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About Rob_Ainscough

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  • Birthday 07/15/1964

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    Oregon, USA
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    All things flight/world simulated.

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    Rob Ainscough, Software Engineer and 3D artist

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  1. Rob_Ainscough

    Boeing's $9/hr software engineers

    Sure they can. Lockheed Martin's first aircraft was 1913 (Model G Hydro-Aeroplane). Boeing's first aircraft 1916 (Boeing Model 1) Oddly both were sea planes. Lockheed Martin sadly moved away from commercial projects even though the L1011 had some incidents it was still the safest aircraft of the time (safer than Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Airbus). Rumor has it Lockheed Martin might be returning to some limited commercial projects with efficient supersonic aircraft ... now that would be very interesting. Cheers, Rob.
  2. Rob_Ainscough

    My next flight will be in MSFS2020

    That is NOT fact. Cheers, Rob.
  3. Rob_Ainscough

    My next flight will be in MSFS2020

    Depends on the add-on and how much has changed in the SDK. For example, if MS decide they don't want to support 3DSMax in their SDK and go with some MS internal 3D tool that has no "working' import of 3dsmax files, then ALL the 3D modeling work would need to be redone from scratch and that will take A LOT of time and money. Another example, if MS no longer use SimConnect then that would have a huge impact on what code could be salvaged by any existing P3D/FSX product ... think 90% ground up re-write. Not really, the length of time is because there are NOT enough consumers/buyers to justify huge development teams that could get products done much faster. PMDG is probably one of the biggest development groups followed by ORBX and they still take a long time because they have limited resources (no enough money to hire the talent) in a niche market. There are some people here that feel if they purchase a product once (10 years ago) it should be upgraded for free indefinitely even as platforms change. The only way to get add-ons faster is if people open their wallets .... money talks ... if there is no money there will be no content providers, if there is a little money their will be 1 or 2 dev team content providers (taking their time). But there does seem to be a lot of hate towards content providers and some type of resentment of content providers working to earn money ... I thought most people work to earn money, even in communistic societies? But I do agree, this thread from the OP is a little silly ... it's like say I'm not going to buy any gas until Ferrari deliver their next hypercar. Cheers, Rob.
  4. Rob_Ainscough

    My next flight will be in MSFS2020

    We have to adapt anyway with existing platforms ... other than obvious SDK differences, it would be really nice if MSFS continued support for using 3DSMax then a good chunk of the modeling work could be salvaged. It's a pain having to learn Blender3D for XP11 and 3DSMax for P3D ... fortunately 3DSMax has a Blender format export that seems to work "ok" in Blender3D and I can setup Blender to be some keystroke similar to 3DSMax. But I agree, the base product will certainly have better visuals "out of the box" ... over time those will improve with the add-on market, will conflicts be a thing of the past, I don't know, just have to wait and see ... I'm sure MS are well aware of what they originally built in FSX/ESP is very powerful, but also very fragile. What MS will need to ensure is that the SDK has what content providers need or else "they will use other methods/hacks" to get what they need (what some do now) and then we're back to square one with CTDs, conflicts, etc. Cheers, Rob.
  5. Rob_Ainscough

    P3D4.5 in 4K?

    I use MSI Afterburner (Riva server) ... logs and allows you to do screen overlay so you can see it realtime (in P3D just be sure to set water = High and not Ultra or else the graphics overlay doesn't work). Cheers, Rob.
  6. Rob_Ainscough

