Jump to content

A crazy idea for new client software


Recommended Posts

As many of you know Windows 8 will be out in less than a year. FSINN and SB4 were developed back in the days when dinosaurs walked the earth. Ok, a little bit of hyperbole. I have been watching Ernesto trying to help people set up FSINN and SB4 in the forums, especially, it seems, with Windows 7 64bit. Lot's of problems, though granted, many of the problems are from people not reading the directions for installation accurately and following them. But, the directions have become convoluted and confusing because the software was written for older operating systems. It's not going to get any easier with Windows 8 coming.

 

Here's a wild idea! I'm sure there would be many problems, but here goes. I know Vatsim will never be a pay-for-services organization. Good! Keep it that way! But what about holding a fundraiser for the development of new client software! Hear me out, now! Nobody has to give a dime. It's all voluntary! The money pledged would not be sent in until the amount needed is met. I'd be willing to give to have up-to-date software. I'm sure many others would too.

 

OK, fire away!!!

0
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 52
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

you already know the answer. no different then any of the others

 

it can already be done without needing to do that. get the right folks motivated to start working on a pilot client and youll get it

 

im sure many of the dev's who have alredy devoted tons of time developing the current software at no cost to anyone would take it as a kick in the pants if the network goes and pays someone to do it, even if its by "donations". once you go down that road, theres no coming back.

 

what we really need is a project that nobody can walk away with the keys. thats pretty much whats hurting the current pilot clients, you cant do anything with them, even if the network were to come with some new ideas for the network, theres no way to implement them into the current clients if it requires an update to them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's the point, though. If the work was contracted out by Vatsim, using the funds given by donation, it would belong to Vatsim, right? The donated money would be used to develop and then own the software.

 

I understand that the many volunteer hours given by those who have either developed or maintained the current software deserve many kudos. Depending on volunteers has worked in the past and I'm the first to thank them and appreciate them, but is it a paradigm for the present, or more importantly for the future? Perhaps there is a need for Vatsim "higher ups" to put together a committee to examine what Vatsim in five years will look like when it comes to the software they use and will use. They probably already do that! Maybe I'm way off base, but I just don't see the current software supporting Vatsim in five years without a lot of frustrated "newbies" trying to get it work, and perhaps many of them just giving up!

 

As I have been watching the FSINN and SB forums, I wonder how many of those who have problems simply give up and never get involved with Vatsim, and I'm sure that's the tip of the iceberg. I wonder how many get frustrated and give up without even trying the forums? And, Ernesto, kudos to you for spending so much time patiently helping so many people.

 

To boil it down, is the current software going to be the software we need in the next five years? If so, fine! I just don't see it! If not, we need to somehow develop new software, if not by the method I suggested...then how?

 

I

0
Link to comment
Share on other sites

.02 from a noob.....

 

After 3 days of wading through the multitude of info about the PRC, Vatsim, ServInfo, VatSpy, FSInn, Squawkbox, FAQ's manuals, etc, I was having this exact conversation with a long time user of Vatsim that I know, just yesterday.

 

I managed to get it all working (with help), but with new OS's out, and the many outdated items, and in some cases missing and dead links, it was a frustrating experiance. Since I am pig headed and stubborn, I perservered and have most of it sorted out, but I also wonder how many give up.

 

I fly now with a group, but from my experiance, I am not sure most of them will want to go through the process. Updated, current, and a simplified process would definatly be a huge plus. I am a noob to Vatsim, but not to computers or flying, so I can only imagine the frustration for someone without any experiance with either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ernesto, yes, I forgot about that thread. Thanks for the reminder, but I do believe that thread proves my point. Everybody wants to have a hand in it, it seems. Can Vatsim provide client software to meet the demands of future operating systems and FSs?

 

Create a committee, chosen by our Vatsim leadership, let them devise a vision...a plan...and then implement it. Taking donations and then paying someone to develop the software which Vatsim copyrights takes it out of the realm of the petty squabbles that the thread Ernesto refers to results in.

 

Once again, what worked in the past may not work now! Time for a change maybe? No, don't charge for flying, never, but give the Vatsim community an opportunity to donate freely and willingly if they choose to do so, to support what will make their Vatsim experience a truly encouraging and rewarding one.

 

Like I said, I'll be first in line to donate!

