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Orbx recruiting......Xplane developers

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Excellent news! I really hope they create regions like PNW etc. with landmarks and regional autogen etc. Exciting times ahead!

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Yah, I passed this on to Tonywob a day or so ago. Let's see what happens.

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If I'm understanding their proposal, somehow, I can't see established and experienced X Plane scenery dev's willing to give up a percentage to sell under OrbX, when these same dev's can just make scenery on their own and sell it through an established X-Plane store.  

We'll see.

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20 minutes ago, GoranM said:

I can't see established and experienced X Plane scenery dev's willing to give up a percentage to sell under OrbX, when these same dev's can just make scenery on their own and sell it through an established X-Plane store

This is really no different than say X-Plane.org, X-Aviation or Aerosoft taking their cut as well. I'm not aware of how much these stores take, but you also have to take into account that a developer would also have to promote their own products, support it and that can be hard work. ORBX are very good at promoting their products, have a large dedicated following, and have dedicated support so that's a good plus for anyone considering making their own airports and who would rather just concentrate on the product rather than the logistics behind it.

The problem I've found with some products on various stores is that the quality can vary a lot, with some developers just disappearing or producing products that are not as good as their FSX/P3D equivalents. We've all been pining for high quality scenery addons in X-Plane, and it looks like we may now finally be getting this wish. We also have Turbulent Design coming along for the ride as well, and I would expect we are going to start seeing many more.

 

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9 minutes ago, tonywob said:

This is really no different than say X-Plane.org, X-Aviation or Aerosoft taking their cut as well. I'm not aware of how much these stores take, but you also have to take into account that a developer would also have to promote their own products, support it and that can be hard work. ORBX are very good at promoting their products, have a large dedicated following, and have dedicated support so that's a good plus for anyone considering making their own airports and who would rather just concentrate on the product rather than the logistics behind it.

The problem I've found with some products on various stores is that the quality can vary a lot, with some developers just disappearing or producing products that are not as good as their FSX/P3D equivalents. We've all been pining for high quality scenery addons in X-Plane, and it looks like we may now finally be getting this wish. We also have Turbulent Design coming along for the ride as well, and I would expect we are going to start seeing many more.

 

So you gonna do it?

As soon as I saw the thread I thought about you and one other person.

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11 minutes ago, tonywob said:

This is really no different than say X-Plane.org, X-Aviation or Aerosoft taking their cut as well. I'm not aware of how much these stores take, but you also have to take into account that a developer would also have to promote their own products, support it and that can be hard work. ORBX are very good at promoting their products, have a large dedicated following, and have dedicated support so that's a good plus for anyone considering making their own airports and who would rather just concentrate on the product rather than the logistics behind it.

The problem I've found with some products on various stores is that the quality can vary a lot, with some developers just disappearing or producing products that are not as good as their FSX/P3D equivalents. We've all been pining for high quality scenery addons in X-Plane, and it looks like we may now finally be getting this wish. We also have Turbulent Design coming along for the ride as well, and I would expect we are going to start seeing many more.

 

OrbX are developers for FSX/P3D.  X-Aviation and X-Plane.org have been dedicated to X-Plane for over a decade.  They have an intimate knowledge of the X-Plane community.  On top of that, both publishers, and many developers, have a close working relationship with Austin and Ben Supnik.  John Venema, himself, has said he and Austin have a mutual disrespect for each other.  If I were a scenery developer, the decision would be a no-brainer.  But that's me.  

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2 hours ago, steve310002 said:

Excellent news! I really hope they create regions like PNW etc. with landmarks and regional autogen etc. Exciting times ahead!

Well, that's certainly something I would pass on.

Don't get me wrong, Orbx make excellent scenery and I use it on both FSX and P3D but quite honestly the last thing I would want in X-P is the same identikit views....

 

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X-Plane doesn't do landclass scenery like FSX and has a very different system for mesh, so they couldn't directly port their older regions over anyway. This is pretty much the same case in AeroflyFS as well. I suspect it's no surprise that their next region (The Netherlands) is a photoreal one, as these will in theory port over to both of these sims.

