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Guest jasonaerts

Future Of MSFS

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Just had an interesting thought while trolling the forums about the recent news of the closure of the ACES studios and Microsofts apparent new vision for Flight Simulator.Perhaps they will attempt to deal with one of the most limiting factors for FS on PC's, the Computer itself. Does it seem to hard to imagine Logging into some kind of server set up that would do most the calculations and crunching for you and then simply display them on your PC. Now ive not thought allot about the implementation of this sort of Device but it does not seem a stretch of the imagination by any means. I would gladly pay 15-30$ a month to experience something that could come close to being as visually compelling and realistic as what is currently available to real world Airline Pilots.Anyway thought id share that as it sure would be neat :( Let me know what you guys think.J>A

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Does it seem to hard to imagine Logging into some kind of server set up that would do most the calculations and crunching for you and then simply display them on your PC. Now ive not thought allot about the implementation of this sort of Device but it does not seem a stretch of the imagination by any means.
Hi,This sounds a bit like "software-as-a-service" Renting vs buying the application... Letting an application server store all the applicable scenery and AI traffic and take away the need to upgrade your PC every time Flight Simulator is released might be the concepts you are alluding to. What would be the limitations? What amount of customization would you be able to manage. If I were to login to this site and decided to take off from KNQI NAS Kingsville Texas, would I see T-45 Goshawks in this virtual environment flying FCLPs? Or if I were to go to MCAS New River, North Carolina would I see CH-53, CH-46, MV-22, UH-1, and AH-1 helicopters in this sort of "software-as-a-service" (SaaS environment)? Or could I pay extra to be able to insert realistic AI where I decide to fly on a given day of the week? Our would I still need to download a bunch of freeware AI flight packages and tools to add and modify AI traffic to appear where it should be for the compelling and realistic environment? I hope I haven't distorted your point.Keith

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...I would gladly pay 15-30$ a month...
Up to $360.00 a year...every year, would price me out of the game. I think I paid ~$60.00 for FS9 ~6 years ago. If MS marketed FS9 that way, that would have been $2,160.00 ...and counting! I would however, pay a onetime fee of ~$200.00 for a sim that I could use for as long as I wanted.Of course, I don't believe that everyone should be limited to only what I can afford. It's just that if MS went to a monthly fee I would probably have to find another hobby ...and I started with SubLogic.

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Cloud computing (computing the data on dedicated servers) is VERY inefficient for gaming. First of all we would have to pay money to use the game which is not a good idea. Then, we have all this power right here in front of us (our own PCs) that is not being utilized, which is a big waste, and eventually not upgrading or buying a new PC would lead to you having VERY old hardware.I think ill just list the problems, much easier:

  • Users would have to pay when they play
  • Microsofts profits would be significantly reduced
  • Internet today is fast but the ping, or how fast it takes to send 1 byte of data, is still to high and whenever you make a control imput it would NOT be instant, NO MATTER WHAT INTERNET SERVICE YOU HAVE
  • Servers could get tied up very easily calculating thousands of physics calculation
  • They would need some kind of genius thing that only NASA could invent to direct all the traffic coming in and out, basically a super router/hub
  • Technology like this would be inefficient with the powerful PCs we have in front of us
  • They would to implement some kind of technology that would take the controller inputs and directly route them to the cloud servers.
  • When you click something or use a controlling device there would be lag due to ping
  • Nobody would pay 30 dollars to do processing that is already possible on our PCs, especially with the money we spend on our hardware.

Basically, cloud computing for gaming is VERY VERY VERRRRRYYYY useless and you can expect never to see it for ETERNITY. The PROCESSING, money loss, maintenance, etc would be far to great. The computer was made for US to utilize and for OUR pc's to process data, that is why you will never see gaming using cloud computing, because it is on the verge of impossible, unless you use quantum processors which is a whole different story, and don't expect quantum processors until the year 2600 or something.The only time cloud computing is used is for simple things, such ANYTHING you do on google (gmail, google earth, search, etc), file storage (exp. Windows Live Storage), medical databases, Folding@Home, and other simple tasks that most likely can be calculated on 6 Mhz TI-83 calculator.The only time you mihgt see cloud computing in FS is when they use it to stream/upload AI flight plans, scenery, traffic, autogen, etc to your computer and that has its numerous problems as well which I posted a while ago: http://forums1.avsim.net/index.php?s=&...t&p=1538026I don't have enough time to go into the technicals right now on why this is not possible, but read this tomorrow and I'll have more info most likely. Or wait for NickN, because if he catches this thread and has time, his knowledge about technology and limitations will truly shine here.

