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Tom_L

Are payware scenery developers too complacent?

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Yes, I know - too global - but: I recently installed LSZS from Orbx and ENAT from Aerosoft. Both are predetermined destinations for winter operation, and yet the airport surfaces are mostly covered in snow. I know for sure that the airport operators will take any effort to clear at least the runways asap, so having everything covered in white is highly unrealistic. There are limitations in MSFS when it comes to snow coverage of surfaces, but it can be done, as I realized too late there's a freeware scenery for LSZS where the developer managed to implement realistic, mostly cleared surfaces.

The same goes for the ILS autotuning feature in MSFS - most 3rd party sceneries require you to tune the ILS frequency for the approach manually, even if the avionics is able to do so automatically (you WT CJ4 and FBW A320 pilots will know). This implementation into the scenery is new to MSFS (that in itself is not so new anymore) and can be done, as FSDT have shown, even if it seems to require some effort until it is integrated into the scenery editor by ASOBO. And yet most 3rd party addon airports are shipped without this feature. I have pointed it out to the Orbx developers and tried to raise general awareness by asking a related question for the last developers Q&A (obviously not deemed worthy of mentioning), but it seems there's not enough pressure from customers for the developers to increase the quality standard for their products.

Just my thoughts....

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Posted (edited)

You would have to ask each individual scenery developer to see why they did what they did, and I'm sure there are a few different answers.  My guess is that once Asobo fixes several issues which affect ILS Autotune, the sceneries where it's presently not working won't have to be patched, they'll simply start working.  My friend Umberto at FSDT may have to patch his scenery (where it is working via a plugin) once Asobo has fixed the issues surrounding this.

I've been through many new sim releases, and things like this always occur.  FSX had issues which were never resolved, so we're lucky that MS and Asobo seem in this for the long haul, and in the end we'll have the One Sim to Rule Them All!

Best wishes.

 

 

Edited by DaveCT2003
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4 minutes ago, DaveCT2003 said:

things like this always occur.

I hear you, but shouldn't we as customers expect that payware developers put at least the same effort into their products as their freeware counterparts do (see LSZS example)? Or postpone the launch until the product is up to satisactory standards? Yeah, I know, one man's meat is another man's poison, but an airport totally covered in snow is not satisfactory by any means. I just think that if we as customers don't raise our voices (as you oftentimes only realise the flaws of the product after purchase), we can't expect improvement where it would already be possible.

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Just now, Tom_L said:

I hear you, but shouldn't we as customers expect that payware developers put at least the same effort into their products as their freeware counterparts do (see LSZS example)? Or postpone the launch until the product is up to satisactory standards? Yeah, I know, one man's meat is another man's poison, but an airport totally covered in snow is not satisfactory by any means. I just think that if we as customers don't raise our voices (as you oftentimes only realise the flaws of the product after purchase), we can't expect improvement where it would already be possible.

You certainly make a excellent point, and I'm not here to argue that.  Just offering a plausible explanation.  This type of thing has occured with every new sim that's been out since FS2000, and historically it gets corrected one way or the other.  As we all know, MSFS was released with much work left to do both coding and most especially documentation wise, so devs are playing catch up.

Anyway, just saying it's pretty early in developmental wise, but you get no argument from me on this.

Best wishes my friend!

 

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When messing with the scenery editor, I noticed some runway textures show more or less snow more than others. I'm not sure what handles this.

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14 hours ago, Tom_L said:

Yes, I know - too global - but: I recently installed LSZS from Orbx and ENAT from Aerosoft. Both are predetermined destinations for winter operation, and yet the airport surfaces are mostly covered in snow. I know for sure that the airport operators will take any effort to clear at least the runways asap, so having everything covered in white is highly unrealistic. There are limitations in MSFS when it comes to snow coverage of surfaces, but it can be done, as I realized too late there's a freeware scenery for LSZS where the developer managed to implement realistic, mostly cleared surfaces.

