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PilotSim

Market research. New flight simulator. No more fsx.cfg nonsense

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Hello

I'm examining the possibility of a new mass-market flight simulator which will appeal to both hardcore and casual simmers. I've already posted several threads on Flightsim.com and Avsim is next on my list. Right now I'm working on market research.

A lot of people think that something too good to be true is exactly that. The whole 'you can't start a flight sim, it's too expensive' and 'nobody wants a new flight sim' and 'the market isn't big enough' arguments have droned on for long enough.

What I'm asking is that we use the power of the community, that is (so far) Avsim and Flightsim.com, to get behind the marketing efforts of a project that the casual flight sim industry is crying out for. By that, I mean that I want to find a way to measure just how many people would be willing to spend money on a new PC/Mac flight simulation if it addressed everything that was wrong with X-Plane and FSX, whilst throwing in some bells and whistles to boot.

The fact is, games development is a dog-eat-dog world, but it's also reached a point where new methods of funding are enabling focused, passionate people to realise their dreams of creating groundbreaking titles. There are new crowd-funding platforms opening all the time, and there's new technology available that a new flight simulation can take advantage of (technology that Microsoft and Laminar have failed to capitalise on).

Unfortunately, I don't have any development experience. I need somebody with enough clout in the industry to gain credibility, especially when it comes to looking for outside investment in order to take the title beyond the 'concept' stage. Whoever this person is, he/she probably won't do it for free. This is the first of an almost infinite amount of hurdles, and it's something that I'm trying to work out with friends at the big games developers in Montreal. 

Right now though, I'm just asking for people to get behind the idea (maybe not even my idea) of a new groundbreaking flight simulator. If I can prove the demand to these would-be developers, investors and other stakeholders, it's a really good start.

 

I'm open to all suggestions. 

Thanks
Pete

 

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Credit to you for getting the ball rolling. Personally I'm happy to support anyone who will venture into this market and frankly I am a little astonished that this hasn't happened yet. With crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter available and so much community interest in a new development for flight simulation I think that there is a lot of possibility here. What we need though is early developer buy in for the project. If the developers don't join the platform it is doomed from the start as users simply won't follow unless the sim is very comprehensive to begin with.

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Credit to you for getting the ball rolling. Personally I'm happy to support anyone who will venture into this market and frankly I am a little astonished that this hasn't happened yet. With crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter available and so much community interest in a new development for flight simulation I think that there is a lot of possibility here. What we need though is early developer buy in for the project. If the developers don't join the platform it is doomed from the start as users simply won't follow unless the sim is very comprehensive to begin with.

Thanks. It's refreshing to hear some enthusiasm. 

 

When you say 'developer buy-in' are you referring to developers building the core engine/simulation or are you talking about the third-party ecosystem that supports FSX/3PD?

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By developer buy-in I am talking about the add-on market. Ideally any new platform would be designed from the ground up with 3rd party extensions in mind and with input from influential add-on publishers or developers. That means building and releasing development kits early and tailoring APIs to requests from developers.

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Not too long ago, wasn't there someone else claiming to make a new sim? I know there was a huge thread about it somewhere.

 

Far as the OP, if its casual I'm afraid I can not get behind it. The new sim would have to be >= FSX in features, realism and content.

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Not too long ago, wasn't there someone else claiming to make a new sim? I know there was a huge thread about it somewhere.

 

Yes, he appeared from over the horizon and had great plans with no prior participation here. He bloviated on and on, got a lot of people scratching their heads, and consumed a lot of energy.  We finally had to ban him for questionable activities.

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Yes, he appeared from over the horizon and had great plans with no prior participation here. He bloviated on and on, got a lot of people scratching their heads, and consumed a lot of energy.  We finally had to ban him for questionable activities.

 

What was the 'questionable activities part'?

Not too long ago, wasn't there someone else claiming to make a new sim? I know there was a huge thread about it somewhere.

 

Far as the OP, if its casual I'm afraid I can not get behind it. The new sim would have to be >= FSX in features, realism and content.

 

Somebody had mentioned this over on the flightsim.com forum. Yes, it seemed that there was something on here, but he obviously wasn't passionate enough and nothing came to fruition.

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What was the 'questionable activities part'?

 

He was running a scam. We don't take to those too well. Please read our Terms of Service closely.

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Not too long ago, wasn't there someone else claiming to make a new sim? I know there was a huge thread about it somewhere.

 

Far as the OP, if its casual I'm afraid I can not get behind it. The new sim would have to be >= FSX in features, realism and content.

