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Thanks for the heads up. If that is the way it is going to be, then I think MS is going to lose a lot of revenue due to its ignorance. I guess I would have to stick with FS2002 or at least until someone designs something similar to 2002. What a shame if this all is true!

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If you want a dose of added realism, why don't you try flying online on Vatsim, with live controllers, and live pilots, and live weather ? Why insist on flying pre-programmed ADV's for it ? I believe this is why Microsoft is devoting thier efforts elsewhere because most of us do fly online, and don't care if the old adventures work or not ;-) Just playing Devil's advocate here, I personally havn't flown an adventure for the sake of having ATC or weather for years now, because I have it always online on Vatsim. Just food for thought, because it sounds as if you don't fly online, and DEPEND on adventures for ATC and weather and realism. Give online flying a chance, and if you do, you may not care about adventures for ATC and Weather missing either. Gary Hall

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G'day RalphAs an enthusiastic supporter of the work done at http://fsadventures.net/ ,I can see where you are coming from.I have recently been thinking of what I shall do when I get the new FS2004.Shall I delete FS2002 and everything that I have installed/downloadedpertaining to it -- or shall I leave it installed and run FS2004 alongsideit? Perhaps, in the light of what you have posted, APL adventure programmerswill continue to programme their adventures to run in FS2002 - for thosesmall band of Fsimmers who enjoy the challenge of these adventures. In thatcase, I would leave FS2002 on my HDD and only use it to run theseadventures. Only time will tell.With regard to "reality" when using the Sim -- I think there are a number ofdifferent levels that apply to different simmers. These start at the pure"gamer" who happen to like aircraft -- they enjoy simply allowing thecomputer to fly the aircraft and gaze lovingly at it from an external view.The next level is people like me - who will never fly in real life - but whowant to get a "feeling" of what it is to fly in real life (without gettingtoo serious about it all) . Hence , I like to fly in different weatherconditions and use all the navigation and ATC training/lessons that I canget. So I search out the APL lessons and adventures. Then there are thepeople who go one step further and fly online using Vatsim -- while"thinking" that this is in fact as real as you can get. Then finally thereare the people like yourself -- who really do want to fly "as real as itgets" -- and become involved in the APL adventures.Just my .02 cents (Australian dollars -- that's about .01 cents US) worthBarry

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"Microsoft is devoting thier efforts elsewhere because most of us do fly online, and don't care if the old adventures work or not"...Well the truth of the matter is that less than 35% of flight sim enthusiasts fly online via VATSIM or IVAO. That is from a survey of over 10,000 flight simmers that you can view at:http://www.avsim.com/nabopoll/result.php?surv=3See question number 15.

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in all of the hundreds of hours i have spent with the fs series i have never yet flown an adventure. i spend all my time tooling around the countryside in ga or ultralight aircraft "looking around", just as i do in real life.don

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Well-- this is not strictly true. Flying online MAY or MAY NOT be "as real as it gets" . I have flown online with Vatsim -- and yes, I have interrelated with real virtual controllers and real virtual pilots :) -- but , while flying, I did not have any clue at all as to what I was doing. I was not using real charts, I did not know the real flying area restrictions, etc, etc. BUT, by using a number of APL adventures that have been published , such as those at FSadventures.net, I have been able to fly as real as it can get. Because, these adventures include all that is required to fly a particular flight as it would be done in real life.You may not feel that the ability to programme adventures is important -- but to some , it is. The "lessons" that were included with FS2002 were absolutely abysmal. The APL adventures that have been created are profoundly superior to them -- and I just wish that there were many more of them. For virtual flyers who really do want to "learn" how to fly properly as in real life, you will learn far more using the APL adventures than just flying online and "thinking" that you are flying "as real as it gets".Barry

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This seems a little confusing to me. Does this mean no more addon planes for Century of Flight, No dynamic weather, or just the adventures are given by default would be gone. I could live with the later because I hardly use the adventures. I generally create my own flights. This Apl and Aplc32 seem to be quite technical.What about ATC? Will it be improved or not?Just how far a step backward is this new version going to be?The clouds look great in 3d so in my book that is a step forward with weather.Ground textures are about the same as fs2002 or maybe better, that I can't tell yet. Any info would be helpful on this matter.Thanks,

