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Cruachan

Has anyone heard from Microsoft lately???

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This has to be a first in the history of FLight Simulator. Has anyone heard anything from Microsoft concerning future developments of this sim??? Any word on SDK's or service paks??? I'm very surprised we've almost gotten to Christmas (well in the U.S.) and no word whatsoever from Redmond. Will Microsoft continue to make Flight Simulator, have they let some people go on the FS staff, what's gong on??? I know this may sound like I'm overreacting but this lengthy silence from them is really troubling...

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Specially when it comes to the complete lack of SDK releases, or indeed any information about it all. Its been almost a half a year now: I've never seen any game company fall behind so badly for so long.Even worse: without a word.Take care,Elrond

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This is an excellent observation! I have been wondering the same thing for a while now, and have been too scared to say it out loud. Deep down, I'm hoping that the FS Team is taking the time to re-group, and define a new strategy for the FS community.Do you remember when Microsoft shifted gears and started devoting huge amount of resources to security? Do you remember the announcement of the .NET platform? My hope is that Microsoft will reclassify the Flight Simulator family as more than a game. I think I speak for all of us when I say it really is more than just a game... it's a hobby... an addiction! With that in mind, why not open the doors and make Flight Simulator truly modular. We need the SDK's, we need a proper .air file editor, we need a proper gauge creator, scenery editor, etc.Flight Simulator 2004 has led me to see the light. Why do I need to purchase Microsoft's representation of what the seasons look like in my part of the world? Why do I need to settle for ridiculous cartoonish representations of radio masts that look like oil rigs? Why do I have to fly in this one dimensional world that Microsoft says is "As Real as it Gets." Why don't I be the judge of that? Give me your SDK, and I'll show you something special! Let me share my work with my fellow virtual pilots, and let me learn about other parts of this world through virtual flight.History is not about text books... it is about the notes and memories of every one of us. I propose that flight should not be about Microsoft's game releases. It should be a compilation of the work of us... the virtual pilots.This is not a sentiment of hate towards Microsoft, or the idea of making money. Rather it is an expression of my wish to develop work for all of the simming community on a more stable platform. To this day, I develop only in FS2002. It was the best version ever released by Microsoft, and I hope Microsoft will change strategy to curb the downward spiral.Outer Marker - Notoriously bothered by blurry and unrealistic graphic textures in default FS9.

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Perhaps they are taking a well deserved work break after creating the miracle of software programming and supreme example of fine craftsmanship that is Flight Simulator 2004 A Century of Flight. ;) Elrond, You are truly the voice of reason and sanity in a sea of bewildering attitudes on this forum. Your ideas in this topic:http://forums.avsim.net/dcboard.php?az=sho...ing_type=searchabout software developer/customer interaction and support regarding the Microsoft Game Studios and their customers were spot on. However, it looks like one of those "in a perfect world" concepts as far as Microsoft is concerned since its been two months since it was posted and the sound of silence is deafening.I continue to be underwhelmed by the stunning lack of concern and support exhibited by the MSFS team for their loyal (in some cases fanatical!) customers.

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Thanks for the kinds words Douglas. I mess up quite often, but I try to limit that as much as everyone else :-).It is extremely striking to see the complete lack of communication, even after it was a very active request two months ago (and for years, all told). Some keep repeating the mantra that MS Game Studio policy and employees really do pay attention to what happens in their community (such as here at AVSIM), but words come cheap.Actions show the exact opposite. Maybe they do read their customer's thoughts and ideas, but if you don't act on any of them: its a more than useless exercise. The history here, when it comes to responsiveness to their customers, is quite clear. And dismal.Take care,Elrond

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Hi dilloll0, About if there will be a new version and when, this question have bee available in the insider:When is the next version of Flight Simulator going to be released? What are the new features?http://www.microsoft.com/games/flightsimul...02_readback.aspFrom what's I have seen for all previous version/release, you won't know any officialy announcement about the new version in flight sim web site, only before and near 7 month of the release.About the SDK , I don't know but you can estimate I think similar like fs2002 and the sdk time elapsed. they will probably appears here: http://www.microsoft.com/games/flightsimulator/insider.aspThanksChris Willis[link:fsw.simflight.com/FSWMenuFsSim.html]Clouds And Addons For MsFs

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MS has always been really late on their SDKs for FS. It doesnt make any sense because of the time it takes to create quality add-ons. The way its been running, by the time they release the SDK you need, you develop a great add-on and 6 months later a new version of MSFS is out which everyone flocks to. I would think we would get much more out of a sim like FS2002 if we all just concentrated on that sim and developed it to its full potential. Ive said this before a long time ago, but these flight sims never really mature to their full potential. Its a shame to put all of that great development to waste.Craig

