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frankla

"market place"

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I wonder How I missed MS's anouncement of a "integrated content market place" from their FAQ page. Well that should put to rest speculations that MS flight might put TPD out of business. I also like their emphasis on "enhanced scenery & terrain". So sue me, I love eye candy.

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The cynic in me sees Microsoft making a requirement that all add-ons be bought through their store and they would subsequently attach many restrictions (much like Apple's AppStore).

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The cynic in me sees Microsoft making a requirement that all add-ons be bought through their store and they would subsequently attach many restrictions (much like Apple's AppStore).
2 possibilities:Payware addon Fee structure e.g. Apple App StoreorA XBox live gold type of subscription where everyone would need to pay a monthly fee for online play and downloading freeware addons. (e.g. Some proprietary code restrictions which will put Avsim's file library out of business)

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Its strange how I knew all along that flight was going to have a market place, a reward system, integration with windows live/msn, an online multiplayer system and all of this solo as well. You may have to subscribe to get allthese features, but you can play it just like FSX, where all the scenery, textures , planes are on the disk. I also believe that you don't need to subscribe to get patches. Avsim aren't going to go out of business, they could be a showcase for apps.

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The cynic in me sees Microsoft making a requirement that all add-ons be bought through their store and they would subsequently attach many restrictions (much like Apple's AppStore).
Strategically they couldn’t do that.It is freeware and independent publishing that cultivates new designers.A restricted add-on market would kill that and drive existing developers away...back to FSX, FS9 and Xfoil.You can’t use a stick when the competition is using carrots :) [...Apple’s Achilles’ heel.]It will take some time to get the kinks out.Like what kind of liabilities does MS assume by publishing a 3PD add-on?I think we may see many developers wanting to use Live market, but unable for a variety of reasons.They’ll use existing publishers instead.

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I'm sure most companies will release to the current online community first, then repackage it for the Live Marketplace. But if MS does offer proper DRM it may be the best route to go, for any company.

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I'm sure most companies will release to the current online community first, then repackage it for the Live Marketplace. But if MS does offer proper DRM it may be the best route to go, for any company.
Perhaps you are correct. Of course the entry fee for TPDs could either be prohibitive or worth the price if enhanced sales numbers worked out....much conjecture but few facts at this point in time.:(

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An MS Marketplace would, I mean could, also have the advantage of quality control for installers...Cheers,- jahman.

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An MS Marketplace would, I mean could, also have the advantage of quality control for installers...Cheers,- jahman.
Look on the bright side...If it's anything like the typical pricing in the Apple Store (and who knows... it's all just speculative hypothesis at this point), maybe you'll be able to get your PMDG and ORBYX stuff for like 99 cents :biggrin:I wouldn't hold your breath though...

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Given that the Apple App Store takes an extra 42% on top of the developers costs (30% to Apple: 70% to the developer) plus $99 for a digital certificate, definitely don't hold your breath!

