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martin_ktpa

Add on Airports not compatible with SP2

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This is more or less an FYI. Just wanted to let you know that if you plan on getting one of ImagineSim's add on airports for FSX they wont work in SP2. But they will work on SP1. Ive decided to wait to get anything else until the developers catch up.:-walksmile

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I found that out last week setting up a flight at Cincinnati (KCVG). FSX is feeling more like X-plane from a version compatibility standpoint. And the same lack of developer interest and resources for revising their code to meet new compatibility requirements. Those changes were apparently clearly communicated to everyone via the "read my blog" software change notices. Bob..

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That's news to me. I have all their airports and they all "work." I have Acceleration installed. I suppose we need to know what you mean by "they won't work?"fb

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>Hi,>>The graphics issues shown below popped up after Acceleration>and SP2.>>>>http://forums.avsim.net/user_files/183647.jpg> That is an "SP2 induced" problem that affects scenery built for FS9 using a "rotate to user" operation. FSX-SP2 no longer appears to recognize this feature....all part of the "DX10 preview" bucket of worms.... When I see this on some of my scenery imports I look to see if there is a seperate BGL for the trees. If so, removing that BGL will remove the trees. You could then use an FSX utility to place new FSX-compliat trees in place of those that are removed. Paul

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>>I found that out last week setting >up a flight at Cincinnati (KCVG).>you have to define 'Work'If you look at the visual aspect of many highend Payware amd Freeware scenery the designer does fabulous work visually. But FS9 and FSX is not all about the visual.This problem is not new and a few of us have sent e-mails, posted on support forums and at times tried to make the buyer more aware of the pitfuls found with these highend scenery's.You can go back to SimFlyers FS2004 KIAH, CYYZ, KMCO that do not work or Cloud9's EHAM, FlyTampa KMIA, ImagineSim's KDEN, KCVG, KLGA, or FISD Helsinki-Vantaa Scenery and some products by SimWings. Some of these same designers still have not learned after 4 years since FS2004 (9) was released and some have got out of the bussiness all together. We see a Payware Highend Plane have a problem and the Users stay after the designers until something is fixed but Airport Scenery seems to fall by the wayside. Many airport scenery designers should stay away from airports that require a runway number changed or a new runway added. This is the area that breaks with all that beautiful airport scenery. One post here mentions KCVG. If you look at ImagineSim's KCVG it does not work in FS2004, FSX, SP1a or SP2. Open the GPS reciever and try to find runway 18C/36C. It is gone because they used someones airport enhancer to change the exsiting 18R/36L to a new 18R/36L and did not rewite the approach code for their new renumbered 18C/36C. This was the same thing that happened to their KDEN back with the FS2004. Try to fly a Transition to runway 18R or 36L and see were it leads you.When we start to see these non-compliant FS issues that break the foundation of FS then we also see airports by Payware/Freeware that follow a pattern. The same designer of Payware for KLGA (FSX) has NO ILS or offset Localizers listed in the GPS Receiver Freq page because they used deleteALL runways and did not add the ILS and Offset Localizer elements back into the XML.We learned along time ago that any runway that has more then one Start Location is going to cause a CTD. Now for KLGA which has 2 for RWY 04 that means the CTD can occur up near the AI Visual zone of Boston or down near Philadelphia. The buyer never thinks about that highend scenery he bought with 2 start locations and complains and blames the CTD on FSX. Then the question becomes, if the BGLComp schema errors 2 Start Locations (won't compile) pointing to the same runway then how did ImagineSim compile their airport bgl. Its called using a non-compliant compiler which only one exsit for FSX which does not Fault 2 or more start locations.Like I stated earlier this is not a new problem and some highend Payware designers have the audacity to say that the problem is limitations with FS9/FSX. That is a direct disrespect for the entire ACES team that makes a airport look good (not always perfect) but also 'works'. Are we suppose to pay for something that looks good but don't work? Buy EHAM for FS2004 and ask them how to fix all the runway/approach problems when they renumbered and reversed. The last time I checked their forum they were now telling buyers to download my free EHAM approach code here on AVSIM which they think fixes their problems but it does not.What is so hard in asking those that know how a airport works for some assitance if it is not the designers area of expertise. 9Dragon wanted the AI to fly the curved IGS 13 approach. Designers like Shez wanted FS2004 KCLE to work properly with a new numbered runway, Holger Sandmann, Tom Gibson, Jon Patch, Vauchez from FlightZone and recently Martin from FlyTampa do not hesitate to make sure their airports look good and work also properly.One of the other problems is the reviews that are written. They address the visual aspect but then again these writers fail to mention the airport don't 'work' or they don't know the airport does not work. I suppose this post as with all the rest written over the last 4 years will be dismissed and Users will continue to purchase some highend airport scenery that destroys the foundation code based on what makes a airport 'work'. I can only encourage buyers to look before they buy. Ask questions or ask someone else to look at the airport scenery that understands both the visual and invisible aspects of the scenery. Only when enough start to bring these problems to the attention of the designers will something change.

