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Guest grapesh

FSX Manual and copy protection issues

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I've got a suggestion to make to Microsoft about protecting their investment in FSX. Its based on two observations, namely:* there will be two types of people who will install and use a pirated version of FS without having paid for a legit copy - the casual user who would never have bought a copy in any case, and the serious user who would have bought a copy if he/she couldn't get the freebie.* too often, developers' approaches to protection of their product are based on adding value to them, and not adding value to their customer, who after all is the one keeping them in a job. I feel the customer deserves a bit more respect. (The classic example of a developer getting this wrong is the whole VALVE/Steam/Half Life 2 debacle! >:-S )The casual user is a lost cause - if he/she pirates FSX its no lost sale to MS 'cos they'd never have bought a copy anyway. What you want to ensure is that those who would have bought a copy do so. And to do so in a way that reflects modern gaming usage - i.e. increasingly we have PC choices at home - as many have said on this forum we might like to install FS on more than one PC we own, and for various reasons - I have mine on my main PC (but not on my secondary one) and also on my laptop, even though its only ever me that uses it. I prefer to use the main PC as its more suitable, but at times I'm forced to use the laptop.The solution I have to offer is that MS add 25%-30% to the cost of the product to cover the inclusion of a well produced, well bound paper manual - a book, say 3/4" thick, with lots of added value. Here's my notional list of the contents:*early chapters on getting up and running, obviously. Include stuff for the dive-in-and-go user.*detailed introductions to the package contents - the aircraft and individual guides to flying each of them, checklists for those that want the fuller experience, tips about various sceneries in the fs world, with screenshots. Weather, ATC, etc.,.*detailed notes on learning to sim-fly as a back-up to the in-game flying lessons, and integrated with them - i.e. the in-game flying lessons will include reference to page whatever, and vice versa. Make the flying lessons assume the user has the book open beside him/her. But also make the book something that can be read when not at the sim, reading up on the flying lessons lying in bed or on the bus.*colour simulated charts for various flight adventures - make it international too - the purpose is to integrate this manual into the FS-experience as much as possible - dont just limit the charts to the built-in adventures, but make some for interesting parts of the world and interesting airports, so people can have their own adventures using the resources of this manual.*tweaking and hardware tips - explanation of fsX.cfg type matters or whatever is equivalent*introductory guide to add-on development issues - refer to the various payware and freeware add-ons that can be used, or online resources or whatever. Now I know this can get out of date, but probably most of it would still last the lifetime of the FSX product. Discussion of scenery addon issues - meshes, landclass, autogen, photosceneries, 3d object editing, etc.,.*at the end of the thing have many pages laid out to simulate a log book that the user can begin to fill in, but add bits to it to reflect its just a sim - such as the space to make reference to screenshots or names of saved flight files or recordings, so somebody looking through the logbook can see there's some files stored to show something of the flight. Maybe make the sim itself have a way of saving files indexed to the logbook? Other than that make it as much like a real logbook as possible. Again the purpose is to integrate the manual into the FSX experience and to add considerable value to it.With this added to the product I would guess that there would be hardly a single serious FS user who would NOT buy the full thing, even if they do use some no-cd hack to enable them to protect their investment by not risking damage to their precious FSX discs, even if they do install it on more than one personal machine, and even if it does cost a bit more. Such a manual would be indispensable to the experience of using FSX, and would be worth the premium in the price of the product, and would cost the pirate a fortune to photocopy only to produce something shabby compared to the proper lovely FSX manual.There are few dev houses in the world who could produce such a book, but surely MS is one of them. Especially since it would clearly return and protect their investment.Whaddya think?Paul