0
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am pretty sure there is something already in the works as far as a new client, but I do not have anything to back that up, but knowing VATSIM, they are well aware of the situation and the repercussions of not having something new in the works for the future.

CXA001-1.jpgspacer.png

VATSIM: P1|C3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marc,

 

Great! That's encouraging. It would be nice, in my opinion, to have our leadership communicate that with our community. I know the people in leadership give of their time, energy and so forth voluntarily and sacrificially. It's hard to find time to do things in the RW let alone on Vatsim, but perhaps a NOTAM spelling out, in broad, outline form what is being done over the next couple of years would be nice. Keeps people like me from suggesting wild and crazy ideas!

0
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am pretty sure there is something already in the works as far as a new client, but I do not have anything to back that up, but knowing VATSIM, they are well aware of the situation and the repercussions of not having something new in the works for the future.

 

I could question almost every part of this statement.

 

If I recall correctly, there was a discussion on these forums a few months (perhaps more than a year ago) about the possibility of a new pilot client, and the only definitive statement that came from VATSIM was they refused to categorically state that no new pilot client was being developed. From this, several folks have taken to stating (like yourself) that there's a new client in development. Occam's Razor suggests otherwise. I've seen no evidence here, on the VATSIM developers' forum or mailing list or via personal discussions to suggest that a new Microsoft Flight Simulator pilot client is in the works.

 

So one of two things is possible - the most likely is that no new MSFS pilot client is in development, and folks who suggest otherwise in the absence of evidence have a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome. (Sorry! ) The other possibility is that there is one in development, under a garb of secrecy or lack of collaboration that would make the military industrial complex envious. That might be a more terrifying problem indeed - it suggests that a volunteer, hobbyist network that is screaming out for volunteers in software development (the shortage here is orders of magnitude greater than it is for controllers) feels the need for secrecy in this area. We're not building ICBM guidance systems, radiation detectors or even a new toilet seat for the Stealth Bomber.

 

I also question whether the Founders of VATSIM truly understand the ramifications of no new clients. I was making friends and influencing people here a half-decade ago, claiming that VATSIM's greatest threat was not someone stealing their technology, but instead a lack of new technology that would drive down popularity. I've not seen anything in the past six years to suggest I was wrong.

 

Last week I spent a day at Georgia Tech interviewing some really bright folks who were just finishing up a graduate degree in Computer Engineering, and one of the things that struck me was that the underlying technology within VATSIM is now at the same level as a senior design project. Some of the folks I spoke to had created multi-socket servers, multiple clients (on PC as well as Mobile) and one had created the basics of FSD in a single day. (Admittedly when I spoke to him he was either really enthusiastic or on better drugs than I was able to procure at college, so he might have been on performance enhancing substances when he wrote it.) There's really nothing left in the VATSIM IP stable that is worth protecting anymore. VVL? There are libraries out now that can give better low-bandwidth performance and can be integrated into software in a day or two.

 

I haven't seen any shift or communication from the powers that be here to suggest an acknowledgement of anything, to be honest, on the technology front. There's been a great amount of emphasis on policy and procedure, like the GRP, and a little less on Pilot Ratings (and the hands-off attitude taken towards them has IMO contributed significantly to their success.) We have, in short, an administration that prefers writing policy to writing code. Whether that's through desire or ability, I do not know. But it does not give a technologist like myself any comfort that they understand 21st Century technology.

 

At some point we need to move beyond arguing whether the VVL is necessary to protect our IP and towards a standard voice library that gives the same level of control over voice rooms as any other free library, never mind the payware ones. We need to stop worrying about our precious bandwidth and recognize that it's essentially free these days, and focus on features. Stop worrying about the poor sod with a 56k modem, when a Third World cellphone user is likely to have more bandwidth. And we need to exorcise the trauma of SATCO's demise from our consciousness and realize that donations can and will work in order to provide us with better services, even if they can't provide better software.

 

VATSIM's founding docomeents gave a group of middle-aged men with little understanding of technology lifetime control. One should not be surprised that the network has stagnated for the past half-decade. Old men with a reverence for the status quo don't make history, or progress.

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I have been watching the FSINN and SB forums, I wonder how many of those who have problems simply give up and never get involved with Vatsim, and I'm sure that's the tip of the iceberg. I wonder how many get frustrated and give up without even trying the forums?I

To be fair to Wade, that's only two of the three pilot clients. XSquawkBox is dead simple to install (copy two items into the plugins folder), and it's been quite reliable and simple to use. Not to mention that it's been updated from time to time, too.