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The problem is that the FSX SDK by itself has not been optimized for all the tasks required to create such "visually highend" airports. If Phil reads this, I strongly suggest that ACES commit themselves to include 1 very highend airport within future FS releases. The internal interaction between Art and Coder teams should help iron out the methods/tools needed prior to release.Martin / FlyTampa

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"Like I stated earlier this is not a new problem and some highend Payware designers have the audacity to say that the problem is limitations with FS9/FSX. That is a direct disrespect for the entire ACES team that makes a airport look good (not always perfect) but also 'works'. Are we suppose to pay for something that looks good but don't work? Buy EHAM for FS2004 and ask them how to fix all the runway/approach problems when they renumbered and reversed. The last time I checked their forum they were now telling buyers to download my free EHAM approach code here on AVSIM which they think fixes their problems but it does not."When I purchased the FSX version of Imagine Sims Cincinnati I had a reasonable expectation it would work. There was no mention of a caution that a planned ACES patch would reduce the usability. I would assume the vendor didn't konw. I hate surprises as a customer.It is unbelievable how poorly FSX has evolved in the last year. And I do lay the responsibility on ACES for poor project planning or communication or implementation or just flat bad luck. Cliff Notes:I have an airport that looks goofy.Bob..

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Yes, when I asked about the compatibility I was told more or less that it was up to MS to figure out what they wanted to do to fix the problem. I then said do you think they will? In my opinion a add on should be made to work with what it is being added to, not the other way around. I do agree the add on companies will need to do a better job telling about such problems up front or even better just make it work correctly.

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Hi!For our users information, regarding FSX/SP-2, all our FSX sceneries are being worked to become full SP-2 keeping SP-1 compatibility.Actual status:- Cura

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"some highend Payware designers have the audacity to say that the problem is limitations with FS9/FSX. That is a direct disrespect for the entire ACES team"Are you serious?? Over a year after FSX is released MS release SP2 which renders a lot of airports unusable. Developers again have to go back and rework all the stuff they already reworked for SP1. You say the developers are at fault. What planet do you come from mate?

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What Jim pointed out is also a valid point. He is basically referring to a technical aspect of Addons which escapes many end-users (and developers) for the fact that it isn't a in-your-face visual issue such as the tree transparencies shown here. Most of these "highend" airports are made by modelers & artist and their work is deemed finished once it looks good. I had to learn this the hard way myself. This particular problem is indeed the developers fault & lack of knowledge, but has little to do with current FS9/FSX sceneries or the lack thereof.

