TravelRunner404

Looks like Steam for P3D - SimStall Announced

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https://fselite.net/news/mettar-simulations-introduce-simstall/

I posted just a couple weeks ago that I thought this was a great idea, not that it’s an earth shattering revelation, but I hope the community keeps an open mind about this project.  I think if done right and with developer support it will be a great step forward. 

I am curious about the business model. If it’s driven by taking a cut from developers that could make things interesting. Orbx will never play ball, PMDG? Who knows. Simmarket should be concerned. 

I personally think they can offer a free version and a subscription version that would lessen the blow on developers as a cut of sales won’t be the only source of revenue. 

More importanlty it’s ambitous and being as it will control a persons install quite extensively I don’t know how forgiving the community will be if the execution gets off to a slow start. 

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I'd give my left arm for something like this, in a full implementation that just works. Once you've got a significant investment into a sim, bought from multiple places, it becomes an absolute nightmare to maintain at one point. If you ever reach the point of having to re-install Windows or the sim, for whatever reason, you are looking at days of installing, finding the latest versions, tweaking, tuning and ultimately, your installation becomes this enormous labor of love that you're scared to lose. Having a Steam-like ecosystem, where it would automatically install, manage, make sure I have the right version and consistency check would be a massive quality-of-life change. Obviously it would need to be an extremely open system with no middle-man, i.e no taking developer's cut and implementing a system that allows each addon to use the developer's own backend in some fashion.

I've even reached the point where I don't want to buy any more addons, after thousands of dollars invested, because it has simply become too much of a hassle to manage and maintain.

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I was literally just thinking yesterday that a Steam-type setup that avoided the need to manage/backup etc. your install (let alone deal with the nightmare of getting it all set up on a new system) would be a godsend.

Of course, I’m not a genius for having had this idea, and the real challenge here is not in the idea but in making it work. I really hope this will turn out to be a sea change in how our sims work, but I’m going to be that guy and point out just two of what I see as likely to be insurmountable issues here:

1) It has to be perfect, immediately. Teething problems with something so complex are inevitable, but also fatal in this case. It relies on enthusiastic and across-the-board adoption by content providers to work. If they balk when it doesn’t work early on, it won’t get off the ground.

2) Less than 100 percent adoption by addon providers: again, this is both inevitable and largely fatal. Ok, let’s say we have PMDG, HiFi, and TOGA on board. But FSDT and Orbx are firmly opposed. Now what? The only way around this is to provide work-arounds so that you can put those addons in on top of the stable install. But that raises its own problems — for one thing, it undermines the whole appeal of “one click/it just works” and creates additional failure points. And what about developers that won’t even play ball to make that possible? (I’m looking at you, Orbx, with your kamikaze dedication to installing stuff into the root sim.)

I hope I’m just being a naysayer and this works out. But I don’t see obvious fixes to those problems.

James

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Steam is a horror story. They screw with your files, while you are sleeping. I would never buy anything on steam again. 

 

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30 minutes ago, Bobsk8 said:

Steam is a horror story. They screw with your files, while you are sleeping. I would never buy anything on steam again.

Yeah, I will never do anything sim related through Steam again.  They clearly care more about their revenue stream than my sim install... don't need that kind of grief!  Nothing but trouble when a tech company decides it knows what's best for the end user.

Greg

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1 hour ago, Bobsk8 said:

Steam is a horror story. They screw with your files, while you are sleeping. I would never buy anything on steam again. 

While I believe you no doubt, I cannot double your experience. I have been using FSX:SE, FSW, BeamNG (all rarely only), and AeroflyFS2 (heavily) and quite a number of addons at least for AeroflyFS2 and never ran into any trouble. Notably, I like the automatic upgrade features which never failed on me so far.

While you - and even me - may be able to manage the beast Prepar3d is, I find the entry level for newcomers way to high. Any working approach lowering it would be more than welcome and suit our hobby.

I agree to lownslo's remark on the revenue stream, though.

Kind regards, Michael

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Simstall? Unfortunate name. A stall could precede a crash. Have they really thought the name through? 🙄

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Perhaps read the actual news piece, before just taking OP's comparison and running with it, spinning negativity on it based on something that isn't even mentioned in the article. Not only that, it's a system developed by an avid flight simmer, specifically for flight simulators, I'm confident with some logic applied that it isn't going to willy-nilly just upgrade at will, override settings, tweaks and mess up entire games. That would defeat the purpose.

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3 minutes ago, Sethos1988 said:

Perhaps read the actual news piece, before just taking OP's comparison and running with it, spinning negativity on it based on something that isn't even mentioned in the article.

