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Guest robains

3rd party providers and reviewers seriously lacking...

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2. Testing and Deployment of 3rd party FSX software leaves MUCH to be desired. You can't expect folks to be hunting for solutions to problems that frankly should not exist and should have been caught in beta testing. Remember this is "entertainment" for most ... searching for hours to find fixes (if you're lucky) is NOT entertaining.[/b][/i]
I can't think of an instance in the last 8 years where I have not been able to get something to operate. Everything generally works as advertised - UT2 included. In fact, I have been a UT customer since the day it was released for FS2002 and I have always like the product.Nonetheless, I do agree with the above statement as far as testing is concerned because I do experience minor issues with some add ons from time to time. I have said this before, the community needs set standards for beta testing. When I buy a product from a well known FS store, there should be a minimum guarantee that it has been tested on a variety of systems with a variety of configurations. The wording used to describe compatibility should also be standardised. For example, when a product says that it is FSX compatible, what does that mean? SP1? SP2? Acceleration? Has the product been tested with Windows 7 or just XP or Vista? I think a lot of developers just stick to what they like and fail to get beta testers with a variety of system configurations. There really is no excuse for this considering the number of people that would be willing to test products if they had the opportunity. In 10 years, I have only been approached one time to help test something. Why? Developers ask other developers to test products, not regular users. The result is tunnel vision - a classic result of only relying on an inner-circle for organizational learning. Average Joes buy their products and average Joes should test products. Sure, I may not be able to provide detailed technical information about their products but I can tell them is something doesn't look or sound right. Better to deal with these issues in private than hash them out in a public forum. First impressions are very important in this community and even if you fix all the issues, the damage may be done within 48 hours of your release. I would bet Airbus X sales would have been better if it was determined to be a dud so early on. In addition, all of those negative posts stay on the AVSIM server. Even if they fix the problems, people will always come across those posts when deciding whether to buy a product.Two developers released products in the last year that were not compatible with buttons on the Saitek yoke and TQ (didn't work with Go Flight and similar products either). Their response was that the average user didn't use those products. I think if they actually asked the average used what they used, the would have realized that their assumption was off the mark. After all, are we all flying with our keyboards or something?The reviews? I also agree that some of them look like marketing pieces but some are good. The recent LatinVFR SCEL review was critical but fair. I just wish they would go back to a rating system.

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Good to know that all the time and money I put in on testing products that I review for Avsim, and all the efforts of other Avsim staff who work to bring the reviews together, is completely dismissed by lots people as nothing more than an advert, gee thanks. And no I don't get paid for doing it, in fact it invariably ends up costing me money to do it because of all the research material I have to buy and the interviews with people that I do and the visits I make to anything of relevance in relation to the product in question. And yes, I am a real pilot and yes I do have experience of working with real airliners and airlines.I'm currently working on reviewing the Captain Sim FSX Boeing 707 (didn't get that for free by the way, I bought it). Additionally, I've spent a lot of money on an original 1960s Boeing Flight Training Manual for the thing (specifically for this review), this is so I can accurately check the procedures in comparison to those in the PDF manuals which come with the CS 707. I'll be going down to visit a preserved Boeing 707 in a couple of weeks to take a tape measure to it as well, in order to check the accuracy of the VC amongst other things.If you don't like poor reviews and you have some knowledge of aeroplanes, like me, why don't you try becoming part of the solution?Al


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Good to know that all the time and money I put in on testing products that I review for Avsim, and all the efforts of other Avsim staff who work to bring the reviews together, is completely dismissed by lots people as nothing more than an advert
Al, the problem with a post like this is that it is general not specific by nature. A large majority of the reviews that I read are puff pieces and it is obvious. I have read some of your reviews and it is also obvious that you try to test the product and report honestly.There is a difference. At least I can say that I don't paint all reviews and reviewers with the same brush. After a while one learns whom to trust.Vic

 

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I run UT2 at 100% with extremely minimal framerate hit (1 or 2 FPS is it - they're nice FSX native models and don't cause the hit that other traffic addons do) - I don't think that's a fair "review" of the product at all, something else on your machine is causing that huge of a hit.


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I like to post mini reviews of products on forums but wouldn't want to be seen to be affliated with any particular website. I prefer to do it purely as a member of the flight sim "end user" community which hopefully allows people to see that I have no agenda. I don't think most reviewers have a bias but I do wonder sometimes especially after Robains made the comment that he found it frustrating that some reviews have missed out important information regarding bugs despite the information being discussed on flight sim forums like AVSIM within hours of the release.(And in case anyone thinks I just like to "try but not buy" I bought the Flight1 Islander and it is a fantastic simulation of a wonderful British aerial "workhorse").

