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sanh

Have payware add-on developers lost the plot?

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I am looking to buy some new payware products and have been looking around to see what is out there. What I see surprises me.

 

Airports

 

I was looking at some payware airports and surprised to see that developers are now modelling (in ultra high detail) areas of the airport you just don't see (or see that well) when sitting in a plane either at the gate or taking-off/landing/taxiing. For example some sceneries have modelled the inside of terminals in high detail including seats and luggage carousels while others have pimped up the departure drop-off stands with highly detailed road signs and clutter. Orbx sceneries have non-flight related signage (don't drop litter here or something like that) in ultra high detail so you can read every word. Isn't this all pointless when its not visible airside? Perhaps I am out of touch with what customers are looking for these days. Do people using FlightSim wonder around the terminals or stand outside the arrivals building? For me, these kinds of advancements just waste memory and developer resources on something I will never see from my aircraft. By all means make the gate ultra detailed and the taxiway/runways/airside vehicles etc. but this extra stuff is a waste in my view and seems to be nothing more than a marketing ploy.

 

Aircraft

 

I am looking at buying the Captain Sim 777 so have been looking at the promotional videos and pictures. Some of the features being highlighted baffle me. The cockpit seat is animated so clicking it makes it go up or down and the arm rest is also animated. Again why?? How many people (after the first time just to check it out) will use these features ever again? Sorry, I just don't understand. When you start a flight do you click the arm rest to move it up and then down again to simulate getting into the seat? I guess it does no harm but a lot of these features just use up memory. The VC in the PMDG 777 looks much better than the Captain Sim VC and I wonder if developers could have spent more time concentrating on the parts WE WILL USE rather than on what seems to be marketing gimmicks to say "look how detailed this is".

 

Just my two cents.

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"As real as it gets"... eye candy, but to some it may the most important aspect.  For me, decent graphics (my system performs poorly with HD stuff), proper systems and an accurate flight models are the things that are most important.  I couldn't care less if the ash tray actually opens or not.

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there expanding they haven't lost the plot. Once you get to modeling and adding textures into the models over and over and over again. its gets kinda boring so that's why more and more developers are putting the additives on there. when i fly i want close to realism and i think most people want that to. 

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First may I say that I commend you on your perspective.

 

I've been at this for just over 30 years, and man, I can tell you first hand about the many wonderful changes that I've been fortunate enough to have witnessed, and in some cases been a part of one way or another.

 

Before I go any further, I'd like to dispel a myth that a 64 bit operating system will allow developers to produce products without concern for the memory they require.  This myth is just untrue, but it's growing.  Larger programs require more time and/or processor power, and if the programs are not written efficiently (you math majors will know what I'm eluding to) and with other programs in mind then we could see Flight Sim programs knocked back to the days of running FSX on a 486 series processor.  In other words, there is still going to have to be some type of limit set, one that I hope is set based on the processor in use. Yes, certainly, there will be much improved memory management and we'll benefit from having the contiguous memory available to prevent many OOMs, but if developers aren't careful we'll end up with other problems.  In short, what is needed is a Standard, not unlike an ISO standard, for FS programs.  Unfortunately, developers in our community rarely work together and that will prevent or at least delay the standard from being created.

 

Back to the heart of the OP's post, I can tell you that most developers work hard to limit the memory footprint of their work (I can think of only one present day producer who has gone the opposite way and who's scenery is basically too large to be run when using almost any commercial airliner.

 

Where the Eye Candy is concerned, you can actually adjust what you see and what you don't see via the FSX Display settings.  The good developers use the level of detail effectively and efficiently, but there are still some who don't or don't do so efficiently.

 

Hope this has been helpful, or at least thought provoking.

 

 

Happy flying!

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I'm not quite sure I understand the complaint fully. It's because of these developers and the community that we still have a thriving simulator today. This Sim would have died years ago without these guys and I commend them.

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Yes and no. Luckily for us there is a huge selection of addons to choose from, payware and freeware, so support the developers you feel are doing the right thing, and just ignore the rest.

 

But I follow you. I'd rather have developers that provide less detail and more airports released at a faster pace at lower prices. Same goes for aircraft, but that's just me.