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Hi Ralph, and thanks for the info.While I appreciate your efforts here as well as the adventure programmers everywhere, I'm afraid I don't have the technical knowledge to completely understand where you're coming from - You said"The fact of the matter is that this new programming language does not and will not allow talented adventure programmers to do the same things they were able to bring you through APL or APLC32. While it interfaces well with the current AI, gone is the ability to be random with phrases or selections, keyboard input to allow users choices within the adventure or flight or the ability to control weather from within the adventure - just to name a few things that are lost."But as with most of the rest of your message (combined with my absolute lack of an understanding of the programming languages) I fail to understand why the new language would not allow programmers to create new adventures.Also, I don't understand what is meant by "random with phrases or selections, keyboard input to allow users choices within the adventure or flight or the ability to control weather from within the adventure."If you could give a few concrete examples of how something currently possible will no longer be possible, I think it would further your cause for understanding, though it's relatively certain it won't have any effect whatsoever on Microsoft.Last, something is lacking in each version of MSFS - I should know, I whine about it quite a bit. Each version has improved in my opinion, though, so I'll be honest and say that while I appreciate the idea that we can get adventures of a "certain type" (see my comment requestion your clarification by examples above) I can also say that if these changes are necessary to create a better ATC experience, or a better weather experience, or a better -whatever-, I'll take them, because it means the "base product" has more utility as it stands on its own.Regards,Andrew

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Hello GaryI design adventures, I'm starting to learn to fly and I also fly/control on VATSIM once a while. I guess it all depends on what you want out of your hobby but I must admit even VATSIM is only as real as it gets. No matter how realistically FS may be simulated it will never beat the real world flying.>Why insist on flying pre-programmed ADV's for it I can think of a few reasons. VATSIM ATCs are not staffed all day all night where with adventure you are guaranteed to have all relevant ATC services every time you start. Also you can fly at any time of the day or night, without internet connection. It's great that you're having fun with VATSIM (I always do), if you'd like to try something different though, do visit the sites mentioned above and try out some of the adventures that follow exact real world procedures (there's no such thing as world wide ATC procedure like MS may gets you to believe) with custom made wavs.Cheers,

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hi,i think he has a point....i like the adventures because i'm NOT able to fly online...yeah,even in these technological days you have people like me who would ABSOLUTELY LOVE to fly online,but cannot.the reason?....well...does the PHONEBILL ring a bell?i've flown online,i've been flying my heatt5 arrivals into miami,and the logan2 departure out of boston...but i'm on a phoneline,and i will never get cable or adsl...so i'm almost condemned to adventures,especially when the other half is concerned :-) ...and i must say,i really like them,because they give me the chance to fly following almost realworld rules,with a high workload...it's easy for some people to say fly online(not meant rudely),but in the real world there can be a lot of obstacles to tackle before being able to do so.and the adventures i've flown give me a really "pilot"feel,so i'd be sorry to see them leave,especially when so many people(there must be more people without adsl or cable....right?) are having a great deal of fun with them.i started flying them way back with fs6,and the adventures too only kept getting better.so,i disagree with all the people that say:go fly vatsim.i really would like to folks...will you sponsor my connection time?Tom.

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RalphI have a couple of issues to bring up. Firstly it is not only the heavy Iron which is dependant on high technology to fly in the modern IFR system.Especially in Europe where RVSM is now required the exacting tolerances are so high that manually flying IFR is almost a thing of the past.Direct routings are given to intersections which are way out of reach of conventional nav aids even to light twins like the Seneca five.Take that aircraft with its complex navigation fit of Garmin 530/430 and Avidyne together with TCAS and even the little guys are getting quite sophisticated.I dread the thought of having to fly IFR in Europe single Pilot in bad weather without automated pilot aids as it is a very busy, exacting invironment to be in nowadays.Having said that FS9 far exceeds FS2002 in many respects and is a much more realistic and polished experience.FS2002 looks dated in comparison.Microsoft should have a detailed adventure generator as such a utility is a creative tool as well as adding realism to the flight experience, but one which is user friendly to the ordinary simmer.The biggest thing still lacking in the flight sim experience is a fear generator :-eek You know the "I wish I was down there " factor when we always know we are "down there" in our PC flight sims.All the bestPeter

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Not one version of Flight Simulator has been a step back.I highly doubt "A Century of flight" will be a step back.If you can't accept change, then we'ed all be using DOS version 1.0.

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Hi Kurt, The title is confusing, it should be: fs2004 could be a step back for adventure, forget about all others feature, it have nothing to do with the new fs2004 feature. I don't use adventure anyways and many don't use it.Kurt Don't be confused with the title and the open letter,he talk about the adventure, this open letter is based on speculation and no fs2004 beta tester are allowed to talk.ThanksChris Willis[link:fsw.simflight.com/FSWMenuFsSim.html]Clouds And Addons For MsFshttp://fsw.simflight.com/fsw.jpg

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Hello Kurt,I think what the original author meant was that support for the Adventure Programming Language has purportedly been dropped from FS2004. The addon aircraft, scenery, etc. that were designed for FS2000 or FS2002 should still work fine according to Microsoft. I believe MS has stated that there will be improvements in the built-in ATC, and I'm sure they'll improve quite a number of other aspects as well. While I see his point in expressing frustration that the APL is being discontinued, stating that FS2004 could be a step back is IMHO unwarranted. Yes, adventures might function differently. But for all the other supposed improvements in the sim (and given how infrequently I fly adventures) I'd have to say that the sim looks by and large like a step forward. At the very least it's three steps forward and one step back, and that still leaves us two ahead!

