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Guest JoeInCT

AVSIM Support of FS

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Though this may be a little naive on my part, it seems to me that it may not be too late to do something effective about Microsoft's decision on FS. The good folks at AVSIM have been focused on enhancing our FS experience through this website (forums, the add-on file database, and user conventions) etc. Perhaps they might be willing to take on another role. One more similar in nature to AOPA in which they act as lobbyist. It seems to me the existence of our hobby is at stake and we need to pull out all the stops.I can think of 3 immediate things that should be immediately done:1) AVSIM should generate some press releases and grant interviews to the various PC & gaming publications criticizing the decision -- thereby galvanizing public support in attempt to get Microsoft to reconsider their decision.2) Set up (or attempt to set up) a meeting with Microsoft management to discuss the matter. Fly to Redmond (for real, not simulated) to have a face-to-face meeting.3) Ask everyone on AVSIM to donate a few dollars to go toward a billboard in Redmond (one that presumably would be seen by MS management on their drive in). We could follow up with a newspaper advertisement as well (or as an alternative if no suitable billboard is available).Billboards are generally around $5,000 for a week (or a few days etc). If 500 of us paid $10, we can send a message to Redmond. We can follow up with a newspaper ad and be relentless in trying to set up a meeting.While I am not naive enough to think they would rehire everyone from ACES, an effort from the sim community could get the product back on the radar at Microsoft (no pun intended) or at least get them thinking they misjudged our response and in turn, the importance of this product. With various upcoming hardware developments (multicore, GPUs etc), it is important they understand the significance of the current platform as well. This talk of a "live version" is insane. This sort of "grass roots" stuff occasionally works when a television network cancels a well liked television show etc.Would Tom and the rest of AVSIM folks be willing to do this? Can an online "store" be set up to accept the credit card transactions for the advertising expenses?What would our billboard say? Any ideas? Is anyone else willing to contribute?Joseph W. Szarmach Jr.

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+1although i am sceptical as to how effective this would be, i am willing to donate to a fund put towards raising awareness within the industry at how disappointed we are at MS decision to close ACES.i think its worth a few quid/dollars from most of us, if anyone is prepared to put in the time/effort to carry this forward

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Yes, I think it may be time AVSIM and some of the other 3rd parties chimed in.It may also be time for interested parties to weigh in on the possibilities of an open source flight sim (I know there is Flight Gear) but one that offers a degree of FS compatibity as well as potential for hook up with the likes of Google Earth. If not compatibility, perhaps a set of conversion utilities.Googles Sketchup or something better if available (Blender? - the user interface needs work!) perhaps can be made a standard 3d CAD program for the new sim with of course the appropriate plugins and utilities.Where are all the ACES guys? Perhaps they can offer some opinions without compromising their legal bindings with MS.Just a thought. OK, a few anyway! :(

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Though this may be a little naive on my part, it seems to me that it may not be too late to do something... This talk of a "live version" is insane. Joseph W. Szarmach Jr.
Sorry to disagree with you, Joseph; I've been in IT since inception of the MS simulator, and Microsoft's new direction - under Mr Ozzie - will not get changed. Once an announcement of this magnitude has been made - it's pretty much irrevocable. The company - rightly or wrongly - appears quite firmly committed to cloud technology. Our efforts would be akin to deflecting the Titanic while sitting in a rowboat, and pushing it's bow with a ten-foot pole. http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/16-12/ff_ozzieThe stand-alone application on the desktop is obsolescent right now. We have many, many full-blown first-person shooter games online which use client-server technology: most - if not all - major ERP systems are client-server based: Many email systems are client-based. Many sim guys already run Radar Contact, ActiveSky, WideView, etc., on second, third and fourth linked pc's.. those pc's could be next door, or in the next state..We don't rely on 56k modems and we don't run 10 meg - or even 100 meg LAN's anymore. The bandwidth available to the average household is often a meg or better - with national fibre backbones that offer the ability to talk to a remote server, disk or otherwise, as if it were your own desktop.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OC-3#OC-3 Like it or lump it - two or three years from now we're going to have a small FS client on our desktops which will provide the interface to a much larger server - or servers, spread globally and servicing multiple areas (rather than the whole world in on shot) where our personal hangar is, at the airfield of our choice, with an addon aircraft of our choice, for the princely sum of $10 a year. That client will have the ability to stand alone, but Flight Simulator it will be primarily a client-server application. I cannot predict the what the weather or ATC will look like, or how the third-party devs will interface, but there most certainly will be addons just as there are now... Oh, yes, I almost forgot - Vista won't be around. :(

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The local bus is not even fast enough for the bits required to render the frames in FS. About the only thing you can put out on the net in the case of FS will be the scenery, for which MS could theoretically charge (like the maps in Halo etc).Regardless, I totally disagree that face-to-face pressure from representatives from the sim community, namely the heads of AVSIM, would not have an impact. Further, the thought of doing NOTHING and letting MSFS development basically languish for an undertermined amount of time is unthinkable. It would be nice to see some activism by the community, lead by the AVSIM folks. AOPA is out in force if there is even a simple proposed rule change. In our case, we are talking about the complete (potential) demise of home flight simulation. This is a big deal and we need to act.YES WE CANTom, how about a response? Do you have a contact at Microsoft (who hasn't been fired)? Are they willing to meet?