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I don't know how it appears to you lot, but FSX looks like becoming some kind of technical curiosity for software experts, spawning endless semantic debates. Leaving most of us who have been buying FS addons over the years feeling cold and out in the dark.Is FSX slowly withering and dying? Where are all the great addons? A few airports and aircraft for us airline simmers, hardly the output that we were all hoping for. It's been over a year since FSX was launched and according to a recent poll everyone's still using FS2004! The few addons that have been released suddenly stop working properly because of software that's meant to improve the general situation. Madness! FSX is a mess. I tell you, that dusty FS2004 box is looking good sitting up there on my shelf.Martin

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Where are all the great>addons? >MartinOrlando By Cloud9Mega Airport London-Heathrow X by AerosoftZurich X By Fsdreamteam (both Version X an 9, one price for good scenery)Bergen FSX and 9 from Cloud9Mega Airport Brussels X from AerosoftAnd on developement..... KORD by fsdreamteam

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>Orlando By Cloud9>Mega Airport London-Heathrow X by Aerosoft>Zurich X By Fsdreamteam (both Version X an 9, one price for>good scenery)>Bergen FSX and 9 from Cloud9>Mega Airport Brussels X from Aerosoft>>And on developement..... KORD by fsdreamteamIn the overall scope that is very poor because everything listed is coming from only 2-3 sources (actual developers/persons). And upon close inspection, only 1 of them has made extensive efforts to adapt the FSX SDK. Without exaggerating I am quite sure that Orlando is literally the only "highend" airport that was ever made as 100% purebred FSX-SDK. Everything else contains legacy content in one form or another. And the reason is not because these devs are old and stupid, the FSX SDK is just lacking in the airport-dev department to the point where vital things such as drawing a non-default hold short marking can't be achieved at all without going back to older SDKs.Ideally a new SDK would have been embraced by the dev-community and every dev would have trashed the old compilers within days.

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Herein is the rub.Your statement appears to have a logical contradiction.If Orlando is indeed a "highend" airport and is 100% FSX SDK compliant - is that not an existence proof that "older SDK techniques" are not necessary? Especially considering said "older SDK techniques" are what are causing the back-compat issues? Deliberately exploiting unsupported techniques means a 3PD puts themselves ( and by extension their customers ) at risk. It is hard to see how that is not more of an "authoring" issue than a "platform" issue.

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>Your statement appears to have a logical contradiction.Apparently a contradiction. However if we look at Orlando we find that it consists of a number of default items, such as default runways, pavement surfaces, markings, jetways, service vehicles and so forth. I am not passing judgment on the developers, they made a honorable effort to create something purely FSX-SDK based.>is that not an existence proof that "older SDK>techniques" are not necessary? It depends on what the developer aims to achieve. "Highend" airport developers generally appreciate being able to customize every item (just like Aircraft developers wouldn't appreciate default gauges in their planes). With the FSX SDK that is not possible for airports. Most prominent example: We cannot customize a runway, its' surface, markings, skidmarks and lighting beyond a dozen preset values in XML. If the goal is to fix a default runway from concrete to asphalt, yes it can be done, but if we can call that "highend" content is questionable to me. Generally speaking: If the Addons must rely on large quantity of default FSX assets, where does that leave the value of the Addon?I understand that FSX is a closed case which is fine. All I wish is that the next FS be made far more flexible with regard to customization/addon development.

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Having an add-on that works is always better than an add-on that doesn't work.Picking an authoring style that almost guarantees issues for your customers, as opposed to an authoring style that admittedly might have a lesser feature set but fewer issues - how is that a hard choice to make?

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>Having an add-on that works is always better than an add-on>that doesn't work.>>Picking an authoring style that almost guarantees issues for>your customers, as opposed to an authoring style that>admittedly might have a lesser feature set but fewer issues ->how is that a hard choice to make?What you say is correct in essence, the question then becomes why aren't there hundrets of FSX airport addons, seeing that placing & rearranging preset assets is not a very difficult task."Highend" airports and many other FS Addons are built by Modelers & Texture-Artists, if their ability to apply custom assets is limited, they run away or look elsewhere - in this case they look at the older SDKs. I find this very unfortunate, because the FSX SDK only lacks in certain aspects, in other aspects it is very good.What you can observe is that a significant number of devs are not even adopting the SDK for its good parts, having decided to stick with the older SDKs completely. What I'm getting at is that a new SDK will have better chances of succeeding adoption-wise, if it includes all possibilities of the old SDK and goes beyond it. The earlier mentioned "rotate-to-user" for example, not to be found in the new SDK, yet a feature developers obviously wish to use. Seasonal changes in XtoMDL, ground polygons, visibility checks, there are numerous features not covered in the new SDK which cannot be simply discarded as unnecessary legacy features.I fully understand that the SDK is the way it is regarding airports because ACES did not need anything extra to create the 20.000+ default airports. This is why I suggest that in future you have a in-house artist work on a "highend" airport (without generic assets) so way ahead of RTM time, he will have told you about everything he needs in terms of tools/SDK.PS: I am speaking as a end-user and market-observer here. The only content I personally created for FSX so far, TNCM, was created with the FSX SDK, only the pavement/runway had to rely on a legacy SDK. And not even this 95% purebred FSX addon I dare to advertise, instead I label it "preliminary" (very much like ACES' DX10 "preview") and distribute it only behind closed doors as a curiosity item.

