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FlyingsCool

Realism and FSX Acceleration

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I'm not looking for a flame war, but with all the anxiety about our upcoming Acceleration expansion pack, I thought I would blog about realism.If you disagree with expanding the FSX platform and really think we aren't supporting more realism by adding new systems and infrastructure, then by all means say so.

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Personally, I'm looking forward to the add on but others may/will disagree. Just wondering though. Has the expansion pack come about as a result of the feedback the team got from the survey or is there no specific connection.

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Really looking forward to it!Can you get a bit more technical and elaborate on the new systems etc?

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I'm actually looking forward to "Acceleration". Just another aspect real life flight to simulate.

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I for one, can not believe there has not been more development of the missions? Either, payware, or freeware. I have enjoyed flying the missions included with Fsx and thought more developers would jump on the bandwagon. Whether or not one feels they do or do not create more "realism" does not matter in my opinion. They force you to fly where you have not previously and in different aircraft. I wish there more missions! Looking forward to the new missions....

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I cant wait for it :) As you said, it's just an expansion, adds a different type of playability to an already realistic sim :) Dont really see why anyone would have a problem with that... :shrug:

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>Can you get a bit more technical and elaborate on the new>systems etc?I've blogged about many items already and posted on Hover Control about the helicopter systems and Sim Outhouse regarding the Carrier ops. Maybe I should initiate a new blog post that covers all of it in one place.

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>Just wondering though. Has the expansion pack come about as a>result of the feedback the team got from the survey or is>there no specific connection. With each product we create we take into consideration the various surveys we have conducted. You may be refering to the public one we did before FSX, but we have also conducted surveys using companies that specialize in them that you may not be aware of.Some of what we chose to do we gleaned from surveys, some from feedback on FSX (more missions), and some stuff we are doing specifically because it builds the platform so we can continue building on it for FS11 or some other product.We take a pretty long view in our planning to help ensure we are building the right things in the right way for the future.

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I like the idea concerning the expansion, however, it is difficult to get excited when I can't use very much of FSX Deluxe due to poor performance on my system. The performance issue might explain why there are so few responses to the OP. Bob...

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If you get out into any of the gaming forums you will not see any of the negative rants you see around here. People really enjoy the new content, and for the most part only have great things to say about FSX. I'm very much looking forward to Acceleration, as a warbird and fighter jet are things I've always wanted in this sim. Being that add on aricraft are not found in any stores, and most FSX users don't really know about add on developers, the expansion is going to make many people happy. Plus, the fact I will be able to get three high quality aircraft for around the price an add on dev charges for a single aircraft, often of lesser quality, is very nice. All three look awesome, and I have yet to see any add on dev release an FSX warbird, chopper, or fighter that come close to whats in those screen shots.

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>"The F-18 is using many new systems that can be applied to>any modern military jet.">>How will this work with 3rd party developers?>This is a tough one. When we develop new systems, it is virtually impossible for us retroactively make them work in a previous version. I'm not saying actually impossible, but when you consider the testing, likelihood of campatibility issues with third parties, and a host of other issues, it's not feasible.So in short, if a third party wants to take advantage of the new systems, that add-on would need to be used with the Acceleration pack installed. This will make some third parties (maybe many), not want to take advantage of the systems and that would be their choice to make. Of course having the Acceleration pack installed will not hinder installing add-ons that use FSX/SP1 functionality alone. It won't make a difference to the end user either way.All of that said the new stuff is pretty cool and opens up new experiences, so some add-ons will probably take advantage of them.

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mleegard,Yea, I had the same feeling about the lack of addon missions ... so I started to develop missions (some freeware, a couple very low-priced payware) to see if I could ascertain the market for these products.Unfortunately, I couldn't find the market for missions (it may be there, but I could not find it.) Freeware missions are exceedingly difficult to do professionally.My belief is that the vast majority of Flight Simulator X customers have no idea what avsim.com is, or that add-on missions are even possible. They don't go looking for them (perhaps because they just don't know how.) Or perhaps they don't trust software from total unknowns (I rarely do, so I don't blame them.) Most of the missions I produced were helicopter missions also, so that probably limited their appeal (I chose that avenue because there were very few chopper missions in the FSX RTM.)The best mission I produced and distributed free (it took 8 weeks to develop) was downloaded by about 1,250 people - globally. Although it was universally praised, I found that too limited a market, and a harsh reality, because it was really fun to do them.Perhaps someone with more skill than I possess can develop the market.

