J van E

Nail in coffin AFS2...?

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Because there were no updates at all about Orbx addons for AFS2 I finally asked a question about the state of things on the Orbx forum. When could we expect the promised TE PNW or maybe GB? After a while JV replied and then locked the topic. He didn't lock it saying the topic was crossing lines or anything but I think he simply locked it to prevent further discussion about AFS2. Anyway, since this obviously can't be discussed on the IPACS forum, the AFS2 Steam forum and the Orbx forum, I decided to post this here.

In reply to my question when we could expect the next Orbx TE region for AFS2 JV replied the following. I highlighted a few lines in red myself.

"TE GB for AFS2 is ported from the P3D version.

Since the TE GB P3D version is not even in beta yet, the AFS2 port from that is some time away.

Please keep in mind that not too long ago Orbx would release only one FTX region for FSX/P3D a year. In the past 12 months we have released four regions for four platforms which is a very large increase in output without a lot of extra resources.

It is optimistic to expect us to release 5-7 regions a year across 3-4 platforms unless we rapidly expand our resources. So because of this resource bottleneck we will begin recruiting developers for our new UK dev centre. This dev centre will mainly be focused on TE regions and porting airports from FSX/P3D to XP/AFS2.

Ultimately though, we are a business. Yes, I am on record saying our AFS2 efforts are a long-term R&D investment, and this has been ongoing for over two years now. However at some point the R&D has to pay back its investment and this has not been the case with AFS2. For that reason we have recently re-focused back to our core P3D platform and expanded into XP11 which has proven to be profitable in terms of units sold and the XP community embracing Orbx products.

Having said all that, I still believe in AFS2 as providing the best VR experience of any sim platform out there, and for this reason we still believe it is worth porting regions and airports to it in the long term. Just don't expect us to be so prolific about it because we cannot expend too much effort without any reward.

I spent a day in Germany with the IPACS team about six weeks ago and they showed me some pretty exciting stuff to come in the sim, so please don't write it off just yet!"

Well... this doesn't sound too good to me. In fact, I wonder if this is a nail in the coffin of AFS2... 'Everyone' is waiting for 3rd party addons for AFS2 and so far only Orbx delivered some (and Aerosoft but that's hardly worth the mention). 3rd party aircraft aren't coming at all: every effort in that regard has failed so far and the various developers stopped working on planes for AFS2 (one developer released what he had as simple and basic freeware). IPACS's own efforts are taking ages: the R22 has been announced long ago already and it still isn't here and IPACS already said ATC, which they have been working on for around 2 years or so already, won't be released anytime soon. (Don't get me started on the preview that was promised in September 2017 and which we haven't even seen yet...)

AFS2 just isn't getting the 3rd party support it needs. And now Orbx even pulls back a bit. Yes, maybe in the future, but it doesn't sound too good to me. A lot of people are already leaving AFS2 behind and this certainly won't help. My hope for the future AFS2 is fading quickly... And all the time IPACS remains silent and releases nothing.

Edited by J van E
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We all know that already, it has been an endless discussion, just to realize that we end up in the same place.

My only suggestion would be to move on and enjoying flying, either with P3Dv4 or XP 11. I'm now planning to install XP 11 on my new gaming laptop by March next year, when my brand new gaming laptop will arrive. In the meantime and afterwards, I'll continue enjoying P3Dv4 (or v5?, who knows?) very much and every complex addon that people are releasing for it. I don't bother by AFS2 anymore. If IPACS comes with some new and nice stuff, even better, if not, bad for them.

And, btw, there's a nice (and long, with 77 questions or so) survey online going on, sponsored by some developers (IPACS amongst them). I filled out mine this morning and will be obvious to IPACS that they're far away from being a preferred simulator platform.

Cheers, Ed

Edited by edpatino

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Can't blame people not wanting to make stuff for it when the base platform still lacks things which even Flight Simulator 2002 had.

Just filled out that survey too Ed. It's a bit long winded to do, but you've gotta be in it to win it as they say, so I'd recommend everyone gives it a shot.

Edited by Chock
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I think JV's comments say more about ORBX than they do about AFS2. I get the impression from watching the ORBX strategy evolve over the past year that they don't have the capacity (both staffing and expertise) to cover their original expansive roadmap. The sudden demise of DTG FSW helped ORBX out a bit, but in my opinion, they seem hard pressed even to produce products for the ever evolving versions of P3d and XP. They were fine with FSX, but that sim never changed. Think about it, if P3d4 adds PBR, will ORBX update all it's products? We shall see.

 

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Thank you for sharing Jeroen.

You may be right, but at the same time I read: "I spent a day in Germany with the IPACS team about six weeks ago and they showed me some pretty exciting stuff to come in the sim, so please don't write it off just yet!", so...

