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Lawyer+Pilot

Release Dates Gone Wild - PFPX

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Anyone following the PFPX development no doubt remembers the anti-prophetic "shortly after Christmas" release date. Well, here we are creeping into June and PFPX is, and will seemingly forever remain, "virtually finished."

 

This is perhaps the best example of why release dates are so risky for developers. FlightSimSoft has taken the approach that a lot of simmers cry for by giving out release date estimates. And they've shown why that's such a terrible idea. To their credit, they seem willing to give regular updates, but every update is the same: PFPX is ALMOST here.

 

I wouldn't be so peeved had it not been for the fact that the Angle of Attack folks bought into FlightSimSoft's release date game. By incorporating the use of a beta copy of PFPX into the NGX Flightwork and Linework training, AoA has created a series of videos that nobody but PFPX beta testers can follow. I doubt AoA would have done this had they not been blinded by the "shortly after Christmas" smoke screen. They must be so incredibly ###### right now.

 

Thanks to this sideshow, I'm now much more understanding (and appreciative) of developers who refuse to provide ongoing release date projections.

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Anyone following the PFPX development no doubt remembers the anti-prophetic "shortly after Christmas" release date. Well, here we are creeping into June and PFPX is, and will seemingly forever remain, "virtually finished."

 

This is perhaps the best example of why release dates are so risky for developers. FlightSimSoft has taken the approach that a lot of simmers cry for by giving out release date estimates. And they've shown why that's such a terrible idea. To their credit, they seem willing to give regular updates, but every update is the same: PFPX is ALMOST here.

 

I wouldn't be so peeved had it not been for the fact that the Angle of Attack folks bought into FlightSimSoft's release date game. By incorporating the use of a beta copy of PFPX into the NGX Flightwork and Linework training, AoA has created a series of videos that nobody but PFPX beta testers can follow. I doubt AoA would have done this had they not been blinded by the "shortly after Christmas" smoke screen. They must be so incredibly ###### right now.

 

Thanks to this sideshow, I'm now much more understanding (and appreciative) of developers who refuse to provide ongoing release date projections.

It seems to be from reading the forums that while its very functional , they keep adding features and on and on and on it goes. Or they are just wanting absolute perfection which is not a bad goal, but also impossible. You will never get it perfect with so many users, so many setups and different knowledge. Someone will find a bug deep down. For the majority of us, its already an all encompassing huge flight planner. More than we can imagine. So as long as they want perfection this will never be released. 

 

As for the AoA videos, they will still be useful when PFPX does release. It was a great preview of the software in action and somewhat of a tutorial as well. No doubt they probably had to get permission from flightsimsoft in order to get a beta AND preview it in their videos, so it wasnt just AoA per say. 

 

Personally id rather use it right now as ive seen the final printout of a released flight, and its pretty spectacular.  Then service packs for whatever they find is left.  But thats just me. Right now I have to bounce all over the place to plan a flight. 

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Right now I have to bounce all over the place to plan a flight.

Exactly right. I hate that.

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PFPX: from release announcement (2011) to nothing in two years.

 

I wouldn't mind wainting if I didn't feel that I'm constantly being lied to (or at least mislead).

 

If we forget about about 2011 and most of 2012, here is how things have progressed.

 

December 2012 official statement: PFPX is almost ready, only documentation to be done.

 

April 2013 official statement: PFPX development is complete, now the only thing need is the documentation.

 

Current date: The team is implementing a way for users to create their own FP formats. The team expects this to be a long process. The state of the documentation is unknown.

 

---

 

To sum up my thoughts:

 

Will PFPX be a product that I would like to use? Yes.

 

Do I like being lied to? NO!

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There is a new video on youtube.
It makes me hope, that it will be released very soon.

It is in german, but maybe you want to take a look at it:

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...

 

The team is implementing a way for users to create their own FP formats. The team expects this to be a long process.

I think that's the problem their having. Like HighTowers suggested, they could spend the next few years tinkering around looking for perfection. Why not release the base product and add functionality, like the ability to create FP formats, via service packs?

