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pryoski

Open letter to developers who wish to or currently simulate GA type aircraft for X-Plane

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Dear X-Plane GA developer,

I believe a lot of the X-Plane GA flying public feel as I do; but I have no proof of that other than my own personal experience and from anecdotal observation.

 

Observation 1.

Similar to their tuber brethren, the GA simmer loves detail and complexity for its own sake. Please simulate *All* the switches and functionality in the cockpit. The more complete the sim is, the happier we'll be.

 

Observation 2.

Conversely, the GA simmer hates it when visual function is omitted because the detail in question is deemed to be *unnecessary* in the scheme of simulating the experience. Case in point; toe break movement in rudder pedals. Patently unnecessary in simulating the flight experience ... has no teaching value and takes coding time … but; we like it and we notice it when your newer planes now don’t show this feature.

 

Observation 3.

The GA simmer will always feel let down by a switch that does nothing. If it’s painted in the cockpit it should do something! It’s a real bummer to try fiddling the Aux. Air switch and then realising it’s not ever going to activate … or finding that the Hobbs-meter has been stuck on 62.5 hours for the last umpteen flights.

 

Observation 4.

Some of you are getting this already I think, because a lot of the newer crop of GA developers are incorporating *completeness for the sake of completeness* into their planes. Others appear to be stuck in the past. If you claim the plane is a high-fidelity treatment, please make it so … I will not buy an aircraft from a developer who lets me down in this area even if I find it *very hard* to resist the *shiny* … but resist the shiny I will. I promise that I will only buy those planes from developers who create very complete GA aircraft … or who promise to keep working on a plane until the high-fidelity grail has been reached.

 

Observation 5.

Good enough just isn’t good enough anymore, I'll be voting with my wallet.

 

Observation 6.

Flight modelling is generally pretty good. :)

 

 

In a nutshell

We want PMDG/IXEG/LES SAAB/A2A level of completeness in all our planes ... even if it is just a model of a para-glider. 

  • Upvote 2

OS - Win10 64 Bit | CPU - Intel i7- 4790K @ 4GHz | MOBO ASRock Z97X Fatality | RAM - 16 Gb @ 3100 | Video NVIDIA GTX1070 8Gb Gaming  | X-Plane 11 - always the latest beta + stable | Js - Saitek X52 Pro + throttle + rudder pedals | TrackIR5 Pro 

 

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Kris, I think you're going to save yourself a significant amount of money in this hobby.

 

I understand your wishes; in fact I share some of them myself.  But I think it's far too much to demand of even the most populous platforms, much less X-Plane. Time, budgets, return on investment, potential users, even a lack of skilled coders to create all of these desired features for every release, these all impact the feasibility of what you're wanting. And if you were to boycott every developer who wasn't aiming for 100% functionality right off the bat, you'd be depriving developers of the chance to keep refining and improving through successive releases.

 

I think it's far better to encourage and suggest the features you want, and then be willing to meet the developers (with your wallet) somewhere in the middle.

  • Upvote 7

Jim Stewart

Platforms: X-Plane 11 | P3Dv4 | DCS
System: i7-6700K o/c @ 4.4GHz | EVGA GTX 980ti | 32GB RAM | BenQ 32" @ 2560x1440 | Oculus Rift | W10 Pro

Other Sim Interests: Assetto Corsa, rFactor 2, Dirt Rally, Euro Truck Simulator 2, American Truck Simulator

 

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Hi Jim, upvoted you because I think you're mostly right, but I'm hoping that we'll be headed that way eventually.

 

I didn't want to use the boycott word but I guess it could be seen as that :), I'll just have to be happy with the planes that fit my buying criterion and fly some of the bigger planes more often.

 

I'll probably cave in and get the A2A for P3D as well lol.


OS - Win10 64 Bit | CPU - Intel i7- 4790K @ 4GHz | MOBO ASRock Z97X Fatality | RAM - 16 Gb @ 3100 | Video NVIDIA GTX1070 8Gb Gaming  | X-Plane 11 - always the latest beta + stable | Js - Saitek X52 Pro + throttle + rudder pedals | TrackIR5 Pro 

 

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Hi Kris,

 

okay, read your letter and we'll stop release of new products immediately until we have the money, time, and experience to offer you an A2A level aircraft. Expect our next product in 4 to 5 years with X-Plane 12.  :wink:

 

 

...

 

 

No, we won't, of course. Sorry for the slight sarcasm. I actually understand where you're coming from and have thought a lot about it, too, because as a user I also want to have deeply simulated aircraft. For quite a long time I have complained about the lack of A2A level aircraft for X-Plane, also in public (in Geman-language in FS MAGAZIN, for example). But once I started to work with vFlyteAir, my views changed -- for two reasons:

 

1. It's really hard to achieve something like A2A. Starting with access to the real aircraft and flight experience with that. In the Cherokee 140 we were lucky that Walker does use this aircraft. But for the next project this possibility for first-hand experience does not exist. A2A have the advantage that, as far as I know, they have first-hand experience with real aircraft for all their products. Also, A2A have not always been on this high level they have now. It took them many years and constant updates.

