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Guest VirtualXpert

Additional Clues about MS Flight

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Guest VirtualXpert

A person going by the name "Jaggyroad Films" has posted some "inside" info about Flight."Oh man, I wish I could share with you some of the tidbits of information I'm getting from developers. I'll say this... developers should be happier with the next iteration of FS. My understanding is it is more geared towards development than ever before. Let's hope the buzz I am hearing from several developers is true."The MS Career/Talent site would seem to support the claim above by indicating that Flight will provide an SDK for third-party addon support."Help define our new partner program, including SDK pipeline and release criteria, to enable 3rd party partners to develop add-ons for our game."The listing also mentions "Other interesting technologies for this team include: 3D Studio Max, Maya"Full job listing (posted yesterday) here:http://www.microsoft-careers.com/job/REDMOND-Software-Development-Engineer-in-Test-Lead-MGS-Flight-Sim-LIVE-Job-WA-98052/760837/Note: the URL contains "MGS-Flight-Sim-LIVE-Job" (MGS stands for Microsoft Game Studios)I'm also encouraged by the following statement about realism, accuracy and fidelity:"The company is offering few details on Flight, but Unangst said that it is looking to appeal to flying enthusiasts with the realism, accuracy, and fidelity they expect, but also imagines including other types of gameplay that might appeal more to novices."To me, this statement indicates that Flight will, largely, be the same flight sim we know and love but with more novice experiences added on top and/or integrated into the sim.Personally, I'm excited about the announcement of Microsoft Flight and look forward to more detailed info.-Thad

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Thats great news if true. While developers like Orbx and A2A have wrung the neck out of the current version, I would love to see what MGS can do with the tech available 6 years on.Cheers and thanks for the heads up.

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Guest VirtualXpert

Looks like former ACES member Paul "PC-12" is also working on the Flight project. After more than a year of not posting on his blog, Paul posted the following the night before Flight was announced:"Just dusting off the cobwebs a bit. I might actually need to do something with this blog in the future."The next day he posts about the Microsoft Flight announcement. This might be a good blog to check in on from time to time.Link: http://paul-flightsi...om/default.aspxSome other interesting speculation...I wonder if former ACES member Adrian "Torgo3000" (content dev) is working on the Flight project as well. His last blog entry from April of 2009 starts out,"Well folks, I'm still employed at MS (or rather re-employed at MS after having been canned with the rest of the group). And I'm working on an as-yet-unannounced project."He goes on to state the following about his new project,"I will say one thing. Performance is about priority number one from day one on the new project. I definitely learned my lessons from FSX. Creating a flexible content-driven shader system when there is already mountains of legacy content not necessarily authored specifically for that system, and no time to go back and touch every single asset is a BAD idea."Link to post: http://blogs.technet...on-sort-of.aspxUnfortunately, there have been no futher posts by Adrian but if he is indeed working on Flight then it would seem performance is a very high priority for the team.-Thad

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These are a few of the same "bread crumbs" I mentioned shortly after the official press release was made. Thank you for bringing them back to the discussion. I remember what I read, but often forget where I read them... :(

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--------------------------------Some other interesting speculation...I wonder if former ACES member Adrian "Torgo3000" (content dev) is working on the Flight project as well. His last blog entry from April of 2009 starts out,"Well folks, I'm still employed at MS (or rather re-employed at MS after having been canned with the rest of the group). And I'm working on an as-yet-unannounced project."He goes on to state the following about his new project,"I will say one thing. Performance is about priority number one from day one on the new project. I definitely learned my lessons from FSX. Creating a flexible content-driven shader system when there is already mountains of legacy content not necessarily authored specifically for that system, and no time to go back and touch every single asset is a BAD idea."Link to post: http://blogs.technet...on-sort-of.aspxUnfortunately, there have been no futher posts by Adrian but if he is indeed working on Flight then it would seem performance is a very high priority for the team.-Thad
Note that this post is dated some time ago- April 09. That would seem to imply that work on MS Flight has been going on for perhaps 18 months now. Possibly nearer than we have thought.Alex Reid

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If the performace related thing is true, than we have reason to be hopeful. If they deliver FSX with the performance of FS9, we have a real reason to be happy.

