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FS2004 Patches and Updates

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We probably will all agree that FS2002 has been our most enjoyable and successful version of FS so far. Right after its release I remember seeing a post that there would be no patches or improvements to be made for FS02, rather that Microsoft was putting all energy into FS2004. As good as it was, we all probably noticed some nagging bugs and quirks that a few patches probably could have fixed. (I never could get the flight video to work right and I was annoyed by the overcast sky meeting blue sky above the horizon.) Regardless, we put up with the small bugs and carried on. I just couldn't understand why MS just seemed to be saying "OK, here it is, now don't bother us." In other words, if it is that good to begin with, why not make it even better? I'm just curious if this is going to be the same attitude with 2004, or will fixes and improvements be available if needed? Hopefully it will be near perfect with very few problems right from the start, but then again, I don't think I've bought a piece of software yet that was and didn't need some sort of patch or upgrade.

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Here is the real bottom line (at least from what I see, read, and hear). Everyone "deep" into flight simulation, has their own particular pet peeves or preferences that they'd like to see resolved. This could of course, end with specific "items" that number into the thousands. The "hardcore" simmers who will buy add-ons number somewhere around 6000, while total sales are around a million or so........... as I remember. MSFS is programmed more for the masses, than the "hardcores"; but the MS programmers DO value input from serious users; and impliment fixes and features over time --- in new versions. If they patch a few problems, then many others will complain about there own "wants". And nearly all these problems are not of serious nature that prevents the sim from running.It's like, number wise...... we don't count.... but we do. And MS knows it, as well as working with "outside 3rd party" programmers for new editions. But it's awful tough to re-create a world that appeals to everyone; until data-bases are built up over time.L.Adamson

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>We probably will all agree that FS2002 has been our most>enjoyable and successful version of FS so farI was happy with FS2 myself. *grin*

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I've had a conversation with a couple members of the MSFS design team (managers) about this specific subject and their feeling is that a patch is only needed to correct a program or piece of software that fails to work as advertised. I know that a few individuals pointed out a few things about FS2002 they would like to see "improved" and in some cases almost demanded a patch, but frankly I agree with the MSFS design team. You must remember a patch or an upgrade are not the same thing! An upgrade is just that and all upgrades will be held until the next version of the software is released, but a patch is quite different, as a patch is needed to correct an error where something is not functioning as intended. The whole purpose for having beta testers is to prevent the expensive possibility of having to provide a patch, a month or two after the release of the product.After FS2002 was released, there were numerous individuals wanting or demanding patches for every little pet peeve you could name, but there never was nor has there ever been one single issue with FS2002 where a patch could be justified. That's not to mean there weren't some issues with FS2002 that everyone or someone wouldn't have liked to see improved and the MSFS team has now provided the upgrade, its called FS2004.Bear!

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Bear...."but there never was nor has there ever been one single issue with FS2002 where a patch could be justified."I disagree there.... Anyone who flies multiplayer sessions could cite a litany of issues. Basically, it's nothing but a chat session, as it is severely degraded from the MP that used to exist in FS98. In FS98's MP environment, I could watch a skilled sim pilot grease a landing, and formation flights were just that--rarely did a peer flying in formation suddenly jump ahead, or fall behind 2-3 miles. Starting with FS2000, and continuing into FS2002, aircraft in MP were all over the place. You'd taxi over to watch your peers on final, and they'd plunge beneath the runway. You fly in formation, then suddenly, they are zig zagging like a Harrier....I don't think it's a little peeve, and it is something that should have been fixed in FS2002.I haven't been able to test it in FS2004, since it's hard to arrange a session with the others on the testing and press teams. So I have no idea if it's been fixed. Fixed may even be the wrong word--I think it went south when too much was thrown into it, causing bandwidth to degrade MP fidelity. This isn't an issue worth bashing Microsoft over, but it's also not an issue to belittle or bash those who raise it either. It is definitely functionality that didn't work as advertised. Someone could cite the letter of the law, and ask where does it say MP allows you to see your peers touch down. I won't even respond to such foolishness...

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I agree with you, that MP should have been fixed! It amazes me how many (or few but loud - !!noone particular in mind!!) people fail to see that feature is not working as advertised ...maybe it wasnt advertised at all :) ...and if it wasnt then it should have been removed! :) ...seriously, well actually I think that is was advertised too loosely, just stating MSFS supports multiplayer, what specifficaly and how is that supported is left open, so it could be crappy as much as they want, and they dont need to get a fix for it since no special MP features have been advertised, and ppl can whine as much as they want, nothing will be done until MSFS+=USD...for now, so much from me

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That's exactly what patches are meant for Bear, to fix things that are crippled making the application not function as designed.I've been telling people that for years but it seems to fall on deaf ears with all the kids who DEMAND a patch NOW to change the colour of the sky to a slightly different shade of pink 5 minutes before sunset on a cloudy evening.