 

2. You suddenly have to take care of user requests and user feedback. And there you get also the opposite of your open letter. There are some who demand more complexity. And there are equally some who thank us for not having a deep simulation (this was the case with the SR20). This is a problem: Whom should we believe? Users like you? Users who prefer "light systems" aircraft? Of course we try to take the medium approach.

 

The 2nd point is related to the highlighted word:

 

 

 


We want PMDG/IXEG/LES SAAB/A2A level of completeness in all our planes

 

Who is "we"? You mentioned "the GA Simmer" -- a very broad term. Does this include the other group I mentioned? If not, who should develop for them? Or should they stop using X-Plane and go playing a "flying game"?

 

In my opinion, it's also a mistake to say "low system depth" = "bad product". Aircraft with low depth can be good products, too, if the overall package is fine: This means: no glaring bugs, good flight model, useful and consistent documentation, constant updates and the developer should make clear before purchase that the aircraft is for entertainment, not study.

 

In the end, I think the market will be similar to FSX/P3D: How many developers of really deep GA aircraft do you find there? There's A2A, Marcel Felde's Katana, ... most others have medium complexity, not study-level... All types of products find happy customers. It is similar in X-Plane, and this is good.

 

How do you handle these aspects in your letter? Currently, the consequence of your letter is basically: "Either get to A2A level (and if this includes changing your entire business model it's not our problem) or stop your business (because we won't buy your products anymore)". 

 

 

I'm not sure if this would be good for the X-Plane market which finally, after all these years, offers options for everybody.

  • Upvote 7

Mario Donick .:. vFlyteAir

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I hear where you're coming from Mario; there are real economic constraints etc, but as you say you used to think like me before you became a developer. I love your Cherokee by the way.

 

Your perspective back then (via your example) includes the *we* sentiment that I refer to. Basically *we* are all who share the want for more depth and accuracy and represents a nebulous and hard to quantify group of people :). It'd be nice to be able to run an accurate census!

 

I'm NOT giving an ultimatum. Developers are free to keep developing however they wish just as I am ultimately able to choose products that align with my wants ...

 

The EDIT - You are also ABSOLUTELY correct .. there is a market for non study sim level. I am just expressing a want :)


OS - Win10 64 Bit | CPU - Intel i7- 4790K @ 4GHz | MOBO ASRock Z97X Fatality | RAM - 16 Gb @ 3100 | Video NVIDIA GTX1070 8Gb Gaming  | X-Plane 11 - always the latest beta + stable | Js - Saitek X52 Pro + throttle + rudder pedals | TrackIR5 Pro 

 

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Who is "we"? You mentioned "the GA Simmer" -- a very broad term. Does this include the other group I mentioned? If not, who should develop for them? Or should they stop using X-Plane and go playing a "flying game"?

Very good point Mario!

 

This is something I see quite often in forum threads, where people say things like:

  • We XYZ definitely need this / that feature ...
  • Everybody agrees that this / that is a must have feature ...
  • All users see this / that as a showstopper, and should have highest priority ...

In the best case, this is just some shortsightedness on behalf of the poster, in the worst case, its just pure manipulative wording .... Because I doubt, that any of these posters (or at least less than 1%) have real statistic data to support their observation.

 

All these sentences do overlook, that the flight simulation community is MUCH more diverse than one would expect. And this is mostly because flight simulation is an extremely (and beautifully) diverse are, where users have a lot of different approaches and preferences.

 

Thus: I openly request users to stop using sentences like I posted, and try to think a bit more openly / broadly about the entire flight simming business.

 

PS: I am definitely (and explicitly) want to emphasize, that I am not wanting to stop anyone from being critical (and write criticism) ... its just about the fact, that the way you do it (the wording) can make a very big difference in how it is perceived (and if you reach you goal before turning down the recipients interest / mood).

  • Upvote 2

Andras Fabian / Alpilotx

Visit www.alpilotx.net, a site about X-plane scenery

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I could also lobby PMDG to make me an Aztec and the Beaver, Otter & Twin Otter family lol.

Please, AltPilot .. I explicitly pointed out that I don't have statistical information. In fact I thought I went to great pains to point out that I don't! 

I'm NOT being shortsighted .. I'm expressing a want. When you say I'm being shortsighted, YOU are telling me that I should be happy with what I get? Wow .. that's not nice you know.

My *criticism* as you put it was lightly worded. It was very general and alluded to examples of things that my flying buddies and I have talked about in passing.

I'm sure you don't need to get upset about it. Please reread what I wrote and understand that I wrote without a hint of rancour though it's still my right to choose what I'll buy and what I won't. I've just decided as an INDIVIDUAL to exercise my choices :)

There are all types in the flight simming community. I may even be a minority; even then I'd like to let my perspective be known just in case anyone decides that it's a good idea ;).

  • Upvote 2

OS - Win10 64 Bit | CPU - Intel i7- 4790K @ 4GHz | MOBO ASRock Z97X Fatality | RAM - 16 Gb @ 3100 | Video NVIDIA GTX1070 8Gb Gaming  | X-Plane 11 - always the latest beta + stable | Js - Saitek X52 Pro + throttle + rudder pedals | TrackIR5 Pro 

 

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All, by way of further explanation, I have a substantial stable of Carenado planes. 

