Welcome to the FSElite Live from FlightSimCon 2017.
We’ll be updating this post regularly with any information, news or interesting facts as the event goes on. Refresh this page often for the latest news. Also, keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter pages for live updates.
This post will be updated live for the Flight Sim Developers forum, which starts at 18:00 zulu.
What is this event?
“Join some of the flight simulation industry’s most prominent developers for an interactive panel discussion on development priorities, future releases, and perspectives on where the at-home flight simulation industry will take us in the next few years.
Panelists include Stephen Hood and Aimee Sanjari of Dovetail Games, Rob McCarthy of Prepar3D, and Austin Meyer and Ben Supnik of X-Plane. The panel will be chaired by Nels Anderson of Flightsim.com.
We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to ask Dovetail Games, Lockheed Martin and Laminar Research some questions. They are as follows:
Question 1: Three similar sims, what makes yours stand out?
Lockheed Martin: A brand new simulator built from the ground up, whilst working in conjunction with developers. Continuous investment with regular updates and improved performance.
Dovetail Games: Trying to make the platform fit for purpose in 2017. New people brought in to help further development. Want a new and more interesting sim.
Laminar Research: Not designed to satisfy the market, not a single penny has been spent on marketing. X-Plane doesn’t just simulate in the moment, but has the capability to handle flight dynamics from new aircraft. A dedicated team that work constantly to try and deliver the ultimate sim.
Question 2: It seems online communities are often the people who buy high quality add-ons. Those pilots are more engaged in the community and invest for long term. Have you considered adding native compatibility for online networking?
Lockheed Martin: Fine balance between advancing SDK and making it easier. Update coming for P3D V4 next week. Work with developers in closed betas to help enhance SDK. Not part of plan to create such a feature.
Dovetail Games: Approach has been developing where a great job can be done. Internal roadmap being run amongst the team, help to understand how different aspects of the community work and what they want. Want to grow the audience by making things easier, not simpler.
Laminar Research: Was an original developer of Vatsim, sat on both sides. Need to make it as easy as possible and as good as possible. Provide developers with an SDK to make the process easier. The community often employs it’s own software, but will see what they can do.
Question 3: The freeware and addon developers drive the platforms. . Simmers want to use their add-ons and how will they incorporate it?
Lockheed Martin: Want third parties to be successful. Lots of advanced features that are under utilised. Keep it open – the more third parties the more P3D can succeed.
Dovetail Games: Taking a different approach. Payware: still in early access so aim isn’t complete yet. This aim includes an SDK. Have an ‘open door policy’, talking to numerous developers as aim to take full advantage of the software. Freeware: Pro-mission tool which is a payware quality tool that allows people to make their own missions. Want to make freeware development as easy as possible.
Laminar Research: Freeware and payware isn’t a distinction. The documents are open and try to make it as open as possible. If someone wants to make something big for X-Plane, it will be supported.
Question 4: Do any of your platforms work with universities?
Lockheed Martin: Work with various people, trying to work with Orlando. Donated licenses for children in high school and SDK for school projects.
Dovetail Games: Care more about welcoming a new generation. Do not want to make it a video game, want to make it seem realistic to real world licensed pilots. Third party developers will help further the advanced capabilities of the sim. Want to make it so the next generation can fall in love with aviation.
Laminar Research: Target audience is for anyone that wants to see how a plane works. Take X-Plane into as many high schools as possible. The sim is designed to be as realistic as possible, once the core sim was built, training could naturally progress on from that.
Question 5: How do you address those that do not want to fly on a desktop?
Lockheed Martin: People have a choice between sims, it’s not currently on the roadmap.
Dovetail Game: Do not have the time or team to do so at the moment. Concentrating more on creating the core sim, a possibility far down the line.
Laminar Research: X-Plane runs on iPhone with unified code. It’s the same flight model and flight simulator. 50% of users do not have a big desktop rig. Need to make sure mobile is taken seriously as it is main simulator for some users.
Question 6: How does your product handle updates for addons?
Lockheed Martin: Appreciate developers updating their products. Continuously looking to update the core sim itself. Navigation needs updating, no current timeline for that.
Dovetail Games: Steam handles updates well. Navigation data is slowly being updated, as fair bit is from 2005.
Laminar Research: Everything is updated all the time. Automatically updates and updates airports. No cost for updates. Hard to update navigation data, Navigraph can be used for that. FAA data is free in North America.