The same goes for the ILS autotuning feature in MSFS - most 3rd party sceneries require you to tune the ILS frequency for the approach manually, even if the avionics is able to do so automatically (you WT CJ4 and FBW A320 pilots will know). This implementation into the scenery is new to MSFS (that in itself is not so new anymore) and can be done, as FSDT have shown, even if it seems to require some effort until it is integrated into the scenery editor by ASOBO. And yet most 3rd party addon airports are shipped without this feature. I have pointed it out to the Orbx developers and tried to raise general awareness by asking a related question for the last developers Q&A (obviously not deemed worthy of mentioning), but it seems there's not enough pressure from customers for the developers to increase the quality standard for their products.

Just my thoughts....

There are many reasons why there isn't enough "pressure", as you call it, on developers to increase quality:

1. Blame it on Asobo
2. Blame it on the SDK
3. Gaslight the customer - Aersoft are particularly good at this
4. Customers don't know any better - what? Avionics systems can autotune the ils? I didn*t know this!
5. Customers don't care
6. There really aren't many flightsim forums on the net that are solely "customer-centered" - just say something negative about some "beloved" addon company and you'll be swarmed like you just stepped on a beehive. 
7. Many youtube reviewers are just plain incompetent and are happy to just "noodle" around.
8. Elaborating on point 7: I've noticed that many, perhaps even the majority of, youtube reviewers rarely mention technical issues in regards to airport scenery. The standard review template seems to be: Fly or slew around the airport and point out whether or not this or that looks accurate, high resolution, etc. Look, they even modelled the men's restroom behind the concession stand in terminal 5!
9. Customers gaslighting customers. Quotes from the thread linked in the original post:

"You can tune the ILS manually and it's working as expected, but that's not how the aircraft are meant to be operated - and it's a widespread third-party scenery developer issue. As some developers seem to have solved the problem it should rightfully be considered standard in scenery design for MSFS."

Gaslighting by customer: " am pretty sure Orbx developers know on their own how to do this. It is porbably just not on their priority to do list, which I could understand, since these frequencies can easily be tuned manually....don't be so lazy."

JMHO

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Ricardo41 said:

There are many reasons why there isn't enough "pressure", as you call it, on developers to increase quality:

1. Blame it on Asobo
2. Blame it on the SDK
3. Gaslight the customer - Aersoft are particularly good at this
4. Customers don't know any better - what? Avionics systems can autotune the ils? I didn*t know this!
5. Customers don't care
6. There really aren't many flightsim forums on the net that are solely "customer-centered" - just say something negative about some "beloved" addon company and you'll be swarmed like you just stepped on a beehive. 
7. Many youtube reviewers are just plain incompetent and are happy to just "noodle" around.
8. Elaborating on point 7: I've noticed that many, perhaps even the majority of, youtube reviewers rarely mention technical issues in regards to airport scenery. The standard review template seems to be: Fly or slew around the airport and point out whether or not this or that looks accurate, high resolution, etc. Look, they even modelled the men's restroom behind the concession stand in terminal 5!
9. Customers gaslighting customers. Quotes from the thread linked in the original post:

"You can tune the ILS manually and it's working as expected, but that's not how the aircraft are meant to be operated - and it's a widespread third-party scenery developer issue. As some developers seem to have solved the problem it should rightfully be considered standard in scenery design for MSFS."

Gaslighting by customer: " am pretty sure Orbx developers know on their own how to do this. It is porbably just not on their priority to do list, which I could understand, since these frequencies can easily be tuned manually....don't be so lazy."

JMHO

 

Whilst all true, the fact that much of the customer response to even quite small issues is long rants and tirades and personal attacks does not help. it is not a particularly good approach if you actually want something done rather than just venting.

A good example is the MSFS thread on the jabiru where the developer apologised for not being available in the past week as his wife was in hospital and the immediate response was a long rant from someone stating they had no interest in his personal life and it was irrelevant, all they mattered was the fact they had not got THEIR update yet (the update in question was delayed on the marketplace because Microsoft suddenly changed the rules for thumbnails and the ones on the current download were no longer acceptable).

