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curt1

Microsoft's direction for FSXI

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As I look daily at the new files for download in the library and see 90% are for FS9, it makes me wonder how Microsoft will decide what direction to go in for FSXI. It's been reported that FSX has been a huge seller, yet it's also the most criticized version that I can remember. Developers are changing course and now plan on FS9 addons rather than FSX exclusively.So what does Microsoft do? Develop FSXI with additional features to FSX that would require even more from today's hardware? Or do they say, heck, let's scrap this and build something from scratch that will be frame friendly and customer focused. Anybody care to guess? Curt

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>As I look daily at the new files for download in the library>and see 90% are for FS9, it makes me wonder how Microsoft will>decide what direction to go in for FSXI. It's been reported>that FSX has been a huge seller, yet it's also the most>criticized version that I can remember. Developers are>changing course and now plan on FS9 addons rather than FSX>exclusively.>>So what does Microsoft do? Develop FSXI with additional>features to FSX that would require even more from today's>hardware? Or do they say, heck, let's scrap this and build>something from scratch that will be frame friendly and>customer focused. Anybody care to guess? >>CurtThe FS series has always been a big seller. That's not determinative of use. FS9 has turned out to be the most enduring of the series maybe that's a reflection of the problems of FSX or its adaptability and flexibility.My opinion is I wish they would scrap the existing engine and rebuild from the ground up.

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>My opinion is I wish they would scrap the existing engine and>rebuild from the ground up.But I also think that one of the things that hampered FSX usage-wise was the lack of the big-name add-ons for FSX. I think the lack of add-ons in FSX, in turn, was often the result of the depth of changes necessary to get existing add-ons to work with FSX.That's not to say I necessarily think a complete rewrite be a bad route to go (though it would surely put FS11's arrival several years down the road), but I think if they do go that route it better offer very obvious benefits over FSX because otherwise I don't see people like us using it add-on free.

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I agree, the changes in FSX coupled with the release of FS and change of OS, Vistas reputation along with the performance issues have crippled the confidence of many freeware developers.Thinking about it though, many add-ons for FS9 payware wise took awhile as well like the PMDG 747 which arrived 2 years after FS9's release.One personal observation is that every add-on payware wise I had for FS9 I am also using in FSX including Radar Contact, ASX, Ultimate Terrain, FS Genesis Mesh and Landclass, along with a plethora of aircraft from Carenado, Flight1, Real Air etc... and ones I didn't own such as LevelD 767 and the feelthere 737, ERJ 145 and Citation X.I'm curious what other must have add-ons besides FS Navigator and PMDG are not available for FSX? I'll add them to my wish list, my credit card needs a bloody rest.Ian.

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FSX development cycle was three years and a team of developers. FSX should have been re-written from the ground up. Patched software typically becomes more and more inefficient as the hardware progresses at a much faster rate than software. If you have seen the graphic level of games in general has increased tremendously! I have read Phil Taylor's reasoning that the level of view of FSX and flight simulation in general. However, there has to be more efficient game and graphic development tools that are modeling oriented and not so much cryptic code intensive. So you can spend time on the design and not so much syntax and code.I hope Phil and crew spend time researching these development tools, visiting other game developers and participate in panels etc as I see this as a must to get to the next generation. FSXI has to be a revolutionary product, not just a patched version of FSX. I hope the FS engine is not like the current ATC system, too complicated to replace, so ACES just keeps patching and hacking.Great post!Barry

