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Orbx

Since the cat is out of the bag ...

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We've had Flight alpha code running in-house for well over a year; about 25 of our team installed a few builds. We've been talking to MS for over two years about Flight.I have to apologise to this whole forum because I sent Alain Needle a PM about a year ago since he was pestering me so much. And I let him know a little too much info. Oops, you guys have suffered for that lapse, sorry.Long story short, we spent a lot of time working with MS on white papers and looked at the code, gave them copies of all our products, told them how to do it right. They even used screenshots of our 1S2 Darrington in their mission dialog boxes, so they must have installed our scenery into Flight at some point, LOL!About March 2010 everything went quiet despite promises of new builds. Later in 2010 we were told to go away, no SDK will be shipped.Thanks MS, for all the fish.I've been a good NDA citizen and kept my lip zipped as best I can, although I saw there were some leaks last year from other disgruntled devs.Bottom line for us is that a closed environment with an in-game app store does not appeal to us since we cannot generate income from such a proprietary arrangement. I doubt that a belated SDK will arrive quickly enough for us to hold any interest now. The studio IMHO should not have stopped talking to third party developers but a decision at VP level must have been made to internalize the project.As for Orbx FSX will remain our core platform for at least 5-10 years and we will run Prepar3D as a parallel platform. We're porting all our stuff to P3D over the coming months. P3D V2.0 looks crazy cool, although I am under NDA with LM. We will release about 30+ products for FSX/P3D this year alone, including about 5-6 new regions including some in Europe. We're doubling our regions team and investing in FSX/P3D R&D as quickly as we can. We see no reason why anyone would walk away from 5 years of FSX addons investment to a new simulator. The future from our perspective is very bright.

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Just a shot in the dark..... why ORBX doesn't produce a brand new own Flight simulator ? The possible scenario is made of billion dollars , you know it better than me.BTW, Thanks for posting here John.

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Thanks for the insight! Wonderful news that LM are working on P3D v2. I think this will be the way to go given some time to mature as a platform. If P3D manages to gain enough 3rd party devs support from so early in its lifecycle, I think the community will not hesitate what to switch to when the moment comes.

Edited by lowlevel
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Just a shot in the dark..... why ORBX doesn't produce a brand new own Flight simulator ? The possible scenario is made of billion dollars , you know it better than me.
A billion dollars is not far off the mark, hehe!MS don't know what they have in the FSX engine source code, or they would not have licensed it to LM. It is by far the most capable and impressive 3D far-horizon engine ever coded - bar none. Nothing, even in 2012 comes close to the number of pixels and terrain the FSX engine can push at a locked 60Hz. Problem is, the code needs a little loving and MS won't fund that. So good thing we have a dev team at LM who are doing just that. Can't wait for that engine to be running close to the metal and off the CPU and onto the GPU. Yes, that's coming and it will rock.As for making our own engine? Been there, done that, talked to a bunch of suppliers. Again, nothing comes close to the FSX core code, it's that good. There is a reason why code from 26 years ago was retained. It would cost us about $30 million to start from scratch, maybe more. Better to just make content for an engine that is working and being developed forward.
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John,Very glad to hear that you are working with the P3D team and that they are working to optimize and modernize this excellent code base. In my opinion, having Lockheed Martin taking care of the code and advancing it for a simulation audience in partnership with quality teams like Orbx and others is the best thing that could happen. So glad to hear that P3D v2 is coming along great. Hope we hear more from the LM team (or Alain) soon. :)Best news all day. Thanks.

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Fabulous stuff John, generous of you to share and very comforting to hear as a FSX (& likely a P3D) fan

Edited by deeknow
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Glad to hear all of this. You have peaked my interest in prepar3d by mentioning Prepar3d v2! Is there any place where I can get more info on that?

