TheFlightSimGuy

ACES Studio Member Responds to FSW Closure

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Just saw this on Froogles FSW Closure video, from Chris Trott, former ACES studio dev.

Quote

First - I have a real problem with your statements about the "money motive". I find it utterly unbecoming of anyone who purports to be a representative of this hobby to make statements like you did accusing PEOPLE of doing something like you did (i.e. the hiring thing, the facebook posts) and assuming that the RANK AND FILE had any idea what was going on at the management levels. From everything that's been posted by the people who now are JOBLESS because of this cancellation (which is most of the team, including the 2 that ran the media BTW), they had no clue that there was any discussion of cancelling the project until it was announced. So, shame on you for claiming they made posts "knowing" that it was being cancelled. They *DIDN'T*.

Also, I have a major problem with another base premise of your editorial. Dovetail did have experience in flight simulation. I'm sorry that you have forgotten that Dovetail was made up of many of the original ACES team that worked on both Microsoft Train Simulator AND FSX. I'm sorry that you forgot that I reminded you of that months ago when you got it wrong the last time you went on a rant about their "lack of experience." Microsoft picked Dovetail because they had that background experience, not just the money. Dovetail had, among its programmers, the guys who literally wrote Simconnect from nothing. The experience was there.

I'm not going to go into depth like I was tempted to with my end of this, but I'll summarize my feelings as such -

1) Robert Randazzo is not a "pillar" or "leader" of our community. He doesn't deserve to be heard. He hated DTG because they outbid him and never gave them a chance. They approached him in good faith and he told them off. He continues to make money because of the things DTG did to FSX to make it more stable and allow him to make addons that previously would have crashed FSX immediately and he has no respect for them at all.

2) Aerosoft are their own worst enemies. Mathjis is one to talk since it was Aerosoft that was one of the worst offenders prior to the self-publishing revolution a decade ago with their "fees". Flight1 and Aerosoft both took 50%+ of the sale price of an addon before the digital download revolution took hold and allowed developers to self-publish. Aerosoft is not a DEVELOPER first, they are a PUBLISHER first. They claimed to have their own FS in development prior to the FSX license deal. What happened to it? Oh yeah, they abandoned it because they wanted to bid on FSX. Now it's gone, GSX v2 is gone (and talk about a money making scheme - GSX is one), and Aerosoft haven't released any of their promised addons on time since because they were relying on 3rd party developers with (wait for it) - NO EXPERIENCE prior in FS.

3) Carenado, ORBX, and A2A all licensed or published addons for FlightSimWorld (A2A licensed AccuFeel, ORBX licensed GlobalVector, Carenado released several FSW-specific addons). There were those in the business who did support FSW and tried to work with DTG. The problem was there was a lot of venom (mostly egged on by those who lost the FSX bid and put out misinformation and lies) that over-powered those trying to genuinely help. Those who were helping Dovetail stayed silent about it because they feared the kind of vile response that DTG was getting simply for trying.

4) Dovetail was in trouble from before Flight School. You failed to mention it (again) but Dovetail sold a substantial share in the business to a Venture Capital company a couple years ago. Why? Because Trainsim World, their new sim platform, was in trouble and hemorraging money. The conversion to UT2 wasn't going as well as hoped, they needed more staff, and the money wasn't there. As such, they pulled most of the Flight School team off (and then cancelled it) and the team that remained to work on FSW was less than 10. It never got above 15 afterward. How do you expect 15 people to build a program on the level of XPlane or P3D when you have less than 1/3 the workforce? Laminar had at least 50 working on XPlane at one point (if not 100), and who knows how many Lockheed has working on P3D. Would a less hostile environment from the community and publishers have encouraged them to put more people on it? I don't know. But it certainly didn't help give confidence that they would get rewarded if they did.

In the end, the reason FSW died is because of us, not Dovetail. We allowed a hostile environment to fester within this community and didn't support it. I see it in the comments here. Everyone "I called it...", "I knew it wasn't going to work...", etc. You're right - you created a self-fulfilling prophecy. You never gave them a chance. Don't blame Steven Hood. Blame yourself for not supporting the guys who were actually working and trying to do something for the community that we'd been asking for.