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While it certainly would not apply to general users of avsim I would bet the majority of Fs purchasers (all versions) don't use add ins and many of them are probably not even aware that payware or freeware add ins even exist. Therefore judging the success or future of the product based on the smaller hard core user base which does demand these things, and is represented on boards like avsim, may have no relevance either to present success and future features. The actual sales figures which we are not privy to will most likely determine the future course of action for the sim-it is after all a business endeavor.I also question building something completely from scratch-but I do think different technologies that are emerging can and hopefully will be added/changed.For instance I'd like to see the option for the user to select vector/database generic texture driven scenery as we have now-or switch to live streamed scenery such as tileproxy/google as a scenery display option/switch. A live feed of ai traffic from sites like flightware.com . Improvements to icing effects-both visual and performance wise, better atc, on the real weather downloads the addition of tfr's, simulation of xm weather datafeeds.... lots of improvements possible....Frame rate friendly-every new version of fs has never been that at least for me-but I've been doing it since 1981 so I am hardly surprised! :-)http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpgForum Moderatorhttp://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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There's a big AVSIM convention coming up, where if it's going to be anything like the last one, MS could go out of their way to answer questions and give us a peek as to what's coming up.FSX, if you recall, was to be a jewel in the same crown with Vista and DX10. I think it's safe to say that things did not turn out as planned, although I would bet that the ACES team have learned a lot about software development over the past few years. FSX has a tremendous amount of potential that needs to be tapped into.Personally, and this is just me, I kind of put FSX in the same category as FS2000, and have confidence that the next FS will improve on FSX. I also think that folks who are suggesting that the flight engine should be rebuilt could always start by writing their own! It's how Bruce Artwick got going, there's nothing stopping talented folks from writing their own sim. Look at Orbiter: another good example of people doing it on their own. However, unless you've gotten your feet wet by geitting involved in game or sim development directly, I don't see where your opinion will have much weight with those who make the financial, creative, and logistical executive decisions in MSFS. Jeff ShylukSenior Staff Reviewer, Avsim

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as long as they keep optimizing FS so it can be used very efficiently with existing hardware i will be happy. Phil said they will move more stuff to dual core and probably expand more on the dx10 stuff. And the more performance the more features that can be added. I think it would be almost impossible to rebuild from the ground up. Heck, it would take 25 years to build a new system - that

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>I also think that folks who are suggesting that the flight>engine should be rebuilt could always start by writing their>own!Jeff, I'm one of those who would like FS to be rebuilt from scratch. I have also taken up your suggestion! There are a number of game engines available that in some ways are far more advanced than FS. I'm familiar with the Crytek engine used in their amazing game Far Cry. It comes with an editor that is far ahead of anything in FS and is probably the most impressive piece of software I have ever used.Right now I'm building my own flight simulator based on Far Cry. My first aircraft is a Spitfire. The flight model is written in the LUA scripting language (it would be more efficient to do it in C++ but I'm not a C programmer). The scripting gives me control over many aspects of the aircraft such as sound.Already it can do things pretty well impossible in FS. For example, my character can walk around the aircraft and 'kick the tyres'. The model is solid so I can't walk through it. In fact I can climb a ladder to walk on the wings and then get into the cockpit. The game engine and its editor give absolutely amazing control over the environment, and there's no waiting to recompile and then reload the game.However, there are limitations. In Far Cry the world is fairly small and it doesn't render the terrain so well from altitude. But its successor, Crysis, will be released in November. It is light years ahead of Far Cry. For example, it can load stuff dynamically as you go along, thus greatly increasing the size of the world. And, yes, it has true volumetric clouds. Crysis also has some flyable VTOL aircraft. I am confident that Crysis could be used to make a flight simulator that in many respects would be far superior to FS. Oh, yes, and of course it already has the basis for a combat flight simulator. Crysis uses cutting-edge game technology that makes FS look primitive. If I was going to produce a new commercial flight simulator, I would look at the possibility of licensing one of the existing game engines. The beauty of this approach is that most of the work - e.g. scenery rendering - is already done for you. It certainly looks like Cry Engine 2 would be the best choice - by miles.Best regards, ChrisP.S. the Crysis playable demo is out next week.