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>but there never was nor has there ever been one single issue with FS2002 where a patch could be justified. Bear, that statement would only be true if there were no obvious bugs in FS2002. But in fact there are quite a few. Just one example: when flying past clouds, if you look sideways you may occasionally see a 'thin cloud', which happens because the flat texture hasn't been correctly rotated. However, if there is any on-screen text this problem gets far worse and is very obvious. Strange but true! Most likely one of the programmers made a simple mistake that had quite a bizarre effect. If the MS people had lived up to the comments they made to you, then this bug - and several other obvious visual bugs - should have been fixed with a patch. By the very nature of the on-screen text/thin clouds bug, it should have been easily diagnosed and corrected. But they did nothing. I believe that, provided the bug is fairly obvious and could be fairly easily fixed, then any software company that takes a pride in their work would indeed fix the problem and issue a patch. Remember how TRI supported Fly! Although I regard FS2002 as a great simulator, I am disappointed that Microsoft were unwilling to properly support it. I hope things improve in the future. Best regards, Chris

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This is just my opinion.From what I see, COF is the bugfix of 2002. Containing items and fixes 2002 should have had to be a credible simulator. The attitude Microsoft displayed regarding patches ect was one I thought very arrogant.They made claims there are a lot of new features, most can be found on other sims, take for instance AI, nothing new, it's been around in Falcon for a while. There are other features frankly, 3DS designers roll about laughing at. There are also a lot of "features" that have been left out which could have been implemented quite easily.I don't know figures for hard core users and sales, what I do know is Microsoft are very good at whipping up hype, as they have done by using many of the people associated with these and other forums as beta testers. What a great advert ! and with respect, they've assumed many are lemmings who will follow the hype. The cynic in me say's I'll wait for COF. I know some beta people who have been dissapointed with performance issues, which leads me to :- !!! I read on another site of one user who was packing it in, due to the fact he was not prepared to purchase new equipment just to play what is, a game. A sentiment I agree with, especially as there are more technically advanced "simulators" available that don't demand the power required to run the MS series. Take this with the attitude displayed by some add on developers. Who are not prepared without once again digging into your wallet to upgrade to the "new" spec and be made compatable to COF, (yet you only purchased 6 months ago) and all of a sudden, it's not a cheap hobby anymore.BTW,I don't want everything for free or am too mean to purchase.As regards earlier versions, 98 was one of the best with more new add ons developed than any other version. Dynamically it was better in so much the games internal timings where spot on with respect to aircraft performance. If any of you have done "real" flying you'll understand exactly what I mean. AD

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Although I don't agree with AD above, I also support the initial post, whereby, small patches should be offered, as most / all fixes are easily and routinely handled via online downloads. MS certainly has the bandwidth to support the service to it's customers. I did not see 2K2 as a fix for 2000. I believe it was an entire step forward. Nor did I feel anything "really" was broken in 2K2 - yeah, the flat cloud thing was obvious, and I thought the ATC improvements came up short of expectations and comparative features. I did not see anything "requiring" a patch. Regardless, a patch would have been appreciated, as it is simply a matter of MS "respecting" the product and it's customer base. Small patches or fixes are a very easy way of saying - we're interested in the "user".Pandora's box, as Bear suggests - maybe so. The Flt. Sim. communtity has become sophisticated, at the same time, very impatient and demanding. Conclusion - from MS's persepective - may be - just offer the new versions - and stay out of the "kettle" !I'd still like to see some small - patch / fixes....... always appreciated the interest, and respect, by any software developer !Ron

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Ron, I never said 2K2 was a fix for 2000 ! Although, I never had any real problems with 2K after it was patched. However, wouldnt you think with the resources Microsoft have i.e. Terraserva (?) It would be fair to expect to see some of that technology implemented in the latest versions. (Sorry, this is going off in a different angle in respect of Terraserva !) AD

