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"Too Useful/Not Useful Enough" Add-ons (Semi-Rant)

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Over the past year or so, there has been a dearth of stuff people have released for FS2K/FS2K2. While I applaud their efforts (especially the freeware stuff), I find myself asking the same questions - "Do I really need a program to install panels/scenery/aircraft/sounds when it is easy enough to do it myself?" There are about a dozen different "Manager" programs to do installs of various add-ons and I don't see the need - if you can't extract files from an archive and place them in a file folder, you should get some help learning how to use Windows - this is the same as if someone doesn't know how to fill their car with gasoline."Do I really need x different programs that all do basically the same thing, but miss certain human-machine interface functionality?" I use a combination of FSBuild, Nav3.x and FSNavigator to make my flightplans. I use Nav3.x to build a flightplan when I have to input lat/long or "bearing/distance from a nav beacon" based waypoints since it has the ability to manually position the cursor at any lat/long and then insert said location as a "GPS" waypoint. I, for the life of me, have yet to figure out how to do this with the proper precision in FSNavigator. I use FSBuild to come up with reasonable flightplans when the FAA Preferred Routing/Coded Dep. Routing information does not exist - I than manually enter the information into Nav3.x or FSNavigator because sometimes the Autoroute and Build process screws up the flight plan (i.e. the waypoint name is correct, but the distance is way off by about 5000nm). I then use FSNavigator as the default FMS, since it is easy to enter and fly the flight plan, including holding patterns. The stock FS2K flight planner pretty much sucks."Does there really need to be 57 different versions of a [insert Panel Type] panel, all of which do some things well, none of which do everything well, with the exception of [insert One Free/Share/Payware Gem]?" 'Nuff Said."Why hasn't the author of x not released a FS2K2 version/improved the product?" I thought Tom Corson's FMC gauge for FS98 was brilliant - luckily it still works for FS2K2. What was so great about this gauge is that all you had to do was enter a ZFW and select the aircraft you were flying (there were about 30 different selections) and it automatically calculated current A/C weight and selected the proper Vspeeds for T/O and landing - but it only had/has the ability to set T/O thrust or climb thrust for the 757/767/747-400 (and MD-8x, IIRC) - the rest of the aircrafts (Airbus, 737-xxx, 777, etc.) don't have this capability since the author didn't have the information needed at that time. I know for a fact that I wouldn't mess around with the DF737, 767PIC, PSS 747/777/A320 (or any other payware addons with FMS functionality) if this little gauge was updated to include full data for the rest of the aircraft. Likewise, The Pilot's L10-11 and the Mad Dog 2000 products were superb for FS2K and would have no competion whatsoever if released for FS2K2.Oh well - just my $0.02

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Don't download anything!Remember, the whole idea is to have fun...Bob BEdmonds, Wa.