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Al, the problem with a post like this is that it is general not specific by nature. A large majority of the reviews that I read are puff pieces and it is obvious. I have read some of your reviews and it is also obvious that you try to test the product and report honestly.There is a difference. At least I can say that I don't paint all reviews and reviewers with the same brush. After a while one learns whom to trust.Vic
+1Vic, imho you would make a good reviewer. (not that Al is not. :( )

Regards, Kendall

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To expand upon the point I was making, I think it is important for people to realise that websites such as Avsim - and the content therein - are very much what the community chooses to make them. YOU can influence that content if you choose to help, and Avsim's Reviews Editor would doubtless welcome anyone who is willing to have a serious try at doing so. I can promise everyone out there that there is never any pressure on reviewers to butter up a developer or deliberately write a positive review, the only thing that is ever asked of reviewers is to be honest in their experiences of a product. So if you would like to see reviews take a particular direction, then you do have the power to make that happen, by getting involved.Having said that, be aware that if you want to write reviews you should be under no illusions, it does involve a lot of work if done properly. On occasion, people have made the mistake of thinking that it is merely an opportunity to 'get a freebie' for simply dashing off a couple of hundred words, and of course they discover that's not an approach that is going to cut the mustard. But if anyone out there is knowledgeable about computer requirements for flight sims, or knowledgeable about aeroplanes, or both, and a reasonably decent writer (you don't have to be Shakespeare), then I would urge them to consider pitching in. You don't have to be a real pilot either, merely being enthusiastic is enough, after all, if you are not a real pilot, you have the advantage of being able to write from the same perspective as all the flight sim enthusiasts who are also not real world pilots, thus your viewpoint is relevant whatever your experience with real aeroplanes. Of course that means you might have to do quite a bit of research for your review, but that's the way it goes, and you do find that's quite an educational experience.So if you do consider giving it a shot, just be sure you know what you are getting into. I'm certainly not trying to put people off having a go in writing this, just letting you know exactly what you will be getting into. If all that sounds very serious, I should also point out that it is fun and challenging too, after all, if it was nothing but a pain in the &@($*, nobody would be doing reviews, and it is rewarding to know that your efforts may be helping to inform other flight simmers out there.Al


Alan Bradbury

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I run UT2 at 100% with extremely minimal framerate hit (1 or 2 FPS is it - they're nice FSX native models and don't cause the hit that other traffic addons do) - I don't think that's a fair "review" of the product at all, something else on your machine is causing that huge of a hit.
I also run UT2 at 100% without problem or an unacceptable frame rate hit. I have a tendency to switch on my mind alert when users post that they have bought all the right ingrediants for their FSX cake but it tastes awful. Perhaps there was a problem with the mixing and baking. Several posters on this topic have stated that they don't have problems with UT2 performance. Its time for the OP to ask himself the question if it works for them, why doesn't it work for me?A reviewer can only report on their own experience with any product. How can they be expected to report on problems they never experienced?

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A reviewer can only report on their own experience with any product. How can they be expected to report on problems they never experienced?
Thanks, JohnThat was really well put :( I know from experience that reviewers try to produce as completea picture as they can, but as you can see from the test systemconfiguration that is included with the review, it is typicallytested on one system - the reviewer's own.I also spend time on the support forum, and if there are significantissues to be found there, they also make it into the review.

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Several posters on this topic have stated that they don't have problems with UT2 performance. Its time for the OP to ask himself the question if it works for them, why doesn't it work for me?A reviewer can only report on their own experience with any product. How can they be expected to report on problems they never experienced?
That holds true for developers as well. It's practically impossible to "fix" a problem that can't be reproduced...

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Guest robains

Why it works for some and not others could by any number of reasons ... that's both the joy and pain of FSX and the OS it lives on. But that's kinda my point, I'm the paying customer, not really my job to resolve these problems. And let me state this again, these are serious show stopper type of problems and not problems that can be "worked around".I have been asking the questions, that's why I've contact support in all cases. A few things have been tried, but unfortunately nothing has been resolve with the exception that the MegaSceneryEarth folks web site is now back online so I can finish my purchased downloads. It's also very difficult to get support because of time differences where it's one question and one answer a day.It does seem a little odd that some of you post "no problems" but have posted elsewhere with problems?? Seems a little inconsistant? Anyway, not really relevant.But as has been pointed out, if the reviewers aren't really getting much in return for their efforts, than I can completely understand the level of quality put into the review.However, I'm still going to maintain that some of the "commercial" addon folks should do the community a service by stepping up their Quality Assurance a little .. I know these folks are making money because they are still around. Even PMDG JS4100 had issues even after an update -- I waited over a year to buy that product and it still produced bizarre screen flashes and had other issues -- not show stoppers, but VERY annoying. Many of the commercial folks do a TERRIBLE job at fully removing their products when the user opt's to uninstall ... often leaving one's FSX environment unstable. UT2 is a good example of that also ... do an uninstall and take a look at your FSX.CFG and FSX dir and various other dirs, you'll see a lot of left over files/items.And then there was FS Global, it's "install" process wasn't even an install, it was a readme.txt file telling me what files to copy and where to copy them. These are commercial products often being sold at a higher price than FSX + Acceleration. Come on guys, I know this site is very pro developer, but at some point you really need to draw the line and say "enough is enough". I've purchased well over $4000 worth of hardware and software to support FSX and about 80% of it has had problems out of the box -- I'm doing my part in feeding the developers/community, but I think I have the right to expect these FS devs do the same rather than giving a product that could require several days, even weeks of support and R&D.I'm not an isolated case, just browse the forums (and be aware that some forums you can't browse until AFTER you buy the product) and you'll see my experience, and my message is NOT unique.Rob

