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Is there a FlightSim Con presentation from DTG?

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I keep checking here to see if any video has been posted of DTG at FlightSimCon.   anyone know of anything?

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For now almost nothing relevant. But here is a little info about FSW:

 

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Is it me or does anyone else find it a bit bizarre in that video, if we are to believe the intros (and there's no reason not to), that there is a programmer who has apparently been working with Austin Meyer for fifteen years, and who trained as an air traffic controller, yet the air traffic control in XPlane is one of its notoriously lacking features? The essence of good management is to put people who you have on your staff (or who work as freelancers or whatever) on the areas where their expertise lays. Seems a bit weird to me to not harness that skill as a programmer to that knowledge and make something of it, although I've a suspicion as to why that might be the case.

It is quite evident on the video that Laminar have a lot more on the way and are certainly a bit more forthcoming about that than either DTG or LM in that presentation. Having said that, joking about people using old versions of sims as they all do on the stage, or basing more recent sims on ESP is certainly fair comment, but everyone knows the continuing evolutions of XPlane have over the years caused headaches for developers as the goalposts continually moved, and it's quite evident that is one of the reasons developers haven't moved over to making stuff for XPlane en masse. So whilst the ESP platform might be old, it does at least have the virtue of being a platform which is the devil many developers know, and perhaps more importantly for them, will continue to be the one they know, even when going through a 64 bit evolution. So to me, what would be more useful for LR than saying this or that 'is planned' or 'is coming', would be to stop procrastinating about decent weather and ATC, get those features in there, get them working, and then stop arsing around with them once they are working so that developers will not be afraid to spend a couple of years working on add-ons for those things safe in the knowledge that goalposts aren't going to move again. Until XPlane can guarantee that kind of API and platform, it's no wonder more developers stick with FSX and P3D. I'd certainly not want to spend a few years developing something for XPlane only to find I'd wasted that time because the platform had changed significantly and all my work wasn't going to amount to anything I could sell.

Until Laminar do that, XPlane will continue to be a sim which gets this or that new feature tacked onto it, but which still lacks two or three fundamental flight sim prerequisites for many users, and scares of serious add-on development for many established companies. So on the face of it, whilst that video seems to show DTG and LM not saying much about this or that new wow feature they have up their sleeves, one has to admire them both in not embarrassing LR by mentioning that their 11 years-old platform has two exciting and realistic features - weather and usable IFR ATC. I wish LR would get their arse in gear on putting those in there, I'd care more about that than implementing some mobile phone feature or VR or whatever whilst the basics are still severely lacking. That's the question someone should have posed to them and one they should be asking themseles too.

Clearly we are quite a way off FSW being finished, but both LM and DTG's people did at least talk about updating stuff like nav aids to make it more contemporary instead of gluing on some whistle or bell for mobile phone nerds, rather than tackling stuff which really matters to the basics of a usable flight simulator.

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24 minutes ago, Chock said:

[...] Seems a bit weird to me to not harness that skill as a programmer to that knowledge and make something of it, although I've a suspicion as to why that might be the case. (1)

[...] but everyone knows the continuing evolutions of XPlane have over the years have caused headaches for developers as the goalposts continually moved, and it's quite evident that is one of the reasons developers haven't moved over to making stuff for XPlane en masse. (2)

1- What are your suspicions?

2- So 2 years between XP 10 and XP 11 the goalposts moved?  Can you provide a specific examples of goalposts that were moved?

I'm not trying to be smart, just would like to understand.  I have also heard a developer saying something similar about the platform keeps changing, but I never inquired further.  It seems P3D can change every two years and no complaints and well FSX...hahaha...was pretty much the same for many years so I certainly understand about it.  Can it be more about smaller user base of XP more than about changes to the API and SDK in-between versions?

Thanks!!!

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My suspicion is that it changes so much that they can't pin down where to start with going for it on weather and ATC lol.

