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Could Fly! ever take a 'grassroots' approach?

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First off, I've always been a Fly! supporter, if only from the sidelines. I think it would have tremendous potential as a competitor to MSFS, but it's getting on in age now and visually not as appealing as other sims, except for the trademark beautiful panels. But there are no 3D panels, no 'auto-gen' scenery, and a significant lack of detailed airports (or airports with taxiways). Most of these are correctable, but not without a ton of tweaking. You have to be an addict of Fly! to use it anywhere near its potential... something I unfortunately don't have the time for, when I just want to hop in a Cessna and fly VFR around a random location.I know the project has been kind of living off of the sustenance of a few dedicated users in a dying-on-the-vine situation. Well... I'm curious as to why Fly! can't take the same approach that X-Plane does, which seems to be doing well enough to be constantly improving/updating their product, and actually calling a Cessna a Cessna and not a Flyhawk to boot. They don't have fancy marketing or anything, but they're somehow known as the only guys out there that single handedly take on Microsoft in the Flight Sim arena.The iflytri.com website hasn't been updated in ages, would that be a start? Of course, the best option would be for the team to pull together and develop a Fly! 3.0, dedicated to Rich's memory of course, and take AS MUCH TIME AS NECCESSARY to develop, complete, and ship the product... with all of the features that newer sims boast. Actually, with the increasing popularity of Linux, it would be absolutely terrific if it could be developed cross platform. Not having a good flight sim is one of the few things keeping me from switching. Every now and again a company comes up and makes a civilian flight simulator which generally turns out pretty good and offers some competition for microsoft. It's been some years now, and I'm thinking it's time.Other than that, has there been any updates on a future Fly! since the developer's (Brendon is the name, is that right?) ominous post many moons ago that "Fly will see the store shelves again"?Thanks and best wishes to all!Kenneth

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> Well... I'm curious as to why Fly! can't take the>same approach that X-Plane does, which seems to be doing well>enough Kenneth,At least the answer to the above is self evident. The man who single-handedly developed X-Plane is still alive, well, eager to work and most importantly knows the software in-and-out. No one knows the nuts and bolts of FLY! except of TRI (that owns legal rights to it) and with the passing of Richard Harvey some of this expertise may even be gone forever.Ideas like your have been kicked around on this forum number of times and general consesus have always been that the ball is in TRI's court.Michael J.http://www.reality-xp.com/community/nr/rsc/rxp-higher.jpg

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Hello Ken;WOW , What a good idea, Dont you know that LINUX has Python scripting tool in it, I have Red Hat 9.I have always wished that linux has some sort of sim in it, But that I have`nt seen YET :) Also about the web pages there are some good sites on the web,that all they are dedicated to Fly!/ Fly! IIJeff

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"Other than that, has there been any updates on a future Fly! since the developer's (Brendon is the name, is that right?) ominous post many moons ago that "Fly will see the store shelves again"?"I remember that post about an update of some kind. I have not heard anything more since that post. I wonder what they had planned. :-hmmmBy the way, there is a flight sim for Linux. Check this: http://www.flightgear.org/

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Some of us thought that it might be TRI's intent to take all of the fixes and improvements of the patches plus a few other items and re-release Fly! to the public - sort of a Fly! IIB. This would put Fly! back in the public arena with the quality it was supposed to have when it was originally released.

