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Gibbage

Flight post mortem.

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First, let me remind people that I left Flight over a year ago, and im NOT an official source of info, but I just wanted to say a few things about the death of Flight. Also there is not much I can talk about without braking an NDA that im still held under, even if the project was canned.

 

First, is it dead? Yes. I have a LOT of good friends that are now unemployed, and MS has officially reported Flight as canceled. Its currently unclear how long the Flight servers will be kept up. I hope MS officially addresses that, since without the Flight servers, a large portion of Flight is broken. Its also unclear if they will release any further content that was finished but waiting to get released. Again, hopefully MS addresses that, as I cant.

 

Second, WHY is Flight dead? That is not an easy question to answer. Again, I was out of the loop for over a year, but it seems that sometime after I left as an artist, Joshua Howard took over lead for Flight and pretty much ran it into the ground. The Flight that was launched was NOT the Flight I worked on. Also, even if Flight did make money (I dont know if it did or did not), I dont think it was enough to be on MS's radar.

 

The team did an amazing job with the task they were given. There are some hidden gems in the game, and the team only scratched the surface of what was possible. Most of the team members were from ACES, and were very enthusiastic about flight simming and the product. Many members had there PPL, were retired commercial pilots or even flight instructors. Members of the team even owned many of the aircraft that were modeled! Flying is in there blood and all they wanted to do was share that passion with the world. Sadly, the teams vision of Flight was never allowed to fully materialize.

 

Third, whats the future of simming under Microsoft? Simply put, Flight was simmings last chance under the MS banner. There will be no 3rd chance. Honestly, I think thats a good thing in a way, because as I said above, simming cant bring in the type of money MS needs to really care. They are a massive corporation with millions of investors that need to see big numbers. As much as it pains everyone to admit, simming is a niche market. That market would be better served through a smaller more flexible publisher. The problem now lies in the fact that now that MS has canned two flight sim products in a row, its doubtful any publisher will fund another flight sim ever.

 

Fourth, will MS release the SDK or code? I doubt this very much. MS is not one to share its hard work with the world for free. Could OrbX, A2A or even REX take it over? I doubt all of them put together could gather enough money to make it worth MS to sell the code or license. I truly wish someone will take over and move the Flight IP out from MS, as the base code and SDK for Flight is simply amazing, but it would take a lot of money and work to do just that. The things you could do in Flight would make FSX look like a toy, and the SDK made production fast and simple. It would be a shame to let that resource not get tapped.

 

For now, we still have FSX and its many 3rd party dev's STILL working hard to improve it. We have P3D from Lockheed Martin who are working with the ESP code, and we have XP-10 for the people who want a serious sim that they can spend more time tweaking then flying. We also can still fly and enjoy Flight for what it is, not what it could be. There is also AeroFly FS that is looking to expand, and DCS for those who want to shoot stuff.

 

To the people who flew and enjoyed Flight, thank you very much for your support. Sorry the team could not support the community further.

 

Keep the blue side up and happy flying!

Kevin "Gibbage" Miller

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For those planning to move on do not be shy of the FSX, Xplane or the Prepar3D forums to ask any questions. I moved on from Flight full time many months ago and went back to FSX after years away from it. The forum members here are good with support and answering questions. I myself do not use FSX any longer and fully fly Prepar3D now and have for a few months. The Prepar3D forum on Avsim seems dead(ish) but there are experienced users like myself who check the forum and will swoop in to help answer any questions.

 

There is life after Flight, I found it in Prepar3D.. You might still enjoy FSX, others may jump on Xplane and others might just ride out MS Flight until it doesn't work anymore.... Depsite the "heat" Flight caused the members here are helpful outside the Flight forum also.

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Thanks for the info, Kevin. Amid the mounds of speculation and wishful thinking, it's nice to see something grounded in reality.

 

Hook

 

PS. You did a great job on the Icon! :D

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It is really a shame Kevin, but I still hope there is some replacements and some other simulator takes the place Flight SImulator once had.

 

So much potential; The crew can only do so much, but without a proper skipper any ship will ultimately collide.

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I have a question: why didn't FSX get the performance-enhancing treatment? We were (and still are by some) given rubbish about how it was designed for "future hardware" yet it still runs like crap 6 years on. Meanwhile, Flight is mysteriously running the way FSX could only dream about.

 

I'm sorry for the team members that lost their jobs. That sucks. However, I'll always be wondering how MS were conned for so long over the state of the product. As developers on the product, you must have known??? Why did no-one speak out? This is what is wrong with the state of management today.

 

Best regards,

Robin.

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Robin. I cant answer your question without braking NDA, but something like what you suggest is no easy task and almost impossible.