What I still don't understand is the lack of interest of aircraft developers for this sim. Is this coming from the developers themselves, from Ipacs (maybe incomplete Sdk), too complicated, too long to develop or lack of agreement (technical, financial or other), and so on?

I am almost certain that with an aircraft (just one) having the minimum standard required or even more (A2A, RealAir, Milviz and so), an updated database, aircraft lights that illuminate the runway and the environment, all this could undoubtedly give back an interest.

This would probably allow to be patient while waiting for an Atc, a weather program etc, etc....

Regards,

Richard

 

Edited by DrumsArt

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4 minutes ago, DrumsArt said:

What I still don't understand is the lack of interest of aircraft developers for this sim. Is this coming from the developers themselves, from Ipacks (maybe incomplete Sdk), too complicated, too long to develop or lack of agreement (technical, financial or other), and so on? 

I am almost certain that with an aircraft (just one) having the minimum standard required or even more (A2A, RealAir, Milviz and so), an updated database, aircraft lights that illuminate the runway and the environment, all this could undoubtedly give back an interest.

Incomplete SDK and complicated path to develop aircraft addons, that's why. The worst thing is that it's mostly clear that IPACS has no plans to change that.

Cheers, Ed

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13 minutes ago, DrumsArt said:

What I still don't understand is the lack of interest of aircraft developers for this sim. Is this coming from the developers themselves, from Ipacs (maybe incomplete Sdk), too complicated, too long to develop or lack of agreement (technical, financial or other), and so on?

I can't comment on the aircraft SDK, but the tools part of the SDK is lacking. I approached several developers to develop full support for Saitek gear (Switch Panel, FIPs...) or a networked Moving Map, and I was told by them the SDK would not be up to the task in the present (a year ago) state. They even got in contact with IPACS at that time, but obvisouly nothing changed since. This just has not been a priority by IPACS, as they stated themselves. 

Being on a hardware panel, I rely on such support. I was quite supportive for AeroflyFS2 for some time and still like its visuals, but find my enhusiasm fading away with their slooooooow progress.

In a sense, I can understand ORBX, who actually gave a huge initial credit for such a small sim.

On the other hand, it's amazing to see a group of highly talented freeware developers having developed outstanding tools for scenery creation which (IMHO) are even better than those available for XP today. There's just no one to use them.

Kind regards, Michael

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As always, it is about the money. It is pretty much impossible for any company to survive long enough to build a modern day flight sim from scratch. How many start ups have to fold before we as a community will embrace this fact. No amount of wishing and posting how great it will be is going to change the out come. Here is the thing.....even if IPACS were to continue and by some bit of magic could close the gap and at that point we all bought their product, and I mean everyone took P3D and Xplain off of there computers, they probably would not recover the developement cost. Anyone who has spent more than 4 or 5 years in the hobby must realize this. I don't know for sure but I think the guy from X-plain was born with a very large bank account as in rich, and LM is a monster big business. LM can continue because they split the dev expenses into many different uses of the software, not the least of which are advanced aircraft and training.

Edited by shivers9
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Estimated sales on Steam-stats websites are stagnant from a long time. Not looking good at all. Unless Ipacs has some exciting stuff coming not too far away, I don't see many chances of survival.

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I for one am glad to read that ORBX will be refocusing its efforts away from AFS2 and back to P3D.  They are, or were,  trying to do too much in my opinion.  As I said before, it has been too long since they last released an FTX region or an openLC scenery.

As I've said before, I just don't see AFS2 surviving much longer unless something drastically changes, e.g. they add a lot of scenery even at a lower quality, add weather and better clouds, and more 3rd party aircraft.

Now they have even more competition from the Flyinside simulator, which from what I've seen so far is more viable than AFS2.

Dave

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2 hours ago, dave2013 said:

I for one am glad to read that ORBX will be refocusing its efforts away from AFS2 and back to P3D.  They are, or were,  trying to do too much in my opinion.  As I said before, it has been too long since they last released an FTX region or an openLC scenery.

+1 x a googol 😄

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3 hours ago, dave2013 said:

I for one am glad to read that ORBX will be refocusing its efforts away from AFS2 and back to P3D.  They are, or were,  trying to do too much in my opinion.  As I said before, it has been too long since they last released an FTX region or an openLC scenery.

That is a very narrow minded view. It is good that Orbx invest in other platforms as well. I don`t want P3D to be the only player in this market. Anyone that has used other sims knows that P3D lacks in multiple areas and competition is always good.

The problem with AFS2 is that XP11 has established itself as P3D`s alternative. The fact that there are no advanced airplanes for AFS2 also did not help...

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14 hours ago, DrumsArt said:

What I still don't understand is the lack of interest of aircraft developers for this sim.