Agreed.  Sorry for my part in derailing the thread earlier.  I hope some will find usefullness in the app but I won't be buying into the idea for a while at least.  The one ecommerce "tool" we have now (Flight1) is a royal PITA to work with.  Will have to see how this new idea works before buying into it. 

Greg

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Never say never! Hoooow....evvvv....er....I only know of 2 guys in the sim hobby who agree with one another. No wait....I lied again!. I don't think there are any. Don't much seem like the DEV's like or trust one another. It seems like an awful lot of folk don't like or dont trust the LM "weapons builders" and even more seem to hate orbx and John but they do still buy their products. LOL! It's nice to have the Plan of the Month club but as goes DTG then so goes the world. These pie in the sky ideas are fun to post about but all this stuff just creates constant turmoil and distrust and is most of the reason we can't make a lot of progress with the couple of Sims that actually work. Prepar3d on Steam....really....show me.

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No Steam for me - not now not ever.

 

Cheers

bs

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Perhaps I should have clarified my comparison. It’s clearly not going to be a verbatim copy of Steam, but a similar concept in that it’s a storefront specifically designed for flight simmers.

i think you have to account for the developers flight sim experience. In fact he helped create the Orbx storefront which is miles ahead of any other developer. 

Dont forget simmarket is pretty bad and a 2005 version of the same thing being pitched here and save for a few developers everyone goes through them. I am sure Simmarket doesn’t do it for free. 

Judging by the 15 posts a day on here about a mucked up sim not working right and zero of them saying, “Prepar3d default f22 issues” there just might be an issue with add on development and how the eco system works together that needs a little help  

I am all for this!

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Posted (edited)

They are undercutting every publisher and online retailer by a large amount, offering a small percentage of the sales no one can compete with. If this business model is profitable or taking a loss thanks to big angel investors all that drama is going to play out if the publishers catch this in time.

Edited by Boeing or not going

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7 hours ago, Sethos1988 said:

...Once you've got a significant investment into a sim, bought from multiple places, it becomes an absolute nightmare to maintain at one point. If you ever reach the point of having to re-install Windows or the sim, for whatever reason, you are looking at days of installing, finding the latest versions, tweaking, tuning and ultimately, your installation becomes this enormous labor of love that you're scared to lose. Having a Steam-like ecosystem, where it would automatically install, manage, make sure I have the right version and consistency check would be a massive quality-of-life change...

Well said Sethos. This right here is the same reason I'm fully on board with this product. I try my best to keep my addons organized on my HD, and I think I do a pretty good job at it. But if I were ever to have to do a Windows Install or just P3D for that matter, We're talking days, if not a week of getting everything back up and running.

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Never had any problem with steam, both with FSX SE and X-plane 10 and 11 that i have in that platform, i even found very usefull the check integrity option to recover any game to default with one click, guess not all have the same experience with it.

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The idea itself seems brilliant, even just something to enter all your purchases into and it will notify you and then allow a download of any updates etc. Not too fussed on the settings side of things. Another store front would be interesting but that will then be yet another middleman taking a commission if that is the case? Happy to pay a one time fee for the program to organise the addons though and then continue to buy from developers direct where possible. With more developers creating their own software manager (Orbx, Flightbeam etc), is there as much of a demand for a one stop shop?

Seems archaic but an external drive with all addon installers and an excel spreadsheet with serial numbers has worked well for me but this isn't everyone's cup of tea.

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Last time I checked Steam takes an average of 30% from developers as commission. I am sure that good developers will love that business model.  😋

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1 hour ago, Bobsk8 said:

Last time I checked Steam takes an average of 30% from developers as commission. I am sure that good developers will love that business model.  😋

But what does it cost to properly distribute your software to a wide audience?  If I sell a product for $30 I wouldn't be surprised if customer acquisition and servers run me about $9 per sale, taking credit cards is about 3% alone. Don't forget start-up costs of developing  your own channel.  Investors are expensive and debt is never a young businesses friend (Warren Buffet has a few good quotes on this).  The vast majority of businesses that fail in the first 3 years fail with profitable products because they can't scale.  Sure a mature brand with strong recognition and an established customer base might be able to lower that acquisition cost to $3-$5, but when you are small and on a budget cash flow is king.  Distribution channels equal cash!

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why does orbx still install in the root folder anyway? What is that about?

But yeah, it really really depends on adoption of devs.. The tech isn't that hard.. it just needs good integrity checks.

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@Bobsk8 - What's your problem with Steam?! You make it sound like, Steam is the root of all evil?! :blink:

Personally I never had any problems with them. I would rather buy something on Steam, than as a stand-alone product. The process of purchasing, managing, re-installing, auto-updating etc, your purchases is just so much simpler on Steam, IMO. 