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>>but there never was nor has there ever been one single issue>with FS2002 where a patch could be justified. >> Bear,> that statement would only be true if there were no obvious>bugs in FS2002. But in fact there are quite a few. Just one>example: when flying past clouds, if you look sideways you may>occasionally see a 'thin cloud', which happens because the>flat texture hasn't been correctly rotated. However, if there>is any on-screen text this problem gets far worse and is very>obvious. Strange but true! Most likely one of the programmers>made a simple mistake that had quite a bizarre effect.>That might be a bug but it is NOT a bug that is serious enough to warrant a patch.Your attitude is typical of what Bear describes, people clammoring for emergency updates (which patches are) to fix some minor thing or pet peeve.> I believe that, provided the bug is fairly obvious and could>be fairly easily fixed, then any software company that takes a>pride in their work would indeed fix the problem and issue a>patch. Remember how TRI supported Fly! Although I regard>FS2002 as a great simulator, I am disappointed that Microsoft>were unwilling to properly support it. I hope things improve>in the future.Releasing a patch for every which minor issue is extremely irresponsible.You quite obviously haven't the slightest clue about software development processes or you'd understand that.You're just another whiner if you keep on lile that...

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> >I know some beta people who have been dissapointed with>performance issues, which leads me to :- !!!Who? From what I've witnessed, as well as personal, performance is on par or better than FS2002. That's how it's with my Athlon 1900XP/Geforce3Ti500> >I read on another site of one user who was packing it in, due>to the fact he was not prepared to purchase new equipment just>to play what is, a game. A sentiment I agree with, especially>as there are more technically advanced "simulators" available>that don't demand the power required to run the MS series. And name the more technically advanced simulator. There is quite a bit going on lately in the background, regarding the new "chopper" from MS and how it relays the "feel" of intertia, mass, and dampening to the "user" far more realistically, than any other home simulator. This also extends to aircraft. It's took some persuasion for brand "X" users to try it, but the results are over-whelming!>As regards earlier versions, 98 was one of the best with more>new add ons developed than any other version. Dynamically it>was better in so much the games internal timings where spot on>with respect to aircraft performance. If any of you have done>"real" flying you'll understand exactly what I mean. >I've "real" flown since 68' ----- FS2004 is superior to anything I've seen or used on a home P/C. Any other questions?L.Adamson

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One thing as a beta tester for this product I witnessed first hand is we all examine certain unique areas of the sim. It is funny to me that after testing for several months for many hours-almost every question that has been asked on this forum has been one I didn't know the answer to initially-as I had never examined the particular question/pick. When you get your copy of fs check the credits out-the team that worked on this product for 2 years is gigantic! Fs is a huge endeavor, and tested by many, many people. However, with something this complex, it is impossible to make it 100% perfect.I have been putting it through its paces for quite a while-in all those hours I have found only a few extremely little things-not something I would consider a patch necessary for-and certainly understandable for such a complex program. If the program crashes on a great majority of machines-that would be something that requires a patch-a huge defect that makes the program unusable (it hasn't crashed yet on my machine). All I know is I put my real rendition of my airplane in fs, download the real weather that looks almost exactly like what I see out the window, and go fly like I do in real life. To be honest there are more bugs in my real airplane, with real atc, and with flying in general than I have ever seen in FS.As the program is tried by thousands of users-there will be things found-little things that would have been like finding a needle in a haystack even with the huge ms team working and the help of the beta testers-but they will found because of the greater number of users upon release. These will not be show stopping issues needing a patch-they will be small things that can be fixed in a next version (if they warrent the amount of time needed to fix them), or are even important. We all seem to have our own diverse list of what is important-and all can never be 100% satisfied.I sometimes wonder if people realize what a huge and complex program fs is? When you look at all of what it does it is many extremely individual programs combined into one-and sold at a price which is frankly ridiculous. Thank god it sells so well so the price can be low....I wish microsoft made and charged the same price for the stuff I have to buy in the real world of flying.Compare Fs as it stands to the higher end flight sim programs that are used for real training. Frankly in my opinion Fs beats them all hands down. Now compare the price and features-again handily all are beaten.Frankly-if you are going to worry about future patches-save your fs money and go have a one shot meal at a medium priced restaurant. I will be enjoying this unbelievable great sim the next two years in the meantime. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to save lots of real money training on a low priced piece of software that duplicates the real experience incredibly. I know few values in life that are as great as this sim. http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/Geofdog2.jpg

