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Community A320 mod team's plea for support

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I think it's all about priorities at this point and they probably need to focus on areas that will have a financial return and or core Sim work, at least for now


Wayne such

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23 minutes ago, Andreas Stangenes said:

What is the status of this mod now? Is it unusable?

I did yesterday ( after the new MS Patch ) two flights, same Route one without the A32NX mod and the other with the mod.

I did`t see or feelt no difference, handled the same way for me..

 

regards 😉

Edited by pmplayer
  • Like 1

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Asobo does listen to developers, that's for sure and there are things you see in the latest patch, ( might not be entirely obvious without products taking advantage of them) which are the direct result of our requests.

Unfortunately, it's difficult to make a point without going technical but, as an example, when the sim was in still in early Alpha, and the SDK was in a way worse shape than it is today, it looked very difficult to create good looking airports with realistic ground markings, because there wasn't any support to do custom layered ground polygons and to play nice with the new sloped runways. You were only supposed to place stock stuff with the editor, and that's it, making very difficult to improve much over the handcrafted airports. From a commercial point of view, it seemed impossible to improve over the handcrafted airports, so 3rd party airport development seemed to be restricted to regional/minor airports, with no chance to "compete" with Asobo on the biggest international hubs included in the sim, or the Premium packages.

Many airport developers were very worried about this, so we all voiced our concerns to Asobo.

And THEY LISTENED. Out of the blue, when the sim was approaching Beta ( which usually means "the product is frozen, no new features" ), they added a CRUCIAL function to the scenery SDK, which is called "Projected Mesh". This feature is brilliant, because it solves in a single stroke one of the most annoying leftovers from FSX, which in some way is still there in P3D, and with a whole different set of annoyances is there in XP11 too, and it's a very simple way to take existing custom made ground polygons, and have the sim auto-magically adapt to the rolling terrain underneath, including real-time preview in the editor.  This makes A LOT easier to convert existing airports to MSFS, cutting months out of the workload that would have been required, had the scenery SDK being left in the state it was when the sim entered Alpha. Without this feature, you wouldn't had ANY of the airports that are already available now, with months to wait before getting them, and most likely higher prices, to cover for the additional time spent.

ProjectedMesh are also very efficient ( it's done by the GPU ), so an airport with a completely custom ground, even in multiple layers, can be faster than one made entirely using default elements, AFCAD-style.

When the sim came out, this feature wasn't entirely complete, and missed two things:

1) Full PBR support. In the 18th August release, ProjectedMesh only supported Albedo+Normal maps. They didn't work with a custom Roughness map, which allows to simulate the proper (and different) reflectivity of ground materials like asphalt, concrete, painted lines, opposite to the almost inert behavior of grass. This meant airports using them looked accurate (because of the custom ground markings), but a bit plain, because of the limited PBR.

This was known to us before August 18th, and we accepted it as a necessary limitation, assuming users would prefer custom accurate markings, even at the cost of losing some of the visual impact.

But Asobo promised they would eventually add support for better PBR and, guess what: IT CAME WITH THE PATCH! We assumed they would delivered it, so we already prepared all our stuff for it, which explains why, the day after the patch, we released an update to our KORD scenery for MSFS, which adds full PBR on ground, and it looks so much better! So we can now have accurate airports with custom markings, without losing any of the visual features that makes MSFS so good to look at.

2) The only thing missing to make ProjectedMesh perfect, is the ability to decide if they can be drawn before or after other airport elements, like Aprons or Runways. Right now, they are always drawn below, which means we cannot have, for example, a custom ProjectedMesh over a default Runway or a default Apron, which makes difficult to do minor enhancement to default airports, which is usually what freeware authors do. And guess what, Asobo has also promised this WILL come too, likely in the next patch, and we don't have any reasons to think otherwise.

So no, it's simply wrong stating that Asobo doesn't listen to developers suggestions, because they DO. Just these two features are enough to sparkle a much better add-on airport market, in "competition" with default handcrafted airports ( I keep using quotes here, because Asobo and Microsoft know perfectly well the more add-ons, the better is for everybody ), and feature #2 is specifically interesting for freeware authors.

