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FS2004 Lobby Group?

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Just wondering if any of the developers out there have thought about forming a lobby group to encourage Microsoft to shift their focus away from scenery generation to flight simulation.Microsoft got the scenery part right, it's just time they fix the other stuff (ie., break away thrust on the ground is way too high). That kind of thing.

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>Just wondering if any of the developers out there have >thought about forming a lobby group to encourage Microsoft >to shift their focus away from scenery generation to flight >simulation. >In my case, as a real pilot who get's intense enjoyment from flying at "lower" altitudes over the Rocky Mountains & deserts of the west........... scenery generation IS flight simulation! So, I would hope that MS spends more time enhancing scenery even farther! Improving the graphics, clouds, & weather is what would make me the happiest!Let the 3rd party developers continue to improve the fine points of each indivual aircraft model. The only thing that stands in their way is Microsoft's reluctance to give up all it's secrets in it's SDK's. And I can even somewhat understand that....L.Adamson

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While I will agree with you that each aircraft's finest points should be left up to the 3rd party developers, I can in no way understand why MS holds on to the SDK for 6 months. Those guys know very well that quality add-ons are going to be few and far between until the entire SDK is released. And with the fact that MSFS is released every 2 years, that leaves very little development time before the focus gets shifted to the new "improved" version. I say either release the SDK with the program, or make FS a product that is released every 3 years.Craig

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I agree with both Larry and Vitesse. Logically they should fix what Vitesse sees as the main weakness - aircraft, but something inside is telling me they have no desire or know-how to do it right so I figure they better stick with what they have done so well up to this point - scenery and left the rest to others.Michael J.

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Weather.Weather.Weather.Weather.The weather is terrible. To me it's the top item that needs work. Real weather over real areas, with nice and clear here, a massive T-storm over there, fronts blowing through, wind shear, downdrafts, updrafts, real turbulance, rain shafts in the distance, sunbeams through the clouds, 3D clouds, etc.Weather.Weather.Weather.Weather.

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Agreed, the wx sucks.But improving the planes should be a priority. I'm no programmer, but perhaps M$ should add more variables (or at least make the program more 'open') so those interested in turning the sim into something more serious at least have the option of doing so.I believe, for example, the unrealistic taxi thrust requirements (which I understand are a function of an improper coefficient of friction for concrete) cannot be changed. It's hard coded into the sim.Developers should be able to modify that kind of thing.

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I completely agree. Instead of Microsoft saying they won't discuss the air files because it's "proprietary" (meaning even they don't have a clue), they should put out a real SDK for air files. Then we all can sleep better knowing we can make air files that actually do what we want instead of guessing.

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In my view, along with improved / more open handling of the flight dynamics, better weather modeling should certainly be a main priority. The atmosphere, and the weather: Those are the natural habitat of the aeroplane!Over the years, the ground scenery in Flight Simulator has improved immensely-and although one could always think of more enhancements, I feel that in FS 2002 it has come of age. Not that it's perfect, but it does make the world come alive much more than before and it's a lot less repetitive.There is little one could do to further improve the visual models of the aircraft that are now being produced by freeware and payware developers alike-there's little that needs doing in that department. They are really beautiful.A true, 'clickable' Virtual Cockpit to replace the 2D/3D combo we're using now would be a tremendous achievement and hopefully that will be in the new version implemented in such a way that 3rd party developers can join in.But the most important advances in the flight environment can and should be made 'up there'. Although much can be done through the use of real-time weather, better bitmaps for the clouds and FSUIPC tweaks, the weather environment is still the part that feels most 'artificial' in Flight Simulator. Although possibly one of the most difficult subjects to model well (just look at the kind of computers weather bureaux are using!) weather systems modeling has already been done better (but on a more limited scale) in FU III and we've seen volumetric clouds (although, admittedly, usually just small ones) in various other sims. By the time FS 2004 comes to market, advances in graphics hardware may make this easier.ATC and AI aircraft have also added a lot to the FS 2002 environment, and it is a great start for this feature. It is great to see the interaction between the two, even if things do go wrong from time to time. However, along with better weather effects I would also like to see an improvement in ATC, allowing us divert (or be diverted!) to other airfields and to avoid bad weather by changes in the flight plan. Hey, ain't I a bad wabbit? First I'm asking for more realistic weather effects, now here I am asking for ways to avoid them!To summarize, I'd rather have better flight dynamics than passengers waving from the windows of aircraft. I'd rather see more natural looking weather systems than having every last mosque, garage, church, swimming pool or pagoda in the right place. I'd prefer to be put 'on hold' every once in a while instead of having to go 'round again, and I'd prefer to be diverted to another field instead of having my flightplan cancelled. Flight Simulator 2002 is a tremendous achievement, and an enormous improvement over its predecessor, especially where ground scenery is concerned-now let the same be true for Flight Simulator 2004, but with those improvements happening in the sky-and we'd be in flightsim heaven-although there would then be that nagging little worry that ATC might still divert us to the other place instead ;-)

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One simple thing that would greatly improve the FS experience would be better sky colors.In FS, the sky doesn't get darker when you climb. This makes everything look very unrealistic at 40 000ft. The sky should be almost black, but in FS, it's light blue. The only sim that modelled this that I have used is Flight Unlimited III, and it really enhanced the experience. It shouldn't be very hard to make such an effect, either.

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I agree with you there about weather, including pollution / smog effects.For example, fly into Manila on a hot, calm day and you can see a giant column of dirty thick pollution from about 60 miles away, with the surrounding air relatively clear.Looks very nasty.Matthew.

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I just took the Concorde for a spin and at 60,000' the sky is actually BRIGHTER than at 20,000'. This was because it was about night on the surface.Go figure.

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Any how about they make use of GeForce features such as pixel shaders and bump maps.It would be very nice to see engine exhaust haze, haze on a hot dry runway, pools of water on the runway, with sky reflections, glints of glass, nice ocean effects, not to mention better visual effects re clouds.Up close the ground/runmways should be nice a rough (ie bump maps).Does anyone know if CFS3 is making use of these new graphics techniques?It would be a real shame if its not. This is one of the first things MS should do to improve the look of FS2004, ie use pixel shaders and bump maps.Matthew.

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>Then we all can sleep better knowing we can >make air files that actually do what we want instead of >guessing. I think there is much "guessing" anyway! I don't know how many read my post the other day relating to an RV6A homebuilt aircraft's flight test, but it was mentioned that a turn required an almost non-existant amount of up elevator. If you pulled back like in a Cessna 172, the RV would end up quickly climbing! The RV also required little or no rudder to keep turns coordinated. Quite a bit different than your typical Cessna's or Archers, but these are quick reaction sport planes with a true "fighter feel" that require a finess on the controls. They are very stable in flight but do require a "soft touch". So what's a designer suppose to do, fly several hours in a real one for comparison sake? And then someone will come along & complain that a real one should require back stick/yoke & rudder in the turns! And if you get that correct................. then I'll complain that I get absolutly no stomach or head pains in violent manuvers!! You'll never win!!! :)L.Adamson

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