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Copperleaf

Disappointment with current add on aircraft for FSX/Vista

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Hello everybody.I have been a flight simmer for many, many years or as my wife would put it, for ever. I have had to take early retirement due to ill health and was looking forward to spending more time enjoying my hobby. Now for my "grumpy old man" rant . I have to make a protest as what I see is very poor quality software now being offered as add ons for FSX running on a Vista platform. Since installing FSX, I have purchased three aircraft:- Level D 767. This suffers from problems with engine starting and loading FMS info.Flight 1 ATR. This suffers from many problems, and in my opinion is frankly a load of bug ridden rubbish. I can't even delete it from my hard drive using the Vista unistaller! PIC 737. This suffers from problems loading flightplans and other minor problems. In some cases I have managed to devise a workaround for these problems, but in my opinion these problems should not have been there in the first place. When I started this hobby, most of the aircraft I used were freeware downloads. When something is free, I am quite happy to contribute to the debugging of the software, but when I pay real money for a product I expect it work as advertised. None of the manufacturer's websites have a disclaimer saying that certain features of the aircraft may not work if run on a Vista platform!On the same computer I use Half Life and Call of Duty. My wife and daughters use various Sims and The Settlers. All of these programmes are quite complex and are comparable in price to the above aircraft and work faultlessly. If these manufacturers can do it why cannot the above companies do the same?Is it just my perception, or are these manufacturers rushing out FSX versions of an existing product before testing is complete. Once they have sold the product to us, interest in product support wanes as they do not want to erode profits by spending time resolving problems.What do you guys think?By the way, good luck, Bob. I wil be thinking about you.Regards to all,Chris HallBournemouth, England.

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The fact is modeling a plane is a little more complex then getting people to walk around a street, most of the latest fsx addons have taken months to develop, and getting the flight dynamics correct can take a lot of time and fiddling, the fms is a very complex piece of gear and is generally different for each plane so even the hrs in that would be huge. on the flip side the pic 737 is a fs9 import although it works fairly well but i have xp so not such a problem. I generally fly GA planes and if you want a couple of good ones the aerosft / digital aviation cheyyene is brilliant though they are still trying to get the gps perfect, teh aerosft beaver or twin otter are great models VC only, the flight 1 pc12 is also good if you like complex modern aviaonics but i dont fly it much because i prefer tthe older instruments. too much button pushing. As for complaining about the planes, i dont write software, although i work on a lot of modern gear and get to see the complexities in writng modern software, simply put if they dont sell planes they wont make anymore and FSX will just die a orrible death, some of the manufactres are begining to manage to get around some of the limitations of fsx and producing some brilliant models, but untill they hit the streets and dumped on the millions of diferent harware, software combinations out there , they wont see all the bugs. Its still relaively eary days, best thing is to read previews before you by.

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For the sake of conversation, it seems to me like one of those apples/oranges comparisons to look at an FSX third-party add-on versus a large-scale production like Call of Duty or The Sims. Most 3rd party developers for FSX are just mon-n-pop operations, with the biggest getting to maybe a dozen employees. The Sims, on the other hand, has a multi-million dollar budget and has employed hundreds of people over the years. The money Electronics Arts spends on donuts alone would probably fund a 3rd party developer for an entire project. You can compare apples to oranges, if you try hard enough. It's easier to compare apples to apples. In that regard, there are definitely a wide range of values among 3rd party developers. I am not trying to defend the customer support practises of developers, or the consistency of their products, but I do think its important to see things from their perspective. Budgets are limited, and so is manpower. Jeff ShylukSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM

