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ricka47

Questions for XP10 Users: "What Can We Expect During the Life of XP11"

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I followed the development of XP10 closely and bought it the day it came out and impulsively removed FSX from my SSD.  But, after playing with it for a while, I knew that I could not replace FSX for me and went back to FSX and then on to P3D and never looked back.

 

Here we are again with a new version of XP which looks better than P3D and much less "cartoonish" and this time I have a bigger SSD that can hold both sims!  But, I don't want to keep two flight sims installed because I don't have the time (nor desire) to keep them up-to-date.

 

I note that a number of the issues remain from XP10.  However, one of my main issues, empty airports, has been fixed to a large degree.  Yet, for those of you who had XP10 for a number of years, did you expect to see more changes during its life?  I'm referring to things like improving the ATC, limited AI and the lack of seasons?

 

The reason that I ask is that I wonder (and I know that none of us have ESP), will we have to wait for XP12, as someone has posted somewhere, for those things?  How responsive was LR to the community during the life of XP10?  Are they reading some of the discussion boards and seeing that there is a lot of pent up demand by FSX/P3D users for something new but that too much may still be missing at this point? 

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LR made a lot of changes during the XP10 cycle (e.g. Transition to 64-bit). Whether we'll see lots of large changes during the XP11 lifecycle remains to be seen, but XP 10.0 is a lot different than 10.50, so this may also be the case here and I have high hopes they will.

 

Regarding listening to user requested features, the most requested features throughout 10 haven't made an appearance in 11 (Weather, seasons, ATC) much to the disappointment of many users, so they haven't been responsive in that regard, and I'd say they have their own direction and generally don't cave in to user demand. They are generally receptive to bug fixes and small requests though, so it all depends on what it is. Whilst eye-candy is nice (and there is lots of it in XP11), some broken or missing features remain unchanged from XP10 and no amount of moaning at Austin  Meyer seems to make any difference

 

You will see LR occassionally on the forums (Ben sometimes posts), but the best way to interact with them is via their developer blog (developer.x-plane.com) and by opening bugs.  They also have an official Facebook group where you can post feedback. They are very good in this regard, and it's nice to follow along with the development on Ben's blog, something that makes you realise the sim is under active development and always moving forward.

 

As with any product, if you feel strongly about something, then the best way is to vote with your wallet. Personally, I'm happy and looking forward to XP11 stabilising.

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I have heard that about "going their own way" and not caving in to user demand.  Yet, it would seem that, from a business perspective, listening to customers and potential customers may be a good idea and may be necessary to move XP more into the mainstream of flight simming.  I teach undergrad and graduate business and marketing classes and listening (and responding) to customers is covered in Business 101.  

 

I read on the P3D forum recently that on one major VA, the percentage of pilots using FSX was about 71%, P3D was about 12% and X-Plane was 3.6%  FS9 came in at about 13% which surprised me!  Now, that may not tell us a lot since VA's are often set up to favor one sim over another.  But, it may be worth considering that XP is a small niche player in an already small and fragmented market (soon to be more fragmented when/if DTG releases their 64-bit sim and when LM releases a 64-bit version of P3D) and will need to listen to the community to move beyond that - if LR even wants to do that.

 

PS  I did buy the full version of both XP10 and XP11 and will probably make XP11 my main sim.

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Even LR don't knows all of the things they will incorporate in the XP11 run. Imagine your job, are you knowing (all) what you will do in 2 years? :D And if so, if you have the idea already today, why aren't you doing it already today but are waiting for another 2 years? ;)

 

Long story short - future is highly unpredictible at some point...

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In this case though, even five years in the past, they knew what many potential customers wanted and that didn't happen and there may be good reasons for this.  

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Was it any different with the other sims floating around? ;)

 

Seriously: one thing after another. We have now buildings at many airports (although they don't help you FLYING - even worse, they can make it more worse, i.e. less fps).

Or... the new UI - requsted by many users. Agreed, it looks nicer, but is indeed more complicated, as you have to click many more times to achieve the same result as in the old UI. I have posted a comparison in a German forum for assignment of controller buttons (http://flightx.net/index.php?thread/91423-x-plane-11-demo-beta-released/&pageNo=3).

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LR does listen to user feedback, its just that Austin views XP development roadmap a bit different than us users. Im sure he has good plans for seasons, weather, etc. as technology evolves and pc's become more powerful, those plans will be included in the development.

 

Some of us are just too impatient....Good things come to those who wait!  :wink:

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ricka47,

I fall pretty much into a carbon copy of your experience.  Only I didn't by XP10 at initial release I bought it about a year in I think. XP11 looks good to me but I am not going to purchase a copy until I'm sure it has the major components in place that are simply must haves in order for me to think about switching back. A/I and a sophisticated weather program are two big tickets I have to see addressed before I will consider purchasing XP.  I wont take it on faith anymore because the development cycle IMO marches to the rhythm of their own drums,  That said, it troubles/bothers me when I see bobblehead Austin dolls on the dash of an aircraft when IMO that development time could have been spent addressing critical shortcomings. It's Austin's program and he can go any direction he wants with it but I'm just going to cautiously watch until all the pieces I need are in place. Another reason I am cautiously waiting is based on how I was treated at the .org. I won't EVER under any circumstances spent even .01 at that toxic inhospitable place; I'd rather snort a crushed lightbulb and quit simming altogether than to try to bring myself to type their url in my address bar.