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I have a question: why didn't FSX get the performance-enhancing treatment? We were (and still are by some) given rubbish about how it was designed for "future hardware" yet it still runs like crap 6 years on. Meanwhile, Flight is mysteriously running the way FSX could only dream about.

Robin, at the time FSX was in the first year of development, the "future hardware" envisioned was that which unfortunately forked off into an alternate universe...

 

...meanwhile in this, our current universe, the rules changed and hardware development took a sharp right turn and went merrily on its way sideways from its previous path. FSX coding had already gone too far in the (now) wrong direction, and couldn't really be changed.

 

Kevin, as far as I can see somewhere along the line Microsoft seems to have lost the true vision and raison d'etre for the Flight Simulator Franchise. Truthfully, it was never any real "revenue generator" of any type, but it was a terrific "Goodwill/Loyalty Generator" for Microsoft as a whole...

 

As many will recall, FS was at one time the "semi-official measuring stick" by which true "IBM compatibility" of hardware was judged. When that eventually became irrelevant, it still remained as a very valuable asset vis-a-vis attracting and maintaining MS brand loyalty among many of the IT movers and shakers in the industry.

 

Unfortunately for Microsoft, these days they've managed to throughly disappoint and discourage many of their long time supporters because of their serious and sequential failures to satisfy expectations.

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I ventured the suggestion in privately, and now in public that MS can now sell development licenses to produce 3PD content sold with 30% commission on steam, the legal staff won’t get in the way anymore with the home team out of the game.

 

Shareholders would see their investment leveraged, they sold ESP, it’s not beyond my imagination to envisage something coming out of this besides a funeral procession

 

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I'll stick with FLIGHT for as long as it works. Going Aerofly FS would not bring something at the level FLIGHT can offer, although it does have a nice weather model allowing for thermals and ridge lift to fly gliders, but I will wait for Aerofly FS v2

 

Regarding XPlane10, all that comes to my mind is that I really do not want to go on a roller cosster ride between betas, until the next version is announced, and, I really don't find it that good in terms of what really is important for me as a basis - a good FDM!

 

Then, there is LM Prepar3d, and that one is the only sim I have been seconds away sometimes from investing my web credit card in... Problem is I would most certainly start it allover again when v2 is announced. I hope v2 is announced, and I also look fwd for the next patch - 1.4 - which may suggest the type of route LM is trying to follow regarding the achievement of future objectives.

 

DCS would be a great investment because as far as I read the FDM is great, but I would be limited to an area that geographically is simply not appealing to me, I would feel bored of flying there, with the same plane and above all, what would I do since I wouldn't use it for shooting???

 

The announced end of support for MS FLIGHT left me with no alternatives, really... Well, maybe only one, although I know it is not a plug&play platform - FlightGear2.8 about to be released, including new graphic and FDM features...

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Kevin, as far as I can see somewhere along the line Microsoft seems to have lost the true vision and raison d'etre for the Flight Simulator Franchise. Truthfully, it was never any real "revenue generator" of any type, but it was a terrific "Goodwill/Loyalty Generator" for Microsoft as a whole...

 

As many will recall, FS was at one time the "semi-official measuring stick" by which true "IBM compatibility" of hardware was judged. When that eventually became irrelevant, it still remained as a very valuable asset vis-a-vis attracting and maintaining MS brand loyalty among many of the IT movers and shakers in the industry.

 

Unfortunately for Microsoft, these days they've managed to throughly disappoint and discourage many of their long time supporters because of their serious and sequential failures to satisfy expectations.

 

You are quite right Bill. Too bad the old school guys who started PC's and related content are fading away.

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MVGibbage a great insight there. Lets hope somehow the code finds its way into the right hands and flight can reach its potential, its not realistic but there is no harm in hoping

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Kevin and Bill,

 

Both great posts. I just had to type it and get it out there. With everything else going on in the world, managers/directors never look to themselves as the source of the problem, and it really irks me.

 

I'm sorry to the team. I can't imagine what it is like to go to work on something, to be told one day that it is no more and to stop.

 

Best regards,

Robin.

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And there's allways THIS FACTOR, so difficult to get around with....

 

Talk about skippering...... But he is is not the Flight skipper

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Joshua Howard took over lead for Flight and pretty much ran it into the ground.

 

Very nicely worded Kevin. After he gave that little speech just prior to Flights release bashing FSX and it's "rediculous 25000 airports and world wide scenery", thats the point I decided I would never support FLIGHT! Too bad for the people who worked hard to make it something it COULD have been,

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And there's allways THIS FACTOR, so difficult to get around with....

 

Ballmer had nothing to do with Flight. I would not be surprised if he didnt even know of its existence. MS is just such a MASSIVE corporation, that 1 man cant know everything that goes on. He has better and bigger things to worry about.

