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XPlane - Open Letter to VATSIM


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They do. They do nothing (at least that I am aware of), just like VATSIM did until now. Someone had to be the first

I'm surprised that Pilot Edge would do nothing.

Quig, C3, P1, VATPAC, CZQM (inact), CZQX (ret).

4200+ hrs of "Chaos, Panic & Disorder in your virtual skies!"

 

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Hi Nestor,

On our side it’s pretty often to only hear the negative comments about something -even if it’s a minority that “screams”:-, but unfortunately at the end of the day it does demotivate us at times... This community is a VERY demanding community, and even if we try to do stuff for good for the most, we only get to see/hear the people who are not satisfied with what is delivered, or that instead of appreciating what we do just keep asking for more stuff.
well, then VATSIM's management team needs to talk to the rest of the team before releasing ground-breaking updates like these and not take lonely decisions with half-ready software. To me "the rest of the team" is senior members of VATSIM who don't necessarily have to be in a staff position, but have way more experience in VATSIM than quite a few of the current BOG members. I am not talking about me specifically, in case that this question came up now. Senior members would have probably told you "yes, good idea to move VATSIM forward to the next level, but make 100% sure that the software actually does its job correctly". At least this would have been my answer and the answer of other "senior members" that I know. The way that this change was rolled out (lack of timely communication to the membership, insufficient testing) has given the network a bad name and this needs to be corrected without delay. Either have the frame-rate code revised ASAP to stop users getting kicked, although they have way more FPS than the limit of 20fps or take it out completely until such time that the developers had enough capacity to change the code for the better. Here in Germany we are witnessing a true shitstorm about this and we are trying to defend the change, but it is hard with the way that this important and positive change was introduced.

 

Again: the idea is welcomed by an overwhelming majority - nobody wants to encounter other pilots moving in slow-motion - but the way it was (not) communicated in good time and then rolled out with insufficiently tested software is a no-go. VATSIM could show greatness by immediately running a proper DORDAR! Aren't we all trying to be professional aviators?

 

D Diagnose: what is the problem? What has happened?

O Options: what can we do to solve the problem? Are there several options? Which one will we use?

R Risk [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment: if we do a), what may happen? if we do b), what might go wrong?

D Decide: after making a risk [Mod - Happy Thoughts]essment we choose option, because...

A Action: we implement the least risk option

R Review: monitor the action that is being taken, are things going the right way? Have unforeseen things happened that warrant a new DORDAR?

 

 

 

Important: my message is not meant to point a finger at any individual! In aviation we want to concentrate on WHAT has gone wrong, not WHO made a mistake. Be open, be factual, listen to the people.

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Well, i just want to say that i am not happy with this policy and i have heard from many many people in the last days that they are alo not happy with it and that they look for alternatives (IVAO, Pilotedgde and the upcomming POSCON)

 

We are a community. And we should care for everyone. Not only for he rich people who can buy hig end pcs...

 

Sure there will be slow simming peolple (and i also was angry of them in the past). But controllers should be able in most times to handle it. And if there are extrem slow simming people we could individual disconnect them. But disconnect every simmer which has for a short time low FPS, you will alomost every xplane user disconnect or annoy them with these inflight low fps warnings and clearance. That disturb the immersion all the time for the pilots.

 

And often pilots fly without any ATC online. So who is disturbed when a slow simmer fly a bit slower in uncontrolled space? Keep in mind that the most planes fly in uncontrolled space during the day.

 

All what i want is that the Board think about it again, if that was really a good idea. I am sure when you keep it, you will loose again a lot simmers, who you got not least because of the new your voice system. But also "old" xplane simmers will leave vatsim...

 

Best regards,

M. Winter

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Well, i just want to say that i am not happy with this policy and i have heard from many many people in the last days that they are alo not happy with it and that they look for alternatives (IVAO, Pilotedgde and the upcomming POSCON)
This is 100% contrary to what I have heard and read since the surprise-update. Many X-Plane pilots themselves welcome the change in principle, the main criticism is just about how it was rolled out. And then again, please don't forget that those who are unhappy normally make a big fuss about it on the internet, the rest is just silent, makes the necessary software changes and continues as before. There are too many people in this virtual world who feel entitled. Edited by Guest
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I do support this, even though I have a lower end system. Honestly, I feel bad for the developers because they're catching the firestorm for it all. Would have been better to have a little more time for everyone to prepare.