I think it's just a case of there aren't that many aircraft developers and the quality bar for aircraft keeps getting raised meaning larger teams to develop a single aircraft ... combine that with a market where 10,000 units sold is considered "good" you can see there is a significant lack of potential funding which isn't drawing in aircraft developers.

AF2 is an example of what many kept wishing for, a new flight sim starting from scratch ... as I've suggested before, starting from scratch requires A LOT of funding to penetrate this market and the promise on return just isn't there ... people can only work for so long with almost no revenue no matter how much "passion"' the developers may have ... they also have kids, a life, bills to pay, etc.

IMHO, there is barely enough room for two platforms XP11 and P3D/FSX and I bet many developers wish there were only one platform so they wouldn't have to do almost twice as much work for the same product sold on each platform.  This is a small passionate group of flight enthusiasts bound to the limits of computing hardware.  

I like AF2, purchased everything sold for it, but it simply didn't have the depth of P3D and/or XP11.

Anyway, next time someone says "do it from scratch" ... just say no 😉

I still believe Flight Simulation is growing, just at a slow pace.  Now if we could just get all developers to use the P3D SDK for P3D products rather than using the FSX SDK and charge LESS (not more) for P3D products vs. FSX products, I think that would go a long way in getting folks to migrate away from FSX to P3D and reduce their support nightmares.

Cheers, Rob.

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It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined, 
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind), 
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind. 

The First approach'd the Elephant, 
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, 
At once began to bawl: 
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!" 

The Second, feeling of the tusk, 
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp? 
To me 'tis mighty clear, 
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!" 

The Third approach'd the animal, 
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands, 
Thus boldly up and spake: 
"I see," -quoth he- "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!" 

The Fourth reached out an eager hand, 
And felt about the knee: 
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," -quoth he,- 
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant 
Is very like a tree!" 

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, 
Said- "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most; 
Deny the fact who can, 
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!" 

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope, 
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope, 
"I see," -quoth he,- "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!" 
 

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long, 
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong, 
Though each was partly in the right, 
And all were in the wrong! 

MORAL

So, oft in simulations forums  
The disputants, so I ween, 
Rail on in utter ignorance 
Of what each other mean; 
And prate about an Elephant 
Not one of them has seen!

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17 hours ago, pmb said:

On the other hand, it's amazing to see a group of highly talented freeware developers having developed outstanding tools for scenery creation which (IMHO) are even better than those available for XP today. There's just no one to use them.

I think the problem with this is that those freeware developers are still stuck using their SDK. There is presently no way to compile imagery without passing them to their SDK which is horribly slow. 3D models and placement files all need to be compiled via their SDK tools. I think the simple fact that iPacs won't document the native file formats greatly limits the creativity of many developers who are trying their best out of a bad situation. It took someone to play around with undocumented features to generate their own DEM/mesh because even that wasn't documented at all, and reading through their forum I get the impression that iPacs tolerate tinkering but really don't like it or encourage it. I often see these developers/enthusiasts requesting file format documentation, and the requests are always ignored..

You could argue that it's no different on P3D because that requires an SDK and intermediary file formats, however the SDK is very well documented, and the tools provided are generally fast and work well, and the developers will help out. From my work creating tools to generate scenery for both P3D and AF2, P3D is by far the easier and more pleasant sim to develop for.

There is also a reason tools like Ortho4XP, World2XPlane exist on X-Plane, and that's because the file formats are open, documented and Laminar Research encourage it and help out. Not helping the freeware community out will only hurt in the long run, especially on such a young platform. The strong freeware community is IMO what has driven X-Plane forward to become something popular flight-sim companies want to develop for. 

 

 

 

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17 hours ago, pmb said:

This just has not been a priority by IPACS, as they stated themselves. 

You wonder what has... If they aren't even willing to work on the SDK right NOW, what are they thinking...? Don't they realize how important 3rd party support is? When someone who is working on an airplane for AFS2 says how bad the SDK is and how much work is involved in things that are easy to do in P3D, why don't they say 'Okay, this is important, let's work on it'? Instead they say they might look at it sometime in the future... In fact 'they' don't even say it because the developers let Jeff and Jan do almost all the talking. I notice even those two guys are getting frustrated with the fact the developers won't listen to anyone, even them. Last week someone asked if it would be possible to assign the buttons on VR controls yourself: Jeff said that was his preference too but the devs said NO and that was it. It won't happen.

The fact that they also aren't willing to fix small thing doesn't help. Like whenever you ask about something related to the clouds or visibility they say they won't look at it until they start working on the weather engine. And they won't even say if they will be working on the weather engine after finishing ATC. They simply don't seem to listen to their customers and almost every request is denied. It really makes you wonder what the (core) developers are thinking.

