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awf

A Disappointment with SP2

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This issue was in Acceleration which contains SP2. No fixes were implemented between the release of Acceleration and SP2. The only thing they did to release SP2 was to implement the file installation and test the various language-based installs.To expect ACES to make SP2 different than the SP2 that's part of Acceleration is unrealistic.Also, in my opinion, the expectation that FS9 aircraft should work in FSX is unrealistic. I suspect with the next FS release nothing from FSX will work with it at all. People keep complaining about ACES maintaining the current FS code... the primary reason they've done so is to maintain a reasonable level of backwards compatibility.So... if ACES actually listens and replaces the core sim code with the next version, people can kiss backwards compatibility goodbye.As for the VC rain issue... The only difference I actually see between the VC images is that the FS9 versions are 512x512 and the FSX versions are 8x8. This is, perhaps, what is causing the actual issue.

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Hi Ed,"To expect ACES to make SP2 different than the SP2 that's part of Acceleration is unrealistic."Unrealistic from a coding point of view or from a Microsoft infrastructure point of view?As a software developer, we issue patches usually as often as needed. If Microsoft posted a "VC Rain Compatiblity patch", then that would sure help. We could provide it to our customers, and it would be seen as an official fix.We have recompiled service packs and programs and told customers "please redownload it, as we saw a problem in the first upload of it".Why not issue an Acceleration SP1... Or put the rain fix into official SP2 and then have a separate "VC Rain Fix for Acceleration" download.It can be presented in many ways.If it can't be fixed due to a code issue in FSX, then that is one thing. If it is the mechanics of the business that prevents it from being fixed, then at least noting this could help in the future. It would then be a real shame that the enthusiasts that are part of the ACES team, and enthusiasts that are the flying public, are not able to be part of a system that works in such a way that can make the hobby as enjoyable as possible for everyone.It is then that maybe my original post speaks for both "sides", and not just the developers and end users.

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ACES/MS is not able to "change course" like a company the size of Flight One.ACES/MS is the Titanic (in size) while Flight One is a speed boat.You can not expect them to be able to change things simply because your company can. Having worked at ISO-9000 complaint software companies as well as having done contract work with some... I can tell you that it's just not as easy as you're thinking it should be.Doesn't mean I agree with the approach, but I am very familiar with it and know the restrictions it places.

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If Vista SP1 was officially released, and all the sudden all red pixels showed as green on the desktop, then I am sure there would be an update release extremely quick... Why? Because the business cause is there to do so.Yes, we are talking about the Titanic and a speedboat (or maybe a raft :-))... but I have always been one to believe if something is right, it is right, and no company, any size, is above doing things in a "right" way.If the business case does not call for it, and if it means some type of ISO certification process that prevents the Aces staff from servicing the product like they wish they truly could, then lets at least put this out in the light and let it be known... so then we can all deal with all this more effectively in the future.And as a side note: No company, no matter how big you are, is above the ability to do things the right way, or differently if they want to.

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Thanks for your thoughts Steve. I've always been curious to know what the third party developers thought about the things that have gone on with FSX. When Acceleration hit the shelves there were some display problems with the Digital Aviation Do-27 and I detected a similar sentiment to yours from the developers on their forums.I wonder what happened to the claims that FSX was being developed in close cooperation with third party developers?

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Extremely well put put Steve, i agree.As for MS to being too big for 'turnarounds'? If governments can do it, which most do all the "

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Strange. While attempting to see if any of my aircraft are affected, I realize I have no VC rain effects at all (even in the stock aircraft) after installing SP2. Does this have to be enabled via a magic config file switch? What is the FS9 texture you make reference to?

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>This issue was in Acceleration which contains SP2. No fixes>were implemented between the release of Acceleration and SP2. >The only thing they did to release SP2 was to implement the>file installation and test the various language-based>installs.>>To expect ACES to make SP2 different than the SP2 that's part>of Acceleration is unrealistic.>>Also, in my opinion, the expectation that FS9 aircraft should>work in FSX is unrealistic. I suspect with the next FS>release nothing from FSX will work with it at all. People>keep complaining about ACES maintaining the current FS code...>the primary reason they've done so is to maintain a reasonable>level of backwards compatibility.>>So... if ACES actually listens and replaces the core sim code>with the next version, people can kiss backwards compatibility>goodbye.>>As for the VC rain issue... The only difference I actually see>between the VC images is that the FS9 versions are 512x512 and>the FSX versions are 8x8. This is, perhaps, what is causing>the actual issue.>With all due respect. When Steve talks you and others should listen. He's been doing this for years with the quality backing of Flight One. So I take seriously his comments and echo the frustration of a reputable developer.