 

It's the whole MSFS ecosystem that's convoluted and messy—are installers really necessary just to add a new aircraft? I think X-Plane and XSB prove that at least part of the problem rests on the shoulders of MSFS, and that pilot clients can be easy to install and use on VATSIM, once you take Microsoft out of the equation.

 

I'm not claiming at all that X-Plane does what MSFS does, and I'm not comparing their features—I'm just comparing their ease of integration with other systems. I'm certainly not stating that we ditch MSFS, either—I totally agree that a new pilot client would work wonders for newcomers to the network, if they can overcome the issues that seem to plague the other MSFS pilot clients.

8942.png
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is important, it needs to be acted on.

 

I agree and I think that is why the conversations keep happening.

 

Anyways for my .02 about the pilot clients. I'm not dissatisfied with the current software but I also don't know much about the technical aspects of how it all works so I'm inclined to believe people like Luke, that seem to have a very good (and that is probably an understatement) idea of how these things work and what needs to be done to improve on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Darrol

 

your experience re pilot client software is yours only, and so you must own your opinion. It might only be kludgy for you.

 

I have never had any issues with either sqbox or Fsinn, both work, both connect my flight sim to the vatsim network. Fsinn worked with FSX on day one. SB4 took a little longer.

 

The developers stopped work becasue they mostly got fed up with people moaning.

 

nearly all of the issues are end user created, Such as the one I have been following this week and was rectified by the use of teamviewer, which was in the end someone installing the wrong (older) version on their pc. Nuff said.

 

Wycliffe

Wycliffe Barrett: C3 Controller

atc5o.png

"if god meant for us to fly, he would have given us tickets" Mel Brooks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have never had any issues with either sqbox or Fsinn, both work

SB4 works, but only if you set it up as a seperate program or run it through SimConnect on a seperate PC otherwise you are plagued with C++ error messages.

 

As far as FSInn, it also has it's share of issues as well that are not pilot related.

 

Yes they work, but what has to be done in order to get it to work is outside the norm and is not feasible for all pilots.

 

I do not fly on IVAO anymore, but if you compare the clients that are available for VATSIM compared to IVAP which is used for the IVAO network, you will see that the VATSIM offerings are very outdated and way off the mark.

 

My two cents,

CXA001-1.jpgspacer.png

VATSIM: P1|C3

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, as I stated when I first posted this, I have only been on Vatsim for a little over a year. It's been great! I have spent hours of pure joy doing in a virtual sense what I could never do in the real world! So I really appreciate all those who have spent hours developing software so I could without cost enjoy this. I in no way want to disrespect or complain against them.

 

I started this thread, not to complain, but to encourage Vatsim to consider another way of doing things to meet the challenging and changing future of online flight simming! Doing things differently (developing software by hiring a software company and paying them with donations given without coercion) is not a slap against those who have been responsible for the software heretofore, not at all, it is simply changing with the changing circomestances. While we change, we must appreciate and respect those who have gotten us to where we are today.

 

I would hate to see this thread turn into a "bashing" thread. Instead, I would like to see it, and other threads like it, serve as agents of change for the better. While Vatsim is fantastic, it's always wise and prudent to change when change is necessary, not just for change sake!

 

If my suggestion won't work, fine, then what will?

0
Link to comment
Share on other sites

your experience re pilot client software is yours only, and so you must own your opinion. It might only be kludgy for you.

 

I'm sure you're smarter than that, Wycliffe. Go look around the SB4 and FSINN forums here and tell me how many posts are there, how many people are having issues with getting the software running properly. To suggest that Darrol might be the only person with a problem is absurd on its face to anyone who has spent more than a few hours on these forums.

 

Now in fairness to the software, most folks eventually get squared away on the install and end up using it. The fact that VATSIM has traffic at all clearly proves that eventually, the software works most of the time for most of the people. But it's pretty clear from the FSINN forum that the package desperately needs a proper installer program to reliably automate the different specific steps that need to be performed to get it working right. In an ecosystem that actually had technologists, someone would have written it, released it the community and we'd all move on. In VATSIM, on the other hand, we get indirect posts about the sticky (and the concept of a hyperlink was lost on Larry) while continually insisting that there was nothing wrong with the product. Sorry, if a consistent percentage of your users can't get the program to run out of the box and don't know why, you have a problem.