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<<<>>Very nicely put. And all for fifty bucks, too. Amazing. How anyone can gripe and moan about MS and MSFS is totally beyond me. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't get upset if the manufacturer of the car I drive doesn't call me every two months. I bought it, it works, and that's good enough for me.The FS project leaders were at the Avsim conference at MAAM and couldn't have been friendlier or more helpful. They're already well into the next version rather than lying on the beach; or maybe both, given their superwhizzy laptops. I, for one, am perfectly happy with what I have for now. I'd like a computer like theirs, yes, but I can't knock the software.So boo yah, as Ron Stoppable would say.Mark "Dark Moment" Beaumonthttp://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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Direct from the MS "horses mouth". If you've read the article Making Flight Simulator, you know that the Flight Simulator team is always working on a new version. We've published Flight Simulator for some 20 years, and we plan to keep building new releases far into the future. Flight Simulator has become a very complex product, and it takes a long time to create a new version. During the development phase, we don't talk about our plans, because plans change. Although we work from detailed specifications and schedules, as we create the product we often add, modify, or remove features. To avoid confusion, we keep quiet about the details of new features and release dates until the product stabilizes late in the development process. We don't want to promise what we won't eventually deliver.

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That way if they don't have to make promises, they never have to deliver... sounds great!Sorry, but constantly developing means constantly supporting the customer. FS2004 is actually graphically less developed than FS2002... that is becuase it makes use of DirectX 9 API which is less mature than the stable DirectX 8 API.Trust me, FS2004 is like FS2000. When FS2006 comes out, we will all laugh at how silly FS2004 was with its cottonball clouds, crap water textures, blurry graphics, saturated blue sky that looks like it was taken from Anime.Microsoft tends to stay quiet when they are working on something new to replace the crap they just dished out... remember the Windows ME crap that came out? Well they just kept quiet until they got Windows 2000 out. No support, no comments, nothing.I'm still waiting for my 32 meter mesh that MS said was the default in FS9. It's not there. Then there's Default Dulles. I love how Dulles airport consists of 3 rectangular buildings (blurry) and 2 runways. No terminal buildings, no tower, nothing. All of that was accurate in FS2002. What happened? Did it just up and vanish like a #### in the wind?Bah humbug... this is not worth my $50.

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People pushing MS for what they really want is the only thing that will keep the series going. Remember right now they have no real competition and will probably not have for at least the time being. I dont have any problem with knocking them for things I think they really should have done or completed sooner. These SDKs are definitely one of them.Just like always, the talented authors of this community will stumble through the code and get things to work, but isnt MS really making their lives a lot more difficult by not releasing the SDKs in a timely manner? I suppose there is no promise that they will even be released, but it has become a standard that the community expects. Especially given the complexity of the simulator and the fact that certain variables change with each release.While I certainly think that MS works miracles out of a $50 piece of software, no one should be afraid or feel guilty for calling them on it if they are dropping the ball on something.Craig

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Hi Mark,Unfortunately, its clear you are not developing anything for FS, because thats where most of the pain is coming from. The end-user developers are stuck with a complete lack of tools and communications from MS Game Studios to work with *their* software (except outdated tools and info from previous releases). Its all become a guessing game and crap shoot, as usual. While that can indeed be fun for a short while (and educational), its a massive burden to getting actual work done in any timely fashion. Many promising new and even some experienced developers are simply giving up and moving on when it comes to some of the more complex projects.I have no doubt the internal developers for FS are extremely nice and very knowledgable people: but that has nothing to do with the corporate policies they work under and the almost complete lack of focus the team has on any basic, let alone advanced, aftermarket game support.You speak as if you don't or haven't realized that massive support is given to end-user developers for most of the best games released today (and for years now)... Maybe you don't realize that and haven't been a part of such communities. Regardless, its nothing new.FS developer support is poor to none.Take care,ElrondPS: This mythical "50 dollar" sim that is always brought up here is always somewhat amusing to me. People just don't seem to realize that game development is a multi-million dollar enterprise and investment: just to write the software (average these days is approaching 15-30 mil. per release, sometimes more). That real figure is just as much expensed, if not more, than on the most professional and high tech simulators available anywhere (when it comes to software). That those high-tech simulators only sell in the tens to hundreds of copies is the reason they cost so much.Once completed, FS and all game software is instead simply copied cheaply and those copies sold at $50 apiece to hundreds of thousands and even millions of users, indeed making back many more millions. All of this is irrelevant, however: the sim is far from a $50 anything beyond individual unit price sold by the truckload (specially for top 10 games like FS).References culled from: http://www.gamesindustry.bizBut I digress.