EDIT

12 minutes ago, tonywob said:

I think the problem with this is that those freeware developers are still stuck using their SDK. There is presently no way to compile imagery without passing them to their SDK which is horribly slow. 3D models and placement files all need to be compiled via their SDK tools. I think the simple fact that iPacs won't document the native file formats greatly limits the creativity of many developers who are trying their best out of a bad situation. It took someone to play around with undocumented features to generate their own DEM/mesh because even that wasn't documented at all, and reading through their forum I get the impression that iPacs tolerate tinkering but really don't like it or encourage it. I often see these developers/enthusiasts requesting file format documentation, and the requests are always ignored..

This.

Edited by J van E

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4 hours ago, HiFlyer said:

So, oft in simulations forums  
The disputants, so I ween, 
Rail on in utter ignorance 
Of what each other mean; 
And prate about an Elephant 
Not one of them has seen!

Its not a matter of knowledge as much as it is perception or opinion. Perception and opinion is the proverbial elephant gun.😬

But the knowledge that is presented in the OP is knowledge enough to have serious concern for AF2.

It does not matter what IPACS plans or intentions are, it matters when they are implemented and the value of the implementations...the FS community as a whole will not wait around for IPACS as long as P3D and XP are going strong.

I hope the best for AF2, but potential is not enough.🙂

 

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11 hours ago, Murmur said:

Estimated sales on Steam-stats websites are stagnant from a long time. Not looking good at all. Unless Ipacs has some exciting stuff coming not too far away, I don't see many chances of survival.

Where can I find these Steam-stats for AeroflyFS2? I only know

https://steamcharts.com/app/434030

on the number of concurrent players, which are pretty alarming figures as well.

Thanks and kind regards,  Michael

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25 minutes ago, pracines said:

...the FS community as a whole will not wait around for IPACS as long as P3D and XP are going strong.

Of course not. They have never done that. "The FS community as a whole" use what they think is best - NOW - today. 

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5 hours ago, GCBraun said:

The problem with AFS2 is that XP11 has established itself as P3D`s alternative. The fact that there are no advanced airplanes for AFS2 also did not help...

Come on... are you seriously suggestion, that the reason that the reason, that Aerofly FS 2 is failing (or falling behind in interests from customers and developers) are because of X-Plane 11?? 

Perhaps, if Aerofly FS 2 had more features, was easier to develop for and/or had a more flexible SDK, it would be more popular all around. But I guess, it's more appealing admitting defeat, when you can blame someone else... 

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42 minutes ago, pmb said:

which are pretty alarming figures as well.

Wow, pretty alarming indeed. You should think IPACS is checking these numbers too...

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21 hours ago, J van E said:

Nail in coffin AFS2...?

What is your point? I still do not understand your negative attitude. It's like a drug addict who is only concerned with the next shot. As previously pointed out, IPACS has repeatedly said that they are a small team. A small team = slow development. Is it hard to accept?

Previously John Venema (Orbx) got the following question: "Do you (JV) have any thoughts about why not experienced manufacturers like Carenado, Alabeo, Just Flight, etc., convert their products to Aerofly FS2? Is the customer base - preliminary - too small?"

The answer from John Venema: "Yes the customer base is too small and they aren’t willing to invest R&D for no profit. Things may change once the sim matures though."

Furthermore, John Venema said: "We view AFS2 as very much a 'foundation sim' which is a work in progress with a lot of potential over the coming years. Therefore all the work and R&D we are doing with ports and new scenery products are not contributing to our bottom line but it's an investment in the future.

The IPACS team have been working very hard on core engine systems (therefore the Vulkan option recently released) to further optimise the sim ahead of new tech and systems being introduced. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it will take time for AFS2 to compete at a features level wwith P3D and XP11, but for VR flying nothing can touch it right now."

"There are plenty of Orbx TrueEarth regions coming for AFS2 to keep the scenery fans happy."

I am 100% agree with this assessment from John Venema. AFS2 is for the future - the new fresh blood that our community needs. IPACS is very open and aware that it will take time. Spreading negative rumors that can indirectly infer AFS2's slowly dead - are directly destructive - and in no way constructive. So please give IPACS the time they need. If you are not interested in joining the journey - please come back in 2023. Perhaps a helicopter has appeared. :cool:

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34 minutes ago, Anders Bermann said:

Come on... are you seriously suggestion, that the reason that the reason, that Aerofly FS 2 is failing (or falling behind in interests from customers and developers) are because of X-Plane 11?? 

Perhaps, if Aerofly FS 2 had more features, was easier to develop for and/or had a more flexible SDK, it would be more popular all around. But I guess, it's more appealing admitting defeat, when you can blame someone else... 

I say that from a consumers perspective. Perhaps if XP11 was not around, I would spend more time with AFS2. Regardless, the fact is that one platform has expanded significantly since launch and the other has not...if course it is not an excuse for IPACS.

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