    My next flight will be in MSFS2020

    I'll disagree with you on this point, how many Microsoft developers posted here or anywhere during FSX and FSX SP2 development? As far as I know, just one Phil Taylor (maybe a few private lurkers with obfuscated UserIds). If you go over to LM's forums you will see at least 5 or 6 actual P3D developers interacting with and listening to end users. Like I posted early, I get the concept, install DLC, go fly ... and for the most part that does work on existing platforms ... up until you hit DLC install #25 or #50 or #100 and then conflicts start or you mess up a driver update or Windows 10 update. I agree that conflicts needs to be avoided and if possible easier to resolve ... same with the update systems (should be seamless). But not all conflicts have anything to do with flight simulator software, but much to do with end user PC hardware and/or OS. But if you think XP11 doesn't suffer similar problems then you don't have enough add-ons for XP11. The easiest platform to go fly is AF2, but it's also the most simplistic which is fine for some users. Because AF2 doesn't have dynamic weather engines, AI traffic, AI road Traffic, dynamic lighting, and a host of other features it performs very well on most systems because it has less to do. What I don't understand is how people can ask for more realism but also expect better performance ... the two are mutually exclusive ... that's the very reason why we have "graphics settings" and I'm sure MSFS 2020 will have graphic settings also, just like most sims/games. I know you don't want "details" but during my 3DSMax modeling sessions there is a polygon counter (7 key) I keep persistent in my active viewport ... one shows global poly count and one shows selected object poly count ... I'm constantly monitoring these values to keep the poly count as low as possible without making a round wheel look like something from the Flintstones ... I'm also removing surfaces from objects that will not be visible (in normal situations). It's common for a 3D modeler to be given a poly count limit in which they must not exceed ... this is were some of the optimization happens with the 3DSMax tools. To avoid Z-fighting (flicker) I have to make sure objects don't share a surface ... this is time consuming and we're not even at the texturing stage. I know, you don't want details and I fully realize there is no reeling in end user expectations even when I know there are technical and physical limits. My point here is that Flight Simulators will always push the polygon limits as they can't be restricted to the make believe worlds of 3Dshooters ... the day FSX was released top tier PCs were barely getting 20 FPS with high graphics settings and OOMs on day 3. We've come a long way since then (not long enough for some), but today we have a lot more scenery at further distances with better lighting and reflections and shadows at about 70-80 FPS default installation with max graphics settings. Hardware has improved as has the code (DX11, 64bit, etc.). Your point about installation issues and conflicts is significant and I hope that ecosystem is partially (or fully) addressed in future FS products (be it MSFS or XP or P3D) ... I'm well aware of finding a problem can be looking for a needle in a hay stack when one has many add-ons. Cheers, Rob.
  7. Rob_Ainscough

    My next flight will be in MSFS2020

    The CTD comment was brought up by another member ... someone (not me) indicated that CTDs are a P3D problem. I pointed out there is no relationship between CTDs and Microsoft code of which FSX and ESP/P3D consist. I then listed some (not all) of the causes for CTDs which are not code base specific nor add-on specific. Didn't realize I was expecting sympathy? For what exactly? Quality sells ... if done well and value provided no one would feel "separated from their money". It does get tiring seeing the same set of users endlessly bashing on content providers ... Carenado are constantly being bashed on because they don't live upto someone else's "standards". I'm trying to help users understand what's involved and some of the factors at play ... this doesn't help me "sell product" ... I tell you what you want to hear ... everything should be free ... but that's smoke and mirrors and just pandering. I'm not asking you to like what I say, nor agree with it ... but communications on forums like this does trigger others to think about what they want And you don't have to spend that money? If you want a better ATC, weather, etc. to "meet your standards" (which only you can define because your standards are unlikely to be the same as someone else's standards) then you have that option. For example ATC is incredibly complex, to do ATC right one really needs to have a full global of living traffic that interacts with entire globe of weather and other special conditions at over 40,000 airports ... one runway down in Chicago could impact 1000's of aircraft across the globe which in turn impacts aircraft at those airports, its a rippling affect across the planet from just one runway being down in Chicago. The computational complexity to simulate and entire planet of air traffic control is a massive multi-developer project that probably requires fast dedicate computers that would need to interact with the sim. Microsoft isn't going to provide something like this "out of the box" ... now maybe your standards don't require that much realism, but others will welcome it for IFR and VFR globally. MSFS did suggest an SDK and a better ecosystem, so that tells me there will be room for improvement on all existing functionality in MSFS ... but again, you aren't required to go beyond, but I would imagine your "standards" will change over time ... they do for many users that want even more realism ... that's why FS platforms have continued for as long as they have ... that's NOT going to change with MSFS 2020, it will hopefully get better. I get what you're saying, you want more in a base product, and it looks like that will happen, but there will always be improvements to anything ever created on the software front (from games to flight sims) ... it's the inevitable march of progress ... you don't need to embrace it, but that's not going to stop it. Cheers, Rob.
  8. Rob_Ainscough

