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bob.bernstein

Maybe I'm just too picky

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Before I issue a complaint here are my bona fides: a one time PPL many years ago (don't ask :-) ), but pre family and kids. Started simming right away with SubLogic/Bruce Artwick and a 286 which should date me well. While not a professional in computing, I do use computing extensively in my professional field (science) and have been associated with computers in terms of programming, etc. since the paper tape era (again dating myself). The past 8 years were spent with x-plane and FLY. A new computer this past summer switched me back to MSFS which I have found to have finally lived up to its initial promise. No real issues here. My complaint: where is the quality control for payware aircraft? I've now bought about 6 payware planes at an average cost of $25-30. Not much per plane, but soon adds up to the $100's . With one very notable exception, all have been buggy either in terms of features, interaction with FS, or strange flight models. Further, the companies without exception, have all blamed my setup, my system, me, when I have noted these bugs. All of these planes received good reviews here and elsewhere. A 17% satisfaction rate tells me a lot of people are out just to make a quick buck off our hobby. My only recourse would be to just stick with the one company that I've had great luck with, but they produce only one type of aircraft. Which brings me to my subject heading: am I too picky to expect something I pay for to have reasonable level of quality and support? Anyone else with similar experience? Mike

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The quality control does exist. Search both all the general flightsim forums and the support forums of the company. Also, download and read any and all documentation. Still have questions about features or functionality? Ask! So many problems people have could be prevented by a little simple research ahead of time. Some people would never bother to read a company's support forums until they have a problem. Look there ahead of time and see what issues people are having.

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Hi Mike,I can appreciate it where you come from. I can remember dozens of threads where some supporters of Microsoft kept denying problems existed in the Sim just because they were not experiencing the same problems.Low and behold Microsoft issued a Patch, but of course, no mea culpas from all those who said people's systems were to blame instead of the product.The truth of the matter is this. each product works great on whatever computer it was tested on before release. While it is not very likely that payware developers will test on every system, some go to great lengths to test it on quite a few.But yes, almost all will blame it on your setup, system, etc.... Instead of trying to help you out, they will say reformat your drive install only MSFS in its default condition, install their product, and it will work, or then they will help you. It is a very common defense called pass the buck. Unfortunately it is inherent in almost all software, not just our hobby.Instead of buying Payware right off, maybe try some of the higher quality Freeware aircraft the Library at Avsim Holds. And there is much. And the quality on some of it is excellant and is better than some payware stuff, IMHO.But more specifically, let us know here in the forums what problems you are having, and let the community try and help you out. We would need to know system setup, what you ahve installed, slider settings, etc....Sometimes, the community can be a great resource. That is what we're here for.Regards,Joe

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you don't suppose it's possible that maybe the problem is your system or setup? I've got six or seven payware planes ranging from the very basic Decathlon and Archer to the very complex Meridian and ATR and ftmp they have all performed as expected and cuased me very little grief. The ATR has had some issues with it's FMC but Flight1 has been diligently working to rectify those. Overall I'd say I'm at about a 90% satisfaction level.I guess the answer to your question depends on your definition of "reasonable level of quality and support." I've had only one dissappointing experience (the dev folded shortly after I purchased the add-on). In every other case the quality of the product has been superb, and the support has been excellent - much better than the level of support you find in the general gaming industry actually.

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To me, the trend seems to be that a lot of commercial releases tend to almost feel like "Public Betas". Even with some of the larger company releases there are updates, patches, or fixes uploaded or in the works right after a release is made.Maybe it's due to the ever increasing complexity of the models, the "pickyness" of the end-user, or just plain oversite on the producer. So whenever I see something interesting I want, I just force myself to wait for the reviews, read the forums, and just bide my time until I feel comfortable to make the purchase. This can take weeks or even a month or two.Sad thing is by then I usually pass on the product as the initial excitement has long gone and I see I can still happily sim along without this "must have" add-on.