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FSX is not even complete yet. Wait until SP2 and DX10. DX10 should bring a lot of additional features. RH

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"As I look daily at the new files for download in the library>and see 90% are for FS9, it makes me wonder how Microsoft will>decide what direction to go in for FSXI...So what does Microsoft do?...Curt"I doubt very much that ACES will develop a new engine from scratch, based on their decision to use the current engine for MS TrainSim WOR. FSX *IS* their new engine - for better or worse. I'll guess that they will go for a sim that only runs on Vista (& it's successors)+ DX10. They will purge a lot (if not all) of the old pre-FSX legacy code that is affecting performance & causing compatability difficulties & supportability headaches for them, 3rd-party developers, and users.This work will be a lot more complex & time-consuming than some might think.They will incorporate as much of any improvements that the MS TrainSim WOR team makes to scenery, terrain, ect. as they can, and will leverage the work that that team does with DX10.I'd not expect revolutionary functional changes (though the marketing folks might try to spin it differently). Rather, expect incremental improvements.I would not expect any addons that were not expressly designed to be 100% FSX DX10 compatible to work with FSXI - I'd expect that the changes that will be made to the graphics in FSXI to support DX10+ will make any objects/files designed for FS9 & before unusable. I'd also expect some FSX 3rd-party models to fail in FSXI, as they were not designed for DX10 (especially if they were FS9 "upgrades").I would not expect radically new features such as a complete new AI, ATC or multiplayer systems.In a nutshell, replacing the legacy code with code optimized for DX10 will, IMO, be the bulk of the development work that they will sign up to do. If one speculates on a holiday 2009 release, by the time Acceleration is out the door, that gives them approximately 18 months of dev time. my 2c.- SkyDrift

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>Frame rate friendly-every new version of fs has never been>that at least for me-but I've been doing it since 1981 so I am>hardly surprised! :-)>Hahaha. Yea I hear ya. I started with a C-64 and a 12 B&W tv. I've gotten so used to the stuttering in FS I actually think its supposed to be that way . Also was nice to see the Meigs Feild upload today. Will be nice to fly a cessna out of there again.

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Curt, you point to the 3rd party folks still developing for fs9 as a way of suggesting fsx wasn't done correctly.then you suggest the correct move would be to rewrite the scenery engine completely.Isn't that likely to worsen, rather than improve, the speed to market for 3rd party developers?Bob

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"So what does Microsoft do?" "Anybody care to guess?"I believe the Aces Team will stay the course as they have been. It's a basic engine to be enhanced by commercial and freeware developers. I think people who refuse to upgrade their hardware/software with the latest and greatest should stick with the previous versions of FS or find some other game to play. -- "the most criticized version" (check the FS2K2 and FS2K4 forums)-- "developers are changing course" (as far as I have seen, only PMDG has indicated they are holding up some aircraft; okay with me as LevelD rules).-- "scrap this and build something from scratch" (Yikes! The most popular and most sold game ever from MS?)-- "that will be frame rate friendly" (earlier versions were not frame rate friendly either but this version is frame rate friendly with the proper hardware and/or turning off some eye-candy. I get excellent FPS with all scenery sliders maxed but I have a state-of-the-art computer system).-- "and customer focused" (I have no idea what you are talking about here. The members of the Aces Team have been more than customer focused).You're free to rant and critize all you want Curt (I'm 62 and I sure have done a lot of that over the years!) I just want you to know that there are more than just a few flight simmers who are completely satisfied with this product and look forward to enhancements from commercial and freeware developers to make this product even more enjoyable. I'm already enjoying the LVLD 767, Ultimate Terrain, Ultimate Traffic, ActiveSkyX and X Graphics, MegaScenery, the many products from Cloud9, TrackIR, and the DC10 from CommercialSims, to name just a few.....Best regards,JimY :-walksmile

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>FSX is not even complete yet. Wait until SP2 and DX10. DX10>should bring a lot of additional features. >>RH"a lot of " is such a subjective term. I would not get too carried away, however I sure hope they do something that makes some better use of my hugely expensive video card (at the time of purchase).Cheers,Chris Porter:-outtaPerthWestern AustraliaIntel Core 2 Duo E6700ASUS P5N32-E SLI Deluxe Motherboard4GB Corsair VS DDR2 667Mhz RAMInno3D 8800 GTX 768MB GDDR3 590MHz VideoASUS MW221u 21" Wide Screen LCD2 x 320Gb WD SATA DrivesCreative X-Fi Platinum Sound Lian Li PC-B20B Aluminium Black CaseMS Vista Ultimate OEMCH FlightSim Yoke USBCH Pro Pedals USBCH Throttle Quadrant USBTrackIR 4 Pro and Track ClipMSFS FSX Deluxe Edition Full install at 1400x960x32Check out my 5th Around the World flight with MS FSX at http://members.iinet.com.au/~portercbp/fly...W_05/index.html

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I sorta agree with that part about judging success based on those who use addons....BUTdon't you think that it is us who drive the addon market? It is the hard core users that get Phil and team to post here, we want the tweaks/etc, always wondering what comes next hehe.... I think although the hardcore/addon users are small, they/we are powerful too...