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Kenneth,TRI have repeately made it quite clear that they are not in the flight sim development business any more, so I would not look to them to lead the way in any kind of continuation of the Fly! platform. Maybe that policy will change someday, but I doubt it. The best that could be hoped for is a new commercial release including the latest patches and some 3rd party add-ons.I have (fairly quietly) maintained that the only real chance for this community to continue to grow is to work towards a new FlightGear style open source sim that is fully compatible with Fly! II aircraft, TerraScene, databases, etc. That way, all the great work that has been (and is being!) done by aircraft designers, TerraSceners, etc. can be leveraged. If there are any experienced designers who would like to e-mail me on this, we can discuss it further. The problem of course is the time and effort that would be required...we all have busy lives with family, work and other hobbies, myself included. And unfortunately, it's often the case that people start projects like this with the best of intentions, only to fall short in the execution.X-Plane and FlightGear (which works as well on Linux as Windows) are two good examples of flight sims that are alternatives to MSFS...I wouldn't call them "competitors" in the sense that users have to make an either/or choice with respect to MSFS, i.e. neither of them are going to be a serious threat to MSFS in the foreseeable future. But the key point with both of these sims is that the key people (Austin, Curt, David, etc...) are in place to move development forward and engage the user community. There is no real reason why the same could not happen with a Fly!-based "grassroots" sim.Chris WallaceOttawa, Canada

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I still think that a better alternative is to piggy back FLY2 grassroots development to msfs fs2000, specifically in the scenery area. FSimport is a great example of what can be done. I know that the author was terribly concerned about violating ms copyrights, but when it come to using some software for personal use, I suspect that MS has better things to think about than some piece of software that allows users who legally bought their fs2002 to use some of scenery for a small users sim like fly2. the author of AS2 did just this--not exactly,because he did get the ok from the defuct company-- so ATP has leved on many years since its demise under the name of AS1 and AS2 and with many new functionalities. In fact, if the scenery were not an issue and that it runs on dos, I suspect that AS2 would continue to live on with enhancements. Imagine what FLy2 would look like with complete airports ala fs2002 overnight!There is a fine line between outright copyright infringement and activity--like copying a disk for personal use-- that ms too has practiced in order to advance its operating systems and other software. Let's get FSimport going again..... and, of course, all the suggestions made above should not necessarily apply: the more, the better.tony

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I agree about FSimports completely. While I'm not a lawyer, I believe the author of FSimports has built-in several features that prevent copyright infringement. FSimports insures that you have MSFS installed on your PC and that you cannot use converted scenery on any other PC other than the one FSimports, MSFS and Fly II are installed on. The exclusion to copyright infringement seems to revolve around personal use. I can convert all the copyrighted music I want to different formats for my personal use. I just can't sell or distribute the converted files to others. Having said this, FSimports will do little to insure the commercial viability of the Fly series. I'm afraid even a release of a updated Fly II with all the patches will be a commercial flop without some built-in eye candy. An unrestricted FSimports would make all of us dedicated Fly II users happy though!

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Well, fist of all I certainly wouldn't suggest that anybody who's working on ANY sort of Fly-related project stop what they're doing. Conversion tools are great up to a point, but they are only a short-term solution. Besides issues of things getting "lost in the translation", the amount of inconvenience to the user, and limits on what can be converted (i.e. aircraft or sim features)...sooner or later, the inherent limitations of the sim are going to reduce its appeal to all except an ever-smaller core of die-hard users. I don't know if this was the case with ATP/AS1/AS2 (which I must confess I am ignorant of).I think the original poster was hoping that there could be some sort of independent future for Fly! as a platform in the long term. I believe this could be accomplished, but only through advancement in the actual sim implementation (or a new compatible implementation), not through any amount of piggybacking on MSFS. Of course, ideally any long-term solution would leverage all of the work currently being done too, then we'd have the best of all worlds :-) (am I an optimist or what?!?)Just my 2c (Canadian at that!)...Chris WallaceOttawa, Canada

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The fact is that fly2 airplane are just fun to fly. I've been learning how to modify panels so as to give them a more 3d look with shadows and centerposts. The piggyback approach is a short term, agreed, but, in terms of development, it would shorten the work needed for add ons for FLY2. The author of AS2 did obtain the code from the company and , like Austin of x-plane, is one of a kind who was able to do miraculous things to it. Some time ago I had e-mailed Tom of Avsim about Rich Harveys's documents( not FLy2 code) and what would happen to them after his death. He told me that he would ask that question when appropriate, since he agreed that his work might somehow find a good home.tony