 

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2 hours ago, GoranM said:

John Venema, himself, has said he and Austin have a mutual disrespect for each other.  If I were a scenery developer, the decision would be a no-brainer.  But that's me.  

I don't know about that.

William Shatner and George Takei.  David Duchovny and Jillian Anderson.  Bruce Willis and Cybill Sheperd.  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.  Axl Rose and Slash.  Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle.  C3PO and R2D2.

They all pretty much hated each other; but still managed to be successful.

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3 hours ago, GoranM said:

If I'm understanding their proposal, somehow, I can't see established and experienced X Plane scenery dev's willing to give up a percentage to sell under OrbX, when these same dev's can just make scenery on their own and sell it through an established X-Plane store.  

We'll see.

I believe they are more talking about "porting" existing scenery already created by Orbx. 

It would be great if they can follow through with porting their existing scenery.  I would love to have it in XP11 too.  I'm all for that.

 

Bob

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Agree, I think they need to begin porting existing material with little development costs and let the Xplane audience to increase before doing anything revolutionary. And this not only applyes to Orbx but to any developers coming to XP from competitive sims. You cannot invest large amount of money if you cannot rely on a probable return on investment and right now this is not the case with XP although the tide is turning.

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3 hours ago, GoranM said:

I can't see established and experienced X Plane scenery dev's willing to give up a percentage to sell under OrbX

So if your scenery sold 300% more thanks to Orbx marketing, reputation, support, and ability to unify and make installs and uninstalls and updates super simple without you having to deal with installers and the like (saving you time), you'd still rather go it alone?

I doubt Austin or Ben have any issues with JV ... if they do, then they need to look into the mirror and get them resolved quickly.

I don't get "some" of this negativity (fortunately most are positive of the Orbx entry).  XPlane NEEDS more developers, central location for assets/resources and sharing across developers (to provide products more quickly), and more polished products that don't require end users to read a bunch to text files on how to install something because there is no installer, or how to go to web site XYZ to download this, then copy that, then and then ... come on.  One assumes that having a simple unified environment similar to Orbx FTX Central is a good thing for XPlane ... it will raise the bar.

There are a lot of new products coming out for Xplane and their quality and ease of install is all over the place, from simple and easy to "you've got to be kidding me".  I welcome the Orbx way, I welcome the Turbulent way, I'll welcome any way that makes it easier for me to do more flying and less reading and file manipulation and provides consistent level of quality and support.

Cheers, Rob.

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33 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

So if your scenery sold 300% more thanks to Orbx marketing

Your scenery won't sell more. You won't be making your scenery. You'll be making ORBX's scenery, and you either get a cut of the sales, or you get paid a fix amount.

33 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

I doubt Austin or Ben have any issues with JV ... if they do, then they need to look into the mirror and get them resolved quickly.

As far as I know, JV had said some negative things about X-plane years ago, and when Austin heard that ORBX is coming to X-plane is December, he bought it up. Since then their relationship is not 'cordial', however ORBX will still do some stuff for X-plane (they won't need Austin's permission to do that anyway, however it could be helpful for them, because maybe they could influence certain parts of the development).

33 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

... sharing across developers (to provide products more quickly)...

This is not how it works. Sometimes studios collaborate, but no one will give up their assets and their techniques, just so that they can do stuff quickly. Microsoft will not collaborate with other companies to make Windows better for the common good, while giving up their secrets. And collaboration is already present between today's developers in X-plane, that does not depend on ORBX, or more developers coming to X-plane. However, I agree, that more studios will likely raise the bar in the quality of payware addons.

 

33 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

and more polished products that don't require end users to read a bunch to text files on how to install something because there is no installer, or how to go to web site XYZ to download this, then copy that, then and then ... come on.  One assumes that having a simple unified environment similar to Orbx FTX Central is a good thing for XPlane ... it will raise the bar.