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Hello everybody.I have been a flight simmer for many, many years or as my wife would put it, for ever. I have had to take early retirement due to ill health and was looking forward to spending more time enjoying my hobby. Now for my "grumpy old man" rant . I have to make a protest as what I see is very poor quality software now being offered as add ons for FSX running on a Vista platform. Since installing FSX, I have purchased three aircraft:- Level D 767. This suffers from problems with engine starting and loading FMS info.Flight 1 ATR. This suffers from many problems, and in my opinion is frankly a load of bug ridden rubbish. I can't even delete it from my hard drive using the Vista unistaller! PIC 737. This suffers from problems loading flightplans and other minor problems. In some cases I have managed to devise a workaround for these problems, but in my opinion these problems should not have been there in the first place. When I started this hobby, most of the aircraft I used were freeware downloads. When something is free, I am quite happy to contribute to the debugging of the software, but when I pay real money for a product I expect it work as advertised. None of the manufacturer's websites have a disclaimer saying that certain features of the aircraft may not work if run on a Vista platform!On the same computer I use Half Life and Call of Duty. My wife and daughters use various Sims and The Settlers. All of these programmes are quite complex and are comparable in price to the above aircraft and work faultlessly. If these manufacturers can do it why cannot the above companies do the same? Is it just my perception, or are these manufacturers rushing out FSX versions of an existing product before testing is complete. Once they have sold the product to us, interest in product support wanes as they do not want to erode profits by spending time resolving problems. What do you guys think?By the way, good luck, Bob. I wil be thinking about you.Regards to all, Chris HallBournemouth, England.
I am running FSX Acceleration SP 1 and SP2 on windows Vista. I have purchased a few aircraft addons and they are running fine on my pc. I purchased the Flight 1 Cessena 172. the Cornado Mooney. and the Real Air Spitfire and Marchetti. They all work great and are easy on the frame rates. I did Purchase the ATR but my processor could not handle it, because it was so heavy on the frame rates. Bear in mind that I had to fine tune my computer with the suggestions and guide that Nick Needham has posted in the various forums.Warren

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For the sake of conversation, it seems to me like one of those apples/oranges comparisons to look at an FSX third-party add-on versus a large-scale production like Call of Duty or The Sims. Most 3rd party developers for FSX are just mon-n-pop operations, with the biggest getting to maybe a dozen employees. The Sims, on the other hand, has a multi-million dollar budget and has employed hundreds of people over the years. The money Electronics Arts spends on donuts alone would probably fund a 3rd party developer for an entire project. You can compare apples to oranges, if you try hard enough. It's easier to compare apples to apples. In that regard, there are definitely a wide range of values among 3rd party developers. I am not trying to defend the customer support practises of developers, or the consistency of their products, but I do think its important to see things from their perspective. Budgets are limited, and so is manpower. Jeff ShylukSenior Staff ReviewerAVSIM
You're kidding right? There is no apples and oranges, its apples to apples because BOTH charge REAL MONEY for their products. Both are in business, both are expected to perform at an acceptable level. The saying, go big or go home applies as much to Microsoft as it applies to Eaglesoft.Case-in-point. I own a IT consulting company here in Chicago and Northern Virginia (and Bangalore India...sorry, yeah, I do outsource). I do projects with the federal government in the US, in Iraq, as well as fortune 500 companies around the globe. I have 30 full time employees 2 offices and do a meager 7 figures in business, just enough to pay myself, my employees and make enough profit to stay in business for another year and throw a modest Christmas party for my team who earns every cent that they make. But in the same token I DEMAND CONSISTENT EXCELLENCE from every one of them. Why?My competition is: Ernst & Young. Cap-Gemini. Accenture. AT&T Consulting. IBM. Each of them have budgets for toilet cleaning supplies that eclipse my companies total gross income; SO if your argument rings true, because I am a flyspeck company compared to my peers, my clients expect subpar performance from my company. I should be able to go to my clients and tell them its 'apples to oranges' and I should be cut some slack because I'm a 'mom and pop' shop? When my consultants provide a deliverable that is subpar I can make excuses and expect my clients to understand but still expect to get paid? No. And as such, I bill my clients at the same rate as the big boys and in return provide as good a service as any multibillion dollar company can. The price paid for tier 1 products for FS are more expensive than the game itself! And the money charged is not donated to charity or to cure AIDS or help poor children in Kenya buy books. These are FOR PROFIT companies and the sooner apologists stop making excuses for them, the sooner the OP can feel that the is getting his money's worth for his products.At the end of the day, do you have to work any less to pay LevelD than you do to pay Microsoft? If not, lets cut the apples to oranges crap and lets hold those who wish to charge legal tender to the same level of excellence that we demand as consumers.The OP is totally correct to expect the same level of quality from the products he buys from PMDG as he does when he buys from Electronics Arts. The sooner we stop apologizing for inconsistant products the sooner we can see companies like Captain Sim, etc run out of town on a rail.We are not talking freeware here, we are talking real cash, moolah, greenbacks, benjamins, sheckles. And when it comes to taking my money, either run with the big dogs or stay tied up on the porch. But don't make excuses...as an old Army Captain, excuses don't bode well with me. As a matter of fact, I would even suggest that top notch developers like Flight1, Eaglesoft, Aerosoft, PMDG and LDS DON'T WANT people making excuses for them and instead would accept the challenge of making it right because its a matter of pride and God knows, FS developers have their egos. LOL!Regards,Mike T.