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Given the available data to users (SDK) for FLY2 how far can these information (not the code) be utilized to improve FLY2 i.e metar, ATC? chris-rpll

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Well, shortly after his announcing Rich's passing, Brendan did come back on the forum and "allude" to something in the making for Fly!'s future. He wasn't able to divulge anything else (obviously). He stated nothing would be seen in 2003. Whether or not it was a smokescreen, I for one prefer to believe something good is yet to come from the Fly! team. :-)FSImport - far as I know with version 1.03 - did not require one to actually have MSFS - you just needed to create the scenery.cfg file manually, point FSimport to it, and then can convert over whatever third party scenery you desire. About the only enhancement that would be wonderful right now in respects to FSImport would be its being able to convert GMAX made buildings! AM hoping PodJoe hasn't given up on development... ;-) - but without some extra support am sure even he has a difficult time, what with his own real-world issues to take care of aside from development.Were it possible, an open source development team for a new style sim capable of using our current Fly! stuff would certainly be one answer - but as Chris points out, finding the persons able to dedicate their time to such an undertaking without pay is most likely not a reality issue.That's my penny's worth!Cheers...Ken Wood :-sun1

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I have been thinking the same thing myself ever since Richard's passing. The possibility of a small, dedicated group getting together and buying out TRI :) and pushing forward to complete all of the features proposed in Fly!II and possibly making a Fly!III. Even with the advancements of FS9 I still go back to Fly!II because it is a better "pilots" simulator. With that in mind, my personal opinion is that the market that should be appealed to are real pilots and flight schools. The professional simulators out there are so much more expensive and you cannot log time when used personally at home, only with an instructor present and with the proper hardware set-up. Terrascene could use another update to utilize more of the available textures included with Fly!II so that desert landscapes and other areas are more believably reproduced. I was considering buying Elite as a simulator but Fly!II basically covers all of the reasons I would purchase that... and look at their price. I think if one could represent most of the GA aircraft populating airports (Cessna, Piper, Rockwell, Bellance, etc), include an easy repaint kit, and panel program with King, Narco, Collins, and Garmin options we would have a good start. Imagine if a real world pilot could basically duplicate his/her personal aircraft (same model, paint job, registration number, panel avionics) and with Terrascene make a good rendition of the area that they normally fly what the demand could be. Offer it to flight schools set up to emulate their aircraft and area.Well, just dreaming, but like the fact that it is being discussed on this forum and maybe the right people will read it.Zane

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True that FSImport does not require msfs for add on scenery convertions, yet when one considers that msfs2002's default airports are nicely populated, imagine what could be done in terms of populating FLY2 airports. The scenery add ons for msfs are simply too few and require a lot of Web searching to find a few. There is something fascinating about flight sims, and if FLY2 has a strong engine(which it does), then there's always hope that someone will pick it up for development. tony

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>FSImport - far as I know with version 1.03 - did not require>one to actually have MSFS - you just needed to create the>scenery.cfg file manually, point FSimport to it, and then can>convert over whatever third party scenery you desire. You are correct about FSImport and MSFS not needing to be installed to convert 3rd party scenery. I was thinking more in terms of achieving what Tony had said about expanding the capabilities of FSImports to convert the scenery within FS for Fly II use. My guess is that you would need to own a legitimate copy of FS in order to avoid copyright issues with converting the scenery for your own use. In his signature, Brandon referred to the potential future Fly product as "Fly III". This leads me to believe they are not thinking about about a rerelease of a patched version of Fly II. Let's hope that if it is to be, they add sufficient features to win over the hearts and dollars of the average buyer of gaming software. Catering to the hardcore sim user is not going to win funding from a publisher. ROI is what drives business.