A game being sold through the Steam-channel, is definitely an advantage in my book, when deciding whether or nor to purchase a game or application. Steam takes a commision - of course. Whether or not it's (too) high, is something the individual developer takes into consideration.

I agree with @TravelRunner404. The commission you pay to Steam/Valve is money you have to invest anyway, in order to publish, distribute and market the software you're selling... 

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I absolutely love Steam and wish all my software was on it. It can't get much easier than with Steam and it works flawlessly. I am sure the ones who don't like it have had some sort of bad experience with it but I absolutely love it. Whenever I have the choice I always go for Steam. 

Concerning Simstall: I think it will only be a success if it will work with ALL available flightsim software, so regardless of developer support. This would obviously mean the dev of Simstall will have to get his hands on EVERY piece of software out there to make it compatible and work with Simstall. That's quite something... Can't imagine that will actually happen. I can also imagine developers suing Simstall for tinkering with their installers... All in all the idea is nice but I am very sceptic. (As always. 😎)

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9 hours ago, TravelRunner404 said:

Perhaps I should have clarified my comparison. It’s clearly not going to be a verbatim copy of Steam, but a similar concept in that it’s a storefront specifically designed for flight simmers.

i think you have to account for the developers flight sim experience. In fact he helped create the Orbx storefront which is miles ahead of any other developer. 

Dont forget simmarket is pretty bad and a 2005 version of the same thing being pitched here and save for a few developers everyone goes through them. I am sure Simmarket doesn’t do it for free. 

Judging by the 15 posts a day on here about a mucked up sim not working right and zero of them saying, “Prepar3d default f22 issues” there just might be an issue with add on development and how the eco system works together that needs a little help  

I am all for this!

None of the addon selling sites do it for free. they take around 30% cut on each sale, which is easy money if you think about it. I think I remember Matt saying on one of his streams simstall will take a much smaller cut

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8 hours ago, PWJT8D said:

Well said Sethos. This right here is the same reason I'm fully on board with this product. I try my best to keep my addons organized on my HD, and I think I do a pretty good job at it. But if I were ever to have to do a Windows Install or just P3D for that matter, We're talking days, if not a week of getting everything back up and running.

Having to reinstall everything is a long and tedious task and when P3Dv4.2 came out decided to change the way I would tackle this issue. Did a clean OS install and all relevant Microsoft updates, then installed P3D and all the payware aircraft and proceeded to create an image of the whole thing, i.e. OS and P3D. If at some point something goes wrong I can easily restore the PC with the image in less than an hour. Also have made sure that all my installed sceneries are on a separate drive and need not be disturbed. If P3D is on a drive other than C:\ follow the above but then create an image for P3D separately after making the C:\ image. After rebuild just install any other programs you need. 

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16 hours ago, Sethos1988 said:

Once you've got a significant investment into a sim, bought from multiple places, it becomes an absolute nightmare to maintain at one point.

I absolutely agree. Nearly all those discussing here got used to that nightmare over the years (with some even being proud they did) with numerous configurations files scattered thought the system (some of them doubled or even tripled in different places), xml vs. prepar3d.cfg addons, hand-editing entries using your beloved text editor, renaming of .bgl to .bgl.off (to be repeated every time you are forced to re-setup the sim or even the machine - you better make notes), autogen files overwriting each other etc. etc. I confess. I would be completely lost without our forums available, which to follow takes its own time, though.

Some may say it's a touch more easy in XP, and it may be, but even there you have those pretty scripts with a tendency to be incompatible to each other, hand-editing of cryptic custom scenery entries (keep care not to get the order wrong!) and the like.

Seen from the outside, notably by someone to enter the hobby, it is daunting and certainly a factor why flight simulation never takes off to the level it was once at FS5 times.

Kind regards, Michael

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7 hours ago, Bobsk8 said:

Last time I checked Steam takes an average of 30% from developers as commission. I am sure that good developers will love that business model.  😋

Same thing when you sell using Simmarket: https://secure.simmarket.com/man_create_account.php, except that if you are not selling exclusively with them they get even more than the figure you are quoting.

If you research a bit you will also find that all Simmarket competitors also charge similar or higher percentage of commission, personally I find 30% - 40% extremely high, my wife have been working in the sale business industry over 20 years and she was shocked when I mentioned to her the potential percentage of sales commissions I would need to pay to sell software using any of these vendors, her own words were: "I have never seen such amount of percentage given as sales commissions, do these market places also offer support to your users?" I laughed when she thought that Simmarket would even dare to try to help customers with any software that I release.

Just my two cents.. 

Regards,
Simbol

 

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