Virtual Skies are Full of Real Idiots
I’ve noticed it for a long time, but now, with Flight Sim World out as Early Access, it’s getting worse, so much worse, in fact, that I feel the need to scream that virtual skies are full of real idiots. And a lot of stupidity and hate, too, apparently. Why?
Flight Sim World has been the target of some of the most idiotic comments in the world, and I don’t know why. Well, I know, some of those people saying it is not going anywhere seem to be affiliated in other “religions” — lets use the term for other flight sims — and simply hate that someone is trying to do something new, apparently.
It’s strange, so strange, that it makes me want to puke. Either these people have a hidden agenda or else they have to be idiots. Flight simulation is a genre that for a while seemed almost dead, and that now is recovering, with multiple options, for different tastes and interests, so we should be glad that companies try to invest in new programs. We’ve FSX-SE, which continues to be a very viable solution and is far from dead, we’ve Prepar3D, if we forget that its TOS suggests it should not be used for entertainment or outside of flight schools and by flight students, we’ve Aerofly, X-Plane and now the newcomer, Flight Sim World. We’ve choice, something that surely was lacking and seemed almost impossible only some years ago, when Microsoft deserted the scene and left FSX orphan.
I’ve written about the industry as a whole since the 80’s of last century, and about flight simulation since the very first day I started writing about the gaming industry. I flew my first simulations on a Spectrum computer, an 8-bit machine created by Clive Sinclair, and as soon as I had a PC I installed Microsoft Flight Simulator 3. I had seen and tried the FS2 too, but I believe it was only with Flight Simulator 4, from 1989, that I understood the potential of the program. Since then Flight Simulator evolved to be the popular simulation it still is today, very much thanks to the expansions and add-ons created by independent companies around the program.
The time it took Flight Simulator to become popular is important to recall, because it allows us to understand how programs evolve. Do you know how many airplanes Flight Simulator 3, from 1988, had to offer? Three. The Gates Learjet 25, the Cessna Skylane, and the Sopwith Camel. Also, in terms of airports, it took another ten years, until 1999, for the program to get around 20,000 of them, all around the world. Flight Simulator 2000 was the version that introduced the airports, but it is not an important version just for that. For FS2000 Microsoft introduced 3D elevation, making all the previous scenery obsolete, added a GPS and a better dynamic scenery and an improved weather system, allowing, for the first time, rain and snow along with the download of real-world weather. FS2000 also had new airplanes for those in love with big airplanes: the Aerospatiale-BAC Concorde and the Boeing 777.
Flight Simulator did not happen in one day, in fact it took 27 years, from the first pioneer versions to the last FSX: Acceleration (2007) produced by Microsoft to get things running as many see them today. Even more, if we add that FSX-Steam Edition made the program evolve to a more stable platform. That’s another 10 years of time. So, I have to feel that it is wrong to compare FSX with FSW. I am fully aware that Flight Sim World is based on FSX, but I also know that the move to 64-bit represents more than just… a move to 64-bit, which many seem to hate because it does not allow for compatibility with add-ons created for FSX, which is 32-bit.
While I understand that it’s hard to not being able to port your old airplanes — and other expansions — to Flight Sim World, it has to be understood that keeping a link to the past means a compromise that sooner or later creates a bottleneck. How many of us have had to stop using programs that were 32-bit, simply because they will not work now? That’s the real world for you, and it happens not just with software.
Creating FSW in 64-bit opens the door for more speed and more options in terms of what the simulator can offer. I believe that’s the reason why Dovetail Games decided to go that way, and bet on the creation of a next-gen flight sim. Let’s be sincere: the base program is miles ahead of what FSX plain vanilla offers, and DTG is only starting, I believe and hope. The fact that it includes Orbx Global as its base, the level of detail of the fleet of aircraft included and the recent introduction of trueSky more than justifies the money we paid for the simulation. I’ve paid much more for Star Citizen, four years ago, and I‘ve not had as much fun with the promises from Chris Roberts. Well, now he says SC will also be a “poo-simulator”. Disgusting…
So it makes me wonder what people see in FSW, when they review it, as if an Early Access version deserves to be reviewed. I understand that’s the way Steam, unfortunately, works, but maybe people could measure their words before complaining about everything and suggesting the simulation is not worth it, some of them having not tried — see, I did not write played it — for more than one hour? How can people be true on their review or comment if they probably had no time to even try all the planes or even read the minimum specs of the computer needed?
Going through most of the negative comments in Steam, one feels as if watching very strange behavior. It’s like someone going to visit a house you’ve just started building and complain about the lack of a roof, the missing windows, the kitchen sink that should be ready to wash vegetables. It’s crazy what people can and dare to write about something that is, as the name implies, in Early Access. Early Access, do you understand?
Flight Sim World has bugs — even FSX has… — but DTG has been ironing them out… while introducing others. That’s how development works. There is a proper place to fill in the bugs and helps them iron them out. But the evolution of the sim is visible, and the introduction of trueSky really made it create a new level of interest. So, considering what DTG has done in a few months, I see no reason to keep complaining about things that took ages other places. Still, the idiotic comments continue, either because people are stupid, just plain stupid, or they have, as I wrote before, an hidden agenda… and maybe an affiliation elsewhere. Does someone feel threatened?