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In his blog,(cited above by Virtual Expert), "torgo 3000" is quoted as- "I will say one thing. Performance is about priority number one from day one on the new project."Interesting that within 3 months of MS killing FS (Jan 23/09), a new MS project with staff rehires, is in the works! --------------This 18 month old performance comment thus takes on new significance- apparently MS was quite aware at that time, of the poor performance issue with FSX. And so quite promptly started a NEW project- targetting performance! At the time of that quote (April 09, re performance being number one)- FSX was still struggling- the newer high performance PCs were yet to arrive on the scene.These 18 month old musings of torgo are consistent with the point made by Fr Bill/n4gix that FLIGHT is more likely to use the FS9 engine (with improvements) and not that of FSX. One gets the sense from that old blog that FSX was NOT a favourite of MS corporate management!(One also wonders, then, if addons for FS9 may be usable in FLIGHT rather than the other way around. Curious that i/fly first released their 737 for FS9.)Alex Reid

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"Creating a flexible content-driven shader system when there is already mountains of legacy content not necessarily authored specifically for that system, and no time to go back and touch every single asset is a BAD idea."
This is an interesting comment.The shader system in FSX was a substantial change from FS9.Sounds like time ran short converting all the FS9 art the new FSX standard.BTW can we turn off FSX’s specular, normal, and reflection features?

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I maintain high hopes, and low expectations...Bob ScottColonel, USAF (ret)ATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-VColorado Springs, CO

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One gets the sense from that old blog that FSX was NOT a favourite of MS corporate management!
I’d think management sees the problematic launch of FSX RTM as their own failure. The option for an extension was management’s responsibility.In hind sight, there’s a case to be made the wrong course was taken.That management should have swallowed that bitter pill and granted an extension.Moving the FS project from ACES to MSG should shorten the chain of command.Hopefully the chain of management will have a better point of view on the situation.Of course we can only guess at what was going on.It’s easy to say extension but it would have had critical downsides too.We don’t know :)I think it’s fair to say FSX RTM had serious performance issues.They were largely addressed in SP2. But the PR damage was not :)

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I’d think management sees the problematic launch of FSX RTM as their own failure. The option for an extension was management’s responsibility.In hind sight, there’s a case to be made the wrong course was taken.That management should have swallowed that bitter pill and granted an extension.Moving the FS project from ACES to MSG should shorten the chain of command.Hopefully the chain of management will have a better point of view of the situation.Of course we can only guess at what was going on.It’s easy to say extension but it would have had critical downsides too.We don’t know.I think it’s fair to say FSX RTM had serious performance issues.They were largely addressed in SP2. But the PR damage was not :)
Any corporate group/department has to earn its keep. If a project has to be delayed- even for apparently good reasons, tough questions are going to be asked as to how to justify and meet that ongoing development payroll. One can only guess that FSX was released in its state to ensure the next payday & once released and the investment at least partly recouped, the axe fell.As a result, however, it is very likely that Flight will meet all its milestones! Hence the milestones may not be as ambitious as with FSX.-------------------(Quote- "I’d think management sees the problematic launch of FSX RTM as their own failure." Not likely- experience tells us that in any organization: (corporate/government/military/non profit) Upper management is always right -even when they're wrong!) Alex Reid

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VirtualXpert, thanks for sharing this information! Been wanting to hear some more news about Flight since it's been a while.:(

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I maintain high hopes, and low expectations...Bob ScottColonel, USAF (ret)ATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-VColorado Springs, CO
I am with you Bob.