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I've always been a simmer as opposed to a gamer, but I have to admit I've enjoyed the missions in FSX immensely. I think adding missions to the sim was a brilliant move. I'm looking forward to the Acceleration pack and the new missions included. It's nice to take a break from the point to point flights I usually do and take on some adrenaline packed challenges.Out of all the missions, I have liked the race with the jet-powered truck the best, and I'm looking forward to some more racing with the Acceleration pack.Just a thought, here's an idea about a race that would be great if it were included in the future - how about expanding the rocket truck race theme to where multiplayer users can choose to race jet-powered cars on the ground against users who choose to race in aircraft. Maybe the location could be the Bonneville Salt Flats where high speed race cars are tested. Now that would be exciting! :-)

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Will it allow for regular aircraft races too? ie 'racing for the rest of us' with Pipers, Cessnas and so on. I'm thinking along the lines of the modern-day Schneider Trophy http://www.eghj.com/events/schneider.pdf and similar events staged around the world.I know you can knock up some markers in a scenery file and fly round the course ;-) but I'd be looking for something that could track infringements (turning inside the marker, flying too low), validate the winner, maybe even calculate handicaps...

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The new racing system allows for 3 styles of racing:Red Bull Gate style racing - in this form you fly between inflatable gate markersReno Style Post racing - in this form you fly to one side or another of tall post markersCross Country Racing - in this form you fly using "regular aircraft navigation" to go from waypoint to waypoint.For the included race courses, we use a variety of aircraft (including sailplanes for one of the cross country races, Extra 300 and the new P51 for Reno and Redbull races, single engine GA for another cross country, etc). Also, 3rd parties will be able to create new race courses (and possibly some other styles of MP missions, like maybe MP SAR, but we haven't really tested doing anything other than racing ourselves so far) using whatever aircraft they want. And, the SDK will include the XML source for all the acceleration pack racing missions, to give the 3rd party folks a good sample of working courses to play around with.

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I think you have some good observations.I think you are right in saying that the "average new flight sim user" doesn't know about add-on missions, and they would be very likely to transition to flight simming by using the mission medium, since many of those people are used to "structured" -type games rather than open-ended sims.I personally can't wait for the helicopter stuff in the add-on pack. And I am really not a rotorhead at all. I rarely fly them. But part of the reason for that is, that their flight dynamics have been merely modified piston files...up until Acceleration. :)RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

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>>Cross Country Racing - in this form you fly using "regular>aircraft navigation" to go from waypoint to waypoint.>Forgive me if I am asking a dumb question...but I am not too familiar with long missions like you describe above...If you do a long race, like England-to-Australia, save, and exit FS, can you pick up your race where you last left off?Or does the mission "reset" and not save in the flt?RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

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I gues I am one just wanting a more realistic flying experience, and I can honestly say FSX has done that with the addons avaliable. I was never really interested in the fighters but even I would love to do an aircraft carrier landing especially with the working guidance system. The only real 2 gripes I have with FSX is that the clouds dont interact with the plane, you dont fly throught them they seem to leave a hole around you. In the 1946 flight sim when you pass through a cloud you can see the clouds passing over the wing just like in real life, in FSX its like you have a force field around you that just pushes them away, the other thing is the thermals, though so much better than b4 they still need some work, I love the turbulence I dont want to turn it off but the thermals sometimes just ruin the experience ( mind you only a little ), I have flown some missions and they to me are not gamelike I guess they add some day to day flying experiences to the game. Just did the soaring one and loved it first time ive flown the glider even though ive had FSX for 9 mths or so. Its like anything you can fly it like a game or flight it for real the choice is yours. i for one will very likely get the expansion if not just for the carrier.C u round

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Rhett,It's not just the "average new flight sim user." Head on over to the AVSIM 2007 Readers Choice Awards nominations. You won't find any nominations for freeware or payware missions (hint, hint, wink, wink).Seriously though ... it strikes me as odd. I bought FSX primarily for the mission element, burned through them in a few weeks, then was desparate for another fix ... like it was heroin or something. Only I found almost nothing was out there.Thus, I decided to try to build my own (which was way more work than originally anticipated, if I might add).It's almost like missions are the red-headed step-children of the sim development world, which is remarkable, given the combined skills necessary to produce something approaching the quality produced by the ACES wizards.

