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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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I did my research. That's the thing, folks. I actually only bought this like 3 weeks ago. (I am not going to use FSX, so the upcoming Level-D 757 is not an option.) It's not like I jumped right into a new offering with Captain Sim. It's the only option we have for those that want a nice model and a thorough panel.I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt to release the final version, WHENEVER that might be. Some people have been waiting forever and are quite put out by this. There is some problem with the way the panel is designed, and I just want to make people aware who might be reading this. I've been in their forum and read literally every post. You will find very few a really excited user in there. The Block concept was just not a great idea, and you can tell by reading virtually any post.With the substellar Block releases, you get stuck with an incomplete payware package. That's lame. I think they should have just released it when it was completely ready. I would rather wait longer and have something with things that work right than to deal with autopilot quirks, no FMC, and wretched 2-D panel frame rates. (Though those weren't clearly defined to buyers ahead of time, but it's common across the board.)We'll see when the final Block comes out. It's just been a frustrating ordeal and I still feel mislead on this product. I will still frequent their forum and give them credit where its due. Who knows, maybe the final package will be pretty cool.I'm over my inital letdown when I posted this. I apologize if it sounded "whiny" or like I was accusing all payware developers of lying. It's just such a bummer, but I can't do anything about it now but encourage people who may be interested in this 757 to wait until the final package is offered. I will let you know how it is, because I'm going to have to buy it to fix the one I have already bought! This has just been my worst payware experience yet, and again, I apologize if I have offended anyone by sharing my thoughts on the matter.http://usera.imagecave.com/scotteduncan/Signature.gifScottKPNS

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Hi guys,Just let me give my 2 cents here.I love payware stuff. WHEN it's good. And you know what? It's up to us, the buyers to decide if we trust on the seller or not.I love freeware too! But I know that I will sacrifice some realism that GOOD payware stuff will give me!I'm almost new on FS comunity compare to others (I begin with FS2002), and soon I learn what I should buy or not. For example, in the rush to have plenty of goodies, I bought at that time PSS 747, PSS 777, DF737 and suddenly..... Wilco Airports!!! *******! What a slide show even at that time!!! After some other good stuff, suddenly....... HongKong from Flightsoft!!! And this one after seeing a review!!! OH my GOD! A payed review, for sure!!!!! How the guy could appretiate that scenery!So, now, only the ones I already trust, after reading forums, or knowing already that despite what some people say, probably to me is a "suficient" product. And for newcomers on payware market, just seeing teh website and forums, we can be in alert sooner than later! The type and quality of information circulating on theire sites, gives always good information.CaptainSim for example: I liked very much the 727. (unfortunatly Ii don't fly it much, because I would like to buy the DF one....) However, I never trust much has a company, and specially after that "Blocks" policy, that to me is only a way to make money with unfinished work! I never buy a model without a panel. Period. For me a aircraft should be as a all in one. With the right compromises! So I didn't bought anything else. I never liked much support. I was lucky to be satisfied with the 727.Take Feelthere for example: I trust them. I only bought ERJ after they fit it with a panel. I love the 737 classic. I loved the CRJ. And I'm learning to love the Airbus, because I know will love it after SP. And for example, is here the main differences between companies. The quick and the way they are in the market, becuse they want to improve the product. They want to make it as good as itr can be, and with the technologies they know. For what I've seen, of course I will buy Airliner XP too, because I already trust them!!! Because of the people involved.Of course I wouldn't comment PMDG or LVLD. They are the best airplanes period. Hands down! And PMDG support is one of the standards. Feelthere is there too, for me at least.So in the end......... we learn. And shouldn't trust in everything we see. As it is in every business, what we see in product pages, features, advertising and so on, are pure marketing!!! Like a cleanning product: you see on television that each everyone are fantastic! Do incredible things cleanning!!!! And we know that it's not like that! One is better than other. And sometimes we buy both to prove it! And here is the same. Some scenery are better than others. And we learn to know wich one.In life as a costumer, we need to accept that we risk our money on our buys. Is pure and simple. When you buy a MP3 player, wich one are you going to buy with about 100 models available? Pure luck perhaps!!CheersMiguel

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Good points. As the number of choices of a particular product increases so does the number of dissatisfied customers. This is because the customer can now compare products and make decissions based on their particular tastes, not by just what is available. If there was just one B-757 to choose from, most of us would love it. That's because we have no other one to compare it to. But since there are now a number of them on the market, we are all finding something wrong with each and everyone of them because it doesn't meet our tastes. It is impossible for a developer to please everybody. There is always going to be someone that's not going to feel that their tastes have been fullfilled. John M

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Some payware is excellent, some is garbage. Same with everything. What's getting to me is the cumulative cost of all this. I was looking at the Aerosoft sceneries at their site, and though they look very nice indeed, once you add up the cost, it's bordering on lunacy.Just to buy all the Germany scenery at Aerosoft is going to run you several hundred dollars. Yes, it looks like nice stuff, but that's serious money. Those of us who have already shelled out for the FS9 Magic Bullet (GE + FE + UT + mesh, not to mention AS6.5) spent perhaps two hundred dollars or more. Now add a stable of good quality planes and you're up another hundred or two. Kick in that sweet looking Germany scenery and we're up to over $800. And there's more. The FZ scenery is great, I have it, so there's another $75 for the set. Might want the new A320 and that's another $50 at least. Over a short period, we of the credit card set are spending a huge amount of money. I think sometimes we're being played like a deck of cards. We need to be smart consumers and voice our opinions loudly and clearly when we pay super-premium prices and get mid-level quality and lousy service. There's a huge amount of payware out there and much of it is just plain overpriced. High time we sort out the wheat from the chaff and hold the developers to a higher standard.Sorry to bring up the recent Wilco A320 disaster, but they got everything they deserved. Those of us plunking down $500 to $1000 and more on add-ons have every right to complain when our credit cards are debited with an efficiency unmatched by product delivery or quality.As I said before, we need a union. A common voice to speak up on the buyer's behalf. If each of us is spending at least several hundred dollars, and there are hundreds if not thousands of us, then we represent serious money - the only money - to an industry (and it is an industry) that needs us more more than we need them.FS9 add-on prices are simply too high."Flightsim Buyers Guild - Local 747."

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I always wonder how a company can release a product with 7 for FPS frame rates? I work for a big power utility and it is impossible to make changes. At 5 FPS for an addon, you would think that the product would not be released. I don't know.JimCYWG

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I thought the base pack of the CS757 had a VC?I have the PSS 757- Brilliant, and includes everything I want -TCAS and WXR.I thought the Ariane was ultra detailed and ultra realistic? You need a high powered system for it?

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Any reason you are replying to a thread that died out over a year ago?Slow days in the forums, I guess....John

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I firmly believe a 30-day (or something similar) trial of all products would be brilliant.It worked for Just Flight's flying club release, and let me know how my system wouldn't run it as well as I thought.

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