Building Flight Simulations with Reallusion's ActorCore

The Founder of Simultech Alessandro Cucinotta has told us how he started developing immersive flight sims, shared the development process, and explained why Reallusion's iClone, Character Creator, and ActorCore were chosen as his go-to tools.


Hello! My name is Alessandro Cucinotta, I’m Italian, now based in Switzerland. After studying computer science, I started to work in Turin as a system engineer at a service company of the IBM group. Aviation and engines have always been my passion, I’ve combined the two experiences, informatic and aviation, in the beginning as a hobby and then, since 2004, as a full-time job in the flight simulation industry.

Add-On Development for Flight Simulators

I began with many airport add-ons published by Lago, a company of the Leader spa group (at the time, Milestone was also part of the group). After countless products for Lago and Cloud9, I collaborated with Microsoft for FSX official expansion: I designed the virtual cockpit of the F18 in the Acceleration pack and in the gold FSX version of Flight Simulator.


In 2016 I moved with my whole family from Tuscany, Italy, to Switzerland where I founded Simultech, a company dedicated to the development of add-ons for flight simulation. Simultech currently has two employees and many collaborators. Ours is a vertical and very specialized sector, even if it is directly linked to the videogames industry, it is difficult to find profiles specialized in aeronautics and at the same time in computer graphics and GIS, skills that are needed to faithfully reproduce a real airport.

Developing an Add-On

The development of an add-on airport starts with the acquisition of photographic material of the real airport. The second phase is the acquisition of the aerial photogrammetry of the territory to be reproduced. After the process of cleaning the terrain images in Photoshop, the 3D terrain design is created, and here starts the most important phase for the virtual pilots who are going to use the product, the creation of all horizontal signs (ground strips). This process is very long and repetitive work.

Obviously, the most interesting part, the 3D reproduction of the structures, is performed with more and more details and nowadays even the interiors of the Terminals are reproduced. For the structure texturization in PBR, we have been using exclusively Substance 3D Painter for years now. The 3D models created are exported with 5 or even 6 LODs, this work is long but essential to guarantee a good frame rate while maintaining excellent detail.

Now I’m working on GSX (Ground Service X) which is a remaking of the old GSX products for the new 2020 version of the simulator. Other Simultech collaborators are working on some airports instead.

With the increasing processing capacities, also in the world of flight simulation, we tend to add even more details. Our flagship product simulates ground services for aircraft. Simultech, among the first ones in the flight simulation sector, has started to insert 3D people for a simulation game to guide vehicles and in-ground services.

Using Reallusion Tools

Looking at the software offer we have chosen Reallusion products and have successfully incorporated them into our workflow. Simplifying, we create our 3D people with Character Creator and then export them to iClone, where, thanks to the amazing animation possibilities, we create all the loops we need, and finally, as the last step, the character will be exported in FBX where it will be processed and compiled in the native format of Flight Simulator through its SDK.


ActorСore, in the workflow that I’ve just explained to you, is inserted in the first part, eliminating the necessity to create characters from scratch with Reallusion's Character Creator. This saves us time and, most important thing for us, we use optimized characters for Realtime simulation. Obviously for some characters, like pilots, we still use Character Сreator to obtain more customization and details.

At this moment we are using ActorСore to simulate all the passengers boarding or deboarding from big jetliners. We are able to simulate 400 animated passengers boarding on 747 thanks to ActorСore character optimization.

Alessandro Cucinotta, Founder of Simultech

Interview conducted by Theodore McKenzie

Join discussion

Comments 0

    You might also like

    We need your consent

    We use cookies on this website to make your browsing experience better. By using the site you agree to our use of cookies.Learn more