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FS11: Has development started?

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Just curious about this. I'm sure all actual coding work at the moment will be focused on SP1, DX10, Adrenaline etc. But I'd be interested to know if FS11 has been kicked off at least as a drawing board project yet, or even just as a bucket of ideas that are too big to put in SP1.I guess we can only speculate on what it might look like or what new features it might have. Of course I came to FSX straight from FS2000, so I guess I may have to manage my expectations a little bit. :)

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I would imagine that there have been some discussions regarding features to be included in the scope of the new version. Who knows, maybe there has been a little bit of prototyping or proof of concept work.I would hope that upcoming features for FS11 would take advantage of current and near term technology advancements such as 64 bit computing, SLI, multiple cores, and maybe DX11. I think many of us would love to see some sort of convergence with FS11 and Google Earth or Microsoft Virtual Earth, a much improved ATC experience, and more realistic weather.Can't see a new version, however, released for about another 3-4 years, but when it is released, I would love to see the app take a huge leap rather than an incremental step. Just my two cents.

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Mike707,Well said reply. As far as ideas and design I would like to hope they are in the works but as far as any type of coding, I hope that ACES holds off until DX10 and Vista have their bugs worked out. That way FS11 can at least be coded with a clean and stable technology base.

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I would agree, and I don't think any type of coding that would make it into the production code base has been created, just maybe some prototyping, but who knows. It would be really interesting to be a fly on the wall to hear the conversations that are taking place at Aces regarding the next release, but at the moment I am sure they are talking a lot more about the X-Pack and DX10 release.Hopefully they are taking a lot of the lessons learned from the FS10 release and applying these lessons learned to the FS11 release. The unfortunate thing is there are so many good features that have not had the postitive attention that they normally would have received due to the performance issues related to FS10. Hopefully FS10 gets the credit it deserves after SP1 comes out. I remember when FS2004 came out and reading a lot of posts of people deleting FS2002 from their system. I did not see too much of that this time around.

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The real question is to ask is has Microsoft committed to a new version of Flight Simulator?The time must (has?) come when Microsoft feels that Flight Simulator has reached the practical limit of what can be achieved without a major re-write - perhaps even having to re-code the whole application. At that time, the decision is likely to be purely commercial. Will sales of the new version justify the expense of writing it? Even if they do, there's still the secondary question of whether the expense be applied elsewhere more profitably?Frankly I've no idea but the answer could go either way.

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I would assume that the DX10 patch and Adrenaline would qualify at least as FSX.5.I'm really excited about the latest developments, SP1/DX10/expansion pack. FSX is just the base sandbox. By the time any FS11 will hit the streets, FSX will be a highly modded sim again, which will excel in visual appearance and realism. Maybe MS will even throw in another expansion? Who knows? But it's all great news and exciting times.Just wait for SP1, GE for FSX, Active Sky 7, PMDG and Level-D, plus some new GA aircraft.Pat

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Is the decision purely profit based? I have to wonder if the FS project wouldn't have been canned long ago if that were the case. I'm inclined to think that as long as there are people at Microsoft who care about them having the best flight sim available, and as long as it isn't _losing_ money, they're not going to want to let it slip from its place at the top of the pile.I also suspect, and this is obviously pure speculation, that there is still a great deal of mileage in the existing code base. Yes of course it will need to be parallelized in order to support multi-core CPUs, and obviously that is a major piece of work, but if my own software development experience is anything to go by I think you'd be surprised at how much of the existing source code would still be recognizable as such (to anyone who had the opportunity to actually see it) after the work was done.So I am very optimistic about the long term, and as others have pointed out there's also plenty to look forward to in the short term. Now if only I can get permission from my Financial Controller to part with some cash for some of those add-ons...

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>The time must (has?) come when Microsoft feels that Flight>Simulator has reached the practical limit of what can be>achieved without a major re-write - perhaps even having to>re-code the whole application. At that time, the decision is>likely to be purely commercial. Will sales of the new version>justify the expense of writing it? Even if they do, there's>still the secondary question of whether the expense be applied>elsewhere more profitably?Speculation: sales of the new version will justify the expense of writing it if they don't start from scratch. If ACES has good coders (I have no reason to suspect they don't), they probably made a lot of the code extensible for the future. Say, the mesh system...I would hope they don't have to rewrite that to go to higher resolutions. Same with the textures. Rewriting from scratch would be quite expensive, and would break some compatibility. If you do it right, you can write sub-systems that survive a few versions. Hopefully they're starting from a good position, since so many sub-systems were upgraded in FSX.I know when I'm coding, I'm constantly thinking about how to make the code maintainable and easy to improve in the future. Doesn't always turn out that way, but often it does.