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Chris, not sure about the "tubeliner" end of town, but for the low and slow side of things, my experience has been quite the opposite of yours...I have a number of products from Real Air, Carenado, Aerosoft, Digital Aviation, A2A Simulations, Nemeth Designs and without exception they all perform exceptionally well. Some poducts are released wits a few minor flaws, but overwhelmingly the developers have released patches in a timely manner to fix those.FsX has been IMHO the best in a long line of sims that I have owned since SubLogic FS1 back around 1984 by far.Cheers and welcome to the forum. Hope your experience improves.

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The saying, go big or go home applies as much to Microsoft as it applies to Eaglesoft.
Then I guess Eaglesoft needs to ramp up it's prices, right? Let's try selling a Citation II at, say $169.95... This should give them a good healthy margin......any takers?
I bill my clients at the same rate as the big boys and in return provide as good a service as any multibillion dollar company can.
But you're in a huge marketplace where every company on earth is a potential customer. The "FlightSimmer" market is tiny - and "service" is not a deliverable software package which your programmers have spent two years of development time. Not the same thing. The consulting business, just like Microsoft or Activision is not comparable - they are apples and oranges.
The price paid for tier 1 products for FS are more expensive than the game itself!
Well - yes. If a tier1 product - such as an Eaglesoft Citation II was purchased by almost the entire global pc marketplace then it would be earning enough profit by sheer volume that would allow development of a better product. ACES team was ~100 top-notch programmers, analysts, developers, team leaders and project managers, thanks to the vast product range and market that Microsoft has. Can Team Eaglesoft afford that in this tiny market where maybe two in ten people out of perhaps 30,000 simmers, globally, who will purchase that Citation II. 1500 x 34.95 = $52, 425. Gotta sell a lot of product.. I think not.
The OP is totally correct to expect the same level of quality from the products he buys from PMDG as he does when he buys from Electronics Arts.
No - he's not, and Jeff is right: most of our developers are two, three and four-person companies, competing against free software, pirated software, and again, in a tiny marketplace. The reason IT consulting companies such as yours, Mike, can charge the same $1600 - $3000 per man/day is because your national/global customers are running their businesses to make a profit also - and there are millions of customers for you. Millions. Yes, you have competition, but it's not like the competion addon developers face. Ask yourself - why would a very competent programmer who can command $60 -$100 and hour - even bother with this market.? It's because they love it, and with every addon that moves up by $10 there's a hue and cry on every forum. So the prices move up very slowly. Microsoft doesn't cooperate with the SDK. They chop and change the OS: they patch every five minutes. No Mike - Jeff is dead right. These are apples and oranges. Activision, Ubisoft, EA Games. These guys are big shots with big money.
the sooner we can see companies like Captain Sim, etc run out of town on a rail.
Absolutely - no argument at all - Right on.
And when it comes to taking my money, either run with the big dogs or stay tied up on the porch.
So... what would you say to investing some good mullah into an addon company and doing just that. How about - hmm - an A320 like Chesley S.'s Hudson Special? A team of eight, at $50,000/year - $400,000 salary budget with a saleable product in the first year? I think that would be almost a minimum, wouldn't it. Add some overhead, rent, heat, electricity, taxes, benefits.. How big did we say the market was?
I would even suggest that top notch developers like Flight1, Eaglesoft, Aerosoft, PMDG and LDS DON'T WANT people making excuses for them and instead would accept the challenge of making it right because its a matter of pride and God knows, FS developers have their egos. LOL!Regards,Mike T.
Mike - it's pretty easy to tell someone else how to do it - particularly when you're the owner of a successful IT consulting company. This recreational technology/hobby with it's tiny market has been in development really only since Windows 3.1 and more so with the advent some decent network speeds: It wasn't present when DEC and the IBM mainframe was king. It's still in it's infancy. Maybe another ten years it will be different; until then we're going to have addons that slowly get better and better, with a few falling by the wayside - like OSS did a couple of years back, and like I thought FlyTampa would, but thankfully didn't; and some - like Flight1 (and of course Eaglesoft) will eventually become Big Shots! But by then the MAC might be king, with Microsoft relegated to selling X-Plane....Cheers!

