>>If we can have an intelligent, rational discussion I will>>participate. >>>>See http://blogs.msdn.com/ptaylor>>Innovation... accelerated>>Acceleration looks to add value, this I agree with. >Acceleration is a good title for the ACES official add-on as I>believe that ACES is accelerating change and innovation within>the FS engine which is having some interesting follow-on>effects. There are also interesting changes afoot within the>operating system which MSFS is expected to run on. Thus, FSX>is clearly a transitional title, much as Vista and .NET>3.0/3.5 are as well.>>Talking to the people and expectations>>I think the new openness that ACES is engaging in with the>"community" is welcome; however, this openness also>constitutes a transition for both ACES and the simming public.> With FS2004, simmers were accustomed to having a vast variety>of add-on aircraft and such and the technology/back-end>transitions with FSX have slowed the 3rd party market down. >People want their toys and MSFS has evolved into the>playground in which those toys are deployed. The release of>two Service Packs for FSX within the first year of release>highlights the growing pains of the technology transition>which FSX represents. We can observe further evidence of the>technology growing pains when we consider how long it has>taken "first-class" FSX add-ons to emerge: PMDG's 747-x comes>to mind. Why is this? I think it has to do with performance>- these products most likely need SP1 and SP2 to even be>"playable.">>The modeling programs required to make aircraft are roughly>unchanged with the FSX SDK. The gauge programming aspects are>roughly unchanged since FS2004 SDK (XML-based gauges work in>the same manner as do C/C++ gauges). Don't get me wrong, I've>studied the SDK closely and recognized that there are many new>features and changes (SimConnect) which require mastery. >However, people expect 3rd-party stuff and want it soonest. >As FSX is so transitionary, fulfilling this need is>challenging. Since the tools are more the same than not, then>the underlying MSFS engine must have changed to the point that>performance with the "toys" won't be acceptable. This is what>makes FSX transitionary: technology innovations are so taxing>that 3rd party stuff is stifled. Thus, we await the next>evolution.>>The effects of flux>>While I am happy to see Microsoft/ACES release their own>add-on content for the first time in decade or more, the flux>brought by FSX and its transitory nature with respect to the>FS "engine" understandibly abrades on the masses. We are in a>time of technology instability with things like FS2004 to FSX,>Windows XP to Windows Vista and DirectX 9 to DirectX 10. I>suppose ACES picked a doosey of a time to start talking to the>people face-to-face. There are so many changes afoot that [a>href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear%2C_uncertainty_and_doubt]FUD[/a]>and emotions are very likely to whip up. Again, we want our>toys! In this sense, ACES has entered into the fray to give>us extra toys with Acceleration.>>The trouble with setting high expectations>>With all that said, we must accept some acpects of>expectation. ACES DID hype us up with the promises of "God>rays" and other such fantasia with the "magic screenies.">Regardless of the regret expressed by ACES concerning the>"magic screenies," the die has been cast and the jig is up. >The skeptics were doubtful concerning the "magic screenes">(and right they were to be) and Phil's SP2/Acceleration>announcement is clearly a let down. Ending up with a DX10>"preview" at the end of the life cycle of a product which was>to be a "flagship" for DX10 is a clear indictment of DX10>itself. Nobody is/was ready for DX10 (hardware manufacturers,>game studios (ACES to be sure) and consumers). >>Such is the way of things when paradigmatic technology changes>are attempted. People invest a lot of time and money in their>toys and want them to last for some time to come. The 3rd>party market with FS2004 boomed as FS2004 was a relatively>stable instatiation of MSFS at the tail-end of the>FS2002/FS2004 era of the engine and SDK. Performance was>great on most folks' hardware in FS2004 and people were>content. We all know what a struggle it has been to make FSX>smooth in the first year. Of course, I know this is to be>expected and we've seen this pattern before. Again...>managing expectations: we are all guilty.>>In the last 18 months expectations and promises regarding FSX,>Vista and DX10 have been enflamed based on both fact and>fiction. This fact and fiction have come from a variety of>sources, including ACES/Microsoft.>>[a]Marketing?[/a]>>While many see [a>href=http://www.marketingprofs.com/2/whatismarketing.asp]marketing[/a]>as a dirty word, one facet of marketing is delivering. >Partial delivery is a common fact-of-life in markets, but>partial delivery does tarnish consumer confidence. If there>were more viable alternatives, perhaps consumers could react>in effective ways beyond whining, bargaining and venting. For>all intents and purposes, there are few alternatives to MSFS. >>>It may sound like I hate MSFS; quite the contrary, I've been a>fan since a young age and can proudly state that I've been>around since the "wireframe" days. You see, MSFS has such as>strong legacy that ACES are in a precarious situation as>stewards of the legacy. I must point out that I believe ACES>is certainly moving the franchise forward and bring great>things and great hope for MSFS. In short, I believe ACES are>good stewards of the legacy. However, promises made and not>delivered have occured (and will likely continue). Again...>managing expectations: we are all guilty.>>[a]Oh well, there's always FS11[/a]>>The good part of all of this is the fact that MSFS marches on>(The King is Dead, Long Live the King!). I've enjoyed FSX on>the whole and realize that it will continue to come into its>own. I'm certain that both the community and ACES have>learned alot with FSX and the open communications that have>surrounded the lead-up and release of FSX. ACES have given us>a good installment of MSFS with FSX and there is plenty to be>happy about. Among the greatest lessons might be managing>expectations and reading the market: both facets of marketing.> Will the missions pan out in the long run? I don't know,>many people like them, but buzz surrounding the missions is>low. The problem is, the people that ACES talks to are the>"hard core" and their expectations are hard to manage.>>So, has this post even addressed the main topic of this thread>(Acceleration, DX10 and SP2)? I believe so. In our new open>dialog, all parties are learning how to talk to each other. >ACES, you can't bandy about pie-in-the-sky expectations and>then wonder about irrationality when these expectations don't>materialize. Community, you must realize that a) Rome wasn't>built in a day and :( being a for-profit concern, ACES/MSFS>operates under constraints. No matter how cool/human ACES>are, they are under contract/employ of a large>entertainment/software company which must deliver products at>an interval such that income continues to roll in. We'll>never know the machinations behind the scenes which constrain>ACES, but we, the community, should realize by now that when>they promise us the Moon, realize you'll likely end up getting>to the Moon in the same way that the Apollo program got to the>Moon: in stages.>>Thank you ACES>>Phil, the openness of your team (and the team which took us up>to release) is obviously appreciated. You know that hobbyists>will always be a crazy lot - I hope that both sides will>continue to learn to manage their expecations.---------------------------------------------------------------------I find myself to be in such whole-hearted agreement with this post as to suggest that it be reposted, locked, pinned, and titled "MUST read before posting"