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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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