They cannot reply to everybody, how's they are supposed to do that, considering all the milions things to do ( I'm sure airplane developers have a big laundry list of wishes too, like utility developers and we know a thing or two about the incomplete Simconnect... ). I would be worried if they spent all their time chit-chatting on social networks with modders, instead of working on the real stuff: squashing the remaining bugs, bringing MSFS to the Xbox, and complete the SDK.

The rant about Asobo intentionally "crippling" modding, because of the tight security of the MS Store apps is simply ridiculous, and shows these guys don't know squat about Windows security. Yes, it's true the MS Store apps are tightly secured, but that's NOT Asobo's fault, it's exactly like that for each and every app on the MS Store, and expecting Asobo would subvert the entire Window security system or Microsoft to directly sell MSFS *outside* the MS Store, it's plain absurd. If Asobo didn't want users take a look at the stock gauges files, they would have ENCRYPTED them, this is what you do when you want to "intentionally" limit modding. The MS Store tight security has just been inherited because this IS an MS Store app, so it works like all  the other MS Store apps.

Case in point: the Steam version, in which ALL files are freely accessible. You want to peek at the stock files, just buy the Steam version, and stop ranting, is that easy. 

Another example, Asobo hasn't said anything about the popular "FPS fix" ( which is no longer required ), even if it was a VERBATIM copy of the Javascript source code of a stock gauge, with just 3 lines added. That would make it "technically" illegal to distribute, yet nobody from Asobo or Microsoft complained about that. How's that for a supposed anti-modders attitude...

Edited by virtuali
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That’s really good to hear from FSDT about Asobos commitment! Hopefully it continues for years! (seen many a developer start off strong only to fizzle out due to various reasons) 

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Extremely interesting post, Umberto, thanks for taking the time to write it.

 

CJ

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Thank you for the extremely insightful post virtuali. It is extremely encouraging to see the SDK being improved at this pace from developer feedback.

Not sure what to think about the A320 situation though. It seems very unfortunate that Asobo are denying the team a response, but perhaps there is a valid reason behind this. They certainly do not want to risk their partnership with Airbus, and might not even be able to reveal their licencing terms.

I'm really wondering what is the state of communication between Asobo and other freeware developers. I think this would clear up the matter significantly.

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It is always nice to be able to see from both sides! Thank you.

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Was the recently added instrument refresh rate option (that added extra framerate for most) thought about by Asoso before it was highlighted by modders in the community? 
We may never know.  But even if they thought about it independently, a little acknowledgment would have gone a long way.

That is one of the things the A320 team would like at least - maybe just a 'We see you, and your work is great, but we can't always do our own updates without breaking your work!'.

I know MS/Asobo can only go so far due to all of the usual legal implications and wanting to keep control of their own software, but at least make an effort to communicate with people who are finding the bugs and improving things. 

Surely there must be a different way forward than just a closed door and a blanket 'mod at your peril, as we may just break it with our own changes', otherwise this isn't going to be as much fun, and fixes will come, but a lot later, and at MS/Asobos schedule. 

It may be a different business model, but Austin Mayer's Xplane crew did cooperate closely with the Zibo mod on their default B737, and it seems to be working out pretty well for them.  In fact, if it wasn't for me taking notice of the publicity around the Zibo mod, I wouldn't have bought Xplane last year.

Maybe MS/Asobo need to define what 'looking to work closely with the community' means, just so we know.

Edited by bobcat999
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4 hours ago, virtuali said:

Another example, Asobo hasn't said anything about the popular "FPS fix" ( which is no longer required ), even if it was a VERBATIM copy of the Javascript source code of a stock gauge, with just 3 lines added. That would make it "technically" illegal to distribute, yet nobody from Asobo or Microsoft complained about that. How's that for a supposed anti-modders attitude...