In another thread someone was abusing the developers of the P40 saying how dare they start work on a new plane when the freeware Grumman Goose they had downloaded at no cost still needed some patches.

The rants about perceived issues with the Kinner Sportswing B2 (actually a great plane that just need some tweaks in the cockpit area, also the textures that need work were clearly evident in the official preview video people really should of watched BEFORE buying it) got to the point that the developer just gave up and withdrew it from sale completely, which was sad as we really do not have very many of those vintage 1930's aircraft in the sim and it was clear a lot of work went into this one.

I think people need to realise that a polite approach, along with constructive criticism about possible improvements, goes a long way further towards encouraging people to provide fixes then ranting and foaming at the mouth.

 

Edited by Glenn Fitzpatrick
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48 minutes ago, Ricardo41 said:

Gaslighting by customer: " am pretty sure Orbx developers know on their own how to do this. It is porbably just not on their priority to do list, which I could understand, since these frequencies can easily be tuned manually....don't be so lazy."

You forgot to add "You are the pilot you are supposed to fly the plane. You have to be ready to intervene if something goes wrong because that is what IRL pilots do."

What you ask is something that is bothering me for a long long time and it is the reason I visit Avsim forums less and less. On the other hand what @Glenn Fitzpatrick mentioned is the reason why I am not reading the comments on flight simulation websites. 

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Ahmet Can

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This topic seems to be quickly flying in the wrong direction with extremes of boths sides of the coin. In an attempt to bring it back on track, I think what is clear is that certain developers have become less consistent in their level of quality and detail of their addons since the release of MSFS alongside an increasingly higher standard in freeware releases.

Most of us around here have noticed this to a greater or lesser extent and it has been regularly commented on. My feeling is that too many developers are trying to make a quick buck while MSFS remains popular amongst new simmers who might be more susceptible to buying substandard addons and who don't have a benchmark from using addons in the other sims. Sadly at the moment it feels all about the sales rather than quality or value.

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2 hours ago, Glenn Fitzpatrick said:

I think people need to realise that a polite approach, along with constructive criticism about possible improvements, goes a long way

You are right. I notice myself (mostly in hindsight of course) that I'm sometimes too impatient, impulsive and demanding when it comes to deficits I want to point out where a more constructive and supportive approach would probably yield better resonance. That being said and working on myself I also think it is necessary to raise the awareness for the fact that with a new sim comes new expectations. The implementation of ILS data within the scenery will become standard hopefully some time (maybe should be already), but I would hope for more enthusiasm to overcome current limitations like the sometimes random snow coverage or transparent glass issues in many sceneries or keeping the product up to date when major airport features in real life have changed (like runway designation, ILS frquencies, major construction changes and so on). Customer relationship goes both ways.

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10 hours ago, Ricardo41 said:

There are many reasons why there isn't enough "pressure", as you call it, on developers to increase quality:

1. Blame it on Asobo
2. Blame it on the SDK
3. Gaslight the customer - Aersoft are particularly good at this
4. Customers don't know any better - what? Avionics systems can autotune the ils? I didn*t know this!
5. Customers don't care
6. There really aren't many flightsim forums on the net that are solely "customer-centered" - just say something negative about some "beloved" addon company and you'll be swarmed like you just stepped on a beehive. 
7. Many youtube reviewers are just plain incompetent and are happy to just "noodle" around.
8. Elaborating on point 7: I've noticed that many, perhaps even the majority of, youtube reviewers rarely mention technical issues in regards to airport scenery. The standard review template seems to be: Fly or slew around the airport and point out whether or not this or that looks accurate, high resolution, etc. Look, they even modelled the men's restroom behind the concession stand in terminal 5!
9. Customers gaslighting customers. Quotes from the thread linked in the original post:

"You can tune the ILS manually and it's working as expected, but that's not how the aircraft are meant to be operated - and it's a widespread third-party scenery developer issue. As some developers seem to have solved the problem it should rightfully be considered standard in scenery design for MSFS."