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Let's see (little rant at ranters :-lol).>"Do I really need a program to install >panels/scenery/aircraft/sounds when it is easy enough to do >it myself?" There are about a dozen different "Manager" >programs to do installs of various add-ons and I don't see >the need - if you can't extract files from an archive and >place them in a file folder, you should get some help >learning how to use Windows - this is the same as if someone >doesn't know how to fill their car with gasoline. >I have wondered who would need such a program myself, but there is obviously a need or they wouldn't be so popular (there are even commercial/shareware ones which indicate some people are even willing to pay for it instead of asking for someone to explain how to do it manually).But no harm done. I don't need it, so I don't use it. I'm not lying awake nights because someone created a piece of software I think it useless.>"Do I really need x different programs that all do basically >the same thing, but miss certain human-machine interface >functionality?" I use a combination of FSBuild, Nav3.x and >FSNavigator to make my flightplans. I use Nav3.x to build a >flightplan when I have to input lat/long or >"bearing/distance from a nav beacon" based waypoints since >it has the ability to manually position the cursor at any >lat/long and then insert said location as a "GPS" waypoint. >I, for the life of me, have yet to figure out how to do this >with the proper precision in FSNavigator. I use FSBuild to >come up with reasonable flightplans when the FAA Preferred >Routing/Coded Dep. Routing information does not exist - I >than manually enter the information into Nav3.x or >FSNavigator because sometimes the Autoroute and Build >process screws up the flight plan (i.e. the waypoint name is >correct, but the distance is way off by about 5000nm). I >then use FSNavigator as the default FMS, since it is easy to >enter and fly the flight plan, including holding patterns. >The stock FS2K flight planner pretty much sucks. >Make your own flightplanner that does all you want it to, or hire someone to do it for you, if you're not content with what others have created in the past.>"Does there really need to be 57 different versions of a >[insert Panel Type] panel, all of which do some things well, >none of which do everything well, with the exception of >[insert One Free/Share/Payware Gem]?" 'Nuff Said. >Yes there does. While in an ideal world all panel creators would know what every colleague was doing and not duplicate that effort because every panel creator could build a perfect panel instantly, we're not living in an ideal world.So each time a panel is released someone finds fault in it and tries to do better, with the result of many different panels for each aircraft that all have some flaw. Add that often several authors will be working on a panel for the same type of aircraft simultaneously without them knowing about the other persons' effort, and a larger number of panels for the more popular models of aircraft is guaranteed.>"Why hasn't the author of x not released a FS2K2 >version/improved the product?" I thought Tom Corson's FMC >gauge for FS98 was brilliant - luckily it still works for >FS2K2. What was so great about this gauge is that all you >had to do was enter a ZFW and select the aircraft you were >flying (there were about 30 different selections) and it >automatically calculated current A/C weight and selected the >proper Vspeeds for T/O and landing - but it only had/has the >ability to set T/O thrust or climb thrust for the >757/767/747-400 (and MD-8x, IIRC) - the rest of the >aircrafts (Airbus, 737-xxx, 777, etc.) don't have this >capability since the author didn't have the information >needed at that time. I know for a fact that I wouldn't mess >around with the DF737, 767PIC, PSS 747/777/A320 (or any >other payware addons with FMS functionality) if this little >gauge was updated to include full data for the rest of the >aircraft. Likewise, The Pilot's L10-11 and the Mad Dog 2000 >products were superb for FS2K and would have no competion >whatsoever if released for FS2K2. >Ever considered the cost of updating something every time a new version of FS is released?Unless the company tells before you buy that the product will work for every release of FS in the indefinite future (or will be updated free of charge if need be) you have NO right at all to expect them to do so.If they do update anyway, that may be good marketting and it may generate some sales of the updated product, but most likely it will cost that company money especially after the first time.Lago for example decided not to update MD2000 because that one was already an updated version of an FS98 product and updating it to be up to their standards for FS2002 releases they would have to completely redo it from scratch (and users would DEMAND with loud voices that that upgrade would be free because all other companies do it for free too) which would cost them a lot of money.So the next time you buy something, ask for guarantees that the product will be capable of being used with FS versions into the indefinite future and see what the company you're buying from says.

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I have been working on a complete upgrade of the Ms Baron B58, on and off, for the last 6 months...New flight characteristics, engine upgrade, new panel and a complete set of new internal 2D views...This mail just adds to my reasons for NOT releasing it...I've made this upgrade for my own enjoyment.. Both the pleasure of working with the graphics and the pleasure of having a nice internal view to look at while flying... I was going to share it, but with all the ##### and moaning that's been going on of late About 'inferior' add-ons and 'unwanted' add-ons that's come out of late I just can't be bothered..As Bob B says in his posting.... If you don't want the add-ons don't download them...Have you ever contributed anything to the Fs comunity in the way of top class add-ons seeing as you think you have the right to citicise other peoples work??????????//Tonni

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Cool down peoples... Something might be useful for some and not useful for others. If someone released some fighter jet, it would be useless to me, however accurate it may be, but it would definitely be useful to lots of other people! Same with the splash screens, sure, I don't touch them, but if the number of downloads are clocking up, then there are some people out there who are downloading them and using them. Now if all the companies only release products with very strong demands, no one would have to study economics any more :-lolKitty MercuryCathay Pacific Virtual Pilot (CX252)

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Hi Kiwi,I said before I wasnt going to partake in these wastes of space...However I would just like to point out...<<

