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  1. Hi Everyone! Whether it be to late or not, there always is time to answer, or at the least ponder, the following question: "What would my dream sim be like?" For the simple... What would you want in it? How you want it to work with your system? How complex do you really want it to get? And in comparison to modern technological advancements... how ethical is it? For the computer professionals... How would you want the integrated code to manipulate the system? What are some key points of optimization? But most importantly, whether DoveTail makes something half decent, or whether a company comes out of the shadows with an unimaginably beautiful sim, how much should we rely on them? Would it be a good idea to hire an experimental community of coders (with previous flight simulation experience) to help these companies add to the sims? I know it sounds like pure speculation, but that is not what I am asking of you. I genuinely want to hear your opinions. And not so much opinions actually, but, rather, more like visions. I am tired of so many companies coming out with amazing concepts... with overpowering cons. With that said, I ask you... what is a dream sim in your perspective? What do you think is the future of Flight Simulation?
  2. I was browsing about DTG and the new flight simulator, and I came across this little post: http://www.winbeta.org/news/dovetail-games-flight-school-flight-simulator-will-soon-windows-10-pc According to them and a quote allegedly from the DTG CEO, Paul Jackson, a program entitled "Flight School" will be released soon, proceeded by the DTG Flight Simulator later this year. This article was published only yesterday, so let's see how the story develops and how Dovetail responds! UPDATE: Or you can just go to the Dovetail website. Check it out! http://www.dovetailgames.com/products Quote: "After acquiring the rights to develop and publish new titles utilizing Microsoft’s genre-defining flight simulation technology back in 2014, Dovetail Games recently announced that it will launch two brand new flight simulators in 2016. Dovetail Games Flight School is first to arrive, and is set to release in April 2016. Flight School is a carefully crafted and rewarding experience designed to teach would-be pilots the basics of flying a light aircraft as well as the essential premises of flight simulation. It will offer newcomers to flight simming an engaging and accessible introduction to aviation, whilst also being highly realistic and authentic. Players will learn to fly in iconic training aircraft, undertaking a series of tutorials and training missions, which will provide the perfect introduction to the genre. There will also be a Free Flight mode, for those players who want to head off and explore the entire world." Sure, it isn't too much information, but it's enough to get a simming enthusiast like me going!
  3. So the only question is, with the programming/code improvements to Terrain Cache Flushing, Vertex and Index Buffers, VS2013 compiler, Texture Composition, and other changes that aren't in the change log but that Pete Dawson says are "significant" and the numerous reports from users of better frames and smoother performance, is it just placebo or is it real? A little about me: I have been a flight simmer for the better part of 15 years. I have belonged to about 3 different VA's where I have accumulated about 3000 hours and have about 180 real world hours in various aircraft such as the 172, 150, and Cherokee. I am an avid computer builder, overclocker, and a watercooling freak. In real life, I am the VP of the Global Technology and Operations group of a large financial institution. I own products from FSDT, Flightbeam, ORBX, Pacsim, PMDG, FS Global, Cloud 9, Aerosim, blah blah blah. Basically I spend too much money on this. :-) So enough about me, on to the benchmarks. First, let me share with you the computer I used for these tests: Intel I7 3960k (overclocked to 4.7ghz) 2xGTX 680 4gb models on 344.75 drivers (I need the Vmem) 2x Samsung 840 SSD's running in raid (1tb of storage running at 980mb/s) 16 gb of 2000 mhz corsair dominator gt DDR3 Asus Rampage 4 extreme 2 gallons of water :-) Both the FSX and FSX SE were done on clean build with all files, registries, and folders cleaned as well as all TEMP data. They are like being on a brand new hard drive and in the case of FSX:SE it was on a newly formatted drive because ORBX installers still have a little work to do for compatibility when switching sims. The tests were conducted in So Cal with the following addons: Textures: ORBX Global Mesh: FS Global Mesh Vector Data: FTX Vector (frozen water and golf courses turned off due to graphic anomolies and ran the auto airport elevation tool) Airports: FSDT KLAX, KONT and KLGB by Shez Ansari Aircraft: Aerosim 787 Thats it, no REX textures, no weather addons, just these terrain addons. Weather used was Cold Fronts. Needless to say this is a OOM/VAS crash waiting to happen as these are all high poly mega airports and a ton