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The easiest way to get quality control is for developers to provide, in whatever form they wish, a try before you buy version of their products. But when I suggested this a while back now I received several replies pooh poohing the idea as not possible to do. Cobblers - it is possible to do if the will is there.There are several products I would not have bought if I had been able to try them out first. Now I no longer bother with payware - except from one or two really excellent developers whose quality I know personally - as some of the freeware offerings are much, much better.David

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The vast majority of complaints addon companies get are from users who either don't read the manual and blame their frustration on the product or from users who have incorrect expectations from the product (for example, a recent complaint about the F1 Golden Eagle about it not having spoilers, something very few Golden Eagles feature and the exact aircraft modelled (which is flown by Tom Main) does not).A smaller but still significant subgroup of complaints are from people who think they know how the real aircraft should behave based on some incorrect earlier FS model (usually freeware) and therefore think a correct flightmodel supplied with a payware model must be wrong.Finally there's the group of pathological nitpickers who will find fault in everything and anything however minute and blow it way out of proportion. I classify this as the "the doohicky is the wrong shade of pink" complaints.Then there are the valid problems, most of which are actually caused by the user's system responding to the product in ways which were not encountered during testing. Those problems are taken very seriously and either resolved or the customer is usually refunded.Of course there are some less than serious companies who have far worse products and/or customer support than does Flight1.

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I did try to research many of the products before purchase. As was mentioned, the 'pass the buck' syndrome is what irks me most; besides much of the work does look like 'betas'. I can understand that a product may have some issues, especially at $25 price range. What I can't understand is a producer not being willing to see that perhaps a problem exists. As I was trying to show in my orginal post, I know a lot about computing and also flight simming. So, for a producer to immediately blame me or the way I've set up my system is a total cop-out. An example: one particular plane defied physics. It would continue a climb at the same rate of fpm even though the throttle was pulled back and the airspeed was decreasing. The producer told me it was 1) my system, until another user confirmed the behavior, then 2) said I didn't understand flight dynamics. I fixed the problem myself by a simple tweak in the aircraft cfg file. There is some great freeware. My most recent favorite which is excellent is the Aero Commander by Milton Shupe. Truly outstanding, and I would pay for this one! ;-) Mike

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Excellent points Jeroen. I agree with everything you said. First, I think what some of us forget is that development of payware is done by companies much smaller than Microsoft (and they still put out a product with bugs). That being said, they are limited to what they can test even with many beta testers. There is just no way to replicate every system to check faults. When a dev. gets news of a potential problem, if they can't duplicate it with the exact same conditions, it is reasonable to deduce that it must be the users system. The only way to trump that conclusion is to see the same problem from many people, and identify the common links that could point to the problem. When that happens, every established and "decent" developer will try to come up with a solution (a patch).Secondly, we have to remember that producing a payware product is a delicate balancing act between getting the product out the door (because we all inundate thier mailboxes with, "when is it coming!") and producing a perfect product. [if we had to wait for the perfect product there'd be a 2 year wait and then they'd have to fix new MS version problems.] I submit that every company does this balancing act, and to satisfy as many people as possible, sometimes things get overlooked. At least most are willing to patch the product to make things right.Bottom line, no product is perfect (at least that I've seen) but you can tell the difference between the premium developers from the rest by how they handle their product's issues after it hits the market. JM2C

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Sometimes its worthwile to look at things from the devs perspective. If you had developed an add-on, had a few dozen people beta-test it through-out the development cycle, and then sold 1000 or 1200 copies of the product (to what would have to be considered a fairly knowledgeable clientelle) and then 2 or 3 or 5 people appear complaining about an issue like the one you mention which hadn't been noted previously, wouldn't your first suspicion be a problem on the users end? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying theres never occasions where the dev is at fualt becuase of course there are. But if only a few people who've bought a given product are suffering a given problem it's not that surprising that the dev might suspect system issues, and its also not surprising the issue might have slipped thru the beta test.

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He should be flattered with that mistake in identities. Last "airplane" that he flew that I know of, was a paper airplane out the window of the hospitality suite at the convention in Denver. And even then I think he got the pitch angles wrong, and the folds weren't in the correct locations (and there was a frame rate issue too if I remember correctly). :)

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Well you didn't mention which addon aircraft you bought.I have aircraft from various publishers/developers. Some are better, some are worse. My favourite ones come from (in no order):DreamfleetFSDAerosoft (their Katana in particular)RealAirBill and Lynn LyonsIf you bought an aircraft from one of them and was not satisfied then yes, you're too picky :) Or, there actually *is* a problem with your setup.Others are not quite as good. Before I purchase something from a "new" developer I try to find and read posts from others who have already bought the addon before I decide.What kind of problems and "bugs" do you actually experience? You mention in your rather vague description: "strange" flight models - as a scientist you should know that no simulation is perfect and especially not one that runs inside Microsoft's $60 game. So, no addon will fly exactly like the real plane. Does this mean the flight model is "strange"? No, it can still be very good, within the limitations of the host sim it runs on.