 

Edited by TheFlightSimGuy
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Wow!

He definitely needed to get that out. While I'm not sure I totally agree with him, it's nice to see some counter-balance in the discussion... 

Thanks for posting this, @TheFlightSimGuy

Edited by Anders Bermann
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2 hours ago, TheFlightSimGuy said:

Laminar had at least 50 working on XPlane at one point (if not 100)

I find this comment very hard to believe. AFAIK, there are only a few small handful of developers on X-Plane and really the only two people I really know who work full-hearted on it are Ben and Austin (and Chris who works on the mobile version and VR). They only recently took on two more staff members and have a small smattering of people who do things like art, the autogen. But I very much doubt it's anywhere near 50. (It it were, I'd presume the sim would be much further a long that it is now). I have no idea how many LM have working on P3D, but the pace of development on that sim like X-Plane would also suggest it isn't really a big team. Happy to be proven wrong though, if anyone knows more.

That being said, I agree with almost everything this guy says. It amazes me that certain developers and video-bloggers (or should I say advertisers) almost have a cult-worship status behind them, which I find completely unwarranted and quite frankly scary. Just because somebody makes videos or virtual planes does not make them an all-seeing/all-knowing guru whose every word should be believed and followed even if they speak and treat these people like brainless sheep (or walking cash machines).

Blaming the community/simmers though, nope, not really buying that one, and I'm sure it's much more complicated than that.

 

 

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I think we are indeed all to blame, seeing as the developers are part of the community (I'd say, even though they make money off us, they also need a good paltform.. and some social interaction).

50 for Laminar is indeed much I'd say, and for LM.. I'm still not sure how many people work on it... it is weird.

But I get where he is going, I also always thought that is was quite venomous the way dovetail was treated by many flightsimmers & video makers. THat part about Robert shocked me because I also think highly of him, the way he treats his community etc. But about that bidding was something you could feel in the way he talked (didn't) about it. Money rules the world.. and its emotions. 

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3 hours ago, TheFlightSimGuy said:

. Now it's gone, GSX v2 is gone (and talk about a money making scheme - GSX is one), and Aerosoft haven't released any of their promised addons on time since because they were relying on 3rd party developers with (wait for it) - NO EXPERIENCE prior in FS. 

I assume he meant AES. He is right though, AES was a cash cow. It was GSX that killed AES.

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That quote has been posted and discussed already ad nauseam in the now locked topics about the closure of FSW. Nothing new here. 31 pages has been spend on this so why bring this all up again? Those posts have been locked for a reason.

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Yes, we are to blame. Because we did not buy Flight Sim World or Flight School in the numbers that they where hoping for.

It is called free market capitalism... If a product is not accepted by the 'consumer' there is a reason for it.

I don't buy the 'conspiracy' that he is trying to blame the failure on.

There is always people for or against new products....

I still remember having a first look at Flight School. And it did not 'move my needle'. Nothing new to see here. Total lack of any new things, no WOW factor, nothing that interested me. Why should I buy it?

Same with Flight Sim World. One major milestone was the 'cold and dark' release feature - really? Other than that it was a regurgitated FSX with the same old issues. TrueSky. Great. But no weather engine? So why should I buy it? 

I did not listen to any guru. Most flight simmers are very independent thinking individuals that know what they want.

And DTG did not deliver what we want.

End of story.

 

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very good points as well, agree!. Also, Capitalism is indeed a (most / sometimes) a good thing

But also, in the Netherlands we have an expression: That what the farmer doesn't know, he doesn't eat. Aka. New things are scary / don't get a change because the current order is sorta stable so why change. But that is more psychology..we flightsimmer (and humans)  tend to follow

29 minutes ago, Silicus said:

Yes, we are to blame. Because we did not buy Flight Sim World or Flight School in the numbers that they where hoping for.

It is called free market capitalism... If a product is not accepted by the 'consumer' there is a reason for it.

