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FlyingsCool

The Problem with dropping backwards compatibility

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I'd like to reopen the discussion on backwards compatibility, pointing out one of the problems with not supporting it.I do not yet have Acceleration, and I am not privy to the actual problems with or the reasons for Multiplayer incompatibility of Acceleration/SP2 with Multiplayer in RTM and SP1.But it is my understanding that an installation of FSX running SP2 is not compatible in Multiplayer with installations running FSX RTM or SP1.I really wanted to buy Acceleration. But I also really enjoy using multiplayer. The earliest I'll be able to install Acceleration, then, is when SP2 is released as a separate install, as more people will then be running SP2. But even then, it will be a long time in my estimation before it works well. Multiplayer mode will be in a state of chaos for at least a year, maybe longer, as people try to log in and find they can't connect or whatever the problems may be, and a significant number of people will likely be turned off by it and probably stop playing it.This seems to be a major shot in the foot; at least regarding multiplayer, which, I think, is THE major growth area for FS. I really don't understand why ACES would want to segment their user base at this, I think, fairly critical juncture. How many FSX multiplayer users will upgrade to Acceleration and SP2, 25% - 30% maybe max? Now you've just removed 25% to 30% from the relatively thin numbers at any particular online location, and those 25% - 30% are going to be very lonely on their servers.Why introduce an issue where many, many people are going to be thinking they are having problems or trying to figure out what is wrong, when it is working as designed?While I understand how everyone would like to see bugs fixed, I really think this much of a change was ill advised at this point. How is MS going to get the word out that SP2 MUST be installed on everyone's multiplayer server/client, or that you CAN'T install Acceleration if you want to continue to fly in Multiplayer on servers still running RTM or SP1?Your thoughts?Am I wrong in my understanding?P.S.Also, and this might be off the mark as I haven't actually seen the new interface yet - I think more thought could have been put into the naming of the different types of flying that you can do. As somebody over at FS-MP suggested, "Shared Skies" would have been a much better term for connecting to multiplayer than "Free Flight" given the fact that term is currently used for off-line play. Apparently there is now "Free Flying" (single player mode), Multiplayer "Free Flight", and "Multiplayer Missions" modes, comparable to RTM/SP1 "Free Flight" "Missions" and "Multiplayer". The poster didn't mention what the comparable name for RTM/SP1 "Missions" is. Seems dumb to me.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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As I understand it - and none of this is official or secretIt has nothing to do with Acceleration and everything to do with SP2.Fixing some issues with Multiplayer required changes which make SP2 mulitplayer incompatible with RTM & SP1 mutiplayer. Aces also took advantage of the opportunity to add the new feature.I don't think it will be a year. Once SP2 is released the transition by people who use mulitplayer should be very quick.

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I don't think I said I thought the incompatibility(s) was a secret or anything(?). My question was, how will the word get out that people need to upgrade?Look at how often the same questions are asked here over and over; and we see only a small fraction of users. Is there going to be a notice in the multiplayer interface that explains which servers are SP2 servers and which servers are RTM/SP1 servers? Or are users going to just get a cryptic "Sorry, you can't connect, but we're not going to tell you why" message?Do you really think the transition will be quick?What percentage of online users are using SP1? (I doubt this can be answered, but I wonder).I'm just thinking of all the users I've spoken to who don't even know FSInsider.com exists.So there were a couple of points that I should have made clearer; What exactly are the incompatibilities, and how do they manifest themselves? And, I also wanted to continue the discussion on backwards compatibility, and the problems that incompatibility cause. Were the changes that caused this incompatibilty worth it? Or should they have waited till FS11?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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I'm sorry, but FSX doesn't have a built-in 'check for updates' button does it? I suppose SP1/SP2 can't be detected via "Windows Update"?Too bad if not.The average punter who buys FSX does not check Avsim or FSInsider. I would bet that probably less than 30 percent all the people who bought FSX even know that SP1 exists.-Bryan

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Are you talking about multiplayer? Or backwards compatibility? :(re: Backwards compat.I haven't fully formed my opinion on it. But one thing about it: FSX is not as backwards compatible as we would like, is it? So with that thought, the fact that FS11 may not be backwards compat, is not quite as scary as it otherwise might be.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 don't think I said I thought the incompatibility(s) was a secret or anything(?).Sometime people take stuff as golden gospel from ACES. All I was saying is I'm not in any position to know any secrets, etc.My question was, how will the word get out that people need to upgrade?This is an issue with many, probably most games.In other game areas - it comes up when I get on Mulitplayer - and I either can't join, or I get warned I need an update/ patch.The transition will be quick among the non-hardcore folks - because they will buy Acceleration and move to it quickly. It's the hard core simmers who are slowest to move to SP version in my experience. The casual simmers find it quickly.While MS/ ACES and these forums come up first - and internet search for FSX Patches brings up a lot of gamer sites where FSX is just another game.The people who want to do multiplayer will find the reason they cannot connect to some sessions.Yes, there will be a rough period - but I really doubt it will be more than a couple months.I could be wrong - according to my ex-wife I frequently am.