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I'll admit I'm a bit puzzled at the Vista reference as the O/S has little to do with add-ons for FS, unless there is a distinct behavior difference between the quality of add-ons across operating systems I don't know, in which case I would love to read the facts.Add-ons for our hobby, as my colleague Jeff points out, are mostly small scale garage operations done on the spare time alloted by widowed spouses and children in the deep of the night in some basement, and red eyes in the morning when it is time to go to the "real" job that pays the bills is not that infrequent. I would characterize the dev houses as talented hobbyists first with a common passion for this, and businesses second, to fund for example the compiler and development tool expenses beyond the $40 product (approximately 200x the cost by my current count in investment). Yes, some houses do have their own PR manager, and that tells me that it's all business and the passion may be in some cases a distant thought over the bottom line. As with all software, there is the good, the bad, and the ugly, all claiming to be the best thing since sliced bread. Thankfully for our hobby, there is a lot of passion and a rather pointed review of the contributions out there. In my experience, there are a few bad apples, and quite a few gems.I like to think that there is a lot more good out there than bad, and may good folks are out to further the hobby more than out to satisfy some greed (ok, some would hope to break out even). Yes, some vendors are out there to "sucker" the customer into buying a product that doesn't deliver or has no customer support to speak of (caring that is), and I think the vendors are well known in this forum and in the reviews, both here at AVSIM and elsewhere.The value of forums is that many views and experiences can be shared, questions can be asked, opinions saught in a constructive manner, so that you, the reader and contributor, can make as good of an informed decision as possible and share facts and experiences with the rest of us.Etienne MartinAVSIM staff reviewer

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All this jibber jabba does not obviate a fundamental fact and issue: FSX is unstable and broken, a hideous platform for these add-ons.

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Huh? unstable and broken, are u serious?!All the addons that the topic starter mentioned are ports from the old fs9 sdk models. the experience that i made is, that ALL ports from fs9 models suffer from minor and major bugs. but none of them will be found in models that were developed with the new fsx sdk. A few developers, e.g. realair, didn't release simple ports because they knew that these won't use fsxs potential at any rate. several other developers are rebuilding the models from scratch to make them work properly with fsx.if u use a fsx native model fsx is rocksolid and runs just perfect. the only thing you can blame here is the bad backward compatibility of fsx and the unwillingness of some developers to release fsx native updates (which may consume as much manpower as developing a whole new product, so....)Not fsx is broken, it's just that the so called "fully fsx compatible" models are botch-ups to squeeze more money out of the glory fs9 times. but those times are over and the developers have to start vom 0.GreetsFlorian

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I'll admit I'm a bit puzzled at the Vista reference as the O/S has little to do with add-ons for FS, unless there is a distinct behavior difference between the quality of add-ons across operating systems I don't know, in which case I would love to read the facts.
Me too. I pressed this point to the OP when he posted on the ATR forums with issues he was having. Vista is just an OS like XP, there is no 'Vista Uninstaller', its a Windows Uninstaller. As long as you have UAC turned off, and have Admin rights on Vista, it should basically operate like XP. However the OP seems to have not taken this on board. maybe now it's said on two forums, he might.
All this jibber jabba does not obviate a fundamental fact and issue: FSX is unstable and broken, a hideous platform for these add-ons.
Just because you have had/are having issues, don't assume the community as a whole finds FSX 'Unstable and Broken'. I fly many add-ons happily in FSX and for me, and the way I fly, it runs fine.

