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"Buyer Beware: A Case For Freeware"

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Ever notice that add-on products you've purchased don't live up to their billing? It's one of the things that have frustrated me throughout my flight sim years. "Minimum" and "recommended" system requirements are apparently often fabricated to achieve a sale. The customer support for these products is essentially imaginary. Do a quick search in forums and you will see countless examples of people who feel that they have been taken advantage of. What happened? Where has all the "fun" gone in this hobby?Let's look at my experiences since I purchased FS98, which was my introductory version. I didn't expect much. It was basic and it ran well on my system. Then came FS2000. I think this was probably where the greatest leap was made in transforming the hobby to be "as real as it gets." This is where I started paying for add-on products. There were some nice ones at the time, like 767 PIC. What a panel that was! The 767 model was awful, though. I bought it hoping to use it as a 757 panel, since that's my favorite airliner. The 757 seems to be hard to model with that famous nose, but some add-ons emerged that looked worthy of buying. I bought the World Models/PSS American Airlines 757 package, and it simply ran terribly on my system. Immediately I was bummed about losing that money. There were no updates to the product to help it run better on my system, even though I exceeded the "recommended" system requirements. It was the first time I felt like I had been robbed by the hobby. I never forgot that feeling.Enter FS2002. Lots of freeware floating around now, and the aircraft modeling has dramatically improved. Wilco even issued an update for the 767 PIC so that it will function in FS2002. I was excited, and this was about the only positive experience I have ever had with a payware product. Finally, actual SUPPORT for customers! I started trying out payware scenery and also got suckered into the Ariane 757. Again, the system requirements were met, but it was more like a Power Point slide show on my system. More $$$ wasted. No updates. Nothing but other people out there who felt just like me. I upgraded to a newer computer in 2003 and that allowed me to enjoy FS2002 for a short time before FS2004 was released.Here I am at FS2004. Immediately I was impressed that this sim ran well. Freeware modeling (like that of Project Opensky) simply spoiled me! Their 757 was the only thing I flew until I saw it: The Captain Sim 757. My jaw dropped. I bought it as soon as I saw the screenshots and read the recommended requirements. The visual model with all its goodies is simply amazing. Then I tried to fly with the 2-D panel and virtual cockpit. They should literally be ashamed of this release. The whole "block" release idea is garbage. I'm still waiting for the upgrade, but I have my doubts that anything they come up with will solve the terrible frames on the panel. I wish Wilco would have upgraded the 767 PIC to be compatible in FS2004, but conveniently that has not happened. I downloaded a freeware panel that is supposed to work with the Captain Sim 757, but it causes FS2004 to crash while in flight. So I'm still stuck flying a 757 at 7 FPS.Perhaps the programming of flight sim is just a mess, because it always drains my system more than anything else I have ever used. I don't want you to think I am blaming add-on developers totally, but they seem to be notorious for advertising in a false manner and providing no support for their products. I mean, we're lucky to get an upgrade from them for the next version of FS when it's available. That's not showing any appreciation to your customers.There is freeware out there that might not look as nice, but won't set me back any money. I think I have bought my last payware product. It's the "free" in freeware that keeps this hobby fun. We should all remember that. Thanks to all the people who make that happen.http://usera.imagecave.com/scotteduncan/Signature.gifScottKPNS

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Ahhhhh.... A forum drama thread that doesn't involve FSX. How refreshing. :-)I've found that by doing careful research, I've been able to avoid purchasing many FS 'lemons' that I may otherwise have. I've also learned that if you're going to get something on its day of release, ensure that it is from one of the reputable publishers/developers (Flight1, Dreamfleet, PMDG, etc....). Otherwise, I wait for the reviews to start coming out in the forums to gauge whether or not I should get a particular title. For example, based on what I've read here, I wouldn't get anything from Captain Sim. On the other hand, my purchase of both the LDS767 and FlightScenery's Portland were based on the largely positive reviews seen here in the forums. Even though I had never heard of either of these companies prior to purchasing their products, the positive experiences of others helped me to make my decision. While I also look back on the 'old days' with fondness, the expectations of simmers when it comes to realism, particularly with airliners/heavy iron, is very high. The time that goes into deeply complex simulations like the LDS 767 or Flight1's ATR is immense. I can understand that people would want to be compensated for that time. That being said, freeware certainly has it's place in this brave new world. As you mentioned, there is a plethora of freeware models to choose from. My personal favorite is Erick Cantu's EMB-120 Brasilia. Unfortunately, there exists no decent panel or flight model for said aircraft. While I fly it with the model and panel aliased to the default King Air, I long for a good panel/model package, and would pay for one, if there were one. This desire for realism is what drives the payware market.