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Ralph,Thanks for the article. I really enjoyed reading it. Your passion for flight simulation is very evident. It is people like you (and Richard Harvey) that have made Flight Simulation "as Real as it Gets".I don't have anything else to add. I just really appreciate the integrity of your article.Thanks again,The Beagle

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I simply don't have the time to devote to doing everything by the book. My flying consists mostly of sightseeing and short hops. At some point I would like to do a full flight with STARS, SIDS, etc., but I don't really feel the need. While I respect those who do try to make it as real as it can get, I would hope that the feeling is mutual for those of us who are a little more casual.Best regards,Todd

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Rest assured.. MS will read this.It all depends on where they wanna take FS to. And that is what no one knows.Johan[A HREF=http://www.phoenix-simulation.co.uk]Phoenix Simulation Software[/A]-----http://www.people.zeelandnet.nl/johdUnofficial PSS Website

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If you want realism, go fly and get your PPL. This is as real as it gets. After flying for real, some $60 program with an add-on will never compare to doing a soft field takeoff and hanging out in ground effect or doing stalls in a turn in a real plane. After flying for real, flight simulator definitely takes a back seat to the real deal.

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I can see where you're coming from saying that addon adventures wont work in FS9. I personally haven't flown and APL adventures and only use default ATC. I know its not even close to real ATC, but its good enough for me. I am a real life student pilot. I know how to track a VOR radial and perform ILS landings. To me, if I wanted to bum around in a 152 for a couple of hours I would do it in real life, where I could smell the fresh air, see the real scenery, and feel all the great sensations of flight. The reason I have FS is to fly what I at the moment can't, which is usually airliners. So its not 100% real. If it was, FlightSafety would be out of business because all pilots would just train on FS. My payware addons come few and far between, so most of the addons I have are whatever I can download for free. I would love to see an addon for FS that allowed you to do a real aircraft walkaround/preflight inspection. Unfortunatly, don't have 4 hours to sit in front of my computer and fly a plane. However one of your statements bugs me. The idea that people who enjoy a good visual model and 'eye candy' aren't 'real pilots' can't be farther from the truth. I for one got started in aviation because I saw planes, and they were cool. Don't tell me you've never seen a 747 coming in ovehead and "Wow that beautiful." I often will go to the spot plane view when I am flying at cruise altitude with the autopilot on. I do this because I can. It's a much better view from outside. I am also going to assume you have the hundreds of hours neccessary for you to get your ATP, and you have every chart, and you pay your 'virtual FBO'money so that you can rent the plane, and you buckle your shoulder harness and but on your Dave Clark headset before you fly because only then will it be "As real as it gets".Paul Felz

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In my 6 years flying with the sim, Ive never flown an adventure either.