of Vector and texture data across So. Cal. My flight plan took me from KLAX 24R, direct to KLGB, to the PDZ approach to KONT 26R. Cruise altitude was 11000 and speed was 250kn with a manually managed VNAV fixed climb of 1800 fpm after gear up @ 500 ft asl. The settings are follows: Graphics Tab - Target Frame Rate: Unlimited Resolution: 2560x1440x32 Filtering: Anisotropic/Anti-alising on Global Texture Res: Very High DX9 Lens Flare Advanced animations Aircraft Tab - Global Settings Ultra High Scenery Tab - All sliders to the right except for mesh resolution @ 5m Land Detail Textures On and Ground Scenery Shadows Off Weather Tab - Cloud Draw Distance: 90m Thermal Visualization: Natural No Weather changes Detailed clouds: maximum Traffic Tab - Airline traffic: 40 Gen Av: 20 Airport Vehicle Density: 20 Road Vehicles: 20 Ships, ferrys, and leisure boats: 40 **In FSX, I applied the Max Texture Size to 4096 and High Mem Fix. I did not tweak or adjust any other FSX.CFG settings** One more note is that I took these strictly with screen shots in sim and desktop shots. I was worried that FS Recorder would create too much debate so these are raw, unadulterated, straight from sim results. They were tough to reliably get but after a few hours I got consistent data. Now before we get into the results, I can tell you that I already knew how FSX was going to perform, I have used this benchmark for years as my "stress test" to test out new planes, tweaks, programs, and anything else that I wanted to test a quantifiable performance increase. I can tell you that the only way to get FSX to complete this flight is to turn down Scenery Complexity to Very Dense, Autogen Density to Dense, turn off cars, and decrease Airport Vehicle Density to High, this will not be reliable on DX9 and will usually require you to run DX10 as it manages VAS better. I have done it countless times and these are generally the only settings that will allow FSX to complete this pattern. But can FSX: SE do it? First lets look at departure. I took some idle shots from the ground. You can see that FPS is pretty much exactly the same give or take a few frames which fluctuated anyway. FSX 20.9 FPS: FSX SE 21.3 FPS (note, that for some reason colors look to have more "punch" in FSX SE): FSX 17.4 FPS: FSX SE 14.7 FPS: Now, lets get in the air, these shots are taken after making a 180 to the left to intercept the course to KLGB. FSX 13.3 FPS: FSX SE 11.5 FPS: Ok, so now we are just beginning our turn over KLGB and you can start to feel the strain on the sim. We have now fully loaded 2 high quality airports with a ridiculous amount of autogen and the VAS is building. FSX 22.4 FPS and 2.78 GB of Memory used: FSX SE 18.1 FPS and 2.79 GB of Memory used (note the color difference once again): Now we are 12 NM from PDZ and the KONT scenery is about to be loaded we also have a number of other airports populating such as KRIV, KCNO, KPOC. This is usually where the FSX "pings" start. I was looking downward and both sims performed very well. FSX 40.6 FPS and 2.78 GB of Memory: FSX SE 40.7 and 2.64 GB of Memory (this is where things begin to get interesting because I have never seen Memory fall while flying this route even in DX10 and it appears that the Fix to flush all levels of detail in terrain cache is possibly starting to kick in. Sadly, this is where the story ends for FSX, about 4 miles up the pinging began and as soon as the PDZ procedure turn started the sim died. This is also where the FSX SE story just begins... I didnt hear a single ping, I made it through the turn and said "to hell with it, lets land". The PDZ turn to 27R is a wide one and the plane did another 180 through to make it to the runway. This was while loading even more autogen, descending, and making the approach. It was absolutely shocking that with the sim COMPLETELY maxed out it was able to make this approach successfully. My mind is blown. Here is one last shot for the end. As you can see, the Memory barely climbed and it still stayed well within limits and FPS did very well. FSX SE 28.4 FPS and 3.10 GB of Memory: I will conclude by saying that I am yet to convert to P3D, or X-Plane because FSX has always served my needs well, but as more and more addons have come into play over the years, I have found myself running into OOM problems at mega airports and have had to turn down eye candy and invest a good sum of money into the DX10 fixer to manage the VAS of modern day simming. We know that without a significant re-write of the FSX code, it is very hard to increase FPS significantly, but with the stability and VAS improvements in FSX SE, simply put, FSX SE manages my flying much better. Any questions, please let me know. I put hours into the installs, setup, and validation of this test so I hope you enjoyed. One last shot, here is my computer "Penelope" who made this all possible Edit: I have changed the verbiage to "Memory" for clarity. Private Working Set Memory as indicated in the screen shots will yield the same general indications of a looming OOM as VAS monitoring will. Its data that cant be shared anyway and when it reached 3.7gb or so FSX dies.