From the Steam forums to the DTG Twitch channel (it just happened today, again), what you see is a bunch of idiots, many times hidden behind strange names, that go as far as insulting everybody. If this is the simmers’ community, then I do not want to be part of it.
The recent release of a first DLC for Flight Sim World, the PA-28R Arrow III from Just Flight, created a new controversy: the high price (as many claim) of the new plane. The forums at Steam are full of comments, many against the pricing, others about the launch of a DLC for an Early Access program. The truth is that the price of the plane is in order with the regular price of many add-ons of similar quality. And no one is forced to buy it, also because it is another GA aircraft, and FSW already has a few to use and explore. So yes, Just Flight’s plane is not essential to enjoy the sim, and you can go and buy something else if you don’t want it. Still, from signs of hatred present in media outlets that announced the plane to stupid comments from flying idiots, Flight Sim World continues to be the target of something that is hard to understand.
Questions about FSW, its future and all that continue to rise everywhere, as if there is a secret wish — or agenda? — to make it fail. To that the note by Martyn Northall, from Just Flight, about the release of the Piper Arrow, published in the readers’ comments to one article in AirDailyX, might give some answers. Martin Northall wrote:
“What makes FSW a closed environment? Developers can, and have, ported FSX/P3D content into the sim already. There are no DRM-type systems to prevent third-party content being added and the main issue for developers is the lack of SDK. That is due to FSW being in early-access, a constantly evolving platform, but one of our aims throughout the conversion of the Arrow III for FSW has been to help Dovetail create a suitable SDK — understanding what developers need, what support they can offer etc, and they are making real efforts in those areas but it’s still early days.
There is definitely a disconnect between the reality of the situation and the perception, particularly among non-developers.
As far as we (Just Flight) are concerned, we have had a positive relationship with Dovetail stretching back many years through the train simulation side of our business, and that relationship continues with new FSX:SE, FSW and TS content. We are also working on new content for P3D, XP11 and Aerofly 2. Busy times!”
So, there you’ve it, from the horse’s mouth, I would add. We’re talking about the people who know the business inside out. Some are betting on FSW, others may not. That’s life for you. Still, there is no doubt that Flight Sim World seems to be a promising platform, may DTG have the means and will to take it in the right direction. But don’t expect the house to be complete while it is in Early Access. In fact, if we look at FSX, it still is not complete, as we continue to see new expansions being developed for it.
Back to Flight Sim World, the introduction of a first DLC may just be a sign to make the industry pay more attention to FSW. The fact that this may have helped to develop the SDK is also an important element that the whole community should pay notice to. The Piper Arrow, in that sense means more than a DLC, and a DLC that is priced in similar fashion to the version for Prepar3D and FSX. So why complain about the price because it is for FSW? Why?
This said, I am not buying the Piper Arrow from Just Flight, at least right now. I’ve enough GA aircraft in FSW for now, and I recently bought a small private jet for FSX, so I am having fun with that. But I am more than willing to spend money on new planes for Flight Sim World, especially if they are in my list of things to have.
I am still willing to pay for a Cessna 172 like the one from A2A I’ve in FSX, if they make it for FSW. I also want, and this is crucial for me, to have a Cessna 337, as the one from Carenado I have in FSX, that I can fly in FSW. I don’t mind paying extra for a “study sim” of the Cessna 337 if someone makes one. As for jets, from what I’ve experienced, I want the Cessna Citation Mustang to fly in FSW. No, I don’t need big jets, but I understand some people want them and I believe they will come to FSW, and be fantastic with trueSky working. And maybe some of the add-on weather engines will work with trueSky to enhance further the skies of FSW.
I wish things like Terraflora would come for FSW, but apparently they are not going to develop it for DTG’s sim. But with some more Orbx layers and sceneries — which I am willing to pay for too, although I’ve some of them in FSX — Flight Sim World can only get better. As for now, I already have one add-on that I think is a must for FSW, because of the sheer number of things it offers, from Real-world weather to easy and fast access to multiple functions of the simulation: FS-Flight Control, about which I wrote some three articles, with more to come as I continue to explore this fantastic piece of software. Read what I wrote and then download the demo of the program and try it: you’ll discover you’ve much more fun with FSW with this add-on. Which, by the way, also works with other flight sims.
So, if you’re an idiot flying the virtual skies, maybe it is time to change the way you behave. If you’re not, I hope reading through this helped you to explore some more directions in terms of the future of flight simulation. Which looks bright with the new 64-bit generation, but was already brilliant with the 32-bit programs from FSX to X-Plane that helped to write the History of flight simulation. A richer story the more programs we’ve to choose from!
One final note: FSW may never reach its potential, it is too early to say. But condemning the program while it is in Early Access and pointing to a lot of things that are not there makes no sense. DTG is aware of the features that are missing, or are not there yet because we’re at a very early Alpha, which we’ve all agreed to test and comment about. Comment in a logic way, pointing to bugs, suggesting things. Not complaining because your old planes don’t work there or the airliners you want HERE and NOW have not yet landed. They will, if FSW flies as long as the developers wish.