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blaster454

FSX Missions: What Can We Do?

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First, I am just an FSX fan. I don't post here a lot, but read this and other MSFS forums almost daily. when FSX first appeared on the FS scene, I remember being enthralled with the included missions. It seemed to me to be a tremendous avenue for making FSX more real-world like and appealing. There seemed to be unlimited potential for some really excellent FS experiences via scripted missions.It seems that I was mistaken in that there are not really that many new missions being developed.I deliberately did not post this in the missions section of the forum because I want to get opinions from FSX fans who are not mission designers.What is the general feeling as to why there are not more missions? I guess I'm not looking for specific technical reasons such as coding or mission-building snags...although they may be a big part of the answer(s). Rather, I am looking for the generic reasons for the apparent dearth of new missions. The goal, if we can come up with some sound analysis, might be to form a group to try to address some of the issues to see if we can spark mission development. It seems to me likely that mission design is to be a part of future FS development. It also seems that quality missions ( whatever they might be ;) ) are a good way to introduce new FS users to the many enjoyments to be had in the different "genres" available in FS.Any thoughts or comments on this? Is this too close to "boiling the ocean" rather than a cup of tea?I am not a mission designer (yet) and I am aware that it might take a different type of FS person to do mission design -- as compared to mission users. I guess that's another one of those "genres" I mentioned :DAppreciate your views on this...sorry if this is too long a post and if the moderators think I've chosen the wrong sub-forum, please move it (although I think the mission design forum is the wrong place for now).Cheers!Blaster (aka Larry)No sig, no affiliations, just an every-day FS nut

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Hey Blaster,First, if you haven't heard of the site, FSXMission.com has some user created missions available for download.As to why there aren't more missions available from 3rd parties, there are several reasons, some of which fall under that "not looking for technical reasons..." subgroup you mention :->.First, missions are new and therefor there's no sales track record for a 3rd party addon that's a collection of missions and I imagine, at the moment, most of the payware guys are probably hoping someone does a freeware/shareware package first to gauge the interest in this sort of thing.Second, again because of that new thing, most of the addon folks are busy relearning how to do the things they've always done but in a FSX friendly way (or convince us to be friendly to their way :-> ).Third, I think the mission design gods are going to come from a new segment of the userbase (at least when it comes to creating addons). Mission design takes a different mindset than normal procedural programming does (and also different from 3D modeling skills, 2D texture wizardry, aerodynamic modelling, etc) because missions aren't written with a "normal" scripting style language like the old adventure/ABL system but are written using a collection of loosely connected objects that can interact with the state of various parts of the sim (although there are some elements of state machine programming in there as well). I'm thinking the folks who make the really cool movies using FS are the ones likely to have the mindset for mission design (movie directory/set or scene design/etc).Fourth, Missions are just hard to do well. Besides the points mentioned above for the design of the mission itself, for a quality mission you need lots of audio work done (sure, for a freeware/shareware release, you could get by with using friends/family to record all your voices, but for a commercial quality addon, you would have to go with professional voice talent and that can get expensive depending on how many unique voices you need). You also are probably going to need some custom scenery work (on the order of placing scenery objects at specific locations, etc), plus you may need a 3D modeller to create some custom scenery objects to be placed (custom buildings, people, etc).Fifth, the Object Placement Tool could use some serious work to make it more user friendly (but, it is the tool that Paul and Brandon used to make the missions for FSX and Acceleration). There were one or two beta testers that started work on "visual editors" for mission files, but I haven't been keeping track of how those efforts have developed.Sixth, there's still a perception, in some quarters, that missions are gamey, and thus to be avoided at all cost. We receive quite a few emails from users saying "I thought the missions would be totally useless and gamey, until I finally broke down and tried a few of them and now I'm hooked, when are you going to release some more" :->We actually hoped that some of the existing addon folks, when converting/updating their existing aircraft and/or sceneries, might include a few missions that showed off their addons abilities/features (the way some of them provide FLT files that show off their product in the past). This was the approach we took with the Acceleration addon, pick a small number of aircraft, pick a few detailed scenery areas, create some missions targeted at showing off the aircraft and scenery areas, stir em all together and serve :->

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Hi Larry I hear what you are saying,I too am a fan of mission,so much that I would create my own,I have lots of ideas.So I opened up the SDK,and hit the first problem,have you tried to get the Object Toolto appear by following the instructions from MS? It took me 3days to get it right with the help of some kind people on this forum, I have now put together a simple mission,or I thought so,now I get failure of the XML file about tags not closed,I have spent another 3days at this,no help in MS. I really take my hat off to the guys and gals who create these missions,They put in a lot of time and patience mixed with fustration,I am sure it could be easier,look at missionbuilding in Ubisofts IL2, I think this part of the problem Larry,but lets see what others think. Regards George.

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Hi, Tim. I appreciate your thoughtful answer. I need some time to digest your points, all of which IMHO are on the mark. I think the answer lies within each of the "barriers" we can identify. If we can find ways to eliminate or lower these barriers, we may see the path clear to more and better missions.BTW, I have been to FSXmission.com and found it to be a helpful site...especially the tutorials.I'll be back with point-by-point comments later today.Thank you!Blaster (aka Larry)

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Hi, George.Yes, I have installed the SDK adn got the object placement tool to work...after much tooth gnashing and hair pulling ;) -- that is definitely one of the barriers to mission creation, especially for those not familiar with general programming and SDK "norms".I'd like to see better introductory tutorials for using the SDK (not just missions, but all the features available) ... hopefully that will be forthcoming ... probably from the community before MS as I believe the ROI isn't big enough (yet) to get them interested.Cheers!Blaster (aka Larry)

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Thanks, Scott. I hadn't looked at Aerosoft's mission pack yet. I will have to do that. It would be interesting to look at their design methodology.Cheers!Blaster (aka Larry)

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As mentioned by others, there are a good amount of user missions out there, but Aces set the bar very high with the ones included with FSX, the voice acting in particular is superb and gives real immersion and a sense of a more dynamic and living breathing world than FS2004 could.I have tried the Aerosoft mission 1 pack and this is of very high quality with some great missions IMHO. Also looking fwd to the UK release of Acceleration for more high quality Aces missions ... hopefully :)

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