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Guest PPSFA

One Plane, Is It Too Much To Ask For?

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I dont know about the rest of you, but I am about fed up with buying planes and being a unpaid beta tester. (Change that to "paying to beta test")Once, just ONCE, I'd love to see a plane that WORKS in FSX, bug free. And by 'work', I mean work in multiplayer as well as offline. I am well aware of the difficulties in producing a software product, and the associated problems and processes, but damn, after 2 years+ with FSX as well as a year with SP2, I'm sure someone out there can actually produce a plane that works! How about it developers, any takers? You build it and I'll be your first customer, no matter what the price! I'll even buy copies for my friends!Rant over.

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I dont know about the rest of you, but I am about fed up with buying planes and being a unpaid beta tester.Once, just ONCE, I'd love to see a plane that WORKS in FSX, bug free. And by 'work', I mean work in multiplayer as well as offline. I am well aware of the difficulties in producing a software product, and the associated problems and processes, but damn, after 2 years+ with FSX as well as a year with SP2, I'm sure someone out there can actually produce a plane that works! How about it developers, any takers? You build it and I'll be your first customer, no matter what the price! I'll even buy copies for my friends!Rant over.
This has been brought up many a time. There is an infinite amount of computer, hardware and software configurations out here. If we all decide to run clones then the problem should disappear. As for myself I don't consider myself an unpaid beta tester. And as for buying the planes it's not like anybody is twisting my arm to do so. Some things work out of the box and some don't. Thats life. And Im sure this thread will get approach vectors to another forum. :( Just my 2 cents worth.

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I agree. There are just way to many variables between, XP 32bit/64bit, Vista 32bit/64bit, Windows SP updates. hardware, drivers, etc. So many combo's that there is no way any one dev is going to be able to beta every combo. I have been lucky. I run XP SP3, and pretty common hardare and drivers. I have the LDS 767, Aerosoft F-16, RealAir SF-260, Neimeth CH-53 and they have all worked fine for me with no problems. Unless we all ran the exact computer set up there will always be anomalies. From what I have read thru the last 5 years of posts with problems, it seems that most of the problems are not because of the developer, but the end user has something set up wrong, or has issues with his OS or sim that he/she is unaware of. Once those things are fixed, addons work like they should, not to say that something is wrong with your stuff, but this is often the case. Especially when there is only a hand full of people complaining about a problem that no one else has, on a product that is owned by hundreds or thousands of people.

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I agree. There are just way to many variables between, XP 32bit/64bit, Vista 32bit/64bit, Windows SP updates. hardware, drivers, etc. So many combo's that there is no way any one dev is going to be able to beta every combo. I have been lucky. I run XP SP3, and pretty common hardare and drivers. I have the LDS 767, Aerosoft F-16, RealAir SF-260, Neimeth CH-53 and they have all worked fine for me with no problems. Unless we all ran the exact computer set up there will always be anomalies. From what I have read thru the last 5 years of posts with problems, it seems that most of the problems are not because of the developer, but the end user has something set up wrong, or has issues with his OS or sim that he/she is unaware of. Once those things are fixed, addons work like they should, not to say that something is wrong with your stuff, but this is often the case. Especially when there is only a hand full of people complaining about a problem that no one else has, on a product that is owned by hundreds or thousands of people.
Have you tried to taxi the Aerosoft F-16 at night with no airport lights and no moon? I would call the lack of a landing light that illuminates the ground a case of releasing an obvious bug, or worse, a defect they allowed to get by. I thought I was safe with Aerosoft, but after that experience I will wait for a long time before I purchase a new plane from anyone. I can also see, after that, the point the OP (PPSFA) is making.