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LOL....this is so predictable.There are excellent ones and real bad ones. Yes, they are existing. And it is laughble that this is denied by some. I remember I have bought a Twotter once that flew like a crossing of a fighter jet and a balloon. Of course nothing was wrong with it according to the dev. And than I have the CM from Flight1 and Dreamfleet which I liked enough to build a whole cockpit around it.Alex

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>He should be flattered with that mistake in identities. Last>"airplane" that he flew that I know of, was a paper airplane>out the window of the hospitality suite at the convention in>Denver. And even then I think he got the pitch angles wrong,>and the folds weren't in the correct locations (and there was>a frame rate issue too if I remember correctly). :)Allensworth. You 'da man! :-lol Jim

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jimmie,You said:"If you bought an aircraft from one of them and was not satisfied then yes, you're too picky Or, there actually *is* a problem with your setup."I have to disagree and take issue with that statement.You know, just because someone does not experience the same expectations or efficiency in operation of an add-on that you do, does not mean that it is a problem with their system, or they are too picky.That is the problem with statements like yours and others I have seen here. Since you don't have any problems, surely no one else could possibly have them, huh?That is the same attitude exhibited here when people were having seasonal and memory leaking problems in MSFS2004, and the MS Minions kept saying.. Oh it must be you, and oh, mine works just fine. Then MS releases a PATCH that guess what addresses those problems.Pleaseee......Maybe this person is having problems because of a payware product. You don't know that the cause is not the payware product, so how about giving him a little slack.And as for those developers above.Have they ever released a PATCH for any of their products?If so, guess what, kind of shoots your theory out the window, huh?Regards,Joe

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"What kind of problems and "bugs" do you actually experience? You mention in your rather vague description: "strange" flight models - as a scientist you should know that no simulation is perfect and especially not one that runs inside Microsoft's $60 game. So, no addon will fly exactly like the real plane. Does this mean the flight model is "strange"? No, it can still be very good, within the limitations of the host sim it runs on." See my second post for a specific example of a strange flight model. And, BTW, I'm a physicist, so also have some knowledge of flight dynamics.

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They have released patches but most of the time they just fix minor things. I have almost always been fully satisfied with the "1.0" version of products from the above publishers/developers with the exception of Aerosoft (their Beaver needed several patches to improve quality of the VC, their Katana had some problems with the initial .air file)."Since you don't have any problems, surely no one else could possibly have them, huh?"Yes, if:A) Their sim/system is incorrectly configured:( They have higher expecatations than me. E.g. I'm very happy with the DF Archer. Real Archer pilots may find a thousand things to complain about.C) In some cases, there could be a system-specific bug. In the case of addon aircraft that is highly unlikely though since those run at such a "high level" (meaning that there are many abstraction layers underneath. The addon planes interact with the sim, which passes things on and we all run the same sim)

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>"Well you didn't mention which addon aircraft you bought."> For two reasons: 1) I don't want this degrade into a shouting war over which developer is best; and 2) I wanted to point out what I see as a wider problem with payware aircraft and their developers. The physics defying plane did come from one of the more prominent names in addons. My basic premise: if I pay for an addon I expect it to have a level of quality superior to that of a free addon. One is a donation of someone's valuable time to the hobby, the other is someone making a buck and I won't cut them the same slack as with a freebie. And I would think all of us wouldn't. Caveat Emptor. Mike

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And isn't that the point.Something minor to you may be a major point to someone else.You can't possibly average out users expectations.Any company that releases patches, and they should, means that their product did not work as advertised in their Minimum Specs and advertising.Unless said company says that you must have a product X computer in this configuration, they are open to question, and expectations, or they should issue a refund without any grief.If a User meets those minimum requirements, how is it their system? See.Yet that is the same Lame excuse trumped out by payware supporters when someone has problems and states that yes, it may be the developer and not the user. In other words, you are contradicting your forst statement by saying yes, they have released patches. Maybe you should choose a different tactic or inquire about the authors problems before making such and outlandish statement. Just a thought. You can certainly reply with anything you want, but give the guy a little slack. ;-)Regards,Joe

