Microsoft announce "Microsoft ESP" platform for professional sim and visualisation

n4gix

Resource contributor
#2
I'm not all that sure myself that this is anything "new..."

It reads like FSX+SP2 - without airplanes, AI, ground vehicles, birds, other animals, etc.

IOW, a bare-bones platform. It is likely the same SDKs will be used, but they'll charge ~$99 for them. :rolleyes:
 
#3
Yep. I got some more info today and that's basically it. The FSX SDK tools and FSX without the game front end. I don't think that's really going to set the visualisation world alight unless they can wrap the SDK up in some easier to use tools. (To cut out the enormous cost in time of the learning curve that engineers would have to justify to their bean counters.)

However, providing it allows me to lock the settings to prevent someone tinkering with it then it's actually exactly what I need right now, as we have an FSX-based training system demo that I would dearly love to be able to turn into a turn-key system and sell. (But MS wont licence FSX for commercial use.)

What I'd really like to see them add is a second texture set, so alternate sensors can be switched to on the fly, like an IR image. Add to that a second LOD radius that follows the point which you're looking at, so I can simulate a long range telescopic view without hitting blurries beyond 2 kilometres, and independently addressable windows via SimConnect, so I can set pan and zoom commands to each window. Oh, and a configurable LOD radius for AI objects so I can drive a large battlefield environment externally without everything getting deleted if they fly more than 20 km away. And... positionable effects, that can be instantiated at runtime without having to be part of a vehicle model. That'd keep me happy for a little while at least. :)

Si
 
#4
Hopefully we'll get some better scenery editing tools when Train Sim 2 is released - that should spill over into the other products too.
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
#5
Phil Taylor mentioned on his blog that there are same changes compared to FSX. But I guess the biggest change will remain the fact that you are allowed to use this for non-entertainment usage, which was legally not allowed with FSX.

Of course it would be nice to see some better tools, but honest if I would use FSX (or now ESP) at work with the current SDK I could do certain things a lot faster already than with the current image generator systems we use. So I don't think the SDK is that bad.
 
#6
use this for non-entertainment usage, which was legally not allowed with FSX
Oddly, I emailed MS ages ago asking if I could use FSX on a military programme and got a "yes, no problem" email in return. I think someone goofed, but we only use it as visual feedback to demo something else, so we don't directly make money from it. (Though I now have the nod from management to take that and build a product out of it using ESP.

My main concern is the general lack of two-way communication between developers and vendors for tech support (and openess to useful suggestions) that is normal for every other company out there in that kind of market other than MS. If they continue that approach with ESP it'll never take off. I need to know that if there's a feature I need I'm not limited to emailing a non-responding email address and waiting to see if they implement it in an eventual service pack.

They don't seem to have published much info on it yet. I'm hoping they'll at least publish the SDK documentation on the website by the time it's up for sale.

Si
 

n4gix

Resource contributor
#7
They don't seem to have published much info on it yet. I'm hoping they'll at least publish the SDK documentation on the website by the time it's up for sale.

Si
Phil Taylor is the PM for ESP, so he's the one you need to correspond with. From my correspondence with Phil, ESP will have a much higher and direct level of support from the ESP development team, since they don't expect more than a scant handful of early adopters for the platform. In fact, I get the distinct impression that they actually don't want more that "just a few" during the lifetime of EPS v1.0... :D

As for the SDKs for ESP, since they will priced at $99, don't expect to see much - if anything - posted for the public. :rolleyes:
 
#8
As for the SDKs for ESP, since they will priced at $99, don't expect to see much - if anything - posted for the public.
You're probably right, but I don't see the harm in them posting the documentation, without the tools.

Si
 
#9
<<
Phil Taylor is the PM for ESP, so he's the one you need to correspond with
>>
Actually, Phil is the PM for the Core platform team (ie the ones that will be supporting the ESP team, TS2 team, FS11 team, and whatever else we decide to build ontop of that in the future teams).

ESP will have dedicated sales/support staff (under the Volume licensing and TAP programs). Since I just joined the ESP team a few weeks ago, I'm not sure exactly how all that works yet :->

As was mentioned previously in this thread, the main "feature" of the ESP V1 release is the volume license agreement (which replaces the EULA that the retail product has) that allows the platform to be used in ways the EULA didn't allow.

As to what was removed from ESP vs FSX/XPack, mostly it was just content we didn't have a license to outside of the entertainment title (like the RedBull related stuff for one), the Game Shell (ie the dialog that shows before the app starts), most of the menu items are disabled by default, some new command line params were added (to launch MP host or client mode, to enable all the menu items, to select alternate root scenery directories, etc). We also removed the GameSpy stuff, so only LAN mode and Connect to IP mode MP options are available.

The website (http://www.microsoft.com/esp) should be updated sometime this week with information on some of our launch partners including a video one of the launch partners made explaining how ESP helped them do what they do.
 

n4gix

Resource contributor
#10
<<
Phil Taylor is the PM for ESP, so he's the one you need to correspond with
>>
Actually, Phil is the PM for the Core platform team (ie the ones that will be supporting the ESP team, TS2 team, FS11 team, and whatever else we decide to build ontop of that in the future teams).
Thanks for the correction and clarification. I've yet to be convinced that anyone at ACES really has a "fixed role," as the job descriptions and responsibilities seem to be quite amorphous... :D
 
#11
Thanks Beatle.

Anyway you could PM me with contact details for someone that knows ESP from a technical side? I've been asked to put together a proposal for a Private Venture development project here at work and I need to resolve some technical questions.

Thanks,

Simon
 
#12
<<
I've yet to be convinced that anyone at ACES really has a "fixed role," as the job descriptions and responsibilities seem to be quite amorphous
>>

That's because we've been reorganizing the studio, but the reorg had to be spread out a bit as folks finished shipping products (SP1, XPack/SP2, etc). We also just recently moved to a new building (much nicer space than before), well, the rest of em moved, my house is still in the same place it was before :->
 
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