I find it odd that after all these years puttering around in X-plane there’s still not an up-to-date LFPG, let alone an Orly or even a decent Lyon. xpfr’s latest CDG first hit the servers back in v8, which by any definition imaginable makes it bloody ancient, and their latest version of Orly, though it’s listed as Xp11 compliant, is a dismal looking affair that looks like it, too, was make back in v8 – then updated with some starburst lighting to make it look new again. And I’m not ragging on xpfr either; they’ve got their own priorities and I’m sure the last thing they want is some gringo telling them what to do, but every now and then something happens that makes this state of affairs seem almost absurd.
So, yeah, a revised LFPG came out this week and of course it wasn’t made for Xp11, yet I’m not sure that even matters. There is an LFPG in Global Airports (made by none other than Jan Vogel, IXEG alum and WED YouTube guru), but again, no matter, as WED allows you to create all kinds of boxes to use as terminals…and CDG is made of everything and anything but straight lines. So the end results are practical, but disappointing even so, yet even a quick trip over to aeroSoft will tell you that the only file over there (Mega Airports CDG) is an older file for FsX/P3D that looks almost cartoonish. If it was ported to Xp? Well, no thanks. I’d prefer to see Mr X or JustSIM tackle this airport.
Mind you, CDG is arguably the most important European gateway airport there is, though some might argue for Heathrow or Frankfurt, or even Amsterdam, as The Most Important (my vote goes for Zurich, by the way). Who cares, right? The point is this – there are great payware files for each of these airports, yet none for CDG. None, as in never has been.
And why is that? Is this airport simply too hard to make, or is there some sort of anti-France thing going on in the development community that many of us simply know nothing about?
So yeah, CDG needs to be made, but Orly and Lyon do too. But what about up-to-date payware files for Helsinki, Copenhagen, or even ESSA? Or Athens and Istanbul? Madrid? Lisbon? Gibraltar – let alone Beijing and Tokyo? Is the payware community content to let tdg make their labors totally unnecessary? Because by turning out one or two files a year, that’s exactly what’s going to happen, and the only way you can beat tdg’s volume of quality work is to make your files exponentially that much better, and faster. So, just as it was almost ten years ago, you aren’t going to compete as a one man shop. You need to form teams and then post a development timeline on Facebook. Stake out your territory and get to work, then keep up to date by using all the tools Laminar is making available to you. Mr X is doing fine right now, JustSIM is too, so success can be had if you follow the evolving paradigm.
Or sit back and claim the X-plane market is too tough to crack.
And why is it that aircraft file developers, by and large, update their files regularly as new features come along, but most scenery developers don’t? aeroSoft’s first file for X-plane, BIKF Keflavik, looks today just like it did, well, a very long time ago. Why? Some developers are providing an upgrade path for radically revised files, while others post free updates for much the same level of work. Okay. That works, but why do some other noted developers just make a file and then leave it alone, stuck, as it were, back in late v9 or early v10 compliance? Can’t you at least do the work and then charge five bucks for an upgrade path?
There are tons of aircraft files that fall into this category, too, and they even have their own name now: abandonware. That’s just a great state of affairs, isn’t it? And when stores still market files that only work with ancient versions of X-plane, why do they duck and cover when buyers scream about being swindled? Just how long will X-plane continue to attract new users if that keeps up? I’ve got a Beech Duchess and two A330s, all recently purchased, all gathering dust and stores who, apparently, could care less. Again, how many long term users are you going to keep in the Sim with that kind of malarkey going on? You only get to burn a guy once, by and large, before they walk away.
I recently asked (anonymously, as always) a livery painter for a paint I thought was needed for the A319/A320 world (Ellinair) and in return for my efforts got a nice “f*ck you” in return. This person ranted that it takes time to make a livery and that no one appreciates his work, and man-o-man, I wanted to reply but just closed the note and went on about my business. This character was the exception, and I’ve successfully asked dozens of painters over the years to make a paint, but what would happen if that request had been from a user new to the forums over at the org? Bye-bye new user?
Aren’t we almost at the point where we need to fight to keep everyone we can interested in flight simulators in general? Between first-person shooters and online porn it’s getting more and more difficult to get young people into the virtual cockpit, so if X-plane or P3D are going to make it into the 2020s a real concerted effort is going to have to be made to keep users engaged, and satisfied that their needs are being met.
And guess what? No one can do that but developers and the stores that sell those files. It comes down to that, or a dwindling base focused on freeware. With just a handful of developers turning out a file or two a year, there’s just not going to be a happy ending, for anyone, on any platform.
There’s been a real push over the years in many industries to focus on customer service, and maybe its time that push came to the flight simulation services world. Why not a service where someone comes to a “store” and says something like this to a “personal shopper” on staff with the store: “I want a general aviation single to fly between x, y, and z. Given that I have a Belchfire 1500 PC, what do you recommend I buy to make this purchasing experience as trouble free as possible?” No obsolete files, no hardware BS because a GPU isn’t big enough. Just a smooth, trouble-free experience. Is that too much to ask?
Think that might sell a few Cessnas?
Finally, a last word tonight on Rim & Cos’ new SAWH airport file. I received word about the file from Stephen Dutton earlier this evening, and perhaps I should just pass this along verbatim: “Note to all – RimCo’s scenery is at the moment under a legal situation for using objects in their sceneries created by not one but two developers, in other words they stole them… and used them without authorisation.”
I have no idea whether this arose via use of objects from the CDB or OpenSceneryX libraries. If the objects involved are from Danita’s terminal buildings at SAWH (or from some other developer’s files), that will be the end of Rim & Co., and I’d hate to see that happen, for many reasons. Hopefully this will turn out to be an innocent authorization issue and things can be amicably resolved, but this highlights an issue rarely talked about “on the record”: piracy among developers. There’s a long, sordid history of that in the aircraft file development world, but let’s not go there, okay? This is neither the time, nor the place.
Stephen? Again, thanks for the heads up. Good hearing from you, and keep up the good work – C