 

Sorry, forgot to reply to the second line in your quote. In terms of 'casual', I mean casual as opposed to professional use. But I'm also thinking that in order to get outside buy-in (both in terms of investors and third party developers showing their interest) the sim has to have a wide commercial appeal. Third party devs aren't just going to give up on something they know to support a new simulation - the business case has to be there and it has to be ultra-compelling.

By developer buy-in I am talking about the add-on market. Ideally any new platform would be designed from the ground up with 3rd party extensions in mind and with input from influential add-on publishers or developers. That means building and releasing development kits early and tailoring APIs to requests from developers.

That's what I thought. Yes it would be suicide to not allow some way for third party devs to add things, but, as I mentioned in the reply to VeryBumpy above, they won't be interested until there is a bomb-proof business case there.

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... get behind the marketing efforts of a project that the casual flight sim industry is crying out for. By that, I mean that I want to find a way to measure just how many people would be willing to spend money on a new PC/Mac flight simulation if it addressed everything that was wrong with X-Plane and FSX, whilst throwing in some bells and whistles to boot.

 

 

I have no idea what the "casual flight sim industry" is crying out for,  but you may want to look at Microsoft's attempt to address this very same need by introducing "Flight"..

 

IMHO, you would be better off spending your development dollars on a top-notch add-on plane or ATC substitute for FSX, P3D, and X-plane.

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He was running a scam. We don't take to those too well. Please read our Terms of Service closely.

I have no intention of doing anything like that. Was it one of those Flightgear re-branded things? 

I have no idea what the "casual flight sim industry" is crying out for,  but you may want to look at Microsoft's attempt to address this very same need by introducing "Flight"..

 

IMHO, you would be better off spending your development dollars on a top-notch add-on plane or ATC substitute for FSX, P3D, and X-plane.

Microsoft aren't passionate about anything other than making money and saving money. They didn't see the bigger picture and, even though it was only a few years ago, they didn't have the power of crowd-sourcing and social media to harness. 

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IMHO, you would be better off spending your development dollars on a top-notch add-on plane or ATC substitute for FSX, P3D, and X-plane.

 

Good point, I'd much rather see X-plane get huge assistance or developer support so it can, at a MUCH faster rate, equal or exceed FSX in all areas.

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Microsoft aren't passionate about anything other than making money and saving money.

 

OK - now you've got my interest... what are you passionate about?    .... "bullet-proof business cases" sounds a lot like making money to me - not that there is anything wrong with that  ^_^

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OK - now you've got my interest... what are you passionate about?    .... "bullet-proof business cases" sounds a lot like making money to me - not that there is anything wrong with that  ^_^

My passion, in this instance, is aviation and flight simulation. I've been a fan of the MSFS since Flight Simulator 5.1. I meddled with a few alternatives along the way, including Fly! and the Flight Unlimited series. I've dreamt of the day when we finally have a very cool-looking and very stable flight simulator, because as of right now, it simply doesn't exist. I noticed that there were loads of people banging their heads against brick walls to get FSX to run smoothly. Some chose to give up and either went back to FS9, or across to X-Plane.

 

If you want to make something amazing, and it really doesn't matter what it is (it could be a book, a movie or even the next Dyson vacuum cleaner), and you don't have the disposable funds to do it, you need to get other people interested in helping. And the only way you're going to do that is if there's something in it for them ('What's In It For Me' or 'WIIFM'). Most of the time the 'something' is a return on investment. And in order to start heading in at least the general direction of measuring a return on investment is by understanding what the market really wants. And that's market research, which is what I'm trying to accomplish here, and elsewhere!

If you look at all the other genres out there, developers have come so far with evolving video games.

 

They've done it with first-person shooters. If you look at where Doom was and where the Battlefield franchise is today, they've come a long, long way.

 

The same can be said for racing games. There were those arcade games like Outrun, then Microprose released Grand Prix. Today, we have Forza 2, where the cars look like you can touch them, the physics are believable and the engine sound processing is simply incredible.

 

Look at the FIFA franchise (the Americans here will likely compare with the NFL/NBA/NHL/MLB titles also developed by Electronic Arts). It has evolved to point where it is now a football (ahem, 'soccer') simulation.

 

We can talk about other genres too - the space exploration/fighting arena is gaining huge traction in the indie development space. In fact, Star Citizen is the benchmark in Kickstarter-backed gaming projects.

 

Then you'll tell me 'these are all really popular genres with tens of millions of addressable customers'. True, but I refuse to believe that the Flight Simulation market isn't untapped when Farming Simulator 2014 can sell one million copies!

 

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