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>Given the available data to users (SDK) for FLY2 how far can>these information (not the code) be utilized to improve FLY2>i.e metar, ATC? I can only speak knowledgeably to the METAR portion of your query (although I think the existence of replacement ATC systems suggests an answer to the other part of your query).Any improvements in METAR weather via the SDK would probably have to be made in spite of (or by circumventing) the existing Fly II weather system, not through expanding upon it. I do have one concept of how this might be done via the SDK, but I dislike the side effects it would have too deeply to seriously consider it. (For example, my concept would make the built-in ATIS reports virtually useless unless you are pretty much on top of the airport in question, although a replacement ATC system might be able to help with this. And the existing cloud system would still produce the same unpleasant jumping effects that it sometimes does with METAR changes in Fly II now, that is unless someone out there was able to also create a replacement cloud generation system, and I'm not sure that the SDK can practically permit the replacement of such a fundamental feature.)[table cellspacing=0 cellpadding=0][tr][td width=320]http://www.usinternet.com/users/mystic/infomsig.gif[/td][td width=170 align=center]This message is brought to you by the letter "I"![/td][/tr][/table]

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Dang nabbit, I failed to log in here enough to stop my login from expiring x(Here are my thoughts on the subject.First, I think there's no way for Fly to ever be in the same popularity-class as MSFS. Their goals are too much different. MS has done a very good job of making a sim that appeals to the masses. It runs quite well straight out of the box, and the planes look fantastic from the outside, which is what most casual users want (just check out the screenshot forum!) Like it or not, most people aren't "hard core" simmers who want to use the real-life checklists to start up their sim planes. Fly aims towards a more niche market of harder core simmers, IMHO.That said, it is a shame that the market cannot support this niche market as a viable business. Some of this is just economic reality. Some, on the other hand, might be fixable. There's the obvious problem of getting the rights to Fly in the hands of somebody who can do something about it, but that's just a prerequisite, and a small part of the total picture.I don't mean this as anything really bad about Fly, since Fly2 is by far my favorite sim - in fact, I find its panel system so good that it has spoiled me, and I can't really fly other sims any more. But that said, Fly is really a PITA! The graphics are all fuzzy out of the box (look at many Fly screenshots!) until you download an external utility to turn on anisotropic filtering in your graphics driver. You have to install a zillion patches and download a ton of stuff from the net to get it to a decent state. You have to mess around with texture slots and render.ini files. I have done all this because I believe it has the best "core" of any sim out there, but to make it economically viable, I think it really needs a lot of polishing and ease-of-use improvements. Its rendering system could stand an overhaul - fixed slot texture allocations are inefficient, it needs some asynchronous way to load terrain graphics - I could go on for a while, but my main point is, Fly is awkward in that it couples the best "sim core" (which appeals to us fanatics) with a poor enough OOTB experience to turn off Joe Casual User, and even a lot of hard core users.If I were running the show (which you'll carefully note that I am not :-hah ) I would give priority towards overhauling some of those areas and making Fly a first class OOTB experience, with a more modern rendering engine and more polished look and feel. It should absolutely preserve the core strength of the sim (catering to advanced sim users), but maybe it also needs a "dumbed down" arcadish-mode with lots of simple, nonrealistic and limited functionality panels ala most of the MSFS2K2 planes. True, advanced simmers don't want the dumbed down stuff, but without attacting the mass market, it doesn't seem like you can run a viable FS business.Unfortunately, that takes a lot of money and resources, none of which are likely to be available for the dubious business of competing with Microsoft. For that reason, I'm afraid there's little chance for Fly or Flight Unlimited (RIP).And, for no other reason than it looks cool, here's a bat: :-bat

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Is anybody here familiar with WWII Online? Would it be possible to rework the Fly!2 engine to make a massive multiplayer version of Fly! along the same lines, but with Fly!2s trademark cockpits, flight dynamics and airport extras? There could be literally thousands of people on line at the same time, walking, driving and flying around.I think many of us would be willing to pay a monthly subscription to support such a system, which requires a dedicated server 24 hours a day. I am currently paying 12.95 per month for WWII Online, but it's cheaper if you buy 6 months.Coupled with Teamspeak for voice communications, it would make for a very immersive flight experience.