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Though this may be a little naive on my part, it seems to me that it may not be too late to do something effective about Microsoft's decision on FS. The good folks at AVSIM have been focused on enhancing our FS experience through this website (forums, the add-on file database, and user conventions) etc. Perhaps they might be willing to take on another role. One more similar in nature to AOPA in which they act as lobbyist. It seems to me the existence of our hobby is at stake and we need to pull out all the stops.I can think of 3 immediate things that should be immediately done:1) AVSIM should generate some press releases and grant interviews to the various PC & gaming publications criticizing the decision -- thereby galvanizing public support in attempt to get Microsoft to reconsider their decision.2) Set up (or attempt to set up) a meeting with Microsoft management to discuss the matter. Fly to Redmond (for real, not simulated) to have a face-to-face meeting.3) Ask everyone on AVSIM to donate a few dollars to go toward a billboard in Redmond (one that presumably would be seen by MS management on their drive in). We could follow up with a newspaper advertisement as well (or as an alternative if no suitable billboard is available).Billboards are generally around $5,000 for a week (or a few days etc). If 500 of us paid $10, we can send a message to Redmond. We can follow up with a newspaper ad and be relentless in trying to set up a meeting.While I am not naive enough to think they would rehire everyone from ACES, an effort from the sim community could get the product back on the radar at Microsoft (no pun intended) or at least get them thinking they misjudged our response and in turn, the importance of this product. With various upcoming hardware developments (multicore, GPUs etc), it is important they understand the significance of the current platform as well. This talk of a "live version" is insane. This sort of "grass roots" stuff occasionally works when a television network cancels a well liked television show etc.Would Tom and the rest of AVSIM folks be willing to do this? Can an online "store" be set up to accept the credit card transactions for the advertising expenses?What would our billboard say? Any ideas? Is anyone else willing to contribute?Joseph W. Szarmach Jr.
Maybe we should promise Microsoft that we'd all buy FS11 and put US$50 into an escrow fund to prove our seriousness.How much it would raise and how many months would that would pay to keep ACES in business?

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I have been following the develpoments around the closure of ACES, and to be honest I'm kinda dumbstruck by the reaction of the comunity.while MSFS has been fun over the years, it sill has many flaws, expecially in the resources department, remember, it took hardware about 4 years to catch up with FS9, 4 years! and it still has the occasional CTD or OOM isuess, on hardware that nobody even thought possible when FS9 was developped! I think this is a good time to reflect, as a community, on what we really want with the FS franchise. do we really want to keep upgrading our systems for 1000's of dollars every year, just to gain a small increase in FPS on the latest FS? do we really want to spend hundreds of dollar on every FS version just to get it to look, function, feel like it should?or do we we want a sim that:-Performs and looks well, on a wide range of systems-makes effecient use of system and GPU memory, instead of just swallowing all memory untill there is none left.-Is stable in all regimes of flight.-is customizable, but also has enough under the hood to keep even the more serious simmers happy-Has an ATC system that is at least convincing-smarter AI-A convincing flight model, whithout the need for all kind of tricks to get it to feel right.-A realistic weather engine, and dito graphics (it is inexcusable that visability isn't reduced while flying through clouds in FS9 and X) etcOr do we want to steer the old course, and keep tweeking, upgrading, cursing untill the end?Now is the right moment to have our voices heard (sp?), either by another company (ubi Soft has quite a few sollid simulators), ot to bundlle all the talent we have in this comunitty and start for ourself.Back in 1999 when I got my first flightsim (Fly!), there where still quite a few option, MSFS 98, Fly! and Pro Pilot and maybe some others.Nowdays it's all MSFS, I switched to FS2000 because of the amount of add-on Aircraft, and that has actually been the only reason to remain an MSFS pilot, nothing more nothing less... -Sanderbtw, I do feel sorry for the people at ACES who lost their jobs this week, that is never a good thing.