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>Ahhhhh.... A forum drama thread that doesn't involve FSX. How>refreshing. :-)Forgive me. It wasn't supposed to be a dramatic post. Just a post of frustration! Hah! I guess there has been a bit of FSX discussion....I've been absent a while. I'm sure there has been plenty of drama with that. My FSX drama ended with a return and store credit towards an Xbox 360! Cha-ching!>I long for a good panel/model package, and would pay for one, if>there were one. This desire for realism is what drives the>payware market.This is exactly the same with me. The Captain Sim 757 model is fantastic, but that's all that's good about it. Unfortunately, you kind of need a panel to fly. Looks like PMDG and Level-D are the only ones who seem to have quality stuff that doesn't require a supercomputer to use. It's not all payware I'm against. It's just those that assume I have a monster machine and that I will stick with the same sim for 6 years. Some talented person should merge the Level-D 767 panel with the Captain Sim 757. I don't think I'd ever fly anything else!Thank you for your insight and understanding. The more specs I read in here, the crappier my computer seems. Looks like everyone's got over a 3ghz processor now. Not me. Mine is more than adequate for everything else. I'm hanging in there until it spontaneously combusts!http://usera.imagecave.com/scotteduncan/Signature.gifScottKPNS

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The whole drama comment was tongue-in-cheek. I just seem to recall the major flame-bait topic before this whole FSX thing was freeware vs. payware. (Oh Sonar, where have you gone?)Good luck with that Xbox 360. I'm still saving my pennies for one. :-)

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>The more specs I read in here, the crappier my computer seems.>Scott>KPNSNO KIDDING! :-lol :-lol :-lol :-lol I'm still chugging along with a P2.4/1GB RAM/6600GT with no upgrade in sight for at least another year and a half. :(

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I know how that goes. I noticed my computer upgrade budget went down substantially after I got married. Now my wife wants me to sell my desktop and get a laptop........

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>NO KIDDING! :-lol :-lol :-lol :-lol >>I'm still chugging along with a P2.4/1GB RAM/6600GT with no>upgrade in sight for at least another year and a half. :( >I think we've got the same computer, only I've got an ATI X1600 Pro! It seems to run a lot of stuff in FS9 pretty well. I even get 20+ fps with the Captain Sim 757 in spot view. Inside, it's like 7 fps. Argh. I'm on the verge of getting married, but man, I can see my budget and my gaming time going bye bye. I hate growing up! :-grrhttp://usera.imagecave.com/scotteduncan/Signature.gifScottKPNS

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Here we go again. Why buy a plane that is designed to be used from the VC and complain it lacks a 2D (which is now available in 1.2 since about 3-4 months. clearly you haven't even checked back on the product you purchased before you complained in this thread)why buy something based upon promises? May i suggest something? Send me 500$ and i promise you i will give you the FMS, just not sure when. You probably wouldn't, so I see why you should with anyone else.I read a lot of comments about fs developers this and fs developers that and while some people make the proper deductions, most simply can't realize the fault lies within them, their expectations, knowledge and willingness to research something before charging it only to whine about it for years after the event. I've never made a bad FS purchase. Resisting the impulse buy and coming back to buy it (and usually finding out the fine print) in a few days is a good way to help yourself.. because me or the developers certainly aren't losing anything by mislead purchases. There is one developer (look for recent threads) that uses false and misleading advertising but hey, if people buy it... great for them.

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>Here we go again. Why buy a plane that is designed to be used>from the VC and complain it lacks a 2D (which is now available>in 1.2 since about 3-4 months. clearly you haven't even>checked back on the product you purchased before you>complained in this thread)Actually, version 1.2 is what I purchased. I check regularly for updates on their site. The 2-D panel has the same poor performance of the VC. It's tolerable at cruise at around 13 fps, but on approach, it's wretched. I can use neither one. It seems the 757 is not complete, but I know I am not alone in my disappointment with the Captain Sim 757. Seems to me it's only the panel. I'm happy with the model, to me that was worth the money. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get another panel to work with their model.>I've never made a bad FS purchase. Resisting the impulse buy>and coming back to buy it (and usually finding out the fine>print) in a few days is a good way to help yourself.. because>me or the developers certainly aren't losing anything by>mislead purchases.Consider yourself fortunate, because you might be alone in that, my friend. Try out the Captain Sim 757 and fly into Atlanta with add-on scenery. You'll love it!:-rollI always read before I buy. I understand you can't please everyone, but I look for what you get for the money and how it allegedly performs. People will say a range of things. Some people really like the CS products. Some vow to never buy from them again. I'm hoping Captain Sim will finish or expand upon the 757 because it has potential. I read positive things, I exceeded the system requirements, I made the decision to buy. It should perform better than it does based on the recommendations. That's all there is to it. I've just never seen a 2-D panel perform so badly.It's not just about Captain Sim, or any particular payware developer. For me this just goes back for years. Years of money piped in for poor performance on adequate systems, errors, or abnormalities that go uncorrected by support folks. Payware to me is also a lot about what you get AFTER the purchase. (Patches, upgrades, etc.) And unfortunately, one cannot predict that. We're at their mercy once they have our money. THAT'S the main problem I have experienced with payware. That's my point in this thread, not to bash Captain Sim. That's just my most recent example.http://usera.imagecave.com/scotteduncan/Signature.gifScottKPNS