Moreover, in investigating the possibility of getting Active Sky into XPlane, HiFi simulations have said there are limitiations in the weather depiction layers for XPlane which are presenting problems for them doing what they want to do, similarly, PMDG said that they were not looking at porting their 747-400 over to XPlane any time soon because there are some things XPlane cannot depict which their 747 does in FSX and P3D. Beyond this, more than one FSX developer has said in the past that XPlane chops and changes so much between versions that they are loathe to commit long development times to products, for fear of going up a cul de sac development-wise.

Specific examples of where things change in XPlane from 10 to 11 can range from minor to major, one can see that with a visit to the .org site, where plenty of 10 add-ons are not listed as 11 compatible. Even those which are sold as 11 ready, sometimes require a bit of DIY in the planemaker to get them working in 11 if they were originally developed for 10; the Flight Factors A350 is an example of that, it is listed as 11 compatible when you buy it, but it wouldn't even crank up on my computer in 11 until I tweaked it in plane maker. Now granted, it was the work of a minute or two to edit it, but it still needed me to tweak it to have it work, and that means 10 and 11 are different enough to require a change to an add-on to have it work in both sims, albeit a reasonably minor one in this example.

There are a lot of things I really like in XPlane, it certainly has way better and more realistic runway modeling than any ESP-based simulation, but the idea that it is all fab and groovy and it is a no brainer to move over to it from an ESP-based sim and have all that can be had from your old sim is frankly, bollocks, and it will remain like that until they get their act together a bit more, sort out the basics and then stop arsing around with it. For example, try taxying the default Cessna 172 out to the runway in XPlane 11 compared to doing it in FSX and you will see that XPlane is far from perfect, and that's saying something what with FSX's notoriously over-frictional ground physics, which might not be perfect by a long shot, but at least you stand a chance of actually getting your aeroplane to the runway without it flipping over or bouncing around like a demented Duracell Bunny owing to things such as over-modeled engine torque etc. I'd have liked to see people at the conference asking LR when they were going to sort that nonsense out before they started banging on about adding new whistles and bells. If the real Cessna 172 handled like that on the ground, as it does in XPlane, training airfields the world over would be littered with the smashed up wrecks of the things and the FAA would have grounded it lol. Say what you like about FSW's GA aeroplanes (and we all know they need work on a few things, so I can understand when people do say stuff), but at least they don't ground loop like a Sopwith Camel with the blip switch jammed on if you so much as look at the throttle.

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Thank you, torium. I enjoyed watching that.

 

I'm quite encouraged by what I heard.  Stephen Hood talked about offline ATC at the 48 minute mark and the improvements he wants to make there including more realistic AI and more interactions.  Online options are also discussed for those interested but that's never been something I wanted.  I prefer to fly offline(not VATSIM for example).

he also mentioned how weather should govern the graphics which I firmly believe (minute mark 1h:17m) and talked about icing and such.

I think he/they are doing a fine job.  It has occurred to me that AFS2 was in early access for quite some time before an SDk of any kind was released and FSW is still very new. 

It makes sense to me to leave out the large chunks like the flight planner if you intended to completely change these anyway. 

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Unfortunately I couldn't make FSCon2017 for work obligations (I was in KLAS until early Sat with clients).  

Does anyone know if there is a better video (no offense to the person who made the video) of the panel discussion?  The audio and resolution make it difficult to ID anyone other than Austin who seemed to do most of the talking.  I must admit, after watching this video I thought it was an exclusive XP11 panel ... who's who in that lineup?

Cheers, Rob. 

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From left to right, Rob McCarthy from LM, Stephen Hood from Dovetail, Aimee Sanjari from Dovetail, Ben Supnik from Laminar and Austin Meyer from Laminar. The panel was chaired by Nels Anderson of Flightsim.com.

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Thanks Kenneth, much appreciated.

Cheers, Rob.

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Yup, agreed, shame the sound quality makes it difficult to follow some of it, probably not much the person filming could do about that if using the camera mike alone.