 

The plural of anecdote is data.

 

The SB world isn't much better - there is the continual [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ertion failure bug and the model matching algorithm is a disaster (which custom model sets cannot work around completely). The switch to SimConnect from FSUIPC (why, in a freeware app?) means that plenty of third-party stuff fails to work and SB4 replaced a well-docomeented, well-understood API with plenty of cross-platform examples and is actively supported for something with a few half-baked C examples (don't get me started on the abomination that are the C# examples) and had all of its developers laid off several years ago.

 

Only in VATSIM would this be considered acceptable. Well, let me rephrase - only in a non-technology ecosystem would this be acceptable. In a group with a large number of technologists, people would get frustrated but realize that 200 lines of code is a trivial problem to fix and it'd get done. In a non-technical community like VATSIM where even a shell script is considered voodoo magic, we quake in fear of annoying the benevolent "gods" that write this magical software and deny that there's a problem.

 

The developers stopped work becasue they mostly got fed up with people moaning.

 

I don't see Joel leaving because of people moaning - he had a startup business that appears to have taken off. Good for him! The FSINN crowd were a different story, but you could see from the earliest days that it was a matter of time before they walked away. Ben would get all agitated just when people compared FSINN and SB3 in the forums and asked which one they should choose. It's a perfectly natural and harmless question, and people with a little less insecurity would just let it slide.

 

If you're going to write software for people, you're going to get criticism, no matter how good it is. The only way to avoid criticism is write something so miserable that no one can be bothered to use it. Here's the latest gem I got the other days:

 

Delta's ACARS is a disaster. I have been dispatched at odd altitudes heading west; I have been [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned for the ATR72 at 30000 feet for a fllight of 162miles; I have been [Mod - Happy Thoughts]igned SID'S that are no longer valid; the list can go on but you get the point. If I were you I would tear down your ACARS and have someone build one that know what they are doing.

 

Fun stuff, no? If I was of the type to get into a snit every time someone said a mean word about me or my beautiful digital offspring, I'd have moved into a cave a dozen years ago. (And you should read the feedback that I get in my day job!) Flightsim appears to be the only line of work in software where authors can avoid growing a pair and instead run around like five year old girls with a serious case of princess syndrome. In any other area, authors value feedback and use it to improve their software - like I did with the above comment.

 

nearly all of the issues are end user created, Such as the one I have been following this week and was rectified by the use of teamviewer, which was in the end someone installing the wrong (older) version on their pc. Nuff said.

 

The fact that FSINN can be installed into a simulator it does not support is prima facie evidence of a technology problem, not a user problem. If you step back and view the installation process as a system, with a human and technology component, you'll see that in too high a percentage, the system is failing and not creating the desired result (a working FSINN installation). Yes, the human part of the system is fallible - and good systems engineers recognize this and use the automation to work around these failings. I can't keep track of the different security permissions alone: do I run the installers as Admin, and FSINN as the user, or vice versa? Or does FSCopilot need different permissions? What happens if I install FSX outside of C:\Program Files and therefore don't need elevated permissions there? It makes the mind boggle, and I deal with complex systems every day. An installer, on the other hand, knows exactly what to do, in what order and in what situations, and once written performs these tasks correctly 100% of the time.

 

It's pretty amazing to me that we, in aviation of all fields, refuse to see the benefit of automation. On an airliner, we don't need GPWS or configuration warning horns. After all, if you fly into terrain or land with the gear up, that's just simple pilot error and there's no reason for us to add all this equipment because the pilot can't follow instructions properly.

 

As a closing thought, VATSIM software reminds me of Linux in its early days on the desktop. Users suggesting there was an issue with functionality or usability would get shot down and the existence of the problem denied. If they refused to go away, there'd be the wonderful retort "why don't you change it yourself?" (which reminds me of VATSIM - I'm not sure why one needs to write an entire pilot client from scratch just to fix one or two problems with the existing ones). This is the reason why Linux on the desktop was doomed - when a worthy competitor came around that provided Unix-y behavior with a fanatical dedication to user experience, it took the market by storm.