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I do support this, even though I have a lower end system. Honestly, I feel bad for the developers because they're catching the firestorm for it all. Would have been better to have a little more time for everyone to prepare.

I’m not sure how giving a little more time for everyone would’ve fixed anything? It’s not like everyone would go out and purchase new computer hardware ahead of time (unless you're planning on fronting the costs for everyone ).

Controller (C1), Los Angeles ARTCC
Developer: xPilot, vATIS

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IIRC somewhere in the X-Plane docomeentation this deficiency is laid out together with the steps one can take to ameliorate, fully or partially, the problem. Further there are free plugins available to [Mod - Happy Thoughts]ist in overcoming the problem.

 

I cannot see how VATSIM can be faulted. Nor do I think the clients, xpilot, swift, etc., are at fault. In this instance, xpilot has provided, note: provided; not caused; a notification of the reason you were disconnected from the network. So...Change your settings! Laminar produced X-Plane as an experimental aircraft creation tool. To get it to perform there are some critical minimums that must be met. If we, the pilots, cannot meet them then perhaps we'd best find another simulator.

 

In my not so humble opinion, the VATSIM staff, particularly those who worked on AFV and other back/front end electronic mysteries, deserve our respect, admiration and thanks for the hours of blood, sweat and tears they have, VOLUNTARILY, contributed to this community. For all this, I thank them.

 

If the angst is over how the policy was announced then maybe there is cause for (fruitless) debate for those who enjoy engaging in such play. (guilty!)

 

For the rest, get up in the air there and fly or, for a win, push tin!

 

Have a good one!

Quig, C3, P1, VATPAC, CZQM (inact), CZQX (ret).

4200+ hrs of "Chaos, Panic & Disorder in your virtual skies!"

 

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If we, the pilots, cannot meet them then perhaps we'd best find another simulator.

 

Well, some of us has spend a lot of money to their eviroment. Change the sim is not as easy as you wrote...

I really don´t get why all this is suddenly a problem. We all flew together for years. To greyout xplane users ist not a behave that i appreciate in our community. And why from one day to another. There is no way for xplane users to adapt.

 

I tried to fly today, but as i was disconented two times during controlled airspace, i was not in the mood the reconnect a thrid time. ( i have a very good computer and graphic card)

I will not fly on vatsim in the next time, because it isn´t fun anymore.

 

Very sad, that we have reached this point...

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Hallo Martin,

I tried to fly today, but as i was disconented to time during controlled airspace, i was not in the mood the reconnect a thrid time. ( i have a very good computer and graphic card)

I will not fly on vatsim in the next time, because it isn´t fun anymore.

what pilot client program did you use? Have you tried the other alternatives that we have for X-Plane? xSquawkbox, xPilot, swift? The developers need solid data as to why you are getting disconnected, although your FPS are above 20. What are your average FPS during flight, approach and landing?
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  • Board of Governors

I’m having trouble understanding the poor hardware crowd. I’ve personally seen X-Plane run on a complete potato of a laptop computer with above 20 FPS stable, it wasn’t very pretty, but it did it. If such a computer is able to run X-Plane at 20FPS then there must be a reason why people with better, yet not top of the line machines are having problems. Is it an unwillingness to reduce settings? Use of an add on that is not optimized and uses a lot of the available horsepower for framerate? Is it something else completely? If it’s one of the above, we need to make sacrifices to participate in the multiplayer environment so that other users don’t have a poor experience.

 

I do understand the crowd that is not happy about how this was released, however would such a release as previously suggested really have made this any better? The mere thought of this being suggested would have drawn the same ire of X-Plane members. We would have had the same kind of discussions as we have been having. Ultimately, had VATSIM still decided to implement, we would have still had people screaming that it was unfair and worse, that we didn’t listen to the membership.