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I think we should keep our eye on the ball about the whole program in general. Mr. Zimmerman's information is not to be disputed or argued by me, for his reference to the evolvment of some features is very well thought out. Why do I say that we should focus on the entire program? Just take a look at the history of the Microsoft Flight Simulator institution. Since Flight Sim 5, each version has had a new MAJOR feature that either took advantage of the developments in Computer technology or the latest and greatest coding or programming genius. History has demonstrated that the best execution of a particular version was realized at the cost of some hard lessons learned from a crappy version preceding it, as it should be, perhaps, but when we speak of a 70 dollar piece of computer software (and the countless dollars spent on add-ons becoming suddenly obsolete out right), we must ask ourselves how much longer we should allow MS to use us as Guinea pigs. Bottom line is this: Every other version of FS released by MS was a costly flop. Here's the time line: Version 5.0A: Was pretty much flawless for it's day. The transition from 3.5" discs to CD-ROMS allowed more scenery areas to be covered. Version 5 was the transition from 16 color, low res graphics to a world one could easily become convinced he was NOT looking at a PC Monitor. Version 6.0: Or, by it's trade name, Flight Simulator 95. For the first time, our hobby has left DOS behind in favor a shiny new world offered by Windows 95. The result: pretty shaky, and a poorer example of innovation for we were not really treated to anything new. Version 7.0: Flight Simulator 98. Finally, a replacment for FS 5.0, and we now had the whole world to explore in a rock-solid, near bullet proof game engine that was enhanced to take advantage of the latest graphics rendering and hardware accelleration features sweeping other game genre'sVersion 8.0: Flight Simulator 2000. A nightmare, though tolerable once the huge patches were applied. It had a new scenery engine that did not have all the bugs worked out. It was the first time of note where MS focused on the "eye candy" aspect of flight simming. I found myself going back to my friend FS98 when I wanted to fly with smooth frames. Version 9.0: Flight Simulator 2002. Finally, FS98 has been officially replaced. Made me forget about FS2000 rather quickly. Now we are faced with Century of Flight, or technically, version 10.0. History suggests, if MS failed to learn from thier own history, this one may fall short. Here's the big IF, and I do mean IF, MS may just have an ace in the hole. That ace in the hole is thier Combat Flight Simulator product line. They may be using thier Combat Flight sims as an odd sort of Beta version for the next standard Flight Sim, thier bread-winner in the game arena of the pre XBOX days. They realize thier civilian sim was a flop, they regroup, re-engineer and release a CFS product for us to chew on, silently taking notes on what to fix or add in the new standard FS. When CFS2 was released, it featured graphics that were simular, but hugely improved over FS2000. It ran much more smoothly with high detail settings, making the frame rate count almost irellavant. It had all new lighting and shading features. It did not occur to me at the time, but CFS2 was actually a portent of things to come with FS2K2. For FS2K2's scenery and terrain was much like CFS2, only better. CFS3 came out and it angered the community of hardline CFS fans. It featured an all new scenery engine and code. Eye candy galore, and it ran like crap. It's all new file architecture resulted in the strangely slow release of SDKs, hence the slow development of freeware and pay ware addons. In it's 5th month of release, we have yet to be treated to anything more significant that aircraft repaints, the occaisional utility, and maybe a CFS2 plane made to work in CFS3. The only good thing about CFS3 was the weather engine. I've seen screenshots of Century of Flight, part of me is excited because of the weather engine. But it has many features that broke ground in the CFS3 product. This also has me a little spooked. Any fans of the CFS series that also follow the regular FS can hopefully relate. I have a bad feeling all of the freeware devlopers that keep this hobby alive will be forced to a reluctant return to the drawing board to make new stuff or make updates for exsisting files in spite of MS's statement of limited backwards compatibility. We all read that in the relase notes of CFS3, and were saddened at the reality. Some of the talent may refuse to make products for Century of Flight, and it could kill the hobby. So, as far as ATC, flying online and all that jazz has many concerned about MS going backwards, I think attention should be directed at the overall program itself. Don't delete FS 2K2 just yet. With a name like Century of Flight to commemorate man's union with the birds, MS has alot of blood on thier hands. If it's a total flop, it could result in MS, in classic Corporate America fashion, pissing off or offending the aviation community. That may have more serious rammifications than we care to contemplate. Thanks for reading. Kevin Devlin.

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I know what you're saying about the reality of VATSIM, Gary and here is how I answered in another forum:Century Of Flight will no doubt be a huge improvement in many areas such as weather, ATC and graphics, and the guys who support VATSIM and the like make some great and very valid points. The fact remains that the experiences are totally different. Can one experience the oceanic clearances at Gander and Shanwick, or vectors around a tornado, or a speed adjustment 300 miles away from your destinationas ATC slips you into a good slot for minimum holding times or otheraircraft requesting altitude adjustments looking for a better ride?One form of enjoyment is not necessarily better that the other- they are different for sure but anyone who misses the opportunity to expand the enjoyment of their simulator who yearns to make the experience very real simply misses a lot when they overlook what APL and APLC brings to the desktop that the new language will not.I would never sugeest that anything is better than another - only that peole who overlook something we may loose the ability to do, might be missing out on a form of enjoyment that they should experience before it's lost.

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Although it would be a shame to lose the talents that Adventure programmers bring, I haven't used one adventure program since I cracked open the seal on FS2002. They were fun, but I don't miss them at all. Neither do I use VATSIM for its numerous and irritating limitations. I use Radar Contact, but frankly, I'd rather use native FS funtionalities so I hope that the ATC on FS2004 is a good step up. Randy Jura, KPDX

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Hi, I think your analysis is very complete Ralph. In some ways I guess its accurate to my point of view, but very strict. I think AI is very good in FS2002 but true, not very real cause there are so many things lacking still. Now its true adventures are better still. But A Century of Flight is prommising many things. Such as improved AI, holds, IFR clearances airborne. I think this is more real than other kind of adventures cause no flight is the same. Adventures have the disadvantage of getting bored after a while cause you will hear the same stuff always.But anyways thats just my point of view. FMC and all its ok i guess, but what i can say is that its not very good to get used to that before actually flying. Flying isnt about autoland, almost nobody uses autoland in real life, and as a 727 rated pilot, we rather fly the plane when there is a chance, than use the autopilot.Thank you very muchBest regards.

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