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So good thing we have a dev team at LM who are doing just that. Can't wait for that engine to be running close to the metal and off the CPU and onto the GPU. Yes, that's coming and it will rock.
First of all thanks a lot John for sharing.The huge issue of FSX is just that it uses the CPU ( in a ugly way ) instead of the GPU, correct, who better than you knows that ? :(Now, are you referring to LM Prepar3d 2.0 engine ? If so, without the source code, is it really possible to tweak it so much or does LM own the source code and knows how to deal with it ?Second and last, is there any short-mid term scenario chance of lowering the Prepar3d price ? 500$ are an obstacle to big to throw the soul over it.Thanks a lotP.S: do not forget about us poor European guys..... :( when making brand new amazing ORBX scenarios- Edited by Mark II
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A billion dollars is not far off the mark, hehe!MS don't know what they have in the FSX engine source code, or they would not have licensed it to LM. It is by far the most capable and impressive 3D far-horizon engine ever coded - bar none. Nothing, even in 2012 comes close to the number of pixels and terrain the FSX engine can push at a locked 60Hz. Problem is, the code needs a little loving and MS won't fund that. So good thing we have a dev team at LM who are doing just that. Can't wait for that engine to be running close to the metal and off the CPU and onto the GPU. Yes, that's coming and it will rock.As for making our own engine? Been there, done that, talked to a bunch of suppliers. Again, nothing comes close to the FSX core code, it's that good. There is a reason why code from 26 years ago was retained. It would cost us about $30 million to start from scratch, maybe more. Better to just make content for an engine that is working and being developed forward.
Thanks for the post John very informative...Just wondering (and this is a stab in the dark) what about talking to someone like AeroFly FS or Outerra, would something like that be of interest? I suppose the R&D on a new flight simulator would be too costly?RegardsRhydian
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Thanks for the post John very informative...Just wondering (and this is a stab in the dark) what about talking to someone like AeroFly FS or Outerra, would something like that be of interest? I suppose the R&D on a new flight simulator would be too costly?
Outerra gave me a build of their engine some years ago, about the same time Aerosoft were looking at it I believe. I wasn't impressed at all, to say the least. It's using a procedural texture generation system which does not lend itself to landclass-based large scale scenery at all. I am sure they will keep plugging away at it but I have to wonder who is funding their work.I would love to license FrostByte2 from DICE, but EA know how good that tech is and won't license it to anyone, and if they did you'd be looking at $1million plus royalties before you got the SDK. We aren't that rich, or stupid.See my previous comments above about R&D costs. To rephrase, it's too costly to build a new sim, so why do it? Use existing proven tech, remove the warts, and build on it.
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As for Orbx FSX will remain our core platform for at least 5-10 years and we will run Prepar3D as a parallel platform. We're porting all our stuff to P3D over the coming months. P3D V2.0 looks crazy cool, although I am under NDA with LM.
Compared to Orbx, FS2Crew is just a little fish in the pond. But this is currently our roadmap as well, and I suspect the roadmap for most other commercial devs, too.Flight Simulation for the enthusiast/hard-core crowd is far from dead.
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Outerra gave me a build of their engine some years ago, about the same time Aerosoft were looking at it I believe. I wasn't impressed at all, to say the least. It's using a procedural texture generation system which does not lend itself to landclass-based large scale scenery at all. I am sure they will keep plugging away at it but I have to wonder who is funding their work.I would love to license FrostByte2 from DICE, but EA know how good that tech is and won't license it to anyone, and if they did you'd be looking at $1million plus royalties before you got the SDK. We aren't that rich, or stupid.See my previous comments above about R&D costs. To rephrase, it's too costly to build a new sim, so why do it? Use existing proven tech, remove the warts, and build on it.
Thanks for the reply John. FSX still has some years left in it. Looking forward to you guys keeping the ball rolling.CheersRhydian
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Just a shot in the dark..... why ORBX doesn't produce a brand new own Flight simulator ?
It's a huge leap from "creating scenery for an existing flight simulator" to "make your own flight simulator from scratch".As for Prepar3D, how long before Microsoft sees it as a threat to Flight and starts tightening the screws on Lockheed Martin's license? They've been thumbing their nose at Microsoft for a while by selling it to consumers for $10/mo, and one wonders how much longer they can get away with that. On that note, I'd like to see Orbx show some love to X-Plane. Now that Microsoft has abandoned the hardcore simulator market, you're going to see X-Plane's market share start to increase.
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To quote someone famous, it's "a big bag of hurt".We're not interested in X-P. It has too many warts for us to justify the time and effort, and far too small a user base. We can make FSX/P3D look and perform better than X-P even with current engine limitations, soon to be solved.As for MS 'tightening the screws' on an already-executed agreement with LM, there is nothing to prevent LM from marketing their version to the developer / academic / aerospace community. John Nichol (LM's P3D program manager) has already commented on this a number of times, even here at AVSIM.

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