Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Take a step back!

[Developer Rant] Whoa! What's this? Another rant? It's been quite a while since I have seen one of these on ADX! A FS scenery developer contacted and requested we publish the following article on the basis they remain anonymous. It's a very interesting read and in my opinion, I think think there is a bit we all can take from it. Have a read!

Take a minute and think of all the companies, users, developers, news websites and add-ons available for any of our flight simulation platforms. Does it not make you say “Wow”? Without sounding like a guy from the Windows Vista “Wow” campaign it is quite spectacular to think of all the individuals who devote their free time to us and our small, but often demanding community.

Why do we use flight simulation? They are many different reasons. Some may want to pilot advanced procedure simulators of modern jets crossing the Atlantic from London to New York, others enjoy the adventure, missions and challenged available while others enjoy the freedom and scenic views but we all have one thing which binds us together – the desire to make our hobby more immersive, more realistic and more enjoyable. It could be argued that each category is a community within a community. A collection of similar minded people.

In this era where people are becoming increasingly demanding and where money matters more than enjoyment it is important to consider others opinions and feelings and to think before we post. I do not want to sound like a school teacher but I feel I have a very important point. Some of you may have read my previous editorials – A Change is in the Air and The Community Hub but this one is different. It is not about a lesson on how to conduct oneself or an alternative pathway which the community could take. Rather this editorial is about appreciation.

As I stated in the opening paragraph, think about all those individuals who devote their free time to keep this community a thriving one and the sacrifices which many make. They do not do it because they have to but instead they do it because they enjoy it and want to give something back. The many hours a developer spends trying to track down and fix a bug or burning the midnight oil so the product can be released to the community sooner. None of these are obligations for any of these people and as such the community should treat them as a luxury.

Aside from development time think of the guys at the blogs and websites which try to deliver us news on our hobby quickly and efficiently – many who also do reviews. Each of them deliver to different audiences. AirDailyX is a great source for short, brief updates on the community but it also offers a vast library of insightful reviews, tips ‘n’ tricks, interviews and exclusives. It is no easy task which D’Andre and Dom do every day for us. They spend their hard earned money to purchase some products to review where press copies are not available and when the guys at ADX do a review you know it will be frank and to the point with no fluff or trying to hide faults. They do a fabulous job but often get ‘distasteful’ comments such as “The screenshots look crap!!!!!”

If I were D’Andre or Dom I would not feel very good after going to the time, effort and sometimes financial expense in order to give something to the community. This brings me back to my original point of appreciation. The community is too small for petty arguing or negative comments about some screenshots. Not everybody is a screenshot artist, not everybody has the latest and greatest machine. There is also no time for developer bickering or monopolies as neither are beneficial. We are a group of like-minded people who are fortunate to have such a pool of talent and commitment from developers who after all are simmers who decided and get up and do something about it, whether it be modelling their favorite aircraft or making scenery for their favorite area.

So, please everybody take a step back and saw “Wow” for the wide array of websites/blogs and developers which take this hobby ever higher and higher in levels of immersion and enjoyment. We are a small group of people who all have a passion for aviation so let’s act like one instead of trying to score self-ego points or make a fuss over a trivial issue. Life is short and nobody has time for it.

Let’s say a huge thank you to everybody who is involved in the community and devotes their spare time to us. Without it the community would not be the same. :)
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cfit said...

"The many hours a developer spends trying to track down and fix a bug or burning the midnight oil so the product can be released to the community sooner. None of these are obligations for any of these people and as such the community should treat them as a luxury."

Huh? Luxury? When I'm forking over $$$$$ to these guys, 30, 40, 50 bucks a pop, it sure as heck IS their obligation.

As far as ADX yes thankyou. Much appreciated guys!

JerdooFlightX said...

I for one agree on this ... since I started making video's about 3 - 4 years ago there was no bashing arouund or ego uplifting people that rant about scenery/video's/screenshots ...

With in a year that changed and people started to become more and more agressive towards eachother without any reason.

When I see individuals ranting about scenery or posts I only think to myself what they benefit from that other then making themselves look stupid on the internet and gaining nothing out of it then showing frustration which is a weakness.

I make video's and I do this because I like to do so but when I forget to use a certain airline at a certain airport people feel the need to complain about it rather then showing the appreciation of me making the video which is there for them to enjoy. I can go on for hours about more of these specific things but that would be a waste of my time as we all know what I'm talking about.
I also like to point out that though I enjoy making the video's I also do this in my free time as I have a normal day job from 9 to 5. Some people in the community seem to have issues with the fact that video makers get paid, just like the developers get paid for the software they make, and start ranting about that as well which is just a joy for me to read as it shows the frustration on their end. To those that do that and rant about everything else ... it only effects you and not the one you are trying to rant at. As the article above mentions ... life is short and try to enjoy it instead of trying to bring accros YOUR point which contains no value for the other when it's not done in a normaal way.

With that said ... I'm keeping my eyes open to see how this continues to see if I still want to contribute my part in this community if the ranting on eachother continues as I dislike negative energy and dislike the path this community is heading into.


Todd said...

Well stated.

Mark H said...

Don't feed the Happy Clapper.

T.J. Streak said...

I understand the desire for appreciation of one's work.

I make custom content for another computer game and have made this content available for free in various public forums. I stopped counting at 100,000 downloads.

I can assuree you that negative comments and complaining are not limited to the flightsim community. In fact, it is far worse in other communities. In fact, it got to be so bad, I basically stopped creaating for that community. Or more accurately, while I still create items for that other game, I have no desire to share them.

