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Freeware keeps Flight Simulator alive

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What, without all the freeware upgrades - aircraft, add-ons, and make-ups for things not present in the Flight Simulator series, well, Microsoft would have to do these things themself.Yes, freeware is the ER of Flight Simulator, which has no standing "Do Not Revive" order, and pumps ongoing life support into it - even after the announcement that 2002 will not be patched, a virtual suicide, of course.If Microsoft doesn't care enough to fix its own products, it's because they can readily rely on dedicated individuals to spend their own time (and money) trying to do so. Guaranteed.If the same people who have made all the enhancements to the series were to get their hands on a great framework of a flight simulator with no restrictions on what they could and could not do, I have no doubt it would surpass FS in short order, and probably force MS to start giving away things like aircraft and scenery to try to crush the competition, which seems to be their focus.And you know what? It doesn't bother me that freeware developers make me print my manual.Remember, according to many, (cough), it's a way for them to lower costs. And that's what it's all about, right?AndrewSticking with 2000

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AndrewNo one has tried to degrade Freeware infact my fear was that being overprotectionist and running to the defense of Freeware Authors every second was having a negative affect on Freeware as shown by the two initial posters who made to very nervous, polite and apologetic referrals to the fact that an aircraft they had downloaded had faults.Both faults were well founded but the posters were jumped on told to be greatful for what they recieved and if they didnt like it to simply delete the thing from their hard drive.Hardly a way ahead for freeware or for the Author of the aircraft to improve his work.That attitude, almost a Mafia style Freeware protectionism has been rife in the forums since one prominent designer had given up his work because he didnt like the attitude of some individuals.Mike Stones aircraft was just a catalyst which started the post not the cause.It was my fear for the health of freeware that made me post as I did although there was much misunderstanding between a number of us involved.Ron Freimuth made an interesting remark late in the string. Maybe the aircraft, the quality, possibilities and expectations of us the users has got to the stage where one man shows are a dying breed.Good aircraft builders dont make good panel/gauge men or good flight modellers.Each is a specialist subject and freeware will have to rely on group work rather than the individual.I wonder whether the biggest threat is trying to go it alone.With superb quality aircraft like the Dreamfleet Warrior the level is rising all the time and so are expectations of what is acceptable on our hardrives....I would hate "bin it" to be the norm.Peter (I hope not, here we go again :-)

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Commercial and shareware add-ons are just as important as freeware.Also MS is very smart to not try and do everything. If the FS had everything there would little interest in developing add-ons. Its this interest in creating things on your own that keeps the hobby strong.Its really the combination of everything that is the reason this hobby is so strong. Remove one of them, then the problems wil start.Regards.Ernie.

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I would disagree with the assumption that "Good aircraft builders dont make good panel/gauge men or good flight modellers" although every author is going to have their own strengths & weaknesses some are going to be better "all rounders" than others.With regard to quality levels (at least in my opinion), when I download a freeware aircraft I do not expect to see the same sort of quality in as in payware aircraft - that is not a criticism of the "authors" just the "expectation" that I have. Some times a freeware project is right up there with the quality of the payware stuff such as the Zlin & of course the Falcon and I am sure that other people could add more to the list.There have always been users that phrase questions in such a way that it gets authors backs up (or just "trash" their whole project). I have also seen developers slam users for making relatively innocent comments. Unfortunately, I really don't think that is going to change and with users now worried about freeware authors giving up (which a couple have in public recently) the "mafia style protectionism" is probably going to get worse !!!

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Peter,I just want to make one point here (and this is not directed at you personally):So far, all of this has been directed at "Freeware" - but is there really a difference between the way the Freeware and Commercial folks have handled similar situations? PSS - Shut down the "PSS Unleashed" forum, and their main support forum is now moderated. P/T - Well, :-wink2 anytime someone says something negative about his #####, you get threatened with legal action.PIC Team - Basically quit their support forum due to actions by several forum users, and nasty comments/demands etc, in the forum.Dream Fleet has had similar episodes in the past.The common "thread" in all of this is forums. Yes, there is more praise (generally) than attacks or criticism - but, and I guess it's just human nature - the negative stuff DOES get to you. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does. It's just depressing sometimes.The problem is, in "public" forums, people wite things they probably wouldn't say to someone's face. You wouldn't believe the e-mails that we get, saying "I can do this, or that, and post messages under multiple names, and you'll never catch me...", etc. There are people out there who see the opportunity to start or add to problems every chance they get. There are always "experts" who know how this or that SHOULD work, and they don't hesitate to point that out in public, just to show everyone how smart (or stupid) they really are.Constructive criticism is one thing. The kinds of criticisms that you can read in these forums is another. Yeah - that's when it can boil over, and you take it out on the "constructive" guys too. Human nature, stress from real-world problems, whatever. It's going to happen. Everyone has to accept it, I guess. You'll never stop it. You just have to look at what you're getting from the folks trying to produce it, and either use it, or don't. We all do the best we can. We're getting ready to open a new site. We're also stocking up on Valium, making appointments with our therapists, and preparing for demands and complaints. We hope we're ready :)And, as we say, (and this is not directed at you, Peter) if you think you can do it better, by all means .. please do! :) And when folks start to critique it, try to contain yourself! :)