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Cloud computing (computing the data on dedicated servers) is VERY inefficient for gaming. First of all we would have to pay money to use the game which is not a good idea. Then, we have all this power right here in front of us (our own PCs) that is not being utilized, which is a big waste, and eventually not upgrading or buying a new PC would lead to you having VERY old hardware.
Gman,Great info and great analysis on the technical side. If you look at my questions concerning customization you might sense that I am pleased with the set up I have now. I would not subscribe to the concept of Cloud computing. No way. So Thanks again! Keith

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Do not confuse "cloud computing" (whatever that is) with the PC LIVE concept.In short, all PC LIVE is intended to be is a replacement for the ill-conceived and poorly implemented "GameSpy Lobby" service. In an effort to keep development costs down, MS/ACES decided to use a COTS (commercial off the shelf) game matching service, and therefore licensed the GameSpy software interface. This has proven to be a complete flop... :( In fact, only two feature of PC LIVE will likely be used: on-line matching service and on-demand content downloading, neither of which will prevent off-line use of the simulator...

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Do not confuse "cloud computing" (whatever that is) with the PC LIVE concept.In short, all PC LIVE is intended to be is a replacement for the ill-conceived and poorly implemented "GameSpy Lobby" service. In an effort to keep development costs down, MS/ACES decided to use a COTS (commercial off the shelf) game matching service, and therefore licensed the GameSpy software interface. This has proven to be a complete flop... :( In fact, only two feature of PC LIVE will likely be used: on-line matching service and on-demand content downloading, neither of which will prevent off-line use of the simulator...
THANK YOU! :( :( B) B) Someone on this forums understands the LIVE concept, which not entirely that bad. ...And I agree that gamespy was a big flop for Flight Simulator. There are numerous problems with it. Especially disconnections when logging in and in-game, but the thing is the shared cockpit, tower, voice, integrity with flight sim, friends list, etc.; basically in short words, ease of use, when it works, keeps most coming back, or makes it difficult for them to abandon gamespy while playing FSX.

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Good analysises so far! (And probably far better than mine but here goes....) If FS11 ever should be a live/online service it would be because players could fly together online. I've played other online games and MMORPG like EVE Online and the server only controls the enviroment like enemies, money, resources and services like shops. The client computer is responsible for rendering the graphics and the physics of the spaceship. After all the computing it is then tranfered to the server as a simple x,y,z / angles coordinates i belive. So to "translate" into an online flightsimulator this would be:Server takes care of:* Sending/receiving information of other "players" (plane position, text/speech communication, collision of other planes detection)* Enabling ATC (human or syntethic)* Share the same real weather and date/time for everyone.* AI planes* Additional parts of the environment like passengers and tickets, virtual airline economy, delivering virtual fuel to planes, virtual Cafe where the captains can meet ... and so on* Saving dataClient takes care of:* Flight controls ("player" input)* Flight dynamics(plane behavour) <-- The actual simulator* Graphics rendering(displaying the world, with your cockpit, your plane, other planes, ground scenery, weather.. and so on).This might not be the ultimate breakdown on how would "FS goes massive multiplayer online" but I belive it's a good start. So bascally I agree with above posts that the "simulator" part of a flightsim... the real computing part... has to be done on the local computer.-Kinetic

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Not such a neat idea after all Ahh well was just a thought anyways :(

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I would gladly pay 15-30$ a month to experience something that could come close to being as visually compelling and realistic as what is currently available to real world Airline Pilots.
Every sim I've been in looks a lot worse then FS9I would pay maybe $1 a month if it looked like that!

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In fact, only two feature of PC LIVE will likely be used: on-line matching service and on-demand content downloading, neither of which will prevent off-line use of the simulator...
Bill,What risks to you see with Microsoft being able to control the market for 3PD add-ons, deciding who is worthy and who is not?My banker, I'm afraid, won't lend me capital based on that control paradigm.See iPhone.

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What risks to you see with Microsoft being able to control the market for 3PD add-ons, deciding who is worthy and who is not?
Well, we don't know yet whether or not there will be a limit to "only approved product" being available. It is still possible that tools for third-party free/payware development will be supplied. Nothing has been announced as of yet, so it's all speculative at this juncture... :(

