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Guest UweR

Century of Flight - the system works

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I've been enjoying the dialogue on the lastest version of the venerable MSFS series and thought I'd add my thoughts. I am, for the most part, extremely pleased with what I read in the anouncement. Last month I had to reinstall MSFS 2002 after some problems with several conflicting land-class files that I couldn't track down. It took the better part of a day. It took that long because of the very large collection of add-on sceneries and meshes on my hard drive that all needed to be re-installed. Why is this relevant, you ask?Sure, when the new version comes it's going to be a pain in the butt installing all those add ons. But, they are all going to work, That was not the case when 2002 arrived and we had to wait months for our favorite airplanes (PIC and the DF 734 in my case). I attended the AVSIM conference in Tahoe this year, so I (and everyone else who went) know that the graphics engine used in 2002 is the foundation of the COF edition. That means all the scenery is should work, and I'm guessing right out of the box. I would be downright ecstatic if I'd dropped a bundle on the England VFR scenery, the full set of FS Scene textures and mesh coverage of the free world. Same is true for the airplanes, where the modelling system will not change with this version. Bad news if you were expecting a revolution in flight models. Good news if, like me, you have four or five airplanes representing close to $200 in your simulated hanger, and want to add the Meridian once the kinks are worked out. Am I upset that they havn't revolutionized their flight models. Not much. I don't fly the default airplanes, which I am guessing is likely true for the vast majority of people who are part of this AVSIM community. That said, I would like better ground handling, a better turbo prop model and a better set of tools for the 3rd party developers to play with. But, if the Marchietti from Rob Young and company is any indication, it is possible to tweak the engine and get very impressive results. Am I upset about no new graphics engine. Too early to tell. My only real complaint about the graphics is the blurred textures out about 15 miles from the plane, and it would be nice if they found a way to tweak that. However,that's a lot of computing power needed to have everything clear and concise out to the horizon and my 1.9 PIV slows down pretty quickly in the clouds. If it happens, I may not be able to take advantage of it anyway. So, from where I'm sitting, the system works. MSFS has addressed the issues that are in their best interests to address and all of the changes will enhance the experience. I see no economic incentive for them to do other wise. Why revolutionize flight models when you know full and well that the people who will notice and care will either pay extra for them (from third party developers) or download from the many,excellent free airplanes?There is also no economic incentive to include FMCs, ultra-realistic panels with full systems and more big jet toys. That market is not big enough to be of interest. Opportunity costs. There are many more projects in MSFS land that will generate a far greater return than programming an FMC. The folks who want one will buy the program anyway, to have a platform for their add-on. To expect MS as a company to not act in its best financial interests out of some sort of loyalty to the 5,000 or so hard core users is just silly. They didn't get to be who they were by frittering money away on very small niche markets. And I would argue this is the best way. Some smart people have figured out that people will pay for FMCs, highly detailed systems and airliners that are not that far removed from the real thing, above and beyond the MSFS price tag. Most do a very good job, likely far better than anything that MS would come up with, for the simple reason that it is as much a labor of love as a money making proposition. And I like that. And I would argue that the folks at MS see it that way too. I can't see the MS team sitting around trying to figure out how to take the crumbs off the plate that represent what Radar Contact, Dreamfleet and Wilco probably made last year. Am I upset about the price? Not really. FS Meteo, the Garmin and Radar Contact would have set me back a bunch more, and I'll get a bunch of detailed airports, some graphical enhancements and I won't have to buy from Sim Flyers or someone else (which works for me because I like flying around too many corners of the world to tie myself down to one or two super airports). And if I'm lucky, they might include some nice historical airfields as well to go with the old planes. Best all, ColinPS: It isn't a patch! Think Quake II - it's the same idea. Sorry, couldn't resist...

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I couldn't have said it better.Have you been listening to Lou Betti lately, he says the same in his forums too :-)

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Yes, well said, and my feelings exactly. I too have heavily invested in add-ons, which is something I never bothered with in previous versions of FS. It's just that FS2002 was so good, it was worth spending the extra $ to get it the way I wanted it. I actually would not have been very keen to upgrade to an "all totally new" version of FS, simply because I think they already did such a great job with FS2002. I'm much happier to see them putting what I consider to be the ultimate and final polish upon the ground-breaking product released 16 months ago. But FS2002 was 80% the way there, and almost all regular users of the product have critised the weather modelling and AI, probably above anything else. To see these problems being addressed has given me real hope that I will be flying a sim that runs like FS2002, but without the annoyances we all know.Personally the best thing I have seen from any of these screenshots today is the cloud modelling. The cloud mist blends in so well to the sides of mountains and in the valleys. It looks like those horrible, hard-edged 2D sprites are now gone, as I can't see any abrupt hard edges in the low level clouds. I don't think anything spoilt the visual illusion more than this in FS2002. And as someone else pointed out, you can clearly see the rain originating from the clouds in one of the shots. Perhaps, however, such visuals might come at the expense of performance. I guess we will have to wait and see on that one.On the subject of ATC / AI, it really will be nice to see AI traffic (out-of-the-box) running over a much broader area than it did before. Yes, there may be utilities to develop flight plans, but personally I'd rather spend my time flying than sitting at my computer trying to develop houndreds or thousands of custom flight plans. I'm hoping therefore that the new sim will "intelligently" spawn AI flights rather than simply rely on a list of preset flights. And presumably all runways of all aerodromes will now be "officially" open for use, therefore also saving a tremendous amount of time customising all those smaller aerodromes out in the middle of nowhere.And if people wish to consider this a patch rather than an all-new version, well even if I felt that way, it's well worth the $50 US to get these ongoing problems fixed. Especially considering I've invested 4 times that much in add-ons for FS2002 already.

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I could n't agree more.I was dreading the new version coming out because I expected it to look better and the screenshots so far look impressive, but I was more concerned whether or not all my FS2002 stuff could be used. If the add ons can be added on easily and will work with no fuss, then there is only one question I have. When can I have it?Colin

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CWR, good post!And if I'm lucky, they might include some nice historical airfields as well to go with the old planes.Sorry, this isn't your lucky day :-lol All the airfields are contemporary, so it will be a field day for 3rd party scenery developers to create vintage airports (and cities)!

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I agree completely, even more so if Microsoft indeed plans to widen the market for the Flightsim "game". I would consider myself a flightsim addict and have invested a lot in FS2002 to fill the gaps, somwhat close to 1500 bucks in software alone, hardware not included. If the older software wasn

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I think the scenery should change with the year, like the Berlin wall has done in several FS versions. Go back in time, and the cities would be smaller, AI traffic would be different (biplanes in the '20's, DC-3s in the '40's and '50's, and 707s in the '60's...) and fly realistic routes for the era... Kai Tak would be open, JFK would be called Idlewild...Hmm, I guess I can dream on... :-)Martin767 fetishistIt's a lot like life and that's what's appealing

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