Most of the stuff you are referring to are FREEWARE airports which requires libraries. I highly doubt than any PAYWARE product (let it be scenery or aircraft) require you to install any additional stuff. Dumbing down X-plane even more (where the users won't even need to copy files from one location to the other, which is an absolutely basic level of computer usage, you cannot really get more basic than that) just invites more people who should be using Aerofly FS2 or FSW instead. X-plane is a serious simulator, and people should be expected to be able to use their computer at a minimum level (and don't complain if they need to read 3 lines of instructions every now and then), if they want to use it. Heck, this thing is an FAA certifiable simulator, yet many people who use it many times won't even grasp utterly basic concepts... ridiculous. There are simulators out there designed for those who want a one-click solution, X-plane is different (and thank God for that). Simple, unified environments more likely lower the bar instead of raising it, and we would get even more panicky people who have zero clue about how to use X-plane, but unwilling to sit down and learn. Nothing in the current day X-plane is rocket science, nor it's addons, it's easy to figure out everything, if you know how to use your PC or Mac. There are tons of people making freeware airports using WED, which is also relatively easy to learn. Even Ortho4Xp and World Traffic 3 are laughingly easy to use, if someone understand the basic concepts about computer usage. And people who are unwilling to do that, should choose a simulator which is more suited for the level of readiness.

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37 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

I don't get "some" of this negativity (fortunately most are positive of the Orbx entry).  XPlane NEEDS more developers, central location for assets/resources and sharing across developers (to provide products more quickly), and more polished products that don't require end users to read a bunch to text files on how to install something because there is no installer, or how to go to web site XYZ to download this, then copy that, then and then ... come on.  One assumes that having a simple unified environment similar to Orbx FTX Central is a good thing for XPlane ... it will raise the bar.

It's not that simple. What you call "no installer, copy that, then and then..." is a result of X-Plane's open file structure for scenery. That's a plus, not a minus for the sim in my view.

When I bought a new computer earlier this year, it was a snap to transfer my old X-Plane installation and all the scenery files. Just copy it over to the new computer. Only a few payware planes needed to be re-authorized with plugins using DRM. Scenery files are just scenery files with no DRM attached.

So the question here is twofold, I think. First, is Orbx ready and willing to support X-Plane's open file system, maybe using DRM only for the initial unpacking of files? Or are they planning something more DRM-intensive to protect their products, like the way FSX/P3D works?

I'm not sure that's even possible without a wrapper around the entire XP executable, but who knows. I don't see Austin writing DRM protection into the actual scenery code, but again... who knows. And more importantly, how much DRM are we willing to put up with, in order to have access to certain payware scenery packages? Especially when so much is already available free of cost, and free of DRM.

 

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10 minutes ago, Susu986 said:

Your scenery won't sell more.

Statement?  If so, I assume you have details to back that up?

12 minutes ago, Susu986 said:

JV had said some negative things about X-plane years ago, and when Austin heard that ORBX is coming to X-plane is December, he bought it up.

In a business setting or a personal setting?

13 minutes ago, Susu986 said:

I highly doubt than any PAYWARE product (let it be scenery or aircraft) require you to install any additional stuff.

Unfortunately this is not correct.  I'm not going name names (more than a few) but payware products ranging from $30 to $60+ have required additional downloads and steps and no hands free installers.

 

16 minutes ago, Susu986 said:

Dumbing down X-plane even more (where the users won't even need to copy files from one location to the other, which is an absolutely basic level of computer usage, you cannot really get more basic than that) just invites more people who should be using Aerofly FS2 or FSW instead. X-plane is a serious simulator, and people should be expected to be able to use their computer at a minimum level (and don't complain if they need to read 3 lines of instructions every now and then), if they want to use it.

And that's part of the problem ... establishing exclusivity which reduces market potential, why?  How would such exclusivity benefit Xplane and attract more developers?  Do you think ALL real world airline pilots are computer savvy?  If you do, then I would challenge such an assumption.  Reducing end user interaction with the mechanics of installation and updates and file manipulation has nothing to do with "serious" flight simulation and isn't dumbing down anything ... that's fairly insulting to smart people who don't need to know anything about a computers but want to know about flight.  

In fact, most real world flight simulators (RedBird, etc.) don't require the user to know anything about the simulator (as it should be).  These people are learning to fly, not how to use a computer.

Cheers, Rob.