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Jay,I've been part of the beta team for a number of MSFS projects for several different developers, most recently the Flight1 Mustang. I also beta test software at work. I've never been paid for my services as a tester, and even at work, the testing I do is provided as a courtesy to the developer and to the community. True, I've usually gotten free copies of the flight sim software I've tested, but I've more than earned those -- if you want to say I was paid, then okay, I'll grant you that, but the Aeroworx B200 retails for less than I get paid for an hour of my time at work, and I stopped counting at 70 hours of testing for that project. I've put nearly four times that into the Mustang, if you count preflight prep times and time spent reading the manuals.I do understand your frustration, though. More than once, I've bought an add-on plane and been disappointed by the problems with it. Not that I'm rushing to the general defense of such developers, but I've recently come to the realization that problem-riddled software comes from developers who don't deal well with the flight simming community's pressure for each add-on's release. There are numerous examples of add-ons which were less-than-successfully "ported over" from FS9 to FSX, entirely because FS9 was so richly developed and the more progressive members of the flight sim community insisted on having their favorites in FSX sooner, rather than later. Believe me when I say that many developers are at least as frustrated as you are.I am not a "shared cockpit" guy, so that's one source of your frustration I don't directly share. I suspect that the multiplayer community is a small-ish subset of the flight sim community at large, and that may be the reason developers have not put much effort into multiplayer-ready products. You're really on the frontier with shared cockpit. Given the ever-increasing demand for "as real as it gets" complexity (which drives more and more developers to create ways to work outside the sim to achieve things not possible within the native FSX code), it simply isn't worth the return on investment to expend the additional effort necessary to ensure the product works flawlessly in MP. Put another way, if it takes a single developer an extra month of working full time to ensure the product works in MP, recouping the cost of that additional month of development time requires an additional two or three hundred copies sold. A complex add-on will most likely have a team of four or six or even a dozen developers, so you do the math. Flight simming, like real aviation, is about finding balance. That's also true of flight sim developing; every goal achieved must be weighed against the cost. All of that said, if you'd like to see things change, then roll up your sleeves and get to work. Since very few developers post open calls for beta testers, you'll need to get their attention and respect another way. Choose an aircraft that you really like, one that's already been released or that has recently been announced, and learn everything you can about it. Doesn't have to be much, just be able to write intelligently about its capabilities and limitations, and how it's operated in the real world. Then, wthout being critical of the developer or his products, politely start correctly answering questions in the developer's forum. Why? Because a guy like that is worth his weight in gold for a developer. You're not only providing a service to him by assisting with product support, but you're helping keep his customers happy. Do that well, and it probably won't be long before you get an e-mail with a blank Non-Disclosure Agreement attached.Frankly, I hope you do get your foot in the door with a reputable developer -- multiplayer/shared cockpit is an interesting new development in flight simming, and pushing into new areas will keep the hobby alive. Might not happen over night, but eventually, maybe. Look how far we've come since FS98.

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I see some very good replies to Jay's post here. I agree with Kurt...if you were to get involved in the 'process' I think you would come away with a different view.

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It seems I need to add a bit more detail to my original post. I am a beta tester for quite a few different add-ons for FS, both FS and FSX, so I have a bit of experience. That surly doesn't make me any kind of an expert, but it does give me insight into the processes involved in getting a product to market.I also am a manager of an online massive multiplayer game, another 'flight game', and as such I am involved in every release and update we make, from conception through to release. This is just background so you don't think I'm just some disgruntled yahoo with a gripe.When I can take a default plane and fly it without problems, with great FPS, and with a co-pilot sitting next to me, yet after 2 years every single add-on plane has some kind of issue, then there is something fundamentally wrong somewhere, and it's not my machine, operating system, or imagination. Especially when everyone else I fly with has the same problems with the same planes.I try to support every add-on plane developer I can, I have spent literally 1000's of dollars on this 'hobby', as many have. Actually I should say every one of them that doesn't have an 'attitude', and we all know who those are. I even have a few planes from them, but I buy them with the expectation that I will get 0 support so I'm on my own, win or lose.I knew this post would get some 'flak' when I sent it, I'm just tired of seeing mediocre products being released and being labeled as 'completed' products, when the developers know full well their product is unfinished, and are relying on paying customers to find their 'bugs' for them. In short, its not my system, operating system, FSX setup, or any other issue on my end, it's simply 'buggie' software and I'm getting real tired of it. If others are satisfied with the quality of the products offered, that

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I think part of the issue for the Developers would be the fact that we're working with some buggy tools to start with :(

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Jay,My reply certainly wasn't intended to be "flak". What stands out for me in your original post is your definition of "works in FSX". Since other replies spoke very eloquently to the issues regarding the unpredictability of individual computer differences, I responded to the issue of MP compatibility.One poster on the Mustang forum remarked that shared cockpit is likely the "future of flight simming" and I'm not one to disagree. I think MP is analagous to the virtual cockpit, which took some years to be really "ready for prime time". Early VCs were gimmicky, at best -- flat, featureless, barely functional affairs. It's taken years of growing appreciation by hobbyists to develop the kind of market pressure that gives us the stellar virtual cockpits that come with top end add-on aircraft today. As I said before, your particular interest in multiplayer puts you on the frontier of flight simming, which means you're either going to have to wait for the market to produce the things you want or work to facilitate the changes you'd like to see. It sounds as though you're doing the latter, and you're to be commended for that.