    Dear Microsoft - please include weeds

    a,b,c -- do I get a prize? You forgot about "d - willing to pay for content". XP11 and P3D can be as serious or as simple as an end user wants them to be. As far as Beta testers, yes all development shops will want to carefully select and screen their Beta testers ... even more so those that require NDA. It has nothing to do with who is and isn't pompous and everything to do with putting in the time to test and being able to effectively communicate potential issues/bugs. For example, if I have a Beta tester that reports back with "it don't work" and nothing more, that's not a very useful Beta tester. If a Beta tester can't provide detailed instructions on how to replicate the problem with environment background, that's not a very useful Beta tester. Unfortunately, many that want to get onto a "Beta" program often expect or what it the end product for free and then the developer(s) never hear from the Beta tester again (zero testing and zero input). That's why I think Microsoft's current "Level" system and requirements to Beta (Level 5) are juvenile and seem to be more focused on "if you've paid us money in the past with a game pass gold subscription" ... rather than any actual qualifications that are needed for effective and efficient feedback that proves to be helpful to developers allowing them find and fix problems quickly rather than "guessing" because of lack of details from a Beta Tester. When I come to release product, I'm not going to approach some random person that plays lots of 3Dshooters ... I'm going to approach someone who's got local knowledge of the airport or someone that has good track record with testing airports and understands what taxiways are, runway incursion/entry lights, support aircraft types, gate alignment, Jetway usage, runway markings, and can providing quality feedback ... I have no interest in "your airport doesn't explode when I shoot at it". Cheers, Rob.
  9. Rob_Ainscough

    My next flight will be in MSFS2020

    It's not the programming/coding that causes the CTD in "almost" all cases, nor the add-ons. AVSIM has a great document/source for resolving CTDs, 99.9% of the time it's not the add-on and it's not the platform, it's the end user: 1. Overclocking 2. FS platform wasn't updated correctly (boggles my mind at how many people still don't know you have to uninstall a P3D component BEFORE you install the newer one) 3. Using an add-on not compatible with an updated platform 4. Reading install instructions, FAQs, AVSIM tips/guides, and README files seems to be taboo even when they contain the answers to avoiding CTDs 5. Manual hacks and file copying in/out and/or registry changes without understanding what they are doing and why 6. Corrupted graphics drivers 7. Corrupted OS (and/or OS update) 8. 3 add-ons that do the same thing all running at the same time 9. installing the wrong platform add-on (FSX into P3D V4, or install an add-on that says P3D V4.4+ into P3D V4.1 or XP10 aircraft into XP11) People do some really strange things like unplug their network cable in the middle of updates and/or turn off their PC in the middle of an update because they don't want to wait (I've witness fellow developers that worked at my prior company do exactly this, it does happen even for experience people). Or worse yet, I see people try to hack over some aircraft using copy and paste from various directories and edit .cfg .xml files and even overwriting them with the wrong file formats thinking Notepad or their favorite editor will just work correctly on a file format. I've been around flight simulation for a long time helping users, they do all kinds of odd things and most CTDs are self-inflicted (there are always some exceptions). But I do get it, people "just wanna fly" and that means they don't want to read instructions which more often than not ends up with a complete mess by using advice from others that don't really know what they are doing either (or lack of information to fully understand the problem at hand) and it snowballs downward from there to frequent CTDs and/or nothing working correctly. Heck, the other day, I was doing some internal PC cleaning and didn't pay attention to what NIC port I had my ethernet cable plugged into ... so when I reconnected all the cables I accidentally plugged the Ethernet cable into my other NIC port (my PC has two NIC ports) ... everything seemed to be working fine for my PC until I loaded up P3D ... long long long delay in P3D starting, then very odd and strange behavior from some of my aircraft, engine wouldn't start correctly, aircraft stuck and wouldn't move, etc. Turns out that when I plugged my ethernet cable into another port, DHCP assigned my PC a different IP address ... so my SimConnect.xml was referencing the static reserved IP address for my other NIC port ... hence SimConnect was not working correctly. Is that P3D's fault? No. Is this some Add-On's fault? No. Is this MY fault? Yes. Why do I have this situation/complexity, because I run 3 networked PCs that work with P3D and they all use "reserved" IP addresses which are referenced in SimConnect files. Again, my environment complexity is something I created ... I added the complexity so I could have a PC to do weather and report weather real-time on a separate monitor, I also have a PC that tracks my flight and does flight planning on another monitor ... all displayed real time. I don't "have to have" this complexity, I chose to have this complexity and love it. BUT, with complexity comes the potential for problems. It doesn't have to be this way, it's my choice to make it this way ... anyone can just fire up P3D or XP11 and jump into an aircraft and fly without all this complexity, again user choice and I'm grateful I have the choice. I can understand a user's desire to just turn on a device, it automatically updates, and they hit the "Fly" button and go ... that's the very reason consoles became so popular vs. the far too complex PC. But that's NOT the world of the PC, the PC experience can be as good or as bad as one wants it to be. The PC doesn't protect itself from it's owner and provides the owner with ample opportunity to get themselves into a really bad situation. If the PC user neglects to follow instructions or read them at all and doesn't have a basic understand of how their PC/OS works (and it doesn't matter what it is, could be a game, a sim, network drivers, mouse driver, graphics drivers, etc. etc.) they end up on planet frustration (I've been there and done that also). So when users come to these forums ranting about how bad Platform XYZ is, or how bad add-on MNO is because they had a problem with it. This has nothing to do with end user intelligence, age, education level, or needing to be a programmer, BUT it does have everything to do with not putting in the required time/reading to understand how they got from A to B ... it's really not rocket science, but it does require some effort to make a PC work well for the owner/user. For some it's just too much effort, and I can understand that, PC's aren't for everyone but heck my 87 year old mother still uses a PC so they can't be all that hard. I think for some here will find their flight simming/gaming nirvana when MS release Flight Simulator on the XBOX 2 (if that does end up being the primary platform target) ... but given how quickly some users seem to get bored (imagination seems to have been replaced with instant gratification), you'll soon be looking for more and that will most likely come from content providers (3rd party). The only real questions I have that I hope to get clarified with "details": A. SDK (details about what's in it and how different it might be and what dev tools are required) B. MS fees for content providers and end users (subscription) C. MSFS roadmap (I need to know where they want to go for at least 2 years out) D. Adoption (number of licensed users, sorry no secret sales number from Microsoft, I want sales facts not fiction because I know they are available and they should be made available to devs rather than taboo) E. Content protection (3 out 4 people pirate software, I need "some" degree of built in protection that is not overly user invasive) My favorite platform is irrelevant to what I want to accomplish from a business perspective ... it will be where people are willing to spend money for content they want/like ... if MSFS ends up with 500,000 licenses sold, but only 10,000 users are actually buying 3rd party content vs. XP11 of 150,000 users, but 30,000 are buying content and 160,000 P3D users with 25,000 are buying content ... then the correct business decision would be to create XP11 content first, then P3D, then MSFS. What I'm hearing from some is that they hope MSFS 2020 will have everything they want "out of the box" and hence they will not be spending on 3rd party content ... fair enough, I can respect that, but from my business perspective it would NOT make any sense for me to try and develop for MSFS IF there is no user base willing to open their wallets. I hope that's not the case, but from what little info MSFS have provided, there will be a healthy ecosystem so I'm assuming Microsoft will not have the resources to toss in everything and the kitchen sink and they do leave "opportunity" for 3rd party content providers ... that would seem to be the more logical decision. My own personal nirvana would be 1 platform with a very good and flexible SDK, 5 million active end users willing to pay for content ... that would make for easier business decisions (and most likely a lot more high quality content drawing in more talent because of a larger user base). Because of the small size (relatively speaking) of the end user market for flight simulation, it's probably one of those rare times where "I might" think one choice is better for the greater good (less segmented pool of resources). Cheers, Rob.
  10. Rob_Ainscough