Gaslighting by customer: " am pretty sure Orbx developers know on their own how to do this. It is porbably just not on their priority to do list, which I could understand, since these frequencies can easily be tuned manually....don't be so lazy."

JMHO

Gaslighting is an over used term for which may users do not understand the true meaning.  So when someone comes in to a conversation who DOES know what it means, the wrong impression can be given., though admittedly that would be extreme in this case.  I'm just saying.

I've proudly represented Aerosoft online and in person at events for the past 15 years, and I have also represented Leonardo, Majestic, FSReborn, and several other developers during that time frame.  Aerosoft being one of the largest developers/distributors in flight sim, they will from time to time be people who find fault or have a complaint, it comes with the territory.  But even with this, I would like to share something with you, something I've shared a few times and which has always helped people to understand things better.

First and foremost, I am a devoted member of the flight simulation community.  I was there at the start, meeting at libraries and online via Compuserve, AOL and BBSs, and the only time I've not been active in the community was when my military service prevente it (or a short time post divorce).  I believe that many people would tell you that I've long been viewed as being honest, ethical, and that I've done and given quite a lot for the benefit of my fellow flight simmers.

I am a dyed in the wool techncial program manager and quality assurance engineer who has worked multi-million and multi-billion dollar weapons systems.  Back in 2008 and after about a year of some significant marketing in the community, I purchased the PMDG NGX at initial release.  Within 30 minutes I was irrate.  The product was riddle with bugs, including major ones, it did not meet with the documentation that was released with the product or the marketing materials we had all seen, and, well, I was word not allowed.  How I wondered, does a product get released in this state, and believe me I had the professional background and a great many years of experience to know! 

Well, I did more than wonder.  I wrote to PMDG and also posted my assessment and questions, I knew I was right, and I basically hammered PMDG and by association anyone who worked the project with them.

Two years later I worked by first project in the flight sim community, and within 6 months I thought back on my letter/post to PMDG and I was humbled and personally and professionally embarrased by what I had wrote.  Guys, my wife will tell you that I HATE being wrong, and I put forth a lot of effort to avoid being wrong so when it happens I hammer myself worse than anyone else could.  In this case, I was not only wrong, but I had put my professional knowledge on the line, and I failed.

Now with 15 years behind the curtain I can tell you that flight sim development is always a push-me, pull-me type struggle as the coders contend with some mighty challenges.  Attempt to develop for a new sim, which I've seen many times over by the way, and the struggle is almost unqualifiable.  No flight sim developer in on the planet has the funding of what we see in other parts of the gaming world, you only have to watch video of E3 compared to flight sim Expos, or note that Microsoft announced MSFS at E3 and didn't even show at the Flight Sim Expo going on the same day to understand this.

Aerosoft is a terrific company with many terrific people working there.  In fact, they have more full time employees worked for the community than any other flight sim company - by far!  They also have a formal policy to produce quality products which are affordable for as many people as possible.  Now I don't know about you, but I cringe when I see what some flight sim products have been selling for over the past few years, and believe me I know when those prices are necessary and when they are not.  Aerosoft made a pledge to community, and they've stuck to it.  Moreover, Aerosoft donates, without advertising it, to the flight simulaiton community and has for each year that I've been with them.  You simply can't say that about other developers.

Anyway, no developer is perfect, but when it comes to Aerosoft there is a reason why this honest, ethical member of the community supports them, because they do good for the community I love.

On the developer side this is a business, and with Microsoft and Asobo their are documents that we all signed which prevent us from saying as much as we would like.  It was the same with Laminar or Lockheed Martins.  So when there is a question or problem, we can't always provide all of what we know, we just can't.  I can see why this might cause a few people to think we are being less than honest, but it's just not the case.