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>Commercial and shareware add-ons are just as important as >freeware. Very true. I don't think we could have the great stuff we do now, if there was only one or the other. "PIC/POSKY" is an excellent example! :)But one of the things that make Flight Sims so good, is the amount of good quality stuff you CAN get for free. If you had to BUY everything you needed to upgrade to the level you wanted, you'd go broke pretty fast :)

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I would also like to add that "free" sites such as AVSIM and many others also should get some thanks, not some thanks, I really would say a lot: "Thank you dearly for all the free lunches thusfar over the years!" I, for one, appreciate it tremendously!Although not the specific forum for that simulator, but if some just followed the last two years of X-Plane development, they would know that a supporter, in line with today's AVSIM, closed the website, known as "The Registry". The developer then actually wanted to sue the supporter when "The Registry" was closed, supplying gigabytes of free space for planes, utils, etc., all at his expense in support of the actual commercial software! It was closed for the actual fact that the developer took everything for granted as a must-be and not a privilege. Suing for probable "damages" the closing of "The Registry" would cause to the program - how nauseating. I wonder what would happen to the software developers if all of us just stopped supplying free "support" in the form of discussion forums like these? In fact, I did see quite a few programs go down that way, some a pity to see them go, others well deserved...This is unfortunately the modern trend of many a commercial company: "Thanks for all the fish..."! Remember that special tool, that vacuum cleaner, that muscle exerciser to replace a full gym and all its equipment you bought a while ago? ;-) So how come we flame at small questions and a few well intended remarks about freeware, but did your muscles really grow that much with 5 minutes a day and are you doing something to the developer about that useless trinket you bought? In summary of my thoughts, I think that it would be much more polite to E-Mail that author of the nice freeware aircraft/util/panel than to blurt it out in public over the PA speakers. If you don't get nice positive response after a friendly reasonable remark/request, then I would as a last resort, try the public forums.Pieter

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Hi Peter -In fact, my post isn't nearly as much about why we shouldn't "attack" ;) freeware developers, but, moreso, a commentary on how certain developers have become (remained) complacent in regard to their user base.It's their attitude and the general public's sheer acceptance - hell, welcoming - of it that makes me wonder.As far as freeware goes - I'm essentially praising freeware developers, but, look - some people can accept criticism and some can't.Criticism, as its name implies, is critical. I read the initial criticisms, and if my client's criticism of my design work was always that tame, I'd 1) scratch my head in wonder, and 2) try to figure out how I got so lucky.Andrew>Andrew >>No one has tried to degrade Freeware infact my fear was that >being overprotectionist and running to the defense of >Freeware Authors every second was having a negative affect >on Freeware as shown by the two initial posters who made to >very nervous, polite and apologetic referrals to the fact >that an aircraft they had downloaded had faults. >>Both faults were well founded but the posters were jumped on >told to be greatful for what they recieved and if they didnt >like it to simply delete the thing from their hard drive. >>Hardly a way ahead for freeware or for the Author of the >aircraft to improve his work. >>That attitude, almost a Mafia style Freeware protectionism >has been rife in the forums since one prominent designer >had given up his work because he didnt like the attitude of >some individuals. >>Mike Stones aircraft was just a catalyst which started the >post not the cause. >>It was my fear for the health of freeware that made me post >as I did although there was much misunderstanding between a >number of us involved. >>Ron Freimuth made an interesting remark late in the string. >Maybe the aircraft, the quality, possibilities and >expectations of us the users has got to the stage where one >man shows are a dying breed. >>Good aircraft builders dont make good panel/gauge men or >good flight modellers. >>Each is a specialist subject and freeware will have to rely >on group work rather than the individual. >>I wonder whether the biggest threat is trying to go it >alone. >>With superb quality aircraft like the Dreamfleet Warrior the > level is rising all the time and so are expectations >of what is acceptable on our hardrives....I would hate "bin >it" to be the norm. >>Peter (I hope not, here we go again :-)