    AIs now following Sloped Runways in P3D

    Slopped runways have never been a big problem in P3D (contrary to popular belief) ... there are a growing list of airports with slopped runways, it was always AI that had a problem with them ... have to try this out and see how it does on AI landings and takeoffs. Great work! Cheers, Rob.
  11. Rob_Ainscough

    My next flight will be in MSFS2020

    Microsoft's ESP (aka P3D), and the "new" Microsoft Flight Simulator ... operative being "Microsoft" in both cases. Do you think your CTDs will magically go away with code from the same company? AVSIM has a wealth of information dealing with end user issues covering CTDs in FSX (Microsoft), P3D (Microsoft core with Lockheed Martin enchancements), XP11 (Laminar Research), etc. The frequency of me hitting a CTD (in XP or P3D) is about 1 in 10,000+ flight hours ... the only time that changes is when I'm testing Beta software and even then it's rare. Maybe you need to change your UserId to something else if you hate all the current sims so much? Having seen much of the same from end users where AF2 was the next best thing since sliced bread, then it was FSW was the next best thing since sliced bread, now it's Microsoft's "new" Flight Simulator is the next best thing since sliced bread ... from my observations, Flight Simulation is never going to satisfy some people and the grass is always greener on the other side of the hill ... and yet, here we are. Yes it does, even more so recently with Orbx Australia V2 and it's HD Buildings. Departing LatinVFR in PMDG 747-8 (all PBR materials) during nice late sun and then returning at night with dynamic lighting was visually better than anything I've seen in the MSFS2020 quick clip. Another flight out of Aerosoft's GCLP with extended texture size setting and the Island with all the correct buildings was breath taking, distance LOD was far better than what I saw in the MSFS 2020 trailer. Some people seem to have so much hate and get fixated than they ignore all the good and can't seem to appreciate the entire experience from walking around an airport in AVATAR mode to seeing passengers fill up my aircraft (GSX), to refueling trucks that actually refuel the aircraft, to push back, to the host of AI traffic, wind/rain effects, slippery runways, and incredibly realistic aircraft with engines that even flex along with the wing and systems depth that boggles even real world commercial pilots. Sad to see people dismiss this hobby as "outdated and boring" when there is so much available to these existing platforms ... I have a feeling MSFS 2020 will not be enough for some if they don't see the value in current platforms. Cheers, Rob.
  12. Rob_Ainscough