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10 hours ago, Chock said:

Is it me or does anyone else find it a bit bizarre in that video, if we are to believe the intros (and there's no reason not to), that there is a programmer who has apparently been working with Austin Meyer for fifteen years, and who trained as an air traffic controller, yet the air traffic control in XPlane is one of its notoriously lacking features? The essence of good management is to put people who you have on your staff (or who work as freelancers or whatever) on the areas where their expertise lays. Seems a bit weird to me to not harness that skill as a programmer to that knowledge and make something of it, although I've a suspicion as to why that might be the case.

And they did exactly that. If you didn't recognized it: In Bens opinion the AI based models are extremly lacking and wont ever be realistic. But why do you need an AI if you have networks?

And when he joined Laminar, other things became a priority.. Where do we have problems? How to solve them with our staff? While Austin gets easily excited he jumps between problems, while Ben handled the long range planning. He is the real head of X-Plane development.

The complaints of other developers are more or less the normal noise:

Why does this work totally deifferent than in the FSX? But it would simply be the wrong decision to simply switch to the FSX handling. In fact Microsoft had the same problems that you complain about in X-Plane: Switching goalpoints. Thats a normal element of software development. The big difference between Laminar and their competitors: they talk openly about plans and problems, so you can observe as an outsider how priorities are switched. The others talk mainly about abstract hopes, so you don't see the internal switches and panic modes. But they are there. There are always unexpected problems.

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Typical! The same thing posted twice with different titles... I'm not a frequent YouTube user as you may have guessed.

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17 hours ago, Chock said:

It is quite evident on the video that Laminar have a lot more on the way and are certainly a bit more forthcoming about that than either DTG or LM in that presentation.

.....whilst that video seems to show DTG and LM not saying much about this or that new wow feature they have up their sleeves

Problem is who is sitting on panel. Not sure about LM guy, but DTG are FSW lead and brand manager. Ben and Austin are active developers and leaders of development. So when questions are more about technical stuff, LR was in huge advantage. I can clearly understand that rest of panel members cant reply in some detail or just do not want to share upcoming plans and do not want do false promises.

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3 hours ago, Jiri Kocman said:

Not sure about LM guy

Rob McCarthy is Prepar3D Core Lead developer (as pointed out far left of table away from the spotlight).  I'm sad I missed this, but I will hopefully have more free time next year and get in some hired development help so my work load is reduced (LM have expressed a desire to return next year).

If permitted I would have asked questions with a much different focus, more on the technical challenges around current hardware limits and rendering pipeline DX11, DX12, OpenGL, as I really didn't hear (could be audio issue and I just didn't hear) any technical questions being asked? 

It would seem unlikely 3 competitors on the same panel would divulge much information about "future plans" and/or make any commitments.

No offense intended towards the person that made this video, appreciate that it exists and was shared, hopefully another video might surface?  AirDailyX?

Cheers, Rob.

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47 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

It would seem unlikely 3 competitors on the same panel would divulge much information about "future plans" and/or make any commitments.

But the Laminar guys did exactly that, didn't they? Lots of new stuff in the pipeline was mentioned. Like VR, the new G1000, and (maybe) some updates to ATC.

It's just a different company culture. Austin and Ben are the lead coders, and Austin is the CEO/principal owner of the company. There is no middle man or higher-up saying "maybe we shouldn't talk about this yet." I'm sure there is still a filter so they're not promising too much, but basically everything they talked about at this conference has already been mentioned in their public developer blog. They're pretty clear about the road map, and I think users appreciate that.

DTG would benefit from making at least a small move in this direction, even if a road map for upcoming features is covered with disclaimers about timing for new features. Heck, even the game developers over at E3 are showing trailers for games that won't come out until 2018. I don't know why the flight sim developers need to keep things so closely guarded. 

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1 hour ago, Paraffin said:

But the Laminar guys did exactly that, didn't they?

I wasn't there so I can't confirm, but in the video I didn't hear any "dates" associated to anything from anyone on that panel ... maybe they were provided else where?  Feature delivery is what matters, until that happens nothing is "real".  Why would DTG benefit?  DTG already got bitten by providing information they probably should have kept to themselves (such as release estimates other promises made).