  4. AVSIM is pleased to publish an interview released today with Tim Gatland, Chief Technology Officer for Dovetail Games (image below). As most know, Dovetail recently released FSX via the Steam DLC system which has seen a great deal of enthusiasm in our community. The interview was conducted by AVSIM's Will Reynolds. We hope you enjoy the result. Let's start with background. Dovetail Games started in 2008, with the Railworks Franchise. Paul Jackson came from EA. What was the original goal or vision back then? We set the company up in 2008, initially to address the audience for train simulation. The founders had rights to develop the technology behind Electronic Arts’ Rail Simulator. Paul was a video game professional and train enthusiast (he had actually commissioned that project while he was at EA) who felt this was a section of the simulation market that was being ignored. When Microsoft and Kuju Entertainment stopped their Train Simulator project, you set out to develop and support add-ons for Rail Simulator. Did you, at that stage, believe in a niche environment for Train Simulation, or foresaw a vacant market with a lot of potential? When we set the company up, we planned on operating in a competitive environment. Microsoft's previous train simulator had a very active community and they were previewing Train Simulator 2 (which was subsequently abandoned). Auran's Trainz had a dedicated following and there were a number of other niche train simulators on the market. So we expected things to be competitive, but we believed there was room for that competition. What is the current status of Train Simulator market today, in your view? We see this market as very healthy. Our three most active audiences, UK, Germany and North America continue to show a huge appetite for Train Simulator add-ons and we are planning to offer expansions set in other parts of the world in the near future. We also see, in our new developments, the opportunity to provide train simulation on platforms other than PC as we migrate to using Epic's Unreal 4 for those new simulators. Our home will always be on PC but our goal has always been to ensure that anyone who enjoys a simulated railway experience is able to do so. How much has the 'core" team from 2008 changed? Also, has the vision changed? I am delighted to say that all of the original development team has stayed with us on our exciting journey. Of course, as the company has grown (from 7 to nearly 100 since we started) roles and specializations have developed, but it is nice to see familiar faces among all the new people. The vision has grown along with the company. We started being very focused on train simulation, but we are now introducing other areas of simulation to our portfolio such as fishing and flight. In 2013 you announced a name change, to Dovetail. Shortly after, you announced Dovetail Games Fishing. Was the strategy to branch out into a leisure market? Or simply retain a broader range of simulation? Our name change was simply intended to reflect the fact that we were developing additional simulation products that were not based around trains. We have always aimed our software at enthusiastic hobbyists, and we are deliberately not in the professional simulation business. The term 'leisure market' could suggest a move into a more casual style of product - this is not our plan. We always have to balance accessibility of the experience against accuracy, but the name change was not intended to indicate a focus on a more casual style of simulation. You adopted the Valve's Steam platform very early. Can you explain why? What did you see in it that has worked as your distribution platform for so many years? Steam was the best technical solution for digital distribution in 2008 and it continues to be the market leader for on-line distribution of PC entertainment software with over 100 million registered users. For many years, high-street games retailers have largely ignored the PC market so customers have migrated to on-line distribution platforms - we do not expect this trend to change. Steam means that our products are available to consumers around the world all of the time. Valve has been a great partner to us, both on a technical and operational level. July 2014 was a very busy month for you. First, your announcement of the licensing agreement with Microsoft to release FSX on Steam. How long has this been on the cards? When did you first think of this agreement and why? We’ve long been interested in moving into the flight arena but an arrangement of this type with an organisation like Microsoft takes a long time to bring to fruition. We wanted to both licence Microsoft's aviation technology to make our own product and also re-release FSX on Steam - there was considerable complexity in this plan and it took over a year to finalize. There is some confusion in the community, what exactly can you now do with Microsoft Flight Simulator....obviously distribute it and add some fixes. Are you