    TBM 850 glowing at night in P3Dv4

    I seem to recall a similar thread like this came up with PMDG 747 ... I think solution was something to do with not fully wiping out 3rd party shader product and/or getting it correctly updated ... but don't quote me. Cheers, Rob.
  13. Pretty sure the answer is 42. Cheers, Rob.
  14. Rob_Ainscough

    Poll: How do you want to pay for MS2020?

    No. Windows 10 OS itself does NOT consume hours and hours of streaming data as a key part of it's daily operation. Windows 10 will check for updates, do a check for virus definitions, maybe provide a news item (pending how you have it setup) ... that's it, very very small amount of data going/coming from an MS server. Streaming is at an entirely different level when it comes to data transmission, servers, etc. ... many orders of magnitude higher. Windows 10 free update was a way to move end users away from Windows 7 and get them on a new platform for which Microsoft want to sell software and services. Very similar to how the XBOX hardware is being sold at or below manufacturing costs ... give the consumer a cheap way into the door, then sell them 100X titles/services once inside. This is a common sales/marketing technique that is very effective. I am curious why almost 40% of respondents don't want a subscription process? For folks that pirate software, it's obvious, but for all the honest people (I'll assume the better of people here) what's the negatives behind a subscription? (posting here on AVSIM so I assume internet connection isn't a problem) The positives for me: 1. My software is always up to date with bug fixes and new features (I don't have to 2. Subscriptions are less costly up front 3. Subscriptions provide you a means to terminate at anytime 4. They are entirely cloud based so if my PC crashes and gets wiped I can go re-download my content and never lose it So if I pay $10 for first month and use it for a couple of months ($20) and decide I don't like it (assuming if it was a standard single retail price of $60), I've saved myself $40. And if I do like it, and use it regularly, then I'm obviously finding value in it monthly. Cheers, Rob.
  15. Rob_Ainscough

    Dear Microsoft - please include weeds

    Could be true since current XBOX does NOT have sufficient performance, so target the PC which "might" have sufficient performance, but we really don't know. However, the XBOX versions seem to go up in price on each new release, currently $500 so estimates I've seen are $600 or $700 for XBOX 2 (or whatever it will be called) especially if it supports 8K resolution and ray tracing. Where end users win on "inexpensive" XBOX hardware (at cost or sometimes below manufacturing costs), Microsoft recover the cost via subscriptions and content purchases passing some of the costs of inexpensive hardware onto developers who Microsoft hope will pay the privilege to use/deploy (Microsoft fees). What I find somewhat disturbing and I hope this changes: The current Xbox One Update Preview rings are: Alpha – Open on an “invite only” basis and receives updates at the earliest point in the preview window. Beta – Open to Xbox Insiders with a Program tenure of 3 or more months and an Xbox Insider XP Level of 5 or higher. This ring receives updates shortly after Alpha. Delta – Open to any Xbox Insider with a tenure of 1 or more months that has reached Xbox Insider Level 2 or higher. Depending on certain edge cases where further attention is required from Alpha or Beta rings, Delta Insiders may receive system updates before Beta, though this is not a common scenario. Additionally, while early system updates are not guaranteed across the Delta ring, all Delta Insiders will receive the update prior to GA. Omega – Open to anyone and receives system updates shortly before the GA (General Availability) release. I'm at Level 1, in order for me to get to "Beta" I need to be Level 5. To get to Level 5, I have to buy XBOX Insider Titles, have an Xbox live Gold subscription, complete survey's specific to those titles, provide addition feedback and actually play them ... titles like Minecraft for Windows 10, Crackdown 3 Wrecking Zone Technical Test. I do NOT have time to mess around with these games that I have zero interest, my focus is flight simulation. My time is best spent providing better quality content. I hope these "rules" to obtain Beta status are significantly changed for MSFS 2020 or count me out as myself (and I dare venture most content providers/developers) don't have time for that sorta nonsense just to obtain Beta (Level 5) status (yes I do hope Microsoft are monitoring AVSIM because they do need to clarify their ecosystem in August). Cheers, Rob.