking of a fun use for the API and I wanted to make something for myself first and foremost. When it turns out that something I myself really wanted (a co-pilot for my flights in the case of In-Flight Assistant, or a cheap alternative to TrackIR in the case of SmoothTrack), then those apps become popular and it’s a win-win!

How did you get interested in Infinite Flight?

Ever since I was a kid, I was interested in flight simming – my first flight sim experience was as a 9-year old on my old Atari ST back in 1990. So then at some point I googled “mobile flight sim” to see if there were any good, serious flight sims on iPad and stumbled upon Infinite Flight. What especially caught me was the ATC and the community, but then also the API – the API is still one-of-a-kind unique. No other mobile game/sim that I know has an API that other apps can connect to.