 

In this case, we listened to our air traffic controllers and pilots who submitted multiple complaints about the X-Plane slowdown issue. As the use of X-Plane has skyrocketed on VATSIM, the issue has gone from the occasional pilot who can easily be worked around to multiple instances which pose an unsolvable problem during events and has been starting to cause issues in non event environments.

 

We knew that this decision would not be a very popular one for a group of our membership but beneficial for the membership at large. In this case, we felt the best way to handle bad news for this portion of our membership was to rip it off like a bandaid, instead of stringing these members along for a decision that was going to be made regardless.

Matt Bartels
VP: Marketing & Communication
## vpmkt (at) vatsim.net
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Unless otherwise stated, opinions are my own and not representative of the official opinion of the VATSIM Board of Governors

 

 

 

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Well, for one thing, I think a lot of X-Plane users didn't realize the problem existed. I had never heard of it prior to a month or two ago. Even those who knew the effect it had to them may not have understood the effect it had on others. Had there been some communication prior to dropping the hammer, it would have been nice.

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Not to start the same discussion again, but just to answer Matthews question and to give you some ideas how it felt for me. What triggered my emotions here:

 

1. I found it unfair to penalize a certain group of pilots for using low end hardware while other pilots, causing even bigger disturbances, are not affected. During the discussion I understood your point a little bit better when you described how much bigger the X-Plane usage on VATSIM has become and that a formerly rather small problem truly has become a bigger one (still I believe there are much bigger disturbances that are not penalized in a similar way).

 

2. Already slightly triggered by Point 1, I was really hit by the way of the announcement. First by not making the announcement here in the forum but hide it under the "VATSIM suggestions for better frames rates", which gave me the impression you tried to take us by surprise, and then the bold, very bossy reactions by some members of the staff and in the discussions about what seems to be wrong disconnects. It sounded something like "even if you are right, we won't change anything", "won't do" and "if the plugins don't work for you, you can't use your sim". In my opinion this has now changed over the past days, it's sounds much more willing to talk and cooperative. That might also the reason while the whole discussion has calmed down.

 

Again, all this just to give you guys and idea how it felt from this side of the screen. A big thank you for your efforts to explain everything and to solve the problems that still exist.

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2. Already slightly triggered by Point 1, I was really hit by the way of the announcement. First by not making the announcement here in the forum but hide it under the "VATSIM suggestions for better frames rates", which gave me the impression you tried to take us by surprise, and then the bold, very bossy reactions by some members of the staff and in the discussions about what seems to be wrong disconnects.

Agreed. This made the whole thing look sneaky. It's not that I'm against VATSIM taking measures to fix the problem, including disconnects. I'm not against it. I'm against "ripping the bandaid off" as Matt put it when many people didn't know they were wearing the bandaid in the first place. Instead of approaching this from a "we've got a problem, let's work on fixing it" attitude, we got a "we're booting you offline till you fix the problem you may not understand". In the future, I hope issues with the user base will be communicated in a "let's work together" manner instead of another sneak attack.

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I understand, and agree with the disdain that is being felt about how this was pushed out by VATSIM. For the past decade, if the VATSIM servers caught fire, the BoG wouldn't have acted to put the fire out. Now, they are suddenly shooting from the hip.....LOL. But really, the horse is out of the barn, and there's really no sense in re-hashing the poor roll out.

 

Overall though, I don't get why X-Plane users are upset about the minimum frame rate. I say that, being an XP user myself. If your frames dip, and you get kicked, then just re-connect at your convenience. The BoG said in their letter, that it's not punative. So, you just re-connect when you can. The controller will figure it out, it's what they do.

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I do understand the crowd that is not happy about how this was released, however would such a release as previously suggested really have made this any better?

 

Yes. The users would have had time to digest and test both thier systems and the new client. Perhaps a more measured approach would have been to have the pilot client report the problem without the disconnect for a while to make users aware that they cannot continue to operate this way. Sure the message may not have reached everyone as not everyone is involved with the community as much as others. But such time may have given the oppotunity for the news to propogate through the varius supporting communities. As it was, the announcement was made and 24 hours later, users were being disconnected at 40FPS.