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>I wonder what happened to the claims that FSX was being>developed in close cooperation with third party developers?You raise a good point and that point can be argued I suppose by different developers and what they expect, want or are willing to live with from the MSFS team.First off, I know many people on the FS team quite well and have great respect for them. I know the struggles many of them face and a handful are very dedicated enthusiasts just like you and I and those folks really care about the sim and about 3rd part extensibility. If it were only that easy....Don't let anyone fool you; this has not been an easy road for anyone.I am not a shameless a really excited user, I am a dedicated developer and anyone that knows me will tell you that I don

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>>With all due respect. When Steve talks you and others should>listen. He's been doing this for years with the quality>backing of Flight One. So I take seriously his comments and>echo the frustration of a reputable developer.>Um....Ed also works for a reputable developer, a very well known one at that.

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Very strange...even with the FS9 textures I still get no VC rain effects. Is this a DX10 feature only? I haven't seen evidence of solid windshields either, but perhaps this is because my VC rain effects are not working.

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Thanks for your input Jim!I'm relatively new to MSFS, my first version being FS98 and I didn't really get into the hobby in a big way until FS2000.Speaking as an enthusiast, I've been left pretty disappointed with FSX. the latest problems with lots of addon aircraft not working with Acceleration/SP2 has only compounded this. I do sincerely hope that sooner or later we will get hardware that can run FSX to its advantage and that the dust settles enough for us to start seeing some great addons like the ones we had for previous versions.Thankfully there's still a huge amount of content for FS9 that will keep me busy for a long time yet! :)As a long time Flight One customer I'd also like to say thanks for the first rate support you have personally provided me in the past :)Cheers!

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Steve, thanks for this post. All developers face the same dilemma and your post is very reasonable.The issue is clearly defined and the primary responsable party is Aces. There is no intent to slam those folks, but to simply hold them responsible for their portion of what has become a major load on development and support staff along with a frustrated customer base.Our testing of SP2 over the last 20 hours or so confirm your findings and we join you in the hope that the powers that be really lend their ears to what developers are saying here.The path to FSX/SP1/SP2 along with Vista/DX10 compatibilty has been rather rocky for about 14 months now while customers rant over price for FSX Products and developers rebuild, patch, and now face yet another set of challenges. But wait, the story doesn't end with SP2/VC rain, The DX10 "preview" with Vista and DX10 hardware/driver setup is another "can of worms we all must deal with as it pertains to models built under DX9.0c compliance.It is my personal belief that Aces has the responsibility and the skill to address this for develoers and customers alike. After all, it is their franchise and let's all hope they respond in a contructive way:-)

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"To say that we should not expect backward compatibility is fair. But what is not fair is to not be given a proper heads up about changes that will affect said parties."Jim and Steve, I am having a hard time seeing this as a fair statement.I clearly set expectations about compatibility in Acceleration/SP2 with my original post about Acceleration and SP2. In October. Before Acceleration was released. And the releaese of Acceleration confirmed the compatibility issues I acknowledged.And reset them continually to the effect that we were making no additional changes to SP2. The final Acceleration RTM bits were available for 3rd party beta to validate this compatibility message ahead of shelf availability. The beta bits of SP2 confirmed this.How did you not get a heads up? Both by our messaging and the state of the binaries?It is not Aces issue if some in the 3rd party community want to "wish" for something different than what we set expectations for. However, then acting disappointed is not grounded in reality. I have been straight and transparent with the community since my arrival. Ignoring what I said and hoping for something different - I dont see how that makes sense. It seems to me that these older aircraft are, plain and simple, not proper FSX aircraft. And that is the issue. If they are updated to be proper FSX aircraft, there is no issue that I am aware of. And there are a lot of existence proofs for that. In most cases the conversion steps are minor for both exterior and interior problems and I have posted details on how/what to do on my blog. What is the issue with doing the conversion?

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Phil,I did not mean to imply that you have not been straight with us.In fact, you are providing so much info that is really helping the product along... tweaks, and other information, etc.But this is more than a heads up issue.It is one of something very small (as I see it) being broken, and thus there is a ton of additional work worldwide that will be required, with some add-ons now depreciated mid-stream, when it really did not have to be.So, beyond what you said earlier (I am not arguing with that), one could ask... "Why would Microsoft not address this issue when it would clearly help so many to have fixed this."Maybe you are up against a machine that does not allow you the ability to say "fix this for SP2 or put out a patch for it".There is just a lot of frustration here. Again, I do not think you should have to defend what you said. That is not really the problem.The problem is the inability to really flow with the tide, and take necessary actions when they should be taken.Again, what would the logical reason be behind this issue not being officially addressed by Microsoft?Yes, lets do say beta testers had a chance to report this. OK. It was missed. Our fault maybe. But the inflexability to change could become the real problem that does not allow FSX, or the Flight Simulator franchise, to reach its full potential.