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Phil,I appreciate the dialog between you and Martin. I don't know if you guys have spoken before, but as a customer and a flight simmer, who knows nothing about scenery design, programming, SDK's etc., one of the main things we customers care about (regarding add ons) is the ability to purchase high end products that strive for absolute quality and realism. With airports, it all starts with the custom ground scenery. That's what sets Fly Tampa, Flight Scenery, and FS DreamTeam apart. The ground as the cornerstone of the airports they design are magnificent! If Martin (and others) are frustrated by the limitations of FSX, we the customers will tend to side with them IMHO. As consumers we are very frustrated by the lack of add on airports that are high end. My hope and dream (this is not a world peace speech :) )for the next version for FS is that the ACES team would include as many of these developers in the design process as possible (if they are willing). There are so many well known guys on these boards and others in the flight sim community that are a wealth of knowledge that could improve the next version of FS, so its not all trial and error, but rather getting a head start with the correct tools right out of the gate, otherwise, we get nothing, or have to wait over a year or more to get a decent high end product. If a product has some rough edges, bring in some folks like Martin and George from FlyTampa for custom scenery design, and include them in the planning stages so you know what is essential to designers. Bring in other people for other facets of flight sim, such as Jim Vile and Reggie Fields for AI Traffic. So much knowledge, yet so frustrating to not have what the community needs included in the design of the product, giving us many limitations on what so many of would like to see.I hope this makes sense, and am eagerly looking forward to the next version.Thanks for listening.Brian S.

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Martin,First off, let me say I appreciate the dialog.I guess I just plain dont understand the "walk away" mentality. Sure I agree it would be better if these "missing features" were indeed possible with the FSX-SDK. However I do not feel airports done with the FSX-SDK techniques only are horrible; just they lack a couple of features. Even with that said, I started a thread about just this on the beta forums to try to capture exactly what the "missing feature set" is; once I understood this was fundamentally what was driving 3PDs to not use the new SDK. I would be interested to see your set. Remember I started right at the end of FSX, and SP1 and SP2 were essentially my way to learn the product. So I personally did not really grok this bit about "missing features" until that thread on the beta forums during SP2.Where I get lost, though, is to then say "I am not going to make FSX scenery at all" or "I am only going to make FSX scenery with the feature set I deem important and ignore the rules" and then come back and blame Aces repeatedly. I agree discussing is good, and as I stated at the outside I appreciate the dialog. But I also see a lot of fixation and unwillingness to move on. So we are missing a few things in the FSX-SDK that 3PDs would like to see. Ok, I acknowledge that. However, what else is possible or exploitable that is new? Are there areas where you can squeeze something unexpected out of FSX, like some of these features in the past? How deeply has that avenue been explored?Things always change, expecting the same thing in perpetuity is just not realistic. Even if we add these specific features next go round, somewhere else something else is going to change. And that could again include the addition of some new things and the subtraction of some old. There is no way to give a blanket guarantee here. So 15 months after FSX was RTM'ed and a month after SP2 is out, it is time to look at the landscape and decide. FSX-SDK content will work, content using old SDK features will not. Given the backwards compatibility game is going to change for FS11 and the FSX-SDK is the jumping off point for the future; it is worth considering what the right position is moving forward.Phil

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Good intentions were there, ACES communicated with 3rd parties more then ever before during FSX development. Perhaps too many people talking at the same time wasn't such a good idea, I surely don't know the answers.