 

In this case, we listened to our air traffic controllers and pilots who submitted multiple complaints about the X-Plane slowdown issue. As the use of X-Plane has skyrocketed on VATSIM, the issue has gone from the occasional pilot who can easily be worked around to multiple instances which pose an unsolvable problem during events and has been starting to cause issues in non event environments.

 

Again, can you point me to these multiple complaints. The responses within this thread and others on the subject are, while not the first I've heard of the issue, are the first indication that the issue is widespread. The increase in X-Plane usage directly correlates to an increase in overall VATSIM usage which has to be a good thing and somewhat misrepresented in the communications to date.

 

We knew that this decision would not be a very popular one for a group of our membership but beneficial for the membership at large. In this case, we felt the best way to handle bad news for this portion of our membership was to rip it off like a bandaid, instead of stringing these members along for a decision that was going to be made regardless.

 

And in the process, many of those users have simply logged off. Well done on the bandaid analogy.

 

For what it's worth, it would seem the initial bugs in the system have now been ironed out and the client(s) are working for the most part as expected. Now is the time to educate the user on how it works and how to live with it.

Greg Barber

VATPAC3 - Director ATC Training & Standards

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Again, can you point me to these multiple complaints.

Greg, they have been made primarily within all of the various TeamSpeak servers and other modes of internal ATC communications for each of the hundreds of individual virtual ARTCCs and FIRs. Just because you did not see them here on the forums doesn't means they haven't existed.

Cheers,

-R.

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Sorry, but who said that where?

 

The post above your's implied that.

 

Apparently, if a thousand complaints occured on a venue other than this one, they only count as "some kind of feeling."

 

If VATSIM had made the decision only based on the fact that there have been "thousand complaints" (I doubt they did, Nestor's post sounds like they HAD real data, but just imagine they did) then I would not consider that as a data based decision - especially since it would be highly subjective.

 

When talking about complaints and arguing in the same way like you did: Before this whole X-Plane-Disconnect topic started, there have been millions of complaints about pilots not responding to contact me messages, and in my opinion, that's is a much bigger annoyance when controlling like the one we are currently discussing.

 

If the "felt" number of complaints was the basis for making these kind of decisions, we immediately should implement an automatic disconnect logic for these guys, too. I guess it would even be much easier than the fps logic: Let's say, after two contact me messages sent by the same controller to the same pilot within 10 minutes and with another buffer time of 5 minutes, if the pilot has failed to switch to the frequency of the controller sending the contact me messages - automatic disconnect. Maybe we should filter aircraft not moving to prevent pilots being disconnected just because a bored controller already sends them a contact me message during preflight at the gate (still wonder why some ATCOs do that), but apart from that, we could easily extend the automatic disconnect logic to this problem too. It would even reduce the use of supervisor workload because they would not have to be called for these kind of problems anymore.

 

You see, it's difficult with these kind of "but many are complaining" decisions, because it's so subjective what "many complaints" truly is. As mentioned, to me it appears VATSIM had better reasons than just the feeling of many complaints, but we need to be careful with these kind of "everybody knows" and "it's obvious" statements.

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When talking about complaints and arguing in the same way like you did: Before this whole X-Plane-Disconnect topic started, there have been millions of complaints about pilots not responding to contact me messages, and in my opinion, that's is a much bigger annoyance when controlling like the one we are currently discussing.

 

If the "felt" number of complaints was the basis for making these kind of decisions, we immediately should implement an automatic disconnect logic for these guys, too.

 

I can think of a couple reasons why we should not do this. First, it would give non-supervisors the ability to disconnect others. Second, there are cases where contact me messages are sent by mistake. Therefore, we would need a way for the controller to retract the contact me request. And even then it would only work if the controller realized that it was sent in error. Now we're talking about server side changes, and network protocol changes. You can see that this is a very different situation than the X-Plane FPS thing.

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

Senior Controller, Boston Virtual ARTCC

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