I'll venture to guess LR mentioned VR, G1000, and ATC because those features already exist in competitor platforms.

E3 Game developers are working an entirely different audience, did you see any serious "Flight Simulators" at E3?  Did you see any games at E3 that also offer an "extensive" SDK/PDK (the primary reason Flight Simulation is sustainable) and have huge regular support of 3rd party developers that sell add-ons?

If potential customers don't know, they can't start any wild speculation (for the most part, still happens but limited).  As we know, some of the wild speculation then turns into "fact" and then users are driven away or towards based on false information, is this a good thing?  I'd venture, no it's not.  Can't tell you how many times I've had some poor individual sent down the wrong path (either accidentally or intentionally) and comes to my YouTube channel or PM's me and I have to help clear up the "alternative facts".

But like I said, my panel questions would have a different focus, I'm more interested on poly limits, bandwidth limits, forward/differed rendering in the graphics pipeline, lighting optimization, shadow optimization, what limits are they hitting on the hardware side (all the platforms are pushing the boundaries of hardware), other optimization techniques, and what might come down the hardware pike in the future that could address some of the current performance restrictions like DX12 and ability to manage GPUs (multiple) via DX12 API, etc. etc. 

Cheers, Rob. 

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5 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

 

If permitted I would have asked questions with a much different focus, more on the technical challenges around current hardware limits and rendering pipeline DX11, DX12, OpenGL, as I really didn't hear (could be audio issue and I just didn't hear) any technical questions being asked?

Not of this format, but I am not sure if they would really talk about it in such a discussion. There would be too few people who would really understand the answer. It is obvious X-Plane will leave OpenGL. They simply don´t have the amount of control as with Vulkan or Metal. They described this explicitly in their own presentation. I haven't found recordings for such presentations by FSW or P3D.

For P3D and FSW the main problem wit DX 12 is simply Windows 10. Many computers don'switch to Windows 10.

And if we look at the Nightlighting: X-Plane now uses Deferred Rendering, this means the more light sources you have where the illuminated areas interconnect, the bigger is your speed advantage. P3D v4 256 lightsources where the reflections are rendered.

FSW currently more or less broken.

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53 minutes ago, torium said:

Alternative ....?

Thanks, first link is broken, second link is working and is a little better, but I see a rather large professional grade camera on tripod in the left corner so I assume a higher quality video with mic audio feed will be available eventually?

20 minutes ago, Longranger said:

Deferred Rendering, this means the more light sources you have where the bright areas interconnect, the bigger is your speed advantage. P3D v4 256 lightsources where the reflections are rendered.

There is no limit to the reflective aware light sources in P3D V4, there is a Prepar3D.cfg entry one can add to increase or decrease the limit to any value.

XPlane is moving away from OpenGL - is that "official"?  Vulkan is probably easiest transition from OpenGL and still cross platform.  I'm still not sure cross platform support is a good thing in terms of extracting the most possible performance but is good from a marketing stand point.  

I believe the GPU and multiple GPUs are going to become more important for flight simulators moving forward.  With P3D V4 it is easy to trigger 100% GPU utilization as performance limits have now shifted from CPU to GPU (this is a good thing) ... although P3D V4 does support SLI and multiple GPUs they are very reliant on nVidia support under DX11.  

Agree, DX12 is bound to Windows 10 which currently IS a problem ... this means the FS developer(s) need to either implement two render paths/pipelines for DX11 and DX12 or wait years for Windows 10 to reach over 50% market share (currently around 27%).  There is also the question of making DX12 payoff in terms of performance ... there are many ways to implement under DX12, but to gain performance form DX12 will most likely require a complete reworking of the render pipeline.  Getting accelerate rendering under DX12 (prior to Pascal GPUs) was limited and the DX12 label on the those GPUs was more a "supported" not necessarily "accelerated".  From that perspective I can see why LR might find Vulkan a more attractive option not to mention the similarities it has with their existing OpenGL code base.