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Imagine, Scott, sending the engine out for overhaul on your lowly Piper Dakota. You do your research as to the shop, call them up, all sounds good, and you commit and send them $8500 just to buy six new cylinders.When all is said and done, you realize that the final tab will come close to $40,000.You're taking a gamble.You do your homework, but you still cross your fingers.I remember my last engine overhaul. We had some cylinder problems just after the warranty expired. Do you think they had sympathy, and fixed the issue for free? No, it cost about $5,000 to fix.While I may be a FS payware developer, I am still blessed, or is that cursed, with doing it for real.I'm not saying anything negative about any other payware developer, but as one who pays to do it for real, and does not have a "freeware" option, doing ones homework is paramount. It should also be in FS.Even then, the real thing is not perfect, and you would be shocked what we pay at times to get things to work right, and do not always expect that we get the "support" that you expect in FS. Yeah, that's right; you could drop $10,000 on a piece of avionics in the real world and when things go wrong do not expect the company to drop everything they're doing to make you happy.Never forget, it could be worse, much worse. You could be dealing with the real thing, where $50 or so is a drop in the bucket.;)No offense, but after a while I get tired of the payware bashing. I am not saying that it may not be deserved, but considering how much reality folks want in FS, it gets me to wondering.Do you really expect the real thing?Hey, if you can find a better 757 out there for free, download it, as the real things costs about $15,000 an hour to charter.In the real world, there are numerous things I would like to find for free, or at least when I pay for them get better support than I get.At my airport I have to pay $5 if I lose my magnetic gate card to get on to the ramp.In FS I always have folks contacting me about lost "keys", computer crashes and, "hey Lou, my computer crashed, can you send me a new key?"I lose my "key" in real life it costs me $5, and that's just to walk on the ramp to get to my lowly Piper Dakota.No offense , Scott, but having read the almost-weekly payware bashing thread here, I just have to provide a reality check.Do your homework and, guess what, if you do it in FS it will still be better than if you do it in real aviation- trust me!Regards,http://www.dreamfleet2000.com/gfx/images/F...R_FORUM_LOU.jpg

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>Ever notice that add-on products you've>purchased don't live up to their billing? Luckily, no.

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>>Here we go again. Why buy a plane that is>designed to be used>>from the VC and complain it lacks a 2D (which is now>available>>in 1.2 since about 3-4 months. clearly you haven't even>>checked back on the product you purchased before you>>complained in this thread)>>Actually, version 1.2 is what I purchased. I check regularly>for updates on their site. The 2-D panel has the same poor>performance of the VC. It's tolerable at cruise at around 13>fps, but on approach, it's wretched. I can use neither one. >It seems the 757 is not complete, but I know I am not alone in>my disappointment with the Captain Sim 757. Seems to me it's>only the panel. I'm happy with the model, to me that was>worth the money. Unfortunately, I can't seem to get another>panel to work with their model.>>>I've never made a bad FS purchase. Resisting the impulse>buy>>and coming back to buy it (and usually finding out the fine>>print) in a few days is a good way to help yourself..>because>>me or the developers certainly aren't losing anything by>>mislead purchases.>>Consider yourself fortunate, because you might be alone in>that, my friend. Try out the Captain Sim 757 and fly into>Atlanta with add-on scenery. You'll love it!>>:-roll>>I always read before I buy. I understand you can't please>everyone, but I look for what you get for the money and how it>allegedly performs. People will say a range of things. Some>people really like the CS products. Some vow to never buy>from them again. I'm hoping Captain Sim will finish or expand>upon the 757 because it has potential. I read positive>things, I exceeded the system requirements, I made the>decision to buy. It should perform better than it does based>on the recommendations. That's all there is to it. I've just>never seen a 2-D panel perform so badly.>>It's not just about Captain Sim, or any particular payware>developer. For me this just goes back for years. Years of>money piped in for poor performance on adequate systems,>errors, or abnormalities that go uncorrected by support folks.> Payware to me is also a lot about what you get AFTER the>purchase. (Patches, upgrades, etc.) And unfortunately, one>cannot predict that. We're at their mercy once they have our>money. THAT'S the main problem I have experienced with>payware. That's my point in this thread, not to bash Captain>Sim. That's just my most recent example.>>http://usera.imagecave.com/scotteduncan/Signature.gif>Scott>KPNSI bought CS757 2 weeks after it came out. Back when it looked like a 767... As for system performance, i mean if you don't want to upgrage than that is your fault. You have been simming since what fs98? Then you very well know something about FS performance!

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I dont understand the argument between real world arguments and Flight sime software. Sure if you buy something and it doesnt work like your avionics for your airplane for the most part you have more than on choice. I have bought cars that have caused me problems guess what I hassle the dealer until it is fixed. Then I dont buy a car from that company. As I understand it that company is in trouble. Alot of people have done the same as me.With flight simulator you dont have that many choices maybe 2 of certain scenery, airplane what ever it might be, it is hard to just pick another company so you the only real re-course you have is to ask (complain) to the developer to fix the problem it may seem like alot of whining but whet else can you do?

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Your rule should be research first, purchase last. A simple 2 minute forum search here will give you all the information you need to know on most payware vendors.

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