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I ought to have known I was in for a rough ride with this Freeware thing ;-)I wonder with all the excellent aircraft coming out commercial and freeware that the target and peoples expectations as well as what they want on their hardrives is going to become more selective.Its very rare that aircraft like the Falcon 50 come from one developer. Even the Falcon 50 is a Rob Young airmodel.With VCs as well its almost expecting to much from one guy.Secondly the top designers are paying more attention to GA aircraft. Look at FSD and Dreamfleet.This used to be the domain of the individual freeware developer.My feeling is that I do not know of many single freeware developers who can compete with the top flight dynamics gurus and also do the same with graphics.Freeware is now becoming a more joint effort. If you get used to a warrior of Dreamfleets quality will you accept an aircraft you get off the net which isnt up to that standard?Peter

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My Views:Treat everyone fairly, and with decsent respect, whether payware or freeware. While I will be the first to say that freeware and payware are in to seperate classes (which is very true), each one should be equally respected as groups trying to add to the fun and often times realism of the Microsoft Flight Simulator Experience.I agree with Pieter about emailing the author of freeware aircraft as you're first resort, instead of publicly attacking them on the forums.My bottom line: We should stop getting to caught up in this world and get the hell back to the times (about 6 years ago) when 8 sided fuselages were in style, and we were all nice to each other.Thats my dollar.Al

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BobI have to say I agree with a lot of what you say here, there is a big change from a few years ago, people seem more demanding, less tolerant and maybe a bit spoilt.I know many freeware developers who have got to a stage where they have said enough is enough and want a payback for their efforts.I also know some who are good enough to charge but refuse any commercial involvement.I am not against freeware but have sensed a change of attitude which may have sparked the protectionist attitude to guard what people hold dear and what they regard as all that is good in flight simming. That is the sense of community and sharing of ideas.My experience though is that when you go on the defensive you lose if that becomes the norm.Freeware has to go back to the roots from where it came which is a sharing of ideas and communication in the forums and not what we are getting at the moment.PeterPeter

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I agree as the Quality Bar is elevated it becomes a team effort a collaboration of sorts. The team is well equiped to put out a better quality product...they bring different strengths to the table. POSKY utilizes the team concept well. Alas, what every beautiful aircraft screams for is a good panel to go along with it....for without that front office I am lost. That is why I stick to DF, PSS, AETI, when Ralph T. releases the next B747-200 panel I am there and I will fly those POSKY birds endlessly!RegardsTony

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>My bottom line: We should stop getting to caught up in this world and get the hell back to the times (about 6 years ago) when 8 sided fuselages were in style, and we were all nice to each other.Thats my dollar.

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I develop both freeware and payware, and doubt I will ever do either exclusively. I put exactly the same amount of effort in for both, and I would guess that the majority of other developers who have any pride in their work do the same.The relatively low cost of most addons entitles the user to a heightened degree of expectations, but not that much more, unless the package really fails to deliver on basic terms. In my view that is somewht different from the degree of expectation for a simulator designed with a multi million dollar budget.I feel sorry for some addon developers who have opened, then closed or restricted their "support" forums due to unreasonable expectations and/or complaint. These forums no doubt cost them enormous time out of all proportion to the value of, or profit from their products. With the exception of a very few Charlatans, the vast majority of addon makers expend enormous efforts quite out of proportion to the real returns they get.The major headache for the freeware developer is the certain knowledge that any successful addon he produces inevitably implies a very large commitment to support, which of course no one is the least entitled to as of right, but it is usually offered anyway, and sometimes in the face of quite outrageous demands from users, who thankfully are in the minority...so far.Best Regards,Rob Young

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Peter,You hit the nail on the head about sharing ideas. That is where groups like Freeflight Design Shop come in to play. Unfortunately the gripers and complainers and even a few so called "constructive critics" have no idea what is involved in FSDS, AF99 or GMAX. They have never produced a thing or lifted a paintbrush. If the critics have an extensive background, they are taken (or should be taken) with a little more credibility because they can offer actual solutions, not just gripes. Those who are experienced are also more respectful in their remarks.Freeware designers are people with real feelings and emotions too, not just aircraft factories who cater to every whim and wants of the flightsim world. There are newbies coming out every day that have so much potential. It takes only one bad or sarcastic remark to destroy another Kim Simmelink, Bryan Quayle and others who pioneered this hobby of addon aircraft. That is why there appears to be a protectionist attitude surfacing. They are trying to preserve this hobby, not destroy it. Brent

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Reminds me of the hassle you had over the "default" position in the VC of the Falcon. Obviously putting instructions up in front of the users did not help everyone.....

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>P/T - Well, :-wink2 anytime someone says something negative >about his #####, you get threatened with legal action.You could say any opinion based staement you want and he could lay a finger on you. But if you make claims of wich you have no proof, then he could have a lawyer call you. >

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