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HiPersonally I do programs that I would like to have. Sometimes others think they are usefull like AIBridge sometimes think ist's a waste of time and disk space like fsauto. One thing that I learned is: it's the idea that count's not the amount of work, like: When started to Fly DF734 for FS2002 noticed the clock delay so made an utility to solve the problem, people like it(toke me 1 hour to do it) as changing from DF734 to Piper Archer noticed that joystick settings, should be different and did another program to solve this, people didn't care about it.Personally my position now is: Instead of doing another program to solve or aide a particular aspect, contact Pete Dowson and try to see if it is possible to incorporate the idea in FSUIPC next release. If he think it's ok I do the code and give him it.Since I only do things in the utilities section maybe the airplanes or scenery designer have diferent opinions.Jos

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Is this really what you wanted to say? Maybe you want an antonym of dearth? :-hmmm(dearth noun an amount or supply which is not large enough; a lack - Cambridge Online Dictionary)phil

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hmmm..."Do I really need a program to install panels/scenery/aircraft/sounds when it is easy enough to do it myself?"--You clearly don't, no! But it depends on how many aircraft you install. I spend quite alot of time adding aircraft and removing them again after I've tried them. I could use a manager to do it, but as you say, it's not such a tricky task to do it manually. I choose to do it manually, because I like to have the control. But it does take a long time if you have collected quite a few downloads. These programmes seem to speed all that up. (open the zip, open the other zips inside, navigate the folders, identify the files, remove any unwanted text files and pictures, cut and paste the gauges, cut and paste the effects, cut and paste the aircraft, delete the unzipped source files, archive/delete the zip file... need i GO ON?). Not tricky, just a bit time consuming. Utilities aren't just for thick people, they're for lazy people like me too! ;) For the record, if there was a garage with an attendant who fills your car up for you and takes the money/gets your change without you leaving you car, and right next door was one where you had to get out in the cold and fill it yourself, walk into the booth and pay, which one would you turn into? And would the fact that you already knew how to fill your car up with Gas make any difference to your decision?"Do I really need x different programs that all do basically the same thing, but miss certain human-machine interface functionality?"There are different versions because not everyone is the same! You've clearly found a good soluition by using a mixture of programmes and figuring a process that gives you what you need. I bet Nav software designers would appreciate the usability info... you should drop them a line, if you haven't already. You could be doing us all a favour! :D"Does there really need to be 57 different versions of a panel, all of which do some things well, none of which do everything well, with the exception of ?"I think people like doing their own, customized stuff. I agree that sometimes it's overkill though. I shudder to think how many 737 textures are out there somewhere. But the majority of 'em are bound to be really really good and it's really really nice to see people sharing and swapping stuff!!! Really Really!! Heheheh."Why hasn't the author of x not released a FS2K2 version/improved the product?"Erm... I don't know. Maybe they're doing something else instead? Maybe they got bored of it? Maybe they couldn't be bloody arsed, mate!! It's a shame that happens though... when you find a great product and when you do, it's already a bit long in the tooth or a bit obsolete. I did that with PF2000.Cheers,Simon.

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There is a difference. You're not going around screaming bloody murder whenever someone releases something that you have no use for...

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Actually - I did mean to say that as it was *supposed* to be my hint to everyone to not take what I posted too seriously. I guess I missed the mark or should have been a bit more obvious (i.e. "Don't take anything I state below too seriously or assume I am angry or an ingrate.")Anyway - the whole point of my post was to contemplate why the people who do a lot of hard work in releasing addons don't get together more often and collaborate - not to bash their hard work. Some examples of what happens when people collaborate - the Eric Ernst 757/767 panel that has evolved into the Wilco 767PIC, the MAAM DC3, the Mad Dog 98/2000, the DF737 product, the many outstanding scenery add-ons (such as the Magrathea sceneries for the UK, Swedflight, the Ozpack Australia sceneries, etc.) My point was to highlight that we as a community (how I hate that word "community") need to start providing more constructive feedback to authors and that authors need to collaborate more often. Sure, anyone (even me - as non-artistic as they come) can throw an adequate panel or aircraft together with the tools available now, but unless we are willing to provide criticism or work together, then the add-on world will be solely payware in the very near future. An important thing to consider for authors is that it is a *lot* harder for some of these unscrupulous people to steal your work and release it as their own if it is a collaborative effort. More importantly, collaboration brings forth the all-too infrequent "gems" like the MAAM DC3. Imagine if POSKY teamed up with some other authors - instead of releasing the CRJ aircraft, they might've released a CRJ package - with a CRJ panel so close as to be indistinguishable from the real thing - or how about the 767PIC - a lot of people use that package with a POSKY 767 - imagine if the 767PIC package *came* with POSKY or FFG aircraft.Oh well - I hope I cleared up the intent of my original post...