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Essentially it seems as though the OP is asking whether A] LR have a roadmap for XP11 and B] if LR have divulged it externally. From the very little I have come to know about LR I would imagine the answer to A] is Yes whilst the answer to B] is No. All IMHO of course.

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I have heard that about "going their own way" and not caving in to user demand.  Yet, it would seem that, from a business perspective, listening to customers and potential customers may be a good idea and may be necessary to move XP more into the mainstream of flight simming.  I teach undergrad and graduate business and marketing classes and listening (and responding) to customers is covered in Business 101.  

 

X-Plane on the PC isn't Laminar's only source of income. There is a version for mobile devices that apparently sells pretty well, and there is the more expensive FAA-certified professional version of X-Plane for training. I think I remember reading somewhere that Laminar also has working relationships with some of the major civilian and Govt contractors like Boeing for special simulation projects. 

 

That may explain the somewhat... er, unique approach Austin has for the consumer version of X-Plane, where it has always seemed to me that he treats it more like a personal sim and mainly works on what he cares about. He bought a personal plane with a PT-6 turboprop a while back, so now we get better PT-6 modeling in the sim. Maybe he doesn't care so much about weather modeling in X-Plane, because he flies as a personal hobby. He always has the option to sit out bad weather, unlike a commercial pilot. And so on.

 

Whatever the reasons, it means we get some very good things in the sim that might not be here if it was designed by corporate committee, Microsoft style. And we get some omissions too, like seasons. The sim does continually improve over time, so it's mainly a question of waiting long enough to get what we all want.

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And it is a bit ridiculous to always blame Austin. He doesn´t has complete control about X-Plane. I am certain that severalfeatures were implemented more or less against "his wil"l In fact it is a well known secret that nothing can kill your company better, than to listen to your customers! The customers have no idea about the real problems and costs.

There is a very important reason why they didn´t bother with weather for 11.0 .  Their basic rendering engine was years old and no longer suitable for todays GPUs. Furthermore, they had severe restrictions in their workflow. But everything depends on these mechanisms!

It would stupid to make nbig changes in the weatherrendering, when you have to change basic shaders, too. If you change the basic shaders you have to rewrite the weather system anyway. Now they setup the background ad want to stabilize it. This has nothing to do with gimicks, this is simply sensible engineering.They have integrated several new components into X-Plane 11, but it will take some time for these changes to show results.

This is in fact one of the biggest necesities for .0 versions. This is the only time, when you can integrate major changes in the background. The weather system has the major advantage, that it is only weakly connected to other systems. Plane or scenery designers don´t have to change anything, if you change the weather system. So it would be rather stupid to renovate this system at this time.

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Laminar is a perfect example of a company that's engineering-driven, not market-driven.  Add to that that it's private (so it doesn't have lots of public investors to satisfy) and run by its founder, and that means it can be whatever Austin and his team want it to be.

 

It's normal for us outsiders to assume that Laminar's goal is to grow and increase its market share and win more customers away from Dovetail or Lockheed Martin or other competitors.  But maybe that's not the case.  Maybe they'd rather stay smaller, deal with fewer (but maybe more loyal) customers and employees, and make the simulator the way they want it to be.  

 

There's nothing wrong with being a high-end boutique company and staying in control.  You can produce a nice income and and a good product by limiting your size and staying focused.  A lot of companies have wrecked themselves chasing growth.  Others grow and succeed - but when they grow, they change.  Maybe Laminar doesn't want that.  There's no reason they should.  

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Essentially it seems as though the OP is asking whether A] LR have a roadmap for XP11 and B] if LR have divulged it externally. From the very little I have come to know about LR I would imagine the answer to A] is Yes whilst the answer to B] is No. All IMHO of course.

I think the real answer is different: They have a roadmap, but this roadmap is not set in stone.

Look at X-Plane 10. They thought they wouldn´t need 64 Bits in the X-Plane 10 run. During the development of 10.1 it became obvoíous that this was wrong! So they decided on the fly to switch to 64 Bits in 10.20 . So they can react to unpredicted problems and opportunities.

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Laminar is a perfect example of a company that's engineering-driven, not market-driven.  Add to that that it's private (so it doesn't have lots of public investors to satisfy) and run by its founder, and that means it can be whatever Austin and his team want it to be.

 

I think you nailed it. However, freedom to do whatever he wants is still more limited than he'd like:

 

"Coding is my favorite part of the job by far, customer service and business and legal dealings all annoying. If all I had to do was code I would have made THREE X-Plane's by now!"

(source: Austin Meyer's comment of today to 

)

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Another reason I am cautiously waiting is based on how I was treated at the .org. I won't EVER under any circumstances spent even .01 at that toxic inhospitable place; I'd rather snort a crushed lightbulb and quit simming altogether than to try to bring myself to type their url in my address bar.

 

Please understand that the .org has nothing, but nothing, to do with Laminar. 

Many new customers think they are related, but they are not.

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