Anyway, for those who can't help being critical (which I'm not faulting), my best recommendation is to earn your way onto Beta Team of a major project (complex aircraft), devote yourself to working it for 20+hours a week, and I can promise you'll look at our community and development a whole lot different than you do now.  Happened to me.

As always, I leave you with my thanks for taking the time to read and consider what I shared with you, and with my very best wishes to enjoy this wonderful community.  I promise, there are a lot of terrific things heading your way brothers and sisters.

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, DaveCT2003 said:

Gaslighting is an over used term for which may users do not understand the true meaning.  So when someone comes in to a conversation who DOES know what it means, the wrong impression can be given., though admittedly that would be extreme in this case.  I'm just saying.

....Aerosoft is a terrific company with many terrific people working there.  In fact, they have more full time employees...

 

But i think you’re doing the opposite of what op is saying - praising a company when it’s not necessarily merited, rather than demanding that payware devs deliver decent quality.

I personally don’t think that Aerosoft is a terrific company - too many mediocre products with a substandard commitment to quality. PMDG, who you mention, are what i would call a terrific company because - despite their faults - they are perfectionists. Btw, the NGX was pretty good on day 1, that day was a 24 hour NGX session and one of my favorite flight sim memories!

The OP’s contention is solid. Too many devs are releasing products in haste for MSFS because consumers are not demanding enough from them. Hence the massive amount of payware available.

We should be praising devs when they put in the serious work required to deliver a top-tier product. We should support those that have deserved it with our money.Think Flytampa or Flightbeam for FSX/P3D - devs where pretty much anything they make is a worthwhile purchase.

Conversely, if a product is a lazy cash grab, as a community we should call it out as such. If it’s payware, it’s certainly not too much to ask that it perform better than a freeware alternative.

Edited by OzWhitey
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Rob

Sim rig: Intel Core i9 9900K @ 5GHz, Asus ROG Maximus XI Code, MSI 2080 Ti, GSkill DDR4 32 GB, NZXT Kraken. 

Current sims: P3D v5, MSFS, X-plane 11, Aerofly FS2 and DCS. 

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"There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."

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First I'd like to point out that this thread was sparked by two simultaneous purchases of addon sceneries (Aerosoft and Orbx simply is where I mainly buy my stuff and will continue to do so) showing the same flaws, that being a mostly solid snow coverage where the live weather didn't warrant these conditions, while a freeware alternative had better results and the release notes of that scenery indicated some changes to the shaders to overcome issues in that regard.

I admit I was probably too rash with my conclusion that it's an example of developers not exploiting what is already possible in the sim as said scenery package seemingly only contains .bgl-files and textures and the developer of the ENAT scenery pointed out that in the current state of the sim it's mainly the color of a surface combined with snow height that determines the coverage - the darker, the less the coverage. So it's probably either realistic textures or realistic snow coverage, and the differing results of the freeware may well be due to a different surface color - simple as that.

However, I still beleive including ILS data into sceneries is possible and should be standard. I also think updates (even with a fee) have to become mandatory when major scenery elements change, as contrary to former sims these changes may be reflected in the underlying Bing data, as it recently happened with the GB update and EGLC, where new airport movement areas are already included in the imagery and thus interfering with the now outdated (addon)scenery.

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17 hours ago, DaveCT2003 said:

Aerosoft is a terrific company with many terrific people working there.  In fact, they have more full time employees worked for the community than any other flight sim company - by far!  They also have a formal policy to produce quality products which are affordable for as many people as possible.  Now I don't know about you, but I cringe when I see what some flight sim products have been selling for over the past few years, and believe me I know when those prices are necessary and when they are not.  Aerosoft made a pledge to community, and they've stuck to it.  Moreover, Aerosoft donates, without advertising it, to the flight simulaiton community and has for each year that I've been with them.  You simply can't say that about other developers.

 

No offense, but this is exactly what I mean by "gaslighting" - defined by Wikipedia as  "a form of psychological manipulation in which a person or a group covertly sows seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or group, making them question their own memory, perception, or judgment."

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