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The FAQ's integrated content marketplace ( their italics ), is a bit unnerving to me. It doesn't state integrated freeware content distribution ( my italics ). That alone implies a profit motive for this. And that tells me Microsoft wants a piece of the addon pie... bad news for commercial developers of all kinds. We already have developed a system of addon sales for the hobby. We don't need a new market forced onto us or need greater content competition.I may be very wrong, but I sense a change in the way addons will be allowed into the sim.Some of the greatest changes in scenery design have come about as work-arounds that bypass the SDKs. We've been using tricks to force the sim in directions the Aces never meant for us to go. If this is a new "restriction" on content, it is most unwelcome. FSX was already a move in the wrong direction concerning some scenery content. Every day, hobbyist-developers are forced to create FS2002-style ground polys for their airfields and runways. Or find a trick to overcome the fact there is no transparent runway style. Or jump through huge hoops because we can't easily make seasonal trees ( because FS2004 alpha-transparency is broken ). Or easily design conditional display or movement of objects... The hobbyists and the commercial developers resort to non-sanctioned tricks to make the scenery work. I cannot speak for aircraft designers, but I suspect they have their own non-standard issues. I foresee a problem as non-SDK methods might be outlawed by the Live! content censors.FSX has many great improvements. It also has many great restrictions. To add further restrictions on the distribution of content for Flight would be really stupid. If content is only available through Live!, then what are the hoops a hobbyist needs to jump through to get his home airfield online for others? Would there be some board of inquiry to OK his design? What if it uses a trick or two that is non-sanctioned, or is outside the scope of the SDKs? TileProxy-like addons, and many photoreal sceneries, might be outlawed due to the nature of using restricted content imagery. Scenery objects and aircraft might be rejected due to the use of textures that contain corporate logos, or simulate real-world equipment. Lawyers and censors overtake the hobby's allowable content, due to a financial decision to grab some of those addon dollars.Even allowing alternative marketing or file libraries to exist outside a sanctioned Live! marketplace, is quite a turn-about, as the markets and file repositories existed first. It is Microsoft that is the interloper here. They have no ethical right to control or sanction any addon. And should the process be made difficult ( to add content outside the official method ), the 3rd party developers will simply be choked out. The tricks and work-arounds would stop, as the design-experimenters would find a more pleasant hobby to amuse them.I do fear this as an intrusion of Microsoft into the 3rd party developer environment. I see nothing positive in it. What would they really contribute? The best case scenario is that Microsoft fails to capture any but a tiny fraction of the marketplace, leaving hobbyist and commercial developers to continue their contributions to the FS world unimpeded. We don't need Live! for our virtual content ( I just had to use their buzzword here ). We have many forums, file libraries, user groups, and successful commercial marketers. I don't think Microsoft truly needs Live! either. If it goes where I think the execs want it to go, they will kill the addon market... and killing that commercial-freeware market will kill the FS franchise.Dick ( stepping off the soapbox )

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I do fear this as an intrusion of Microsoft into the 3rd party developer environment. I see nothing positive in it. What would they really contribute?
For one thing, they could bring an open and easily accessible marketplace to many more sim users, which means more market participation, and that means more good content available to us. For another, they could impose some quality control standards. Both would be welcome. And if you think it doesnt work... Appstore anyone?I can see how it could totally go pear-shaped, but there's many ways this could be a huge boon to both sim users and content providers. Lets hope for the better.

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For one thing, they could bring an open and easily accessible marketplace to many more sim users, which means more market participation, and that means more good content available to us. For another, they could impose some quality control standards. Both would be welcome. And if you think it doesnt work... Appstore anyone?I can see how it could totally go pear-shaped, but there's many ways this could be a huge boon to both sim users and content providers. Lets hope for the better.
Those are good points.Quality control is interesting though... Compared to most Apple Store apps, FS Addons tend to be vastly more complex and technical. So who is going to be the judge of quality control? Is MS going to hire a bunch of retired Airline Pirates to assess if this or that FMC is modeled correctly?My biggest concern as a payware dev with an Apple Store system (IF it happens... as said before, only MS really knows what's happening and they haven't told me... and they could always change their minds) is that I have a personal relationship with the majority of my customers which I value a lot.Most of my customers are repeat customers and I know many of them on a first name basis.I'd rather deal with them directly through my own store than to have 100 percent of all sales go through a 3rd party.The personal touch and interaction is a good thing, and I'd hate to lose it.Cheers,

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Some of the greatest changes in scenery design have come about as work-arounds that bypass the SDKs.
I sincerely hope that it will not necessary to bypass the SDK's. I agree that both FS9 and FSX require work-arounds because some things are flawed, or just not implemented. However, the consequence of using those workarounds is that some add-ons can't work together. Some aircraft have their fuel system programmed outside the scope of FSX which means that an add-on like FSPassengers can't make use of that. To solve this, Flight needs to be flexible enough so that third parties can write their own "module" that communicate with the sim in a way so that other add-ons can access them as well. This might require a modular system and standardisation of how these things are programmed.A marketplace could be a blessing or a curse, depending on how restrictive Microsoft is going to make it. It may allow third parties a larger audience which would benefit us all. Some companies could offer their add-ons there for purchase and installation could be done through that marketplace while others can simply use the marketplace as a showcase where the final purchase/download/installation is done differently. Quality control in the form of a "seal" where addon's that work together have a "fully compatible" seal and others are only "less compatible" might also be a good thing.The downside of a marketplace could be that Microsoft is trying to control those third parties or wants to have a large cut of the sales. That could destroy the add-on market and would ultimately would be the downfall of Flight as well. Microsoft also needs to recognise the huge roll the freeware community plays in the succes of the sim and should not restrict development there but rather encourage it.- Allard.