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Geez; you all are coming down a bit heavy on this fellow. All he has done is say what was on his mind. Here's what's on my mind.""Does there really need to be 57 different versions of a panel, all of which do some things well, none of which do everything well, with the exception of ?" 'Nuff Said.""To this, I'll say what's on my mind.I really don't care if there's 200 versions of a particular panel. I just wish one or two of them was of the quality of many Xplane panels. Xplane 5xx version panels were better than anything FS2k2 has to offer. And Xplane 6xx version panels and instruments simply blow FS2k2 panels and instruments away. Why is that????????? How can we let that happen????????? As to auto installers, I just hate em' and I've run into a couple that have required a windows restart to fix damage caused by em'. Luckily, a restart was enough. I'm glad to see that there aren't very many autoinstaller devices with downloads. Cause I usually just throw the download away; unless it's from a trusted source.

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I can't complain because:1. They are free.2. I either can't or don't have the time to do it myself.Person 1: "Why can't anyone build a house that I like? I've looked at dozens and they all have something or another wrong with them.Person 2: "Why don't you build one yourself? Then you could have everything the way you want it."Person 1: "I don't know how".

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what works for you may not work for others. Sounds like a troll post to me.

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This is my take on it.No matter who releases what and in how many different versions, the work of everybody is appreciated, sometimes more sometimes less. But I think we need to distinguish between freeware releases and commercial releases here.IMHO freeware has for years been the driving force behind pushing the envelope of MSFS further. Many people have taken a feature they did not like about MSFS or thought could be made better and have tried to solve that. Sometimes with a lot of success, sometimes with less success. The result of that however has always been interactivty and people giving it thought on how to do an even better version.Now that's what I call indirect teamwork. So any and all release serves a purpose.Trying something out that has been made available freely does not cost anything other than your own time and if you don't like it or find a problem there is always room for polite discussion with the author.Concerning commercial add-ons the matter is a little different. I personally feel that too much commercial software that is not up to standard has been released lately to ride the wave. With that I don't mean that there should not be commercial releases, on the contrary, they are just as important as freeware releases. However expectations for a commercial add-on are naturally higher, because the user has to pay for it, so they need to be better with every release. Unfortunately this seems to be forgotten by some, mind you only a few, commercial developers is that when a user pays for a commercial product he does actually not only pay for the product but also for the support in case that there are problems.Anyway. I hope there will be many more releases of add-ons for MSFS in the future wo the envelope is contiually pushed further, to get closer to as real as it gets, even if it means in little steps.

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>Anyway - the whole point of my post was to contemplate why the >people who do a lot of hard work in releasing addons don't get >together more often and collaborate -I think the answer is 'Control'.If you don't collarate all the design decisions are yours, you follow your design philosophy. You don't get into disputes with other developers on the team about how certain tasks should be done,what tools should be used, or what features are given the most importance.In these collaborations you speak of (767PIC,DF etc) for the most part no single person could have completed the project, they by necessity had to collaborate.Alhough,I'm sure there are many collaborative projects and simply end un-completed because of philosophical differences between team members.A product has feature implemented one way, another developer looks at the same feature and says it would work better if implemented another way. If both developers were on the same project one of those views would have to be taken in favor of the other, this an area ripe for problems and disagreements. In projects where there is a clear leader and team members are commited to follow the project leaders lead it works well. This is more often the case in Commercial projects.But when Freeware developers get together they often have more equal partnerships, this is when you can have some philosophical differences.Regards.Ernie.

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I think this is one of the reason between fligh1 and reality xp for the Meridian: to provide the best of each in a collaborative project. I'm pretty sure many more will follow and will bring better add-ons for the money.

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