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>>Trust me, FS2004 is like FS2000. When FS2006 comes out, we will all laugh at how silly FS2004 was with its cottonball clouds, crap water textures, blurry graphics, saturated blue sky that looks like it was taken from Anime<>Microsoft tends to stay quiet when they are working on something new to replace the crap they just dished out<>Bah humbug... this is not worth my $50<

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I agree!!! FS2004 is superior in many ways to FS2002, and all I can say is that I'm truly happy with it.I guess some people are never satisfied. If you put things into perspective and have a look at flight simulator 98 (install it and run it, I dare you), you'll find that FS2004 is eons ahead in visuals, airport detail, weather, flight dynamics, I could go on and on...I'm certain that the future of flight simulator looks bright, and as X-plane continues to improve in the visuals department, I'll be the happy owner of both in a short time!I'm off to fly my SF.260 and enjoy the fantastic scenery of Sydney.James

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Hi, "we will all laugh at how silly FS2004 was with its cottonball clouds, crap water textures, blurry graphics, saturated blue sky that looks like it was taken from Anime<<"I am wonder what's you are talking about, when fs2002 was 4x more blurrier then fs2004 , and most of the user used 3rd party stuff compare to the default one in fs2002,include water, scenery, aircraft, clouds etc. And the environment sky and weather in fs2002 was closed totally compare to fs2004. You are talking about things that's normaly user download 3rd party on each version. These thing are available in the library and in this area fs2004 is more open.Maybe somes like the 2d paper thin clouds with intense clouds line in the horizon and the rain that's reach half of the screen as well for the noisy snow in fs2002, blurry ground, clouds that's disappears for some reason and a sun with no lights with a poorer Atc, AI,Invisible taxi lights etc..."we will all laught at how silly FS2004 was with its cottonball clouds"Again you are talking with the default stuff, the clouds in fs2002 they where all gray, 2d papers clouds with full of weather/visual anomalies and not realistic. Most laught of fs2002 weather engine now.When FS2006 comes out user will still download 3rd party.Ground/weather/environment are way better in fs2004 compare to fs2002 and more open.ThanksChris Willis[link:fsw.simflight.com/FSWMenuFsSim.html]Clouds And Addons For MsFs

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Uh... there must be something wrong with your version of FS2004!The DirectX9 API is completely mature, and FAR more advanced than the DirectX8 API. You should get yourself informed about DirectX9s feature set.I've installed FS2002 after playing FS2004 for awhile, and it's almost like going from FS2002 to FS2000!I'm sorry, mate, but unless you have a faulty version of FS2004 or your vision is deteriorating, FS2004 is much more visually appealing than FS2002, and if we cast a poll, I think you'll find that 99% of users of FS2004 would agree with me.Sure, the water has some issues, and the sky may not be perfect, but when I look out my window here in Canberra whilst playing FS9 it certainly looks more like what I see than FS2002!!The ground textures actually resemble more of what you see in aerial photos in the new version of fs, as well. I could go on and on, and while I realise that FS2004 isn't perfect, I also acknowledge that it's a big improvement over the previous version.James

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>Very nicely put. And all for fifty bucks, too. Amazing.< I assume you're referring to the sarcastic intent of my previous statement, if that's the case then I'm glad you appreciated it.And you absolutely are missing something Mark, it's called product support, and it's been non-existent from the MSFS team. Rubbing elbows with "friendly and helpful" MS people who are armed with "superwhizzy laptops" at a social gathering attended by only a few MSFS enthusiasts really has no bearing on the issue of a complete lack of product support from these so-called friendly and helpful people does it? So let's put smoke blowing by well equipped corporate types at parties aside. The real issue is and has been the arrogant and indifferent way these people conduct themselves toward the customer.That was the subject of the forum topic back in October, and it still amazes me that anyone would say no to better customer support, or in this case to ANY support at all. When I mentioned fanatical customers in my previous reply this is exactly what I had in mind! Persons who are unreasonably enthusiastic about a product with a lot of room for improvement, and who seem to love the uncommunicative manufacturer of that product. And these same people seem willing to waive any consumer rights they might have regarding it. Did you also say no to an automobile warranty and service support from the manufacturer of that car you drive?But I'm glad that you're happy with what you have now, and that the software that you "can't knock" works for you. It works for me too, but it has a lot more problems than the previous version. I guess I need one of those HAL 9000 laptops the Microsoft team is equipped with. And I'm sure that nobody ever tires of hearing about how this product only cost "fifty bucks", that is a sure fire argument stopper! Brilliant and very original.>So boo yah, as Ron Stoppable would say.:)Best regards

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With a post like that your the last person to trust.I love 2004. I drifted away from the hobby but 2204 has got me right back in there. The WX enviroment is much improved over 2003. The immersion factor is much improved.Why moan about it - stay with 2002 and be happy, after all, nobody forced you to buy it.I love it.Ray Keattch.