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Jeroen"You quite obviously haven't the slightest clue about software development processes or you'd understand that."I always laugh my hmmmhmmm off when I see statements like that, only because quite often the response is "little do you know"...Take myself for instance--I handle the dual duties of administering a WAN, and supervising the testing and development cycle of our software, which has components on workstations, DB2 servers, and mainframes. What I see in this argument all too often is something slight--like the cloud issue--is cited as reason for no patches or fixes, when something major like MP is ignored.People are too busy as trying to position themselves as experts in the field. Well, I am an expert in my field. I doubt many of you know what is even involved in setting up baseline standards for testing--or the difference between regression and unit testing, and of the way some, but not all, software shops plan out their cycle.We release with a planned patch in mind, so we can correct the minor issues. We compete with offshore shops--and our CIO has fought tooth and nail to keep our team together. If we didn't appease our customers by showing attention to even the most minor of issues, someone else eventually would. Collectively, sales and production costs for MSFS are far less than our own vs. income. You may wonder how a $50 piece of software can perform that way, but it's a matter of scale. Complex as our app is, our user base is under 2000. It's a niche app.People argue that $50 doesn't justify patches for minor issues. I argue that $50x1 or 2 million does--and it did all the way up to FS2000. Then something changed--Microsoft decided for whatever reason, minor issues didn't justify a patch. Surprisingly, that seemed to coincide with the loss of two civilian sim players--the Fly! series and Flight Unlimited series...-John

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>>>>Bear,that statement would only be true if there were no obvious bugs in FS2002. But in fact there are quite a few. Just one example: when flying past clouds, if you look sideways you may occasionally see a 'thin cloud', which happens because the flat texture hasn't been correctly rotated. However, if there is any on-screen text this problem gets far worse and is very obvious. Strange but true! Most likely one of the programmers made a simple mistake that had quite a bizarre effect.If the MS people had lived up to the comments they made to you, then this bug - and several other obvious visual bugs - should have been fixed with a patch. By the very nature of the on-screen text/thin clouds bug, it should have been easily diagnosed and corrected. But they did nothing.<<<<<Chris, with all due respect, this is exactly what I was eluding to. To you this may be a bug, but the occasional appearance of a cloud as a thin line was not a bug rather than a characteristic of how the 2D clouds appeared on your system releated to its performance capabilities. Now with FS2004, they (MS) have updated the way clouds are displayed, which is simply an improvement or upgrade, but I don't think they would consider it a "bug" fix any more than I do.>>>>I believe that, provided the bug is fairly obvious and could be fairly easily fixed, then any software company that takes a pride in their work would indeed fix the problem and issue a patch. Remember how TRI supported Fly! Although I regard FS2002 as a great simulator, I am disappointed that Microsoft were unwilling to properly support it. I hope things improve in the future.Best regards,Chris<<<<<<<I'm disappointed you feel this way Chris though I've noted similar statements from others, in other forums or threads, about the MSFS team before (statements indicating MS doesn't take pride in their work or is unwilling to support it), but nothing could be further from the truth. I personally know a number of the individuals on the MSFS design team and they're some of the most dedicated group of guys you could ever know and they take great pride in their work, as well they should. The last version of Flight Simulator, that had serious "bugs", was FS2000 and the MSFS team attempted to patch it out, but the patches could do little but bandaid the real basic problems, so it was only with FS2002 that the performance issues were finally corrected (which took the better part of a year after the release of FS2000 to fix properly). Because so much of the programmer's time was being spent improving the performance characteristics of FS2002 vs FS2000, several of the new features had limited time alloted for development, leading a lot of people to complain about, for example, "..why doesn't the new ATC allow me to choose my approach, or why doesn't the FS ATC allow me to change my flightplan in flight, etc.". The weather or clouds in FS2002 were exactly the same weather-clouds in FS2000, as the new stuff wasn't ready at the time of FS2004's release. The development of the new weather/clouds has progressed sufficiently that it could be included with FS2004 and in the mean time they've had time to improve on the ATC and AI aircraft so that those features are more complete and work more real world like. The work continues at improving all of these features for the release of FS2006.It all boils down to lot of people assuming that because it says "Microsoft" on the package then they must have unlimited manpower and resources, but that's simply not true. For example, its taken nearly 3 1/2 years to get the new weather developed up to a level where they can finally release it (FS2004) and that's been because they've only had a couple of people available to work on it part-time because of all the other items needing development work.Believe me, if for some unknown reason a major flaw or bug (a real bug and not just some pet peeve of someone) should showup after the release of FS2004, then the MSFS team WILL drop everything and within days of FS2004's release, we will have a patch. If you expect a "patch" because you don't like the way the clouds look or you think the AI aircraft land funny, or whatever, then I'm sorry, but I'm afraid you're just going to have to wait until the fall of 2005 for the release of FS2006!Bear!