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I have to say, I kind of agree with the OP's sentiments, I spend a vast amount of my time in front of the PC, trying to get things working properly, hunting down solutions on line and generally farting around with settings etc when I could be flying. I have spent literally thousands of pounds on add ons, scenery peripherals and software and yet , many sims I have, I never or rarely fly, as there is some issue that I just cant face spending 3 or 4 days getting to the bottom of, such as getting the controllers to work properly ( Rise of Flight) , the performance to be acceptable ( DCS A-10) , getting the sim to run on a modern OS( Falcon4 ) or trying to get FSX to run without crashing etc etc. Having said that however, I dont think its anyone's fault, the possible variations of hardware and operating systems out there are just so many that its almost impossible to avoid such issues. But it is a shame, as often, I think, " I cant be bothered, I will just play Company of heroes or something else" and thats what I do instead...Cheers, Mark

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Guest robains

Well actually it is the dev's responsibility to test their products in the environment they plan to sell it in. However, it seems most developers will just test on an base FSX installation that has NO other 3rd party addons. Which is NOT the reality of most FSX users, AND it's not the reality developers/publishers want either ... I mean they do want to sell products (plural) to customers no?? Not just their one product? Right?Can they test against every single 3rd party product out there, absolutely not. Can they select a few popular ones, yes. But the problems can be cut off at the pass if they coded a simple routine that verifies key installed files with version and product vendor stamp. The dev could also code simple routines that log errors in the OS application event log with useful error information so that diagnostics can lead to problem resolution sooner.A good example of just sloppy developers is my current problem with the Just Flight MD 80/81 ... I'm on day 5 now of the one question a day from their support folks ... the Aircraft installer puts a file call "Check.dll" in the root of FSX dir. This is just ASKING for trouble. Why on earth the developer didn't name it "JFMD80Check.Dll" or something unique to the product, is beyond me. This is just sloppy work that eventually another sloppy developer will try to install a "check.dll" of their own and viola, instant conflict. This isn't the cause of my current particular problem with JF MD80, but it's probably going to be in the future. I've seen this happen before with files like "gauge.dll" or "weather.dll" -- I mean come of folks! This is really just sloppy work -- uniquely identify your own files and/or put them in unique directory.A good review will take a snapshot of their FSX environment (including registry snapshot and other support directories) so they can at least list all the files that get installed and where they get install ... this is really the ONLY hope for the end user who is trying to recover their FSX environment that some 3rd party dev screwed up. This is by FAR the most important thing a reviewer can do -- there are many freeware and/or relatively cheap tools that can make this task simple. You see posts all the time where some poor soul has installed a product that's left their FSX unstable never to be resolved other than wipe FSX and re-install everything again. I know I've done this more than once and so have many many others.Part of the problem is that some developers (Not all) don't embrace responsible programming practices. They approach a project as if their product is the ONLY product.

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However, it seems most developers will just test on an base FSX installation that has NO other 3rd party addons. Which is NOT the reality of most FSX users
what products and addons to include?at this exact moment there are 155273 files in the avsim library. which ones to test? what about flightsim.com's library?there are likely more than 200 payware offerings for FSX ... double that for FS9. which ones to test?then there is the 'base hardware' to test discussion ...--

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Guest robains
what products and addons to include?at this exact moment there are 155273 files in the avsim library. which ones to test? what about flightsim.com's library?there are likely more than 200 payware offerings for FSX ... double that for FS9. which ones to test?then there is the 'base hardware' to test discussion ...--
Test the most popular ones ... please re-read what I posted (I was editing my post so perhaps you didn't get the completed post). But like I said, product conflicts are usually due to bad assumptions by the developers. It's not difficult to accomplish and doesn't add a lot of effort for the developer.But like I said, when's the last time you saw any 3rd party developer log errors to the OS event logs (or anywhere for that matter)? I haven't seen one do it to date ... it's like they perform ZERO error trapping in their code, just crash and bring down FSX along with it.This is just basic due diligence development work, not some huge undertaking by the developer.Rob.

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