• Which the release of FS2020 we see an explosition of activity on the forun and of course we are very happy to see this. But having all questions about FS2020 in one forum becomes a bit messy. So therefore we would like to ask you all to use the following guidelines when posting your questions:

    • Tag FS2020 specific questions with the MSFS2020 tag.
    • Questions about making 3D assets can be posted in the 3D asset design forum. Either post them in the subforum of the modelling tool you use or in the general forum if they are general.
    • Questions about aircraft design can be posted in the Aircraft design forum
    • Questions about airport design can be posted in the FS2020 airport design forum. Once airport development tools have been updated for FS2020 you can post tool speciifc questions in the subforums of those tools as well of course.
    • Questions about terrain design can be posted in the FS2020 terrain design forum.
    • Questions about SimConnect can be posted in the SimConnect forum.

    Any other question that is not specific to an aspect of development or tool can be posted in the General chat forum.

    By following these guidelines we make sure that the forums remain easy to read for everybody and also that the right people can find your post to answer it.

Are we wasing our time?

And Mike, when you do catch up with FSX, it's going to have a veritable truck load of add ons, because now for the first time in years we have perfect stability in the product. Developers can go ahead in the knowledge that it's not going to all change in 18 months time, and the size of the FS9 population out there still makes me confident that FS, both 9 and X (and yes, even the older versions) still have a lot of life in them still.

So let's encourage developers, both the freeware and the payware variety, to keep developing for our hobby, so that it can be enriched to a level that was never possible before.
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
Hi,

The community is still going strong despite a couple of newer train sims coming along. As the technology got better, so did the models.
When we hit limits we got around them with tweaks to the models. We even found several hidden features.

This is the second time MSTS2 has been killed off - needless to say the train sim community is a little disppointed.

I believe FSX will grow and move on, I'm not so certain of FS9.

I am not so sure about that. From a (scenery) developer point of view FS2004 was a lot more extendable. In FSX they made some great improvements on the terrain engine, 3D modelling (bump mapping, etc). But on too many other parts they added restrictions. No more conditional display on scenery object, no more conditional animations, the file format is just too restricted to tweak it. The same applies to the XML code to make airports.

In FS2004 things were a lot more open and tweakable. I think I can say I enjoyed designing for FS2004 much more because of that, although FSX made a necessary step forwards on other fields. I was always hoping FSXI would make the additional step to add the flexibility back for developers, but now I am not so sure about that anymore.

So maybe FS2004 has a better future than FSX in the end...
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
I have send my message to Steve B. as well.
 
I think this throws a whole new angle on the FS9/FSX development choices developers have to make. We were all painstakingly getting to grips with the FSX SDK because when FSXI appeared, who'd want to be two steps behind the curve?

Now that's all changed. FSX is now not going to be the stepping stone to new technologies. Is there any desperate requirement now to migrate all development to it?

Previously it was assumed that those still developing for FS9 only would eventually get left behind, probably not by FSX, but certainly by FSXI or FS 12. But now what?

We now have FS9 with a huge loyal install base and FSX which has greater capability (in many areas) but will now likely never eclipse FS9's base because users wont see it as a necessary step to the future, because there is none.

I have to wonder now whether MS will continue to publish FSX or just drop the product entirely. That wouldn't bode well for expanding the user and add-on customer base any further.

This just sucks. It's like the Beatles splitting up, all over again. (Not that I'm old enough to remember that.)

On a personal plus side, I've just been instructed by my bosses to investigate building a sim using X-Plane..

Si
 

rhumbaflappy

Administrator
Staff member
Resource contributor
Hi all.

I'm agreeing with Arno... FS9 was a lot more 'complete' regarding object design. Photoreal airport design was better in FS9.

FSX terrain was greatly improved in that we could finally unflatten terrain, and had a better system, and resolution, for ground textures. FSX missions were a great addition, and should provide plenty of entertainment for both developers and endusers.

Should the designing community revert to FS9, it might be a good idea to review it's problems and weaknesses, and systematically address those problems. There always seemed to be 'work-arounds' in FS9. We still get quite a few forum threads concerning that sim.

I'm still trying to adjust to this news. I had hoped FS11 would fix the problems introduced by FSX. No point in stalling for that now.

From a hobbyist viewpoint, this isn't all bad news as the platforms are now stabilized, and we can go forth and populate the earth. :)

From a commercial standpoint... the issuing of new versions was good for developing a consumer need for new products. A huge new market was developed when each new version was introduced ( especially if it was not very backwardly compatible ).