 

I guess I wouldn't say they're lying to us. They're just unforgivably sloppy in how they communicate.

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They arent lying as software development is iffy when it comes to bugs just showing up. I get that. But ive seen this software in action. Having the OFP in front of you where you can check to see how your fuel is doing is very useful.  And to have winds aloft data and your flighplan routed accordingly not to mention the NATS as the video shows. All these extra things can be added later, and the minor bugs that show up fixed after. 

This is in demand right now, as there is no all encompassing flight planner like that to such detail. Its near real world airline dispatch from what I read. 

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With the launch of the 777 close, I can't see why a PFPX purchase wouldn't go hand in hand. They need to release NOW! :)

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With the launch of the 777 close, I can't see why a PFPX purchase wouldn't go hand in hand. They need to release NOW! :)

 

However, I wonder how close are we for the Tipple Seven to be released... months, 1 year, or 2 years? Who knows. Same with FSL, it could very well be a loooong time before release.

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This is held up only because of the team wanting a feature were users create their own flight plan format? And it's going to take a long time? Sorry, that's stupid to hold it up for that.

 

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note 2

 

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Why not release the base product and add functionality, like the ability to create FP formats, via service packs?

I asked the very same thing. The reply was that this is a must have feature in the release version (because so numerous users will need to have it).

 

I would personally would have been able to live with the default format.

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<p>We have also seen strange episode from the navdata producer, where they didn't supply files for testing.<br />

IMHO on a software that compile Flightplan which they can be approved like the real European CFMU does, you can imagine the testing that needs without getting crazy.<br />

When PFPX work needs to know the aircraft, weather, notam and country there are big chance to find lots of anomalies with what Navigraph or Aerosoft can deliver as navdata.<br />

I really hope that once delivered I can use it like pilot do on those ITTV video, where the dispatch center prepare the paper work and in 10 minute you can organize a cross the pond and fly safe.<br />

<br />

But one important aspect that I hope from FlightSimSoft is a different strategy on support, because with Topcat they fail on not integrating new aircraft and develop future that save time.<br />

<br />

Now with the integration of PFPX they said it will change, they will need 2 full time people working on support and future i think but the CO Christian Grill is a real pilot that work full time so I am wondering who is going to concentrate on costumer request.<br />

<br />

Anyway I am really bored on dispatch for my self, so once PFPX will be out I will fly more and enjoy more on VC.<br />

I cannot count how many time I saw ATC online prepare the flight and once ready to open IFR the ATC closed and I had to switch to unicom 122.80

 

I just saw that Christian Grill did a English version of the German mentioned above today, sounds ready ?

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Looks awesome and just wanted to say I love the Opus FSX model of releasing a minimal shippable product and doing short release cycles, fantastic.

 

I would use this product right now as it stands, please can someone take my money!

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Looks awesome and just wanted to say I love the Opus FSX model of releasing a minimal shippable product and doing short release cycles, fantastic.

 

I would use this product right now as it stands, please can someone take my money!

+1

 

Pointsoft did the same thing with ProATC-X. They're continually releasing updates to add functionality and have given us an idea of what's to come. They could have sat around tinkering for a decade but decided to take our money as early as possible. Pretty smart, if you ask me.

 

Listen up, FlightSimSoft. People are ready to buy your product AS IS. There's no competitor on the market right now, so regardless of how many bugs we find, and regardless of how many features you still haven't had time to implement, PFPX will be a grand slam. With your current strategy, some of us older simmers may very well be dead by the time you guys release. :)

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Lawyer+Pilot, on 22 May 2013 - 2:07 PM, said:

 

+1

 

Pointsoft did the same thing with ProATC-X. They're continually releasing updates to add functionality and have given us an idea of what's to come. They could have sat around tinkering for a decade but decided to take our money as early as possible. Pretty smart, if you ask me.