I don't buy the 'conspiracy' that he is trying to blame the failure on.

There is always people for or against new products....

I still remember having a first look at Flight School. And it did not 'move my needle'. Nothing new to see here. Total lack of any new things, no WOW factor, nothing that interested me. Why should I buy it?

Same with Flight Sim World. One major milestone was the 'cold and dark' release feature - really? Other than that it was a regurgitated FSX with the same old issues. TrueSky. Great. But no weather engine? So why should I buy it? 

I did not listen to any guru. Most flight simmers are very independent thinking individuals that know what they want.

And DTG did not deliver what we want.

End of story.

 

 

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46 minutes ago, ZKOKQ said:

I assume he meant AES. He is right though, AES was a cash cow. It was GSX that killed AES.

Yearh - I was wondering what he meant in that regards...
I think you're right in that assumption.

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45 minutes ago, J van E said:

That quote has been posted and discussed already ad nauseam in the now locked topics about the closure of FSW. Nothing new here. 31 pages has been spend on this so why bring this all up again? Those posts have been locked for a reason.

then it will be closed again. :). Missed this quote in that topic.. but was nice popcorn read!

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Saying 'we' are to blame or 'they' are to blame is a little too black & white. The truth is we will likely never know the rationale behind many of the business decisions that were made by Dovetail. 

I can say that in 'my' opinion, the way they rolled the sim out without some basic features was not wise. At the end of the day, many of us paid them money believing their promises which never materialized. The same can be said to some degree with Train Sim World. The marketplace can be a cruel place as can be the backlash of unhappy consumers.

We are consumers ultimately as well as passionate simmers who inevitably have an opinion be it 'right' or 'wrong'. Personally, I wanted so badly for FSW to succeed as did many others on here. I agree there are a few of us that can come across hyper negative and over competitive about which sim is best etc., but I do believe most of us in this community are reasonable and want to have choice and healthy competition and see the advantages of this. I think the bigger danger going forward is how people can be wrongly influenced/manipulated by Youtuber propaganda. This can be said for all walks of life and is one of the real dangers of social media in all walks of life. Unfortunately, the 'sheeple' often follow a little blindly.

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And likely the next upstart that try's to invade this niche platform will get the same.  

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Whilst there were obviously some crazy managerial decisions Dovetail's insurmountable problem was who they were. Their reputation gained through Train Simulator came before them and they were simply never going to live that down.

If this had been the same sim but called "Aerosoft/PMDG Flight Sim" everyone would have loved it and said what fantastic promise it had. But with the Dovetail name attached it had zero chance.

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27 minutes ago, chelmo said:

Whilst there were obviously some crazy managerial decisions Dovetail's insurmountable problem was who they were. Their reputation gained through Train Simulator came before them and they were simply never going to live that down.

If this had been the same sim but called "Aerosoft/PMDG Flight Sim" everyone would have loved it and said what fantastic promise it had. But with the Dovetail name attached it had zero chance.

Tottaly agree

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2 hours ago, chelmo said:

Whilst there were obviously some crazy managerial decisions Dovetail's insurmountable problem was who they were. Their reputation gained through Train Simulator came before them and they were simply never going to live that down.

Yep - yep - yep...

Regards,

Scott

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Many acid words, difficult to convince.

 

João Alfredo

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Blaming the consumer for your product's failure in the market is a cop out.

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4 hours ago, Silicus said:

Same with Flight Sim World. One major milestone was the 'cold and dark' release feature - really? Other than that it was a regurgitated FSX with the same old issues. TrueSky. Great. But no weather engine? So why should I buy it? 

If you do not like FSW - do not buy FSW. It's ok.

But why did so many attack the simulator with negative reviews - even when they had never tested the simulator? They accused DTG of having no DLC. Then they accused DTG of having DLC. And then they accused DTG for giving permission to 3rd party developers to sell their products for FSW. Etc., etc .....