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2 minutes ago, Paraffin said:

So the question here is twofold, I think. First, is Orbx ready and willing to support X-Plane's open file system, maybe using DRM only for the initial unpacking of files? Or are they planning something more DRM-intensive to protect their products, like the way FSX/P3D works?

I've never run into any DRM issues with Orbx.  IXEG is perhaps the most DRM intensive and that is working much better than it was before with a simple login to x-aviation now.  Why is DRM a concern?  It's never been an issue for me on any platform?  Anyway, don't want to get into a DRM debate as it's not something that has ever bothered me.

It's a PC or Mac, so technically everything is open regardless so long as the user has admin rights.  The benefit of having installers/uninstallers is that they manage their specific files ... it's pretty rare I remember every single file I manually copied over to XPlane11 folder so I know how to manually delete all those files without messing up ... when the products start to add up this becomes an increasing problem not having installer/uninstallers.  This problem is only going to get worse as more products hit the market.

Sure there is free content on all platforms, some good, some not so good ... but there are users who want quality products, with support, and hassle free installers and uninstallers.

Cheers, Rob.

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25 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Statement?  If so, I assume you have details to back that up?

I mean to say YOUR scenery. You cannot work on your OWN scenery, if your work for a company, like ORBX. They will tell you what they want you to develop. So working for them won't maximize YOUR sales, it will maximize ORBX's sales. That's what I've meant.

25 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

In a business setting or a personal setting?

As I remember (but don't take my word for it), JV publicly stated back then (years ago), that 'X-plane has no future'. I guess he meant the small user base, and the relatively low market share (plus the fact the due it's small development team, X-plane used to be really behind FSX, which was or course backed by Microsoft) . Things have changed since then, but Austin remembered the comment, and bought it up again on Facebook. The post has been deleted since then.

25 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Unfortunately this is not correct.  I'm not going name names (more than a few) but payware products ranging from $30 to $60+ have required additional downloads and steps and no hands free installers.

In that case, sorry. The addons I've purchased so far (both scenery and aircraft, plus environmental addons) did not require any additional downloads, but if you had seen some that did, then it's my bad.

25 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

And that's part of the problem ... establishing exclusivity which reduces market potential, why?  How would such exclusivity benefit Xplane and attract more developers?

From a monetary standpoint, I totally agree- every sale is a sale, and every company wants to sell as many of their products as possible. However many have reflected on how does this making X-plane less. Microsoft Flight Simulator used to be a serious sim, back in the days. Nova days? Go on Youtube, check FSX multiplayer... young kids are using it to fool around, like they would be playing an arcade game on Playstation. Yes, it means more sales, but again, haven't we lost something? Since it's so easy to use the sims, everyone is invited to the table, and the whole culture of the sim suffers as a result.

25 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Sthat's fairly insulting to smart people who don't need to know anything about a computers but want to know about flight.  

Again, I agree with the base assumption. However, in order to appreciate what you have, you need to 'work for it'. And nor X-plane, neither it's addons require such a high level of computer savvyness, that shouldn't be expected from an everyday user who wants to get into serious flight simming (this doubles up for real world pilot's, who are probably the most serious users of all). I believe that people who are serious about their hobby, should put some effort into it. Not much , but some, yes. Being an armchair pilot means, that you do have a medium between you, and your plane - the PC. And learning more about your own computer will only benefit you in the long run. I guess it's the age old debate between manual and automatic transmission in cars. If automatics would clearly be better, then no one would use manuals. Yes, you need to learn more about driving to control a manual, but you also get out more, too. This is my point. However, from a sales perspective, I totally agree with you.

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Even when I use P3D. Orbx central was awkward working for me.  Not looking forward for that in x-plane 

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4 minutes ago, Susu986 said:

However many have reflected on how does this making X-plane less. Microsoft Flight Simulator used to be a serious sim, back in the days.

I'm not going to enter into a debate about "serious sim" and start comparing across platforms as that triggers nothing but my X is better than your Y.  I'm interested in making XPlane11 better for a wider audience of end users and that can't be done alone with just the LR development team.  As all other platforms have recognized, it requires a much larger developer community. 