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Phil, with all due respect, communication is key and Jims point is valid. You came to the table AFTER expectations were set and of course we are unable to discuss when they were set for NDA reasons.Expectations were that backward compatability would continue and proper feedback to ACES in that regard went unheeded until the midnight hour over another issue which we are unable to outline here. As I recall, the same parties to that issue are now present here.We as developers maintain that the simple fix made by Aces at that juncture saved untold headaches and frustration for Aces/Third Party entire customer base. What Steve and Jim have pointed out here is a very similar situation and their response is just as valid now as with the other issues.Aces breaking VC Rain is similar to Aces breaking another "unamed feature". In that case, Aces made a simple change and the issue was resolved. We suggest that VC Rain fix is just as simple for Aces to accomplish.Finally, to suggest that third party developers and Aces customers being disapointed is not based in reality is to ignore reality yourself. These are no small matters and we suggest that you take a fresh look at what may possibly be done to resolve this.:-)

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I have to agree with Steve on this. When you issue a major product or point release, you establish a functional bar for that revision of software. Subsequent updates/patches may improve or build upon that bar but it should not take away functionality. If you want to establish a new bar for FS11, that's peachy, but taking something away (or reinventing it) mid-product cycle is rarely a good development practice for any software venture.Updating aircraft may not be technically "hard", but I think Steve's point is, "it's expensive" for a small vertical market publisher. Ultimately that cost is pushed onto the consumer and we end up paying P.T. prices for simple product upgrades.Ultimately, it comes full circle, as the community gets more closed-fist about investing in third-party add-ons for each successive revision of FS. Upgrading to a new FS simply becomes cost prohibitive for developer and consumer alike. That all comes off the bottom line.

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Steve,What you are saying now is quite different.Asking "why couldn't you change the plan" versus "there was no heads up" are two completely different tunes.One is fair to ask, one doesn't feel a fair statement of events as they have transpired to me.For a variety of reasons, which I cannot go into, we could not change the plan and deliver SP2 this year. That is the fact of the situation we faced.Given the issue is with back-compat on old aircraft, then the call we faced was "is it worth holding back goodness for proper content to aid old content" and "is this compat issue really a stop ship for the majority of FSX customers"? On that basis we made the decision we made. And announced it. And stated we are looking at changing the entire compat situation in the future. And were pretty clear at DevCon and FanCon. And on the public boards, and our blogs, etc. I feel the messaging has been clear and consistent. Why would the 3rd party community not see that as a clear message and act accordingly?The fact of the situation is that it is no longer possible to sell non-FSX aircraft as FSX aircraft. 3rd parties will have to decide to update or not update their products, and inform their customers. I meant it when I stated that this was a precursor of things to come, back compat is about to undergo serious changes. In the future it will very likely no longer be possible to resell old content for the new platform. At all, as in the platform will refuse to load it. In some cases it might very well be a simple re-export just to get the file marked as required by the new loader, but that will depend on the state of the content.Phil

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If Microsoft was aware of the issue AND it was repairable in the product code, then clearly a decision was made by Microsoft not to address the issue. If they somehow missed the problem between Acceleration and SP2 then they have additional problems that only the marketplace can address.The, more obvious possibility is, that given strict Corporate rules, the time period between Acceleration and SP2 was deemed to be insufficient to manage any changes and adhere to the product manufacturing rules.Regards,Dick BoleyA PC, an LCD, speakers, CH yoke

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>">Jim and Steve, I am having a hard time seeing this as a fair>statement.>Well... I kind of thought you might Phil.>I clearly set expectations about compatibility in>Acceleration/SP2 with my original post about Acceleration and>SP2. In October. Before Acceleration was released. And the>releaese of Acceleration confirmed the compatibility issues I>acknowledged.Setting expectations is different than incurring unknown anomolies and being essentially told to live with them.>It is not Aces issue if some in the 3rd party community want>to "wish" for something different than what we set>expectations for. We didn't specifically wish for anything that shouldn

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I second another post here. When Steve (or anyone alse a Flight1 for that matter) talks, a word to the wise would be: listen. It's clear that in a case where Steve sees a problem that would present issues for their VALUED CUSTOMERS (two words most 3rd party developers have no idea the meaning of), even their relationship with Micrsoft is not as important as making sure that their customers are happy (and continue to be so). No 'yes men' at Flight1 apparently.I've said it a thousand times, and here comes 1001, Flight1 is simply a class act. (<--period) I hope that you both find an amacable solution to a very valid issue.Regards,Mike T.

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Ron,I respectfully disagree.Pointing to a "far past communication" and using that over a more recent communication is puzzling to me as a strategy. I have been clear about what is in the Acceleration/SP2 product, and what expectations can be. Why would you not use my data and prefer something much, much older as the basis for decision making? What data points would you expect the plan would be based on? I am being straight with the community, even if the message is not one to everyone's liking. Ignoring my data points and "hoping" something else will happen - how is that reality based?Phil

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>Yes, lets do say beta testers had a chance to report this. OK.>It was missed. Our fault maybe. But the inflexability to>change could become the real problem that does not allow FSX,>or the Flight Simulator franchise, to reach its full>potential.Steve,I did report this issue and I know for a fact that it was observed and noted.Jim

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