Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

pluff

The Future of Microsoft Flight Simulator

Recommended Posts

I am very concerned about the future of Microsoft Flight Simulator. A recent and relevant editorial in Flying eNewsletter, 'Microsoft Flight Sim Down in Flames? by Robert Goyer' (link:http://blogs.flyingmag.com/left_seat/2009/01/microsoft-flight-sim-down-in-flames.html) has prompted me to express my concerns and propose that AVSIM consider taking a proactive role in preserving the future of FS2004/FSX. I am by the way one of those flight sim enthusiasts who migrated to flying for real at a later age when time and money permitted. I now simulate all my IFR trips with FSX/FS2004 before I go and it always, always adds value to my flights. There is at present an extremely active and vibrant flight sim community which has grown up with the evolution of Microsoft's flight simulator product line. This has been actively encouraged by Microsoft who has provided among other things multiplayer networking, third party development tools and very responsive website support for end users and developers alike. The enormous success of Microsoft's strategy can be seen in the substantial support forum that AVSIM provides; the global online flying networks such as VATSIM and IVAO; the vast array of third party commercial and freeware developers producing extremely high quality aircraft, avionics systems, scenery, flight planning tools, weather engines, performance enhancing software, voice recognition ATC software and on and on; the very rapidly growing hardware based cockpit and flight controls segment; the requirement for ever more powerful computing platforms to match the FSX product is driving the graphics card developers to delivering much better products and presumably higher sales numbers; and on and on. (I sometimes get the feeling that the whole of Australia is successfully employed in evolving the flight sim market!). I have not done the math but I believe that the flight sim market must now represent a very considerable investment in people and resources.For Microsoft to rip out the heart of this business, which it created with its third party strategy, without any word or warning seems to me to be a rather tough call. So, what can we do about it? I suggest that AVSIM take a lead role here and reorganise FANCON 09 sessions to include a structured review and discussion of strategies to preserve the flight sim business in which we all have a stake either as users or providers. The reviews should probably include:1. A current review of the size of the flight sim business that could be impacted by Microsoft's decision. They may not have realised how large the business has grown.2. If MSoft just abandoned us completely, how could we pick up the pieces and sustain a future.3. Are there ways we could persuade MSoft to sustain a minimum level of support eg maintain FSX compatibilty with future operating systems. ( I have by the way tried FS2004/FSX with Windows Beta 7 and it all seems to work very well at the basic level including SDK tools. I urge the flight sim community to organise and beta test the heck out of FS2004/FSX/Windows 7 now while there is still time to get updates made to Windows 7, the beta testing finishes August 09)4. If MSoft must abandon FSX can they attempt to license the platform to a third party developer to continue its evolution? 5. Can we develop a convincing argument to persuade MSoft to stay in the flight sim business? Thewre are likely many other approaches/angles which I have not thought about but I imagine that the AVSIM team are very well equipped to organise sessions to produce some forward looking strategies.Peter Luff.

Share this post


Link to post
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Since "Black Friday" a couple of weeks back, I've been reading a lot about our hobby's miniature apocalypse. But maybe this wringing of hands about the apparent death of FS lacks some perspective. I've been simming for almost 2 decades but I know:1) for the "rest" of the world FS is a toy;2) the fact that it can provide a really complicated and hair-raising experience doesn't make it any less of a toy 3) the fact I spend hours reading hundreds of pages of manuals so I can get my 737/767/747/Black Shark/Mig29/Falcon off the ground from "cold and dark" doesn't make me any less of a--harmelss--fool (and I still can't use realistic targeting in LOMAC to save my soul);4) as "real as it gets" is a big act of faith (we all know that in 10 years FS9/FSX will look really bad);5) the idea we're somehow beyond the money angle is ingenuous; how many of us are happily (if grumpily) caught in the software/hardware upgrade loop?6) seriously, I can spend $100's of dollars on lines of code that, on the right machine, looks like an airplane, and I'm a victim?7) in a world of continual high tech development that has given us Google Earth, NASA World Wind, and Second Life, there's a certain amount (a large amount?) of short sightedness that thinks packing nearly a100 gigs of landscape on a DVD is still a practical idea (how much LOD do you really want?), when the internet can hold terrabytes of such data;8) I love this hobby, but the fact we're all so proud of it, so proud to see MFS used as a benchmark on hardware tests, so happy to see it being used by newsmedia to re-enact real life events, so quick to claim that "Yeah, I could really fly a plane if I had to," shouldn't blind us to how intimately it's tied to the development of computing; but computing is quickly leaving (has left) the disc drive behind and jumped down the rabbit-hole of broadband. The future of FS is not in the machines on our desks, but out in cyperspace. There's a vast generation of new computer users who would ask us why we don't get it.I sit squarely in middle age; I teach English; I've always loved airplanes. FS helps, but it's only a means to an end. Bring on the future.

Share this post


Link to post
4) as "real as it gets" is a big act of faith (we all know that in 10 years FS9/FSX will look really bad);
Flightsim has only been an "engine" for me. Everything har been changed, textures, atc, ai aircrafts, skys, water, aircrafts and more. If the 3rd party developers continues creating add ons, FS9/FSX could have a lot more years to live. What could a new FS give us anyway? Not a detailed realistic flightsim, maybe some new eyecandy, but it is the add ons which make the sim what it is for me.BrSteen

Share this post


Link to post

Hypercide. You are talking cold hard sense. I agree with your vision of the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Perhaps NOT much we can do, but at least we can play our role to save the FS, so please help for all of us...http://www.supportflightsim.com/
286 signatures to date. That really will impress Microsoft!

Share this post


Link to post
286 signatures to date. That really will impress Microsoft!
yes... the more the better!

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks, Tingoose.I don't really think we should be wasting our time getting together signatures. As I wrote earlier, this is not a catastrophe, by any means; its the unfortunate consequence of market forces. Broadband and wireless move dollars as rapidly as they move data; I'm sure the bean counters at Microsoft have watched how rapidly their platform morphs once it hits the market and have been figuring out a way to harness that dynamic of development. Technology=money=more technology=more money: that's the wave we ride in 2009. I've got two sons with a shared xbox account; they're the future. As I said earlier, it isn't a really big leap to suggest you run FS and Train Simulator on the same "datascape" that you access through a paid account. (Really, why would you use TileProxy, if you could fly over a deep LOD version of Google Earth?).Here's the future: It's Winter 2010 (a cool number for marketers); my cutting edge computer runs at double digit GIGS, my video card is only slightly slower; I've got several terrabytes of RAM in my flash technology harddrive; my broadband connection is double what it is today (which is about 5Mps); I've just spent $100 to buy a Carenado C172 that has so much detail, I can watch the calipers on the disc brakes engage and disengage (I'm going to buy the PMDG 737 NGX, but they're promising that for Spring 2011, every wire in the cockpit responds realistically to gravitaional forces (like that little trick with Aerosoft's Bush XP, but better)); FSX+1 is a plugin for Internet Explorer; I subscribe to the plugin for $100 a year (because I need to "fly"); Microsoft Google Earth is a platform for all kinds of games relying on a simulated world environment; I take off into a "world" where every kind of vehicle imaginable populates the water, the roads, the rails, and the air; and this goes on. I use my FSX discs for coasters, and I don't look back.I have a good imagination, and I've read Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. His vision of the internet is almost here. The death of FS as we have known it is one of the last stops before we get there.

Share this post


Link to post