A ton of hardware was also sold, based on these new versions. Without the induced enthusiasm of new versions, the sim may be looking at a slow death as endusers become bored with the same old sim(s).

Some hobbyist developers and toolmakers may migrate to different platforms, like x-plane or flightgear. A lot of the fun for some of us was the challenge of figuring it all out.

fsdeveloper.com might find a need to add to the forums, to include the apostate sims. :eek:

fs means flight simulator... not necessarily Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Dick
 

Farfy

Resource contributor
I am just a small player here, but I do feel bad for any and all that have lost work, that sucks regardless of who you are.

Having said that, I made scenery for CFS1 for years, and had a good time doing so, FSX was out for a year or so before I moved to it, so I don’t think I will have any problem making scenery for FSX for the next ten or twenty years if need be. I am sure that given time (and It would seem we will have it now) we can learn how to do all sorts of cool stuff for FSX.

As said above by others at least I will final get the time learn all there is to know about this version before the next version of FS is out. And I can work away on projects with much less pressure to get it done now.

As for windows 7 or *8 or…..I see no reason to buy newer MS operating systems, my FSX works just fine with XP I am sure I can build a newer PC and still use XP. In fact the only reason I stayed with a PC is for the newer versions of FS. I guess I will keep this PC for my FS gaming but my next real computer may very well be a MAC .
Seeing as MS has nothing else of any interest to me.

Farfy:D
 
According to Rericha,
"We are committed to the Flight Simulator franchise
which has proven to be a successful PC based game for the last 27 years.
You should expect us to continue to invest in enabling great LIVE experiences on Windows,
including flying games, but we have nothing specific to announce at this time."

I'd be a lot happier if there were talking about a "Flight Simulator", and not "Flying GAMES".

I can imagine it now on XBOX:

"Captain Mario - 747 Demolition Derby"

-- and PAY per Game !

Geoff_D
 
I'd be a lot happier if there were talking about a "Flight Simulator", and not "Flying GAMES".

I can imagine it now on XBOX:

"Captain Mario - 747 Demolition Derby"

-- and PAY per Game !

Geoff_D

Exactly how I feel.

As to FS9/FSX - I feel that FSX is a superior simming experience and, in many areas, affords more opportunities for development.
 
Well I had thought that I should avoid learning FS2002/04 gamepack techniques and ASM tweaking (for the custom ground polygons) since the technique would be obsolete in 2 years time.

I think now maybe I should re-think that.
 

spotlope

FSDevConf team
I'm enjoying FSX design even more now, because I know I won't have to give up my FS2002-style ground polys, but I get to add the FSX material enhancements into the mix. I'm holding out hope that some enterprising programmer will figure out a way to restore our conditional animation abilities, even if they're driven by an app that's hung onto the sim somehow. Stability is a good thing from an add-on perspective. I say let's embrace it.

And yes, regarding the conditional stuff, I know I'm talking out the side of my neck. Still, we can dream...
 
Is it really going that bad in the USA...that a big solid company like Microsoft with still big profits has to send Aces, developers of Flight Sim, home.

It's indeed a very sad day for the FS community; but i think that FS will survive...
My sympathy goes out to all affected.

Bert
www.worldoffs.com
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
I'm enjoying FSX design even more now, because I know I won't have to give up my FS2002-style ground polys, but I get to add the FSX material enhancements into the mix. I'm holding out hope that some enterprising programmer will figure out a way to restore our conditional animation abilities, even if they're driven by an app that's hung onto the sim somehow. Stability is a good thing from an add-on perspective. I say let's embrace it.

And yes, regarding the conditional stuff, I know I'm talking out the side of my neck. Still, we can dream...

That is exactly my feeling Bill. And for the conditional stuff, I think I should have enough time now to give my brain another challenge :).
 
Arno - Using Quaternions to scale as well as rotate may help with conditional scenery.

Unfortunately with Train Sim 2 cancelled I have to do a bit more work with the other available rail sims out there but I'll get back to some FSX development soon.
 
How does ESP fit into all this?

If the ACES team has been let go and they are no longer working at Microsoft, then is there a seperate team developing the ESP platform? Or is ESP effectively canned now too?

Maybe Microsoft has simply taken advantage of the economic climate to simultaneously downsize the Flight Simulator team and refactor key personell into the ESP project?

Might we see a situation now where Flight Simulator development shifts from away from the entertainment market product to the ESP market?

Then wouldn't there be hope that the time and effort spent on ESP development means we will still see new versions of Flight Simulator for the entertainment market deriving from the ESP development effort, if not purely for the reason of maximising profits?