planning on releasing further patches to it? Are you able to make changes to the core of the game? We are re-releasing FSX on Steam. This necessitated fixing a few things (such as the fact that GameSpy is no longer available), but other than these bug fixes, we have not implemented any major updates to FSX: Steam Edition. However, we continue to monitor the forums and see if other changes are needed. With the huge amount and variety of add-on content available, we have to balance making those fixes with the possibility that we may break something, so we are trying to keep the changes to the 'safe' areas. We can make (and have made) changes to the core software, but we are not at liberty to make significant functionality improvements that rightly would belong in a sequel. We hear some programmers with experience in FSX are now working with Dovetail Games. Is this correct? Do you intend to have a dedicated development team for FSX? We have a wide range of people who have been working on the project; they are a mixture of our existing development team and dedicated staff with FSX experience. We have assembled the core team who will be designing and creating our new flight simulator. Let's touch a more "bleeding" subject. The dreaded EULA. Whilst FSX had an explicit clause in the EULA forbidding any user from making any changes to the program that would bypass the limitations of the program, several users discovered it was necessary to actually have a more stable platform. Can we expect any changes to the EULA in the future for the average user, be it in the shape of access to the software, use of the software or modification of the software? This is one for Microsoft as we are republishing their product on Steam. We will be trying to ensure that any such modifications are not necessary in any subsequent simulator we make, and will use our experience with trains to try to ensure that we provide interfaces to our products that allow people to make add-ons within the terms of any EULA. Microsoft's FSX gave birth and supported many third party developers (TPD). It is rumoured that as far as licensing goes, the engagement between these TPD and Microsoft was limited; it was very much an open field. What can developers expect from the new Steam version of FSX and any subsequent developments of FSX regarding licensing for add ons? Again, we are simply republishing FSX on Steam and are not changing any of the relationships between Microsoft and third parties. We are partnering with some third parties to deliver their add-ons via Steam. We are very keen to involve third party developers in the flight simulator we are developing. We want to learn from their historic experiences to ensure that we help them achieve their goals rather than stand in the way. Third party developers are the reason that FSX still has an active audience today and our respect for their work could not be higher. Additionally, we’re aiming to make the end-user experience of add-on integration more painless than it’s been historically. Details of this are still being worked out at the moment. You have mentioned further product developments based upon FSX-SE. Can you give us some insight into what those additional products might be and do they include an FSX-11? We are still in the design stage so we can’t disclose too much, but key priorities are to update the simulator in the context of improvements in PC technology and operating system features over the last eight years. We also want to provide a more integrated environment for add-ons, expansions and community interaction. Finally, the Flight Simulation community is extremely wide-ranging. Our own Avsim readership covers young adults to retired hobbyists, aircrew, professionals or just generally passionate people from all over the world. What does Dovetail Games' entry into Flight Simulation, and more precisely, now owning their beloved Flight Simulator actually mean for their future? Well, we don't actually own Flight simulator, we are licensed to release FSX on Steam and to develop products based on that technology. But the question of what Dovetail Games means for the Fight Simulator community is excellent. Built into our DNA are a couple of key things: We are in this for the long term. With Train Simulator, we have continued to develop and enhance the software for over 6 years and have provided automatic free upgrades to the train technology every year. We are not sure we will follow this model for FSX and our follow-on developments, but we are committed to this audience for the long term. We understand the needs of aviation hobbyists. We know that you want a huge variety of high quality aircraft to fly and you want to do this in the most realistic settings. We aim to satisfy this requirement. We respect and understand the value that third parties bring to the flight simulation world. We want to work with these teams to make better content and deliver that content in accessible and wide reaching ways. It is going to be a fun journey. Many thanks for your time and the interview.