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I can't say I'm surprised about the news of Aces closing, and I hate to be a "I told you so" person. BUT, I believe I had addressed my concerns about how FSX was being handle by Phil Taylor and crew many moons ago. I obviously don't know what limits were placed on the Aces crew when FSX was being developed but it sure "felt" like it was being done on a lot fewer resources than were needed to make the product a huge success (the kinda success that one doesn't close shop on) -- a complete re-write may have saved FSX's future (without compatibility - yes leaveing 3rd party scrambling but what's the alternative?). But that's a hard sell to those funding the project. What is really sad about seeing simulations (read not games) dropping out of the PC market is that PC's are very suited to simulations -- it's the one experience they do considerably better than consoles (aka games). It's the PC's final stand so to speak...and now there is nothing.I realize Phil has moved on to Intel and wish him the best there -- I hope he has gained some insight from this project -- and I hope that insight was "If you can't do it right, don't do it".I'd gladly pay for an FS subscription, if I got that level of "doing it right" rather than "just enough". I'm definitely NOT interested in a group picking up the FSX code pieces and trying to extended it. I'd probably pay as much as $50-60/mo for a quality NEW product. However, a warning on the subscription approach -- this is being tried by www.iRacing.com (online racing simulation) -- and to be honest it isn't working as well as they hoped. I paid $20/mo for that subscription and I was getting quality physics and tracks but it lacked in many other areas, so many that it didn't feel like a complete package and it wasn't worth $20/mo. Also, the field count was good initially, but over time started to dwindle and then the forums threads started to dwindle and people just lost interest just leaving the hardcore user with a few new flyby night users.No I don't think the economy killed Aces either, Microsoft are still reporting huge quarterly profits. It's sad to see Microsoft disband the more expensive local US talent while retaining the cheaper offshore resources (see article on 65,000 H1B visa cap that Microsoft want increased). It is still my hope that from one death another can be born, even faster, even better, even stronger :) Keeping optimistic.

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a complete re-write may have saved FSX's future (without compatibility - yes leaveing 3rd party scrambling but what's the alternative?). But that's a hard sell to those funding the project.
As I've said before, in order for the complete rewrite idea to work they would also have had to invent a time machine in order to complete the project before they really ran out of money.From the snippits of information I've heard about what they were doing before the team got axed, their plan was to rewrite only what they needed to to make it work better (and look better) on modern, multi-core machines and graphics cards, which is about as good a plan as I can think of.I'm not going to speculate on what they're doing now with the people they kept and the ones they're hiring back as I have a feeling there are people on this very board who know a lot more than I do about it (and probably can't share).Colin

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Well, we don't know yet whether or not there will be a limit to "only approved product" being available. It is still possible that tools for third-party free/payware development will be supplied. Nothing has been announced as of yet, so it's all speculative at this juncture... :(
Speculating now, I think, gives the community an opportunity to provide important feedback into the proposed development of Microsoft's next flying game, so I think it's important and valuable to speculate now. We are, after all, just chatting around a hangar ... right?So, assume for a moment that Microsoft will distribute only approved product through the Live pipeline and that only approved .dll would run in the sim (Phil Taylor suggested that very approach as a means of quality control).What risks do you think that poses to the third-party developer community?Would, for example, a 3PD spend a year developing an aircraft, only to risk Microsoft then declining to distribute it since it might compete for dollars with an add-on they're considering or developing?I think these are very real risks, judging from Apple's heavy-handed tactics regarding its iPhone developers, over whom they exert complete and total control, with the threat of declining to allow their products to run on the iPhone if they fall out of line or otherwise anger the wrong God.I'd hate to see Flight Simulator be taken down that road because I think it would just create a thriving market for X-Plane development.

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I don't think it's fair to compare iPhone applications to Flight Simulation applications -- at least not for the next 5-10 years anyway. But I agree Apple is VERY heavy handed in the control department -- their forums for example would probably delete (within 15 minutes) any thread regarding speculation of any of their products. But I don't think "speculation" violates and terms of use for this forum?Colin,Re-write of the entire project isn't as drastic as you might think/fear unless it's a lot of legacy code pile on top of more legacy code and then a ton of compatibility logic to keep the 3rd party vendors happy. But as I understand it, Aces broke some of the compatibility anyway. It is often easier and faster to develop a project from scratch, then to try and patch a long line of legacy code. I've done this very process a few times and why it can be faster to start from scratch is because of the development tools -- they continue to progress and improve over the years helping developers (such as myself) get more done and quickly.I believe Microsoft should developer for the end user (the consumer), not for 3rd party devs. 3rd party devs may come and go, but without a core product there is nothing -- and nothing is what we have for a future of FSX. I believe Phil had stated that 3rd party vendors was their #1 commitment which I feel was a mistake. Flight sims are tied to top tier technology, the get the best of the hardware one can't compromise -- a lot of compromises were made IMHO.If their plan was to just repeat (i.e. take FSX and update parts of it for FS11) what they did going from FS9 to FSX, then I can see why Aces got the axe. I hope that wasn't the case. There was and is a real need to have Flight simulators supporting 64bit address space and the 64bit extensions espeically when dealing the common complaint about "stutters" (slow tile/texture loading from disk) the small detail radius problem and other memory restrictions that cause several issues for FSX -- a 64bit product was needed -- multi-core was needed, multi-GPU was needed -- all of these technologies equals a re-write from scratch. Sure they could/can leverge "some" of what they have, but the plate needs to be clean.And maybe it was funding -- maybe it just wasn't sold well to the funders -- who knows, but more of the same isn't going to produce results. Lets hope something was at least learned from this and the same mistakes aren't repeated if and flight sim product does emerge. If the money isn't there to do this project right, don't do it.P.S. I was suprised to read that Aces actually consisted of about 200 people.