The downside to this is that we may be waiting longer than the traditional 3-year cycle (it was 3 years right?) for new FS versions?

If it is all doom and gloom though, maybe X-Plane will become much more popular, withits market growing to a large enough size for it to be a haven for both flight sim addicts and development businesses alike?
 
I'm holding out hope that some enterprising programmer will figure out a way to restore our conditional animation abilities, even if they're driven by an app that's hung onto the sim somehow.

We already doing that, and it's way better and way powerful, flexible and elegant than any conditional animation might ever been in FS9.

Look for the ParkMe features and YouControl features in our two latest sceneries: JFK and Geneva: the docking systems are entirely interactive and don't use any FS2002/2004 code: it's ALL pure FSX code driven by Simconnect. Same for the user-controlled animations for the YouControl features, it's all FSX SDK methods, nothing of the old BGLC+ASM code has been used.

We do *exactly* like you are suggesting: an external application loaded with EXE.XML is driving the animations via Simconnect, and the interactivity is programmed by the developer using the best scripting language around: Stackless Python, which is a version of Python specifically optimized for multi-tasking operation.

Having Python inside, allows the developer to use a real object oriented language, which is mature, supported, reliable, open and with plenty of learning aids around.

Python acts as an high-level layer on top of Simconnect (and of course some things that are needed to allow communication between the C++ code and .MDLs that even Simconnect can't do) so the developer doesn't have to worry about the dirty details, but just concentrate on writing Python code to drive the scenery objects, because we obviously extended Python to give it access to FSX specific features, on top of having the whole Python commands available, with some extra feature added for good measure, like the wxPython library, which allows to construct GUIs in Python, to be used from FSX.

Another fine example of how we use our Python engine in FSX, it's the recently released XPOI product, which just got a very fine review on AVSIM:

http://www.avsim.com/pages/0109/FSDreamteam/XPOI.htm

This is done 100% in Python, and it took about a month, start to finish, to be done. I started it a while ago in C++, but as soon as we got the Python engine ready, we rewrote it in Python, and it was both easier and faster to do, with much more features than the first C++ prototype. Python of course gives us easy access (by means of its established and tested libraries) to the web, to the file system, etc.

And of course, we get full access to Simconnect features, with helper functions we added and extended into Python, to create common things like generic multi-page screen menus, controlled user-input in the green text line (it doesn't just show text: it can be used for input as well).

And, we get access to things that even Simconnect can't do, or does badly, like direct access to all the GPS features to read navaids and read/write flightplans on the flight, direct access to all gauges variables bypassing Simconnect, direct access to internal variables or features which are not available in Simconnect or via the gauge interface (like display settings, full AI control including removing any AI, etc...)

It's all available under a single and streamlined "glue", which is Python. You don't need to worry about the dirty details, or if something is done via Simconnect, via Gauges or via direct in-memory access: you just call an easy to understand Python function, and it will just work...

In the next release, we are going to add access to the AFCAD structure of the airport in realtime so, it would be possible to query the Python engine to get informations like the number/name/position/data of all the taxiways paths, parkings, etc. so addons might be able to interact with the actual airport structure (we need it to create ground AI traffic)

And yes, the engine IS available for licensing to 3rd parties...

regards,
Umberto Colapicchioni - VIRTUALI
http://www.fsdreamteam.com
 

arno

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Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
Arno - Using Quaternions to scale as well as rotate may help with conditional scenery.

That is a good idea, but I think the problem remains that most variables are not available to static scenery to drive the animation. To really access them all (and the ones you can add to the modeldef.xml file) it seems you have to build a SimObject instead of a static scenery object.
 

nickw

Administrator
Staff member
OK, so here is an "inside" take on it, without breaking my NDA.

All I can say is this. I saw things that certain folk on the ACES team were working on that would WORK WITH FSX and greatly help the community of developers.

I truly hope that those "things" will make it out on the fsinsider or this site, even though the team is sadly gone.

I am going to try to pull some strings in March, that is.... if I can find someones strings to pull :(

Nick
 
What would be fantastic is if those left at Aces for the next few months were given the opportunity to work on an SP3 to finally fix some of FSX's problems. I'm not talking about replacing some of its shortcomings, but fix things that are broken or have become broken in the last two SPs.

Maybe then we'll be left with a platform that's a true, stable inheritor to FS9 that the development community can finally fully embrace and work on for the next few years.

(And if anyone's writing a list, I'd like to add the EH-101's surging governor and the broken R22 clutch to the top of the list!)

Si
 
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