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I love a lively discussion. But we should guard against gettin' nasty with each other.Joe

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I have spoken to the MS design team on some routine matters lately. I have not gotten the impression that they are "bailing out". On the contrary, they are indeed planning a next version of the sim. They will certainly continue to do so as long as it sells.As far as the SDKs go; no, they are not promising any dates, but this is par for the course. Many of the FS 2000 SDKs came out after they had released FS 2002. They have never been timely with this sort of thing.http://www.fsd-international.com/team/TD_forum_sig.gif

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<<>>I feel so humble ...<<>> Oh heck, I must have had a life, and missed all that. Dang.<<< Er ... OK. But it costs fifty dollars. I'm sure most of us can understand the economics of why a Boeing simulator costs more than an MS sim off the shelf in CompUSA.Anyway, I'm going away to fly my sim. Say anything around here, and people start throwing stones, it seems. That's OK ... I never question the word of experts in their own field.So not the drama, Douglas.Keep up all that good stuff north of the border, though, Elrond old chap. I usually enjoy your posts!Mark "Dark Moment" Beaumonthttp://www.swiremariners.com/newlogo.jpg

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Did you also say no to an automobile warranty and service support from the manufacturer of that car you drive?I really don't understand your rational here! A car warranty is to fix problems that come up in a time period. Not to add enhancements to the vehicle. (Unless during a safety recall) When was the last time they enhanced your engine or radio etc... under warranty? This is precisely what you are expecting MS to do. While it would be nice (and they probably will at some point, based on past experience!) if MS produces a SDK(s) for FS2004 they are under no obligation to do so. I think everyone just expects it , since they have done so in previous versions. Now patches on the other hand I do expect if a major defect is found in the design of the product. I know of 2 right now which I hope gets fixed. The Timezone problem as MS didn't take into account DST for AI Traffic. Then again it only manifests itself with the real life schedules that 3rd party Traffic programs like Ultimate Traffic uses. Since FS default traffic is fictional this wouldn't matter, so MS may not actually consider this a bug. The other is how the AI aircraft groups up on landing forcing many unrealistic go arounds. It would be great if MS also releases SDKs but that would be icing on the cake It's not something we should be demanding of them.

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I've heard from a pretty reliable source that FS9 was rushed for release before Oshkosk this year, instead of (the more reasonable) November release. So I would rationalize that we won't be seeing any SDk's or "feature packs" until spring of '04.But what the hell do I know...

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Well, when the team lead from ms spoke at the AVSIM conference in Tahoe a while back, he said that the SDKs are not really part of the job spec, and that they tend to get written on personal time like at lunch, weekends etc. They don't have to publish SDKs - but do I think because they do like to see what folks do with thier "canvas" as it were. The team is filled with aviation enthusiasts for whom I get the sense this is far more than a job. It's easy to forget that the "enthusiast" segment for the game (i.e. add-on buyers, developers, AVSIM regulars) comprise a fairly small segment of the market. How many AVSIM members are there? Between 7,000 and 10,000 if I remember. A proverbial drop in the bucket for a title like fs. Have a good saturday. I'm going back to flying now. Colin

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Thanks Tim and Chris Willis for your feedback (well everyone for that matter). I was just wondering has anyone been in contact with Redmond and what is the state of Flight Simulator with Microsoft's brass. A good point was made stating that MS released FS2k4 in July versus November. If I remember correctly most SDK's were released in the Spring months of the following year. I just know without any SDK's it makes development hard for developers and in turn we all suffer. I remember contacting you Tim about when you guys were going to make you aircraft's VC's fully interactive (Commander, Seneca, etc.) and you told me not until the SDK's were released. At least that was a better answer than PSS's concerning updates for their A319/320/321 and Dash8 series. They don't want to even waist the time upgrading those packages and I know the lack of SDK information might be playing a part in their decision. Look at how long it's taking Lago to upgrade Emma Field because their waiting on a certain

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