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Then I guess Eaglesoft needs to ramp up it's prices, right? Let's try selling a Citation II at, say $169.95... This should give them a good healthy margin......any takers? But you're in a huge marketplace where every company on earth is a potential customer. The "FlightSimmer" market is tiny - and "service" is not a deliverable software package which your programmers have spent two years of development time. Not the same thing. The consulting business, just like Microsoft or Activision is not comparable - they are apples and oranges. Well - yes. If a tier1 product - such as an Eaglesoft Citation II was purchased by almost the entire global pc marketplace then it would be earning enough profit by sheer volume that would allow development of a better product. ACES team was ~100 top-notch programmers, analysts, developers, team leaders and project managers, thanks to the vast product range and market that Microsoft has. Can Team Eaglesoft afford that in this tiny market where maybe two in ten people out of perhaps 30,000 simmers, globally, who will purchase that Citation II. 1500 x 34.95 = $52, 425. Gotta sell a lot of product.. I think not. No - he's not, and Jeff is right: most of our developers are two, three and four-person companies, competing against free software, pirated software, and again, in a tiny marketplace. The reason IT consulting companies such as yours, Mike, can charge the same $1600 - $3000 per man/day is because your national/global customers are running their businesses to make a profit also - and there are millions of customers for you. Millions. Yes, you have competition, but it's not like the competion addon developers face. Ask yourself - why would a very competent programmer who can command $60 -$100 and hour - even bother with this market.? It's because they love it, and with every addon that moves up by $10 there's a hue and cry on every forum. So the prices move up very slowly. Microsoft doesn't cooperate with the SDK. They chop and change the OS: they patch every five minutes. No Mike - Jeff is dead right. These are apples and oranges. Activision, Ubisoft, EA Games. These guys are big shots with big money. Absolutely - no argument at all - Right on. So... what would you say to investing some good mullah into an addon company and doing just that. How about - hmm - an A320 like Chesley S.'s Hudson Special? A team of eight, at $50,000/year - $400,000 salary budget with a saleable product in the first year? I think that would be almost a minimum, wouldn't it. Add some overhead, rent, heat, electricity, taxes, benefits.. How big did we say the market was?Mike - it's pretty easy to tell someone else how to do it - particularly when you're the owner of a successful IT consulting company. This recreational technology/hobby with it's tiny market has been in development really only since Windows 3.1 and more so with the advent some decent network speeds: It wasn't present when DEC and the IBM mainframe was king. It's still in it's infancy. Maybe another ten years it will be different; until then we're going to have addons that slowly get better and better, with a few falling by the wayside - like OSS did a couple of years back, and like I thought FlyTampa would, but thankfully didn't; and some - like Flight1 (and of course Eaglesoft) will eventually become Big Shots! But by then the MAC might be king, with Microsoft relegated to selling X-Plane....Cheers!
Interesting:Your argument basically states that, for example: Steve's Coffee Shop with one store can sell coffee that tastes like a horse's behind compared to Starbucks because Starbucks has more resources and more money therefore their coffee should be held to a higher standard. So as such, you then try to convince yourself that your coffee does not indeed taste like a horse's behind and that you actually like it because you heard that Steve was out sick with the flu last week and didn't get a chance to check the quality of his coffee, and you thank Steve for selling you great coffee, even though you know that it tastes like a horse's behind, and tell him to take his time and perfect this product and will continue to support him. You then walk into Starbucks, order a cup of coffee, sip it, enjoy it and then write a post on the local coffee forum on how $tarbucks sucks because they forgot to put in a stir stick.Well, I won't try to convince you to believe that there are set standards for all companies regardless of size. I won't try to convince you that standards such as ISO 9002 or ITIL applies as much to one guy in his basement selling balsawood airplanes as it does to Boeing selling B747s. I won't try to convince you that everything you just said apologized for the fact that you are willing to accept inconsistant quality dependant on the size of the company and whether you can generate enough sympathy for them. At the end of the day, I will assume that you live in a country where you are free to keep your wallet wide open and your eyes wide shut and far be it for me to try to force you to demand quality for your purchases. The only place I've ever seen that mentality en masse is here in the FS Community which is why Captain Sim and companies like them can sell garbage sprayed with perfume and people are lining up to buy it..and not only to buy it, but to convince themselves that they are happy too! :( Its all good, we agree to disagree.Regards,Mike T>