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"don't you think that it is us who drive the addon market"Absolutely-my point and I am sure any add on developer will agree, is that "we" are a very small part of the fs market. Therefore, judging fs success based on the smaller add in market isn't really valid. MS has stated that fsx has been the best selling in the entire fs history.. "I think although the hardcore/addon users are small, they/we are powerful too"I'd like to think so! :-) I think like any "artist"-the Aces team strives to satisfy the larger market-but also strives to please the hardcore users-as they themselves are hardcore users too and ultimately want the same things we do. Now if we the hard core users could ever agree on what it is we want! http://mywebpages.comcast.net/geofa/pages/rxp-pilot.jpgForum Moderatorhttp://geofageofa.spaces.live.com/

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This is not directed at any one person. Beware....Rant On!Every person I know who enjoys gaming, including myself, constantly complains or talks about how they always have to upgrade their hardware to play the latest and greatest. How is the FS franchise any different? Many hardware components are obsolete the second you buy them, as two weeks later a better improved model will be released.FSX is the progression of the series. More demand on the hardware, due to the same features WE requested and wanted. It baffles me sometime the blanket statements some make of how their hardware that ran FS8 and FS9 so well now bites the dust with FSX. It's always been this way, always will be. I can't complain, as I know I must upgrade my PC to enjoy FSX to its fullest.As regards the statement they should rebuild the sim from scratch. How do we know that would make things better? Would you not also have to buy or upgrade to newer hardware to take advantage of the new features and obtain good performance? Comparing FSX to Crysis makes little sense to me. Don't you have to upgrade your hardware to play Crysis to its fullest?If ACES took the idea of a 'from the ground up rebuild', wouldn't we complain about the negating of our third party add-ons no longer working? I can just hear the outcry now. How dear ACES do this to us, they don't listen to their customers.ACES has a prety good handle on the pulse of the hobby, and will lead the FS franchise in the right direction. Like Jim commented above, we'll hear all of this again at the next release. It's easy to predict.Cheers,[hr width=100%" size=1 color="black]http://forefrontgrp.com/MyLogo2.JPGJason | General Aviation FanVisit my new Blog:http://abwain.spaces.live.com/

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FSX is surely a fine program, however it had my attention for much less than FS9. Why? Maybe because of its old "sins" like FPS and AI/ATC, unavailable SDK, and simply a lack of "extensibility". FSX delivered a nice eye candy, and it would eventually get even better with dx10. But, in the light of other modern developments, I want more today that I wanted 2 years ago! (and this will happen every time we talk about new version of the flight sim -- that's for sure!)I want _scalability_ meaning I want exponential increase in performance with linear addition of the hardware. This is how it happens in scientific computing on unix/linux/mac clusters, and this is how ideally I'd like to build a flight sim rig. As an intermediately advanced consumer (as a majority here, perhaps), I want a distributed parallel system that will take on all available resources and produce a live, high-resolution, realistic environment. I hope that multi-core technology will move towards real scalability, where you can add up resources according to your budget and see how many aspects of your simulated environment become alive and start to breathe. At this point, I'm hesitant to invest into hi-end GPU as there is much more to flight simulation than just eye candy.If Microsoft had such a scalable simulator, they could do a great business on its "extensibility" by selling the variety of extensions from games to professional solutions. We here talked once (that was exactly the same kind of discussion - "what features you want to see in FSX?") about having one virtual world model that can be used by various applications from simulators and shooters to commercial visualization, architecture, planning, real flight training, military, science, internet, you name it, similar to MS Virtual Earth and Google Earth with their different layers. They could cater to professional market meaning improvement of specific aspects of the simulation: from weather to graphics to a more precise street layouts and flight dynamics and so on. So, according to your desires, computational resources and financial abilities, you could build by modules the custom Simulator of Your Dreams... Do you need the best weather? -- buy a professional version engine that was built for TV stations. Are you into combat simulation? -- buy the Combat gaming add-on. Don't care about weapons? -- invest into scenery and enjoy your city in such detail that would make a local major and police cry. Have a spare money for the PFCAD-grade flight dynamics? ... Want to have a pro-version of the ATC/AI engine?... you get an idea...Well, this becomes a long post anyway so I just say this: flight simulation is not confined to our small world of a few enthusiasts, and there are ways to improve many thing we often rant about, by selling a scalable, reconfigurable and extensible line of products catering to a spectrum of basic users to pros. In this line, the FSX can be a basic grade. Make it extensible. Make it scalable. Let freeware devs a freedom to improve the environment so you ACES could focus on flight dynamics. And so on... I know my expectations are well beyond a "game" aspect of FSX, but... I thought I should share it with you and ACES, as most of us are not ordinary gamers anyway.Cheers!=S.V.=eMachines T5026/P4/3.07GHz/1Gb RAM/160Gb/Windows XP Home SP2/ATI RADEON 9250 PCI 256Mb/ViewSonic VX910 19' 1280x1024/Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback 2