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Where does too much detail start and not enough detail finish? For me, what I can see from my cockpit can never be enough detail. From parking to over flying, bring it on. Inside terminals and the prices of goods in main street shops, forget it. A complete waste of pixels. As I only buy Orbx stuff, it's them I'm talking about. The last screens of Homer had me cringing, but I guess someone thinks people sitting around the departure lounge is cool. :rolleyes:

Terrific outside though. :P

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I am looking to buy some new payware products and have been looking around to see what is out there. What I see surprises me. [....]

Just my two cents.

 

I think your post raises an interesting subject. We have moving armrests too, complete with sound effects! There are three reasons for including such things:

 

First, a very large number of customers want ever more detailed peripheral stuff included with their products, whether or not it really contributes to the fundamental quality of a given addon. This pressure is palpable, not a perceptive guess. Avsim is absolutely strewn with complaints about the lack of this or that functionality, often from users who literally write-off even quite new addons merely on the basis that it didn't have this or that function seen in a "rival " addon.

 

Second, some addon users are extremely fickle. One day addon X is the best thing since sliced bread. The next it is forgotten and discounted because addon Z has something new that X lacked, but it is not necessarily a better addon. Some addon users literally dump a previously enjoyed addon even though it has long lasting qualities, because something else came along that was simply new, not necessarily better. I have even seen a reviewer who gave an addon five stars and an award, publicly state he "removed it from his hard drive" a little while later presumably because some other addon appeared that had more eye candy or to his eyes better features. 

 

This obsession with the new against the lasting is becoming the default position of some.

 

Thirdly, if you add something that is not fundamentally needed, there is no harm, as long as the added feature does not unduly lower frame rates. Our armrest most definitely does not lower frame rates so it is ok to include. There is a difference between a feature which permanently functions and is likely to lower performance, against another feature which only has an impact at the moment it is used, but it isn't used very often (say, once or twice during a one hour flight).

 

Addon customers are very, very hard to please. They are, quite understandably, always comparing A to B and this does put a lot of pressure on developers to cram in every possible feature, but at the same time everyone wants frame rates above 30 or 40 on systems that are already pushing scenery and other detail to the limit.

 

Edit: Adding to Milviz's comments below - they also want everything to be cheaper in real terms than it was five years ago!

 

I think those are the reasons maybe you are looking for.

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I think your post raises an interesting subject. We have moving armrests too, complete with sound effects! There are three reasons for including such things:

 

And a really nice slideout table in the Duke that all of my passengers (ok, it's really just me back there) use on every flight! Until landing that is, then I make the announcement (to myself of course) to "put tray tables in upright and locked positions". As long as you don't go too far, and performance is good, which is always the case with your RealAir products, little details like this are welcome in moderation.

 

On a side note, I used to work along side a 3d modelling team and they would always tell me stories of 3d modellers who kind of "went mad" on certain projects. One guy for instance was supposed build a warehouse, and despite the fact that the render camera would only be at eye level, and the lighting kept very dark, he ended up modeling the rafters, the plumbing through the rafters, electrical wiring, wiring supports, air vents, etc... all details that nobody would ever see. He was lagging behind deadlines as well, so eventually got fired. There definitely seems to be an obsession aspect with certain modelers, which is fully understandable considering that they are doing something they really love to do and often times can't stop themselves from doing it.    

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Why get the CS 777 when a superior product exists?

Because its much cheaper and i don't need such a sophisticated VAS hungry addon since i don't have as much time to fly as i would like.

 

Thanks all for the replies. Some very interesting points.

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Because its much cheaper and i don't need such a sophisticated VAS hungry addon since i don't have as much time to fly as i would like.

 

From an owner of both, I would strongly urge you to rethink this. What the PMDG consumes in VAS, the CS consumes in additional CPU-intensity (read: FPS). Also, even at v1.6, the CS still has some rather unforgivable bugs and quirks. And it's not like the CS uses that much less VAS. Folks may not outwardly write this here on the forums (or be aware, for that matter) but the PMDG 777 is one of the most efficiently-written pieces of FS software I've ever seen. Considering all that is coded and modeled into it, its share of VAS and CPU resources almost defies mathematics.

 

What's the old saying? - "Buy once, cry once"? Duly true in this case.

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I never understood why Captain Sim includes a model of the toilets and the seat backs go up and down and trays go up and down on and you can open the overhead compartments.