I have recently become acquainted with REP, and they are a godsend. SimCoders have influenced my desire for more accurate performance and henceforth I'll only be buying the planes that SimCoders have a REP plan in place :) ... not because I hate Carenado but because I love Carenado + REP! 


OS - Win10 64 Bit | CPU - Intel i7- 4790K @ 4GHz | MOBO ASRock Z97X Fatality | RAM - 16 Gb @ 3100 | Video NVIDIA GTX1070 8Gb Gaming  | X-Plane 11 - always the latest beta + stable | Js - Saitek X52 Pro + throttle + rudder pedals | TrackIR5 Pro 

 

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I don't think that Andras/AlpilotX was meaning to insult you.

 

I think with "shortsighted" he was just referring to the fact that for a single individual its own wishes are often the most important, and that some users forget (he did not speak directly of you, but in general) that there are opposite, but still equally valid wants.

 

Maybe in the sense that some users don't consider that in the long run a balance has to be found. This balance can either be in a product itself (such as in a "medium" complexity aircraft that is suitable for a large group), or in the market (which has a place both for PMDG and CaptainSim).

  • Upvote 1

Mario Donick .:. vFlyteAir

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But from a community point of view, in which I envision a welcoming community where old and new users of FSX, X-Plane, DCS and others play and fly together, with respect for each other and each other’s decision for one product or the other (without flame wars… just yesterday I read one on Facebook related to PMDG’s decision to release the DC-6 first for X-Plane instead of FSX; I honestly don’t understand how somebody can feel personally insulted by such a decision), DTG’s approach is creating just another fragment and border within the community.

From Mario's EXCELLENT article @ http://flyingxplane.apps-1and1.net/the-playful-the-serious/

 

Just thought I'd re-iterate Mario's excellent analysis!


OS - Win10 64 Bit | CPU - Intel i7- 4790K @ 4GHz | MOBO ASRock Z97X Fatality | RAM - 16 Gb @ 3100 | Video NVIDIA GTX1070 8Gb Gaming  | X-Plane 11 - always the latest beta + stable | Js - Saitek X52 Pro + throttle + rudder pedals | TrackIR5 Pro 

 

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Just thought I'd re-iterate Mario's excellent analysis!

 

Thanks for the quote ;)

 

I just want to add that of course everything I say has to be taken with a grain of salt, because due to my work for vFlyteAir and partly Aerobask (manuals) I have of course a personal interest that people continue to buy our aircraft -- even if they have light or medium complexity ;)


Mario Donick .:. vFlyteAir

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Yes, we often see the word "we" thrown around in posts like this, when in reality every simmer wants something different. If we are to believe the stats from X-Plane, most people fly with the mouse anyway.

 

Simulating all switches is going to hugely increase the cost and time required to develop such addons. Personally, I don't care if the circuit breakers or air vents aren't simulated, what I do care about is that the plane looks good visually, doesn't cost £200 and flys somewhat realistically.

  • Upvote 1

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circuit breakers

 

By the way, in Carenado's early X-Plane releases, I think it was the Cessna C185F, the circuit breakers worked. Okay, it is not SO difficult in X-Plane to have basic breakers functionality, but still -- Carenado with circuit breakers! :) Back then I asked Dan Klaue about that, and why he did not include that feature in later releases. Well, users simply did not care about that. :(

  • Upvote 1

Mario Donick .:. vFlyteAir

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Well, Mario already summed it up all very well! Thank you for that!

 

Its not about insulting anybody here ... its about general observations in the community (which I made over many years), and how most users easily miss the view from the other side (the reasons for which any developer makes the choices he makes ... which is often much more complex than most of you might imagine .... AND usually the developer also has a much better statistical understanding of his user base).

 

And I repeat: I am definitely NOT against criticism. Constructive(!) and well worded (which can be hard) criticism or wishes are very useful and important to make the developers aware of what one is missing / looking for etc..

 

For me its about this "we all know / everybody agrees" way of - well, little bit - manipulative writing which I can't stand (and is sometimes revealing about the user who uses these terms).


Andras Fabian / Alpilotx

Visit www.alpilotx.net, a site about X-plane scenery

You can see some landscape and other photographs from me here:

http://www.flickr.co...s/weathermaker/

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Well personally I don't need every single switch to be functional. Circuit breakers etc. are not really used during normal operation, and if you want, you can still check that they are in as part of your checklist, even if they're not functional.

 

I really like A2A's aircraft, and sometimes I take the time to follow the checklists to the letter. However this takes time and effort. Sometimes I'm tired after work and only have an hour or less to play the sim. So I just want to do a short, relaxing flight. Going through all the procedures would take up most of that hour. On those days, I'm grateful for my Alabeo planes...

 

The main reason I prefer GA over tubeliners is the simplicity and pure "flying" as opposed to operating complex systems, so this may have something to do with it. I get enough of managing complex systems at work. At home, I just want to relax :smile:


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