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>* there will be two types of people who will install and use>a pirated version of FS without having paid for a legit copy ->the casual user who would never have bought a copy in any>case, and the serious user who would have bought a copy if>he/she couldn't get the freebie.This sounds reasonable and quite logical.However, something like what you referred to i.e. Steam account, is highly effective and I support that greatly!Its not about a respect issue, but about being welcomed into the world of Half Life when you install the product and use it.(Just my opinion, how it makes me personally feel)>The solution I have to offer is that MS add 25%-30% to the>cost of the product to cover the inclusion of a well produced,>well bound paper manual - a book, say 3/4" thick, with lots of>added value. Here's my notional list of the contents:Ah! There goes a good deal of the casual user market :(The casual user, especially the new user, I suspect, wants the product to be priced the same as other software or he/she isn't curious enough to buy it.Most intermediate to hard-core simmers are already going to buy the product, certainly a great deal of people that constantly write in the FSX forum will, but the question is: How do we get NEW users?Don't get me wrong, I like your ideas about an accompanying manual, with references to pages as you fly and a good paper quality manual with lots of small intricate details all the way through.However, looking at FS9's Learning Center, it would be hard to create a paper manual out of something that is so interactive(?)and easy to look up information on.Accompanying videos supplement the Learning Center, although these are very basic, I'd personally enjoy more of this type.The only way I could see this 'project' being feasible is if the FS-team decide to make two versions of the product. One without the paper manual and one with it.Yes, charging more for the paper manual, as trees are not as abundant as they once were and also it takes 400 liters of fresh water to make just 1 kilogram of paper! (That was just a side note)Also, think on how many users would actually read the manual? Is it 20%, 50% or 80%. There would have to be a poll on this, to get an accurate representation, to decide if this would be viable.Personally, I wonder why the FS-team haven't created a questionaire on the FSInsider website, and ask questions, that way, they could get a rough estimate on certain issues. (I don't know if this has been done in the past.)As far as creating a manual out of a 'side benefit' of copy-protection (or protecting the product, if I understood you correctly) this I feel wouldn't accomplish much. Most people would buy FSX to just fly, with or without a manual.Thanks for your post and points, it was interesting to read someone elses views about the 'manual' in FS as I had been speculating on this the last few weeks myself.

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I've been a consumer of software for 20 years, and a professional creator for the last 10 of those.I remember when games would come with thick printed manuals, it didn't deter pirates then.I've seen pirated copies of 1980s games where the pirate had taken the trouble to type the entire (often a hundred pages or more) manual into one or more text files.At this moment, with easily and cheaply available OCR software and scanners, they could create a PDF version of the manual from scans in a few hours.You are somewhat correct about the casual pirates, but a percentage of those (and likely a more than trivial percentage) would have purchased the product had they not found a pirated copy first.They'd probably never have become serious users but bought it out of curiosity and become occasional users. Mostly these are the younger users, the generation-0 kids with their 5 minute attention spans for whom FS is just too boring and slow (and many of whom would complain about the lack of bombs and guns to blow things up with ;)).Besides, for a printed manual to have real value it would need to be extremely large, too large to hold the attention of the younger (and many older) users.It would in fact deter at least some of them from purchasing the product (I know many of my colleagues think I'm crazy for using such a complicated game as FS is and then adding mods to it which have their own 250 page manuals, and that's a general attitude I've always seen, people want games you can get into quickly and a 500 page manual stops them from buying it).And that's without the added cost of those printed manuals.To ship even a 100 page manual with a product in the price range of MSFS would add 50% or more to the purchase price of that product, which in itself would deter people from buying that product.Then there's the stores which ever more refuse to put games on the shelves which come in a box that's larger than a standard DVD case.Larger boxes means less products on the shelf which means you need either a smaller catalogue or more staff, both of which hurt your bottom line.It also means you will need shelves capable of handling those different sized boxes, costing even more space.In the past when software companies shipped what they liked and stores had to adapt that was the norm, but with a few massively large conglomerates of stores pretty much dictating which game becomes a success and which doesn't (commercially) and those store chains requiring a standard sized box for all games, those days are gone (possibly forever).Don't get me wrong, I like printed manuals as much as you do but from experience know that they're no longer practical.

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The web-server authorization helps, especially if it adds you into some kind of career/ranking system. If you have a pirate copy, you just can't register an account and therefore, you cannot use a career feature and maybe some other things. And for a superior protection - include the cryptocard with the DVD :) But of course, you need internet connection for all of these features...

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well, I for one won't use whatever career/ranking system is available and won't even purchase the product if its use is required to use the product at all.I think many of the more serious simmers (especially the oldtimers) feel the same way.So such a system and enforcing it may deter some piracy from kids but will drive away the repeat customer in return, hardly a beneficial situation.

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A career mode is just one feature that can be tied to FS account. Another, maybe better, example is real-time weather feature. No legal copy = no account = no weather.CheersS.V.

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