 

Denial isn't a river in Egypt. And there's valid reactions to the issue that don't require us to be Chicken Little and claim the sky is falling, because its not. But VATSIM does face a significant strategic threat - what happens when MS Flight is released and doesn't support either FSUIPC or SimConnect? IVAO has a functioning software development organization, and can create a client. What will VATSIM do then?

 

Cheers!

 

Luke

... I spawn hundreds of children a day. They are daemons because they are easier to kill. The first four remain stubbornly alive despite my (and their) best efforts.

... Normal in my household makes you a member of a visible minority.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the problem there is, even if theres a tiny inkling that the network would go out and pay someone to create a client (chances are as good as getting hit by a meteor while walking the dog), you can bet ALL work would stop. why? well now why would anyone continue their work when the network went and paid someone to do that. why would Ross, Wade, or any of the others continue to develop programs for the network at no cost after that?

 

if the only way folks can be encouraged to create a client is by financial gain, then we've got serious problems ahead my friends.

 

Well, as I stated when I first posted this, I have only been on Vatsim for a little over a year. It's been great! I have spent hours of pure joy doing in a virtual sense what I could never do in the real world! So I really appreciate all those who have spent hours developing software so I could without cost enjoy this. I in no way want to disrespect or complain against them.

 

I started this thread, not to complain, but to encourage Vatsim to consider another way of doing things to meet the challenging and changing future of online flight simming! Doing things differently (developing software by hiring a software company and paying them with donations given without coercion) is not a slap against those who have been responsible for the software heretofore, not at all, it is simply changing with the changing circomestances. While we change, we must appreciate and respect those who have gotten us to where we are today.

 

I would hate to see this thread turn into a "bashing" thread. Instead, I would like to see it, and other threads like it, serve as agents of change for the better. While Vatsim is fantastic, it's always wise and prudent to change when change is necessary, not just for change sake!

 

If my suggestion won't work, fine, then what will?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

the problem there is, even if theres a tiny inkling that the network would go out and pay someone to create a client (chances are as good as getting hit by a meteor while walking the dog), you can bet ALL work would stop.

 

It's not quite that simple. If I saw VATSIM accepting donations to pay someone to write a pilot client, I would not stop working on vSTARS. Here's why: When I write software for VATSIM, I know that I'm not going to get paid for it. This means that the factors that influence the quality and timeliness of my work are entirely self-created. The quality of my work is driven by my own desire to write good software. The timeliness of my work is driven by the other higher-priority demands on my time.

 

If VATSIM were to hire a developer to write a client, then you can be certain that George Marinakis would draw up a software development contract, there would be a clear specification as to what functionality the client would provide, and there would be a time frame for delivery. That is a very different development environment than what I experience with my volunteer programming for VATSIM. And rightly so ... money changes everything.

 

I see it as no different than when VATSIM pays for some of its servers, and other servers are donated. Did the server donors stop providing servers when they found out that some company was making money by providing servers to VATSIM? Nope.

 

So no, all work would not stop ... really, nothing would change for me at all. If anything, I'd be encouraged that something was actually going to happen in terms of pilot client development.

 

well now why would anyone continue their work when the network went and paid someone to do that. why would Ross, Wade, or any of the others continue to develop programs for the network at no cost after that?

 

For the same reasons we have in the past.

Developer: vPilot, VRC, vSTARS, vERAM, VAT-Spy

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ernesto, good points! I partially agree with you. Some wouldn't be motivated to develop anymore, but some, as Ross suggests, would. But, I am not talking about every software need our community requires. I am talking about the core or critical softwares - ATC and Pilot client software.

 

Now, I probably am being naive, and that's where some of you guys who have been around for a while can correct new pilots like myself, but why would the chances of that software being developed for a fee, be as Ernesto put it, "as good as getting hit by a meteor while walking the dog?" Probably because up to this point in our community pilots and controllers were able to get by with what was offered. My argument hinges on the answer to this one question: Are we reaching a point where the software we have will support our community's needs into the future, and perhaps even now? My "newbie" (close to 1 1/2 years flying) observation is, no, it won't!

 

And so, as the thread title states, and I've been around long enough to know, it's a crazy idea! But, if not this idea then what?

 

Ernesto, I respect you greatly. You're involvement on this forum is second to none. Your help for others has been indispensable to many of us, including me. But in your last post in this thread I didn't see any suggestions about where we go from where we are now. I'll bet you've got some. I'd love to hear them!

0
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...