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Steve's Coffee Shop with one store can sell coffee that tastes like a horse's behind compared to Starbucks because Starbucks has more resources and more money therefore their coffee should be held to a higher standard.
Pretty much, Mike, because we don't have any "Starbucks"-level addon developers: as others have said - most are Mom 'n' Pop operations.If Captain Sim for e.g. produced a great 737, fully functioning per the full-sized aircraft, fully "user-friendly" documentation in five languages, a flawless, configurable failure system built in, half-a-dozen liveries, a paint kit, fully functioning VC, wing views, flex wing, all the bells and whistles - then I would be quite willing to part with my $169.95. No problemo. I have a Triplehead2Go, TrackIR, I built a flightDeck, and don't hold back when it comes to the i7/940 proc. I've said this to Paul Golding - DreamFleet - I want a 727 for FSX - and I've posted similar on the FlyTampa site - maybe elsewhere, too... but no - the devs don't seem to want to increase prices for (I think) fear of being hounded for gouging or losing market share. I don't know what the rational is. I would love that superior aircraft, but right now it doesn't exist.What the critics are saying right now is:
You then walk into PMDG/CoolSky/Flight1/RealAir/Carenado/CaptainSim - buy {your choice} for only $39.95 - fly it, enjoy it and then write a post on the Avsim forum on how {$your choice} sucks because they forgot to put in a flex wing.
That would make sense if it had cost $169. I expect a shorter life from a Kia Rio than from a Toyota Corolla. I expect poorer quality. You get what you pay for. We don't have any vendor in the Starbucks or Corolla category. You know it's a long, rocky road from being an MS certified, Cisco certified, Solaris certified support tech with some managerial experience and ambition, to being the owner of a 30-employee team of consultants with a meager 7-figure income. It takes a lot of drive and talent. Most devs are pure techies who like flying, or vice versa, and who know a few other like-minded people - and they get together and produce something which is in varying degrees a bit better than freeware. It gets better, but you have to build a hangar of a eight to a dozen or more first-class addons (by todays standards) in order to make any reasonable income. I think for e.g. that TeamEaglesoft, ASA/Shockwave/Carenodo might be making decent incomes nowadays, as they each have that product range. Providing that MS doesn't change their next sim too radically, I've no doubt the time will come, Mike, when we will see an amalgamation of two or more devs into a much more viable team, and they will produce a better class of aircraft or other addon. I certainly hope that will be the case.
apologized for the fact that you are willing to accept inconsistent quality dependent on the size of the company
Yes, because I/we have to accept inconsistent quality at this point in time, because we have no choice. You don't have to continue hammering us for accepting poor quality addons, Mike. Most of us are not stupid people and we know we take a risk when we buy any addon. An extreme analogy I know, but beggers will eat from a garbage dump if there's no other choice, and I sure don't want to fly "X-Plane" or "Flight Gear".
I will assume that you live in a country where you are free to keep your wallet wide open and your eyes wide shut
I live in Canada, Mike, have a pretty good income, and I buy with my eyes wide open: your condescension does nothing but further emphasize your obvious and unfair disdain for the hundreds of hardworking developer personnel and it insults the sim flyers who buy from them. Its all good, we agree to disagree.

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There is no apples and oranges, its apples to apples because BOTH charge REAL MONEY for their products. Both are in business, both are expected to perform at an acceptable level.
And so what is the point here? There is no absolute standard "perform to acceptable level". It may perform quite well for majority but be frowned upon by some minority. We are not talking about chewing gum or Motel 6 room which can be controlled on mass scale and whose standards are well known and established. I think for the price they charge they perform at "acceptable" level at least some of the vendors mentioned above.

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And so what is the point here? There is no absolute standard "perform to acceptable level". It may perform quite well for majority but be frowned upon by some minority. We are not talking about chewing gum or Motel 6 room which can be controlled on mass scale and whose standards are well known and established. I think for the price they charge they perform at "acceptable" level at least some of the vendors mentioned above.
Agreed, Michal; and I think that - given the shifting environment in which they work, they do a commendable job. I don't know of a single piece of software that has been released - not just the flight sim or addon - but any software in general - that has not had issues upon initial release. Also one can legitimately make a comparison as apples to apples, between a PMDG 737 with an Ariane 737 (I own neither), but one cannot compare the excellence of a product to a different product - anything - based upon the premise that both charge money! :(

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