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It may also be time for interested parties to weigh in on the possibilities of an open source flight sim (I know there is Flight Gear) but one that offers a degree of FS compatibity as well as potential for hook up with the likes of Google Earth. If not compatibility, perhaps a set of conversion utilities.
I'm very interested in the idea of an open source flight sim. Since the demise of ACES I've been thinking that the most frustrating part of the whole thing is that the MSFS source code is now sitting there under lock and key with nobody working on it, and nobody outside of Microsoft could pick up the project even if they wanted to. This couldn't happen with open source.Flight Gear is impressive as far as it goes, but it strikes me it has a very long way to go before anyone would be persuaded to switch from FSX.I think the main difficulty with such a project is not so much programming but content. Flight Gear seems to me to be the result of some very dedicated and capable programmers, but with a dearth of capable graphic designers, UI designers and aviation experts to help them turn a functional simulator into something that is easy to use, looks great and gives a really convincing impression of being in a plane.With the Microsoft simulators this hasn't been a problem because a. the ACES team had plenty of resource in all the required disciplines, and b. there are a wealth of third party developers who concentrate on certain specialist areas (e.g. highly detailed planes or great looking clouds) to complete the picture for those of us keen enough to fork out the extra cash.For an open source flight sim to be successful, I think it would have to be developed and licensed in such a way that while the core components (graphics and terrain engine, basic flight dynamics engine etc.) are free and open source, commercial developers could still develop quality payware add-ons as they do now. (I don't think this would be possible with Flight Gear as it is GPLed, but I could be wrong).Of course these developers could, and probably would, contribute to the core components as well; in many cases this would make their lives easier as they wouldn't have to constantly work around limited interfaces over which they have no control. This is kind of similar to the Linux model; the core of it is open source but plenty of companies develop commercial software that runs on it, and some of those companies also contribute to the kernel, either to make their products work better on it or to make it generally more attractive to their customers.There is definitely a chicken and egg situation here though; MSFS had to become extremely popular before third party developers could hope to run a sustainable business; it would be the same with this.So, anyone got any ideas on where to start? :(Colin

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I think the main difficulty with such a project is not so much programming but content. Flight Gear seems to me to be the result of some very dedicated and capable programmers, but with a dearth of capable graphic designers, UI designers and aviation experts to help them turn a functional simulator into something that is easy to use, looks great and gives a really convincing impression of being in a plane...................For an open source flight sim to be successful, I think it would have to be developed and licensed in such a way that while the core components (graphics and terrain engine, basic flight dynamics engine etc.) are free and open source, commercial developers could still develop quality payware add-ons as they do now. (I don't think this would be possible with Flight Gear as it is GPLed, but I could be wrong)...................Colin
Content will come if the means/tools are developed and offered as part of the open source code or as full applications. e.g. Google Sketchup. I realize its not quite as simple as that being an experienced amateur and code challenged flight simmer since it was born.Some of the main components are:1. Flight model engine2. Graphics engine3. Terrain model4. Artwork/Graphics4. Weather engine?5. Tools to allow the development of above as applicableNo small task for sure. But many of these are already available as stanalone apps/code? Any chance a pre-packaged game engine can be adopted?Would love to hear what Bruce Artwick would have to say - it's a shame not too many people voicing opinions!

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Tom, how about a response? Do you have a contact at Microsoft (who hasn't been fired)? Are they willing to meet?
The ACES layoffs took place on Thursday, a week ago. On that following Saturday, I jumped on an airplane to Germany. I am now in Paris with a full schedule and on to London tomorrow, where I had planned to get together with, among others, Alex Ford of JustFlight to discuss these issues. My schedule has blown that intention apart. When I get back to the U.S. late next week, the AVSIM Board will hold a meeting and discuss our role and what we can bring, if anything, to the equation. Sorry for the stall, but real life job is taking priority at the moment.For all those that are communicating with me (or trying to) via email, my apologies... I am full out and will catch up with your email this weekend from London. Thanks for the patience!

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The ACES layoffs took place on Thursday, a week ago. On that following Saturday, I jumped on an airplane to Germany. I am now in Paris with a full schedule and on to London tomorrow, where I had planned to get together with, among others, Alex Ford of JustFlight to discuss these issues. My schedule has blown that intention apart. When I get back to the U.S. late next week, the AVSIM Board will hold a meeting and discuss our role and what we can bring, if anything, to the equation. Sorry for the stall, but real life job is taking priority at the moment.For all those that are communicating with me (or trying to) via email, my apologies... I am full out and will catch up with your email this weekend from London. Thanks for the patience!
Ah ha! That explains it. Wondered why we hadn't heard more from Tom. Hopefully the AVSIM board can pull together and come up with an action plan. I recommend combining forces with AOPA. MSFS has been instrumental in real-world flight training, both in terms of encouraging young folks to go into aviation and by allowing RW pilots to practice instrument procedures etc. Between the AVSIM board and AOPA, perhaps a solution can be found.In addition to trying to talk to Microsoft, I would visit the folks at Google, as well as considering an open source alternative as well. With all the great up and coming PC hardware (especially multicore CPUs and improved GPUs), it is CRITICAL that development maintain a track similar to the ACES (planned) version. Anything less would be a HUGE setback for this hobby. My fear is if we leave it to Microsoft, we will end up with some stripped down future version, perhaps even an XBOX version -- which in my mind would be a horrible thing.If you need any help, please let me know. I have the means and willingness to travel to meetings, make calls, write letters etc.Joseph W. Szarmach Jr.

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