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Anyone who tries to join an SP2 multi session while running RTM or SP1 will get a version mismatch error. I don't think the error is very specific, but whenever I see that in any other game my first thought is "patch hunting time".I think you're right though, multiplayer's gonna be a little chaotic for a few weeks until SP2 is out. I generally host the sessions for all my online friends as I have the fastest computer and connection among them, and I've made it clear to them already that I'm installing Acceleration the second it's out. Other games such as Neverwinter and Armed Assault require you to have the latest patch in order to continue with online play, and these guys patch their games about once a month. Those communities get on just fine with that, so I don't see too much of a problem here in the long run.-Mike

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I believe it's not just multiplayer that will see some compatibility glitches - several addon aircraft (payware and freeware alike) might show some broken panels and textures. Some exotic alpha or stencil masks are no longer supported for certain texture files - which Phil has already disclosed in his blog posting.Hopefully some vendors (or third parties) will provide patches for these aircraft. Specific details about what products are affected will emerge after the release date, for sure.

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Backward compatibility issue is a tough one. Not an easy decision. Either way...you cannot come out right. Its an unsolvable problem.;)

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That's right. To quote Justin Tyme of FSG...you're "danged if you do, danged if you don't".I figure ACES might as well break the backwards compat chain, because after all, it's taken a lot of time to see lots of add-ons appear for FSX, anyway. So we might as well have a re-designed FS, despite the drawbacks...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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One Word...FPS!well 3 actually but the bottom line is that the current system is so bogged down in back compatibility it's hurting FPS and optimization and the whole development process...people already have a heads up that FSX SDK developed stuff should likely be ok for FS11 so devs have 3-4 years to get compliant...bottom line is that it shouldn't be an issue, *if* devs are smart enough to plan for the future...instead of backwards compatibility from FS perhaps devs should be focused on forward thinking and compatibility... ;-)if they want something in sim, instead of tweaking and doing something non standard perhaps they could submit a feature request to ACES?

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Didn't Phil say that FSX SP2 would be compatible with FSX SP1 and RTM add-ons but not those for earlier FS versions?Perhaps I'm remembering this wrong. And possibly it applies only to add-ons, not multiplayer.

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That's correct, the other thing he spoke about was that some pre-FSX addon aircraft that use special alpha masks and something else may get broken as well (which might knock out a significant portion of my fleet as well, hopefully nothing important to me). I wonder if this issue is DX10 only or does it also apply to the DX9 patch as well?But my main concern is Multiplayer compatibility, and the wisdom of breaking compatibility so early in the release cycle of the same version.I suppose I am somewhat swayed by the argument that other titles also break multiplayer compatibility mid-cycle as well. But I think even so, then, the relatively long delay between the release of Axl and the downloadable SP2 patch becomes an issue. Of course, then it comes down to is whether 1 - 2 months is relatively long?I really hope an intelligent/intelligible failure mechanism/notice was created so that people can recover from and understand what the problem is when they try to connect to a server that is out of synch with their own version. A notice at point of login showing which servers you can connect to and which servers you can't would be a good thing. A filtering so you can't even see the "bad" servers would be even better.A notice saying "Sorry, you can't connect" with no other explanation as to why would not be a good thing. A software crash would be a very bad result of such an action. Both of these results will not engender much goodwill towards the development staff by the afflicted user.Which brings to mind a disconnected but somewhat related rant. The billion time hitting "ok" with no chance of escape combined with a poor diagnosis message issue when trying to load a pre-FSX airplane is a good example of what I consider to be bad programming (and bad sentence structure to boot). You can even have to click "ok don't load" the same gauge several times if it is in different panels in the same aircraft. That's just dumb. The software should pre-process the whole panel and then show you a printable list of the potentially bad gauges AND their filenames and allow the user to click a box next to each gauge deciding which gauges not to load and which to load (defaulting, of course to "Don't Load". Who would want to load a gauge that won't work?), with a single OK button at the bottom to accept the users decision(s), and then go to the next step from there. I would much prefer having to wait for a pre-analysis and then a secondary load process after one click than having to click away a billion windows spouting basically unintelligible information. (The internal name of the gauge, to me, is rather useless if you don't know what the filename of the gauge is.)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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