Thursday, January 22, 2009

Did not see this coming...

If you read this blog then you've no doubt heard, but if not, it looks like ACES just got decimated by MS's big layoff.

What this means for FS11, who knows? I feel really bad for the people that worked there.

Here's the article.

Article Link

Lots of speculation on the usual forums, and real facts are pretty thin, but according to Phil Taylor it was pretty bad.

I'm trying hard to look at the possible silver lining, but in the mean time I think a toast is in order to the boys and girls of ACES.

I wish you guys the best of luck.


Oh and MS... next time... cut the goddamned VISTA team, or hang them from the nearest Douglas Fir, whichever is easier.

Idiots.

-lotus

22 comments:

Vlad said...

Bill Gates, wanting to impress with success, decided to measure MS accomplishments against General Motors...

"If automotive technology had kept pace with computer technology over the decades, you would now be driving a V-32 instead of a V-8, and it would have a top speed of 100000 mph"

General Motors responded:

"Yes, but would you really want to drive a car that crashes twice a day?"


Yup, total, utter, idiots.

Sundowner said...

Appears we are stuck with FSX for some time now...

As sad news they are... it makes my life somewhat easier, as I said I will finish S-61 for FS11. Another proof that universe is rotating around me...

Well ok, back to that sad bottle of scotch.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend reading the post about it on Sim Outhouse. There has been a very large input by many devs and enthusiastic supporters. Already some of the former ACES team are now looking for work.

The Black Falkin said...

from the article;
"The most recent version, Flight Simulator X, was released in 2006 and said to have been a success, with an expansion in 2007"

their success doesn't matter i guess... I play FSX daily, but in the back of mind I'm always looking forward to the next version, so to me, this is bad news. FSX is a "living" game, the game itself is a platform, with new add on software produced everyday. Without the promise of fs11, the series will "die", and the aging FsX can only take us so far.

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Yeah, it's a bizarre move. It's not as if MS posted a loss either, they just didn't earn as much as they thought they would. They still made $4B in profit.

FSX has another 4 to 6 years left in it. Look how many are still with FS9, and FSX has much longer legs than FS9 ever could have. The ability to build on the basic platform is incredible by comparison.

But yeah, it's sad. I'll be very curious to see if anyone picks up the ball and runs with it in the next year or so. If someone does, and I have the opportunity to join them, I just might.

If the core team can get the rights to the franchise off MS, or someone else can, then FS11, whenever it arrives, might be a million times better without having to drag MS's baggage around. Believe me that MS was as much of a hindrance as a help to the team in recent years. The future of flight simulation belongs with small and flexible development houses now, ones that are actually allowed to patch and update a product.

Look at companies like Bohemia (Arma) and Eagle Dynamics (Lomac/black shark). They represent the model that will work from now on. A small team catering to the pretty big fanbase of FS and operating with low overhead could be bloody fantastic, excellent for both the end users and for their bottom line. We'll see.

I'm sure Austin Meyer though is partying like it's 1999.

Anonymous said...

lotus do you use shared cockpit often? if so why? whats the benefit?

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Yeah I *love* shared cockpit. :)

It's just awesome for training. You can teach someone how to do any manoeuvre or teach them IFR flight etc in the same plane together. You can demonstrate something with the plane so the student can see how it should look and then you can transfer the controls back and forth whenever you like. The pilot who doesn't have primary control of the stick and rudder etc can use all the other stuff in the plane as well, like the radios, lights, all that.

Plus it's just mad fun to sit back and watch the scenery go by sometimes, like being taken for a coast drive in a sweet car, with your friend at the wheel. You notice things about the scenery that you don't normally see too, since you don't have to worry about what the plane is doing.

It's truly weird to be a passenger in your own plane the first time too, seeing it fly without any input from you. Try it, you'll like it. :)

Remember though that most complex addons don't work in that mode, most devs don't care about it, and its a major part of what the L39 will have to offer when it's done.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

dOESnt microsoft own the name AND the code?

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

They probably own all the 'intellectual property' (such a stupid and meaningless term). However there have been many cases of dev teams splitting from publishers, getting some venture capital, and purchasing the rights to a franchise. That is entirely possible here. I think FS is far from dead in the long term, but in the short term anything can happen. Whatever happens I would be very surprised to see a new version before 2012. FSX is going to be with us a good while longer.

Anonymous said...

I dont know, fs might already be doomed, gaining venture capitol isnt easy. especially in todays economic state. Microsoft might not sell the license to their product. I also [think] I read the lead dev at aces works & is happy at intel.

TopDollar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TopDollar said...

I'm going to have to agree with Lotus. Flight Sim will likely live on in one form or another. But at least this gives hardware the chance to catch up to FSX levels hehe.
Agreed about the Vista team as well. I prefer the Douglas Fir option ;)

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

Well I just sent a very nice and polite email off to Steve Ballmer requesting the reinstatement of Aces. Like he's ever going to read it haha, but at least I tried.

If he gets around 300,000 such emails though? ;)

FS will live on in some form, I'm sure of it, simply because such a dependable market can't be ignored, but the wait may be long.

It is the vast size of the FS community and the sim's reliable track record that will make any attempt at resurrection attractive to venture capital. Sometimes reliable lower profit is a lot more attractive than a high risk/quick gain scenario. MS did fund the franchise for over 20 years. If the sim weren't profitable consistently then they certainly would have dropped it long ago.

Fingers crossed.

MiStY said...

lotus is correct,flight sim will live on, but fsx -will- die bc it Microsoft just fired the fs division. Dont mistake "hope" for actual knowledge. top dollar the fact that you love the game makes your opinion bias. and ur right... it gives guys like lotus time to get a couple fsx add ons out there to line his pockets. of course the fact that hes a developers for the current version of fs makes him bias too bc he can ride the fsx addon business like a gravy train with biscuit wheels.

-Misty

Topgun78 said...

Wow misty lighten up. fsx will die but flight sim will still go on. thats what they are trying to say.

Fighter25 said...

Quote:
Does this mean the end of the Flight Simulator franchise? 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."


http://pc.ign.com/articles/947/947737p1.html

http://www.futuregpu.org/2009/01/end-of-era-aces-studio-and-flight-sim.html

They did not specifically say FS11 just 'flight games' so at this point it is possible MSFS is still alive and kicking for MS. Hope should not be lost.

Given the fact this game is a cornerstone product since the early days of Microsoft it looks like they may hold on to it.
This is a sit and wait kind of moment.

Anonymous said...

hopefully not any corny flight sim games for the x box

fighter25 said...

I can see it now...
Flightsim 360! Fly an airliner on your couch! Oh geez. That'll be awsome. Oh, also that'll me Bus Sim is dead!

Topgun78 said...

Ive had developers tell me its not possible to shoot missles from a plane in fsx, but I just saw a f18 from verticle simulators do it on utube

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

It can certainly be done, I could do it on the Albatros if I wanted, but it's moot because you can't actually shoot anyone down. It seems like a lot of effort for little payoff to me.

Anonymous said...

ya that would be sweet. What type of code is used for your aeroplane lotus? is it like html code or the code from the CFG file.

Lotus / Ramasurinen said...

All of the code in the plane is written in XML format, but using syntax that is unique to flight sim, and the math is done in reverse polish notation, which is very quick for the simulator to parse, but a bit of a nightmare to read sometimes hehe.

There's somewhere around 6000 lines of code in it, all of which I've had to write from scratch, in order to make all the gauges and systems behave as they do in a real L-39.