Ironically I was very disappointed when LR remove my ability to fine tune graphics settings into their more "simplified" graphics settings ... clearly this was an attempt to make XP11 more user friendly, just as their control assignments.  So it would appear LR's vision doesn't fall in line with your vision of requiring end users to know the mechanics of their computer.

8 minutes ago, sd_flyer said:

Orbx central was awkward working for me.

Have you used a more recent FTX Central?  It couldn't be easier to install/uninstall products and buy products and it currently supports AF2, P3D, FSX, FSX-SE and I'm going to guess will support XP11 soon ... all in one easy to use package.  Turbulent have a similar tool as do other developers like FlightBeam ... it's becoming a common method of purchase and distribution/deployment and also acts as an advertising tool for new product releases.

Cheers, Rob.

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When I change from XP10 to p3d that was because orbx sceneries are very attractive with a large covering.

Now I'm happy to listen the interrest of orbx for xplane, a come back to xp is possible for me because the lost of boring time in installations, upgrades, and corrections in fsx-p3d are... uncredible. How many fsx-p3d planes bugged and never corrected are on the market... a few.

There are more liners in XP well done with very fine and more realistic flight-moddel.

Old addons from fsx with bad textures just renewed by a new installer and sold expensive for their qualities are poisons in sim.

The reason for me to stay now in p3d is the heavy invest I do. 

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Just now, Rob Ainscough said:

Have you used a more recent FTX Central?  It couldn't be easier to install/uninstall products and buy products and it currently supports AF2, P3D, FSX, FSX-SE and I'm going to guess will support XP11 soon ... all in one easy to use package.  Turbulent have a similar tool as do other developers like FlightBeam ... it's becoming a common method of purchase and distribution/deployment and also acts as an advertising tool for new product releases.

Cheers, Rob.

Yes just before I deleted P3D and moved to XP11 last year

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29 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

Ironically I was very disappointed when LR remove my ability to fine tune graphics settings into their more "simplified" graphics settings ... clearly this was an attempt to make XP11 more user friendly, just as their control assignments. 

And that have happened because many people had trouble setting up X-plane properly. If the average user would be a bit more computer savvy, then people would have had no problem setting up X-plane to perform well in the first place, and we would still have our advanced menus. So even you can feel the negative effects of this trend. More of this to come in the future, probably. I love a clean UI (who wouldn't? faster to use it, too), but not on the expense of giving up control over certain parts.

29 minutes ago, Rob Ainscough said:

So it would appear LR's vision doesn't fall in line with your vision of requiring end users to know the mechanics of their computer.

Of course it won't, and it probably never will :) They are looking at it from a business perspective: sell as many copies as possible, we don't care who buys it as long as they pay for it!

Personally I look at it from a different perspective, and I believe we have already reached a level when things won't need to be easier for the average user. I would love to see a mature, computer literate user base preserved (not PHD level, you don't need to know all the itsy-bitsy parts, just a baseline knowledge where you have no problem moving files in-and-out of folders, and you have a basic idea of what your X-plane installation entails, and what takes up all that room on your hard drive. If you are willing to fork out hundreds (thousands?) of dollars on a computer, is this too much to ask?). As it was pointed out earlier, having an open file structure makes it so much easier and better for a lot of people. You can have multiple installations, reinstalling stuff is easy, etc. As a developer (who sometimes also flies for fun as well), this is a Godsend. Paradoxically, even uninstalling is easier, as generic uninstallers can leave leftover files behind which can make trouble later - whilst if you do it yourself, you know it has been done properly. But the 'easy installers' are robbing you from the control over your own machine. That is not something I like to see, but unfortunately (for me) this is the direction the industry is taking. But just because something makes sense from a monetary perspective, doesn't mean it's a good thing for the common folk, too. Anyway, I'm happy that we can have a civilized debate about this.

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4 hours ago, Rob Ainscough said:

XPlane NEEDS more developers, central location for assets/resources and sharing across developers (to provide products more quickly), and more polished products that don't require end users to read a bunch to text files on how to install something because there is no installer, or how to go to web site XYZ to download this, then copy that, then and then ... come on.  One assumes that having a simple unified environment similar to Orbx FTX Central is a good thing for XPlane ... it will raise the bar.