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Based on conversations with ACES team members and others at the AVSIM conference, I've come to view the Flight Simulator franchise as a perpetually ongoing development process. The people at ACES are constantly thinking, brainstorming, and experimenting with ways to move the franchise forward. When it's time to "get serious" about a new release, which seems to be roughly a year after the previous release, ACES decides what features to include, puts together a formal development plan and a timeline for assembling all of the various components into a new package. Then they get to work on making it happen, in what seems to be a truly global development effort. In this sense, ACES isn't just developing FS11, they're also thinking about features that may not be ready until FS12, FS13, FS14, etc. It's a question of practicality and trying to predict the capabilities of PC hardware two or more years down the road. NOT an easy task! It's harder still when your programmers are having to chase the development of a major new operating system. As far as Microsoft's senior leadership is concerned, I think they are justifiably proud of what the Flight Simulator franchise has accomplished both technologically and as one of the top-selling PC "games" of all time. Bill Gates has stated publicly that he isn't a flight simmer, but some of the ACES team members have blogged that Gates was given a briefing on FSX shortly after its release and that Gates spent some time "flying" the sim and experiencing its new features. (Presumably not with all sliders set to maximum!) Gates reportedly liked what he saw. However, I doubt that Flight Simulator will last very long if it is not deemed to be profitable. Gates is not exactly a sentimental guy. Just think of all the other games and home-oriented software (and hardware) that Microsoft has backed out of in recent years. It's actually noteworthy that Flight Simulator has survived these various cutbacks and cancellations. I do believe we are seeing a major paradigm shift in Microsoft's approach to simulation in general. Clearly, they rethought several key elements of the franchise before deciding to release FSX, including greater interaction with the community, adding some key new staff positions, and expanding the franchise to include a new release of Train Simulator and an additional FS expansion pack. While the performance problems with FSX are unfortunate, they shouldn't obscure the fact that Microsoft has done quite a bit to reinvigorate their simulation efforts. (With a near-monopoly in the civilian flight simulation market, Microsoft could just have easily taken a much less ambitious approach and probably could have gotten away with it.) Personally, I'm very happy with FSX and I like the direction in which ACES is headed. I'm sure I'll be even happier when SP1 is released and new hardware is on the market which will allow FSX to be run to the full extent of its capabilities. As for FS11, I believe Phil Taylor has already stated that it will be longer than the "usual" three-year development cycle before it is released. But ACES team members all seem to be talking as if FS11 is not a question of whether, but when and that's a very good thing. It also hasn't hurt that FSX apparently exceeded Microsoft's initial sales targets and is regarded as a commercial success. This bodes well for the future. For anyone who is seriously interested in what the future holds, you should plan to attend the upcoming AVSIM Conference which will be held in ACES' backyard (near Seattle). Even though ACES staff won't talk specifically about future development plans, you'll still gain a lot of insight into how the Flight Simulator franchise actually works and the general direction in which things are headed. It's also a lot of fun to meet other members of the FS community.

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They need to start over from scratch with a new engine. Look at the latest video of Crysis, if flight sim looked half that good it be worth it to say good bye to our thousand dollars of add ons and start over.

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>They need to start over from scratch with a new engine. Look>at the latest video of Crysis, if flight sim looked half that>good it be worth it to say good bye to our thousand dollars of>add ons and start over.Statements like this baffle me.

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Why would it?FSX is not the only software I run for enjoyment on my box, and I'm sure many people around here are the same. It is hard at times to taxi around a runway, and see dismally low textures on buildings, and the trees that continue to make my head hurt. I know there are tons of them, all over the place, but the trees just have never looked right to me. The ground textures have gotten much better thanks to the high res. And, the aircraft textures are crisp and clear. It is just the way that the sim struggles to move around images and graphics (fps) that are not exactly "cutting edge." Crysis, and others are going a different route (super realistic imagery), and I do not want to start a first person shooter analysis vs. Flight Sims. However..he does have a point when he says starting from scratch might be the way to go, I have to agree. Otherwise we will always have bits of the old sims, patched over with some new design/features. If anything at all, I would at least rest a little easier knowing...or hoping/thinking that the code is at least somewhat less bloated after a complete rewrite....?? maybe... my humble opinion.....and yes...I love this sim - even at the occasional or consistent 15fps.Danon O.

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FS doesn't need a new engine. They need to alter their thinking toward threading- a major shift in thinking. Now that threading is more related to performance, things need to be spun off.They will be in time. Maybe it won't be until FS11. Maybe we'll be on our way with SP2 or the DX10 renderer. I'm very confident that SP1 will yield real improvements, but many will not be satsified.If it's technically possible for third parties to have their aircraft run as threaded modules, Then on multicore systems PMDG will not kill performance. However I do not know if that is possible at this time, even with simconnect.I have a 4 year old system that runs FSX remarkably well. Sure I cannot fly in many cities- but I can fly into Atlanta with Delta and Airtran AI! Other cited are a 5FPS slideshow, but I get over 22 in minor cities like Boise. Needless to say, I fly alot in Boise...

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