 

Was this really necessary???

2009-10-10_07.jpg

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To add to Rob's (Young) post, clients also want the price to stay the same while we have to absorb the added cost of all these new (and costly) features... You have any idea how much a moving armrest costs to make????

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Moving armrests aren't a bad feature if you need access to the middle console without moving your eyepoint. Quite easy to implement as well.

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The OP has a valid point and I am in agreement.

 

Its where do you spend the badly needed memory...inside the terminal buildings and other non important (relatively speaking) or do you spend it on eye candy for approach.

 

Both are for eye candy but I'd rather have lots of realism (realistic autogens on approach, like city buildings next to the airport) when I am approaching to land than eyecandy after I pull over to the terminal at the end of the flight.

On an aircraft I like detailed VC and exterior..beoynd these two I'd like to get rid of all the memory consumers.. I don't care for seats and passenger area. IF there is a way to get rid of those seats on the PMDG 777 which may give me few more VAS. I'd take it. Forget about bathrooms and toilet that is silly.

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I'm going to be in the minority here and say let's get all the immersion we can. I look forward to the day when I can drive to the airport, buy the razor I forgot, have a coffee, plan the flight with my first officer and hop in the plane. That is what will attract new blood to the hobby. Not the fact that my aircraft's physics are within 2 % of the real thing. That is amazing, but esoteric. It's like the debate about FPS and smooth. Note: no criticism implied. Smooth is perception. My smooth may be garbage to others. I don't care. I only care if I think it's smooth.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for accuracy, but I think folks like Orbx are making a bet on the future. They are betting that SLI, 64 bit, DX12, will offer opportunities to expand the reach of scenery. If they don't, one of two things will happen. Our hardware will advance making their scenery mundane, and someone will fill the gap. Or we will stop upgrading our hardware, because it will no longer be necessary. I don't think either of those two things will happen.

 

I think human nature, being what it is, we will be uncomfortable with the fact that our hardware cannot properly run the software we've installed on it. We will blame the extra bells and whistles in the software. Hardware will, for a time, catch up to the software. The software we were uncomfortable with, will be normal. Software will advance.....and on and on. Those of you in the computer industry would realize this is necessary for the survival of the market. Advances in software drive hardware sales. Advances in hardware make advances in software possible. Perfectly symbiotic.

 

Having said all this, I find some things seriously lacking in the way developers craft our software. Who designs this stuff from a functional standpoint? It's like a gong show. Why doesn't every aircraft developer have a utility to allow one to properly place themselves in the cockpit they so meticulously designed? You know, line something up so you are in the right place. Make something a certain size so the zoom is right. Or give us a picture of what a real life Captain would expect to see when looking out the window. I find that far more aggravating than the fact there is no wing flex in an Aerosoft Airbus or that I can walk inside an airport. Walking inside an airport will probably blow my performance down the toilet today...but not in 2 years. Why doesn't every aircraft manufacturer create variables for every one of their controls, so those of us who wish to, can assign everything to a controller?...stuff like that.

 

I think the most fascinating thing about flight simulation, is we're always on the edge. This is not a closed system, like Apple (no criticism) would design. It is a typical Microsoft proprietary open source project. Aggravating to max and exhilarating; and it requires work...work that drives you crazy and satisfies you completely when it's done. In 10 years, when we're sitting down for a coffee with our virtual lover, before hopping in our virtual car to drive to our virtual airport, we'll be concerned because we're only getting 25FPS.

 

I salute the developers who push the envelope. Above all, I salute you guys, who wrestle with it every day.

 

 

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Don't waste time looking for "One FSX.combo suits all". It just ain't going to happen!

 

Anamiv

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This obsession with the new against the lasting is becoming the default position of some.

Does anyone remember the flushing toilet from years ago? :LMAO:

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gfd: I'm not altogether sure that 64 bit will provide the magic everyone is looking for. Even if the data throughput and bandwidth is wider you still have a lot of calculations that need to be processed all at once by the processor, however wide the channel. It so depends on what is done to use the increased bit count efficiently. I hope I'm wrong.

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Does anyone remember the flushing toilet from years ago? :LMAO:

 

Even market as such :LMAO:  It was busy with flushing sounds in the virtual skies and wet desktop chairs because everybody forgot to visit the real toilet :LMAO:

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