I only recently picked up X-Plane 11, so I don't have a ton of experience but I have purchased a couple of addons in the form of GA stuff and experimented with Ortho. As others have pointed out in this thread, I'm a big fan of the 'encapsulated folder' structure. Installing the addons basically meant extracting a zip to the correct location and entering a key on startup. That's it. no %appdata% local and roaming, c:\ProgramData, no registry shenanigans. As for the freeware libraries, you download them once and that's it. Of course, some rudimentary knowledge of how the scenery_packs.ini works with regards to loading order and that's about it. You can even just make a complete copy of your X-Plane 11 folder for a backup and revert to it whenever you like. Let's be honest here, it's a breath of fresh air compared to P3D. I upgraded my PC last weekend which meant a full reinstall of P3D and all the addons. It took hours (and I'm still not completely finished!)

I agree that a high profile dev like Orbx coming to Xplane is a great thing, I'm a big fan of theirs and I have a lot of their products. But, they'd have to offer something amazing for X-Plane. Better than the completely free ortho. Better than my current install of "w2xp europe mix". Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to seeing what they have to offer but the bar is already raised a lot higher than it was in ESP.

I kind of have the feeling that some of the big names in FSX/P3D have really left it too late with regards to X-Plane. Nobody wanted a DC-6 in XPlane. They wanted a 737 NG. The freeware Zibo mod is well on it's way to becoming that.

 

4 hours ago, Susu986 said:

Simple, unified environments more likely lower the bar instead of raising it, and we would get even more panicky people who have zero clue about how to use X-plane, but unwilling to sit down and learn.

Attracting more users of X-Plane could only be a good thing but I agree that full-fat installers aren't really required. Software can always be made more user-friendly though. I bought X-Plane 10 through Steam a couple of years ago and even though I gave it a shot I couldn't get past that UI. It was really terrible. They've completely overhauled it for 11 and now it's fantastic. One could argue that that was 'dumbing down' but it got me back into X-Plane.

X-Plane doesn't have the weather or the seasons of P3D but once the Flightfactor A320 releases, I think we'll see a lot more people moving from P3D. I really believe X-Plane is the futureTM  and it looks like Orbx do too.

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Almost all X-Plane payware scenery that I have bought is so simple to install (drag & drop) that making an installer for it would be overkill and would probably make it harder to install than it needs to be. I've never used a payware scenery addon where I've been forced to hunt down libraries, download extra tools etc. The same can be said about some aircraft (apart from the ones that require a serial key), but in my experience installing addons into X-Plane is so much easier than in P3D and FSX that I'm amazed people say it's more difficult. Backing up and restoring installed scenery and aircraft is such a breeze in comparison, when in P3D/FSX it could a take a day out of your life just reinstalling addons.

Freeware of course is a different story, with a mess of libraries, version conflicts, etc... When I see a freeware airport that requires me to hunt down 10 different libraries I generally move on and stick with the gateway version. I'm not against freeware devs using libraries and it's understandable why they do, but I can't help feeling that it's off-putting for a new user who is new to X-Plane. Tom Knudsen's Library Installer was a good attempt to get around this, but some devs didn't agree to host their files, and the author found it too much effort constantly keeping it updated. I hope another project comes along to rectify this, or some of the libraries join together to make things easier, but it seems not many actually want to work together.

Regarding FTX Central, the advantage of such a tool is that it can be used to easily find, track and install updates and software, required libraries etc, and I was very happy that when I installed P3D again after some time on X-Plane, I could install all of my old ORBX addons with really no effort at all (and I didn't have to buy all my FSX addons again at a premium "pro" price :biggrin:). However, ORBX will likely need to make a Mac OS and possibly a Linux version as well, so that will be interesting how they approach that.

Living in a dream world, imagine how good it would be if X-Plane.org could make such a utility, it would make getting freeware and payware so easy, and it would download libraries and dependencies automatically.

 

 

 

 

 

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