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Good snooping guys. One thing that caught my eye is that they mentioned 3DS Max but not Gmax. That could put a lot of freeware developers out of business.

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I'm just very happy to read the indications the Microsoft Flight will continue the FS legacy of facilitating third-party development. I have always thought the strength of the series was the additional developments it allowed. There were some initial concerns that the open development might be closed off.An additional point of speculation is whether it will be a PC platform or strictly X-Box?Ken

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(Quote- "I’d think management sees the problematic launch of FSX RTM as their own failure." Not likely- experience tells us that in any organization: (corporate/government/military/non profit) Upper management is always right -even when they're wrong!)
I know I’ve couched my words, but I’ve been in this exact situation many times.The team does the work with the resources they get. But it’s a two way street.Management constantly monitors scope and budget…and it’s adjusted when/if the situation requires.I’m not making the argument it should have been extended - just that it was one tool management had, and chose not to use.If they consider it a failure they own it.
As a result, however, it is very likely that Flight will meet all its milestones! Hence the milestones may not be as ambitious as with FSX.
I agree to an extent, it’s the challenge for every game and every milestone. Setting and meeting milestones is the heart of it.From my time, after a difficult project the pattern for the team is to endeavor to reduce scope on the next one.And management’s role will be to build confidence and set some higher goals (maybe even address some of our wish lists items :)Within 16 months a precarious balance is struck.In practice the balance is to over scoped with an option to subsidize or cut.Peak performance is hitting ambitious milestones with the resources allotted.That takes experience, skill, and cooperation on all sides. :( Just my opinion :)

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An additional point of speculation is whether it will be a PC platform or strictly X-Box?
There's zero need for speculation. The official press release made it crystal clear it will be PC only... :(

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An additional point of speculation is whether it will be a PC platform or strictly X-Box?
I'd ask myself, "Would everyone be so excited that MS is 'continuing' FS if it was for X-Box?" If you look at the end of the trailer video on the official website, it says, "Games for Windows." Developing add-ons is supposed to be easier than ever now. (I'm really happy about this) I don't think you can model aircraft on an X-Box. LOL.gifSo, yes. It's for PC. I'm positive there won't be an X-Box version.:wink:EDIT: Dang! n4gix beat me! :(

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I'd ask myself, "Would everyone be so excited that MS is 'continuing' FS if it was for X-Box?" If you look at the end of the trailer video on the official website, it says, "Games for Windows." Developing add-ons is supposed to be easier than ever now. (I'm really happy about this) I don't think you can model aircraft on an X-Box. LOL.gifSo, yes. It's for PC. I'm positive there won't be an X-Box version.:wink:EDIT: Dang! n4gix beat me! :(
how are you positive there wount be an X-Box version?

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how are you positive there wount be an X-Box version?
The official press release made it crystal clear it will be PC only!

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Since we are all having fun speculating on Flight- consider the possibility that MS will use it to wean us over to Windows 7. That is, it might not run on earlier operating systems such as XP or Vista. Profitability doesn't derive solely from the sale of a new flight simulator.And as a point of interest, looking back to previous Flight Simulator reissues- FSX is soon to have the longest life span of all prior versions. Former holders of the longevity title are FS2 and FS4- each both about 4 years.FSX release was Oct 2006. One might wonder if these factors auger for a release of Flight sooner rather than later?Alex Reid

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Since we are all having fun speculating on Flight- consider the possibility that MS will use it to wean us over to Windows 7. That is, it might not run on earlier operating systems such as XP or Vista. Profitability doesn't derive solely from the sale of a new flight simulator.And as a point of interest, looking back to previous Flight Simulator reissues- FSX is soon to have the longest life span of all prior versions. Former holders of the longevity title are FS2 and FS4- each both about 4 years.FSX release was Oct 2006. One might wonder if these factors auger for a release of Flight sooner rather than later?Alex Reid
sooner is not an option .. the program is not even at the point for internal (pre beta) testing.

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