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Quality control is interesting though... Compared to most Apple Store apps, FS Addons tend to be vastly more complex and technical. So who is going to be the judge of quality control? Is MS going to hire a bunch of retired Airline Pirates to assess if this or that FMC is modeled correctly?
Likely QC will refer to rock-solid uninstall, not crashing the sim, no memory leaks, in case of DLLs properly embedding identifying information so the rogue DLL can be pinpointed in post-crash analyis, not trashing user settings, stuffing add-in files into FSX directories so you can never again tell the files apart, obliging the simmer to install scenery onto the drive that FSX is installed in, etc., etc. QC would be most welcome IMHO as I tend to spend more time fixing things in my FSX set-up than actually flying (note "fixing" includes initial learning and set-up times to make the many kludges work). Note this is not a choice I make but only the result of a fixed amount of time available to simming such that I only get to fly when I don't have to fix.You do mention QC in the areonautical/avionics context, and that would indeeed be a great idea for a "rating": Whereas add-on softare QC should be a binary filter (the add-on is either available via the marketplace, or it is not), the Aeronautical QC could be a 2-dimensional rating for accuracy (realistic vs. toy) and ease of use in terms of piloting skills (novice, intermediate, expert)
My biggest concern as a payware dev with an Apple Store system (IF it happens... as said before, only MS really knows what's happening and they haven't told me... and they could always change their minds) is that I have a personal relationship with the majority of my customers which I value a lot.Most of my customers are repeat customers and I know many of them on a first name basis.I'd rather deal with them directly through my own store than to have 100 percent of all sales go through a 3rd party.The personal touch and interaction is a good thing, and I'd hate to lose it.
Ideally your only contact with your customers should be the sale. The fact that so much post-sale support is even needed speaks volumes to the sim's fragility and the many add-ins of dubious quality available. Note I don't mean yours specifically: Your add-ons could be great, but they could be getting stepped-on by another add-on from a different seller. For example, a vendor might make great scenery but the simmer gets fed-up with having to re-assign hardware controls after switching USB ports (now pretty much fixed thanks to Pete Dawson's FSUIPC) and just quit simming, so now you lose this customer forever, even though he was most satisfied with your particular product. This is an example of what I mean about the sim being "fragile".The real problem IMHO with the state of flight simming is far too much time needs to be dedicated to maintaining the sim in running condition (hardware, software, add-ons), so the community loses many fans to life's realitites (work, family, other hobbies, sports, other forms of entertainment). It's like rocketry, where the rocket's mass fraction determines the maximum payload, in simming it's the ratio of time spent on maintenance to time spent actually simming: Exceed a certain ratio and you lose simmers for good (or until the next version of the sim). Those are customers willing to spend their money but not their time, so you lose them: MS Store won't see them and you won't see them either, however great your add-on is.So my BIG vote is in favour of QC and a version of MS Flight that is robust and will degrade gracefully if an add-in or even MS Flight itself (gasp!) where to malfunction so we can spend most of our time simming and not fixing the sim.Cheers,- jahman.

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Bottom line for aircraft and scenery... you'll have to meet or exceed the previous SDK. If you want an FSX rating you can't be looking like an FS9 aircraft and using FSUIPC, if you are going to be Flight, you'll probably have to take advantage of certain improvements in the Windows SDK as well as Flight.May sound subjective still, but that's a general guideline for console development. Literally take advantage of the new technology or else don't bother.

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I don't think I would pay even 99 cents to have another plane like the defaults.If this ends the ability for users to modify their sim the way they like it, Microsoft will lose a good chunk of it's fan base to people who want to be able to build their own scenery/aircraft/panels/traffic/etc.

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I don't think I would pay even 99 cents to have another plane like the defaults.
Remember, the sim has to cover many bases and lots of newbie folks are quite happy with the basic aircraft included in FSX. These aircraft are also really light in terms of CPU and Video requirements, so FSX performs well with these on older PCs/laptops.Cheers,- jahman.

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