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>People argue that $50 doesn't justify patches for minor>issues. I argue that $50x1 or 2 million does--and it did all>the way up to FS2000. Then something changed--Microsoft>decided for whatever reason, minor issues didn't justify a>patch. Surprisingly, that seemed to coincide with the loss>of two civilian sim players--the Fly! series and Flight>Unlimited series...>John----------------- because technically it's still a "game"!I've never felt a patch was truely needed for FS2002, and still don't. Looks like we have about 180 degree different vision on this subject. But that's okay............. :)L.Adamson

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I always had the impression that patching FS would be some kind of "confession" that their product wasn't "the best"; an admission not often forthcoming from the M$ empire...

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I'm glad we can disagree, and same holds true of the thought I expressed with Jeroen... I hope most agree with us that FS2004 is as almost perfect as a sim can get. I've found no show stoppers with the gold. Someone used my comment on multiplayer as a chance to take a swipe at Microsoft. Microsoft has more than made amends by inviting so many of us to be part of FS2004's release. It's those who take the opinion I (and others) have expressed and use it as foundation for a bashfest, either directed at Microsoft or the poster, that tend to make these threads go south.What I do know is that Microsoft does listen, but as soon as FS2004's released, there will be people who ask for patches. I just think we need to be careful--as you and Jeroen and some of the other vets usually are, to listen to their concerns with good humor. We know what defines a troll. As a group, we need to not always equate someone's suggesting a patch as trolling or inexperience in the field.You are right about cost comparisons--a $50 piece of software may not justify any post-release attention. But it used to, and I wonder why things changed?

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Whom I speak with is no concern of yours and I don't need your permission to do so.Tell me, why is it that if somebody has something to say, that is not to your liking, you have to turn into a cranky old man ?Like it or not, I'm entitled to an opinion whether it's suits you or not. Please don't try bully me Mr. Adamson, you'll find I don't respond too well.Did you ever stop once to think, it may well be that not everybody runs as super spec system as yours ?

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>Whom I speak with is no concern of yours and I don't need>your permission to do so.>>Tell me, why is it that if somebody has something to say, that>is not to your liking, you have to turn into a cranky old man>?>>>Like it or not, I'm entitled to an opinion whether it's suits>you or not. Please don't try bully me Mr. Adamson, you'll find>I don't respond too well.>>Did you ever stop once to think, it may well be that not>everybody runs as super spec system as yours ?>>Let me catch my breath after laughing so hard at the empty threats.If "not everybody runs as super spec system" why are you demanding access to Microsoft's Terraserva (sic) data? Terraserver data, would of necessity, require a higher-end computer.

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As usual, Geofa... well said! You, Bear, and L.Adamson can always be counted on as voices of wisdom amis a chaos of anti-MS babble. Refreshing indeed!Doug3.06Ghz P4 533FSB512 MB RAMBUS RAMSony CPD-G410R 19" CRTRadeon 9700 Pro (Not O/C)SB Audigy 2120 GB ATA Ultra DriveMS Sidewinder Force FB2 ProWinXP Pro SP1DX 9.0a

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>People argue that $50 doesn't justify patches for minor>issues. I argue that $50x1 or 2 million does--and it did all>the way up to FS2000. Then something changed--Microsoft>decided for whatever reason, minor issues didn't justify a>patch. Surprisingly, that seemed to coincide with the loss>of two civilian sim players--the Fly! series and Flight>Unlimited series...>NOTHING warrants patching a minor issue.At most you can include a fix for a minor issue into a patch for something major if you have it ready for release anyway, but on its own it should never be released as a patch.MAYBE Microsoft might have taken some time to create an UPDATE to include the issues found after testing was closed, but that would not have been a patch.If you're in the field you know (or should know) the difference between a regular update and a patch and how nervewrecking the period between release of the patch and release of the release update including that patch is.

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"Did you ever stop once to think, it may well be that not everybody runs as super spec system as yours ?"I believe he did--he knows me and my involvement with testing. If a P3/800 is super spec...uhhhh....well....I'm happy with FS2004's performance, and I've had to invest minimally to get my system up to snuff. I added more memory. My new vid card was needed because the old one started making funny noises a few weeks back--mostly after meals, so it took me a while to catch on. After drinking gallons of Pepto Bismol, I realized my vid card was makin' the noises.When you consider my specs, and when I see your comments toward one of the more respected members of our hobby, I have to back off my comments regarding a patch.... There are no show stoppers in FS2004, no stability issues, and if anything comes out, it will likely be cosmetic or the same ol' arguments regarding flight models. I think a courtesy patch for cosmetic issues is good business, others think not. But unless something crops up between now and general release, FS2004 will be able to last "as is" until FS2006....

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