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>First off, let me say I appreciate the dialog.Same here. I will make sure to head over to the beta forums and give my contribution.>I guess I just plain dont understand the "walk away">mentality. Okay, to understand that I think we have to forget about the payware/support aspect for a moment and think purely in terms of hobby, which at the core is what drives most 3DP devs, certainly the freeware community.In that aspect - within airport addons - I think the runway is a essential core aspect. If a developer makes this for his own sake, he won't have long lasting fun with the FSX runway limitations. After getting bored with the presets, he will either look into creating other types of Addons or, if he is a hardcore airport fanatic, he will remember the old dusty SDKs that allowed him to customize his runway. Again, read this without thinking business and support/compatibility, think purely visual satisfaction when creating a Addon for yourself in your basement. Sorry if this seems fixated on a single runway issue, there are other aspects but they are smaller in significance.>However I do not feel airports done with the FSX-SDK techniques> only are horrible; Certainly not horrible, thats way too harsh. I can only say that for myself an airport composed of imagery processed via resample & overlayed with pre-textured XML runways & aprons is not satisfactory to the point where I would not bother to create a lot of them. I think this can be applied to any other environment, if you give "infinite" artistic freedom it will blossom for a long time, if you limit via presets it will get boring quickly.>Where I get lost, though, is to then say "I am not going to>make FSX scenery at all" or "I am only going to make FSX>scenery with the feature set I deem important and ignore the>rules" and then come back and blame Aces repeatedly. As I stated earlier I am not a developer who is actively trying to pass non-compliant content as FSX-Addons. SP2 has shown that this can backfire. I do however take the liberty to criticize, hopefully in a educated manner. That said, if you go download & analyze the products listed in this thread, you will see that many of them don't even use x2mdl for 3D structures, which to me shows that those devs have chosen to not even adapt the parts of the FSX-SDK that do work fine. Only a handful of airport developers (myself included) have bothered to create "pure" FSX content that takes the new SDK features into account (specular mapping etc). Perhaps the wish to remain FS9 compatible is keeping devs from it, or perhaps certain things need customizing so badly that the risks of using a legacy method becomes acceptable. I do not know for sure.> Are there areas where you can squeeze something>unexpected out of FSX, like some of these features in the>past? How deeply has that avenue been explored?I only care for airports - and mostly their runways :) - so I can't really answer that question. I can however see & agree that Resample/Photoscenery, Mesh, large data-based scenery have all been greatly enhanced in the FSX SDK which is why I never say that all of FSX or its' SDK is bad or lacking.>Things always change, expecting the same thing in perpetuity>is just not realistic. Even if we add these specific features>next go round, somewhere else something else is going to>change.I fully agree. I didn't, nor would I expect legacy content to be compatible with a new FS. When I say that a new SDK should have all the features from the previous one, I do not mean it in terms of compatibility but in terms of "ability to achieve the same or preferably better effect". I have no problem at all trashing my old baggage and starting over with a new SDK/toolset, this new toolset must however be more powerful in every single aspect.

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Hasn't there always been this sort of thing going on? As long as I remember, there have been the canned runways, taxiways, aprons, just like the generic buildings. So an interested user can very quickly create a new or mod airport using these. But, the more serious user or developer has been interested in really going beyond this in the airport environment, so there have been these parallel methods that aren't directly supported in the sdks, but worked, such as using variety of ground polys.Going back to something Jim mentioned earlier, I think it was maybe a mistake to combine the AFD elements with the visual elements of the airport. I can see the advantage from a consistency standpoint, but in the long run maybe it's better to let the "plumbing" experts deal with the AFD and 3d object designers handle the visual aspects. Perhaps in aircraft modeling it isn't so easy to separate the visual from the plumbing, but in scenery things might be different.I wonder if the payware Hawaii Dillingham X and freeware NZPP represent more of the type of 3pd efforts to expect in FSX, and not the mega-sized airports that were common in FS2k2/FS9.scott s..

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