And even now - after FSW is closed - we can read users who express their their deep feelings, quote:

".... and now I'm happy to report, its dead....it has been cremated - now all that is left to do is scatter the ashes. It is a good day in flight simming. After May 24th it will even be better, because the ashes will have been scattered and the community will be rid of this disastrous distraction ...... Can you tell I'm overjoyed?"

Is FSX a good simulator? FSX was also overloaded with similar bad feelings and negative accusations when it was launched. 

I'm glad that FSX survived. And I would have been very happy if FSW had survived.

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Do I detect some bitterness in this former ACES studio developer?? 

If this Froogle guy was indeed criticizing DTG for wanting to make some money then I, too, would have to disagree with him on that, however.  I don't have a problem with someone making a *reasonable* profit off their work, as long as it isn't absurdly high(which 50% would be if it's true regarding Aerosoft) and as long as the product works as advertised. I've been critical of a number of flightsim developers when they misbehave, but I would never condemn them for making a little money, and this is coming from a guy who has spent hundreds of hours making freeware scenery for FSX.

Anyhow, there are several reasons why FSW failed which some folks have already mentioned in these forums, but ultimately there just wasn't enough customer demand for it. The blame for that lies with the software company Dovetail Games - period.  It's simply absurd to blame the customers and flightsim community for FSW's demise.

Dave

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9 hours ago, TheFlightSimGuy said:

1) Robert Randazzo is not a "pillar" or "leader" of our community. He doesn't deserve to be heard. He hated DTG because they outbid him and never gave them a chance. They approached him in good faith and he told them off. He continues to make money because of the things DTG did to FSX to make it more stable and allow him to make addons that previously would have crashed FSX immediately and he has no respect for them at all.

I'm not very knowledgeable on the other points but this one I have to take issue. As an airliner fan my sim would be quite bland without PMDG which is probably around 90%of my simming. He is most certainly a pillar of the hobby for many of us and followed by legions of simmers. May not always agree with all their practices but I don't know if the hobby would be much without them. Any new platform developer should wholly seek his endorsement to prosper. PMDG was developing aircraft for FS9 long before DTG came along.

Sometimes his moderator might rub the fur the wrong way but even that adds a little fun to things. After all the Book says "Iron sharpens iron".    

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Blaming PMDG for the collapse of FSW is like blaming France for the US colonies seeking independence from England. At the time, France and England were rivals for global power but that was not the cause of the US war for independence.

In the case of FSW, PMDG mostly sat back and smirked at the naivete and fumbling of DTG. They could have thrown all their resources at FSW, but had good sense not to do so. ORBX had the same approach.

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Its very simple. X-Plane11 is awesome, Prepar3D V4 is Awesome. FSW is way inferior to both of the above. FSW lost the battle competing for the consumers money because the savy buyer is looking for value for money. I'll hazard a guess that two major players in this niche market is enough and more would be too much. Flight Sim is a very expensive hobby and I think most of use can only commit to one platform.

That's the kind of competition we need to main contenders and no sideshow.

It would be great if LM could pick up the entertainment license for FSX and have an enthusiast/hobbyist option for P3D. That would level the playing field. LR is a serious commercial flight simulator software developer so I don't see why LM wouldn't do it.

I am sure there are VIPs in a Lockheed boardroom right now discussing it!

Might be good news for some of the people who lost there jobs at DTG too.

Edited by Avidean

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5 hours ago, chelmo said:

 

If this had been the same sim but called "Aerosoft/PMDG Flight Sim" everyone would have loved it and said what fantastic promise it had. But with the Dovetail name attached it had zero chance.

Maybe.  I also believe locking themselves to the Steam commerce system was part of their demise.

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7 hours ago, Silicus said:

It is called free market capitalism... 

Then Froogle and others shouldn't be complaining about DTG being 'greedy.' It's been a double-standard from the start with FSW. All other sims charge an arm and a leg for addons. When FSW allowed others to make add-on, they were evil. Which one is it?

Three grumpy simmers also had cogent responses to the criticism of FSW and DTG.

Froogle should try to rebut these responses.

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"An item is worth the price, you can sell it for."

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