 

Very nicely worded Kevin. After he gave that little speech just prior to Flights release bashing FSX and it's "rediculous 25000 airports and world wide scenery", thats the point I decided I would never support FLIGHT!

 

And that is why I say that he ran it into the ground. I never met the man (thankfully), and I dont know the full story and may never, but my opinion that he ran it into the ground is based 100% on those very interviews. That man never cared about flying or Flight, and you can tell that by his words.

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Ballmer had nothing to do with Flight.

 

Among many other things, that's one of the things I liked about Bill Gates too - as far as I was told/read he did care about MSFS :-)

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Bill Gates and Paul Allen cared about aviation and were supporters of simming. Sadly they both left MS long ago. I think it would be really cool if Paul Allen picked up Flight and let the team fulfill there true vision. He has the money, resources, connections, and love of aviation to do just that. Let me be clear that this is me just dreaming and I have not heard any rumors from the team. I haven't heard much of anything from the team, as they are all still in a state of shock and have much bigger concerns then spreading gossip with a former team member. I wish them all the best of luck, and hope they all land on there feet. It will be months before we learn if anything will happen, if we learn anything at all.

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I have a question: why didn't FSX get the performance-enhancing treatment? We were (and still are by some) given rubbish about how it was designed for "future hardware" yet it still runs like crap 6 years on. Meanwhile, Flight is mysteriously running the way FSX could only dream about.

 

I'm sorry for the team members that lost their jobs. That sucks. However, I'll always be wondering how MS were conned for so long over the state of the product. As developers on the product, you must have known??? Why did no-one speak out? This is what is wrong with the state of management today.

 

Best regards,

Robin.

 

Flight was made to replace FSX on the long run, some third party (as I said at the beginning) were involved in the making of it (as you all know one of them blew a gasket by telling on himself), some crumbs were initially suppose to be sent to FSX...not much but still....the first goal for both party was to try to erase piracy as much as possible with the market store, like that and with their products protected more devs. would be incline to go this route...maybe less money per addons to the devs. but more on the long run...it did not happen as planned.

 

Let just say that some don't play well with others...

 

Anyway, there is always something coocking on a back burner somewhere.... :wink:

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Second, WHY is Flight dead? That is not an easy question to answer. Again, I was out of the loop for over a year, but it seems that sometime after I left as an artist, Joshua Howard took over lead for Flight and pretty much ran it into the ground. The Flight that was launched was NOT the Flight I worked on. Also, even if Flight did make money (I dont know if it did or did not), I dont think it was enough to be on MS's radar.

 

The team did an amazing job with the task they were given. There are some hidden gems in the game, and the team only scratched the surface of what was possible. Most of the team members were from ACES, and were very enthusiastic about flight simming and the product. Many members had there PPL, were retired commercial pilots or even flight instructors. Members of the team even owned many of the aircraft that were modeled! Flying is in there blood and all they wanted to do was share that passion with the world. Sadly, the teams vision of Flight was never allowed to fully materialize.

 

It sickens me the potential for something better for flight sim fans and aviation enthusiasts is now dead for no other reason than GREED on MS's part.

 

I am sorry if I sound like a broken record, but I just had to put that out there... again :P

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Truthfully, it was never any real "revenue generator" of any type, but it was a terrific "Goodwill/Loyalty Generator" for Microsoft as a whole...

 

I always bought the latest version of Windows when I bought the latest version of MSFS.

 

Personally, I think this is text-book self-destruction of market dominance. They couldn't have done it better if they'd have tried.

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Hang on! Did this guy really say 'But ultimately this was the right decision for Microsoft' taken from http://forum.avsim.net/page/index.html/_/pri-news/joshua-howard-regarding-ms-flight-r493

 

If so its clear this guy is to blame, I hope the rest of the flight team find a job really soon, but this guy making that kind of comment does not deserve to be a part of any team, ever . That actually got my blood boiling.

 

My post mortem:-

Flight was miss managed and lacked direction from a person who clearly was not passionate or competent enough to run this project

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Hang on! Did this guy really say 'But ultimately this was the right decision for Microsoft' taken from http://forum.avsim.n...-ms-flight-r493

 

Those are normally the type of words spoken by somebody who still has a job and hopes to keep it.

 

My post mortem:-

Flight was miss managed and lacked direction from a person who clearly was not passionate or competent enough to run this project

 

That was clear from the beginning. However, there was always a chance Flight might succeed in spite of its mismanagement, on the strength of those who actually built it. They made a remarkable effort, with what they had to work with.

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I dont want to start a lynch mob going after Joshua Howard. I never met the guy, and I dont know the full story. Yes, the buck stops at his desk, but going after him wont bring Flight back.

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Lynch mob...now thats an idea! :)

 

I guess everyone is just frustrated at what could have been

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