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I would also like to see a new engine developed. The problem with the current situation is that whilst the engine is upgraded and everything made to look a bit nicer, the same fundamental flaws still exist, and appear in version after version.I find that the weather system in FS pretty poor. You've got wind that can shift instantly. The wind changes also have drastic affects on airspeed (having worked in air traffic control, I can't say I ever remember hearing pilots saying they've had to level off during the climb because they've lost significant amounts of airspeed due to wind shifts). The wind also doesn't stay static at a precise direction and speed - it jitters about a fair bit. Also, the overcast cloud is simply awful. Overcast clouds disappear as soon as you fly through them, and I've never seen overcast from cruising level. Also, when there's fog, at higher altitudes you can clearly see the ground. On many occasions, I've been able to see the runway from about 10 miles, when a sudden fog bank appears, and I can barely see the ground anymore.I can remember giving X-Plane a quick fly a number of years back. I was very impressed with it's overcast clouds. Below them, it was dull and dark, requiring panel lights. As soon as you got through the nice thick clouds (that didn't disappear whilst going through them), you broke out into bright blue skies and blinding sunlight. Doesn't happen in MSFS, as it's just as bright below overcast as above. And I can usually see significant amounts of blue sky through the so-called overcast layer.I use the superb Active Sky whilst flying, but even this great program can't hide the awfulness of the FS weather engine. But I'm afraid we will see the same situation through all the MSFS versions.

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Majority of the potential buyers will not buy a new sim for better wind and weather simulations. Imagine having "better wind changes" on the box as a new feature? MS needs features in addtion to fixes to pour in money and resources for a new version of FS.

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I would also like an engine rewrite, FS needs a serious facelift. Also, I don't want blurries anymore, they make me sick just looking at them. :D

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>Majority of the potential buyers will not buy a new sim for>better wind and weather simulations. No, the majority will buy a basic system.The more advanced users, like most of us here, will go and buy "Microsoft Virtual Weather" or "Microsoft Virtual Weather Pro" that could actually be used by non-simmers (TV stations, municipal agencies, even real-world ATC :)! -- anyone who depends on weather forecast and wants a complete picture as opposed to just metar/taf cryptics) or in other MS games (simulators, shooters, e.t.c).>MS needs features>in addtion to fixes to pour in money and resources for a new>version of FS. Don't expect a great return from a half-game half-simulator that is aimed at a very narrow market segment. At the same time, a modular open-end system is unlimited with features because it gives everyone what they need, thus bringing much more money.Cheers,=S.V.=eMachines T5026/P4/3.07GHz/1Gb RAM/160Gb S-ATA HDD/Windows XP Home SP2/ATI RADEON 9250 PCI 256Mb/ViewSonic VX910 19' 1280x1024/Microsoft SideWinder Force Feedback 2

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