I really love this post, thank you! It is obvious Asobo didn't say a word about modding and I think they intentionally want to ignore the modding for the community's benefit and I am pretty sure they know about all these mods around there. Of course you are right, they made the files open and written in JS (which is wayyy easier than C++) that literally anyone with some basic programming can mod the sim. However, I think they would intentionally prefer to ignore all these mods due to the legal troubles, I can imagine they wouldn't want to put themselves in some legal trouble for example by giving the model to A32X project, what would be Airbus take in this? We are talking here about Microsoft, any legal action (no matter how big), could bring the company's stock market down, just picture how scandal this could be if Airbus sues Microsoft because of the mod, pretty sure you'd see the news in CNN, DW the guardian .. etc. If LR was a public company, I am pretty sure, they'd have a different take about zibo and Boeing. 

 

And also to add, Microsoft leadership under Satya Nadella has seen a complete transformation from a greedy company led by Steve Ballmer that EVERYTHING has to be within Windows ecosystem, to a company that embraces open source (.NET is open sourced and github owned by Microsoft) and now Linux can be enabled by default in your Windows 10. So yeah, I am pretty sure management in Microsoft value community and open source in general within the MSFS as well.

Edited by omarsmak30
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4 hours ago, virtuali said:

Case in point: the Steam version, in which ALL files are freely accessible. You want to peek at the stock files, just buy the Steam version, and stop ranting, is that easy. 

 

I dont have MSFS yet and this one sentence has solved my dilemma. I was always wondering where to buy it from MS or Steam, now I know! Its a no brainer! Steam it is! Thank you for this info 🙂 

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Maybe Asobo could throw the A320 mod team a bone but at the end of the day their first priorities are fixing issues (of which there's plenty), implementing their development roadmap and helping established 3rd parties get what they need. Naturally they're going to be far more responsive to established TPDs as those guys have skin in the game and MS/Asobo want a thriving ecosystem to build up around the game. A loose collection of modders fixing up the existing A320 is nice but those guys don't have any real financial investment in the platform and the team could easily disband in a month as it's guys working in their spare time and RL requirements can kill these efforts. If they show that they can stick around and are in it for the long run then you might see Asobo be more responsive to them but it'll take time. But right now Asobo rightfully have more pressing things to be working on.

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5 hours ago, virtuali said:

But Asobo promised they would eventually add support for better PBR and, guess what: IT CAME WITH THE PATCH! We assumed they would delivered it, so we already prepared all our stuff for it, which explains why, the day after the patch, we released an update to our KORD scenery for MSFS, which adds full PBR on ground, and it looks so much better! So we can now have accurate airports with custom markings, without losing any of the visual features that makes MSFS so good to look at.

So THAT is why KORD looks so freaking good now! (Not that it didn't before, but you can't really gauge how something looks before/after without the "after" to compare it with in front of your own eyes. 🙂 )

I immediately noticed the improved ground textures...now I have to go back and explore more of the airport. 🙂

I know your next release (KDFW), will look just as stunning and will be on my hard drive day 1.  (I know....If I say it enough, it will happen 🤣)

 

 


Regards,

Steve Dra

Download my paints here at Avsim by clicking here

9Slp0L.jpg 

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Bearing in mind Microsoft will get a cut of the proceeds from any third party Airbus sold through their marketplace, I can see why there's no incentive to help the default version become better and therefore limit sales of the payware equivalent.

The less cynical answer is likely to be as already described, there are a million and one others things higher in Asobo's priority list to complete.
 


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21 hours ago, ShawnG said:

 

 

 

20 hours ago, airlinejets said:

Certainly but Microsoft might sell more FS2020 if this A320 is developed into something worth flying. The only people that stand to make money from this mod is Asobo and Microsoft.

I remember when there was a HUGE buying craze of ArmA II when a developer of a free mod called "Dayz" inspired a lot of new players to buy Arma II. It got me to buy Arma II when I never had an interest in that type of military focused game.

Although I never bought the standalone DAYZ game even though I was super hyped waiting for it to be finished to get it, and was even going to build a new pc around it (so yes, a free mod can increase game sales, and even sales of new pc hardware (ie new OS for said new pc).

 BTW, I waited years, and finally lost interest in the standalone Dayz game due to the long wait and the direction of the standalone Dayz ...maybe players would do better with a mod that's not backed by a huge company...

 

Edited by SlowFlyer
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