As far as forward/deferred ... deferred is good for dynamic lighting, but not good for AA and transparency/Alpha ... DX12 or Vulkan API would permit more control to optimize the pipeline ... but either way there are no miracles in Performance that a single GPU can do, so lets hope multiple GPUs start to take forefront in the future as I think their time has finally come to Flight Simulation with the appropriate API.

I guess I better make it for FSCon2018 so I can at least try to ask these questions along with some SDK/PDK questions.

Cheers, Rob.

 

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2 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Thanks, first link is broken, second link is working and is a little better, but I see a rather large professional grade camera on tripod in the left corner so I assume a higher quality video with mic audio feed will be available eventually?

There is no limit to the reflective aware light sources in P3D V4, there is a Prepar3D.cfg entry one can add to increase or decrease the limit to any value.

XPlane is moving away from OpenGL - is that "official"?  Vulkan is probably easiest transition from OpenGL and still cross platform.  I'm still not sure cross platform support is a good thing in terms of extracting the most possible performance but is good from a marketing stand point.

You wont get it any more official.

They guarantee the OpenGL support for the rest of X-Plane 11! But the future will be Vulkan and Metal!

2 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

 

  

I believe the GPU and multiple GPUs are going to become more important for flight simulators moving forward.  With P3D V4 it is easy to trigger 100% GPU utilization as performance limits have now shifted from CPU to GPU (this is a good thing) ... although P3D V4 does support SLI and multiple GPUs they are very reliant on nVidia support under DX11.  

And I wouldn't bet on much more SLI support by them. And for X-Plane Ben pretty much _guarantees_ that there will be NO SLI support! Support for multiple monitors with multiple GPUs yes, but no SLI or CrossFire.

 

 

2 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

 

 

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thanks for posting this videos guys    ....the question is ,,,, how much coffee did Austin had ???? before he went on the stage ...:biggrin:

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1 hour ago, Longranger said:

And I wouldn't bet on much more SLI support by them. And for X-Plane Ben pretty much _guarantees_ that there will be NO SLI support! Support for multiple monitors with multiple GPUs yes, but no SLI or CrossFire.

Right, there is an old post from one of their dev blogs about how the way the sim works, it would actually slow down in SLI mode.

That's the way the whole industry seems to be going, between game developers and the GPU manufacturers. Recent games on Windows are optimized first for the latest fast single GPU's, with SLI and Crossfire an afterthought if it's ever supported.

This seems to be an advantage for VR too, in not having to feed frames across a buss between separate GPU cards.

I think this should take the pressure off DTG for adding support for SLI or Crossfire. We seem to be moving past that now.
 

1 hour ago, rtodepart said:

thanks for posting this videos guys    ....the question is ,,,, how much coffee did Austin had ???? before he went on the stage ...:biggrin:

That's normal Austin, from every video I've ever seen of the guy. 

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I'll disagree with you there, multiple GPUs in "performance mode" (SLI/Crossfire able to leverage more than one GPU) is going to be key to improved performance just as have multiple CPU cores helped.  GPUs are more suited to shared processing because the tasks are structured and finite.  DX11 it's difficult to manage, but DX12 provides much more access to the GPUs but it's not a trivial programming task to leverage the true benefits of DX12.

Vulkan has many of the same capabilities in multi-GPU support also and could leverage that support for much better performance.

We just don't have enough GPU processing muscle for XP11 or P3DV4 ... the number of pixels to process at 4K or higher resolution is pretty staggering and to have to get it all done in 16-33ms.  I have no problem making XP11 and P3DV4 run at 2 FPS because my GPU is at 100% load while my CPU's are 60-70%.  Fast forward to 8K monitors end of this year and next year (for mass market) and I feel sorry for any single GPU trying to "perform" given the current visual capabilities of FS platforms.

I hope LR re-think their decision to support multiple GPUs to share processing loads, the move to Vulkan would be the perfect time to do it.

Cheers, Rob.

 

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