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>That said, it is a shame that the market cannot support this>niche market as a viable business. Some of this is just>economic reality. I don't think it is as bleak as you describe. There is already a vibrant niche market for high-end, hard-core simmers buying add-on aircraft for MSFS. In other word you take this "dumb-down" product that offers little excitment about the aircraft (but plenty of scenery excitment) and buy add-on aircraft. Some of them are extremely good and go even beyond the FLY standard. But for a niche product to survive you must have at least a huge base of "dumb" users (some of them may try to taste something better) and here MSFS fits the bill perfectly.Michael J.

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Thats Right Michael, Tell MADMAX, How it really is, That Fly STILL Lives on, Even If it was pushed out the door before it was ready,Ummmmmmmm, Seems to me that MSFS FS9 Seems to have a lot of bad raps going on alsoJeff

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>> Tell MADMAX, How it really is, That Fly STILL Lives onYes, it does but MADMAX probably already knows about it !>Even If it was pushed out the door before it was ready,I already forgot this part.>FS9 .. bad rapsof course.Michael J.

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Michael, at times I have wondered about what makes this hobby exciting, and find that the idea of looking for new scenery, planes, and other add ons-free or not--makes this hobby just as fun as flying the planes from point a to point b. I have, for example, been learning about modifying panels in FLY2 and, of course, get a tremendous enjoyment from creating a panel that "looks" closer to my idea of what a real panel looks like. It's that vicarious experience and the chance to meet here in these forums that is not to be taken lightly. tony

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>Michael, at times I have wondered about what makes this hobby>exciting, and find that the idea of looking for new scenery,>planes, and other add ons-free or not--makes this hobby just>as fun asTony,I bet many look at it this way too. It is like a stamp collector collecting his new rare stamp - finding the stamp may be as exciting as actually viewing it later. Or like Collin Powell's hobby of fixing old Volvos - then driving them must be a different experience.Michael J.

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I have to throw in some corrections here :)"But there are no 3D panels" Thats right,but the 2D panels have yet to be beaten..."no 'auto-gen' scenery" Wrong..We have an autogen program"and a significant lack of detailed airports (or airports with taxiways)" Wrong....we have the import utility that imports airports from fs2002 into Fly2.I have used it with great success with all Airports in Norway."but not without a ton of tweaking" I have not tweaked Fly2 any more than Fs2002/2004,and after reading the Microsoft Flightsim forums....there seems to be a huge amount of troubles and tweaking on that sim too."when I just want to hop in a Cessna and fly VFR around a random location." Thats what I do all the time....The potential in scenery are brilliant!!http://home.online.no/~johsvenn/artimages/newz2.jpgFly2 have great clouds and weather,a lot of great freeware aircraft and some high end Payware aircraft from RAS and PMDG.Johnny"I'LL BE BACK"[div align=center]http://www.avsim.com/hangar/fly/josve/zone.jpg ][/div

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>"But there are no 3D panels" Thats right,but the 2D panels>have yet to be beaten...I have a different take on the statement above."There are no 3D panels" - some (like myself) could care less - 3D panels are nothing to brag about except that they are 3D but otherwise of dubious quality and utility (except maybe pattern work). (I know Larry is going to show up in a few minutes and tell us how great 3D panels are ! ;) ). I think FLY's scroll panel technique is pretty good for what today's computers can handle."2D panels have yet to be beaten" - well, if I may say ... there is this one panel created by Flight1 for Piper Meridian and frankly I think it is the best 2D panel ever made. Gauges, textures, everything about it is simply top notch. They spent over a year on this panel alone. I have not seen other panel that even comes close. But I do admit - a panel like this is extreme rarity, even more so in the FS world.Michael J.

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