  5. ^_^DoveTail updated their stance on the next simulator in their series. Just go to their "Our Products" page. They say they expect to have a release to market sometime in 2016. They allegedly are bringing in a Lead Artist to collaborate with their aviation team in producing the Simulator... exciting indeed ^_^^_^ ^_^ Some of you have probably seen this already, considering it was first posted on March 31, but the following, word for word, was posted on Facebook by DoveTail Games: """ Dovetail Games is currently recruiting for a Lead Artist to work as part of our Aviation team delivering the next generation of flight simulation. Find out more http://www.dovetailgames.com/vacancies/2014/sep/15/lead-artist The Aviation team are now ramping up to deliver the next generation of flight simulation in order to create an immersive experience for the PC flight hobbyist. dovetailgames.com """ Exciting, indeed. I have faith in DoveTail. I am aware that many of you don't actually expect much at all from DoveTail games, but I, in all honesty, am expecting something of satisfaction... even a little ^_^. I just want something new. I hope for something that utilizes modern systems much better. Perhaps we can even expect an improved graphics engine! I'd rather not spark controversy on speculation, so let's keep that minimal. But other than that, I think that this is really promising news! I am also very glad that they fixed the typo that was originally posted on their Products page. Everything seems to make sense now, and I'm glad they're starting to take and obvious, and serious, direction with the next Big Release in flight simulation!
  6. http://steamcommunity.com/games/dovetailgamesflightschool/announcements/detail/896590187165973021
  7. Next week (9th – 16th March 2015) we are planning to release an update for Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition into open beta. The open beta will run for seven days and allow players to provide feedback about the updated before it is released through Steam to all FSX: Steam Edition players. The beta is open to everyone, however you will need to own FSX: Steam Edition to take part. We will be publishing further details regarding the open beta and the exact content of the update over the next few days. Please note you must update FSUIPC for it to work with this update. You can do this here. Please find below the full changelog for the update: FSX: Steam Edition can now be used in Steam’s offline mode. Steam Dumps are now created following crashes to help with diagnoses of reported issues. Fixed issues reported with g3D.dll affecting some add-ons Number of fixes for the terrain.dll crashes experienced by some users have been made. Multiplayer: VoIP communication is now using the correct device as identified in ‘Settings’. During mission-based Multiplayer flights, if the host has activated the ‘Anti-Cheat’ flag, users who have modified their aircraft are immediately disconnected without affecting the host or other users. The Steam ‘Invite to Game’ feature will now work by buffering the request until the user enters the Multiplayer menu. Users are prompted to use the Steam Client to invite someone from the Multiplayer menu to become a friend on Steam. On the Multiplayer Session and lobby screens, the text in the “Weather” section is now aligned correctly. User Interface: If ‘Show Saved Flights’ is enabled, the time stamps on the saved flight data will now show the correct time the flight was saved. The HTML content displayed in some windows, eg. tutorials, mission help, etc., now runs in IE9 compatibility mode, rather than IE8, providing better presentation. On the Multiplayer Session screen, the user name of the host is now shown. On the Multiplayer Session screen, before a session is started, ‘In Briefing Room’ is now shown.
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