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Mike, It is difficult to argue against what you say but it is no doubt sensible to read the forums before buying.There is at the moment an aircraft that is at the very top end of the price range that has been released for download and will in the near future be released on CD. When you read their forum there are numerous bugs that have been found and which I believe should have been found on such an expensive product before they released it.Recently on the forum of an excellent product it was vehemently denied after release that there were any bugs at all and lo and behold about a month later there was a service pack to rectify a long long list of bugs.There are developers who refund your money without question. I wonder if you have the same rights as if you had bought the product in a store where at least in the UK you have statuary rights to demand your money back for imperfect goods.

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If a company releases a patch, why must that mean the initial product was flawed? It happens sometimes but not always.E.g. their 15 beta testers found the plane to work great. Then they sell it to the masses, thousands buy it and are happy with it. In addition the developer gets even more input from real-world pilots. This is when minor things like "slightly too much up-trim needed on take off" or "stall speed is 2 kts too high" are addressed. Requirements stated usually pertain to things like CPU speed etc. to get decent performance. They don't mention thing like joystick calibration or sensitivity settings, realism settings and so on.To Mike: Have you bought an addon from *either* Dreamfleet, FSD or RealAir? If so, were you dissatisfied with it? :)

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I think I can guess the planes you refer to. I would suggest to you that the vast majority of the people who purchased both of those add-ons were very, very happy with them (in spite of the issues which cropped up after release and have since mostly been resolved). I know I'm extremely happy with the one I purchased. If a dev can satisfy 90% of the people who buy from them, they've done all they can hope to do. Anyone in retail knows that you can't make everyone happy.

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So much of this is subjective; and many of the problems encountered WILL be system specific. How many people here still post to complain that for whatever reasons, they just cannot get FS9 to run without a COTD. How many folks post regaling us all with their tales and experiences from their flights? Whilst Microsoft did indeed produce a patch to fi a few smallish issues, and make a few enhacements, it is obvious that the sim is not so badly flawed as to prevent it from starting! It thereby follows that in the few instances where COTD's are experienced, then it must be due to a problem specific to that computer.....If a developer produces an add-on aircraft that just refuses point-blank to leave the runway on every users' system, then it's fairly clear that the add-on has a problem, and most decent developers will issue a fix.Personally, I don't have too many problems with add-ons or the basic running of the sim, and yet there are some days when absolutely nothing seems to work properly! I'm sure we've all had days like that! It's as though, for whatever reasons, the PC just doesn't want to do what it should; Outlook crashes, FS9 won't shut-down properly, the PC refuses to shut-down, etc.... I guess it's just one of those PC 'blonde' moments that happen!!The only add-on problem that I've experienced recently was a couple of days ago.....everything was working well, the PC behaving itself, I fired up FS9 and set up a flight from LeHarvre to Duxford for the RA Spitfire. So far, so good! In flight, I decided to switch on the GPS to check my course....for some reason, by overlaying that 2d GPS object over the 3d VC, the Anti Alaising (4x) was gone. Jagged edges to the cockpit frames everywhere!! Switching to external views showed the same....Yuck!! I 'ctrl-paused' out of the sim and checked the AA settings through the Nvidia control panel.....the profile in the drivers for FS9 clearly showed it set to 4x AA.I restarted the sim, and recreated the flight. When sat on the runway, I switched on the GPS...same thing...bloody hell...all AA gone!! I tried a different aircraft after resarting the sim, and the GPS did not kill AA. Changed back to the Spitfire, and the GPS kills the AA!! I set up for AA to be application controlled, restarted the sim, and set it to apply it's own AA. Restarted that flight with the Spitfire, and this time, the GPS did NOT kill AA....so waht's going on here then? I tried the same thing again last night having reset it for the drivers to control AA, and this time, the GPS did not kill AA in the Spitfire!!So...is this a bug with the RA Spitfire? Or, is it more likely just one of those 'PC things'? I haven't seen anyone else here complaining about this problem, so I am happy to accept that it's just down to my system doing what it wants, and not what I want it do!!So, after all this, MNMOM, please accept that not all problems are the fault of the developer, and there's no point in being offended or defensive if a developer suggests that your system may be problem ;)

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