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Cactus521

A Question for Beta Testers and Others

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Before I go any further, let me make myself perfectly clear about one thing. I am not here to question or accuse beta testers of not doing the job they were entrusted with. With the many obvious discrepencies noted in what is otherwise an outstanding product, the logical question that should come to everyone's mind is, why?For the beta testers: Were lines of communications between you and the program designers open enough to exchange thoughts and ideas on a regular basis? When problems or errors were pointed out to these same people, did you get the impression that they genuinely cared about getting it right or did you feel you were just being given lip service?I am just simply amazed at some of the "little things" that have managed to scratch their way into the final product. Surely, as in real life, this is not a perfect virtual reality world and to demand such would be asking the impossible. Having said that, I do not think it to be overly demanding to expect a virtual world wherein buildings that were razed three years ago shouldn't be there! Case in point: The Three River's Stadium on the north side of the point in Pittsburgh. The stadium was leveled three years ago to make way for Heinz Field but it miraculously still stands! I'm not complaining that Heinz Field and PNC Park are not there in it's place, but if they would have simply deleted the Three Rivers scenery, at least I would know the developers were "keeping up".As I've previously written, I really enjoy the FS9 program but still am finding room for some small amount of dissatisfaction

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You're lucky. Cincinnati doesn't have a football OR baseball stadium. [we knew we didn't have teams, haha]

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I don't think they had beta testers in all of the hundreds of thousands major cities all over the world. So do you really think a beta testers living in New York or even in Frankfurt or Sydney has any idea how many stadiums are standing around in Pittburgh, Rio, Johannesburg or Doe Town? And do you think he/she has any idea, if those stadiums are located correctly, wether they were still existing or have been pulled down years ago? Do you think a beta tester outside of St Petersburg knows, how many bridges they have got there (I'm sure there are even people in St Petserberg itself, who have no idea :-) )To get all these things correctly MS needed to have at least one beta tester in every city, town, village, desert or what ever, who perfectly knows the enviroment he lives in (not very realistic, is it?). And still there would have been errors.Wolfgang

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Digital satellite photos/ data could possibly be the next step Microsoft should take in order to render a more "Realistic" scenery file. What do you think?Terry

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Sorry Wolfgang......that is an unsatisfactory answer. The purpose of beta testing isn't just to fly around and admire the new product. These folks, many who did an outstanding job, were entrusted with researching the product, the sceneries depicted, and finding particular quirks. As one writer from Austria complains, major landmarks on the European continent were once again neglected from the finished product. My question, which did not come in the form of a complaint, simply asked if the beta testers pointed out some of the more glaring omissions and DID the developers at Microsoft provide positive feedback to their observations. Microsoft FS9 was in beta testing for how many months? Surely some of these testers noted some of the descrepancies found in the final product. Again, my question is simply, did the folks at Microsoft care?

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How much were you paying these beta testers to test the software for you?

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I have to agree with Geof that the NDA prohibits us from voicing what happened during the beta period. I will say that asking such a silly question would only get you a silly answer anyways. I think there are more important things then a stadium that were addressed in this wonderful release. Let's not get too picky here.Understanding the effort, time and dedication of the MS team - found in many interviews online, I can not imagine how the exclusion of one stadium can make you honestly feel that they 'might now care'.

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I understand your concern and in a small way, I agree. From what I've read in other areas, the team at MS was very responsive to the beta testers however there are always mitigating factors, ie. production schedules, release date commitments etc.Also, I understand your comment about Three Rivers but considering the complexity of the sim, "complete" geographical accuracy would be far down on my list of priorities. I believe they made a reasonable attempt at accuracy but the focus has to be on the weather engine, graphics, etc.There are ILS frequiencies that are incorrect, missing bridges, etc. All of which are important but none of which prevent your from flying the sim. From what I've read, the majority of hardware problems are caused by third party driver problems, non standard instrallation problems` and general lack of computer savvy. Altho they are not allowed to discuss the process due to the NDA, I can say with certainty that the beta testers that I know share *some* of your frustrations.vgb

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That's all fine... but...I noticed that Rotterdam is still missing the Kuip-stadium, that thing was built more that 60 years ago! Not to mention the Amsterdam Arena! And... to make matters worse, the Winterswijk-Borken railroad is still present in FS2004; it's been closed and removed for more than 20 years! I can't fly VFR this way! This program is extremely bugged/incomplete/rushed/whatever.:-hah :-hah :-hah Just kidding of course. I mean, look at this thread, we're talking about some small omissions in the FS2004 scenery. A stadium that's still there? Gee, that's bad.Well, the price to pay if someone wants to model the whole world. And I guess the beta-testers have looked at more important elements than incorrect scenery (is it a trend BTW? Not blaming MS but instead blaming the beta-testers?). [p]

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I now regret voicing a complaint about the existance of Three Rivers Stadium. Many have chosen to target this gripe as one specific, if not anal complaint about what is otherwise stunning scenery renditions within the FS9 program. I merely used it to illustrate a fine point wherein I questioned a possible lack of communications between the beta testers and the design team at Microsoft. Some have spoken of an agreement prohibiting the discussions between beta testers and MS. Having never applied for such an esteemed tasking, I must plead ignorance.I guess I can now assume my original question is somewhat mute, no?

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"These folks, many who did an outstanding job, were entrusted with researching the product, the sceneries depicted, and finding particular quirks."Do the math! There are twenty thousand plus airports, tens of millions of square miles of scenery, thousands of scenery objects.... I know you don't like that answer, but face the facts. Even if Microsoft had two thousand testers (I don't know the real number, but I suspect it was less given security issues), you're talking dozens of hours of review time if somehow airports, scenery grids, and objects had been divvied up to those testing for review. You also keep hitting on a question that any tester, myself included, would be in clear violation of an NDA for answering. Considering how you phrased the question, I suspect you're smart enough to know that. I will tell you that the obligation of any tester given the privilege of seeing a product is to the company that sells it--that company is the one providing compensation (and use of that word is a stretch, because a $50 product doesn't compensate an average tester who may give several dozen hours of his/her own time to the product).... I may think of my friends and peers, but that company expects me to have it foremost in my mind when I test. I've been given products for eval which did not require an NDA--most of them related to business--so quite often they mission critical. I could sum up my goals for testing in one sentence:Will the product satisfy the majority of customers who use it?I think that will hold true for FS2004.As a straight consumer, I view products with a different angle. As a straight consumer, I concede that there are errors and issues in most software products that annoy me. For $50, I expect a blender to work, or the collected works of Eric Clapton. If one of those songs skipped, no one is going to tell me it's only 50 bucks. If the blender slices but doesn't dice because of a software glitch, I'm going to complain about it and slam people who call me a troll because of it. But, if I find it doesn't dice because someone forgot to tighten a screw, I'm going to tighten the screw rather than get myself all stressed out. Today it will be 111 in Phoenix. Return Blender?/Tighten screw? Which makes the most sense? Ever sit on a leather car seat when it's 111? :)With FS2004, we have the tools to tighten the screws. Three Rivers can be made invisible with an exclude statement. Cities can be added with landclass. Canyons can be filled in with flatten statements. And there's a willing community to help, many of whom were testers and had a head start. When I fly over the millions of square miles of this sim, I'm lucky if one percent of the time I see an error in the underlying scenery database. That's a pretty high quality standard, IMHO, and my appreciation goes out to those who came to the test before I did.... They did a great job, and delivered on this sim for Microsoft and the majority of those who will buy it...-John

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See my reply above--even if you don't know about the NDA, consider what you're asking the average tester given the context of my reply....-John

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