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Speculating now, I think, gives the community an opportunity to provide important feedback into the proposed development of Microsoft's next flying game, so I think it's important and valuable to speculate now. We are, after all, just chatting around a hangar ... right?So, assume for a moment that Microsoft will distribute only approved product through the Live pipeline and that only approved .dll would run in the sim (Phil Taylor suggested that very approach as a means of quality control).What risks do you think that poses to the third-party developer community?Would, for example, a 3PD spend a year developing an aircraft, only to risk Microsoft then declining to distribute it since it might compete for dollars with an add-on they're considering or developing?I think these are very real risks, judging from Apple's heavy-handed tactics regarding its iPhone developers, over whom they exert complete and total control, with the threat of declining to allow their products to run on the iPhone if they fall out of line or otherwise anger the wrong God.I'd hate to see Flight Simulator be taken down that road because I think it would just create a thriving market for X-Plane development.
It would be a licensing nightmare for MS to approve every add-on

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If their plan was to just repeat (i.e. take FSX and update parts of it for FS11) what they did going from FS9 to FSX, then I can see why Aces got the axe. I hope that wasn't the case. There was and is a real need to have Flight simulators supporting 64bit address space and the 64bit extensions espeically when dealing the common complaint about "stutters" (slow tile/texture loading from disk) the small detail radius problem and other memory restrictions that cause several issues for FSX -- a 64bit product was needed -- multi-core was needed, multi-GPU was needed -- all of these technologies equals a re-write from scratch. Sure they could/can leverge "some" of what they have, but the plate needs to be clean.
Even if a new from scratch version of FS had been in the works, it would not have been a 64bit one. 64bit platforms, while growing everyday, still make up a small percentage of actual PCs.

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Could you provide the sources of your information? The information obtained via Steam http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/ -- shows 65% 32 bit. Those numbers were reported at the end of Jan 2009. Assume a 2-3 year development period to produce the next best flight simulation, I'd would expect those percentages to increase in favor of 64bit hardware and operating system (especially Windows 7 push to 64bit). Also, give people a reason to move to 64bit platforms.Unfortunately though, coding a flight simulation based on "average" consumer survey data and/or data obtained via hardware checks (aka Steam services) is flawed logic. Projects should be coded for their intended audience -- I can't confirm this, but I doubt the "average" flight simulation enthusiast (the intended audience) would represent the same hardware/software as an average generic consumer reported by Steam.Also, if starting from scratch, it is not terribly hard to create a 32bit and 64bit version. However, trying to retro-fit a existing 32bit version is indeed more time consuming, but this is yet another good reason to start from scratch. Also, the long term benefits of doing the project right from scratch are huge -- sure pay a little more up front in resources and development time, but the pay-off if done right would, IMHO, provide considerably better ROI (return on investment) compared to the the approached used going from FS9 to FSX.3rd Party devs need to take a back seat -- if the core is built with compromises for 3rd party dev, the product will fail. A failed product does NO good to any 3rd party dev. By all means provide flexibility but don't compromise the core product for this flexibility -- dev tools can be built later. Get the market interest (consumers) and the devs will follow. Aces approached this completely backwards.Like I said, repeating the same old same old is a waste of money and time and is NOT going to secure any future for FS. Do it right, or don't do it.

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I doubt the "average" flight simulation enthusiast (the intended audience) would represent the same hardware/software as an average generic consumer reported by Steam.
I doubt that the "average" flight simulation enthusiast is the intended audience. I feel our numbers are too small to justify Microsoft developing it just for us. It has to target a wider market.

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Still I

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You might be correct, their could very well be no market for those that just like to fly. I guess it's time to move from simulation to a real 172 or one's choice of a aircraft money pit (but even that is limited as many of the smaller airports in my area are also closing down).My only hope is that if someone does indeed produce a new flight sim, please do NOT do same old same old as that will only ensure flight sims are never ever again attempted on a PC Windows based platform.But we have X-Plane, which I must admit has weaknesses also, but it has some positives.Aaah well, times change.

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I would gladly pay 15-30$ a month to experience something that could come close to being as visually compelling and realistic as what is currently available to real world Airline Pilots.
I think you'd be in the minority. Most of this is pretty static content, and unless we are offered constant navigation database updates, scenery updates, etc., I think a subscription model is a bad value. Of course the software company would love it, and that's the direction they have been trying to drive the market to for years, but I don't think it is something that we need to be overly eager to accept unless there is a real benefit to it.

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Of course the software company would love it, and that's the direction they have been trying to drive the market to for years, but I don't think it is something that we need to be overly eager to accept unless there is a real benefit to it.
I hear you

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