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Maybe part of the problem is that it is so difficult and time consuming to create a mission.Which makes me think a tool or tools to speed and and make it easier would be useful.I know one thing, scenery design is time consuming if you want to do a good job. I'm sure mission dev is the same way. And people have often asked, "why are there no sceneries". Well, that's why. Time.And if you're a perfectionist, you're not going to put out as many sceneries/missions because you want to do the best possible job, and that takes lots o' time especially if you have to divide that up between family, friends, chasing women, and work.RhettAMD 3700+ (@2585 mhz), eVGA 7800GT 256 (Guru3D 93.71), ASUS A8N-E, PC Power 510 SLI, 2gb Corsair XMS 3-3-3-8 (1T), WD 150 gig 10000rpm Raptor, WD 250gig 7200rpm SATA2, Seagate 120gb 5400 rpm external HD, CoolerMaster Praetorian

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Hmmm... just thinking, don't mind the smell...A sort of "drag & drop" mission creator would be interesting. Something visual, where you can plant mission-specific icons and triggers onto the map. Event triggers could have menus that refer to pre-rendered libraries of events like lightning strikesand other emergencies, as well as sound and voice effects. Although a big, big part of mission creation is trying to figure out a sequence of interesting things to do in FSX (and how to keep your sim pilot from straying off-course), another part lies in the production values of the effects. Microsoft hired and recorded some excellent voice talent, which really adds to the appeal of their missions. I'd like the guy who does the tutorial voice to do my answering machine as well!Then, there's acres and acres of playtesting to be performed. Fun for a short while, but I would find it dreadful in the long run. Really, to make missions effectively, you need a whole team (unless you are some kind of super-genius). One guy in on his laptop fiddling with GMax and a 30-day trial of Goldwing won't cut it anymore. Jeff ShylukSenior Staff Reviewer, Avsim

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Well, maybe a tool would help ... but frankly, the actual building the mission part in FSX is the least of the designer's worries. The Object Placement Tool is fairly useful ... although the available scenery that can be placed is somewhat limiting. (That's why you see a lot of the same scenery in a lot of missions. There are two in-game hospitals with helipads, for example. If 50 developers are reusing the same two hospitals, it wears a little thin on the player after a while.)No ... the real challenge is everything else that's associated with a mission, but isn't about "developing." It's plot development and scriptwriting. It's storyboarding. It's recording the sound. It's finding voice talent (or even just doing it yourself).If a person wanted to add custom scenery, there's a whole added level of time consumption and learning curve. I needed, in one of my missions, for the de-icing truck to actually spray de-icing fluid, but there wasn't an effect ... so, 3 days learning how to do that (much more trouble than it was worth for the 6 or 7 seconds that effect showed up on screen).There are parts of mission design which tools would be extremely useful - such as compiling rewards. In fact, anything that requires command line such as bglcomp, etc, the reward compiler ... should be made point and click simple.Then you get into the "art" required for things like the Mission Briefing (not being able to put simple .jpg or .bmp images in there). The design there is not the best for reusability.There are lots of little things like this that slow mission development and just make it way too complex for your average gamer doing this on the side just for fun.And so, then you spend all that time learning how to do it right ... and woe be the person who then tries to charge $1 for that mission, or promote it on any of the sites like AVSIM. I almost got thrown off the site for just mentioning a mission that I asked for a donation for.Sigh.Lots of hurdles to overcome for a hobby.

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Paul,I notice that you say in your blog that FSX Acceleration has now added modeling of superchargers, and that it also now includes modeling of turbine engines for helicopters.1. Will these additional features make it into regular FSX in SP2, or are these Acceleration-only features?2. Is turbine engine modeling better for all aircraft, or just helicopters? I'm no expert, but I know that lots of people complain of the "lackluster" modeling of turbo-props in FS up to this point, although I don't know exactly what is wrong with it today (some of it has to do with incorrect sound during reverse thrust, and there are other issues).3. Can you go into a little more detail regarding exactly what you mean about these two improvements?Thanks!Thomas[a href=http://www.flyingscool.com] http://www.flyingscool.com/images/Signature.jpg [/a]I like using VC's :-)N15802 KASH '73 Piper Cherokee Challenger 180

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