However, there is a difference between being a professional and a hobbyist. A hobbyist is inclined to give his creations away, because it is a hobby, after all. A professional does high quality work, but expects to be monetarily compensated for his time and effort. A professional also is expected to tolerate negative comments and complaints, especially when he does not perform.

The people who make and upload aircraft, utilities, scenery, and other items for the flightsim community than place them in the public domain are entitled to be appreciated for their contributions.

People who upload to commercial sites, charge money, and fill their creations with copy protection schemes are professionals who are expected to produce high quality work. The appreciation they receive is in the form of monetary compensatin rather than "atta boys." A professional does not get away with delivering a substandard, unfinished or non-functional product, and is castigated justifiably when he delivers one after taking people's money.

Once you turn your hobby into a business, you tend to lose the enjoyment of the hobby.

Bart said...

30, 40, 50 bucks a pop. Have you taken your family out for supper lately?

Sorry Mr Developer,the NGD plane has two extra light switches. So you are obligated to redo your code, all 50 hours of it to make it the same. You have my 50 bucks, you are obligated.
I have a bug because I super tweak my computer to it's max, you better get a fix for me immediately and two other people who reported it, you are obligated.
Hey Mr developer, I bought a 50 dollar plane, ignored the write up and now have a list of extras that I got from a 80 dollar plane, you are obligated.

As Stated, time to step back.

Matt said...

Once you cross the line and charge people a fee for your work, the fact that you may be a hobbyist in your spare time becomes incidental and you hold yourself up as a professional businessperson, whether or not you are up to the job.
You can expect then to be treated as such with all that that entails.
If you don't like it so, then don't make it so. You are always free to make your work freeware if it's plaudits you need.

Ben Cap said...

The whiners are usually nothing contributing zeros.


wideloadwhitford said...

Both freeware and payware developers charge a fee. As a freeware developer you would want just the satisfaction from people that you're taking the time to work on a project, as payware you want to get paid for your blood sweat and tears (some people see it that way). All developers are different, some want to rush their projects and sell it for the price of a 5 star 1LB angus bacon burger for the quality of a McDonalds big mac. Others want to just take their time to perfect it and give you a high quality project for free! Just take the time to thank your developers for what they do.

As for this article, you have many good points, we live in an age of overly high powered computers spoiled kids that are returning to school soon. To anyone that installs my scenery and doesn't like it, I will email you my source files and you can fix it yourself to your liking because I do not have alot of time on my hands to make sure that picnic bench isn't exactly 3 centimeters to far to the right of the pebble on the ground. Some people just are not thankful for what they receive, yes if you pay for a scenery then you deserve to get updates to it when time allows, do you want 16 service updates or 1 service pack? International thank a developer day August 14th.

Cfit said...


Cfit said...

Well said. When Foreflight has a release, and it has even the smallest bug, they're on it 24/7 till its fixed. Updates are issued within a few days. That's professionalism. FSX developers who cross the line and start charging a fee for profit now fall into the same category and need to start acting accordingly.

Finn J said...

Most payware FS developers are doing it in their sparetime as part of their hobby.
Most of them getting paid less than what a chinese child get´s for his work on a factory, though it is a welcomed income to pay other addons or simply invite Your wife out for dinner to pay back the time You spend at the computer rather with her and Your children.
This is offcourse a choise You make, but geting appreciation for Your "work" is also part of the payment. Too much negative feedback and You rather want to let go of development and have joy with Your family.

This does not mean that You aren´t obligated to deliver proper quality and aftermarket support.
People buying a product has a right to see stuff that doesn´t work as advertsed fixed.

I have been a Flight simulator entusiast ever since FS 5.1 and has also "flown" alot of other sims, both civilian and combat.
I have now been a developer for more than 4 years and daily seen how the community has changed.

A kind request will most often trigger a kind feedback, but an unfriendly demanding tone right from the start doesn´t motivate You to give a decent answer - I guess this is very human.
The tone in various forums has changed quite alot the last couple of years to the bad and I mean really bad.
Has it not been that we actually know that there are customers out there who actually are happy about our products, but we had to rely only on forum posts, then I´m sure I would find another occupation.
We are not seeking fanboys. It´s abolute fair to point out bugs or stuff that could have been better, but praise should also be given when pariase has been deserved.

The level of demand and expectations should also be set in contrast to the complexiness and price of a product. 30 euro for an addon is around the same amount I have to pay for a single meal at McDonalds for my family and I and that normally last less than an hour.

Within the FS comminity there are many niche's to please. Some collect addons and are extreme nitpicky when it comes to modelling and texturing. For them FS is a kind of Airfix collection. Other simply want an addon with little systsem depth to fly around and adore their favorite scenery. They have no interest in proper engine management or wether a certain light bulb is fed by the right electrical bus. Others want addons with ultimate systems depth.
The complexiness of many addons today has grown to a level where the risc of bugs also has risen despite concentrated beta testing. We are often accused for using the customer as beta tester, but that simply not true. Beta testing is something else and most customers are actually pretty bad beta tsters giving useless descriptions of how they triggered a certain bug, so for a addon company it would be real bad business to do that.

I think that people need to learn thinking twive before posting. Also a bit patience would help. Most often a product will be patched and updated within a relative short timeframe.

FSX is growing old now, but there is still alot of potential in it.
I don´t think FSX will die due to age, but rather by a desease within the community. The decease shows it's presence in the form of intollerance, higher expectations that was paid for and ignorance.
This desease is not something that fill the entire community but only a minority, but often a small abscess can cause death.

Sorry if I prick into someones wound, but I develope addons for the kind and approachable part of the community, the rest should go do their own stuff when they really think they are that more knowledgable on how stuff should be done then I.

Finn J

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