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When I can take a default plane and fly it without problems, with great FPS,
Sorry but this is a complete joke and you claim to be a beta tester? Default planes with "no problem", of course, they are so primitive and utterly simplistic in their simulation that where you find them to be "without" problem I find them useless for my flying. :(

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Sorry but this is a complete joke and you claim to be a beta tester? Default planes with "no problem", of course, they are so primitive and utterly simplistic in their simulation that where you find them to be "without" problem I find them useless for my flying. :(
Michael, I see you are excellant at posting, so exactly how much experiance do you have with 'real' planes, since it appears from your post you must have something to compare FSX planes to? Just curious since I am a 'real world' commercial pilot with multi and instrument ratings and have been since 1971, and I find some of the defaults very well done, especially for a $60 price tag.Oh, and I don't 'claim' to be anything, but I do appreciate your deep insight's into the world of flight.

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Have you tried to taxi the Aerosoft F-16 at night with no airport lights and no moon? I would call the lack of a landing light that illuminates the ground a case of releasing an obvious bug, or worse, a defect they allowed to get by. I thought I was safe with Aerosoft, but after that experience I will wait for a long time before I purchase a new plane from anyone. I can also see, after that, the point the OP (PPSFA) is making.
A36, to be fair to the makers of the F-16, it wasn't a bug or omission but was almost certainly a choice they had to make between having the collimated hud effect or a landing light. The method they used for obscuring the HUD when your view is outside the range of the glass would unfortunately conflict with any alpha/light effects on the plane and look utterly horrendous. It's an FSX engine limitation and there are really no effective alternatives.Jay, I agree with your statements regarding multiplayer support, but I don't really want to say much more than that about it because the last time I brought it up here I got properly pummeled for it. :( I will say that you're not alone in your wishes though, and something is in the works that you may like.However, regarding bugs I do have to agree that the infinite combination of hardware and OS configurations is a very real and almost insurmountable problem, and no aircraft developer has anywhere near the testing resources of ACES/MS or any other full size software corporation. I don't normally judge a developer by how 'perfect' their initial release is, but rather on performance, MP compatibility, and how they handle the inevitable bugs that will be found. I know personally how *incredibly* difficult it is to make an aircraft for FSX from scratch, and honestly some days I'm surprised that anyone has the patience for it at all, so minor bugs for me are pretty well expected, and if they get fixed then all is well. The unfortunate reality is that the demands for detail and functionality, and the associated standards for them, keep going up in a vicious circle, but the tools don't improve much and time is a constant. Unfortunately something's gotta give I guess.EMB120, I agree that multiplayer (especially shared cockpit) is absolutely the new frontier and is the facet of flight simulation with by far the most growth potential, but that unfortunately it will take some time for its importance to really be made clear. As you said, it took several versions of FS for VCs to really come into their own, and multiplayer only really got properly started (aka easy) in FSX. I'm just as frustrated as Jay though and I say this with utter sincerity: "Wagons west already!" :( -mike

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and I find some of the defaults very well done, especially for a $60 price tag.
I probably have less time than you, I can't brag to be commercial or multi but I would think that anyone with your credentials should have no problem noticing huge gap (I mean the Grand Canyon gap) between default airplanes and some higher end products. For starter, even what you have directly in front of you - say default 747's PFD/MFD/MCP - is a "Disneyland" replica of the real thing. And if I were commercial/multi I would have even less reason to insist on "multiplayer" but .. oh, well.. it may be just me...Surely your ax should always give you less trouble than your repeatable rifle. :(

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"I will say that you're not alone in your wishes though, and something is in the works that you may like."You certainly have my attention now! :( Btw, I'm not talking about strickly problems with MP and the planes, a lot of them have 'issues' even in single player. My gripe about MP far exceeds just the obvious problems, that goes directly to developers who flat out say MP isnt worth their time. Obviously they are missing the opportunity to lead, and take they easy way out.I was not going to mention any names due to obvious reasons, but one I have to mention, because they are doing things right in my humble opinion, and that is EagleSoft. They get a BIG SALUTE from me, and no, I have no affifiation with them other than being a customer.MichaelI have never flown a 'real' 747 and never will. What I have done however, is to take the available default planes, and teach numerous people the wonders of flight, from basic instruction to advanced manuvers. The systems and performance of the default planes work very well and for the most part replicate their real life counterparts. I am not talking about the jets, as I have 0 experiance to actually compare them to.

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The systems and performance of the default planes work very well and for the most part replicate their real life counterparts. I am not talking about the jets, as I have 0 experiance to actually compare them to.
We are clearly in disagreement here. I actually have significant amount of time on the bread-and-butter real life 172 and can't stand its FS replica - from the looks of the panel to how it flies. I would grab instead Flight1's 172 which is a wonderfully done simulation and quite affordable by the way, not sure if it comes with multiplayer though.

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