 

Listen up, FlightSimSoft. People are ready to buy your product AS IS. There's no competitor on the market right now, so regardless of how many bugs we find, and regardless of how many features you still haven't had time to implement, PFPX will be a grand slam. With your current strategy, some of us older simmers may very well be dead by the time you guys release. :)

+1

Especially the dead part. lol

 

More videos here by the way. http://flightsimsoft.com/pfpx/?p=screenshots

http://flightsimsoft.com/pfpx/?p=screenshots

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The way I see it, the FS world has some developers who lack discipline. The biggest consequence is that they announce their products too early and/or leave them unfinished and let them decay into vaporware. Even highly regarded developers do this (see: Level D's 757). Another consequence (and I'm going off on a tangent here) is that after receiving complaints, developers then come on this forum in particular and start attacking their customers (or potential customers). Obviously most FS devs can't afford a PR person, but they could certainly use some project management expertise. 

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I couldn't figure out why it would take almost 6 months to finish the documentation.

Now I realize the delay.

 

The product will never be 100% perfect.

Release it now, add extra functionality later.

And stop giving release time frames you can't commit to! That's the most important part.

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I actually really want to use PFPX in the 777 tutorial flight - sorta looking like it won't happen though. I'm definitely not going to use something our customers can't actually buy on day one.

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Current date: The team is implementing a way for users to create their own FP formats. The team expects this to be a long process. The state of the documentation is unknown.

 

I disagree with this interpretation.  This is the quote.

 

"Hello Gents,

I'd like to bring you a detail which you probably not thought.
PFPX has a feature allowing user to customise the OFP format. So, to do that, a template is needed, containing many fields with the goal to obtain the most custom latitude.
We working these days to create and don't forget any fields which as said before very numerous.
When done the product will offer an quasi infinite possibilities of OFP format which allow the user to create its own for its VA or looking very much at their favourite airline.

This is a very long work trying to forget nothing...

Best Regards
Pierre"

 

The fact that it seems Pierre isnt a native speaker makes the meaning a little ambiguous.  However i see "This is a very long work trying to forget nothing..." as more we are checking everything to make sure its right and there is a lot of different things to check to ensure no bugs.

 

I dont see it as you describe "The team expects this to be a long process.".

 

Just my interpretation.

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I couldn't figure out why it would take almost 6 months to finish the documentation.

Now I realize the delay.

 

The product will never be 100% perfect.

Release it now, add extra functionality later.

And stop giving release time frames you can't commit to! That's the most important part.

 

There's a name for this type of thing in software development: "feature creep". This is why at a certain point you have just declare a product "feature complete" and then work on additions for the service packs. It truly will go on forever if you don't stop at some point. (we are definitely guilty of it at times too, I'm not just picking on PFPX)

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I am also much in favor of a OpusFSX style of development cycle, new Builds every week, that keeps the software always current to what's happening in the FS world, than spending years to make the perfect product , releasing it and let it go outdated without any updates or added functionality. As perfect as a product can be in 2013, in 2015 there will be other features people will want, other addons to be compatible with, other databases to be used. I believe that's what happened with FOC, used to be the best Flight Planning software, now it's as good as a rock.

 

Not saying I would like an incomplete program, but it's probably 99.7% ready as it is, so a couple of updates during the next months won't hurt, and people will be happy with it. My opinion.

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Just my interpretation.

You might be right. I can't argue with your reasoning. I was just taken back, when "long work" was mentioned by Pierre, who posted the following 16 months ago (16th Jan 2012):

 

"Release should be come very soon.

 

Cheers

Pierre"

 

If "very soon" means over a year, then how long is "long work"?

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I actually really want to use PFPX in the 777 tutorial flight - sorta looking like it won't happen though. I'm definitely not going to use something our customers can't actually buy on day one.

That would be an awesome combo, especially as the range of the 777 makes winds a significant factor in flight planning. Appreciate you not including it in the tutorial though if people can't get hold of it.

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This just in from their Facebook page, and I quote:

 

"A cautious guess is mid of July" (when asked about the release date).

 

Whether it is 2013 or 2014 is still unknown.

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